To read Lenah's story from the beginning, just go to the side bar under blog archive and start reading from May 2013.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Spring has Sprung and Life is full of Adventure

I keep forgetting that not everyone we love is on Facebook, nor are all those that love us.

So much has happened  in the past six months.

Since October we -as a family- have lost over 110 pounds. I have lost over 50.Crazy amazing.

I have begun my training and education to become a midwife.

I plan to start taking clients as a doula.

We have settled in to our new home and are really enjoying living here.

We are soon going on a road trip up to South Dakota to visit friends. We plan to see the childhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder in De Smet, SD as well as her adult home in Mansfield, MO. We also plan to go to Bakersville, the home of Baker Creek Heirloom ( in Mansfield. Other stops on the way will be at my grandmother's in Ash Flat, AR, The Ozark Folk Center and Blanchard Spring Caverns in Mountain View, AR. We may make a stop in Kansas City, MO. We are all very excited for this family vacation.

I still find myself counting everyone when we load up to go somewhere and feel like someone is missing.  They are.  Life would be so very different if we had 19 month old Lenah and 4 month old Ruby in tow. Don't get me wrong - I would love to have the privilege of toting them around, but it would look very different from the freedom we currently have.  We have been watching a six month old a couple of days a week since she was 6 weeks old. Yesterday we ventured out to run errands and go shopping while we were caring for her.  It was very different than just picking up and taking off with my current five. Making sure you have the diaper bag and all its necessities is something I have not had to deal with for quite some time now.

This past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I attended the Association of Texas Midwives Conference.  This would not have been possible with babies at home.  It seems so strange to be thankful for the freedom I am currently enjoying. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

One year later.....

Today marks one year since Lenah's passing.  So much has happened this year.  We had planned to go up and put flowers on her grave in East Texas today, but  James had several things come up at work and we decided to cancel the trip. I'm quite certain Lenah is not concerned about the appearance of her grave. We have all been sensitive and grouchy today and I'm not sure if it is because of the weather or the date. Or neither. I'm hugging my babies tonight and thinking of my others in heaven.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

 It has been quite some time since I last posted here. December has been a bit easier than I expected.  But it is still not over.  It is, in some ways, hard for me to believe that it has almost been a year since we lost Lenah.  It is also hard to believe that Ruby could have been born any day now.
  We have mostly settled in to our new home.  The children seem  more content. Their main complaint these days is that I have cut all sugar and refined carbs from our diet. They have had some exceptions for Thanksgiving and birthdays. We have been following the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan.

I have also been using Plexus Slim, Accelerator, Probio5,  and BioCleanse. You can learn more about  Plexus here:

Since September, I have gotten rid of  35 pounds. Yay! I plan to share some before and after pictures soon. I still have that much plus some to go, but I believe I will get there.

I have decided to try to start blogging about our family's journey towards better health.  The next area of focus for us will be adding consistent exercise to our daily routine.

We had family pictures taken last month. They can serve as a "before" picture of our family.

Friday, September 12, 2014

September 12, 2014

 A year ago today I woke up very nervous to face whatever lay ahead.  I didn't know if Lenah would survive the day. She did. And then she fought. She fought to live every day for 108 days.

 I miss her so much. We all do. I don't, however, miss her struggling. I am so incredibly thankful that she is now at peace in the presence of her Creator.

Fly high, sweet baby.

Happy First Birthday, Lenah!

Like a meteor across our sky
A shooting star-
We saw heaven in your eyes
And though our hearts are breaking
And we're missing you tonight.
You're resting in Our Father's arms
And angels lullaby.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September 10, 2014

Yesterday was my second born's birthday. She is ten.

Today is my niece's birthday. She is five.

In two days it will be Lenah's birthday. She is in heaven.

I will grieve.

And Ruby.

Four days after Lenah's birthday I will begin marking time for Ruby. One month since her...birth, death, I'm not really sure what to call that day. She wasn't really born and I don't really know the day she died.

I'd like to avoid the calendar. But I can't. There's always some appointment to attend. Some birthday to celebrate.  Some event to observe.  I have to check the calendar.  I'd be in trouble if I didn't.  But some days I'd sure like to avoid the reinforcement of the grief that I feel every moment that is not occupied by some other activity, or distraction, or sleep.

I wonder if everyday is like your birthday in heaven.  Our observance of one trip around our sun on the subsequent years since our birth seems a bit... I don't know, arbitrary,  mundane, insignificant,
when compared to Lenah and Ruby's daily trip around the Son.

Do grieving mother's ever stop keeping time? Do they ever stop counting the days, the weeks, the months, the years since the loss?

I guess time will tell.

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014 - In which I profess the goodness and provision of the Lord even in the midst of tribulation.

First things first.

Ruby Elise Wray August 16, 2014
May you rest peacefully in our Creator's arms until the rest of us are able to join you.

Trigger/Graphic Miscarriage Warning- you may want to stop reading here.

 Last Tuesday we learned that our sweet baby had passed away sometime around 15-16 weeks gestation.  She should have been at 20 weeks and 4 days as of that day.
 At my follow up appointment the next day, I explained to my doctor that I could not immediately go to the hospital for induction as I had a closing for a land sale on Friday and that I really preferred to avoid a hospital induction because I wanted to be able to bury my baby in our family cemetery. I told her that my dear Aunt S. has been a midwife for 20 years or so and I planned to try a natural induction with herbs. She said she understood and that if the herbs were not effective she was writing me a prescription for Cytotec and pain medication.
 After that appointment on Wednesday, we headed to Houston from Lufkin. Thursday afternoon, I took my prescription to the pharmacy to be filled. I then made a reservation at a hotel near a hospital for Friday and Saturday nights so I could be away from the children for the inevitable. Friday morning I went back to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription and it was not ready because it was a "questionable" prescription and they had not been able to get a hold of my doctor.  My doctor's office closes at noon on Friday. It was 11:58.  No answer when I called my doctor's office. I had to be across town at 2:00 for signing papers at the title office.  I was more than a bit upset.  I had already made plans and this was NOT how things were supposed to go. On my way to the signing, James called and said that the pharmacy had called him and they had been able to get a hold of my doctor and verify the prescription.  It would be ready in an hour.  Provision #1

 When I arrived at the title company James had been talking to our realtor (who we had never met in person before- only by phone). He had been sharing with her about Lenah and about our family.  She was genuinely interested in hearing our testimony and not just being patronizing because of our professional dealings. We continued to share things as we were signing papers.  I was afraid that the patient woman working at the title company was going to get upset with us for taking so long. She was very gracious.  Our realtor continued to ask us questions and we continued to share. We told her about how the weekend before she called us about the contract on our land, we had discussed our current living situation.  The kids and I had been living at our lake house in the boonies. We had previously thought that maybe it was time for us to move to the country permanently. Our house in Texas City is literally falling apart.  It has some major foundation and roof issues. I told James that I was at a point in my pregnancy and in our journey that we all needed to be together wherever he was. If things didn't look like he was going to start a school  in east Texas- we needed to come back to the Houston area, but our house is virtually uninhabitable. I asked him if he would consider moving into a house in a neighborhood where we wouldn't have a huge yard to maintain. He was at first rather upset and he asked me if I had given up on growing our own animals and food - on becoming more self-sufficient. I told him that I hadn't given up on that and that we had learned a lot towards that end while living in Texas City. But, (there's always one of those isn't there?) that right now I just felt very strongly that at this point in our lives we need to focus more on the discipleship and education of our children and that we could support others that are doing the organic/permaculture/self-sufficient/agrarian lifestyle. If his vocation was going to be at the massage therapy school- we needed him to be present with us when he wasn't there, not working his guts out taking care of livestock and plants. He was upset- not with me - but more at the situation. It was almost like the death of a dream. I told him that I believed we would still do that at some point in the future, but right now just didn't seem like the season for that. When he got back to Houston Sunday night (after we had this long discussion Saturday night) he got online and looked at properties near his school. He found one promising one that was nearby, but it had renters that would not be out until the end of December. We needed to be moved before then because of the baby being due in December. So he searched again Monday with slightly different parameters and found a 3-4/2.5/2 town home that was 1.3 miles from the school. He called the listing realtor to see if she could show him the property. She told him she was actually on her way to the property because someone had tried to show the house the previous day but was unable to because the key didn't work. The key worked fine for her and she showed him the town home. This is part of what he saw :

( Now if you know me really well, you know that I LOVE purple. And yes, that is purple carpet in the house.)

  Later that same day our realtor  called to say that she was drawing up an offer for the sale of the land that we had in Angleton. (The sale we closed on this Friday)
 I came to Houston on that Thursday to see the house in person.  We made an offer on it on the spot.  The seller accepted our offer with a potential closing date of September 5th. Now, at some point our mortgage broker called and said that because James is self-employed our debt to income ratio was a bit off and that we would have to pay some things off to qualify for a new mortgage. The proceeds from the sale of our land will allow us to take care of this problem. Praise God! Provision #2

We shared all of this with our realtor at closing and she was amazed.

 That brings us to Friday night.  I checked into the hotel and my Aunt S. arrived a bit before 11pm. I  had been taking some herbs before she arrived. I took the first dose of medication at 11pm, the second at 3am, and the third at 7 am.  By 11 am Saturday, I was having pretty serious cramping but I was very hungry so Aunt S. went to get some brunch and a few things from the health food store.  She got lost while she was out and returned around 3pm.  By this time, I was very hungry and having serious contractions very close together. I scarfed down some steak tacos. I then was having a lot of low back pain and wanted to get in a hot bath.  I started to draw water- but I never made it into that bath.  The baby came out with the amniotic sac completely intact. It was obvious that the fluid inside the sac was very putrid. It is a miracle that it stayed intact or I would likely be fighting some kind of uterine infection.( Provision #3)
 I was bleeding very heavily and the umbilical cord had detached from the placenta.  The placenta was NOT coming out, so we headed to the emergency room.  I was just praying that I didn't pass out on my way out of the hotel.  I really didn't want to call for an ambulance, because I knew that would just delay things and I NEEDED to get to the hospital as soon as possible. I felt as though someone had turned a faucet on low inside my body - not a good feeling.  When we arrived at the hospital and they saw how much I was bleeding. People started moving quickly.  When I started explaining things to the OB on call she was at  first very suspicious. She was shocked that my OB would prescribe cytotec for an out of hospital induction for someone who had previously had 4 c-sections and currently had an anterior placenta.  When I told her that a specialist Dr. H had seen me on Tuesday and diagnosed  fetal demise and had looked closely at my placenta and did not see a placenta accreta, she said "That's the best thing you've told me so far.  Dr. H is an excellent physician she actually delivered my two children."( Provision#4)
 Now, this is monumental.
 I had seen this specialist from HOUSTON in LUFKIN on Tuesday. Then it turns out that she is the personal OB for the on-call OB that sees me in CLEAR LAKE in a strange emergency situation. At that moment everything changed. I also told her that I understood that the whole situation was very unorthodox, but it was very important to me to be able to bury my daughter's remains and that if I had gone to the hospital for induction, my daughter would have been disposed of as medical waste.  She was surprised at that.  She turned to the nurse and said "Is that true? We can't release remains"  The nurse confirmed that that was indeed the case.  She then said "How did I not know this?" I told her that I understand that most people weren't as concerned about this, but it was important enough to me to try to avoid my daughter being thrown away. From that point on, we were treated very respectfully and with much compassion.  Not that I wouldn't have received adequate care otherwise, but it was very strange circumstances that brought us there.  And it seems there is always some suspicion when you arrive at the hospital with a midwife, even if she is family to you. They quickly did an ultrasound to verify that the placenta was still retained. It was.  There was also some other tissue at the fundus of my uterus.  I didn't ask, but I suspect that Ruby may have had a twin that  had passed much earlier or I had a blighted ovum. It was definitely something separate from Ruby or her placenta. They took me back to the OR for a spinal and D&C  I was brought back to my room around 6 or 7. Things are a bit fuzzy. I was released Sunday around 11:30 am. I lost quite a bit of blood, but I am feeling pretty well overall.
  All Saturday evening  and since then I have been thinking at how there were so many variables in this whole situation that could have changed and made this go from being a serious situation to a deadly situation. If I had spontaneously miscarried out at the lake house with just me and the kids....
If I had gone to the hospital for induction and the amniotic sac had ruptured because I had to try to pass it lying down in a hospital bed..... And so on and so on. Losing my child is just plain awful. But if my children had lost me.....I don't even have words for that.  I have this deep and abiding sense of such thankfulness and praise to the Lord for once again leading us so tenderly and providing for and protecting us so abundantly. I truly, truly can not express it fully.
  So now, this week I am resting. James will be tending to the financial aspects of the purchase of our new home. On Tuesday night after we found out about Ruby's passing, and before we learned that we could resolve the financing difficulty. I told James that I didn't know if I could bear losing both the baby and the purchase of a new home.  I pray that everything goes smoothly and we are able to purchase a new home, but I now know that even if things don't work out, the Lord is watching over us and He cares for us and He will provide for us.
  I also would like to say that I have some of the most amazing, loving friends on the planet.  Thank you for loving us and praying for us. It means everything. You know who you are.

Friday, August 15, 2014

August 15, 2014

I guess I'll start with the good news :
 Today James and I will be going to sign papers on the closing sale of our land in Angleton. We have made an offer on a townhome in Clear Lake and that purchase is set to close on the 5th of September. These two transactions are what I had asked for prayer about previously. There is a very interesting story about the timing of all this that I plan to share later.

 Now for the bad news. At my ultrasound appointment on Tuesday we learned that our sweet baby had passed away. It looked as though she was a girl. She passed around 15 1/2 weeks gestation. It also looks like she had the same syndrome as Lenah. Her heart was placed on the wrong side. Please pray for me. I will be staying with my dear midwife friend to try to induce labor naturally to complete this miscarriage this weekend. I want to avoid a trip to the hospital and we would like to be able to bury our baby next to her sister in our family cemetery. This would not be possible if I go to the hospital for an induction. Please pray that I do not have any complications.