About El Momma

Friday, June 28, 2019

Our Miracle Baby. 🌈💙🙏🏼

The last two years have flown by and yet, as they say, the days have been very long. At this time, two years ago, we were 10 weeks pregnant. It would be three more weeks before we would have another ultrasound, learn we were expecting a baby girl and announce the pregnancy. Our Mary-Linda was on her way. But, having our healthy baby girl in our arms in January of 2018, never happened. In mid-August our Daughter’s heart stopped beating and we delivered her and held her in our arms way too soon. The pain and numbness we felt was like nothing I had ever experienced before. Loss of our daughter and the loss of every dream and hope for her life on earth. It nearly broke us. In fact, it did break us. 

We are not the same as we once were. Sometimes I think we battle with past perceptions of ourselves. But, the truth is, we are changed. We are not the same as we were before our daughter was born sleeping. Perhaps we are stronger now, more tender, gentler, more loving, tough? 





We are parents of a child in heaven. Our daughter died. And, we lived. It’s hard.

Over the next year, our outward and inward focus was on grieving, healing and figuring out how to move forward. How could we move forward with our baby girl in heaven?

So, we leaned in to God. We leaned in to family. We kept busy with work. That Fall, I wrote five new songs - one, as a cry to God after losing Mary-Linda and four songs during the season of advent. I continued to grieve outwardly, and share my experiences by writing. This really helped the healing process for me and I’ve continued to receive messages from grieving parents telling me how much this meant to them.

Exactly one year after losing Mary-Linda I experienced a chemical pregnancy and I found myself without a traditional job (I have plenty to do with four living children!) I hit rock bottom and yet, all I had to cling to was my family, friends and God. And, I knew peace. Such a strange experience to know a peace that just doesn’t make sense. But, I knew God had this. The very next month, we learned we were expecting again. I had the entire school year, while I was serving as PTO President, to just be pregnant and grow this sweet baby. We had two doctors overseeing this pregnancy. My care was so much better than my previous pregnancy. 

What a dream. I didn’t ask for this but the Lord knew what I needed. I needed to be surrounded by love and to care for my baby. And that’s exactly what I experienced. It has not been easy. There have been huge financial burdens on our family but somehow we have always been provided for. 
And, that brings me to this moment. 

Two years almost to the day since learning I was pregnant with Mary-Linda and I’m holding her baby brother. The relief. The peace. The grateful heart. It’s all there. Delivering a baby with a heartbeat. It was everything I dreamed it would be and so much more.





Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day 2019 - the real story

Dear Friends,
What a year it has been. I've been fairly quiet on my blog, as there has been so much to process this last year.
Now, here we are...another Mother's Day. The second one without our daughter, Mary-Linda and the first with our baby boy...who will be birthed in the next couple of weeks.

I love to share the realities in our lives. But, some things over the last year, I'm just not able to share. I will say that we have endured a lot of unexpected change. And, I found myself with more time for high risk doctors' appointments, kids' activities, building relationships, rest for me and baby and more time to volunteer. These were unexpected circumstances that I have looked at as blessings. But, I also found myself questioning who my friends and chosen family were. Things I thought I knew, left me spinning.

Two months ago, when I was 7 months pregnant, my dear daddy passed away, after a week in hospice care in the medical center of Houston. I spent every spare moment with him and my mom and I am very grateful God gave me the time to be able to do that. I quickly learned who my friends and chosen family are. We had a village of friends who stepped in, brought meals, prayed with us, picked up kids, kept kids, took kids to activities and even brought food to the hospital. So many loved ones came to my dad's service and continued to bring gifts, food and flowers. These acts of kindness are beautiful ways to express our sorrow when our loved ones experience great loss. And, the loss of our dad (and Grandfather) is great.

This Mother's Day wasn't exactly what I would have planned out for myself, if you were asking me a year ago. But, you know what?! I'm most thankful that I have four beautiful, living children and a fifth living child who is moving and kicking constantly and nearly ready for his debut. I couldn't be more in love with this little guy. The reality report: my older children are far from perfect. I started this day crying because 1. I'm hormonal and 2. my kids were not being kind to each other and they didn't stop and think how their fighting was impacting their pregnant momma. (Don't worry. I let them know and things did get better)

So, as I share these beautiful photos that my sweet little cousin took of us in between Houston rainstorms this week, I want you to know that we are not picture perfect. We are real. This momma-life is hard. Life is hard. But, we won't give up and we won't give in. I'm very thankful that the Lord gives us strength to get through the hard things and we come out the other side. I feel very close to the other side.

Happy Mother's Day, friends. I hope you had a peaceful day and were shown the love you deserve.

love,
El Momma















Saturday, April 27, 2019

Expecting our Rainbow baby

After over one year of trying and 12 cycles, we are pregnant! And, expecting our Rainbow Baby in May 2019! If you aren't familiar with that term, check out this article from Parenting.com that explains where the term comes from. Basically, a "rainbow baby" is a baby after a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal loss- the "rainbow" after the storm.
We found out that we were expecting on our oldest daughter's tenth birthday. We were "trying" so, that was a day I could test early and I did.


We had a number of ultrasounds...and I took a few #bellybump pics










We officially "announced" at Christmas when we knew the gender and were in the 2nd trimester. We told the older 4 Els the day before Thanksgiving when we took photos for our Christmas cards. 










This journey has not been easy. After losing our daughter, Mary-Linda at nearly 18 weeks gestation, my head and my heart wanted to be pregnant again...quickly. But, the Lord had different timing planned. My head and my heart actually needed something very different than what I "thought" I wanted. We needed to wait. To wait on the Lord. To listen. To trust. To hope in His promise that He would never leave us or forsake us. To know that He is good and wants good things for us. 

So, we waited. We kept trying and the longer we waited, I treated my body more like I was pregnant. Prenatal Vitamins, folate, baby aspirin, lots of water, and a healthy diet. We met with a new possible OB/Gyn, a high risk doctor and fertility specialists. Our biggest concern was something happened to my body when I delivered Mary-Linda and that was causing us difficulty conceiving. Looking at the medical records after losing Mary-Linda, I learned that I had an anti-body that was detected in my blood in early pregnancy. I was never notified of this, even though the blood results were marked in red as "trouble." We also learned that Mary-Linda had FMH (Fetal Maternal Hemorrhage). Apparently, this is common in Moms who experience a trauma or are in some type of accident. I did not experience any trauma. According to many articles I've read on FMH, it would not have been diagnosed, had we not known to request a KB blood test when I was in labor with Mary-Linda. The KB test (Kleihauer-Betke) looks for the amount of fetal hemoglobin in the mother's bloodstream. This tells if the baby is anemic and amount of baby's blood in the mom's system. We knew someone whose newborn baby had this, had to have several blood transfusions and was in the NICU for the first weeks of the baby's life. Thankfully, that baby recovered completely and is now a healthy teen. 
Many people don't know to request this test, and therefore this diagnosis often gets missed. 

We had a first positive pregnancy test near the end of August, only to find out that we miscarried early on- often called a chemical pregnancy. It was a devastating time for my husband and I, as we were already dealing with so much. But, again, God's timing was perfect. Part of me was just thankful I got pregnant again and I began to trust that we would soon have a healthy pregnancy. Just a couple of weeks later, we were pregnant. Praise God! 

Our doctors this time around, have been amazing. They know what to check. They work well together and their goal is the same as ours- for this sweet baby to be alive and in our arms in May. My high risk doc checks for the baby's blood flow at each appointment- I love when he tells me "baby has no anemia!" My heart overflows. To know what we know now, we are so grateful. 


About this pregnancy- I just want to add- I have truly felt at peace during the majority of this pregnancy. Feeling the hand of God on my heart and on this sweet little baby boy. We can not wait to meet him, hold him and kiss his sweet little face. He is our miracle, prayed for little child. 
Baby Shower, April 2019

"For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition"
1 Samuel 1:27





Monday, January 21, 2019

Why we continue to remember and talk about our daughter in heaven

It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try to explain it the same way I did to my children at dinner tonight.
We remember and celebrate Mary-Linda’s milestones, because she’s our daughter. We talk about her, because she is ours. She was our gift for a short time on this earth, but she is still ours. She existed. She was hoped for, prayed for, and very loved. We will not forget her. And, now that we have another baby arriving soon, we thank God even more for Mary-Linda's life and all that experience has taught us.

We celebrate so many of our living children’s milestones. We celebrate their birthdays, their half-birthdays, their hits on the baseball field, recital performances, cotillion dances, piano recitals, their lives here on earth. So, our Mary-Linda has two significant dates- her born-sleeping date and her due date.

We celebrate the first on August 16th- the day I delivered her and the day our family dream of holding her in our arms- came true. 


The latter we celebrate on January 21st- her due date. We know, if she had been born around the same gestation as her sister and brothers, she would be one year old now. 

So, to celebrate Mary-Linda, we made (and enjoyed!) our favorite family meal- lebanese grape leaves. Recipe here. 

 And, a gluten free brownie in honor of our little girl.
The butterfly plates remind me of my grandmother, Nannie Brock, who is also in heaven. I imagine that they are joyful to be together. 

This isn't an easy road, but we trust in the Lord. 

Proverbs 3:3-6 
Let love and faithfulness never leave you
bind them around your neck
write them on the tablet of your heart
Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding
In all your ways submit to him
and he will make your paths straight

Happy birthday in heaven, dear baby girl, our Mary-Linda Elizabeth
We love you forever. 
love,
Momma, Daddy, Bakri, Maddux, Trinity and Leeland