And Poof! She’s 10.

It’s summer so it’s time for yet another one of my kids’ birthdays. The birthdays start in April with Lelly and peak in July (Thomas, Tommy and Alyssa) and end in August with  Samantha. Samantha’s due date was July 31st with her arrival being August 1st.  When I was pregnant with Samantha and she didn’t arrive on the 31st, my sister said she wanted her own birthday month.

I won’t say I can’t believe Samantha is 10. I do believe it. Being the youngest of all my children she’s probably the one I feel most present in her life. My first 3 children were closer in age to each other and with the added stress of undiagnosed Thomas some things are a blur with the older kids. Thankfully they have great memories and love to share things that happened when they were younger. Things that I seriously don’t remember. Not bad memories, just the opposite; happy times or silly things they did and my reaction. I do wonder if it’s the meds or the stress of the past that screws with my memory.

So she’s 10. Twelve  years ago I was getting over 2 miscarriages and wondering if I’d ever have another baby. God was so good.  The biblical meaning of the name Samuel is “God has heard” so it was only fitting that I named her Samantha. God did hear me and answered yes. When I learned we were having another girl I immediately thought, “no big deal we already have experience with Alyssa and Lelly”. Ha! Samantha is not like her sisters at all. She definitely walks to the beat of her own drummer preferring video games to dolls and challenging her teachers and authority figures. Things her sisters would have no part in when they were her age. Samantha was in the principals office when she was in pre-k!  Oh my gosh I wanted to die. What the heck?? Yes Samantha is definitely her own person.

I remember after I gave birth, Thomas was 10 years old. My bff said, “OMG when Samantha is 10, Thomas will be 20!”  That seemed like eons ago. And here we are. Thomas is 20. It’s amazing how fast and excruciatingly slow time can pass all at the same time. I hope to be present for the next 10 years not just for Samantha but for all my kids. They are all amazing people.

Oh Praise Him

I woke up with this song running through my head. The lyrics are quite simple, telling us to praise Him…” all this for our King… He is Christ our King…” I think of how easy it is to praise Him when things are going good or “smooth” as I like to think. It’s when trials come that we are faced with the anger, sometimes feeling as though we’ve been betrayed by our Lord. I keep in mind our Lords Prayer and how we pray, “Thy will be done”.  We are actually praying for His will, His plan to be displayed not ours.  When I think of the lyrics to this song, “How constant, how divine, this song of ours will rise…” I am reminded of how constant His love is for us. How divine and beautiful that love is. It never fails. His love is infinite. He is holy.

I often think of people who question why do bad things happen if there is such a loving God? Why does God allow such evil things. I was asking those same questions when I had my first miscarriage. Why did God even allow me to become pregnant when He was only going to take it away? I had no answers then and I have no answers now. I do know that when I was finally pregnant and I didn’t miscarry I was blessed with a doctor who treated me like glass. I wouldn’t have had that kind of treatment from my care provider with my first 2 pregnancies that ended is miscarriages. This new to me doctor was truly sent from above. And if I never had the miscarriages I never would have met him and I certainly wouldn’t have my Samantha. Don’t get me wrong I was very angry with God at that time in my life. However His will was done and even though I thought I could never get through that painful time I did, but not without His help. I did eventually praise Him again and asked in prayer for Him to protect the growing child within me.

I’m sure we all go through a season where we aren’t praising Him. And we’re even angry with him for the “No” answers to prayer. Where we feel abandoned by our God. We need to hold on to His promise that He will never leave or forsake us. And even sing a song here and there that reminds us that He is holy.


I have this song running through my head this morning, Blessings by Laura Story. Yesterday my husband and I were talking to a neighbor who also has a special needs daughter. Many of you know about our Thomas who is also special needs. We’ve been through many, many trials with Thomas. And everytime I hear this song I think of him. What if our greatest trial is God’s blessing in disguise?

Anyway, when we were speaking with our neighbor she mentioned that she often wonders what her daughter would have been like had things been different. My husband replied that he often thinks the same thing about Thomas. I do think that also about Thomas. The big “what if?”  What if he’d been born “normal”?. What if? It almost makes you loathe the word, “if”. That word can hold so much. Thomas is one of the greatest achings of my life. It still pains me that he cannot live at home. I know my husband feels the same. I love Thomas for who he is now, not what he could have been. Thomas being the way he is changed me as a mother. And if I were to be able to change him to a “normal” person, would I then have to change myself to how I was before he was in my life?

I honestly don’t dwell on the what ifs because it is pointless. I tend to focus on the present and future which can hold enough worry all by themselves.  But this song speaks so perfectly to my heart. Especially when she sings, “This is not our home…”  No, this is not our home. I often wonder if when I do meet our Lord will I ask Him questions about my earthly life. Thomas being in the forefront of those queries. Why were we chosen to be his parents? Why did God make things so challenging? Why the heartache? Or will I even care at that point? What I do believe is that when Thomas meets the Lord and joins us, I believe he will tell us himself. It will be glorious to hear my son talk clearly and coherently. I was given a glimpse of this in a dream I had a couple of years ago. Thomas was just a typical teen and him, Alyssa and I were just sitting in our front sun porch talking to one another. I have no idea what we were talking about I just remember Thomas being “normal”. I know when we’re all in heaven together we’ll all talk again. God gave me a preview.

My girls

In addition to Thomas, my husband and I also have three girls.  They are each amazing in their own way.   They are also typical children meaning not special needs.  The oldest is Alyssa then Daniella and finally Samantha.  

Alyssa was the child who introduced us to what it was like to have a typical child.  She met every developmental milestone by the book. Honestly it was as if she read the book. I thanked God for her every day and marveled at her doing what she was supposed to do developmentally. It wasn’t like that with Thomas. I was a nervous wreck with him as he met his milestones either on the very late end of “normal” or just plain late. Alyssa was also a relatively easy going baby/toddler.

Daniella was incredibly sweet. She was always smiling and you couldn’t help but laugh when you held her. I was less nervous about when who did what at what age by this time. I do remember Daniella walking earlier than Alyssa. We just moved into our current home when I was literally 9 months pregnant with Daniella. Everyone kept telling me to “not do this/not do that” when we were moving, but I had to pack and unpack man! Not to mention the nesting at that time. Please. Daniella was my easiest delivery, I credit all the time I did cleaning on my hands and knees. Thomas was almost 5 yrs old when Daniella was born.

Samantha. Ahhh Samantha. Samantha is our last but definitely not the least. She is the one God gave me after 2 miscarriages; one after another. The time of our losses was definitely one of mourning and stress. I remember after the 2nd loss I woke up the next day and just carried on like nothing happened. Not good. I didn’t mourn until 2 weeks past the actual loss. But getting back to Samantha. She was our biggest at birth and I would say she is our biggest challenge personality wise of our 3 girls. She definitely has a stubborn streak and is probably the stereotype of the “youngest child”.

In some ways when Thomas was stable (IE: before med change) he could be easier than the girls. He was more fun to shop with as he wouldn’t be all that picky with his clothes. He would give simple “yes” or “no” answers when asked if he wanted say a shirt/pants. He is also sweet and kind. If you have girls who are into clothes you know the pain of shopping with them and being looked at as if you are the most fashion challenged person on this planet. That may sound like a complaint of my girls but it’s really not. What they do or did to me while shopping is wonderfully typical. Things like that keep me grounded as a mother and do provide a laugh or two when it’s over.

It’s funny as I always felt like I was living in 2 worlds when our kids were all young. I had Thomas and I was the mother of a special needs child. I adored the “Welcome to Holland story/poem ( The girls allowed me to “visit” the world of being a mother of typical children. I used to feel I was straddling two worlds. Not fitting completely into either. I remember going to every single parent teacher conference of Alyssa and Daniella. It was a new world to me at first and I loved it. With Thomas I had IEP meetings, speech, PT and OT eval’s and meetings. Parent teacher meetings were about IEP goals. It was different than the girls. Neither one was “better”. I learned so much being Thomas’ mother and I learned just as much being the girls’ mother. I say “learned” in the past tense because I’m referring to grade school years of the older three. I’m still learning and probably always will be.

These days I’m not worried about where I fit in. I have my Thomas and I have my girls. Sometimes they’re separate groups of children. All the time they are simply mine.

Life Really Does Go On

At first I wasn’t going to write about our life the month or so after Thomas went to live at Andrus.  I figured I’d skip a few months but if I did that it wouldn’t be right and I would be lying by omission about my life.  And this blog is about my life so what is the point in lying?  Who am I lying to?  Myself I would wager. I would be back to living a lie by omitting important events.


Thomas entered Andrus the beginning of September, 2004. At the very end of that September I found out I was pregnant. OhMyGosh! No, it was not planned. Talk about timing. The funny thing is that even through the roughest times with Thomas I still said I’d have another if people asked. They did ask, usually in a wise ass manner, “So…are you guys done?” When I gave my reply they usually became quiet and looked at me sideways. Whatever.

Tommy looked a little shell shocked when I broke the news. When the dust settled we figured at least this would be a happy ending to an incredibly crappy year. Maybe this news and event and growing life could salvage some part of 2004? I think by the time I was 8 weeks along we told the girls, they were so excited. We also began telling friends and family as well. This was my fourth pregnancy so why wouldn’t we tell? My due date was June 19,2005 which was Father’s Day. I thought that was really sweet since my last 3 were all born on their due date (really!).

In my experience, when you find out you’re pregnant and it’s a very wanted pregnancy you’re already in love with that baby. You’re already holding him/her in your arms. Names flood your mind and you can’t help it nor do you want to stop it. You look at maternity clothes wondering when they will “fit” because your own clothes are getting tight and not fitting the way they’re supposed to. It is a fun, nervous, exciting time.

I was about 12 weeks along when I began bleeding. Red blood. Not a lot but enough to know this wasn’t supposed to be happening. With all 3 previous pregnancies I bled a little but it was earlier and turned out to be brown implantation bleeding. I called the midwife and she said to get a sonogram the next day. I wasn’t cramping or in any pain so I agreed. I called my best friend who lives here, Jenn and also my mother. Tommy worked late and when he arrived home I told him. My mom was to meet me at the sonogram office the next day. Tommy had to work. I had to bring Daniella who was 3 yrs old at the time.

Daniella and I arrived at the sonogram office, probably by 9:30-10am. My mom worked down the street so she met me there. Daniella was well behaved but for whatever reason wanted me to pick her up. I did pick her up and my mom scolded me saying I was already bleeding and having trouble, I shouldn’t be picking her up. How do you say no to your 3 yr old? I know my mom meant well.

Finally I was taken in for the sonogram. My mom stayed in the waiting area with Daniella. I saw right away there was no heartbeat and the baby was very small. I’d seen enough sonograms from my other children to know this poor little still creature inside me was not alive. My baby that I already fell in love with was not alive. I was stunned. How could this have happened? What did I do wrong? Was God mad at me? The sono tech was quiet and said I had to wait for the doctor to come in. Fine. Whatever. I already knew. I think it was a resident who came in and gently gave me the news.

I went to the waiting room to tell my mom. We stood there and didn’t know what to say or do. I remember calling Tommy on his cell phone, devastated. I think I called the midwife. I remember thinking there was no point in staying at the sono place so I told my mom I was going home. She was worried about me driving but how else was I to get home? I put Daniella in her car seat and came home. I really don’t remember much after that. Tommy came home from work early and took care of the kids while I stayed in our bedroom and watched television and cried. Television program after program I watched. Every now and then I would have a moment of forgetfulness but then everything came flooding back and then the tears flowed and flowed. I had never cried so much in my life ever.

My sweet friend Wendy from California called to give her condolences. Friends called to say how sorry they were. I was grateful for the outpouring of caring and sympathy.

After waiting for my body to complete the miscarriage on its own and learning it could take another week or more I opted for a D&C. That choice worked for me and I’m so grateful I had the option and the doctor who was referred was very compassionate. The date was November 19, 2004. The nurse who took care of me before the procedure was a woman I worked with years earlier. The nurse who cared for me afterwards was also one I used to work with. They are both stellar caregivers and treated me like glass.

There are no coincidences.