Infertility, Changes in Nature.


 

Long before marriage I knew pregnancy might be difficult for me. I lived with a Chronic Condition called, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycystic_ovary_syndrome, which often causes infertility. My husband was aware and soon after the wedding, held my hand during medical consultations and accompanied me to doctor’s appointments where together, we decided on our first course of treatment, a low dose fertility drug. Squeezing my hand tightly we were ecstatic to learn a tiny heart might soon beat under my own within about four months.

Upon leaving the doctor’s office it was on to business. Thermometers, temperature charts, and pens and pencils were suddenly prized possessions, placed neatly in the top drawer of a nearby nightstand in order to chart monthly ovulation cycles. Whenever it was time, I telephoned my husband. We followed the ups and downs of my temperature chart to a T! Still, month after month it was not to be.

Eventually, I visited my doctor for another routine consultation. “It’s been nine months,” he said, matter-of-factly. “I can only keep you on this drug for one more cycle. Go home, relax and forget about it.” I left his office in tears. Fertility options were extremely limited back in 1980’s. I could only move on to an extremely powerful fertility drug with lots of potential complications or adoption. My husband and I had discussed adoption but knew it might take years to receive a baby.

That same weekend my husband and I traveled from our cozy bungalow on the west side of Bay City to northern Michigan for business, leaving my temperature chart at home. Our car crested a hill where the blue waters of Grand Traverse Bay https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Traverse_Bay, greeted us in the most beautiful of azure colors as far as our eyes could see. It was late spring, nearing summer. All four of the windows of our car were down. We giggled free as the fresh air blew our hair every which way. Scents of one season were ending while simultaneously, a new one was beginning. Nature was changing. Tall emerald pines danced among splashes of fruit trees on either side of the road with flowers budding into delectable delights of rosy apples and bright red cherries.

While my husband attended business meetings, I relaxed by the pool, read books, and drank sparkling water amid the peace and serenity of new surroundings. Six weeks later I learned I was pregnant. I was about to become a mother. The greatest gift to me.

Yes, nature was changing…..

*photos courtesy of Google Chrome

More to The Eye Than Black and White…..


She waddled a bit, her growing tummy leading the way. A black and white striped shirt stretched snug across the whole of her belly. Two rambunctious little ones, one with curls flailing to her shoulders, the other a tow-headed toddler of two leading the way to our finished lower level. There, near a fireplace waiting for short winter days, a tea party danced amid pink plastic china with baskets of assorted delights.

Raggedy Ann sat at the head of the scuffed green table where paint had peeled long ago, revealing a thick strong base of walnut brown. Mismatched chairs parked around the sides. Raggedy Andy sat in one, I in another and Toe Head to my right. Grandpa was finishing final computer work at a long table nearby while the belly rested in a plump corduroy sofa.

Soon, the doorbell sounded. Doodle dog barked while all chaos rang out. My son bounced down the stairway with his usual happy face, tossing kids in the air before kissing the belly of stretched stripes. Just then a wave of motion began with movements to the left, slightly up before swinging down. We could all see it.

Yes, there was a baby under the black and white stripes. Deep within my daughter-in-law’s tummy, not far under her heart of beating pink, she carried a mother’s love who had already become part of a family. A great big family…..

A few minutes later my younger daughter-in-law drove up with “Babies of Two” plus their older sister of three. Together, we all went out for an early dinner in a restaurant very much prepared for children of all ages. We needed three high chairs and a booster seat. To my left, a little lady of four-years-old, shared baskets of chicken strips, sides of mixed fruit or small bowls of macaroni & cheese.

Looking around the table, I caught sight of my husband, who sat at the opposite end.  I smiled, grasping the fact that WE began this great big family. For years and years, we were a small family of four, having only two sons. Eventually, they grew up and married, giving us the gift of daughters-in-law. Four became six. And, before I could blink an eye, grandbabies arrived, growing our family to eleven. Yes, you read that right…ELEVEN!!! This year, before the end of it, our family will have grown yet again with the arrival of tiny angel wings swaddled under blankets of flannel for me to rock around the Christmas tree.

By then my husband and I will have six grandchildren. All little ones, ages, 4, 3, 2, plus twins who turn 2 years old in December, and the new baby who will arrive about the same time.

Heaven sent from under stripes of black and white.

 

*striped shirt picture courtesy of Google Chrome

A New Year Has Just Begun


I received a darling picture of my oldest granddaughter yesterday. She was all dressed in her 1st day of pre-school finery. Sitting on the stoop of her house, she carried the weight of her most prized possession, a striped hot pink backpack strung over her shoulders. In a sense, a new year has just begun.

My husband called while on the road to say our youngest son had put his beloved home for sale. He and his family of five including my Babies of Two are moving to a new state because of his job. Perhaps their present home has been a stepping stone to where they are meant to be? I’m praying for my son and daughter-in-law to find a new home that they love. A home to raise their babies in for a long, long while. A house that one day, the kids may even begin to skip off to school.

In talking to my father, he told me the doctors found another large lump on the back of his wife’s neck. They had already done another MRI and would be coming back to discuss treatment. She can’t even get out of bed. I spoke to my father, asking him if I could be ‘honest’ with him.

“Yes, of course, always,” he answered.

I went on to tell him of my good friend, and excellent internist who began a terrific Hospice House here in St. Louis in order to focus on palliative care. My father had met my friend in the past and knew he was a good man.

Finally, my father hesitated before speaking. “I’ve been thinking and I don’t want to put her through anything more. I just want to take her home to the house she loves. I want her to look at the desert stars before she falls asleep and for her to see the sun rise above the mountains in the morning.”

With those words, my father cried. Before I even spoke to him, he had already begun to accept the idea of hospice and was preparing himself to let her go… Today he hopes to take her home where they will simply love each other until death they do part. Tomorrow is their four-month wedding anniversary.

There are still two more weeks before I finally move into my own new house. Yes, I know, it has seemed forever…..My goal was to find something close to my son and daughter-in-law who are expecting their third baby around Christmas. At the same time, I wanted to be near nature if possible, have room for an office, and a sleeping area for visiting grand-babies.

Well, my husband and I feel very fortunate as we enter this last stage of our lives. Our new home is only a short distance from family, and although smaller and very different on the inside, it looks very much like the outside of our current house. We plan to use the formal dining room as an office where I’ll soon write from my half-moon desk in a windowed turret just as I’ve done for many years.

Next to our bedroom is a small space that will be used for the grandchildren’s sleeping room. Bunk beds and a white spindled crib will soon be rolled in beneath a breezy fan. The closet is already stacked with shelves to fill toys and puzzles soon to be spilled upon the wooden floor.

On the back of the house is a full length screened porch where painted wicker furniture awaits future family gatherings. A round glass table will be set with plates for summer BBQ or early evening board games. Nearby, a chair teeters back and forth. In the spring, I’ll rock the next bundled baby close to my beating heart.

As mentioned above, my husband and I feel very fortunate. Our new house is in subdivision encompassing a dedicated nature preserve. The view from the back of our house is tall trees where a walking path winds over a small stream and through the thick of overgrown wildflowers. A few minutes to the left are trails surrounding a 15-acre lake stocked with fish for catch and release. No boats are allowed, only wildlife and the stillness of peace.

I’ve missed the whole of summer which feels like the whole of a year. Family issues have been filled with stress, but in the end, life begins anew. God has parted a curtain. The previews have finished with the main feature now in full play. And, although I don’t know the ending, I’m certainly looking forward to living again.

Yes, in a sense a new year has just begun.

Loving Grandbabies


Anticipation was building the whole month of May. Finally, my grandbabies rolled in from South Carolina to spend a whole week at Grandma’s house last Saturday. Plans were made and parties were in place.

Grandpa and I met a mini-bus in the driveway to open sliding doors before the hum of an engine-turned off. Action heroes we were, straight from a giant movie screen except without the buttered popcorn or milk duds. “Babies of Two” tumbled out with their wee big sister of two and a half years. Yes, they were tired but thrilled to be FREE from the restraint of buckled car seats filled with crumbles of animal crackers. Grandpa lifted one grandchild while a toddler hugged his hairy, bare leg. Crying with joy, I picked up another who wrapped her arms and legs around me like a baby gorilla you’d see clinging to her mother at the zoo.

I lost my heart (times three) for all the neighbors to see. Right there and then on a driveway paved in burnt red bricks. Kissing silky hair, I soaked the warmth of soft, baby skin from tip to toe, never wanting to let them go. Soon, all drifted into a bubble bath, before being bundled in hooded towels. Then it was off to rock in a spindled chair. Little gorilla baby never left my lap, patting my back with her little hand to the rhythm of the chair. Pat…rocking back…pat…rocking forward…pat…rocking back…pat…rocking forward.

The next day it was a party at our favorite train venue where babies, toddlers, and kids played freely before eating pizza and breaking a piñata filled with unexpected treats. Later that night, the older cousins (ages 4 & 2) had a sleepover in front of our big screen where they snuggled under sheets of cotton blue to watch Barbie movies while sharing popcorn and sipping apple juice. In between, the girls of red hair and blonde curls put on a show while dancing and singing songs. I must say it was quite an impromptu production. If only I would have known in advance, surely I could have sold a few tickets within the neighborhood!

Yesterday, my younger daughter-in-law’s parents hosted a splendid BBQ with delicious food where everyone gathered from several sides of the family. Children of all ages played with toys, swam in the pool and bonded like never before.

I’ve always known how very blessed I am to have these little babies in my life. As my eyes darted around to catch sight of all five of them, I couldn’t help but ponder the beginning of their forever cousin relationships. The youngest two were dressed in twin polka dot bikinis while splish-splashing in a baby pool. Around and around, my only grandson tackled a riding toy while blowing kisses to all of the girls, and far to the right, feet of four jumped into a speckled pool so cool.

Seconds later, I glanced at my oldest son’s wife, who lightly traced her barely there belly bump. Yes, they’ve just announced a new baby-to-be expected around  Christmastime.

Another grandbaby to love for me. Oh, I can’t wait to see!

 

 

 

Miniature Miracles


A few days ago, I was invited by my dear friend to be a guest at a charity luncheon and fashion show, benefiting one of our leading hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU). An annual function, tremendous effort is put forth by a group of tireless volunteers who work to make everything perfect. Donations of graceful blooms are gathered together with assorted gift baskets that hold everything from hand-made jewels to trips to Disneyland. All are proudly displayed on tables of long, draped in berry and gold. Baskets are beautifully wrapped in clear cellophane, where admiring bidders drool while raising funds to save innocent babies born too soon.

Not long ago, another friend of mine suddenly found herself in the midst of a hospital NICU. There, she came to know it intimately. In the beginning, she was shocked with pain and grief. The feeling hit her, unexpectedly. Fast, like a freight train running off its tracks. At the time, my friend’s daughter was six months pregnant with twin boys. Snips and snails and puppy dog tails….Quietly, God whisked one tiny soul off to heaven, leaving behind his fragile brother within the quiet of his mother’s womb.

My friend’s daughter lay in a sterile hospital bed, following doctor’s orders while praying to bring her last little lamb to a full term of “40 weeks.” Tears flowed for the infant angel that had already left an emptiness inside of her. Still, each morning she woke without having delivered, she whispered tears of thankfulness to God as well as both of her sons. One unborn, the other in heaven above.

There may be risk factors or possible causes of premature labor, but very little anyone can do to prevent it. Mothers should never blame themselves. Only God decides when a baby comes into this world. http://www.marchofdimes.org. Still too soon, my friend’s first grandson was born weighing not much more than a pound of butter. Yet, he was breathing and alive! Doctors and nurses rushed him to the NICU, where the child of innocence fought for his life. The whole of his family spent the next three months on a hospital roller coaster ride, thankful for each breath the fragile child took, each beat his tiny heart drummed.

Truly, God works miracles. Through the skill a fine team of pediatric physicians and neonatal specialists together with nurses who surely wear hidden wings under their scrubs, the day finally came for my friend’s grandson to go home. There, an extended family eagerly waited to give the three-month-old newborn more loving care than any child could imagine. Today, the little toddler of curly hair and smiles of pearls is exactly where he needs to be on all of the doctor’s charts! He’s a darling boy loved by all and everyone.

When God’s seed is planted within a woman’s womb, a mother’s love is instinctual, pure and undeniable. It exists the moment she suspects a tiny life-force grows within her. She glows from that moment on, knowing she carries a miniature miracle deep inside while fingertips gently caress a growing belly. Friends and families get excited, fathers support their wives while future sibling’s eyes grow wide with wonder.

Yes, a bouncing baby boy. Truly a gift from God to be forever thankful for…..

*With many thanks to the physicians and nurses in NICU’s everywhere for saving little lives. Bless you each and every day.

premature baby pic

Thoughts On Mothers


“A mother’s arms are made of tenderness, and children sleep soundly in them.”  

Victor Hugo

“There is no velvet so soft as a mother’s lap, no rose as lovely as her smile, no path so flowery as that imprinted with her footsteps.”   

Archibald Thompson

“There is nothing sweeter than the heart of a pious mother.”

 Martin Luther

“She was the best of all mothers, to whom I owe endless gratitude.”

Thomas Carlyle

“All I am I owe to my mother.  I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her.” 

George Washington

“No matter how old, a child is a babe who carries the heart of their mother inside of their own.

Kim Gosselin

Breathe Freely


http://www.lung.org/

Raindrops are clinging to the outside window screens of my turret office space. Looking like itty-bitty bubbles, whatever is left drips to nowhere land. Falling between white window panes behind my writing desk, I wonder what happens when they plop to the ground. Do they make silent sounds that only God can hear?

A loud thunderstorm crashed over and above my house last night. The dog shook to wake me up. He hid under the safety of bed covers, fearing what might come next. Getting up to glance between wooden blinds, ancient mottled trees swayed through nature’s bit of forest land. Their long limbs bent far to the left, then further to the right. Swooning so, they nearly touched the budding ground.

That’s when I heard it. An eerie whistling sound swishing through branches on the hill. Raindrops fell fast and hard, like cold tears from heaven. I felt shaken then, much like my dog hiding under blankets. The noise reminded me of the first time I heard ‘whistling’ from my toddler’s accordion chest. Much harder for my little one to breathe out than it was for him to breathe in. A term called wheezing.

Within minutes, a rushing box of red metal on four rubber tires raced my tender treasure to the hospital where he was put in an oxygen tent. Dressed in a small cotton gown printed in teddy bears of green, he was afraid and nearly blue. Finally, he began to breathe freely. The simple act of taking a breath. Not only breathing in but breathing out. In…and…out. “A.S.T.H.M.A,” the doctor with authority, pronounced.

After a few hours in the emergency room, my baby could go home. There, I cradled him in my arms. Not wanting to let go, I delicately brushed wisps of damp curls to the side of his forehead with the tips of grateful fingers. Thanks to God, he slept peacefully then.

Breathing freely…OUT as well as IN.

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National Multiple Birth Awareness Month


Since I became a grandmother of twins, I’ve learned a lot about the joys and challenges of loving and living with more than one…b.a.b.y. For several months, I had the privilege of helping to care for my own grand-baby twos. Attending to their every need can be an exhaustive joy. Yet, a gift I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Time passes quickly in life, and even sleepless nights for Mama and Daddy soon become a treasured memory.

Today, April first, represents the beginning of National Multiple Birth Awareness Month. One of the biggest lessons I learned while tending for multiples is that parents and caregivers can and should ask for help! Friends, family, and resources are available. Some parents simply don’t know where to turn, while others may think they should handle everything on their own.

I’d like to take this opportunity to make everyone aware of a fantastic organization entitled Multiples of America, also known as The National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs, Inc. This is a non-profit organization whose goal is to support families and caregivers of multiple children through help from local support groups and health care providers, researchers, and educators.

To each and every one of you who has been gifted with two or three babies, four babies or more. I wish you tremendous blessings the whole of your lives. Celebrate this special month while feeling warm puffs of breaths near the crook of your neck. Rest when you can, to soak every second of their smiles before today disappears into tomorrow land.

*Thank you to Google Chrome for photographs.

Thank You


Thank you to Susan Heim, a most prolific writer of numerous books on twins and multiples, and a mother of twins herself, for this generous review of Babies of Two together with her Blog post and creative giveaway.

Don’t wait to visit her awesome Blog! Blogspot http://susanheim.blogspot.com

Thank you so very much, Susan!

 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Children’s Book Review and Signed Book Giveaway: “Babies of Two,” by Kim Gosselin (3 Winners)

 

My Thoughts:

I am the mother of twin boys, so it was fun to take a peek inside the womb once again to imagine the crowded world of twins! This book is unique because it’s told from the perspective of the babies who are about to be born and finally arrive in their parents’ arms at the end of the story. Reading Babies of Two would be a wonderful way to share the upcoming birth of twin siblings with an older brother or sister. It shows what the experience must be like for the babies, as well as for the mother who must go to the hospital when it’s time for their delivery. With its charming illustrations by Alisa Belzil and joyful text, Babies of Two will delight both children and their parents.

About the Author:
Kim Gosselin takes delight in bringing the magic of her imagination to the wonder of words. Babies of Two is her 17th picture book, inspired upon learning she was going to become the grandmother of twins. She has five grandchildren, four under the ages of two, including twins.

Kim is a proud member of The Author’s Guild, Inc., and The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Special One


Baby Born with Down SyndromeThere you are sleepy almond eyes of greenish-blue,

Fluttering chocolate lashes long peeking up at me.

Yes, I’m your Mama with captured heart whisked away.

Cozy, swaddled in a warm blanket of softest touch.

Underneath I’ve counted, 1 to 10 on each fragile foot and chubby fist

Doctor, don’t you see my perfect baby cradled in my weary arms?

Brushing his angel face of pinkish warm next to mine

Glimpsing downy dampness under striped cap on top of soft

Watching precious newborn’s chest rising up and down

So shallow to my ear I’m bending down

To catch spittle of next hush-a-bye breath

Do you hear my heart beating, brimming overwhelming love?

Like a waterfall rushing over mountain rocks…..it’s surging solid strength

Rolling word on silent tongue…Mother, Madre, Mama that’s me

Oh, the sound so lyrical to my head, ears are dancing new lullabies

On my chest this feeling of bliss is unsurpassed

Grab my finger hold it tight, please God let me savor specialness

From now until the end of time this moment will remain deep within

For I have a special need within my heart and soul

To have you for my child, to be your mother today, tomorrow and the next

Yes, on this first day of your life

Together with the whole of my lifetime too

I am blessed to be your mother, thanking God for you.

 

In Honor of World Down Syndrome Day

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*Photos courtesy of Google Chrome