Conceiving a child with a Pituitary Brain Tumor

brain tumor

I have shared my story many times—but the part I have not often shared is that 1 year and 3 months after our miscarriage, approaching 36 and in our 11th year of marriage, Richard and I decided it was time to perhaps seek a professional that can tell us what else may be wrong with me (I knew one thing—I have a tumor on the base of my brain///on my pituitary) or him/Richard (we didn’t know—maybe he also had a reason why we had trouble conceiving).  And so we researched and finally sought the help of a professional fertility specialist in Poznan, Poland.

I should also note—At this time, we have a daughter in kindergarten, we are living in Poland (and we are from the United States), and we live in a village of a little under 400 people.

We had a man from Germany, one of only two (at that time) qualified to do/give/approve Home Studies for Americans living in Europe.  He was to come to our home on November 19th of 2011.  We were going to fly him in, pay for his food and lodging, and pay him for our home study.  And, if we were approved, then we could finally begin the process of actual adoption—which we had already been to the US Embassy and spoken with individuals there about where to proceed within Poland.

So we were moving forward in the child department—BUT—there comes an age in every woman’s life where you understand that if you REALLY REALLY REALLY are going to consider having a baby out of your belly, after 35 is probably the time to really get going.  Strong.

You should also understand that for our 11 years of marriage, we had never prevented a pregnancy.  We already knew conceiving would be difficult because of my tumor.  The medicine, Bromocriptine, which if you ever watched House, you will know is one of the medicines used with Parkinson’s patients, was much too hard on my system.  There was one time where I took it at 9pm the night before, with food, as it suggested, and while Richard was gone the next morning, after 7am, I, alone in a foreign country and a 2-year-old Adelyne with me, had to call my husband and tell him to get home immediately because I wasn’t sure how much longer I would be conscious.

In the past, no matter how small the dose, I had passed out from the drug.

But it was that moment in time—when my husband was about an hour away, and I was alone in my flat with my two-year-old that I thought—is this the best for my family????

The medicine, of course, was not my only option, of course.  There was always surgery.  At the base of my brain.  You go through the nasal cavity.

There is targeted radiation.

We researched both.  We looked into Italy for the targeted radiation and Israel.  As those were the two closest to us that seemed to be really well qualified for messing around on, you know, the base of my brain.

We thought about surgery—which we would have done in the States.

When you are in the position that I am in—in a foreign country and thinking about someone at the base of your brain, you really REALLY really consider what you are doing.

And so we spoke with an OBGYN/Endocrinologist in the States (don’t worry—I have a neurologist as well).  We told him our situation and our options.  These are the words he shared with us (IF you are in a medical position similar to ours, PLEASE consult your own doctors for what is best for you.  This is our story only. Each lives her own story),

“You could go to any neurosurgeon in the world, and they will gladly share with you how you can remove your tumor.  But the thing is, if you remove a millimeter too much, you will still remain on medicine for the rest of your life to compensate for what was taken.

A very small chance—but always a chance, as well, that you will have brain fluid leakage.  Which then will also have to be controlled.  

Radiation…Yes, it’s concentrated.  But if it kills even a millimeter of what it shouldn’t===because your pituitary is central to your entire endocrine system, you, again, will have to compensate for what it was that was killed.  For the rest of your life.”  

Man!  Your brain is a REALLY big deal, right, people???  Even those pesky pituitaries at the base of it.

Then, he gave us a third option:

At the current risk of my tumor becoming cancerous (very small), the current size, and the fact that we actually one time had gotten pregnant (after 5 years), we could continue with:

No medicine.  No treatment.  Probably, most likely, no child in our future.

*This, of course, came with warning signs:  The location of my tumor is near my optical part of my brain—so, if I begin to lose peripheral vision, I will need to reevaluate my situation because that means the tumor is growing and putting pressure on that part of my brain.  

All options just sounded swell:  operating, radiation, medicine, no medicine.  All.

I am being facetious, of course.  None of them sounded swell.  So we went with the one that I liked the best.

No treatments.  No medicine.  A wish and a prayer!

And we said thank you and paid the man all of the gold and silver we had because specialists in the States cost you either a new car or your first child (smile and wink) … and we went on our way.

All the way to that fertility specialist in Poland I was talking about at the beginning of the blog.

We were ready to see what he had to say about my ovaries and eggs and all the ins and outs of maybe how he can help us get pregnant with a pituitary tumor.

So I hopped up onto his hopeful chair—as I am sure that I am not the first woman in the world to hop onto a fertility specialist chair with this guarded hope in our chest…

And I laid back and looked at that ultrasound machine—where I knew I wouldn’t see a beating heart—but what would I see????

And that’s when he showed it to me, husband in room.

He said, “You see that there?”

I said “Yes.”

I was lying.  I can’t make any sense out of those machines.

And he said “That is your right ovary.  You will ovulate in 3 days.  I should not see you again!”

And he had me hop off of that chair and leave with my husband.

He was right.  He did not see us again.

8 months later (because I had a preemie), we had Max.

11 months after Max, we found out we were pregnant with Josephine.

Jaw.Dropping.

Our story is not without struggle—even though after 36 they seemed to pop right out of me.  But the hard truth is this:

Our babies came to us in our 5th, 10th (miscarriage), 12th, and 14th years of marriage.  We got to keep 3 here on earth.

And I know my body played a big part into the difficulty of having them.  Therefore, I say to you women out there—feel and understand and know your body.

If you struggle, try and discover why.  Know your options.

Most importantly, remember that you are not alone.  It may feel like it.  But you are not.  And, so, connect with a group that is struggling similarly to you.  Be a support for one another.

A pituitary tumor is so small and yet influences so greatly.  A small tumor or tumors create havoc on your lives and heart, therefore, never feel as if what you are living through or feeling is not substantial.

Is mine cancerous?

No.

Is it still life-altering?

Yes.

#braintumorawareness #may #grayinmay

 

 

 

Mom Struggling Well

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I was in a made-for-my city-tv movie when I was in high school.

It’s true.

I had to dress the same (or similar) each day—and run down hallways pretending to be afraid of something and scream at nothing when opening a door.

It was really weird for me because I didn’t understand how television or movies are made.

And I probably did a horrible job.  But it was with a couple friends from high school and was made for our personal city’s television channel.

I actually never watched it—because there was no way I was going to watch myself running down an empty hall screaming in fear at basically nothing.

I am sure, if anything, it was good practice for my friends making the film—and great entertainment of horrible acting by anyone that actually spent time watching it on actual television.  Haha!

Since, I have been on the radio.

On one program (KFLR) where we had the opportunity to talk about building the New Life Center, I was asked the question, “What will your role be at the New Life Center once it is opened?”

What’s the New Life Center?  It’s a transitional center my husband and I opened to help men out of homelessness.

Okay—so let’s get back to my answer, “Uh…I guess I’ll pick up a shovel and shovel…dirt.”

Yes, I did.  I did say that, “…shovel…dirt.”

Goes to show how suave I am at anything in the communication world.

A time before that I was actually taking a Communications class at university (Arizona State University, Baby!) when my professor approached me after what I thought was an amazing speech.

Guess what she asked, “Brooke, do you mind if I use you as an example for the class tomorrow?”

Golly Gee!  Of course!  So, I totally agreed—just completely flattered at the request—thinking my speech was just complete ROCKSTAR!

When the next day in class, it happened.

What?

“Class—Brooke gave her speech yesterday, and I would like to point out 5 things that you should NEVER do when giving a speech…”

Where she proceeded to point out a million and one flaws (felt like a million more than 5, at least) in my speech giving and how they don’t have to make the same mistakes that I did.

So flattered to be used as a bad example 😉

Good thing I am made of apparently EXTREMELY thick skin.

Believe me, these are just a few stories.  I shan’t repeat more.

Anyhow…

All of these stories are brought up to basically share with you the fact that I had the immense honor of being interviewed for one of my favorite podcasts Mom Struggling Well.

And here is the interview.  I hope, if you can get past the initial awkward recording of my computer loud voice, that as you listen it will encourage you—-as it charges into many subjects that are close to my heart and soul and I found myself laughing and crying through it—even though it was me (oddly enough).

Episode 10:  Mom Struggling Well

I hope that you will have a chance to listen—and that in some small way you, too, can be encouraged throughout.

xoxo b

 

Is Miscarriage In The 1st Trimester a Big Deal?

It is October 1st—which means that it is, once again, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Month.

Five years ago, I suffered my first and only miscarriage.  And, oftentimes, people will ask “When I miscarried?”

When they hear it was in the first trimester, most replies resemble “Oh—1st trimester.  Phew.”

They don’t technically say “Phew,” but you often feel or sense that.

And then you begin to feel bad.

Like—Why am I sad about this loss since it is  just first trimester?

Why do I care so much?

Why do I cry so much?

Why do I feel so shallow?  So empty?  So much death?

I can tell you my answer to my first trimester loss of my baby—and it’s a 3-part answer:

1.  Adelyne—I found out I was pregnant with this beauty that made me a mom at 6 weeks.

sweet adelyne

2.  Maxwell—I found out that I was pregnant with this ultimate troublemaker at about 4-5 weeks.

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3.  Josephine—I found out I was pregnant with this little lady the weekend after I ran through fire and climbed 10 foot walls, and jumped and fell into huge mud pits at around 4-5 weeks.

jojobaby

These are my three answers to WHY it is a big, big, big deal when you miscarry…

Even in your first trimester.

You can’t lift your arms above your head. If you do, you will miscarry your baby.

When I was pregnant for the FIRST time in my life at 29 years of age, I was living in a foreign country.  FAR AWAY from my family to help walk me down this MIRACULOUS first path of pregnancy.

And the internet was not that widely used.  And I really had no clue what was going on.

On top of that, I had already been jumping off extremely high platforms into lakes and off of mountains—apparently pregnant (but, as most 1st time pregnant women, sometimes we are utterly clueless as to what is taking place in our bodies).

Apparently, my baby still survived all of the crazy extreme I was living through.

YET—yet with my family so far away, all I had left were those that surrounded me in a different culture—telling me things like, “You CAN’T lift your arms above your head because you WILL lose your baby!”

And I thought—Is this true?  Is this not?  HOW do I know?

The thing is—I also snorkeled pregnant with that very baby belly and was stung by a jelly fish AND swam with manta rays AND … and my baby came out healthy and 2 weeks late.

YET…YET I had been told simply lifting my arms above my head would cause the loss of my baby.

THEN…Then I had a second JOY!  A pregnancy stick that said “YOU ARE PREGNANT!”

Woot.  And then without even doing ANYTHING crazy INCLUDING lifting my hands above my head, I began to bleed and cramp and spot and had to weekly go to the doctor and watch and make sure this little baby would live.

Believe me.  I was barely walking.  I was barely moving.  No snorkeling, mountain jumping.  No stinging jelly fish or electric shocks from unexposed wires…

And I still lost our baby.

How is that possible IF I did not lift my arms above my head?

RIGHT?!

That, my friends, is because miscarriage is SILENT and UNKNOWN (for the most part) and SO many of us don’t understand it.  Doctors are trying.  And there is still a LONG way to go.

And because no one really knows, we share our fears.  PERHAPS one woman in Poland lifted her arms above her head and lost her baby.  And then the story was shared.  And then the fear of what is the protection of the precious life inside of you got passed to the next mom who wanted to make sure that she would NOT do that so that she could keep her baby as safe as possible…

And then the next woman was told.

And the next.

And the next.

Until it was well known that you simply DON’T lift your arms above your head or else you will lose your baby.

This is what happens all around the world.  Every culture.  Every country.  Every person has advice to share that seems like wisdom but, really, is wives’ tale.

Here is an article that came out today that shows what a long path we still have to travel to understand such sadness and loss:  What people don’t understand about miscarriages.  

So, my friends, for you that are currently going through this darkness of miscarriage, please know that you did the best you could.  You tried hard.  You loved hard.  You fought with all of your being.  And sometimes we still don’t win.  But it was not—is not your fault!

My daughter was in the car with me the other day (the one that was not only stung in belly by a jelly fish but also jumped in belly off the mountain with me AND was electrocuted in belly with me while I helped build a wooden deck to a home…This same daughter is 9 years old now—yes, that means I am now 39 years old ;))…She was asking me ALL sorts of questions I didn’t want to answer yet at this crazy age.  But since she was addressing them, I was responding.

One question was “Why when we prayed SO hard for our baby, did God let our baby die?”

You can’t dismiss children when they have questions, and so I began.

“Adelyne, a lot of sadness takes place in this world because we are not robots.  And sometimes good things happen.  And sometimes bad things happen.  BUT do you want to know what GOOD things happened because God gave us our baby in our belly to begin with—even though we lost our baby too soon?”

“What, Mommy?”

“That baby we lost—that baby gave mommy a new light of hope.  A hope that maybe one day we would ACTUALLY have another baby.  A baby I had no clue I would ever have.  I thought you were our only one!  And because God gave us Sam (we named our baby even though we lost baby in 1st trimester), we now have Max and Jo!  We have two more gifts because of Sam.  TWO!”

My friends—there is no answer for the loss.  Because it was not a loss we ever asked for nor wanted.  But when the storms occur, how do you see the impending light?

Our lights through the storm are Max and Jo.  The two that popped out 2 and 3 years after our loss of Sam.

Pregnancy is difficult enough—and then with everyone sharing the should and should nots of it—couple that with the endless reading materials—and then pair that with a mommy and daddy trying their best to incubate a baby until that miraculous due date—

When BAM!  All of that is stripped away at the stop of a beating heart.

You really do suffer guilt.  Shame.  Loss.  A sense of NO understanding.  And so much more.

And that is why wives’ tales live.

Because even in today’s extremely advanced medical world, IT (miscarriage) is still being discovered.

In the meantime, we now live the rest of our lives with the wonder—What if?

What if I hadn’t lifted my hands above my head like I was told?

And even though we KNOW in our hearts we did all we could—

It will never be enough.

Because the loss of this silent but thankfully gaining ground tragedy continues to be so unknown.

And even when that day comes when we ACTUALLY scientifically know more, it still will not have made a difference for those we lost too soon.

Will it in the future?

No one knows.

“Cast all your anxiety upon him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 

Because He Lives…

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Because He Lives…
I can face tomorrow.

Because He Lives…
All fear is gone.

Because I know…oh…oh…
He holds my future!

Life is worth the living JUST because He lives!

Can I be honest???

As I sit typing this, I am not sure those are the exact lyrics. They are, however, the lyrics resounding loudly in my head.

And I love them.

I look at each of them…
Because Jesus lives, I can face tomorrow.

I remember when we miscarried our baby, I could not face the light of day. I could not face the exit of our house into a different part of the real world. I could not face the presence of people that did not lose babies…

I could not face anything.

I wanted to remain curled in my dark dungeon of death and hide.

But He was there.

Loving me. Holding me. Comforting me.

And, eventually, I began to live again.

Because He Lives, all fear is gone.

I remember when God asked me for Maxwell’s life.  My only son’s life.  He asked me to give Maxwell to him.

I remember shouting, “No, God!  I will not give you Maxwell.  I gave you my other baby and you TOOK that baby from me!  Therefore, you CANNOT have Maxwell.”

I remember the fear of losing my son.  My only son.  To death.

I remember the fear of trying to imagine life without my son.  My only son.  To death.

I remember the fear of not knowing if Maxwell would live or die.

I remember that fear as if it, that fear, is sitting next to me at this moment while I type this.

But the VERY moment that I relinquished my son completely into the hands of God, I remember that fear leaving me.

Instantaneously.

Gone.

Did I know if my son would live?

No.

Did I know if my son would die?

No.

I knew absolutely only one thing—God had Maxwell in his hands.

And with that, my fear was gone.

Because I know he holds my future…

When I was on the brink of a mental breakdown.  My marriage was in shambles.  My life was far different than I ever dreamed.  When I was on that brink — when I did not see my future as a family whole, I realized, probably for the first time in all of my life, that God is enough.

At first I thought God was enough—plus my family—plus my friends—plus my job—plus my husband—plus my children (I progressed as I got older and more married, you know—things like that).  God PLUS everything and everyone else were enough.

But when I was left with nothing but the very shell of who I was — THAT is only when I realized that it wasn’t God PLUS the rest.

It was only God.

Life is worth the living  just because He lives!

Take it from a woman that knows.  Life is worth the living just because he lives!

I pray that you come to this beautiful peace in your life, too.

Happy Easter, my friends!

***

After writing this, I went on Google, and look what I found!  Enjoy.

Also, in the above photo, Maxwell is in a full coma and simultaneously receiving a life-saving blood transfusion. So, if you donate blood, THANK YOU!  Also fitting for Easter, the fact that someone gave so that my son could live.

Rainbow Baby?

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I will never shy away from sharing of my loss.  And I am not sorry if I cause discomfort.

Miscarriage is a very silent loss.  It is a very wrenching loss.  It is a very soul-crying loss.

Miscarriage takes you from elation to depression sometimes within weeks.

Today I read many articles of women, very prolific writers, phew!  Writers that bore their souls of their miscarriage losses.  From first trimester to 16 weeks.

From listeria infections to sudden delivery.

Women that never shared the loss with their children.  And then some that, for some unknown reason, started the conversation in the car on the way to school.

I am sure many of us (especially if you are around my age) can recall the episode from Friends when Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe are in the bathroom during the reception of Monica and Chandler’s wedding.

And the two girls, Phoebe and Monica, had given Rachel another pregnancy test to take to see if she really was or wasn’t pregnant.

Phoebe read the results, “She (Rachel) was not pregnant.”

Rachel cried.  And said she was happy.  And that it was for the best…

Of course, Phoebe was not telling the truth.  She wanted to see how Rachel really felt.  And, obviously, Rachel felt a great loss once she thought she was not pregnant.

Now, let’s leave fiction and enter reality.

The character of Rachel shared the heart of many.  THAT pregnancy test.  That pee stick.  That unsanitary little thing carries a great weight.

And as soon as we see the sign “Positive” our lives change.

Our beings change.  Our hands fly to our bellies.  We smile secretly to ourselves, appearing looney to the rest of the world watching random woman lady walking around with dreamy smile on her face.

We envision blue.  And then pink.  And then blue.  And then pink.

We have already calculated how far along and potential birth dates before even the first doctor’s appointment.

Names.  I am sure that is the first Google search you did as soon as you got back on your computer, after the due date, before the Chinese gender calendar.

Names.  Beautiful names.  Crazy names.  Trendy names.  Old names.  New names.  World names.  Names and their meanings.  Social Security popularity on names.

And twins?!  I mean, after all, can’t you recall someone, somewhere in your family that had twins?  Therefore, what would the doctor share with you?  It’s TWINS!

Whether you lost your baby 24 hours after your positive pregnancy test or 12 weeks later…In those potentially 24 hours you knew you had your baby growing inside of you, you conquered the internet.   You looked at What to Expect-type websites.  You saw where the baby was and how you would grow, and you secretly tucked your favorite name away, knowing that even if you had to fight for it, that special name would become a part of your baby in some way, sort or form…Soon.  If 9 months is considered soon.

Miscarriage.  It rips the very soul out of you.

And even the most gut-wrenching cries cannot bring back what you want the most.  The realization of your baby.  In your arms.  In the 9th month.  Like it should be.

Miscarriage.  It is a devastating end to what was once a beautiful beginning.

For you.

My husband?  For him it still continues, too.

Two years after our miscarriage, my husband and I were in our car on our way to church.  Church is one hour away.  My husband is the pastor of the church.

We were on our way.  On the highway.  We were driving.

It hit my husband.  The loss.  The great, great, tremendous loss.

And as we were driving in the car at 80mph, he started to cry.  The car started veering.

Sobs.  Gut-wrenching sobs were escaping the soul of his being.  Tears that he had always stifled to be strong for his wife that suffered so much physically with the loss and hemorrhaging and emergency D and C to remove the placenta.

He was so strong for so long.  And then two years later, our son Maxwell nearly died.  And then Maxwell lived.

And then all of it hit Richard.  On the way to church.  In the car.  Traveling 80mph.

And we nearly wrecked the car.  He had to pull over on the abandoned highway.  And I had to sit there.  Stunned.

I sat there as Richard shouted at God.  “Why?”

Why?

I sat there as Richard shared his guilt.  He was in America when our baby’s heart stopped beating.

“Why, God?!”

I sat there as Richard cried.  And cried.  And cried.

I didn’t know what to do.  And that is probably exactly how he felt as I lived through my time of tears. He probably didn’t know what to do.

Miscarriage.  The silent shame?

Never!

Miscarriage.  The silent pain.

The pain of loss.  Such tremendous loss.  For the mom.  For the dad.  For the brothers and sisters.

For those that love you.  For you yourself.

No one knows what to do.

No one.

And that is probably why miscarriage remains such a silent topic.

Because what can you say about a baby that you loved and barely knew?  Except to the very core of your being you did know.  Just as well as you know the other children you have.

I read once that a rainbow baby is a baby that follows the storm of loss.  Just like a beautiful rainbow shines after the rain.

And I loved what I read.

So, today, I am here to say.  Miscarriage.

It is a loss that guts your soul.  And you feel it forever.

But miscarriage also taught me about life.  The beautiful value of how precious and yet fleeting life is.

I had never valued life so much until our baby lost it.

And then we, through the storm, saw our rainbow.

Eventually a double rainbow.

And their names are Maxwell Loren (2 years and a few months old now) and Josephine Diane (9 months old).

Our baby we never got to meet.  Sam.  Simply Sam.

And despite the beauty of our rainbows, there is not a day that goes by that we don’t reflect upon the gorgeous life of our Sam.

For Sam was our storm.  And Sam was our watering.  And Sam was our awakening.

Our awakening to compassion.

To beauty.

And to life.

Sam.  Oh how I miss the baby I barely had.  Then I look at my rainbow babies and I smile.  I smile at them while remembering Sam.  It’s as if there will never be one without the others.

Just like there will never be a rainbow without a storm.

And 3+ years later, I can smile.  Sadly smile.

The ultrasound of my perfect baby alive in my mind.  The heartbeat-strong.  The feeling of life-there.

And yet time has passed and life has changed.  And we have double rainbow blessings…

But today, Dear Sam, I raise my life and voice for you.  And for all women like myself.  And for all men like my husband.  And for all siblings like my Adelyne.

And I say loudly, without shame, you are loved deeply…even if it is only our hearts that get to hold you.

You were our storm.

But everyone knows—water is necessary for life.

And that is what you were.  A life.  A beautiful life.

Thank you, Sam.  Simply Sam.

Now, I am off to kiss my babies.  My rainbows after our storm.  And I am going to inhale deeply their scents.

And maybe even cry a little.

Because the world does spin, but my heart remains the same.

Mother.  To Sam.

No matter, I will go to bed with a smile.  Because my storm was beautiful.  And mine.  And forever I am changed.

So despite death.  I was taught life.

And I am happy about that.

Because life is beautiful.  Just like our storm.

Prayer. It’s not a magical potion.

Teaching our children about prayer, while living it in our own lives.

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Praying…we’re to pray without ceasing.  But sometimes we find that “ceaseless” prayer a hassle.  After all, we have to stop.  Close our eyes.  Bow our head.  And wait for commotion to cease around us.

Nope.  Not at all.  Truly, that’s not the case.

Prayer is a beautiful thing.

Praying is what gave us our Baby Sam.

And prayer is what saved our baby, Maxwell.

Prayer is not magic.  It’s not a guarantee that all will be “right” according to our standards.  And prayer definitely does not work “our way”.

Bummer?  Well, it depends on your perspective.

God is very specific about how we should pray.

One…We should come before Him.  And that’s a Him with a capital H.

Two…We should present our praises and petitions to Him.

Three…We should acknowledge what it is that we have done wrong in our lives.

Wait.  Right there.  That’s why I don’t pray.  I don’t want to keep acknowledging over and over and over and over (you get the idea) all of my wrongs.

Well, why not?  Because you don’t want to admit you were wrong?  Or you don’t want to change what you are doing that IS wrong?

If it’s either of the above cases, it’s a heart issue, my friends.  A heart issue.  Not a prayer issue.

Back to prayer…

And we are to pray the prayer that never fails…”God, thy will be done…”

You see.  It’s okay, great, fantastic, superb to go specifically before God with specific requests and specific hopes for your lives…

My daughter did for 3 years before God gave our Baby Sam to us (and took him home before we got to meet him here on earth)…

And as much as she prayed with all of her heart for a baby brother, and we thought our little baby was a miraculous answer to that prayer, we did not get to keep our baby.

Hearts were broken.  Lives changed.

BUT…

And this is where we see God’s hand at work.   If we had NEVER been given Sam, we would have never thought to try for Maxwell.

You see, it’s because God gave us Sam that hope was renewed in our hearts that perhaps…just maybe…we could have another.

And a year after our loss, 10 years into our marriage, and approaching our 36th year of life, we found ourselves for the first time ever at a clinic for a consult with a doctor.

And it was there that the doctor said to me in very broken English, “You see your right ovary there?”

“Yes…”

“Well, you will ovulate in 3 days.  Go home.  I should not see you again.”

And, 8 months later (because he came early), we had Maxwell.

Had God not given us Sam, we would have never ever thought to try for Maxwell…And today we wait (each day because I’m as baked as a Thanksgiving turkey) for Josephine.

All because my daughter prayed.  And prayed.  And prayed.  And she prayed ceaselessly.

Everything was not beautiful.  Baby Sam never made an entrance into this world alive.  Maxwell nearly died.  And Josephine wanted to come at 31 weeks.

But because everything was not beautiful, because there was heartbreak, because there was the feeling of complete hopelessness…we felt God.

We relied on Him.

We leaned on Him.

And we learned from Him.

We were students of “Thy will be done…”

Through Adelyne, we learned that it’s okay to present the “impossible” requests to God…such as asking for a brother or sister.

Through Sam, we learned that in utter darkness God is still there.

Through Maxwell, we learned to believe in miracles!  We learned that when God is prompting you to pray, to be faithful.  To pray.

My sister-in-law, Jennifer, was woken up at 3am one night when Maxwell was at the stage of his life in ICU when no one knew if he was going to live or die.  At 3am in Arizona, it was 12 noon in Poland.  This is very important to realize the time…

Because it was at that exact moment that she was woken up with the prompting to pray for Maxwell that Maxwell’s life was hanging in peril.  That he was bagged and the doctor had to be found.

And for an eternity no one knew what the outcome would be…Richard and I stood in the hallway crying out to God while my sister-in-law on the other side of the world was crying out to God.

And although it seemed like an eternity, the doctor finally made it to him and got his little life stable again.

Jennifer had no clue what was happening when she was awoken in the middle of the night.  And yet she obediently honored God’s prompting and began to pray for our baby.

Praying teaches great faith.  Faith that we are to go to God.

Prayer.  Every day before Adelyne leaves for school, I envelop her in my arms and together we cuddle, and this is what I say, “Dear Jesus, please be with Adelyne today.  May she be respectful and kind.  May she have listening ears and a spirit to help others.  May she be a shining example for you.   Amen.”

And every day my daughter awaits that moment, even though it’s the same prayer.

And every day I am reminded that my daughter enters her days knowing that she is loved and there is a God she can go before.

And throughout the day, whether it’s a silent or crazy day.  Whether I’m clean or a mess.  Whether I feel good or like crap…I pray.

I pray for my children, my family, those we meet, hearts that are broken, lives that are a mess, for those that need healing…

I pray—and my greatest prayer is always that through the moments in life that we all face, we come to know Him.

Because, yes, at times life is unbelievably painful—but with God survival is possible.

Prayer.  It’s not a magical potion—it’s so much more than that.

Prayer.  It’s a beautiful connection.