Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Blessed Day

Check out my blessings! This picture was taken by our friend Marty Rogers while she was taking pictures of our extended family for a Christmas photo for my grandmother. Check out Marty's blog - My Crazy Life. I have a link on my page.

I can't help but sit around these days and sigh. You know - that content sigh that just comes out when you don't even realize it? I know we've been on an emotional roller coaster with the loss of Stewart's dad, but I am enjoying looking around and counting my blessings. Abby told me tonight that we needed to just put a bow on Ellie Kate's head because she was our greatest Christmas present ever. I certainly couldn't argue with her!! She then proceeded to tell me that Christmas was so special because it was Baby Jesus' birthday and we should be so thankful for our family. As she listed off all the members she was thankful for and right at the end, she said, "And don't forget the most special of all - Olivia, my special angel!" Talk about a tear jerker! As much as Ellie Kate has brought a peace to our family, it doesn't erase the fact that we are the parents of three little girls even though we only have two with us to share. Please don't misunderstand - Ellie Kate's safe arrival in this world is almost more than I dared ask for and certainly more than I could have ever dreamed. But even in those moments of content sighs, there is still a deep feeling that someone is missing. It gets easier every day to trust that our lives have taken this path for a reason much higher that we could ever understand, but that feeling is still there - way down deep. I'm sure it will always be...........
For today, I will remember that we have lost, but I can't wait to look into the eyes of my two special blessings in the light of the Christmas tree in the morning and just sigh. There will probably be a few tears shed - both tears of what we miss this year, but mostly thankful tears for what we have. I hope each of you can count your blessings and be thankful during this blessed time of year!
BTW - on a lighter note - check out these sneak peeks! Christy Key from Simplicty by Christy was at our house last week for Ellie Kate's newborn session. She has taken Abby's pictures for several years. She can capture expressions from her that no one else can! She has posted a few sneak peeks from the session on her blog. I have a feeling I'm going to need a second job to pay for all the pictures I'm going to want - how do you choose?? Check out her website and blog - there's a link on the side of my page. Here is a link to the post with our sneak peeks -
Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Full Circle

It seems like our family has experienced a full circle of emotions over the past year. This past week, we added to that circle. Stewart's dad, Roy, passed away on Wednesday, December 10th, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. At the funeral on Saturday as we greeted the long line of those who came to express their sympathy, many said to me that they felt maybe he was just waiting to make sure Ellie Kate made it in the world safely to let go. Maybe so - I have learned never question these events that surround us that seem oddly coincidental. Most of the time I believe the Lord has made a way before we even knew we needed one! During the service, one of our family friends talked about how much "Papa" loved his family, and that no doubt he was probably playing hop scotch, ring around the rosie and patt-a-cake with Olivia in Heaven right now. What a precious thought. Abby calls these "happy-sads". We've tried to teach her what a wonderful place Heaven is and that we should be happy that our loved ones get to go to that wonderful place. We've also told her it's still ok to be sad sometimes because we miss them. She condensed that down to a "happy-sad". Anytime something is mentioned about a loved one gone on, she reminds us that it's just a "happy-sad". That's a good description of life from a four year old - just a long list of occurrences that are "happy-sad"!

Everyone else is doing great! Here are a few pictures from the last week.
This is a shot from Ellie Kate's first bath. It was VERY eventful! I'm thinking we could win $100,000 from America's Funniest Home Videos for the footage on this one. Ellie Kate graced Stewart with projectile poop right in the middle of the bath! I wish you could have seen his face!!!

I just had to include this shot of our Diva #1 - everyone keeps warning us that we will have our hands full when she turns 13. HA - I'm already worried. Who needs to wait for 13?

Monday, December 8, 2008

We're home!

Thanks for all the prayers! We are happily home and enjoying our new "normal"! Ellie Kate passed all her tests in the NICU with flying colors, and we all got to come home Sunday afternoon much to the surprise of us all! She is doing great - eating, sleeping, pooping - what a life! Abby is over the top, and SO glad to have a baby sister. Here are a couple of new pictures.

Daddy made sure his newest fan was wearing her finest for the game Saturday - win or lose :)

Here is a picture of Abby and Ellie Kate. Abby had just been to a Christmas Sing at her preschool.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Welcome Ellie Kate!

We are so blessed to announce that Ellett Katherine Thorson made her debut into the world yesterday, December 4th, at 9:13 AM. Ellie Kate weighed in at a whopping 8 pounds and 14 ounces and was 20 inches long. She was so cooperative she let out a big cry before they even finished delivering her. I can not begin to describe what that cry felt like to me. It was the release of emotions I have been too scared to dare to even hope for over the past nine months.

She looked great right after delivery and Stewart took her up to the well baby nursery to help the nurses clean her up while they finished the surgery on me. While up there, Ellie Kate started "grunting" and having trouble breathing. They decided to take her to the NICU for assessment and assistance. Poor Stewart - his protective Daddy instincts got a real test. He was so worried for her and was facing it by himself. Thursday was a rough day. Compared to others in the NICU, she looked so pink and healthy, but she was having obvious problems. I only got to see her for 2-3 minutes, and wasn't allowed to hold her. At that point, fear tried to take my morning of happiness away. The only thing I knew to do was pray and ask others to as well. I sent out a brief email to friends and family and within just a few hours, the Lord graciously relieved my fears and eased her breathing. By the next visitation time, she was much more relaxed and resting comfortably.

She has been upgraded to the progressive side of the NICU. The nurses (which by the way are AWESOME) have assured me that her levels couldn't be any more normal!! We are hoping for a Monday homecoming. Again, the Lord answered that call before we asked. It first appeared that we would be discharged on Sunday and she would have to stay behind for at least another day or two. After last year, I just wasn't sure if I could handle leaving the hospital again empty handed. It now appears that everything should work out for us to leave as a family!

Here are a few pictures from the last couple of days. She looks so differently from Abby's newborn pictures. Stewart and I have both agreed that she has many of Olivia's features, which is such a sweet remembrance for us both. She in no way will ever take her place, but our family finally feels complete.

Check out the picture of Abby in her big sister shirt - she is SO excited! I understand she made a big show at preschool today showing everyone the pictures of her new sister. I am so proud that she will have the opportunity to be a big sister - she is going to be a great one!!
It's still not quite real to me yet, but gradually I am allowing myself to enjoy the moment. This morning at 4 AM when I finally got to hold my baby, I felt like a little ray of sunshine was shining on our family. I guess it is true - the rainbow can only come after the rain!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How much longer??

This is the most often heard question at our house these days!!

My mom, aunt, and grandmother came to graciously decorate my house for Christmas this past weekend. They did a great job! Abby was over the top! She helped my mom hang our "special" ornaments that we pick out as a family each year. This also gave her an opportunity to hang Olivia's special ornaments and talk about her along with hanging Ellie Kate's first ornament. It's more than a 4 year old mind can comprehend sometimes, but she really puts it in perspective for the rest of us! She has a very special relationship with "baby sissy Olivia" that she lets us in on every now and then. Just the other day, she was looking up at the clouds trying to find shapes (a great way to pass time on the way home from school each day!) She suddenly exclaimed that she saw her name written in the clouds! She immediately looked up and said, "Hey sissy! Thanks for writing my name. I love you!" And that was it.....if you ask her about it she may or may not tell you about it. It's just her special relationship with her baby sister. Not long after we lost Olivia, Abby looked at me and said, "But Mom, don't be sad. She's still a special part of our family." Amazing!

So now the countdown is on! I am certain the next two days until the c-section will be the LONGEST days ever, and Abby is convinced that the next 24 days until Christmas will never pass!! Patience is a virtue we seem to need! Here are a couple of pictures of Abby in front of the tree. I snapped it last night in between answering why she couldn't open the presents now!

This is a more true picture!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting Ready!

This is a first - I'm starting a blog! There are a few reasons. First of all, I like reading other's, so maybe it's a cool thing. Second, we have a lot going on right now, and I think this will be an easy outlet for me to share happenings with friends and family!

We are getting ready for many things. Thanksgiving is only 2 days away. Luckily this year I am not responsible for much! Christmas is just over a month away. More importantly, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our third baby girl! Ellett Katherine, Ellie Kate, is due to arrive by C-Section on December 4th. For those who don't know our story, I'll give you the Reader's Digest version.

Stewart and I were blessed with our first baby girl on June 15, 2004. Abigail Marie, Abby, came into the world a healthy 8 pounds and 9 ounces. She was, and still is, the light of our world! She is currently 4 1/2 years old and attending a local church pre-school that she LOVES! She loves to talk (seriously!), read books and sing.

On November 18, 2007, we were again blessed with another baby girl. God had different plans for this angel that we did not know. Olivia Garner was born still, and went on to be our special angel. Shocking cannot describe that night. After much prayer and trust in a bigger plan, we have come to the realization that God had another, greater plan for our baby girl that was even more special than anything we could have ever dreamed for her.

Much to our surprise, we became pregnant again in the spring of 2008. I have told many that God was simply braver than I ever could be because I think He knew we could never make the decision to try again on our own. Throughout this pregnancy, I have been monitored at UAB along with my local OB. So far everything looks perfect! This little one is VERY active and if I ever start to fear that she is too still, she obliges me with ferocious kicks and rolls! My family and friends have been a priceless support throughout this journey. Although it was certainly not a path I would have chosen, it is unfortunately one that many before me and after me will travel as well.

I haven't been brave enough to "get ready" for this baby like most would, but the Lord has given me more "faithful" moments to get a few things ready for her upcoming arrival.

As we continue through this journey, I hope that we can continue to appreciate how the Lord works in our life, sometimes even before we know to ask for His help! I firmly believe that He puts situations and people in our lives for a reason! A former local journalist who also blogs about her family's journey through the heartbreak of losing a child, Amy George, recently blogged that her living children were like rainbows - God's way of telling her family it was all going to be OK. I am patiently waiting for our little rainbow and trusting that it will come - in one form or another!