Friday, May 29, 2009

A Late Night Letter to Our Girl

Sweet Baby Girl,

Honestly words cannot even begin to describe the overwhelming gratitude and love I feel as I am reminded with each of your kicks and nudges of the gift the Lord has blessed me with in you. You will enter this world within the next week unaware of where this little family of ours has been, or the fact that you are the fifth baby the Lord has entrusted to us. When you arrive you will see two of the most amazing big brothers so eager to love on and protect you. They snuggle you and talk to you so much already am certain you will know them instantly.

Your biggest brother Luke loves to talk to you. He puts his lips right up to my bellybutton, thinking it is the microphone to where you are. He loves to rub my belly and tell you all about tractors and read you books. He prays for you each and every day and helps to keep all of us aware of the blessing that you already are.

The big brown eyes you will see staring down at you are those of your brother Benjamin. I am quite certain the two of you already have a special connection. He LOVES to "open my belly" cover you with the soft side of his blankie and lay his head down and tell you how much he loves you. Sometimes he can sit there for a half an hour at a time (which is huge for Ben) and just snuggle you. When I panic because you are not as active as usual Ben can ALWAYS get you to move around.

You will see instantly that your daddy is more in love with you than he ever could have imagined. He is so excited for your arrival and cannot wait to hold you. He has prepared the most amazing room for you and is looking forward to seeing you grow in it. I assure you that the two of you are going to have a very special relationship, but that he is going to take his job of protecting you VERY seriously. He already does. He has already gone through your wardrobe deeming what is appropriate and what is not. :-) When that becomes frustrating, please remember how much he LOVES you and wants the best for you. Really he does.

I cannot even wrap my mind around what you will see when you look up at me, your mommy. I am quite certain you will likely be showered with my tears. I am so excited to meet you and hold you and watch you grow and yet I am heartbroken because there are two little boys, two more of your big brothers that you will not see. They are there, they will always be there, but you will not see them. They live with Jesus, and though there is honestly no better place they could be, my heart aches to know that they will not get to know the gift of you and you will not get to know them. What you will know is the love they brought to this world.

Though you will not see them, your life will be touched by them. Our family is still grieving the loss of those two amazing boys but we are also rejoicing in the gift of you. I want to make it very clear that you do not come into this world already with a job of healing our hurt. You come as your own blessing and gift just as they did. You will change our hearts and our world just as the four brothers who came before you have. You will get to grow alongside and know the love of Luke and Ben and you will get to feel the love and transformation in your family because of Isaac and Asher. It is because of them that we love a little deeper, hold on to each moment just a little tighter, and praise God for his good plan for our family.

We cannot wait to see what you have to teach us. You have already made it abundantly clear that you are your own person, a new and exciting gift from God and we cannot wait to get to know you. Our prayer is that we are able to be the parents the Lord intended us to be for you. That we will seek Him in every decision and love you with a grace and passion similar to His love for us. We know that he chose us to be your parents for a reason and we take that responsibility very seriously. We are so in love with you and just cannot wait to meet you! Though I know that many tears will be shed in the days following your birth, please know they are tears of PURE JOY for the new thing the Lord is doing in our lives. We are looking forward with hope knowing that the Lord has much in store for this family of ours!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Balancing Grief and Joy

This is something I am finding difficult these days. Today is memorial day. A day to remember the many who have sacrificed so much for us, but often it is also a day families use to go to the cemetery to care for the grave sites of loved ones whether they served in the military or not. Typically on Memorial Day we head to the cemetery and care for the grave sites of my mother, grandmother and Isaac.

My goal for this year was to have Asher's headstone set by Memorial Day so that we could go and plant flowers and make the boys' space more permanent. Our cemetery only pours cement footers once a year and it is early May. Needless to say, we missed the boat again.

I have found myself conflicted. It is like I can only focus in one direction at once and right now I am trying hard to revel in the last moments of my pregnancy and prepare for the new blessing the Lord is knitting in my womb. That is not to say for one moment that Isaac or Asher have been forgotten or pushed to the side. I am acutely aware of the permanent holes in my heart that only they can fill. With every nudge and kick I think of my pregnancies with them, with every preparation I am reminded of the things I never got to do for two of my sweet children.

I just could not bring myself to intertwine cemetery work with nursery work this month. I know I guess that for Isaac and Asher their grave site, while providing us with a place to memorialize them, is not where they are. I feel closer to them here at home and more able to focus on the joy they have brought to our lives from here. The cemetery has a tendency to remind me of their absence rather than their everlasting presence in my heart. I am trying hard to stay focused. Thanking the Lord for every perfect gift he has given me and not yearning for what I do not have. It has been a tougher month than I expected and though some of my goals for the boys' grave site were not met, I feel I have grown in many ways.

I have been able to let go of a lot of anger and really prepare my heart to receive the gifts ahead all the while remaining thankful for the ones I have been given. I am learning to live with a broken heart and allow my brokenness to transform me into the person the Lord is calling me to be. I truly feel as though I will be a better mother and wife and mom because of Isaac and Asher and I am so grateful to them for showing me what is truly important in life. I worry less about the temporary and focus more on the eternal, putting less emphasis on circumstance and more on the pure joy of living in the moment. God has extended such grace to our family over the past year and I am just amazed to see the beauty in His work.

Some nights I cry my eyes out wishing I could hold Isaac or Asher one more time. The sadness is always there. It always will be. I never want to forget the important lessons they have taught and are teaching me. Each of my children amaze me. Ben has NEVER been a cuddly child. Luke always has been, but recently Ben's favorite thing to do is to come to me and say "Mommy, hold you me" We sit in the rocking chair and he asks me to "open my belly" which means lift my shirt and he takes his precious blankie and puts the blue velvety side down so the baby can feel it and he lays his head on my belly and rubs his blankie on my belly. He sometimes falls asleep doing this and sometimes we just sit and watch TV. It is one of the most sacred parts of my day and I look forward to it so much and am dreading the day that the belly is gone and he no longer does this.

Luke amazes me with his wisdom. I was floored a day last week when I was complaining of being tired and achy and Luke combatted my poor attitude with "well mommy, at least the baby is still alive. We need to be thankful for that." From the mouth of babes! These boys keep me grounded, humbled and focused on what is important and I consider it my greatest privilege to be their mommy. I just cannot wait to see what this baby girl has to teach me!

On another note: We have an ultrasound, non stress test, and doctor appointment tomorrow morning. My c section is scheduled for next week and they just want to be sure she is not too huge. They are expecting her to be a big girl though, which will be very different for us...our babies have typically been early and small...she is showing us just how much of her own person she is going to be and just how new of a thing God is doing in and through her! Please continue to pray for us as we prepare our home and hearts for her arrival. We know the Lord has great things in store in the weeks ahead!

Friday, May 22, 2009


So a month or so ago I had written a comment on a good friend's blog about forgiveness. She was struggling with the idea of forgiving the hospital staff responsible for her son's trauma and eventual passing away. I can say that I cannot for one minute pretend to know her heartache. In our case we have really been treated like gold by the medical professionals around us. We have been blessed with great doctors and nurses, in OUR case the health of our babies has been completely out of our hands and the hands of any human. I can't imagine the anger and frustration she feels, knowing that because of one person's irresponsible actions her life will never be the same.

After offering her my advice I got to thinking..."Wow! Kristy that all sounds great but do you take your own advice?"

Here is the advice I had to offer:

I am so sorry . I cannot imagine the anger you feel. All I can say is that it is okay to be angry, and though this is for some unknown reason part of God's plan it is ok to tell him you think it stinks and that you are angry, it is ok to scream to the Heavens and ask Him why. As for forgiveness. I think sometimes we mistake what forgiveness is. Forgiveness is for you. It is not for those who caused you this intense pain. It is not in any way condoning what was done to your family, it is NOT saying it is ok. It isn't ok. It never will be.The word forgiveness actually means to untie. Your anger and disdain toward those who are responsible tie you to them. When you forgive you break that tie. You choose to let go of the anger and the hate, because ultimately those feelings will never hurt those who hurt you, they will however destroy you. You can forgive someone and that is not saying you are excusing the act or that they should not be held responsible for their actions. Forgiveness is a gift you deserve to give yourself, though it may take a long time, it will lessen the grip that the negative feelings have on you and will release you to embrace the blessings in your life.

I hope this doesn't sound preachy or anything, I think you need to be gentle with yourself, the way your son's birth story played out is beyond my own comprehension and you have every right to be angry and it might take you a LONG time to get to the point of forgiveness, but I do pray that one day you will be able to forgive, not for the irresponsible neglectful person who caused you this pain, but for you. Love you ! I am so sorry you are hurting and I pray that very soon God will grant you the desires of your heart. I am here for you if you need ANYTHING at all!

Now, I am here to tell you that I firmly believe every word of that comment I left for her, and yet as I examine my own life I have found an area where I too have been unwilling to forgive. I have been a hypocrite. As humans it really does feel like forgiveness is saying "it's okay." or "the wrong thing you did has been forgotten" and that is just not so. Forgiveness does not make the offense go away. It doesn't suddenly make the person who did wrong not guilty. It frees us. It unties us from the anger and hate that will ultimately only bring us down.

So as I think of my own life, I have struggled to be able to forgive my mother. She took her own life in 1988, I was nine years old. She made a choice that affected my family in a way that has been devastating and I have held onto the anger for a long long time. I have been unwilling to forgive because no matter what, no matter how bad things were, no matter how sick she was, what she did changed the course of MY life and the lives of my family in ways I never imagined and that is just not ok. Her act, in my mind is not excusable. Though my story is hugely different from my friend I spoke of at the beginning of this post, I have also struggled with forgiving and continue to. I have felt that forgiving my mom meant that I was condoning what she did and I could never do that.

So, I am making the choice to forgive today. I am letting go of the anger that brings me down. I will never ever say that what my mother did is ok. I am just not going to let it tie me to her with anger and hate. Now this is not to say that ok, today I make this choice and suddenly like waving a magic wand and the hurt and anger are gone. I expect that this like many of my other hurts is something I am going to have to lay down at the foot of the cross regularly. I am just going to have to give it to God. Those feelings I expect are going to sneak back in and when they do I am going to have to just hand them over. The bottom line is that we have been forgiven and God expects us to also forgive. He understands our hurts and he wants to comfort us but we have to be willing to hand it all over to Him to allow him to heal us. Forgiveness is a gift we need to give ourselves.

Is there someone in your life that you have been unable or unwilling to forgive? If so, give this some thought. I will be glad to pray with you or for you as you walk the path to forgiveness. It is a freeing feeling

Monday, May 18, 2009

Daddy's Little Girl's Room

So here it is! So many of you have "patiently" waited to see the pictures of our baby girl's nursery. I figured since we are in the final countdown it was time to share even though things are not quite perfect yet.
I have to say that in person the room is not quite so LOUD. It is a small room but it is so FUN! I had picked out the bedding and Howard just ran with the colors I wanted to use. He really did a great job on her room. I wil post more pictures when we put the finishing touches on, but I figured this would hold the "hate email" off for now :-)
We are just so excited for this new blessing. Thank you all for joining us on this journey!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Struggle With Contentment

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."Hebrews 13:4-6

It has been a while since I have really sat down and blogged. I have posted updates or prayer requests but when it comes to the nitty gritty, I have been lacking in words. In some ways I think I have been in kind of a funk and in some ways maybe I have allowed myself to become a little complacent. I have been struggling with many things like the idea of prayer, church, and if I am being honest, envy.

For a long time now when we are out in public I look at a family and wonder what their story is. I imagine that they have lived a life far easier than my own (though I am very aware that things are not always what they seem), I see a family FULL of kids and wish so badly that each of my children were here with me. Sometimes I get so angry when I am so often asked "is this your first pregnancy?" and I reply with "no, it is my fifth.". I always say it is my fifth, I never sugar coat the truth. Our story is what it is. This is my fifth pregnancy, but when I think about it, it ticks me off that though I have been pregnant nearly constantly for the past six years, I have only two living children. It just doesn't set well with me. I think for quite sometime I have felt these feelings of entitlement. I went through pregnancy and so I deserve a baby. I deserve to have all of my children here in my home.

In the past few weeks I have really tried to do some searching and praying and am finding a huge change taking place in my heart. I am still not sure that I will ever be "ok" with the idea that I will never again hold Isaac or Asher this side of Heaven. It still makes no sense to me and just doesn't seem right.

The impending arrival of their baby sister has gotten me thinking even more. My heart goes back and forth between fear of losing another child, and extreme excitement at the idea of bringing her home. I do not believe I am pessimistic, just realistic. My reality is that of four pregnancies, I brought home two babies and, two babies went Home. That makes my record 50/50. I have learned not to take a single moment of pregnancy for granted. Not one ultrasound or heartbeat has been taken lightly. I am keenly aware of the miracle that is going on within by body and of all of the lessons the Lord has taught me through Isaac and Asher.

What I have been feeling the Lord trying to teach me these days is contentment. As I have said, I still struggle without two of my boys here and I don't for one minute pretend to like or understand why they were taken from me so soon, but because I know God's word is true, I also know his plan is good. I know that through all of it he has never left me or forsaken me even though at times it has felt like it.

He is teaching me not to long for the lives I see others living, but to be content with the life he has given ME. He chose me to be the mommy of Luke, Isaac, Ben, Asher and this baby girl. It has not been an easy path, but I AM blessed. If I had it to do over I would do it all in a minute because the love I have known because of each of those babies far outweighs the heartache of saying good bye. I am learning to let go of some of the anger and sadness and embrace my life for what it is. There are some things we just have NO control over, we must just accept them and do the best we can. That is all I can do. I must be content with what I have.

Yesterday we had another ultrasound. I still held my breath as the technician moved that wand across my belly, yet the tears streaming down my face were tears of joy as I gazed upon the miracle of the little gymnast moving about. She still did NOT allow for any photos, but this time it was because she would not stay still. We got to see her yawn and suck her hand and move about and it was just amazing to see the work the Lord has done over the past nine months. She shook her head and wiggled her feet and allowed for a firm confirmation that she is indeed a SHE. The technician said that her head was very low and difficult to measure but that everything looked right on track. She is weighing in at 6lb 11 oz give or take a half a pound. Her heart is beating perfectly and she is practice breathing regularly. She really could choose to arrive at anytime now.

We left that appointment and Howard and I went to dinner (since we already had a sitter and knew these moments would be few and far between all too soon) and as we sat there talking we could not stop talking about what it would be like to have a newborn at home again and how we thought the boys would react. We laughed and reminisced about bringing home Luke and then Ben. We talked about how neat it would be to bring this baby girl home to four brothers and how spoiled she is going to be. We are pretty sure she will NEVER get put down, and we are really ok with that!

And last night as I walked past the nursery door and saw her room for the millionth time it sunk in. For too long now it has all seemed too surreal, and suddenly last night as I gazed into that perfect girly room, I was able to envision a sweet baby sleeping beneath her name on the wall (which we left space for but is NOT there yet because we must meet her before naming her, though we do have a good idea), I saw myself standing at the changing table folding cloth diapers and listening to her coo while I put them away.

The Lord makes each of our children just as He sees fit. Some have red hair, some blonde, some have blue eyes and some brown, some have hot tempers, while others are mild mannered. Some have developmental delays, and some have physical impairments. Some are meant to stay for a long time, and others only a moment. He trusts these children, His children to us as gifts. They are not ours, but His and they each bless us in a different way and take up residence in a different part of our hearts we never knew existed. Even the children who are only with us briefly bless us with immense gifts that will never be erased or forgotten. One doesn't replace another and each one is as valuable as the next. I have been blessed FIVE times. I am still trying to wrap my mind around that and find contentment with the blessings He has bestowed upon me even when there is pain intertwined with the joy. I am learning that feeling joy for the NEW thing the Lord is doing in my life does not replace the loss that I feel daily.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pray for the Freemans

This morning my mother-in-law took Luke and Ben so that I could have some quiet time. I haven't been feeling so great (I promise it isn't the Swine Flu) and I welcomed the break. I got them ready and sent them on their way (next door). I then sat down to breakfast and a cup of tea, opened my computer and began checking email and blogs. For many months now after a sweet email from her Daddy, I have been blessed to check daily on miracle baby, Kayleigh Freeman.

She defied more odds than anyone expected and accomplished so much in her time here on earth. This morning as I did my daily check, my heart stopped when I saw the post at the top of the page. Kayleigh has been fighting hard lately and last night her precious little body had had enough and she was welcomed Home. We know in our heads that for Kayleigh, this is a joyful occasion, she no longer has to fight. She is now in the presence of the Great Physician and she is healed and whole and happy.

We also know all too well though that the family that loved her in the most amazing ways is hurting. They rejoice for her healing, yet their arms ache to hold her again. This is not a road that anyone ever wishes to walk, and I am so heartbroken to know that they came home without their sweet girl. The Lord certainly hand picked them as her family. They have loved without limits or reservation. I have gone to their site and found my faith renewed on days I needed it.

Please pray for this amazing family and visit their blog to meet their sweet Kayleigh. I assure you, you will be blessed!

I could be wrong, but I also believe that the Freemans will be on the show The Doctors tomorrow morning. Check your local listings. I know here it is on at 9 am and we will be watching!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day

Well, last year I shared some of my thoughts of my own mother on mothers day here. I would like to say I am at a better place with all of that but I cannot say that just yet. I am working on some things, but Mother's day still remains a day that brings stinging tears to my eyes and a sickness to my gut. ( It seems kind of a pointless day that just alienates those who are missing mothers or those who are missing children. I mean why not celebrate motherhood on your children's birth dates, the dates you became a mother rather than some arbitrary day in May?) OK sorry that was my rant.

I have much to be thankful for. I am very certain of this and I assure you that I am very aware of how blessed I am. For some reason I just really still struggle with Mother's day. I have since 1988 and am pretty sure I always will. I will never forget the Mother's Days in school where all of the kids made projects for their moms and I got taken aside to do an "alternate" project for my dad or my grandma. It always made me feel so much worse. I know the teachers were trying to be sensitive to my situation, but the whole thing just stunk. My heart would always sink as those project dates drew near.

These days I no longer am in grade school, but have similar feelings still. Even as I sit with my own boys and create mother's day projects for grandmas. I think about how they will never know my mom. How they were cheated out of a grandmother. Cemetery visits should NOT have to be part of a Mother's Day celebration and in my life, for too long they have been.

I also think about the two boys I wish would be here to jump on the bed in the morning and cover me with sloppy kisses wishing me a happy Mother's day. There will be two boys who do that and for that I am so grateful, but there will still be two missing and their absence is felt very tangibly on days like Mother's Day.

This Mother's day I am still without a mother, I am the mother of FIVE children. Two in Heaven, two on earth, and one still growing inside my womb. There is a lot of hurt for me that comes with Mother's Day, but also joy. Joy that I have gotten to be the mother of five children. Joy that some women only dream of.

I think sometimes on Mother's Day we celebrate moms and what it means to be a mom, but I think we also forget, that for many this day opens wounds and stings an already broken heart. There are so many people out there who are motherless, and so many mothers who are childless. I will be spending some time tonight and tomorrow praying for those very hearts, and I ask that if you feel led you would join me. If you have a hurt or prayer request this Mother's Day, I would be so honored to pray for you specifically as I pray for the brokenhearted. You can leave a comment here or email me at and I will surely spend time in prayer for your heart as I am so keenly aware of the hurt this day can stir up. But as aware as I am of that hurt, I am equally aware of the comfort that our Lord can and will bring and I will be praying for that comfort for each of the hearts hurting this Mother's Day. The Lord has been so good to me and has comforted my aching heart and I want Him to be able to do the same for you!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A More Serious Note

It is true, over the past week, we have celebrated our baby girl, accepted many sweet gifts for her, prepared her room and even went so far as to purchase her car seat. We have been letting go of fear and embracing the hope that comes with the idea of bringing home a healthy baby.

As most of you know yesterday I was supposed to return to Pittsburgh for another scan before the baby comes. In all honesty the idea of the road trip was daunting to me. I had to find a sitter for the boys for the day, and find someone once again to take me since we are on only one vehicle and Howard needed it to get to work. Now, don't misunderstand me, we had several offers for help, I am always amazed at how many dear people are willing to help us out anytime we need it. It was more than that though. I had given it much thought and really just wasn't sure it was worth all of the effort and energy it would cost our little family.

So, on Monday when I saw my doctor here, I asked if he thought it was still necessary. He listened to baby girl's heartbeat, said the word "perfect" and looked at me and said. No. He said that he would still like to do another growth scan but that I could just do it there in the office next week if that would be easier. I felt relieved and agreed to the ultrasound next Tuesday. He said that he did not expect to see anything we hadn't already seen and that I should call the moment I have a concern about her movement or anything at all and he was off to deliver another baby.

We went right from that appointment to Babies R Us to get our car seat so that we can bring our sweet baby home. This simple act was a huge leap of faith for us. We were putting it off for quite a while and thanks to the doctors response and the gift cards we received at our shower, we no longer had any excuse not to do it.

Then yesterday hit, and my mind started to become overwhelmed by lies and doubt. The baby was less active, yet still meeting her requirements for kick counts. Every what if ran through my mind, fear began creeping back in. The thought that because I chose to skip this ultrasound my baby might suffer something unseen kept coming into view. I called the doctor. He assured me that if she was moving at least ten times an hour that she was likely fine but that if I would feel better to come in and sit on the monitors for a while he would be glad to put my mind at ease. I knew she was fine. I knew I had to take a stand against these lies, fears and doubts and so I glanced around the house at the Bible verses strategically placed for such times, I repeated a few and I just began to clean. :-) Cleaning is my therapy. I LOVE a clean house.

So, friends, we are in the home stretch. My c section is scheduled for June 3. That is at this point about a month away and if my track record holds true, she may come before that date as the furthest I ever made it in pregnancy was with Ben at 37 weeks. Things are going well. We are so excited and praising the Lord for each day he grants us with each of our children. We are blessed. We covet your prayers right now as we are still fighting against fear. Thank you all for continuing to love us and pray for us. We can't wait to introduce you to the newest Bolte Baby!

Gloria and Me

Just so you all is a running joke in our house that I look like Gloria the Hippo. My kids are IN LOVE with Madagascar 2 and one day my Mother In Law, made the connection when she picked up a Gloria figure up of the floor. She was not being mean...just trying to be funny, though at the time I remember my eyes getting big in disbelief that she had the nerve to liken me to the hippo aloud. :-)

Also...because we have seen this movie more than anyone should, my sweet husband has developed a fondness for Moto Moto the Hippo love interest of Gloria. He loves to quote Moto Moto from the movie. It is all just a joke and all in fun. (if you are unfamiliar with the movie, go to YouTube and type in Moto Moto it is hilarious) goal of the pictures wasn't to get you all to compliment me, though thank you for doing so, at 35 weeks a few nice comments are certainly welcome. I am actually one of the few who really likes her pregnant self. I am actually MORE confident as a pregnant lady than not. I am amazed by what my body can do and how FAR it can stretch. I am no hurry for it to be over.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009