December 13

7 years ago yesterday, sweet Lucy came into this world weighing 2 pounds 8.5 ounces, and she measured all of 14" long.  While that in itself was crazy, the time surrounding her birth was even more so. 

7 years ago today was a crazy day. Not only did we have a 2 pound baby that I hadn't seen { and had put out of mind because I honestly didn't want to think about her}, but my BP was still sky rocketing, I was still gaining fluid, & there were concerns about my kidneys (output) now from liver issues from HELLP.  I'll never forget the nurse that was with me from the minute I checked in,Suzanne. She was whispering how good my baby would do. She assured me of the loving nurses & the tiniest diapers in the NICU. And she made sure I was okay the next day also. Everyone was getting loud, and my blood pressure was off again. For a few minutes after she got everyone out of my room, Suzanne was going on break. She left me with Glenda. The last thing I remember was joking with Glenda about Wicked. I felt funny & tried to call for my sister. I had a fairly dramatic seizure after my family had been sent out & Glenda was filling in for Suzanne, & only my sister was there. All of the call buttons were broken, there was now blood on my pillows, & Luke was locked out of L&D. Thankfully, I had been left in the first room by the nurses station, and it was for this reason.

The room was soon flooded with specialist & nurses & doctors. I've been told it was like a scene on House. The specialist went around asking who was who & why they were in the room. They went over what had been done & what was going to happen next. I was without oxygen for some time. Luke was later taken into the hallway by my OBGYN to discuss the unknown on how much brain damage I would have. I don't remember waking. But I know that I woke knowing what had happened & who everyone was & why I was there; brain scan cancelled.

The first specialist that I remember coming to see me after the seizure said one thing as he sat on the bed. He said he just wanted me to know first that nothing that happened meant I couldn't have more kids. He then went into what happened and what could have happened. Every doctor told me what could have happened. They also said they had no clue why I didn't have this with baby #1-- that it's not normal to get HELLP with the 2nd baby having the same father, and progressing so quickly and to eclampsia. 

We were going to attempt to walk and take out catheters and all that fun stuff Wednesday, but I mentally wasn't ready.  This also meant I could not wheel down to see Lucy.  I think I might have done half of it Wednesday, but my body wasn't up to much. By Thursday, I had laid in complete silence for about a day. When the TV was on, my mind would race. When it was off, I couldn't shut my eyes. I thought for sure another seizure was coming on. I tried the best I could to just not think. I remember that my pastor had stopped by, I had gotten up to walk, the medicine ( whatever it was) was strong, because I felt nothing when I got up. {And I had participated in that FIRST STAND & WALK after a cesarean with Landon. It is NOT fun. It is actually why I cried " I can't ever do this again" in the shower in the hospital after Landon.}  And even after a long seizure, no incision pain. I told my pastor I was fine and feeling great. I was going to change rooms and I was going to see Lucy!

I was wheeled by Lucy's bed, got to touch her and see her for the first time. This probably did not last long. This was not the pamper's baby on TV. I was hot and dizzy. I just needed to get back into a bed. But once again, nothing could calm my racing mind. I still hadn't lost weight, and my output was still bad. My head hurt, and my tongue hurt from biting it;  I'd turn on the tv and the room would spin & everything was out of control. We'd turn it off and my mind would race, and all the 'could haves' would circle in my head. I'd see that tiny red unformed baby. Then my dizziness would feel just like it did before my seizure, and I just knew it was going to happen again. It wouldn't stop,and at that moment I knew that I couldn't last another minute feeling this way. I don't remember everything, but I know we had an issue with a Doctor that was on call telling me I needed to stay away from medicine. I also had a nurse in my room crying with me because she felt my anxiety. I finally got some medicine and some calm.

This whole delivery caused immediate anxiety attacks, medicines, depression, more anxiety, panic,& some form of ptsd.The first 2 years of Lucy's life changed me as a person. There was so much fear & guilt, & I certainly did not handle our tiny situation as well as I've seen others react in worse.

I was so afraid of what might happen & how people would treat my baby if she wasn't 'normal'. It wasn't her fault, & I was already feeling like I failed my baby 10 weeks before she should have already been born. 

I said last year on her birthday that if someone could have shown me 6 years ago Lucy opening a new pair of ( WHITE & FURRY!! OM GOODNESS I WANTED THOSE SO BAD!!!) ice skates, walking onto that lesson like she owned the rink, & passing 2 ice skating levels on her 6th birthday, I never would have believed it! To think of all my fears and worries about this sweet girl, and to know that she is exactly who she was created to be. I'm so proud of her. I'm so happy for her. And we love her so much! She's passed some big odds, & she's amazing.

She wasn't named Lucy because of her birthday--clearly because she was due to arrive February 22,2011-- but December 13 it St. Lucy's day. There are many different stories and myths surrounding St Lucy, but most of them point to her being an example to serve others and using our time and talents to carry the light of Christ to to others in their time of need.  One thing Lucy's birth and life have taught us is how to help others.  One small thing Lucy does every year is take receiving blankets to her NICU. We try to offer just a small glimmer of hope to those parents sitting in that NICU spending their first Christmas somewhere they never planned to be.  The name Lucy means light. We pray that she is always a light to those in need. 

And to those still going through the trenches with development & behavior & eating, just know you're not alone. I'll listen and cry with you.

So now we move on. We have gotten past all 3 birthdays! We will celebrate Landon & Lucy Saturday, and then move on to Christmas!



It's November! In case you didn't know, it is Prematurity Awareness Month. World Prematurity Day is November 17th, and that is a day where buildings are lit purple, and people come together to talk numbers--celebrating and heartbroken-- trying to do all we can to make sure every baby is born healthy. I posted about this same time last year, if you missed it, you can read it by clicking here.

In the year since I posted last year we have been submerged in ALL THINGS purple, mixed in with 4 kids, foster care visits in Memphis, sometimes 5 kids, jobs, school, a garden, and the rest of life.

 In November went downtown and hung out with some March of Dimes folks on World Prematurity Day.

I agreed to be on the Family Team Committee again, and we were asked to be the Ambassador Family for the March for Babies. Then, in February, we spoke at the kickoff breakfast for the March for Babies.
We did a radio interview later in March with Mix 92.9 .The March for Babies was scheduled for April 22, but there was the craziest thunder and wind and storm ever. So, it had to be postponed =( To say we were upset would be an understatement.  We rallied our troops who had come in from Florida and Kentucky, and snuck to the walking bridge , AKA "Lucy's Bridge" in our house, to snap a few photos before the downpours came back.
We had planned on going to Party Fowl afterward ( they always do a big fundraiser for us in March), but it was no longer morning, and the timing was bad, so we took a drive to calm our broken hearts & went to Loveless.
I think Luke was the only one of us who had been there before! I guess for anyone looking in, the walk being postponed wasn't a big deal. But anyone who is associated with the March of Dimes has been affected by either a pre-term baby or the death of a baby.  There are so many families that show up to walk, and so many teams that have all their support there with them. It's a big deal. It's babies. It's loved ones. And there are always tears.  I love seeing everyone's t-shirts at the walk. You start walking behind moms and dads who no longer have their babies, and you see so many people there in support. I felt heartbroken for them. This was their day to remember together, and to share their hearts and stories with everyone else. 

We did all have on matching shirts at Loveless, so we did get to speak to plenty of people about the walk! I loved our shirts this year! Our friend Kat designed them, and they were so cute! We had a few more Team sponsors this year, so a back was something new and fun for us.

After we had spoken at the kickoff breakfast in February, we were asked if we would also like to be the ambassador family for the Auction they have as a fundraiser each year in September. We agreed! And instead of talking, we just filmed a video at the house that they would play at the auction. Teary-eyed, raw story of Lucy's birth to be on film. AND something happened to the files from the first time, so we got to do it twice. ;)
I'll try to add the link here: Ambassador Family Video

 In June I met up with Marissa at Kendra Scott to talk about some jewelry they were donating, and they gave me jewelry to wear at the action itself! We also discussed having a fundraiser for Team Lucy Loo, and got the planning for that going. We also went to the Auction Preview Party in June--where I went ahead and wore my jewelry-- and we got to meet some of the chefs and taste their food.
Luke and I had a great time!
Next, because we literally never stop, was the March On Celebration. It was our do-over day from the rain out in April.

Lucy gave me a purple lei in honor of  the journey we took with her.

I gave Jennifer a white lei in honor of her Peyton Louise.

Next up was August. We stopped in Macy's one day while they did their Shop For a Cause. Can you tell some of us were in the middle of that week long stomach bug? We didn't touch anything or breathe on anyone, just wanted to say Thanks for what they do.

Also in August, we took part in a fundraiser with Kendra Scott. Lucy got to go in a few weeks before the event, and design 2 pieces. She even got to keep her necklace she designed! The night of the event was so fun, and we had friends show up in support , family call and place orders, and raised a good amount for a short night!

How adorable?

Seriously SO beautiful! 

And then that brings us up to September, where we got to attend the fabulous March of Dimes Signature Auction. We had a table of 10 to fill-- thankfully the kids were asked to attend! My friend Amanda came in from Kentucky to go with us when everything else fell through. She helped get the girls ready, went to the auction, and then drove back home. #friendoftheyear

Lucy got to walk around and pass out Thank You cards she had written to the top donors. The amount to match on the card was what she raised at the Kendra Scott event. Then later on she got to help the auctioneer. He might have used her to his advantage.  Who could say no to Lucy?

The lady behind the auction!

So, here we are in November. Prematurity Awareness Month. I'm FAIRLY CERTAIN all of my friends know about prematurity, and how much it has touched our lives, and how we want to help make a change. 

For the past 6 years, we have delivered gifts to Lucy's NICU. We started out sewing tiny hats from onesies, and shortly moved to blankets. The blankets are either embroidered or they have a vinyl tag that says Lucy's Love.  
My mind is literally so tired from thinking about all of these events from the last year, so feel free to look back at all of Lucy's NICU gift photos on the link above. I'll just add last year's picture below.I know she's delivered over 150 gifts, & she loves to do it. My mom has donated enough ziplock bags for us, and a friend sent some blankets from Texas today! 
Please let us know if you'd like to help us give a little of Lucy's Love to some sweet families as they spend their first Christmas apart from their baby. We will take any new receiving blankets you'd like to donate for the next 3 weeks. We wash them, iron on a tag, and then fold them into a ziplock bag. We hope to have more this year than we have in the past.

One of the blankets last year.

2016 delivering


Kendra Gives Back

I've been posting on social media about the Kendra Scott fundraiser event that we are helping out with. As you know,we were this year's Ambassador Family for the March for Babies ( I will post an update on that later in the week).

Lauren at March of Dimes asked us if we would also be the Ambassador Family for their amazing Signature Chefs Auction in September. We happily said yes!
One of their donors for the auction--Kendra Scott-- mentioned that they wanted to provide me with some jewelry to wear to the event, so we all met up at the Kendra Scott in Green Hills one day this summer. I thought I was just picking out some jewelry to wear, and then I'd hand it back over. After they discussed the auction and details for some other events, the fabulous Marissa showed me all around the store. The summer line is full of BEACHY designs --shells, coral, bright summer colors, and everything I love about summer. I also love big earrings. So, of course, I loved the Aviana Statement earrings and found the Candice cuff bracelet as well.
And then I was completely shocked when Marissa said she'd just go ahead and put them in a bag for me to take home! Amazing. Y'all , in 2016 this company gave back over $3.5M and donated more than 75,000 pieces of jewelry to 3,500 local and national organizations. This is philanthropy.

So how does this tie into a fundraiser? Great question , thanks for asking! While we were at the store we discussed our family hosting a Kendra Gives Back event at the store. Everyone knows how much the NICU and March of Dimes is connected to our family. I'm sure you get tired of hearing about it. ;) But we know just how fortunate we were in our journey, and we know every story is not like ours. I've made it part of our mission to do everything we can to ensure families don't have to go through what so many have had to do. So, we decided that we would host a #kendragivesback event. We pick a date, invite friends, show up for some drinks and snacks and shopping , and Kendra Scott gives back 20% of purchases to the March of Dimes Tennessee chapter. Easy peasy . Oh but I forgot one more thing. Lucy got to go to the store and design a piece that will be on sale that night also! She absolutely was in heaven. She would have sat at the color bar all day long. Since her piece will be a special featured necklace, I tried to sway her away from the necklace she wanted to pattern with blue, turquoise, red, and pink stones.

Lucy did a fabulous job designing a piece, and Marissa said we could just go ahead and do 2 pieces-- a long and a short necklace.

This is the shorter one. It is SO pretty. If you were to go to the color Bar and design this yourself, it is The Mabel necklace in gold with iridescent drusy. Now since her little eyes fell in love with the iridescent drusy versus just a color stone, it added a few dollars onto this design.  It is pulled back on her and on the shortest link ( the website says it is a 16" chain with 2" extender). This design is $60. 
And then of course she wanted that drusy again on the longer one, but also just loves the rose quartz. She is obsessed with the color rose quartz now.
If you were to make one like this at the color bar, it is the  Tomon y-necklace in gold with rose quartz and iridescent drusy. It is a sliding adjustable length, and the middle piece drops 5".This one is $85. I'm adding a photo of me wearing this one,  and please ignore my facial expression. I was just trying to get a photo of my earrings, cuff, and this necklace as I was running out the door to church. Saturday was a long, hard day; I clearly need more sleep or better concealer. But, it's all for the babies ;)
So , what can you do? Come see us on August 16th between 6 & 8 pm! We will be at the Green Hills Kendra Scott, raising some money for the babies! You can purchase one of Lucy's personal designs. And if your wallet isn't as big as this 6 year old's taste, you can design your own piece or shop for something else. There is something for every girl in your life, even nail polish. The fall line is coming out this week also, and it is all inspired by Italy.

 If you can't make it to the store, you can still help. You can call the store anytime during the day ( preferably 6-8 PM CST), and you can place an order. 20% of EVERYTHING purchased during those hours at the store will be given to March of Dimes.
The event will be Lucy themed and she will be thrilled to see you there!
 Feel free to just stop in and say hello.

And thank you to Kendra Scott for giving back and doing good.
Please call or message us if you have any questions on the event, and we can't wait to see you on the 16th!