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Hello!

Writing a blog has always been something I have been interested in but I wasn’t sure if I had anything worth reading about so I stuck to keeping a journal. That was until this past year changed my life drastically and I felt compelled to share my story and my continuing journey publicly. I am so excited to enter the blogging world and make connections with others who feel like they can relate to my life in some way.

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Thank you for visiting my blog!

Melissa

What’s in a Name?

Throwback Thursday – Life before LCA.

Naming your baby is one of the first big decisions you will make for your child.

A lot of people have names picked out for their future kids at a young age. Something from a book or a movie, someone they look up to, or just a name they heard that stuck with them.

I had several names that I liked over the years but never really one specific name that I knew I wanted to name my children. It actually took quite a while during my pregnancies to decide on their names. But I wasn’t the type to wait and see what I felt fit when the baby was born. I’m way too indecisive for that, my children would have been nameless for months.

I had thought I settled on a boy name I really liked before we found out that Charlotte was a girl but then it became the most popular boy name around. And when I found out I was having a boy for my third I just couldn’t imagine having my son be the 7th Noah in his classroom every year haha. So we were back to square one. Except this time I did have a specific name I wanted to include, two actually.

Photo from my maternity pictures laying on my back with a baby hat that says "Timothy" laying on my pregnant belly.
Timothy Edward.

Something I haven’t talked about much on here before is the fact that I have lost two of my brothers. Eddie in 2010 and Tim in 2017. So finding out we were having the first grandson in the family was emotional for many reasons, and it was important to me to honor the memory of my brothers in someway.

James and I spent months going over hundreds and hundreds of baby boy names. All while trying to accommodate two middle names. Mixing and matching names to figure out what order flowed the best and what went with our last name (not a lot does – trust me) but we could never agree on one that felt right.

Then one day the thought came to me to just skip an original first name altogether and use one of my brothers’ names as his first name and one as his middle name. It was an emotional choice. Something I felt the pull to do as the loss of my brothers has shaped my life in so many ways. I also really wanted to keep the names together because it didn’t feel right to have one without the other. It was something I tried out in my head for a few weeks and kept to myself until I was sure I wanted to bring it up as an idea. I mean was James really going to say no to something that sentimental and meaningful? Of course not (there is also some sort of batman connection to the name he liked haha) but I was still nervous because I wanted him to feel like that was the right name for our son.

Once I felt like it was the only name I could truly think of using I decided to bring it up and luckily James agreed that it felt like the perfect fit. We also decided out of respect we would ask my immediate family how they felt about it because we wanted it to be a nice way to remember my brothers and not a constant painful reminder of their loss. Everyone was on board and it made welcoming the first grandson even more special and emotional.

Now everyday I get to remember two people I love deeply through my little boy who is the most special person I’ve ever met.

It was the first big decision we were making for our baby and it was made out of immense love. I can’t wait until the day I can tell him all about the two uncles he got his name from.

Photo collage. Left photo is of my brother Eddie. Middle photo is of my son Timothy Edward. Right photo is of my brother Tim.
Eddie – Timothy Edward – Tim

We love and miss you Tim & Ed.

Our Baby Boy

Throwback Thursday – Life before LCA.

We decided on three kids early on. We also decided we wanted to try to not make the end of the year anymore expensive than it already was so we’d aim for a spring baby this time haha.

The plan was to try from August to November and if it didn’t happen then we’d wait till the next year. But on August 21 2018 I decided to take a pregnancy test I had at home. I don’t know why I chose to, I hadn’t missed my period yet and I wasn’t feeling any sort of way. I just took it one evening after dinner. And it was positive.

I wasn’t shocked exactly but I was surprised. I didn’t really have the feeling I was pregnant that I had with my girls.  So I went downstairs where James was playing with 8 month old Charlotte and tossed him the test. Baby number three was on it’s way.

Photo of a card. The top is a picture of Hailey and Charlotte. The bottom reads "Hailey and Charlotte. Big sisters to be. To baby number three.".
Announcing our pregnancy.

The nausea hit pretty quickly but luckily it was mild compared to how I felt with Charlotte. The baby bump though? That hit even quicker. By number three my body just assumed position.

At my first ultrasound I was dated to be due on May 2nd. A true spring baby. But anxiety of Charlotte’s early delivery had me doing the math to be prepared for a baby at the end of March.

I was high risk this time due to my eventful second pregnancy and since it would be just under 18 months since my emergency c-section, I decided I would schedule a c-section this time.

I was followed earlier and more often by the same high risk OB as before but she said she felt my energy was different this time and that it would be a smoother road. And it was for the most part.

At 16 weeks I decided to sneak away during my lunch break at work to go for a early scan to find out the sex of the baby. I knew James would be happy either way but I also knew having a boy for our last baby would be the cherry on top. I had a feeling it was a boy but I couldn’t cling to it because there were no boy’s in this generation of our family. We have two girls, and 7 nieces between us. So when the ultrasound tech found it was a boy I was elated. We were having a son, and the first grandson on either side.

That night I gifted James a little newborn varsity jacket and baby size football. He couldn’t wait for his baby boy.

photo of a blue backdrop with a blue and white newborn varsity jacket that has an ultrasound picture laying on top of it. Under the jacket is a baby sized football.
It’s a Boy.

After that things were pretty calm for a while. We started to plan his room theme, Batman, and we picked out his name. It was a nice change of pace from my second pregnancy. But I still had that anxiety in the back of my mind about an early delivery.

As I started getting closer to the end I noticed I felt a lot heavier this time. My belly was bordering on painful to carry around. It was low and massive. I was measuring 7 weeks ahead by fundal height. So off to another ultrasound, the one where I figured the other shoe would drop.

But it came back all good. I had a big baby in there (no surprise as Charlotte was too) and my fluid level was teetering on polyhydraminos (too much amniotic fluid) but not over the cusp where worry should set in…but it did. The extra fluid and the heavy baby had me having contractions on and off almost daily when I was still only 30ish weeks along. I tried to remain positive that I would make it to at least 37 weeks, my personal goal, but I also prepared not to.

Then on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) at 33 weeks and 3 days the contractions became increasingly painful and weren’t letting up. I knew they weren’t Braxton hicks (practice contractions) and I was terrified. That was 2 weeks more premature than Charlotte. I went to L&D still hoping to be told I’m fine go home. But I wasn’t told that. I was dilating and contracting somewhat regularly, I was in preterm labor. They told me I would be going for my c-section that day but they also decided to try a medication to slow contractions. Over 32 weeks this medication doesn’t always work but we figured it was worth a shot. And it was, as it slowed things down enough to have them cancel the c-section and just admit me overnight for monitoring.

3D Ultrasound photo of Timothy's face two weeks before he was born.
Timothy the Tank.

Things stayed calm and I even got to have a 3D scan of my cute chunky little man before I was sent home where the ultrasound tech affectionately gave him the nickname “Timothy the tank” haha. He was weighing an estimated 7 pounds already which is what they suspected was putting me into early labor.

My OB decided we should just accept the fact he was probably making an earlier than anticipated entrance (definitely wouldn’t be making my scheduled c-section for April 24th) and that maybe I wanted to consider a new birth plan just in case. Choosing to try a vaginal delivery would maybe buy us more time, even in hours, if we went into preterm labor again.

I wasn’t sure as I was scared from things I had read about trying to have a vaginal delivery less than 18 months after a c-section but the idea of an easier recovery and most importantly the chance to actually hold my baby before he was whisked off to the NICU was appealing to me. James and I discussed the idea and concluded that I would decide if I wanted to try in the moment.

We also decided to move our maternity photos up a couple weeks, just in case. We moved them up to March 30th. I would be 35 weeks and 2 days then, and I had Charlotte at 35 weeks and 3 days. So it felt safe.

Photo from our maternity shoot. James and I are standing beside each other with a hand on my belly. Hailey and Charlotte are holding hands and walking towards us.
Family of Four.

I never did maternity photos with my other kids but it was a request I had for my last baby. I wanted to have them to remember that time. The day was really fun, I did my hair and make up, I got the girls all cute, and we went to the park and captured this special time in our lives. There were some jokes that the walking was going to put me into labor but I was feeling really good, no contractions, just enjoying time with my family of 4. Until we got back home…

Around 6 in the evening the contractions started again. Like St.Patrick’s Day but stronger. I got myself into a warm bath trying to ease the discomfort but I knew it was time. Although I was trying to convince James that it wasn’t, I wasn’t ready yet, I didn’t want to face the NICU again, it couldn’t be time. But my contractions were coming every 4 to 5 minutes and were intense. So we called my sister to come over for the girls, and headed to the hospital.

When I got there I was 4 cm and they knew there was no stopping it this time. And as discussed, in the moment I decided to ask if I could try to deliver without a c-section. As long as I could get an epidural because OUCH. I was told they actually prefer that with VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) in case it needs to become a c-section urgently so we signed the papers agreeing to the plan. And moved into L&D.

An added benefit of not having a surgery was that I could have two people in the delivery room with me. So we called my mom, who was fairly bummed she wasn’t going to be there, and had her join. My mom has been there for all of my deliveries.

Labor hurts a lot, in case no one has told you that. And due to a busy night on the ward I was waiting hours for my epidural, at which point I really regretted my choice (if I had a c-section he would be out by now!). But eventually it was my turn and after missing it twice (not a fun feeling) he got it in place and I could finally breathe a little. The hours ticked by, and after 2 am the Doctor came in to check me. She said I was about an 8 but if she popped my water it might help things along. Alright. She broke my water and started to leave the room but had to turn right back around, it was time to push.

I had only begun pushing when there started to be some heart deceleration’s in Timothy. They told me if I didn’t get him out in the next two pushes we might need to consider switching to a c-section. No way was that happening. I did not go through these last several hours of pain just to end up with a c-section still. And so I did it. I got him out in 8 minutes of pushing and behind him a tidal wave of extra fluid (RIP to James’ shoes haha).

And then I finally got to hold my baby boy. Born on March 31st 2019 at 2:43 am. At 35 weeks and 3 days just like Charlotte, and weighing 6 lbs 10 oz just like Hailey. He was perfect. He is perfect.

Photo of Melissa holding a newborn Timothy with James smiling down at him beside her.
Meeting our baby boy.

Timothy Edward.

Thank you for reading more about our journey!

Our Blended Family

Throwback Thursday – Life before LCA.

As a young single mother the idea of having to become a blended family was something that scared me.

Will anyone want to date someone who is a mom? Will they accept my child? What will it look like to create a family with someone who isn’t my daughter’s biological parent?

It’s not like being a blended family is something out of the norm these days, almost every person I know comes from a blended family. I even grew up in a blended family technically but since the word “step” was never used in our house it didn’t really feel like it.

I knew the type of relationship we had with my daughter’s biological father would also greatly determine the way our blended family worked. At first I was hoping to have a more modern family where we could all get along and support our daughter together. But unfortunately what I feared would happen, did, and my daughter’s biological father decided to not be a participant in her life very quickly after we were no longer together.

When James and I started dating, my daughter, Hailey, was always a big part of our discussions about our relationship and any of our plans for a future together. Unlike some people I had talked with, James never made me feel like Hailey was some unwanted baggage that came along with me. See he also grew up in a blended family and was raised by his mom and “step-dad” (just dad to him though) which gave him a unique understanding and care about how he handled a relationship with a single mom. He made me feel like getting to know Hailey was a benefit to dating me instead of a burden.

Photo of James holding Hailey on his shoulders they are both smiling at the camera.
James and Hailey.

I remember very clearly the day that Hailey started to call James, “dad”, it was after he attended the Father’s Day celebration at her daycare. He left work early to attend so that she didn’t have to be the only one without a dad to show up. When they got back home after, she kept saying “daddy” over and over again, and it has stuck ever since.

We were engaged and I was expecting our first child together when this took place. We had discussed it before because she would occasionally refer to him as “dad” or “daddy” but it was never consistent. Our biggest worry was that we did not want her to feel like she had to refer to him as that or that she couldn’t refer to him as that if she wanted to. We wanted it to be her choice.

Unfortunately this choice was met with some criticism from people at the time who questioned if it was a good idea for her to be getting too attached to another “dad” but we tried to not let them bother us.

One of the hardest parts of blending a family for me so far has honestly been the opinions from others. Everyone seems to have one and they always feel the need to share them. Why? I’m not sure. I think what works for one family to the next is always going to be individual and without being the people in the actual situation it is unfair to judge the decisions being made.

And so ignoring the noise from others our next big decision came into play a few months later when I experienced a scary event during my pregnancy. I ended up collapsing while I was out on my own and it seemed as if I was having a stroke (I will talk about this more in Charlotte’s pregnancy story). All I really remember from being in the ambulance was thinking about what happens to Hailey if I don’t make it.

Photo from behind of James helping Hailey paint her wall purple in our first place together.
James helping Hailey paint her room.

Well spoiler alert… I made it. But this moment opened my eyes to a fear so big that I couldn’t ignore it. It was unimaginable to me that if something were to ever happen to me, Hailey would be taken from the life she knows, to be forced into a life with someone who left her behind (and was also abusive but that’s a story for another time).

This is when we decided we wanted to make James being “dad” official and we began to pursue a step-parent adoption.

It was A LOT of paperwork. It took 3 months of work leading up to our wedding, and another 3 months of work after our wedding before we had it all submitted to the court. But it was all worth it on August 15 2018 when it became official and Hailey gained the same last name as her family.

A piece of paper saying that James is Hailey’s dad isn’t what we needed to feel like a complete family but it is what we needed to feel like Hailey was safe and protected in any circumstance.  

We know that we have only begun this journey and that there are many things that will come up and many obstacles to be worked through as Hailey gets older as being a blended family never ends but for now we are happy to be in the place we are as a family.

Photo of James and Hailey sitting together smiling taken on the day we got the official adoption letter.
First photo as father and daughter after the adoption was official!

Thank you for reading about our journey!

Acting Our Age

The Balance of being a Young Family.

I’ve been asked a few times how old we are and I usually don’t address it directly because it makes me uncomfortable. It really shouldn’t make me uncomfortable because it really shouldn’t make a difference. But in some ways I guess it does make a difference, hence my post today.

 I had Hailey when I was 19 years old so I am quite used to the judgement from others about how young I am to be living the life that I live. James and I were married at 21 and 23 years old. We had all three kids and even knew about Timothy’s diagnosis before either of us was 25.

The responsibility of raising a family is a great one, a family with three kids even greater, a family with three kids where one has a disability…phew. As you can imagine there is a lot on our plate. Heck it would be a lot on our plate at 35, but admittedly these situations did make us grow up a lot faster than some (let’s be honest…most) of our peers.

Photo at our wedding of James holding Charlotte standing beside me while Hailey stands in front of us.
Our Wedding.

We really don’t mind having to be more grown up. We both wanted and chose this life. Marriage was always in the cards and something we wanted for ourselves. Kids were always a dream of both of ours separately before we were together.

See we didn’t really fit in with others our age who wanted to party and explore their options…if you know what I mean…

Instead we mostly fit in with a more traditional lifestyle.

On our one year wedding anniversary we went to a comedy show and I was heavily pregnant with Timothy (he was born exactly a week after our anniversary). We sat near the front because that’s what was open, and as you can guess we were singled out.  I think he spent more than half of the show teasing us after he nearly died when we told him this was our third kid.

These types of instances have happened a lot over the years. I remember when I was pregnant with Timothy all of the nurses and blood lab technicians seemed so much nicer than before. I later realized they all felt I was now an appropriate age to be having a baby, and I was married, so I was worthy of congratulations. That nice demeanor often disappeared once they asked if he was my first.

“No, he’s actually my third”

“Oh…you sure have your hands full”

Anyone with more than two kids has probably heard that one a million times.

But as much as we love our grown up life, we can’t ignore the fact that our age does occasionally come into play. And what we have learned is that part of the fun in getting married when we were younger is that we do not only get to grow old together but we also get to grow up together.

We have found that having a balance between being Mom and Dad, and being Melissa and James, has made a world of difference in our relationship.

Of course we are Mom and Dad all of the time. But now that our kids are old enough to spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s we make a lot more time to be just Melissa and James.

What this usually looks like for us is a date night where the kids stay over at their grandparents when James is on his off time.  

Taking this night has been such a recharge in our relationship. It gives us the opportunity to connect without interruptions for a snack every two minutes. It gives us the opportunity to have fun as just a couple. And it gives us a moment in time where some of the pressure is off (because having three kids and dealing with a diagnosis is a lot of pressure).

Photo of James smiling sitting at a table with two sample flights of beer in front of him from our trip.
Radium Brewery.

This last rotation we decided to turn that date night into a little more and spent a couple of nights away. We went up to the mountains and went zip lining. We wandered the small town going to breweries and pubs and enjoying each other’s company. We got drunk and went to a karaoke bar.  We even ended the trip with some spontaneous mountain tattoos.

And then we went home, and were back to being Mom and Dad.

There was a point in our relationship where we did not do these types of things. Where date nights were few and far between. And when they’d happen it was rushed so we could get back to the kids.

I always spent a lot of time worrying about what others would think of us for taking time away from our children.

I didn’t want to be seen as the young, immature, irresponsible parents dumping their kids with the grandparents to go have fun. But I realized it doesn’t matter what people think because that is not what we are.

We are the young parents who spend 99% of our time doing whatever is needed for the family.

We are the parents who are constantly working, scheduling appointments, learning new techniques, struggling through delays and service restrictions. We are the parents who are trying to make a comfortable living for our family while still trying to make as many memories as we can together.  We are the parents who put everything we have into our kids.

So I’ve decided its okay that for 1% of the time we want to act our age.

Family photo from July 2020.
Our Family.

As always thank you for reading and keeping up with our family’s journey.

Number Four.

This is not a pregnancy announcement.

This is all I have left.
Photo of a newborn hat that says "future jedi" with a first response pregnancy test on top with 2 dark pink lines
Baby #4

For only two weeks my body was making a home for another baby. A baby we originally never thought we would have. Number four.

And then all of the sudden it was gone. And although I’ve lost others before this, the pain, heartbreak and guilt swallowed me whole.

See I was terrified when I found out I was pregnant. I did this weird mixture of hysterical laughing and bawling.

I had thought I might be pregnant after a random Thursday where I just couldn’t stop crying… but I didn’t actually believe the test would be positive. And so clearly positive, a whole SIX days before my period was even due.

I thought for sure this one was here to stay.

I was too scared to let myself show any excitement. Scared because although we had decided we wanted a fourth it wasn’t supposed to happen yet. Scared because I knew even people in our circle would question and judge our decision to expand our family. Scared what a baby would mean for Timothy at this age. Scared that this was my last shot at this and I wanted to do it all perfectly (which I already felt like I was failing from my initial response). Scared because we had a loss in December and I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of nervousness anytime I went to pee.

But through the scared and nervous emotions we began to plan. We discussed items we wanted this time (like a bassinet). We talked about baby names. We gave ourselves a pat on the back for buying a mini van. We ordered a little rainbow newborn gown. We talked about hospitals and doctors and logistics. We talked about how old we would be when all four of our kids had graduated.

And then it was gone. The conversations. The planning. The baby was gone. Those dark pink lines began to fade, a clear sign of the end.

During this process I have struggled with a lot of guilt about some of the negative emotions I had about being pregnant. How can I be sad now when I was scared? Well because I can be. Really it’s that simple. I can feel however I feel and it is all valid.

Because even though I wasn’t super excited yet…I still wanted this baby. And even though I was scared…I still wanted this baby. And even though it was unexpected…I still wanted this baby.

Photo of Timothy sitting on a chair smiling wearing a black t shirt that says "big brother".
Big Brother.

And they were taken from me before I had a chance to say how much I loved them and wanted them to be a part of our family. So I am sharing this today as my chance to say out loud that I loved this baby. I loved it, I wanted it, and I am heartbroken that it is gone.

Photo of a clearblue pregnancy test that says "pregnant 2-3"
Pregnant.

So I will continue to hold on to these little pieces I have left that prove my baby was here for even a little while. Because it was, and if you have been through this before… your baby was here too.

Another Year

Timothy Turns Two.

Two years ago today I fell in love with the most handsome little boy.

I remember being so afraid during my pregnancy for that first moment, the moment he would enter the world. Not because of the pain of labor or the whole pushing a baby out of my body thing but because he was a boy.

The first grandson in a family full of girls. My son. I just didn’t know how to be a boy mom.

I worried that I wouldn’t bond with him immediately the way that I did with my girls.
But when they first placed him on me I felt the power of the mother and son bond you always hear about. He had my heart in an instant and life has never been the same.

A photo from right after Timothy was born. He is laying on my chest and James is standing beside me looking at him.
Timothy meeting Mom & Dad.



Learning about Timothy’s diagnosis and the whirlwind of his first year of life was crazy and I didn’t know anything other than that I loved that little boy with everything in me.

Last night I was thinking about Timothy turning two and I got overwhelmed with emotions (if you watch my Instagram stories I’m sure you gathered that already haha). I just can’t believe that I was chosen to be Timothy’s mom.

I don’t know what I did to be trusted with this amazing task of raising him (I’ve talked more about this in an older blog post). But what I do know is that I don’t take it lightly… hence the emotions.

Part of my emotion was fear. That strong and deep Mama bear fear. A fear that we live in too harsh of a world. A fear that once I have to send my little boy out into that world that it will crush his joyful spirit. A fear that makes me want to just cuddle him close and keep him in our safe little bubble away from the bullies and people who don’t understand him for as long as I possibly can.

Another part of that emotion was worry. In my world fear and worry are not the same thing. If we wanted to interchange worry with anything it would have to be mom guilt. Because the worry is all mine. I worry that I am not doing enough. I worry that I am not supporting him enough to be able to catch up developmentally. I worry that I am not teaching him the right things. I worry that I don’t know how to do this, but really who does?

And of course the most predictable of my emotions? MY BABY IS GROWING UP TOO FAST. Because he is. How did my little Tiny Timmo turn into this blonde toothy smiled sweet toddler? It all goes too quickly. And yeah some days it feels like it doesn’t go quickly enough when you were up all night with a screaming baby, but then you get that cuddle, or that hug, or that overly sloppy kiss and you would do almost anything to stop time for just a few extra minutes in that moment. I have had a lot of those moments with Timothy.

Photo of Melissa cuddling Timothy in her arms and smiling down at him.
Mama’s Boy.



Now at the close of our second year I can honestly say that having Timothy has been the most magical and life altering experience. One that makes this emotional roller coaster a ride I would take over and over again.

Timothy has given me the chance to learn more than I could ever imagine, connect deeper than I knew possible, and appreciate things in a whole new way. His smile lights up my day and I could listen to his laughter for hours on end. He radiates happiness (I guess I really did choose an appropriate blog name).

So today we celebrate that two years ago I fell in love with the most handsome little boy. And I would relive every single second of it if I had the choice.

Photo of Timothy sitting in his stroller with a big smile on his face.
My big boy.



Happy Birthday Teeny Shark. Mommy loves you more than you’ll ever know.

Falling Apart

The Season that tried to break me.

Fall has always felt like a magical season to me.

I don’t really know why. Something about the colors and the perfect temperatures. Something comforting about Thanksgiving dinner and crinkly leaves.

2020 needed Fall. This year has been so difficult already, it needed a touch of magic.

I was anticipating Fall all summer, I felt like making it into that season would just help this year be better.

But then life happened.

Fall showed up. But the magic did not.

My marriage was tested and boy did I ever feel like I was failing that test.

We started marriage counselling. Which actually wasn’t as scary as people make it sound. (So don’t be afraid to try it!)

But I struggled this season. I’m still struggling. I’m a young mother of three. I have a child with a disability. It often feels like outsiders are just waiting for the day when I fall apart. The pressure to have it all together feels heavy and at times unattainable.

And just as I was trying to catch my breath, my husband was out of a job.

Out of everything going on in our lives at the moment, his job was the one constant.

Losing that stability in an instant shook me. The weeks that followed were filled with stress, uncertainty, tension, and fear.

We are lucky enough to be okay financially, because we were saving to buy our first home. A dream that was a mere weeks away was suddenly put on an indefinite hold in a matter of minutes.

Everything felt hard.

The opportunities for work were there but nothing that kept us where we wanted to be for our future. Other than one.

A camp job where my husband would live away from us for 2 weeks at a time.

This type of job is not something I ever wanted for my family. I’m the kind of person who values eating dinner together as a family at night, hugging and kissing our kids goodnight, going to bed together.

I felt like everything I thought I knew about the future had disappeared in a matter of 6 weeks.

How did I get from playing at the playground with our kids in our would be future neighborhood to living alone 3 weeks of the month? Nothing felt right anymore.

Everything was falling apart. And as much as I tried to keep up the appearance of normal, there were cracks in the mask. I didn’t have much to say, I wasn’t keeping up with my appointments, I would make plans for things that I never ended up finishing.

So that is why I am here sharing all of this now. I don’t want to wear a mask anymore.

I’m just a person. Trying to be a wife. Trying to be a mom. Trying to navigate having a child with a disability. Trying to navigate the medical system.

And most importantly…

Trying to believe that next year Fall will have it’s magic back again.

Photo of three trees with orange and yellow fall leaves on them.
Fall Trees

Thank you for reading and allowing me to share our story.

Father and Son

We’re having a boy.

I remember telling you by putting together a little gift. Complete with a baby sized football and little varsity jacket we had bought back when I was pregnant with Charlotte.

Photo of our gender announcement for Timothy. A baby blue background, a newborn size varsity jacket with an ultrasound picture on top with a baby sized football laying underneath the jacket.
We’re having a boy.

Yes I’m sure. No I’m not joking.

I went and found out on my own because I was so nervous. I knew how much you wanted a son and I really wanted to complete our family with a little boy. And we did.

And for five months you imagined all of the things you would do with our son. Everything you would teach him.

First on the list: how to build things. It’s what your dad taught you growing up. And now you would teach your own little boy.

I knew your dreams of him playing high-school football like you did. Or maybe even following after your footsteps career wise.

I saw the pride in your eyes when you held him in the NICU. I saw all the hopes you had for our son and all your determination to make them come true.

A photo from the hospital when Timothy was a newborn. James is laying beside him on he bed. they are facing each other with their eyes closed.
Father and Son.

When I was pregnant you would always say how he was gonna be your little buddy. And as soon as he was born I could feel your child like anticipation for him to grow just enough to be your sidekick.

And then in what feels like a second, everything shifted.

Our little boy was born blind. And at 3.5 months old we discovered he may never play football in high-school like you did, and he will never follow in your footsteps career wise. Building things would not only be extremely difficult, it would be extremely dangerous.

Everything you had imagined for a son disappeared.

But yet I still saw the pride in your eyes when you held your little boy. I still saw all the hopes you had for our son and all your determination to make them come true.

I still knew everyday that he was and always will be, your little buddy.

A photo of James and Timothy in front of the Christmas tree wearing blue plaid shirts.
Matching.

Thank you for loving our little man unconditionally.

Happy Father’s Day James.

I Never Dreamed I Would Be This Mom.

Thoughts from my First Mother’s Day as a special needs parent.

I never dreamed I would be this mom. You know, the mom with a special needs child. It’s a shocking thing to say out loud but it’s true. No one dreams to be a special needs parent, it just happens.

Before I became a special needs mom…

I may have dreamed I would be the mom chasing my toddler around the house. I never dreamed I would be the mom begging my toddler to attempt to crawl.

I may have dreamed that I would be the soccer mom, or the dance mom. Running between championship games and year end recitals. I never dreamed I would be the mom with 20 doctors and specialists number’s in her cell phone. Running between PT and OT and SLP appointments. Heck if I am being honest I never dreamed I would be the mom who knew what all those letters stood for.

I may have dreamed I would be the mom who surprised her kid with a car on their 16th birthday. I never dreamed I would be the mom whose child would never have the ability to drive.

Now that I am a special needs mom…

I never dreamed I would be the mom begging my toddler to attempt to crawl but then I wouldn’t be the mom who got to clap and cheer for her toddler who found the strength to push into the crawling position.

I never dreamed I would be the mom who has 20 doctors and specialists number’s in her cell phone but then I wouldn’t be the mom who got to advocate for and support her child’s health and well being every single day.

I never dreamed I would be the mom whose child would never have the ability to drive but then I wouldn’t be the mom who got to have those extra car rides and conversations with her child.

So yes I never dreamed I would be this mom but I also never dreamed that I could have so much strength, or that I could give so much of myself, or that I could love someone as much as I do now because I am this mom. The mom with the special needs child I never dreamed of but now couldn’t imagine life without.

Family photo taken the day we brought Timothy home from the hospital.
My Crew.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Dear Timothy

A letter to my baby boy.

Dear Timmo, Tiny, Teeny, Timotee, or one of the many silly nicknames you get called:

I can’t believe your first birthday has come and gone already. When I think about your first year it feels so long and stretched out and like it went by so quickly all at the same time.  

Newborn Timothy wrapped in a white  blanket with blue stripes with a soother in his mouth. He has an iv in his right hand and his eyes are open forward.
Newborn Timothy.

Timothy, you entering our family changed everything for us in so many ways. You are the first boy in our little family but also the first grandson on both sides of the family so there was a lot of excitement to have a little man join us after so many (adorable) little ladies.  You are also what we plan to be (never say never) our final baby and the completing piece of our family. And then of course there is the fact that you were born blind.

I was so excited to be having a baby boy but also very nervous. I have 2 younger sisters, I have 6 nieces, and I have your 2 sisters. Girls are kind of what I’m used to. I wasn’t sure if our bond would be different than the one I had with your sisters, and quite quickly after you were born I learned that it definitely was different but not in the way I expected.  There is something about being a mom to a little boy that is a whole new kind of magic.

Timothy at a few months old laying on the floor beside his dad. He is feeling his dads face.
Father and Son.

Your presence had a sweetness to it from the very beginning and it is what I love the most about you. You are the best at cuddling, always getting so close and curled up against me or dad (or some of your other favorite snuggle buddies) and letting us soak in all the baby love you have to offer. You never want to be too far from us and I love watching your little hands reaching out to find us and pulling yourself closer.

A very close second to your sweetness is your pure joy. Your smile lights up the room and your laughter is contagious (even more so than COVID-19). I would do just about anything to make you laugh your deep belly laugh and see that bright smile on your face. When there were tough days during the months we were awaiting a diagnosis I remember that every time you would smile I knew that no matter what you are the perfect little boy for our family and that you will be just fine.

Timothy at 8 months old smiling and playing in his exersaucer.
Smiles.

Watching you grow this past year has been the greatest privilege and blessing. You have changed everything in our family and made us stronger, kinder, and more determined people than we were before. Most importantly you have taught us about love in ways we never could have imagined without having you in our lives.

The way you trust us to catch you whenever you decide to be a little braver than you’re ready for shows me that we are doing a good job because we are your safe place. And I hope as you continue to grow and learn and get even braver, you will know that you can always trust us to catch you. We will forever be your safe place, your biggest fans, your greatest supporters, and your loudest advocates. We love you so much buddy, just the way you are.

Timothy on his first birthday leaning mouth first into a corner of his blue birthday cake.
Timothy enjoyed his birthday cake.

Love, Mommy