Scarlett


Smiles can go a long way.  When a strangers hits me with a grin,  I naturally smile back and want to pass it on to someone else.  When my husband, coming home from a long day at work, smiles at me I feel loved and appreciated.  For a while, my favorite beaming faces came from our NICU nurses.  They helped me feel at ease, less stressed, and gave me confidence that everything really would be alright.

Here I am, five years since our extended stay at the hospital, so names, experiences, and faces are pretty fuzzy.  There are some nurses that I have found via social media that keep some memories more vivid.  But there was one particular face, voice, name, and most importantly her smile, that I can never erase from my memory.  She is a ball of energy and a delight to everyone with whom she comes in contact.  Books often refer to a smile that lights up a room.  I believe Scarlett is the epitome of that.  She truly is a ray of sunshine.

I arrived at the NICU one morning to hear a booming voice followed by the most infectious ring of laughter I had ever heard.  A laugh so delightful, I couldn’t help but smile and laugh to myself.  Scarlett came into my life that day.

While in the hospital, Scarlett and I never spoke of religion.  We never had to.  I knew she was a follower of Jesus Christ.  From the first moment I met her, Christ radiated from every fiber of her being.  She was authentic, genuinely loving, and absolutely filled with joy.  I had and still have not ever met anyone quite like her.

Scarlett told my husband and I that while our girls were in the hospital, we needed to get out and enjoy as much alone time as we could.  She told us to go and have a really nice steak dinner because life as we know it was about to change completely.  She told us that never again would we be able to go out for a dinner alone without having a babysitter at our house or a child at our side.  While we were concerned about our children, she reminded us that we also have to take care of ourselves as well as our marriage.

One day, I saw her sitting over at the nurses desk on the phone, her head down, and she was wiping tears from her eyes.  When she came over to me a while later, her tears were gone, and she was focused on my family.  I asked her if she was ok, and she assured me that she was.  I don’t believe her smiles were fake.  I believe she realized the importance of stability and of positivity when a family is putting the lives of their newborn children in the hands of nurses and doctors.  While I hurt for her, knowing something was not right, I appreciated her ability to still do her job affectively as well as continuing to make me feel at ease.

Some months later,  long after the girls were home from the hospital,  I found Scarlett via Facebook.  I discovered that she was working for a jewelry company and would be at the mall selling necklaces.  I bundled up my girls and made my way to find her.  What a reunion!  I finally got to show her how well my little 3 1/2 pound newborns were now doing, healthy and nearly a year old.  I got to hug her and thank her for who she had been to me.  I got to share how Jesus shines through her and how much I appreciated what she meant to me while she helped my girls and me with our time spent together.

I have a necklace that I purchased from Scarlett.  It’s so appropriate.  It’s a floating locket that represents my becoming a mom.  A piece of jewelry I waited 35 long years to earn.  Creating the locket was a great experience, but having Scarlett as the one who helped me make it seems just perfect.

Scarlett has become more than just a former nurse.  She even came to the girls first birthday party!  She and I have gotten together on a few occasions.  Not too long ago she moved a couple of hours away, but we still keep in touch.  She is one person that I will be eternally grateful to and for.  I feel my life is more complete with her in it, even from afar.

I believe there are very few people as unique and honestly as special as Scarlett is.  Everyone needs a Scarlett in his or her life.   I wish the world was filled with more of her.  But for now, I can just try to be a Scarlett to someone else, starting with my children.

NICU- December 17, 2011-February 18, 2012

“It won’t happen to me!” That was my naive approach to my babies going into the NICU. Up until the moment our doctor said “today’s the day,” I genuinely thought I would go full term or almost full term, and I would walk out of the hospital with both of my babies. We would go home as a happy family of four, the girls would sleep through the night from the first day, my nursery would always look pristine, my dogs would suddenly become well behaved, and I’d lose the baby weight immediately. Life would be perfect. While I was at it, I should have ordered a side of world peace! But of course, none of it happened that way. Not by a long shot. But here it is now, a year since my girls did come home, and I honestly would not change a thing. It’s amazing how our plans are so narrow minded, but the reality is, God’s plan was to grow me, to teach me, and in His perfect will allow me to have joy like I could have never imagined. You’d have thought after all we’d been through that I would have learned that by now.

img_0338N spent 54 days in the hospital and little E came home 10 days later on February 18, 2012. If my girls had come home immediately, I would have missed out on so many things. Again, writing about this experience a year later makes it hard to remember all of the details, but I’d like to highlight some of the beauty of the hospital.

I had the experience of watching my babies become newborn babies! Most moms have ultrasounds from weeks 30-40, I got to watch my daughters learn how to breathe, how to get used to being touched, and I got to see those hiccups I had heard during the numerous non stress tests.

I met so many amazing people. I met J & C and their precious baby girl. C went full term, but their baby wasn’t breathing and had to be air lifted to our pod in the NICU. What an amazing and strong couple. They often came over to check on us and our babies even in the midst of caring for their own little one.

There was a mom I “met” in the NICU. I don’t know her name, and I never found out her situation. She had a baby boy who was next to Nicole when I finally was allowed to visit the day after the girls were born. This mom had family gathered around their little baby and there were lots of tears.
The day I was finally released from the hospital was the day a dark reality hit; I was going home empty handed. There is something horrible about going into the hospital to have your children, and leaving without them! The afternoon of my release, Mike went to get the car, and I went to say goodbye. Oh the heartache! I sobbed! I was not nearly as strong as I’d once thought. And then, a stranger came up and hugged me so tightly. The anonymous mom held me, and cried with me as I said my goodbyes. That was the last time I ever saw her. I don’t know what happened to her baby, but the next morning, the bed was empty. I asked as many people as I could. A volunteer finally gave me hope when she said, that baby had probably been moved up to the next level NICU and that no babies had passed in quite some time. I wish I could thank that mom for who she was to me that day. I believe that God works in many different ways, and on that Wednesday evening, he used a heartbroken mom to literally hug me and tell me I would be ok!

I was able to get to know Charlene. She and I met on the High Risk Pregnancy floor where we were both on bedrest. I got to meet her beautiful twin daughters. And Charlene got me in touch with Megan who was also on the HRP floor with us. Thanks to technology, all 3 of us have kept in touched and watched as our 5 daughters grow.

I got to bond with a friend of mine from church. Stephanie moved into my room on HRP when I moved out. Near the end of our extended stay at the hospital, Stephanie’s little girl was born and she was in the same upstairs pod as E & N. She is someone I now love and am so glad God gave us so many parallels in our lives at the same time!

I met some of the most wonderful nurses, doctors, and nurse practitioners. Elisha & Elisheba were twin nurses. They became two of our favorites while we were on the 2nd floor NICU. They always dressed alike and they seemed to have a genuine love our daughters. I would imagine that the nurses would get tired of the daily hearing, “how soon do you think my baby can come home?” Or even asking”what’s wrong? Why are these alarms going off? Is my baby going to be ok?” We asked hundreds of questions, and these very patient nurses answered every one of them, as though it were the first time they’d heard them! I am sitting here writing this, tears streaming down my cheeks so thankful that those nurses always always made my babies seem like the most important babies on the planet. After all, to my husband and me, they are! Elisha and Elisheba, thank you for doing your job, which to us made all the difference!

We moved up to the 7 floor NICU which we were told was 7th heaven! It’s the last step before the girls get to go home. Little did I realize that moving upstairs was the halfway point of the girls’ hospital time. But upstairs, so many wonderful things happened.

On January 13th, my babies finally got to share a room! I didn’t have to move from one location to another to see both of my babies. It took everything within me not to run down the hall when I saw my babies near each other for the first time! Then, when I didn’t think my day could get any better, the nurse, Vicky, asked if I had ever held both of my babies at the same time!! So Friday the 13th was one of the most joyful days, I finally was able to hold both my daughters, 28 days after they were born!

Whispering “Tis So Sweeet to Trust in Jesus” in my babies’ ears, Jim Brickman constantly playing on the iPod, walking into the girls’ room to find a nurse, not ours, sitting in our chair because she said it was so calm in there with our music, catching a volunteer rocking Emily because she just wanted to, Constance not only checking in on my girls, but also on me! Amazingly, my thoughts and memories of the NICU are mostly calm and positive! There are so many stories, so many names, so many memories. But there is one person who truly topped them all.

Every now and again, you make a connection with someone. Someone touches your life just by being herself. For me, that was Scarlett.

Guest writing

A friend of mine asked me to write about my experience with embryo adoption. To say I was honored would be an understatement.

I wanted to include a link to her blog. Darcy is one of the most authentic strong Christian women I’ve ever known. She has a wealth of information and a heart of gold. I’m blessed to know her and to have her in my life, even if it is via technology these days.

http://graciousdaughteroftheking.blogspot.com/2012/11/adoption-guest-post.html

An Instant Family- December 17, 2011

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Watching movies and reading books about having a baby are nothing like the real experience.  No words I will write today will ever capture the emotions I felt on Saturday, December 17, 2011.

I got up that morning, and took my shower.  My daily shower was the part of my routine that made things seem almost normal.  I would always dress in my pajamas as it seemed most comfortable to me.  The shower was when I could get out of the bed, stand up for a bit, and it was where I had the most wonderful prayer times.  This Saturday didn’t start any differently.  My dear friend, KH, was heavy on my heart this morning as she and her husband were dealing with fertility struggles.  I got in the shower and prayed that one day, God would give them the child that their hearts so desperately desired.  I also felt the need to plead my case to God.  I was 30 Weeks and 4 days.  Although I had no desire to spend Christmas in the hospital, I explained to God why my little girls needed to be born in 2012.  I knew what I needed.  I knew what my babies needed…until I was interrupted in the midst of my prayer.  A verse came to mind as I was praying, “He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my

power is made perfect in weakness.'”  In an instant, I stopped telling God what I needed, and realized He knows exactly what He’s doing.

My sister-in-law and her family were in town for a visit.  That morning we had a make shift baby shower.  My mother-in-law and her closest friends sent a “shower” to the hospital room.  So we sat, opening precious baby gifts.  I don’t recall anything seeming different, but after everyone left, things did change.

My lunch came, and I didn’t have an appetite.  I had a new nurse that day, Elaine.  She had me on the monitor as I was starting to have contractions that I could actually feel.  Usually, the only way I knew there were contractions was seeing them on the monitors.  Elaine came in, and saw that I was having some pretty major contractions, and they were coming quite frequently.  I could not have asked for a more calm, caring nurse that day.  She spent most of the day in my room helping to keep me comfortable, getting doctors in to see me, and keeping the babies on the monitors.  At one point, I asked her if she needed to go see her other patients.  She told me that I was her top priority and that other nurses would take care of the other patients.

I called my husband and let him know that he should probably get to the hospital.  I was dilated more than I had been, and it was a great concern.  I had no idea that morning how much I would need the verse God showed me. By about noon, I was put on IV fluids, magnesium to stop the contractions, and steroid shots to help develop the babies’ lungs.

My OB, Dr. P, came into the room and examined me.  She looked at the clock, looked at the calendar, and said, “It’s December 17, 2011.  It’s a good day to have a baby!  Today’s the day.”  Even with all of the medications, we couldn’t stop these little babies from making their way into the world.  We decided to deliver via c-section.  I was concerned that if there were any complications, we would end up needing an emergency c-section anyway.  We felt it wasn’t worth the risk.

Phone calls were made, texts were sent.  My in-laws started their 5 hour drive into town.  I sent my brother a text telling him I was going into labor.  His response, “What do I do?!”  in the midst of the chaos, his text brought a smile to my face as I imagined him unsure of how to deal with his sister going into labor.

Elaine walked me down to the OR prep room.  I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else with me that day.  She was truly my rock.  She kept me strong, calm, and was the very person God placed, not on accident, to get me trough that day.

Everything else was a blur.  An epidural, wheeled into a room, TONS of people in the room, and then it was all happening.  My babies were here!  5:26 pm, EK arrived at 3 pounds 10 ounces and 16 inches long.  5:27 pm, NA arrived at 3 pounds 11 ounces and 17 inches long.  I didn’t hear the loud cries that I had expected.  What I heard was very quiet, almost like kittens crying in the distance.  I didn’t get to hold my babies. I got to see them, and they were quickly rushed to the NICU.  My husband went off with our daughters, and they finished my operation.  Hours later, I was on a floor with other moms who had just given birth.  It would be another 18 hours or so before I would see my precious girls.  I knew they were safe and getting the best care.

God’s timing is perfect. All day I kept repeating those words, “My power is made perfect in weakness.”. He knew how much I would need those strong words. I’m so thankful that I have a God who knows me and cares enough to encourage me before I even know I need it.

A Bump in the Road (September 2011-December 2011)

 

On my laundry room wall hangs our family calendar. Although today it’s currently August 2012, that20120804-093551.jpg calendar still shows November 2011. That was when life changed. Everything changed, and it would never be the same.

There comes a point in a pregnancy when a woman will often times get a false sense of security. For me, it was after the first trimester. I honestly believed that everything would be ok. I mean, God allowed us to get pregnant, and with all we had gone through, there was no way He would allow anything else bad to happen. Has anyone else ever felt that way? God promises to see me through every life circumstance, but He doesn’t promise that nothing bad will happen. My husband and I learned first hand around 8:00 AM on November 22, 2011.

During every appointment, “Dr. H” would give us encouraging news. “You’re having twins!” “They’re both girls!” “Everything looks great.” Our 27 week appointment was a little different. We were informed that my cervix had shortened and I was having contractions. I needed to go to the hospital to be examined. We had never been there before, so we got a map, and drove down to the hospital that delivers more babies than any other in the United States. Oh how thankful I am that we chose a doctor who delivers at this specific location!

When we arrived, they got me in a room, gave me steroid shots to help the babies’ lung development and gave me magnesium to stop the contractions. I had the best ultrasound pictures taken that day by a wonderful lady. We made small talk with her, and by asking some hypothetical questions soon realized I wasn’t going home that day.

When everyone was certain that the girls were not going to be born they moved me to a room on the High Risk Pregnancy floor. I was put on strict bed. I could get up when necessary, but was only allowed to sit up for meals. I needed to remain laying down to prevent contractions.

Bed rest, oh, bed rest! I had heard of the term, and I thought I knew what it meant, but until I became a patient in a hospital, I truly had no idea. I also knew that bed rest was very common for women pregnant with twins, but my false sense of security led me to believe that I would never need it. I was fine! These babies were from God, and everything would be smooth sailing. Well, God is God, of that there is no doubt. God blessed me with this pregnancy, but he also gave me a body that only stands five feet tall. My doctor told me again and again that there was nothing I could have done to have prevented this preterm labor. A small body carrying two babies is bound to eventually need to be on bed rest.

I ended up in the hospital on bed rest from Tuesday, November 22 until Saturday, December 17. I experienced so many positive things in room 114. I’d like to share some of the highlights from those days.

  • Our Neonatologist who came in to tell me the survival rates from weeks 27 through 37. I was slapped in the face with reality: there’s a chance my babies may not survive! I was also grateful that at 27 weeks, survival rates are greater than 90%!
  • My family was in town for Thanksgiving and I was two days into my hospital stay. I got a plate of homemade Thanksgiving food in my room, and got to see family. What a treat!
  • I had a church baby shower via “Skype.” We had it scheduled for December 3rd. Since I was in the hospital and there wasn’t much we could do, my husband represnted our family in person, while I sat in my hospital bed and participated through a computer screen. It was really quite amazing.
  • I received care packages, letters, phone calls, text messages, and in room visits from more people than I ever would have imagined. The love and support I felt was truly overwhelming. There were only a handful of days that there were not any visitors in my room.
  • My church has online services. I could still hear the messages. Very thankful for my church family at North Point Community Church.
  • Every Friday, I would have the hospital dogs come to visit me. This was such a highlight.
  • Marcella visited me nearly every day. Marcella was my cheerful friend who came in to clean my room. She came with smiles and a positive attitude.
  • Verona came to my room every week day with the treat cart. She knew that I liked cheddar cheese and chocolate milk and would always have a bowl of cheese hidden away for me. Even the days I didn’t feel like eating, she’d always leave me some cheese, “just in case.”
  • Julie, my nurse, started playing “Words With Friends” with me. So while I was laying in bed, trying to ignore the tests or contractions, I’d try my best to make high scoring words.
  • Jessi knew the week I was going into true labor. She saw the signs and started getting me mentally prepared. That amazing nurse spent so much time in my room that week while I asked question after question after question. She patiently answered everything that I wondered and was so honest. I will always be so grateful for Jessi.
  • My dear friend Kristin, who had been my very faithful visitor, came by a few days before I went into labor. She sat down and said, “Ok, we need to get busy here. Let’s choose some middle names!” Using a book of names, tried to keep us on task. In the end she accomplisehd her goal. That very night, we officially decided on two names.
  • I learned how to do Sudoku puzzles….very well.
  • I got up to date on my celebrity gossip.
  • I read, re-read, and re-read the first few pages on Nicholas Sparks’ newest book, The Best of Me. I couldn’t get into it. As much as I wanted to read, I had a terrible time concentrating on anything other than monitors, ultrasounds, heart rates, contractions, and remaining pregnant. Nicholas Sparks would have to wait until January.
  • I met a man named Daniel. He came to my room to work on the computer system. He shared with me that his wife had just miscarried for the 2nd time. He was surrounded by pregnant women, and yet he had the best attitude. We had a great conversation, and I promised to pray for him. As I read this now, nearly 8 months later, I continue to pray for him.
  • Our friends Jason & Erin se20120804-093740.jpgnt us a care package which included the game Farkle. My brother and his wife, Jen came to visit and we had a Farkle night. Jen beat us all in about two rolls! It was one of the most fun nights I had. I think the game kept messing up the monitoring though!
  • Girls nights, Date nights, homemade food, new friends (nurses), old friends visiting- some I hadn’t seen in almost 10 years all filled my 26 days My time in the hospital could have been miserable. Instead, it was filled with so many wonderful memories.

 

PREGNANT! (May-August 2011)

The best way to cover this next time period is to just copy the emails I sent out. These show how I truly felt and how I shared our news with some of our closest friends and my church small group.

Monday, June 13, 2011, 11:05 AM
Ladies-

I could use prayer. I took a home pregnancy test which came back positive. I already knew this from how my body has felt.

Today I have had some light “spotting” which my nurse told me can be a side effect of one of my medicines (after having used it for a period of time). I also have some cramping and I feel like [my symptoms of being pregnant] are lessening. This could be paranoia from our experiences, but rather than speculate what’s going on, I prefer to pray about it and ask for peace, no matter what is going on.

Tomorrow is my official blood pregnancy test, which if positive, will be followed by an additional test on Thursday which would show if my levels are doubling in order to sustain a pregnancy. The way I feel right now, I feel like we need another miracle!

Thank you all!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011, 5:01 PM

Well friends-

We got our test results this afternoon. We are definitely pregnant! If my BETA level is at 5 or above, it shows a positive pregnancy. At this point, they want to see 50 or higher. My level….657!

Now, I had a rough day yesterday, and felt like my body was beginning to miscarry again. We are asking for your fervent prayers. On Thursday we test again. If my levels increase, we are in great shape.
Ideally, they should be 1100 or higher. If the levels decrease, we
know we have lost another pregnancy.

Last night when I could not sleep, God placed the following verse on my heart:
“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Please pray that we (especially me) would not be troubled or afraid. Also pray for our baby/babies because as of today, we are certain we are pregnant.

 

Date: Thu, Jun 16, 2011 10:21 pm

So this morning in my devotions, the same verse I put in my previous email was part of my devotional book. Then I get hit with this: Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to. -George Seaton

My blood test was at 8 am, and finally at 4:15 we heard results.
Levels on Tuesday: 657
Levels that would be good today: 1100
My levels today….. 1599!!!!

I’m not counting my children before they hatch, but friends, today we are pregnant. No promises for tomorrow or the day after, but I will praise God that today we are! I truly felt your prayers, especially yesterday. I cannot thank you enough!

Date: Fri, Aug 12, 2011 1:14 pm
To My Church Family, (the church I attended as a child and where my parents still attend)

I wanted to send out a prayer/praise! After a long struggle with infertility, my husband Mike & I are 12 1/2 weeks pregnant with twins!
We are asking for prayer for the rest of the pregnancy. We are due somewhere around the end of Jan/beginning of Feb. Since it is twins, it’s considered high risk. So we ask for protection over our precious little miracles. Please also pray for our children to grow into children who love the Lord with all their hearts, minds, and strength. This is our hearts’ desire. We are so thankful to have a church here in Atlanta which has a strong foundation in Jesus Christ in which to bring up these little ones.
We are so thankful, also, for the body of Christ which we believe has had a hand in praying these little ones into existance. We trust, we’ll be lifted in prayer for the remainder of our pregnancy! Thank you so much.

 

In August, I had no idea how high risk this pregnancy would be…

Colorado! (April/May 2011)

 

I am writing this almost a year after the fact.  I am using emails I sent, paperwork I have saved, and my memory, which is not as great as it used to be.  I want to get it written before all of the memories fade.  I can always go back and color this post with better wording and a more creative approach, but I really want to get to more recent events before those too are a year past.  I believe it’s important to keep a good record of this journey that I never want to forget.  So forgive my lack of creativity and the dry facts in this post.

Once a donor has been chosen, both the donor and the recipient need to begin taking medications to get both women in sync, cycle-wise. Believe it or not, when we chose our donor, she and I were already in sync. What this did was sped up the process and allowed us to have the egg retrieval (where they take the eggs from her) and embryo transfer (after they place the sperm in the eggs and create embryos, they transfer them, or place them inside of me and see if they implant, thus creating a positive pregnancy) within a month. This was absolutely amazing! Again, we felt that things were perfectly in place.

We went out to Colorado on a Monday with appointments during the day on Tuesday.  We knew that our  donor was there in the building.  My husband and I had sort of mixed emotions.  My husband wished that he could just see her- maybe just catch a glimpse.  I, on the other hand, wished I could have a quick conversation with her to let her know how truly appreciative I am for this amazing gift she was giving to our family.  The gift was not children, at  least not yet.  The gift was hope- a chance at having children.  This was something we did not have on our own.

We were thrilled to find out that with our egg donor in Colorado we would be allowed to give our thanks to her through gift and/or letter.  This was something that my husband and I had to think about.  We could buy her a nice sentimental gift, but she might not want a constant reminder of this.  We were fortunate that on her profile, she indicated that she really liked flowers.  We decided to give her flowers and a letter rather than a gift which she might not wish to have.  Part of me still wonders if we should have given her a token of sorts, something that lasts longer than flowers.  We gave her a hand written card, a baby pictures of my husband and me as well as a picture of our two beagles, and the following letter with a copy of this blog attached.

Dear Friend,

I’ve kept track of our fertility journey to share with our friends & family as well as to one day share with our child(ren) if we are so blessed.  I thought I would send you a copy in case you were wondering how we got to where we are.  You now are part of this story.  Soon, I’ll sit back down and write where we are now, how we chose you, and what happens during this chapter of the story.  I understand if you don’t wish to read this, but I thought I would at least give you the option to glance into the story which we hope you will one day be a very important factor.

I truly cannot thank you enough.

-A Thankful Heart

We made sure to get pictures of the building, pictures with our doctor, and pictures with our nurse, Christina.  We felt that if this works, we would want for our child to see and know all of the important people who made this possible.  We were going to get a picture taken with the donor’s nurse also, but she was not available on the day we stopped by.  Our nurse let us know what a great match our donor and I were.  She indicated that there are some matches that are ok, but that ours could not have been more perfect.

Tuesday, April 30, 2011 our donor gave us 18 eggs.  Out of those, 14 matured and on Wednesday we had 13 embryos.  Sunday, May 5, 2011 at 8:20 AM, we were to arrive at CCRM and have acupuncture followed by our day 5 transfer.  This transfer experience was different from any other we had been through.  Most different was that my husband was in the room with me the entire time.  The morning began with Valium and acupuncture, both of which made me completely relaxed.  After this, the embryologist arrived.  We had 7 embryos and decided to transfer two.  The embryologist asked us numerous times if we were sure that we wanted to transfer both.  He informed us that the quality of them was so great that there would be a high chance of both implanting and we would end up with twins.  We were certain we wanted both transferred.  After our discussion, he projected a magnified image of our embryos onto the wall for me to verify my name, making sure that these embryos were truly mine.  This was one of the most amazing moments I have experienced!   I was actually able to see my embryos…my babies!  How many women get this opportunity?  I was able to see my babies as double-digit celled embryos!  I am kicking myself now for not telling my husband to grab the camera and take a photo.  What I wouldn’t give to have that picture!

We watched via ultrasound as our embryos were transferred. The acupuncturist returned to do a second round, and then we were released to go back to our hotel room where I would remain on bedrest for the next two days.

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** Update–I would later send another letter and a gift to our egg donor.  I sent a custom made canvas bag and a necklace.  The necklace is one of 4.  Hers and mine are identical, and my daughters’ necklaces are identical.  All four are a small part out of a church hymnal with the words and music to the song “tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.”