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Small Beginnings

Sometimes God whispers.   Perhaps He always whispers?

His voice is gentle and full of hope.

Lately, the phrase “don’t despise small beginnings” has been playing on repeat in my heart.

“Don’t despise small beginnings.”  Gentle and hopeful…

Starting in June of 2009, a series of events occurred in my life that totally derailed everything.

For three and a half years, I was living in survival mode, tending only to the most important things.  Things like budgets and exercise programs felt unattainable.   Things like  feeding and loving my kids and maintaining my marriage took priority.

Honestly, I could not handle any more than that.

I could barely handle that.

The rest of my emotional energy was spent just trying to keep from plummeting into the depths of depression

Thankfully, things are much better now!

I can breathe again…

However, there is a lot to catch up on.  I still haven’t lost the baby weight.  Our finances need to be better managed.  Our house needs to be more organized.  I want to be a better and more consistent writer.

I feel overwhelmed…  ALL. THE. FREAKING.TIME.

Then I hear “don’t despise small beginnings.” Gentle and hopeful…

So, I exercise 15 minutes a day and keep a food journal.  That is ALL I am going to do.

We wrote a budget (again)and we are keeping better track of our money. However,  we are NOT going all Dave Ramsey crazy.

I devote one afternoon a week to writing.  It’s practice and it’s therapy.

Small beginnings… Very small beginnings.

Do you feel overwhelmed?

It’s ok.  I do too.  I think God would speak the same thing to you.

“Don’t despise small beginnings.” Gentle and hopeful…

Do what you can.  If you are in a season where you are doing all that you can, be at peace.

The season will end.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… Romans 8:1

Defining Moments

In every person’s life there are events that change you forever.  You can look back and see a clear divide between before and after.   You were one person before and someone else after.

Defining moments

The birth of a child, especially the first child,  is that type of event for most parents.

Josiah’s birth was a defining moment for me but not only for the usual reasons.  His birth was the most traumatic event of my life.  When I look back, I feel like I don’t even know the person I was before.

I almost lost a child that day and my own life was at risk. It all happened so fast. The world became a scary place where any terrible thing could happen at any time.

It changed me.

I have often wondered why it has had such a dramatic impact on my life?  I think it comes down to this; before I believed that if I just made the right choices, behaved properly and believed the right things, I would be SAFE. 

Theologically incorrect and self -righteous.

After, God’s goodness came into question in a devastating way- the questions that had previously been whispering to me, were now SHOUTING.

Is God real?

Does He love me?

Will he protect me?

Is He sovereign?

I told myself things like-  Your son is alive! He is healthy! You are alive! You should just be grateful!

Oh the guilt...

You know what??

I AM SO VERY GRATEFUL TO GOD FOR ALL OF THAT AND MORE!

However, that gratitude does not silence the grief of dreams and innocence lost.  It does not silence the guilt I sometimes still feel when I wonder “did I do something to cause it??” It does not silence the questions and doubts that arise from going through something that seems so senseless.

Grief and gratitude are not mutually exclusive and neither are faith and doubt!

I have had to adjust my theology from God will protect me if I do/say/think all the right things to God works all things together for the good of those that love him…  My “safety” is totally out of my hands.  My good deeds don’t save me in a spiritual or a physical way.

One of the most painful things about this season of my life was the feeling that I was alone.  I felt like people only wanted to hear the praise but not the pain

If you know a mom (or anyone) who has gone through something like this, even if they are spouting joy and praise, there is probably underlying pain, grief, guilt and doubt. 

Ask them questions and don’t be afraid of the answers.

I say that knowing many people will be afraid of the answers.

I am not anymore.

Josiah’s birth was a defining moment in a messy and beautiful way.  As Glennon Melton from Momastery.com says, it was “brutiful.”  Both brutal and beautiful.

I may not remember the girl I was before Josiah was born but I am getting to know who I am now.  It’s messy and good.  I have more to offer a hurting world now…

I am a beautiful mess and He is truly bringing beauty from the ashes.

Confessions of a Less Than Perfect Mom

So, this whole “mom” thing is kind of hard for me.  I keep waiting for the “I was made for this” epiphany to take place.

Still waiting…

Sure, I have those wonderful moments.  You know the ones.  They are rare and last about 2 seconds. The house is clean, the bills are paid, dinner is in the crock-pot, and the kids are contently playing with each other.  Then, just when I am about to congratulate myself, Asha screams from the other room.  I run towards her.  Clearly, someone is murdering her…

As it turns out, the house is no longer clean… they dumped ALL the toys and squished ALL the goldfish deep into the carpet.  Asha will now scream for at least 30 minutes because Josiah took just ONE of her many necklaces.  Of course, he needs it to rescue Batman from the water…

Most of the time I feel like one of those Greyhound dogs at the race track.  They run hard after that rabbit but they never catch it.  My “rabbit” is contentment.

Such an elusive little rabbit.

Here is my big secret…. I wasn’t made for this. 

Were you?  

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I love my kids and would give my life for them. If I could go back in time and choose again, I would choose them a million times.

That said, being a mother means laying down almost everything that makes me feel like myself… the very things I do feel like I was made to do.

I know I am not the only mom that feels out of her element when it comes to motherhood.

Right?

Not many talk about it because of ugly “mom guilt.”

Here’s the thing, admitting that you don’t fit the mom mold doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids!

Admitting that being a mother does not fulfill your every desire does not make you a bad mom.

So, here I am admitting all those things.

My journey as a mother has not been all cupcakes and rainbows but one thing is for sure…

THEY ARE WORTH IT!

Perspective…

I heard recently that 40% of people will get cancer.  That statistic is not comforting for someone like me who tends to be anxious and fearful about such things.  For several days, I let that statistic take root and cause me to fear.  Then one day, I was reminded that I have a 60% chance of NOT getting cancer and even if I do become one of the 40%, many of those survive.

Suddenly, I was comforted.  Nothing changed.  I just changed my perspective on the exact same information.

Yesterday was a horrible day.  I keep thinking about what those families are going through and I am horrified. It’s unimaginable.  I don’t even want to put words to the images in my mind.

The temptation again is to fear.  In recent years, we have seen shootings in malls, schools, movie theaters, churches, mission organizations, workplaces etc…  My reaction is to want to avoid all these places.

Lately, when I go to the mall, I find myself paying extra attention and planning what action I would take if something were to happen.  I get nervous when Jaison goes to a late night movie with friends. I’m scared to send my son to preschool next week.

Fear and anxiety…

Yet, this morning, I am reminded that MILLIONS of children went to school yesterday and came home safe.  MILLIONS of people go to churches, malls, restaurants and various workplaces EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. and come home safe.

In one of the news reports, I read that Newtown, CT was once the “safest place to live in America” and known for its’ high quality schools. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it goes to show me that I cannot control my own safety simply by living or working in the right place.

I have to live my life, and trust God. I can not let the actions of evil people steal my life, joy and opportunity.  They have already stolen enough.

Picture Perfect

My life is not picture perfect.  I’m guessing yours isn’t either. However, social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest can give the impression that EVERYBODY else’s life is picture perfect, while mine or yours is kinda messy.

I wonder sometimes, how many people spend their lives pursuing a commercialized or social media driven perception of happiness? All the while, taking their potentially fulfilling real lives for granted.

I’ve used Facebook for a few years and I have watched everyday snapshots become more and more professional looking and commercialized.   It makes me wonder if we are subconsciously (or consciously) using social media to “market” a certain perception of ourselves rather than to share our reality?

If you could see a snapshot of my life at this very moment, you would see me sitting on the couch in a sweatshirt with no make-up.  The mess from lunch is still all over the kitchen.  There are toys everywhere.  Asha’s crazy curly hair is starting to dread because I haven’t washed it for a few days and she has snot on her face because I can’t keep her from wiping it straight up into her hair.  Yuck!  I probably won’t post our picture on Facebook today!

We post the highlights and occasionally the rants but not the “ugly” stuff.  Nobody puts “I forgot to pay my credit card last month and Citibank called me 75 times today and keeps calling even after I paid it” on their status.

Yep, that happened to me!  Why didn’t I post it? Because it’s kind of embarrassing ..what will people think of me?  They might think I’m so disorganized, I can’t even pay my bills on time. They would be a little bit right and I would rather hide that fact.

So, instead I/we post things like… “My husband is so awesome, he did such and such”  OR “My kid got 120% on everything and reads 200 books everyday…” it becomes easy to believe that everyone is perfect and happy when we only see their highlights and when they only see ours.  Then we compare our reality to other people’s highlights and we feel like a huge mess.

I do that all the time.

Perhaps I am the only one?  Probably not!

The truth is- Nobody’s life is perfect.  We all have strengths and weaknesses.  We post our strengths on Facebook and feel bad when someone else’s strength reminds us of our weakness.

The last few years, Jaison and I have been kind of just holding on.  Desperately trying not to fall into the grips of rejection, grief, anxiety and depression.  It’s much better now and there is starting to be “room” for more in our lives.  However, for a long season we just did what was necessary to stay afloat.  We kept it simple.  No elaborate projects or traditions. Just the basics.

Soooooooo, no fancy pictures of our house, yard, baby nursery, Christmas traditions, vacations, etc…

I’ll admit, I often have felt bad when I have seen other people’s pictures of their projects and traditions.  I have felt like I was somehow cheating my kids because they don’t have chandeliers and murals in their rooms or mischievous elves stalking them.

Here’s the truth- IT DOESN’T MATTER! 

We made it through a horrible season of life while maintaining a simple but happy life for our children and a growing marriage. Our kids are happy, we have made some great memories and we have learned some awesome lessons.

There is no way to take a picture of that.

If there was, it probably wouldn’t be pretty. It would be all messy, blurry, totally unprofessional and I would love it.  I would love it even more than a professional picture that made me look really skinny!  I would love it because it’s my REAL life. Someone else might look at it and think “ugh, what a terrible picture”  but I will always know the beauty of it.

What would your real life picture look like?

A Little Story and A Product Review

Fair warning-this post is about “girl stuff” but is not graphic or offensive!  

Just for the record (in case someone fails to read to the end) I am NOT pregnant!!!!

A week or so ago, I suspected there may be a Samuel baby #3 in the works.  So, I went to Target to pick up a test.  I was feeling a little thrifty that day, so I opted for the Up & Up brand (Target)  box of three, instead of going with my usual preference for First Response Early Result.

I took my tests home and did what was necessary.  Despite being quite experienced in using these tests, I actually read the directions and followed them to the letter, since this was my first time using this brand.  Sure enough, after a minute or so, there was a blue line!  I am sure all of my blood drained into my feet and I almost passed out.  After all, positive is positive… Right?  Right?

I used all three tests and all three were clearly positive!  Jaison and I were bracing ourselves for all that would come with another pregnancy and baby… Then I decided to buy a box of my preferred brand of test, just to confirm.  The first one was negative.  What??  So was the second one as well as the third one.  What the heck?? All of this was happening over the course of several days. 

I was quite confused because I know that the First Response tests are MORE sensitive than the Up & Up tests, so they should have been showing a positive result.  I decided to google Up & Up brand tests and found that there are TONS of people online complaining about false positives!

As it turns out, I am not pregnant!  I have always believed that false positives are VERY rare, but I had three of them in a couple of days!  I am not sharing this because I enjoy sharing the intimate details of my life on the internet.  I’m sharing because a false positive could be devastating to a couple struggling with infertility.  A false positive could also have a devastating effect on someone trying not to conceive.  Everyone who reads this should pass this info on to their friends.  I plan on contacting Target but they already know about the problem and are still selling the tests.

The good thing is this gave Jaison and I a glimpse into our own hearts.  We have been going back and forth about having a third baby for some time now.   When we thought I was pregnant, we were both excited about the “baby” but disappointed with the timing.  When we found out that I am not pregnant, we were disappointed that there is no baby but relieved about the timing.  So, I guess we can all expect that there will be a Samuel baby #3 in the works sometime soon (ish)!

Moral of the story? NEVER, EVER buy an Up & Up (Target) brand pregnancy test!

I’m Just a Stay at Home Mom…

Please note, this post is not a stay at home mom vs. working mom debate! I like working moms. I envy them sometimes.  I have friends who work AND are excellent mothers! 

“I’m just a stay at home mom.” I’ve said that before and I’ve heard lots of moms say the same thing.  I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately…being “just” a stay at home mom and you know what?  There is NOTHING in this world I would rather do or be.  It took me nearly three years  and a lot of internal turmoil to come to that conclusion but I can honestly say it’s the truth. 

There are those moms out there who are natural mothers.  They are the ones who dreamed of being a mother when they were 5 and 25 and every year in between. They would not even think of  anything they would rather do than be stay at home mom. They like baking and everything Pinterest.  They LOVE, LOVE, LOVE everything about being a mother….at least that is what their Facebook statuses imply!  Is “statuses” a word? There is nothing wrong with that, in fact I wish I could be that way sometimes. Ok, I realize I am creating a stereotype here that doesn’t really exist.  Motherhood is not easy for any of us, but does come more naturally to some.

I am not a “natural” when it comes to motherhood.  In fact, I find motherhood terribly inconvenient.  It is exhausting. It was a big decision to even become a mother. I have never  been good with kids.  They really don’t do reasonable very well and I like reasonable people.  So, being a stay at home mom has always seemed like a sacrifice, not a privilege. It was (sometimes it still is) a very difficult transition.   I knew it was the right thing to do for our family but I was secretly envious of my friends who have a career and freedom. 

It’s very easy to take the day-to-day routine for granted and get caught up in all the craziness.   Every single day seems basically the same… Get up. Breakfast. activity. Lunch. Nap. Wake up. Activity. Dinner. Activity. Bed time.   EVERY SINGLE DAY!  It’s boring sometimes. It’s often lonely. It sometimes makes me feel like I may go crazy. Still there is NOTHING I would rather do or be.

As monotonous and frustrating as the day-to-day routine can be, I don’t ever want to take it for granted.  Mothering may not come naturally for me, but it is a privilege.  I have been challenging myself to step back from the routine and take time to really “see” my kids, my husband, and my family.  When I do that, I realize how truly blessed I am.  When I do that, I find moments in every single day that make me grateful for my messy life.  When I do that, I realize I married an excellent man who is an excellent father. 

 My greatest fear in life is not being able to see my children grow up.  That fear is a source of great anxiety, sometimes overwhelming anxiety.  It is something I have to continually trust God with.  It is a negative thing in my life and I don’t want to entertain it, but entertaining those negative thoughts has left me with one valuable lesson.  My family is the most important thing in my life and every crazy day is a gift. It’s a gift to be able to feed them, go to Target, run around the back yard, answer Josiah’s “why” questions a million times a day, and watch the same “Tonka Chuck” cartoon over and over again…all of it is a gift.

I’m just a stay at home mom and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Resting in the Mess

It recently occurred to me that I am all grown up.  Not sure when THAT happened!  Didn’t I just turn 21 like yesterday?  This grown-up thing kind of snuck up on me. I can try to deny it but the mirror, marriage, mortgage and babies are there to prove it.  Being the grown-up I am, I really should have “it all figured out by now.  I don’t even know what “it” is and I don’t think I ever will. 

You know what?  For the first time in my life, I’m kinda, sorta, not really but maybe a little bit ok with that.

I have spent most of my life pursuing this elusive idea of getting/having it all together.  Whatever that means.  Seriously what does it mean?   In my mind, it means all of these things and probably a few more; thin, well dressed, liked by everyone, organized, financially set, very in control, and of course very,very spiritual. Oh and don’t forget…maternal, creative, and domestic ! I really am none of those things and I am, quite honestly, tired of trying, trying, trying to be something/someone who I am not.  I’m not saying any of those things are bad or unworthy of being pursued.  They are not…except maybe being liked by everyone.  Pursuing that is a colossal waste of time. 

I am saying that sometimes it’s ok to just BE. Sometimes what we are striving for is not what God wants for us. Sometimes it’s ok to just “be still and know that He is God.”  Sometimes we just need to learn to rest IN the mess.  I will say it again “rest IN the mess!” That little word “in” is very important…

MAYBE there is much to be learned in the mess? MAYBE having it all together would not make me a “better” person but rather it would make me an arrogant person?  MAYBE facing my failings everyday is teaching me humility and compassion for others? MAYBE the pain, rejection and failure is a gift that will give me the ability to “hear” people in pain that others may not be able to? MAYBE this mess of a life is actually shaping me to be who I am supposed to be?  MAYBE God is, in part, the author of my mess…

NOT MAYBE.  DEFINITELY.

The last few years have been rough and it’s hard to reconcile “Jesus loves me” with some of the things that have happened. But every now and then I see the purpose in it.  I catch glimpses of how I have changed.  I see the person I would have been if I had achieved getting it all together…if things had come easy.  I don’t like her.   I like who I am…who I am becoming… I believe the mess has forced me to become more authentic in my faith and a more authentic person. 

My life is a mess….a beautiful mess and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 

 

 

Empowering Motherhood

Please note: This post is not meant to be a value judgement or a response to any person or idea. It’s just something that has been stirring in me since the days after Josiah was born…

On June 13th 2009 I was all set and determined to have a natural birth.  Little did I know, that by the end of the day, I would have experienced everything but that.  At Noon, I was in my kitchen making cookies.  By four o’clock, I was under anethesia, having a lifeless baby boy cut from my body.  The interventions necessary to bring him back to life made all those birthing interventions, that I was so afraid of and apalled by, seem like a walk in the park. 

The days that followed were full of guilt… “Did I do something to cause this?”  “I should have done such and such differently.”  “I feel so detached.”  “I’m not producing enough milk.”  I could go on and on.  Guilt then turned into grief… “I wasn’t there when he was born.”  I didn’t get to hold him for four days.”  “I will never experience natural child birth.”   Guilt and grief walked with me every moment of the time that we spent in the NICU.

Finally, we got to take him home.  Being the new mom that I was, I read a lot, looking for anwers to all my new mom questions.  I read books, articles, blogs and comments.  In all of those, I read a lot about how empowering natural childbirth is, how important it is to hold your baby those first moments, and how “breast is best.”   More guilt, more grief… Then there were the comments… “formula is SOOOOOOOOO nasty”  “how could someone feed that to their baby”  “You don’t know what is in that stuff”  “It’s full of toxic chemicals”  More guilt, more grief, and now fear…

Then there was the expectation that everything would just be “normal” after we brought him home.  Nothing was “normal.”  I read sleep training books but couldn’t follow them because of the complications with breastfeeding. I watched him anxiously to see if he would smile, laugh, roll over etc… We had been told that he could be severely developmentally handicapped.  Despite all the experts advice I held him all the time and let him nurse whenever he wanted because I wanted to make up for lost time. According to many experts I was letting him manipulate me.  More guilt, more grief…

Looking back, I realize that all of that made me feel like I was somehow “less than” the mothers who had a natural childbirth and who could breastfeed normally.  I felt like I had missed out and that my relationship with Josiah would never be right because I didn’t bond with him immediately after birth. I felt like I was giving him poison by feeding him formula.  I experienced so much unnecessary guilt and grief.

The reality is that I did my very best.  I sacrificed a lot physically, emotionally and materially to be a mother.  I was stronger than I every could have imagined.  I should have felt empowered by THAT!  The birthing experience is important but it is a very small part of motherhood .   Breastfeeding is wonderful!  So is the fact that we live in a time where babies can thrive despite their mothers inability to produce enough milk.  I thank God every day for formula!

I’m telling you all this because now I honestly believe that every single journey into motherhood is “empowering.”  Regardless of how that baby gets out of your body, YOU grew a HUMAN in your body! That is truly amazing.  If you did not grow that little human in your body, and you adopted him/her instead, YOU labored in a way that most of us will never know. You labored in time, heartache, finances, and grief. You had to be stronger and more determined than I can even imagine.  That is truly amazing!

We have all seen what we are made of in our journey to motherhood.  We all have made sacrifices.  We have all made mistakes. Most importantly, we have all been stronger than we ever thought possible and we should ALL feel empowered by that!

Josiah’s Birth Story

The day Josiah was born was the scariest day of my life…

June 13th 2009 started out as just an average Saturday. We had no idea it would be one of the hardest, best and most significant days of our lives.

Jaison got up early and went to the park to play Cricket with a group of Indian guys. I had a headache so I took some Tylenol and slept in. At this point in my pregnancy, I was 9 days away from my due date, so I was very uncomfortable and not sleeping well at night. After Jaison came home, I got up, we got ready and went out for a late breakfast as we do every Saturday. After breakfast, we drove around and casually looked at garage sales, not looking for anything specific just passing time.

We came home around noon to bake cookies for a picnic that we were supposed to attend at Mahoney State Park that afternoon. Before starting baking, I was talking to a friend on the phone, making plans for the evening. We all wanted to hang out one last time before the baby was born. Just after talking to her, I noticed something that felt like I had wet my pants a little bit. The possibility that my water had broken crossed my mind, but I dismissed it, thinking that it was too early. Then, I went to the bathroom to check what was going on and I noticed a very small amount of blood. At this point, this was exciting because it meant that I was getting closer to going into labor! Now, I was wondering if my water had broken and was leaking just a bit. I called my mom. She said to call the doctor’s office, so I did and left a message. A few minutes later as I was baking cookies (still intending to go to the picnic) a nurse called me back. After a series of questions, she suggested going to the hospital to get checked for amniotic fluid.

We knew that if my water had broken, it was going to be a LONG day and night. So, we took our time getting ready to go. We slowly packed our bags. I cleaned up the kitchen and put the cookies away. We called people to let them know we wouldn’t be making it to the picnic.  On our way to the hospital, we even stopped to take a movie back.  When we reached the hospital, we parked the car instead of using the valet parking.  We even took the steps up to Labor and Delivery instead of the elevator! I was doing everything I could to avoid spending any more time than necessary in a hospital bed. I was planning a natural delivery.  At that point, I had no idea how grateful I would be for being in a hospital bed…

The nurse had called the hospital, so they were expecting us.  They took us to a delivery room, I put on a gown and they hooked me up to the monitors. The monitors let us know that Josiah’s heart was beating normally and that I was having very irregular and insignificant contractions.  In other words, I was not in labor.  We still did not even know if my water had broken.  There was some delay before they could do the test.  So, we waited nearly and hour before the nurse finally took a sample.  The results came back quickly and it was confirmed that my water had broken!  We were excited so we began to call family and friends to let them know we were having a baby soon…we had no idea how soon it would actually be!  At the same time, the nurse called my doctor to find out how they should proceed since I was not in labor yet.  I was laying there hoping that they would let me get up soon and walk around.  I had been laying there for nearly 1.5 hours at that point.  I am so happy that I did not get my way…

Suddenly alarms started to go off in my room and about five nurses came running in!  We had no idea what was happening but they started to move me around and adjust the monitors.  Josiah’s heart rate had dropped significantly and they did not know why, so they were taking measures to bring it back up.  Thankfully, at the same time this was happening, they were still on the phone with my doctor.  He left and came straight to the hospital. The nurses were not able consistently get Josiah’s heart rate back up.  My doctor arrived quickly and told me that I would need to have a C-Section because they did not know what was causing his heart rate to drop and they did not think he could make it through labor. T he anesthesiologist was on her way to give me an epidural…

All of a sudden I felt a gush of A LOT of fluid. Since this was my first baby, I had no idea what was normal, when I looked and saw that it was blood I was very concerned. I lifted my gown and asked my doctor “is this normal?”  I don’t remember him answering me.  Within moments my bed and I were on our way to the Operating Room!  The anesthesiologist was following me asking lots of questions and I quickly realized that I was not getting an epidural but I was being put under a general anesthetic.  I was having an emergency  C-Section.  I was scared. I remember having the thought that I may not wake up.  I prayed and surrendered myself to the Lord.  The last thing I remember was hearing my doctor say “tell me when we are ready” and thinking “wait, I can still hear you!”

I honestly was not concerned for Josiah because I somehow still thought that they were just being overly cautious.  I was wrong!

I woke up less than 2 hours later… I was in a lot of pain and disoriented.  The squirming baby boy that had been part of me for so long was gone.  I had no idea where he was.

I could see Jaison talking to a doctor off in the corner of the recovery room.  I heard the doctor say things like “he is very sick” and  “you are very lucky.”

Soon, they came and told me that Josiah was very sick and would need to go to Children’s hospital.  I had a sudden and severe placental abruption.  My placenta prematurely tore away from the wall of my uterus.  This caused Josiah to be completely deprived of oxygen. It also caused me to bleed heavily into the uterus.  Josiah breathed a lot of blood and clots into his lungs.  Placental abruption is one of the leading causes of both maternal death and babies born “sleeping.”

We were both “lucky” to be alive…