Wednesday, August 6, 2014


I can’t believe it has been almost a year since the last time I wrote.  If I can be totally honest, I just wanted to spend time with my girls.  Writing after Grayson was a way of processing my thoughts and emotions and escaping from reality.  When Kinley was born, I realized I didn’t want to miss one moment of either one of my girls.  We made family a priority this last year, as we felt like we just needed to rebuild.  The parts of my life that you all couldn’t see (because I didn’t even see them) were destroying our family.  I can’t even begin to describe to you the cloud that I was under the year after Grayson’s death.  I kind of quit life.  I quit cleaning… I quit cooking… I quit “feeling” anything other than sadness.  And as much as I wanted to be “ok” and tried to be “ok”, I just wasn’t.  I KNEW that I trusted in God’s sovereignty, but for whatever reason, I felt like showing my anger, was not trusting God.  And can I just share with you guys how angry I was at God for taking my son?  I knew he was in a better place and ultimately with someone who loves him more than I ever could, but that didn’t take away the fact that Grayson wasn’t here.  That I didn’t and still don’t have a little boy here on earth.  And that made my heart so sad (and still does).  I could cry at the thought that I have the cutest little boy bedding downstairs with no promise that it will ever be used.  I just wasn’t myself in the year after Grayson’s death.  The light in my eyes was gone.  And while I questioned what my life would hold. I can tell you that I knew God had a plan. I knew God would redeem my heart. And I knew God’s grace would cover all.  And boy did it do that and WAY more.  The day Kinley was born, it was like the veil fell.  Tears fell.  Tears of complete and utter joy and tears of complete and utter sadness.  A smile came through that had been lurking in the dark for far too long.  I felt ALIVE.  And not just that, I was thankful to be alive!

This week, I have been reflecting on God’s faithfulness to me since we lost Grayson.  While my heart still has a lot of healing to do, I have seen God’s faithfulness over and over again.  Just a couple days ago, Kinley was running a fever and Damon gave her to me while I held her in the shower. She didn’t want me to stand and hold her, so I layed down in the tub with her on my chest and let the water run over both of us.  It brought me back to the morning when I was pregnant with her.  I remember one day specifically, laying down in the shower (because I was too nauseous to stand) and letting the water run over my swollen belly and just talking to Kinley, telling her to stay put and that I needed her to be alive.  Begging God to let me parent her here on earth, begging for her life.  What an absolutely picture of God’s faithfulness that about a year later,  I was holding that baby girl as she gently smiled at me and met my eyes. And can I just tell you guys something?  This was just a glimpse into how much God loves me… just a tiny glimpse.

So, today, though I have lots more to catch up on, I want to leave you with that small glimpse into my life and my Savior.  What a faithful God!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Kinley Pearl Woodward

I thought it was about time that I share Miss Kinley's birth story.  It was surreal, to say the least! WARNING:  The is LONG, but I didn't want to forget ANYTHING!

Kinley Pearl Woodward
May 2, 2013 @ 12:23am
7.0lbs and 19in

At my previous appointments that week, I was already measuring 4cm and having some regular contractions (so we were pretty sure I wasn't going to make it to May 18!).  We were, however, confident that God would keep His promise to us to redeem the month of May!  And boy, did He!! :) Dr. Sellers told me to not wait to go to the hospital when my contractions started picking up.  With trying for a VBAC, he wanted me to be at the hospital as soon as possible.

So around 9:00am or so on May 1st, I woke up feeling super nauseous... and then I realized I was contracting quite a bit.  I timed them out for a little over an hour and they were every 2-4 minutes.  I texted the best nurse in the world to let her know.  She talked to Dr. Sellers, who told me to go in.  I told her that I wasn't super sure it was time because I was so nauseous that the contractions were hard to time out.  She said they would check me out, but that she thought I would be having a baby.  So I called Damon (he picked up after the 10th phone call...seriously... how do you not answer the phone when your 9 month pregnant wife is calling?!) and started to get my stuff ready.  I called my mom and sis to come and take care of Collins.  Damon was asking me how I felt... and I just said that I had so many emotions.  He asked me if I was excited and I said "yes", but the truth is, I was experiencing fear, nervousness, excitement, happiness, weariness... all at the same time, that I wasn't really showing any emotions.  I mean, the last time I delievered a baby at the hospital, was the hardest thing I have ever done, it was when I said hello and goodbye to my son, Grayson.  It was hard to think about delivering another baby.

We got to the hospital about 12:30 or so.  However, by the time we got there, my contractions literally stopped.  I texted my nurse (from the hospital parking garage) and told her and just said that I didn't want to go in if they were just going to send me home!  She talked with Dr. Sellers and he said that he still wanted me to go in... so in I went.

 They got me back to the triage area (not my favorite place to be- that's where I learned the news about Grayson last time) and got me on monitors.  Like I already knew, they confirmed that my contractions had stopped... I was having maybe one every 15 minutes!  Ugh.  So frustrating.  The nurse came in and said that Dr. Sellers would probably send me home, but that she was waiting to hear back from him.  He called and told me that he wanted me to take a walk to see if we could get contractions going again.  However, right as I was about to do that, my blood sugar dropped WAY low... like 37 (for no known reason- I was just sitting there!).  Definitely not doing any exercise at that #!  By the time we got it back up, the clinic had closed and Dr. Sellers was headed over.  He came into the triage area and began to tell me that he didn't want to send me home.  He said that he didn't like that my blood sugar dropped like that for no reason (and it had been doing that for weeks).  That is a sign of my placenta failing (a symptom for diabetics).  On top of that, at my last high risk ultrasound, Kinley looked great, but she had stopped growing at the same rate.  In 3 weeks time, she had only gained 4ounces (when she should have been gaining the most weight).  She went from being in the 80th percentile to the 50th.  He said there was more risk in letting me go home and waiting than there was in kick starting my contractions and letting me have a baby.  So he said that he was going to start me on pitocin.  (I let him go home for dinner before they started all of this because once he started it, he wanted to stay with me the whole time- and because I was trying for a VBAC, he was required to stay there they whole time.  So pitocin was started at about 7:30 and they broke my water at 8:00pm.  We were told to expect an early morning baby, much like Collins (at about 5:30am).  We talked about the epidural and I decided that I would get one because of the increased risk of needing a c-section.  I didn't want to have to worry about what would happen if I didn't have it and ended up needing a c-section.  I was going to wait, but I feel, much like Collins, that God whispered in my ear to go ahead and get one... even though I wasn't feeling ANY pain yet.  This was at about 8:15pm.  Well, it turns out to be a good thing I got it when I did because the next time they checked me, at about 9:45, I was fully dilated!!!  When the first nurse checked me, she didn't even tell me.  She made the other nurse tell me because she couldn't believe that I was fully dilated in about 2 hours!!  Kinley, however, still hadn't dropped so they sat me up to get her to drop as much as possible so I didn't have to push her all that way!

We were on track for having a May 1st baby, which surprised all of us!  Dr. Sellers came in and I began pushing. I pushed for a little over two hours (putting us past midnight).  All of the sudden, Kinley's heart rate plummeted.  I saw the fear flash in Dr. Sellers eyes.  He looked at me and said "we're done... I am going to get this baby out".  I have to admit that I was a little disappointed... I definitely cried, but more than anything, I just wanted to hear my baby cry.  (Again, a great thing I already had the epidural because they had to deliver her so quickly that had I not had it, I would have been knocked out.)  And literally, within about 15 minutes, at 12:23am on May 2, 2013 (we think... there has been a little confusion on what time she was actually born, but will find out from the doc officially), Kinley Pearl Woodward was born, weighing 7lbs even and 19inches long.  Hearing her cry, I LOST it.  I mean tears from the last year of my life and walls I had built up of protection, came crashing down.  I haven't cried that hard in months.  It was the sweetest cry and sound of hope and joy I had ever heard.

To say that Kinley's birth was healing, is an understatement.  I don't think I realized how many walls I still had up.  I was still harboring so much anger... anger that I thought I had moved past, but hadn't fully.  And holding my sweet girl... Jesus knew just what I needed and it was hope in the form of a little girl named Kinley.  My heart is bursting. I feel more alive than I have in MONTHS and my heart healed a whole bunch.  Man, it sure made me miss my sweet boy, but I do know that he was watching from heaven and so excited to present his little sister to us.  I know he was proud.

Thank you.  Thank you for the prayers over the last year.  Thank you for praying for Kinley and thank you for praying for my heart.  Kinley, your mommy and daddy love you dearly.  You will never know the hope that you have given us.  Thank you, Grayson for watching from above and keeping watch over your little sister.  You are missed and you are loved.  And my sweet Collins, the best big sister to two little siblings, thank you for the constant joy you bring.  You are the light of our lives!  And thank you most of all to my Savior, who breathed life back into my soul. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Dear Grayson

I know, it's been awhile.  Lots to write about, but tonight, I just needed to write to my son.

My dear sweet Grayson-

As I have prepared for your little sister, Kinley, to arrive,   I want you to know that I think of you constantly.  I am preparing another room for another little girl, when I thought the next room I would be preparing would be yours.  I had your bedding picked out and everything- little skyscrapers that reminded me of where your daddy and I met, in New York City.  I dreamed of putting your name on the wall.  I never dreamed that so quickly, that name would be replaced with the initials of another sweet girl’s.  Little did I know, that God was preparing the perfect room for you, with Him.  While I am excited and over-joyed that God choose me to be a mommy again, and to a precious sweet girl, I find myself missing you terribly. I feel her move and dream of the times when I felt you doing sommersaults- even though I never even knew you this long.  I so wish that you were here to watch out for your sisters.  Instead, I trust that you are watching out for them from up above.  I know you are going to be the best big brother from up there.

Did you know that your little sister is due just the week before your first birthday and glory day?  When we asked God to redeem May and the sadness we had about the month and having to let you go, we never dreamed that redemption would look like this.  We never thought that we would be blessed with another baby so quickly.  Somehow, I have a feeling you put in a good word for us!  J  And we couldn’t be more excited.  I do know that week is going to be terribly emotional.  I hope you know that in being so happy and excited about your little sister, we will still be missing you with every breath of our beings.  She does not replace you sweet boy.  She just adds to your legacy here.  I can’t wait to one day tell her about you!
Life keeps going down here, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you.  I see your little lovies, Manny the monkey, and I want to hear you rattle them.  Your big sister inherited one (we thought you would like that), but every time we here it rattle, we are reminded of you.  Collins knows all about you.  And even asks about you from time-to-time.  She points to our tattoos often and asks “Is that Grayson”?  And sometimes, I think you show up here because she will point to random little boy things we have and say “That’s Grayson’s.”  And it would have been and should have been.  Just know that your big sister misses you too.

It’s late and I need to get to sleep and rest my swollen feet, but I just had to write you and tell you “hi” and that I was thinking about you.  You are and will forever be my special boy.  You are not forgotten.  You have a very special place in our family.  I hope you know that and feel that, even in heaven.  Give Jesus a high five from us and tell Him that we are sure trying to do a good job of sharing His love through your story.   I hope we are making you both proud.  I love you more than you will ever know.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Room Updates and Breakthrough

Life has been pretty busy around here!  I have had some more energy so I have been trying to get things done around the house that I KNOW need to be completed before I am too big to finish the projects!!

Project 1-  The downstairs kids/game-room.  Anyone who has been to our house knows how badly I have wanted to finish this room since we moved into this house 3.5 years ago!  I just knew that I didn't want to settle... so when I had a little extra income come in from a huge project, I told Damon I knew right what it was going to... a new couch!  That with a little help from Christmas $, I was able to complete the room!! Woohoo!!  We went from this:


To This! :)

And the Kids Corner... separated by the couch so they have their own little spot! :) PERFECT!!

I am SOOO happy with the end results!  Colorful, fun and totally what I had envisioned... even if my hubby questioned it EVERY step of the way!!! :)

Next Up... Collins' Big Girl Room... And then Kinley's nursery... Woah... Stresses me out!!  We only have about 3 more months to go!  Crazy!!

And speaking of pregnancy, I am feeling great these days!  HUGE, but great!! :)  They say you gain faster with each one.. and seeing as I was just pregnant with Grayson, my body never got back to "normal" so I am definitely bigger this go around, but I am not complaining.  Big baby, but healthy baby!! Kinley is currently measuring over a week ahead of schedule, which I am totally ok with!! :)  She is perfect though! And active, just like her big sister was!  I'm telling you, I just know Grayson had my laid back personality and both my girls are going to be crazy hooligans like their daddy!

Emotionally, I had a MAJOR breakthrough.  The circumstances of how this occurred was not good and definitely not a proud moment, but I really feel like God used it as a "red-flag" moment that I wasn't truly trusting Him with EVERYTHING.  I spent a good several hours crying it all out.  I had to realize that I still miss my baby boy and will every day for the rest of my life here on earth, but that doesn't mean that I can't ever be really happy again.  I think at times I felt like if I was too happy, I was forgetting about the sorrow I felt, which meant that I was forgetting Grayson.  I am slowly realizing that God never told me to forget, just to find joy in all circumstances.  Easier to say than do.  I am in the process of slowly, but surely, enjoying each and every moment.  I can't even tell you how refreshed I feel.  I am finally enjoying being pregnant again... and every minute isn't a reminder of what I lost.  I am finding so much joy in my almost 2 year old, who brings more laughter than I ever thought possible.  She seems to just know when mommy needs some loving.  The other day, when I told her I loved her, she responded by saying "Lub you more mommy".  Bestill my heart.  And she is a daily reminder that we will not forget little brother.  She constantly points out things, whether it be his lovey (Manny, the monkey) or mommy's tattoo of Grayson's little feet and says "Grayson, Grayson" and smiles big.  What a blessing that even though she doesn't really know what has happened, she knows she has a little brother!  What sweet sweet moments for this mama's heart.  Storing up these moments and treasuring each of them in the time I have left with just one sweet baby girl at this house.

Keep the prayers coming.  God is healing my heart.  I know it will never fully heal this side of heaven, but I do know this... I know that my God is in the business of renewing hearts and revealing Himself.  I know He cares deeply about me, about Damon, and about all 3 of my kiddos.  And in that, I can stand secure!

Friday, January 4, 2013

20 Weeks, 5 Days

Yesterday marked 20 weeks, 5 days.  20 weeks and 5 day of carrying Kinley.  20 weeks and 5 days was all I got to spend with my Grayson.  20 weeks and 5 days is just far too short of a time.  I mean, the chances of something happening to Kinley on the exact same day as Grayson is slim to none, but I was still glad to get that day over and done with.

I kept thinking about if I had known that that would be the last day I would carry Grayson, would I have done anything differently... what would be going through my head?  I quickly realized that I would do everything I did.  I was just living life, but I was still innocent in a lot of ways.  Innocent to the things that "can" happen.  I knew what could happen, but no girl really thinks that they could happen to her.  In a lot of ways, I find myself so jealous of girls who still have this innocence.  Jealous of girls who complain when they feel rotten because of pregnancy.  You see, I can't complain about feeling rotten because feeling rotten is the best feeling in the world after you have lost a baby... because it means you are still pregnant!  Only girls who have been through something like this can say that so definitely.  If you still have this innocence, CHERISH it!! It is a gift from the Lord!!

Today, I am thanking God that we have made it to 20 weeks and 6 days.  For me, I can breathe a little sigh of relief... I had two doctors appointments on Tuesday and got good reports from both.  My cervix hasn't shown any changes, which is huge!  I asked Dr. Sellers if he felt like we would have already seen changes if something were going to happen and he said "yes", so that made me feel much more at peace.  He said from here on, we should be able to have pretty normal appointments.  I know there are still no guarantees though.  So, I still have some fear, fear that I continue to turn over to Jesus each and every morning.  In the same breath, I also have hope.  Hope that I have a God who sees me and will see this pregnancy through to 40 weeks!

Please continue to pray for me, for my health, for Kinley and her health, for Damon (poor guy is dealing with my ever-changing emotions... ) and just for our family as we anticipate and prepare for Kinley's arrival.  I have found that I have had a hard time even doing this stuff... I had bought Grayson's bedding, several pieces of clothing, his "lovies"... all things that are now stored away because we never got to use them.  It is hard to now be buying things for Kinley and trusting that these too won't get stored away.  In faith, I have started this process, but it is weird how even these things create a little fear in me!  I never would have thought that buying crib bedding would invoke some fear.  it is pretty crazy... and I definitely feel crazy at times.  It is so hard to know what is "normal" in all of this!  Thankful for friends who are walking each step of this with me and don't hesitate to tell me when I am not being "normal"- whatever that is!!

Thanks so much for your continued prayers over me and our family.  They keep us going.  Thanks for being excited about Kinley arriving, even when I haven't been there all the time.  Thanks for loving us. We seriously could not do this without you all.  And thank you to Jesus, who has blessed us with an amazing baby girl.  Kinley Pearl,  I cannot wait to see your sweet face and hold your sweet hands in May.  My heart longs for that day.  Until then, I will cherish every moment of you growing inside me... feeling you move and kick, knowing that you can hear me.  Know you are loved beyond words.  You represent a hope that is far beyond what you could have ever imagined.  We love you!!

And last, but not least, I will leave you with our Christmas card.  This pretty much sums up our year! :)  (You can click on the images to view closer up!)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

7 Months, 19 Weeks, and Freedom

I thought I would go ahead and post now as I know I won't have time to post with Christmas festivities starting tomorrow!  We are currently in snowy, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho... Winter Weather advisory for tonight, which definitely means more soft, fluffy snow in the morning.  Definitely my idea of Christmas morning.  Don't get me wrong, the rest of the year, I am ok without snow, but there is just something about having Christmas morning white, that makes the holiday seem so much more... right!!

December 25th marks 7 months since we lost Grayson.  Unbelievable... I still can't believe that our little boy isn't here to experience Christmas with us.  How I was looking forward to having a little boy to buy trains and cars for!  However, I do know that he is going to experience the BEST Christmas ever!!  I mean, the King we are celebrating down here, is the King he is running around with up there!! What an amazing and beautiful picture!!  I know that my Jesus is holding him oh so close.  This picture definitely makes it easier, but it still hurts so deep.

My pregnancy is going great, so far.  My last two appointments have gone as expected and I am not showing any signs of an early delivery.  My cervix has stayed the exact same length, so far.  Our next appt is on Jan 31st.  This will be the last one to check my cervical length and then, the hope is, that all appointments after that would be "normal", which is still much more than "normal"!  Every 4 weeks to the high risk and every 4 weeks to my regular ob and every 4 weeks to my endocrinologist... Which averages about 1 appt every week and a half! Whew... exhausting just thinking about all of it, but it is certainly worth it!!  So physically, everything is going great.

Emotionally... still a roller coaster.  I am 19 weeks and 1 day.  We lost Grayson at 20 weeks and 5 days... So that is right around the corner.  And that leaves my heart feeling so anxious, especially while I am not at home.  In some ways, this part of the waiting feels like I am counting down the days until I have to say "good-bye" to Kinley instead of counting down the days that I will say "hello" to her in person.  And this leaves me feeling pretty heavy.  I am praying against all of these feelings.  Part of this time has been so good because I am cherishing the time I have with her... no matter how long that may be.  It causes me to stop and really enjoy the kicks of my sweet baby girl.  It causes me to really take time for her, praying for her and anticipating God's plan for her life.  However, I have to daily choose to turn her over to Jesus and trust Him because, right now, this is NOT coming naturally.

During this season, I want to experience true joy.  My whole family is ready to see me experience true joy again.  My mom told me that my whole family wants to see that... and until they do, it stops them from experiencing it fully.  I don't want that.  I don't want to be the thing that holds my family back from experience the true joy that Christ offers us.  Hoping that it will come with time and with God's grace.  As I have said, I know that this joy only comes from Christ, so I choose to place my whole heart in His hands, in hopes that He will answer this prayer!  Please pray with us!  I want to experience this joy during this hopeful Christmas season.  I want to experience the freedom from these feelings that Christ offers.  I don't have to be bound to this...  As the song says:

My Chains are gone,  I've been set free
My God, My Savior has ransomed me
And life a flood, His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing Grace

He has already released my chains.  He has already set me free.  He has ransomed me.  And it all started this season over 2000 years ago.  Lord, let us experience joy, rest, and hope in You this season!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kinley Pearl

Recently, I was talking to a friend about our daughter's name, Kinley Pearl and where we got it from.  

As I shared in the last post, we loved the name Kinley and had it picked out awhile ago (it was our girl choice before we knew Grayson was a boy).  Kinley means "fair warrior".  A warrior is someone who is trained in combat or warfare.  I love this in light of all we have been through.  I feel like she is being my warrior.  She is fighting for me... fighting for my hope.  She is a constant reminder to me of the battles we face every day in trusting Christ.  Bottom line, we believe in an invisible God.  And that never becomes more apparent than when you have been through tragedy.  You are having to trust in someone you cannot see... and that, in and of itself is a major battle.  Fortunately, God is gracious enough to allow people to show His love and grace in tangible ways.  The rest of these 5 months are going to be a battle, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  In a lot of ways, I feel like I am fighting everyday.  Fighting fear of losing and burying another baby.  Fighting sadness.  Fighting the sin in my heart that causes me to not fully trust Christ with this little life.  Fighting my brain as I have started feeling her kick and then don't feel her for awhile... and fighting the worry that comes with it.  Fight, fight, fight.  I am exhausted, but Kinley is a warrior.  And the only person she is able to learn this from is Jesus... who is teaching her exactly how to fight... and it is unadulterated and perfect.  She is helping me fight every day.

And Pearl is after my sweet grandma.  I'll have you know that when I called and told my grandma we were naming our little girl after her, her immediate response was, (in her Minnesotan accent) "Oh, honey, are you sure you want to do that?".  I immediately responded with a "yes", but her response just made me giggle.  She really can't believe that anyone would want to name their kids after her... such grace and humility.  We could ALL learn from her!  

A couple days after I shared this information with my friend, she sent me text asking me if I remembered what we learned in school about where a pearl comes from... and went on to explain.  Now, this came back to me as she was telling me, but I hadn't thought about it AT ALL with picking out the name.  So a pearl is created because of an injury.  It is created when a foreign object like dirt gets into the shell of an oyster by mistake.  This causes the oyster to be irritated.  In order to protect itself, it covers the intruding object with a mineral known as nacre.  It continues to do this for several layers over several months and years, eventually forming a pearl.  So you see, a pearl is something beautiful that is created from an injury.  But it takes time for this healing to take place and for beauty to be the result.  Jesus is the nacre... and He continues to cover this injury and hurt over and over again.  I think it is pretty cool that God gave us this name (a couple years ago) and reserved it specifically for this little girl.  And He gave us this name without us even thinking about the physical process it takes for a pearl to be created.  Because Kinley will be just that... our pearl.  Our something beautiful that has come out of an injury and something that hurts so much.

Her name gives me hope, gives me joy and gives me peace.  All because of the meanings associated with her name... meanings I never even considered when we picked her name.  I mean, really, how cool is our God?  That He allowed this name to be for this child?  Only Him.