Journey to Parenthood

I want to be purposeful about journaling during this time in our lives as we watch our miracle micro preemie, Asher, continue to grow and thrive. I began this blog during my month of bed rest at the hospital while I was pregnant with Asher and his brother Titus. We continue to hope and trust the Lord for Asher's future. This blog begins with the story of how both of our boys came to be. They came about after many tears, many prayers, and many months of crushed hopes. On February 2, 2012, our boys Titus Bauer and Asher Mark were born at just 23 weeks and 2 days gestation. My water around Titus broke at 19 weeks, so his lungs were very underdeveloped. Titus lived 45 minutes and is now living a perfect life in heaven as he watches over his little brother Asher. Two and a half years later God redeemed our story of hurt with a precious full term baby brother for Asher. We are humbled by how the Lord has loved on us in our journey through parenthood.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Asher's Heart Surgery Postponed

Asher Update: We just talked to Asher's doctor and they've decided to postpone his heart surgery. He's doing a lot better right now and he may not have to have the surgery if things continue to improve. As with any roller coaster you get the ups and the downs and we're thankful for this up time today! Thank you for all of your prayers and thank the Lord that our little 1.5 lb baby isn't going to have to have heart surgery tomorrow on his 1 month birthday!!!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"But God, Rich in Mercy Made a Way..."

I've been trying to think about how to blog what I've been feeling in the past week or so. My brain and emotions have been all over the place! The summary of all of it is that because of God, I can look at anything seemingly impossible and know that it IS possible. And that means something that looks physically or medically impossible, and also something that seems emotionally impossible because of so much hurt and pain. AND, on the physical side, that means choosing to believe that even when God decides not to intervene medically and show a miracle (to me that's choosing not to save our son Titus..and in the future, anything to do with Asher's health)--that He's STILL good. How can I say that? I go to the bible, and the title of this blog, which is a verse from a song we sing at church. Really, these two words tell me how I can say that- But God. He's the only reason there is way to believe He's good in what's devastating. There are so many overwhelming questions I have had about how to move on from here. And all of them are answered the same way. For example, here's one I have delt with in the last week: How can I love well one of my best friends, who is pregnant with twins, due in a little over a month? This is a dear friend who I walked together with through infertility and we both got pregnant from in vitro a month apart..both with twins. A friend who for about 6 months, we dreamed about our friendship together and the 4 kids we would be carting around together, and the special bond we would share as twin mothers. A friend who shared the same joy of after struggling for so long yet God blessed us with not one baby, but two growing in our bellies. How can I love her and her twins, and how can I be their friends and not be swallowed up in hurt or pain when I'm with them in the future? BUT GOD. That's all I can say. And that is enough for me. In Genesis 50: 19-20 it says:

" But Joseph said to them, don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

And then there's Romans 8:28, "And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose."

So the hope is, I can't see everything there is to see. I can't see all the reasons today. But because of His Mercy..he has shown me some reasons and some purpose in what has been the most painful time in my life so far. And I decided about a week ago to write those down. I think that does something to your soul to not only think of His faithfulness in your life, but to record it. And then, you can go back to that list when you are (yet again) questioning His goodness or faithfulness. I was able to record many examples of His faithfulness throughout this journey... small moments where we knew God was orchestrating things in a way that only He could. One that he showed me about twins, and my His mercy in us having a different combination of twins. Hers are a boy and a girl. Mine were two boys. How much harder this all would have been if that were the same?? It's a small thing, a small comfort, but that doesn't make it less of a comfort or less significant, or take away from the fact that it IS one proof of God's ultimate plan and goodness. God has given me great peace about our future friendship and her twins..He's given me hope that I can love them in a special way. I know that won't be easy all the time, but that' s not the point. The point is, neither her or I have to do that alone. That task is overwhelming alone. But we are not alone. God is here now, and he's in our future. That lifts the weight that could be on both of our families, and allows all of us to rest peacefully in His plan.

Then, later last week...I got stumped. I was looking and asking Him for purpose in one last thing. And I'm sure this won't be the last time I realize another loss in all of this and seek out some purpose in it. I was asking Him to show me why He would have me feel like I was mourning alone. This is how I felt from the moment I got home 3 weeks ago. I was angry that my husband, parents, and best friends all got to hold my son and cry together, and I didn't get to be a part of it because I was recovering..and very drugged up for about 3 days. I didn't get to "feel"with them. I didn't get to cry over my dead baby boy with the people I love the most. And let me clarify too. I was and will always be so grateful and thankful for those who were there that night. Friends, family, co-workers, pastors, and ladies from Hopeful Hearts who graciously and with so much sensitivity took pictures of Titus...everyone who was there we are so thankful for. I can't imagine how they felt walking into that room, and how everything in them told them they couldn't do that, and yet, they were obedient, and did- and think blessed because of their obedience. I know my husband and I will always feel blessed by those sweet friends who came that night and mourned with my husband, parents, and I. I wasn't upset at them- I was upset that God would exclude me from that time- both physically and mentally. I felt completely on the outside. I started to "feel" when I got home, and suddenly no one was around. Or that's how I felt. My husband was back at work..I spent an entire night and day crying non stop. Literally. I could not stop. I've never felt that type of sadness and grief in my life. Ever. And then when the tears stopped, it seemed everyone was in "moving on mode" - myself included. But really, everyone (including me) was still so stunned and hurt, there weren't words to say. Why would He have it this way?? Why would He have me feel so utterly alone when I wasn't really at all? What could be the good in THIS? I struggled with that for a day or two. I could see good in our infertility struggle, in God allowing me to be a mom to twins for only 23 weeks, in losing our son Titus- the day of the funeral God showed me great purpose of his short life and I felt so much peace in that moment. But this, I was having a hard time with. And to be honest, losing our twin baby boy isn't always something I feel at peace about, I have many sad moments about that, or angry moments..but I'm always brought back to the Truth I know in what God's word says and to me that's the final word. There is no reason to try to think further than that.

So, what God showed me, is that even in the worst, most lonely pain of my life, He had something to teach me. I know I have not fully learned everything He has to teach me in this. But, here are the verses He showed me, and they all immediately soothed and calmed my angry, hurt, and agitated soul.

Psalm 73:28
"But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works."

Hebrews 5:8
"Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered." (talking about Jesus)

2 Corinthians 1: 3-4
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of ALL comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."

And after reading and praying- those were enough for now. I trust God will reveal more and more in the future as He feels I need to know more of His plan. He has taught me so much about how to serve and love someone in pain. My friends, my parents, and Bryan's parents have done this so well, and I know it extremely hard on them to know what to do. But here's what I have concluded. There is no manual to suffering well. There is no guide that explains how to walk with your friend or your daughter through losing her baby. But, presence says more than words or actions ever will. Choosing to show up, and just be with someone...through sadness, through awkwardness, through silence.. through it all is the biggest ministry I think someone can do for a person who is hurting. I also think, being sensitive to and open to talking about the pain. Again, it's hard to know when. But that's why we have the Holy Spirit. He leads us. And all we are responsible for is being obedient. Getting to talk through my pain with husband, my friends, and my parents was the most healing thing I have done in 3 weeks. And I think I will need to continue to do that from time to time. And I know now, I had absolutely no energy to talk about anything for 3 weeks- God orchestrated it at just the right time. Hearing their pain, their confusion, and their anger at God was not something that brought me down. But up. It helped me see and feel I was not alone. I hope that in the future..when God is using my pain to help someone, I can have the obedience to love that person in the same way I have been loved. I also want to be honest and really clear and say all of this is not easy every day!! It's a constant surrender- not a one time thing. I have to surrender my thoughts to God all the time! Especially seeing pregnant people due around when I was, newborn healthy babies..and of course twins and twin pictures are hard too. But the part I love is in those moments where I'm sad or hurt by that- I have a place and a Person to go to with that. It doesn't end on me and my hurt. Thank the Lord!

I am convinced that a person will never find any sort of peace in any trial without the saving grace and relationship with Jesus. There is no real comfort, or purpose, or meaning to tragedy without that. None. You can only say or hear "he's in a better place", or "this will make you stronger" so many times before you realize that's not what your soul needs to be truly healed from that pain and any relief those phrases gave you is fleeting.

And then at the end of the week, after all of add extra sweetness and comfort-- God showed me these two verses. What I mean when I say that is, I was looking up something else, and came across these two. I love when that happens. And it rarely happens in my life unless I'm in a place of total surrender. It's not when I'm in a place of "I've got this" and not depending on God. He knew what I needed when I was looking in my bible that day. He knew my heart was broken and searching honestly for His purpose. He knew, and He chose to bless me in that moment. Here's what I found. We had not seen these verses before when choosing to name our son Titus.

2 Corinthians 7: 6, 13
"BUT GOD, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus."

"And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the JOY of Titus."

Sweet words to my soul. I am looking forward to the day when I can experience the nearness of God without so much pain. However, part of me thinks those are hand in hand for a reason. And I'm thankful that at the end of the hope is not in myself, my husband, my friends, the medical world, or my future. It's in a God whose bigger than everything, and more powerful than anything on Earth. Thank you Lord for choosing to save me, and walk with me- all of my life.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Update- Asher's Heart/Lungs

Here's what Bryan posted today...Asher Update: One of the first things they told us when Asher was born was that this was going to be like a roller coaster....we'll it is! Asher's lungs are continuing to struggle and he's having to be given a lot of oxygen right now. His heart valve issue has opened again and they think his lungs are getting too much blood and some of his other organs are not getting enough. They're specifically concerned about his intestines and kidneys having some issues, so they stopped feeding him milk today and went back to only IV fluids. With all this in mind, the doctor told us that he will probably need heart surgery on Thursday to close the valve and hopefully correct this issue. They have assured us this is a pretty "simple" surgery, but it's really hard to imagine his little body having to go through surgery right now! Please pray that he recovers fully and that this roller coaster stops and we can enjoy our little boy as he grows! We are really looking forward to the day that he gets off the ventilator and we can finally hold him! I can't explain how hard it is to have son for almost a month and still not be able to hold him! Surreal to say the least! Thank you again for your continued prayers!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

3 Weeks Old- Update and Prayer Requests!

Happy 3 weeks to our little boy! It's hard to believe next week will be a month. When the dr called today, she said overall everything is looking good for Asher. His O2 requirement is down in a much better range 25-35 %, so that means the steroids did their job. His feeds are going well too! All of his antibiotics will be done tomorrow, and he will get the pick line in his foot out. These are all praises! She did mention that his PDA (hole in heart ventricle/murmur) is back a little, meaning it has opened up some and that is very common. She said it was small to medium in size, and they heard a murmur. (We already treated this once with meds a week or 2 ago.) However, she's not concerned about it right now and sees no reason to treat as long as he doesn't show signs of it affecting the rest of his body. One sign would be if his kidneys weren't getting enough blood and therefore his urine output was less, and right now that is all looking very normal and good. She wants to focus on good nutrition as that will help the lungs as well, so that is our focus. If we did treat the PDA again, either with meds or surgery, that would be a set back for Asher because he'd have to go off of feedings during that time.

So, please pray with us that he can continue getting a good amount of calories and feedings so he can put some weight on..and that the PDA does not cause any issues as it did before. Also, please pray the lungs continue to grow and stay healthy!!

Thank you!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Laid Back Asher..

Asher looked pretty relaxed tonight after his diaper change. A few nurses have commented on how when he gets his diaper changed, he tends to put his hands in his pants! All boy! He's supposed to stay tucked in his little bed, but he often ends up stretched out like, active like dad maybe? We will see.. :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Video: Asher Opening His Eyes a Little..

Asher is doing well tonight. His steroids are making his lungs much happier, and we hope to see improvement in his oxygen requirement sticking around after the 3 day course of steroids. He's 26 weeks today and on Thursday will be 3 weeks old! He will also be getting even more milk starting today and into tomorrow. He will get about 80ml in 24 hr which is about 2 1/2 ounces I think. This is a huge difference from the 1cc he started off getting! He will also have a fortifier added to his milk to bulk up the calorie content. He will have this from now on, and may still need it when he goes home. We are just thankful for every day.

I have to quote a few friends now who said some profound things to me this week. One sweet friend was encouraging me in motherhood and said "It is done, you are a mother! Rise up, and wear that badge of honor proudly!" I love the simple-yet powerful truth of this. We don't have to wait for Asher to come home for parenthood to begin. I reflected recently on how we could have never met Asher or Titus. We could have lost them at 19 weeks when my water broke. Instead, God blessed us with one baby boy we get to be parents to right now. It's different than most first parents experience, but it's our story. And every family's story has the beautiful mixed in with the messy at one point or another. Choosing to embrace that is the key. And that's not easy everyday, but I'm praying for more and more grace from the Lord to be able to embrace our story with gratitude and thankfulness instead of seeing it as not complete or not perfect! Our story is just the way the Lord planned, and as my husband says "any kid who starts out his life with this much prayer and love will have a significant life and story.." -- we can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for Asher's life and we feel humbled that the Lord chose this beginning for our son.

Another sweet friend shared Psalm 150:6 with me "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." She said "whether it's a deep breath, a breath assisted by a ventilator, or an unassisted breath, I praise the Lord for Asher breathing. Every breath."

Thank you for faithfully praying for Asher! We continue to feel so blessed by the love, support and messages we've received!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Update: Asher's Lungs

Here's what Bryan posted earlier tonight:

Asher's lungs continue to struggle since they are so immature and he didn't have time in the womb to fully develop. He's had to be on a lot of oxygen this weekend so they decided to give him steroids today to help his lungs develop. He's also now on some inhalers to help him breath. The steroids have some potentially significant long term side effects, but not doing anything could be more damaging and even lead to death. So we just pray that the steroids help and that he has no side effects from all the medicines his little body has had to endure.

Thank you again for all of your prayers. God has answered all of our prayers so far and we are confident that He will answer this one too!

** More reflections from me coming soon. :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Answered Prayers!

Asher's brain bleed scan was clear today! The dr said that she won't need to check that again for another month. After 3 clear scans..there is no reason to keep doing it so often! What a blessing to have one major thing we can put out of our minds! His oxygen requirement has also improved, we think because he had an infection in his lungs, and his antibiotics are helping. So, for now..they are letting the antibiotics go through his system a few days before we look at the lungs/oxygen level again. It could be that he won't need steroids and this was resolved with the antibiotics. They will do an X-ray of his lungs again on Monday and look at how they are doing. He's also being given more of my milk! He now gets a teaspoon (5cc's) every 4 hours. So, that's an ounce in 24 hours! The dr said that's a 1/3 of the way to getting to full feedings. She said he may not digest all of that, but we will try and if it's too much, we'll pull back some.

We are thankful for a good day of news for Asher! Thank you for the MANY prayers that are being said for our little guy..and thank you for all of you are are re-posting and sending out our updates. It is TRULY overwhelming. I received a message today that a couple in Russia is praying for us. This is so hard to wrap our minds around, and just a blessing there aren't words for!

A good friend shared this verse with us yesterday.."But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works." Psalm 73:28 (nabs) This has really has comforted me and reminded me that His nearness Has been not only good, but sustaining, and also reminds me of the purpose in all of this. This struggle brings a nearness to God that we could not have otherwise. I also came across this quote today too by C.S. Lewis- "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." I think God does shout in our pain. And we can either hear Him and run to Him, or ignore Him and run away. My prayer is that we keep running to Him!

Each time we get a message/card/gift from someone we've never met, or from those we haven't talked to in years, and also from those who know us now..we are reminded that the purpose in this is so much larger than us and we are so encouraged and just blessed by all of it! Thank you for helping us see purpose and blessings in the midst of the storm. :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

2 Weeks Old!

Asher was doing pretty well tonight! His antibiotics seem to be helping him feel better and have improved his oxygen levels. Bryan has been telling everyone he's the size of a water bottle, so he tried to hold one up to show he really is! We couldn't lay it right next to him because anything in his bed has to be able to be washed and sanitized. I put up his b-day decor, and one of his favorite nurses got his hand print and footprint and made him a birthday sign! So sweet! Also, I got to change his diaper tonight, and we both got to hold him up when he was getting weighed. It was nice to be able to do more with him. Getting to hold him was not "holding" like you dream about after having your baby... we had to be very careful, still, and exact with where we picked him up! Basically I put one hand under his bottom and hips and the other hand under his head and neck and just lifted him for a few seconds off the bed, then put him back down and they weigh him. But, I will say..this was still a treat and special to be able to hold him no matter how it was done! :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Someone's Pouting

Asher has an infection and is not feeling he's pouting a little in the 2nd picture. He's also opened one eye..we are still waiting on the other one. But it's fun to see him looking around a little! He's having some lung issues right now, but they are going to treat the infection first with antibiotics. After that, we will look at the lungs again and decide whether to do steroids or not. If he keeps requiring too much oxygen, we have to do the steroids. Too much oxygen and steroids both come with their side effects or risks. We are praying to believe and remember that every day Asher has has been planned out by God- He knew all the risks and medicines this little guy would have to take- and He's already in the future. The weight of those decisions is not all on us. We'll see how he does the rest of this week! The infection could be what's causing the need for high oxygen. If so, then that will resolve without doing steroids. We will always..thank you for prayers!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Micro-Premie Motherhood Reflection

I've been convicted a little this week to enjoy being a mom- right now. And to be in the moment. I have been trying to learn the world of pumping...and it has had it's good moments and bad! But, overall, I'm so thankful that my milk came in and I can provide something for Asher. He gets tiny feedings right now, ( 1 cc) but still, it feels good that I can experience that part of motherhood, even though I don't have the baby with me everyday or nursing right from me. So, in trying to be a good and efficient pumper, there have been things I'd like to buy. I'd like a cute diaper bag to carry all my gear in so I'm not carting a purse and bag everywhere I go..this would help me be efficient, and it would bring me joy! I've waited a long time to pick out a diaper bag. I'd also like a smaller, more convenient pump. But, I have to be honest. I have a little fear in buying and spending money on those things with Asher being so small and so unstable. But then, I felt like God was telling me I'm a mom right now. I need to enjoy it now- whatever version of it I get. And I can't live in fear. If I lost Asher, it would be so painful to have all this mom gear to set aside, but I have to choose to hope and live in the moment. That's what's been a little hard this week. But, I'm thankful I get even this little piece of motherhood. Some women hope for children of their own to nurse or pump for and never get the chance. God has blessed me with a baby boy right now, and I am his mother right now even though I can't hold him, or do much of anything for him, I can provide him my milk and store it up for his future. And that's a blessing.

Let Hope Rise- "The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has NOT overcome it." John 1:5

We went to church Sunday, and it felt so good to be there! We hadn't been in about 6 weeks! Singing worship songs was soothing to my soul, and painful too. We sang "You're Beautiful" and the part that says "when we arrive at eternity's shore, where death is just a memory and tears are no more..we'll enter in as the wedding bells ring, your bride will come together and we'll sing, You're Beautiful." I was filled with emotion thinking about sweet Titus. I don't know if I can explain all the emotion I felt in that moment. I was sad because I felt I hadn't held him enough when I wasn't loopy from pain meds. I was afraid I'd forget his face, and only have the memories of Bryan or pictures..and that's not the same as learning someone's face in your own memory. Bryan asked me the morning of the funeral if I wanted to see him again. I said no. But, it's hard to know what you want. I've never lost a child before. So, at the same time though..this song comforted me, because I know where Titus is is just a pain-free, joyous place. And through all the pain we've been through, I've often sung words like that and truly believed that when Jesus returns that will be SO much better than this life. Better than pregnancy..better than knowing your child and watching them grow up, better than your child being completely healthy, better than anything we desire to do or see on Earth. And believing that is a tug of war a lot, honestly..because there are good things on this earth that God has given us to enjoy.

Then, we sang "With Everything" by Hillsong. This song is my new favorite! It reminded me that with anything I'm going through, I'm called to praise God. And the Truth in this song that hit me the most is the verse in it that says "Let hope rise, and darkness tremble in Your Holy light." This is what I want in my heart, for hope to reign. Because where His light is, the darkness- Satan, has no chance! I have to remember this everyday when I'm in the NICU. Because everyday there is some hope told to us by doctors and nurses..but then there is always something new that Asher needs to overcome. I asked the nurse practitioner last night when things get less dramatic for A. She said, "when he goes home". Mmm..not exactly what I was hoping to hear! But then she said that every day, and then every week is a little better.

Bryan and I discussed on the way home that we need to always "let hope rise", but we also need to accept and be okay with the fact that raising Asher may always be filled with health challenges. We pray against that, but we can't have an expectation that when he goes home, all his struggles are over. We pray for that, but we just don't know. And so, we may have yet another thing to mourn. Having a healthy baby..and a healthy child. Many of the treatment options for the many things he needs have a side effect of neurological disorders later in life. That can be something like a learning disability..or maybe something more serious like cerebral palsy. (sp? too tired to look it up!) No matter what Asher's future holds, we have a Hope that shines through any dark spot, and reminds us His future is not in our hands.

Monday, February 13, 2012

25 Weeks

Baby Asher will be 25 weeks tomorrow and 2 weeks old Thursday! We got the results from his heart scan and the hole in the ventricle was so small they couldn't measure it! So, the medicine he took over the weekend worked, and it seems to not have left any side effects behind! Thank you Lord! However, as soon as we heard that good news..we were told more bad news. It seems this is the premie life. So, he has been requiring a lot of oxygen the past day or 2..too much of that over time causes damage to the eyes. He could get steroids to help the lungs, however those can cause neurological side effects that we will not know about until he's older. Every decision we make is like this..if you don't do anything, there are problems- and if you treat it, there are more problems. They are impossible decisions. Yet, we know we have to do the best with the information we're given, and in the end pray and pray some more and trust God will lead to us the right decision. He already knows what Asher's future holds. And we can't "mess" that up. He also has too much fluid in and around his lungs, and they will scan again tomorrow to see if that is better. They gave him something to help clear that. Friday, he has another brain scan to check for bleeds. We are thankful the first 2 brain scans were clear! Praying for that result again.

Every day it seems we see something a little different that's changed about him. Today we thought we saw more hair. It looks blonde..we'll see if it stays that way! He hasn't opened his eyes again for us, but that's because it's probably way too bright in there. He's used to total darkness inside me! But the nurses said if we leave a disposable camera up there, they will take pictures of things he does when we aren't there. We continue to thank the Lord for the sweet nurses there. One of our ante-partum nurses was working Saturday and during Titus' funeral, she sat with Asher and prayed with him. How amazing that she was looking out for our baby boy while we were needing to be focused on celebrating his brother. This made us feel so good especially since Asher had a scary night Friday. I'm convinced Baylor Grapevine has the best nurses! God knew what we would go through when we picked our doctor and this hospital. He knew what we would need. :)

Refreshment in the "Wilderness"

Bryan and I both agree we hope to never do again what we did Saturday..Bury a child of ours. But any sad spots in Saturday were just overshadowed by a million blessings we experienced and it all points to the bigger picture. And to end the day.. Our sweet baby boy was doing well, and he opened his eyes!! He peeked at us, then closed them again. Truly a bit of perfect "refreshment" in this long journey. The Lord is good! I don't have a pictures of him doing this yet, but I will post one soon! He doesn't keep them open very long. I also wanted to include a picture of sweet Titus. His funeral was beautiful and everything we could have hoped for, a wonderful, healing celebration of his life and a celebration of all the Lord's doing.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Our Engagement Anniversary

We were reminded today that 4 years ago we got engaged. If you don't was quite the story! Bryan is a pilot..and we crashed trying to land at the runway in plano after he proposed. It was a very trying moment for not just us, but our family and friends as well. And God was so glorified in that, and we learned so much because we both walked away without a scratch from a completely totaled plane. God was faithful and good 4 years ago to make sure we would get married and have a future. He knew then this was in our future..4 years later I can say that we have fallen more in love with each other than ever before, and that we truly have become more of a team and have learned what it means to be married and attempt to die to yourself on a daily basis. Our marriage has been through a lot in 3 1/2 years. But God has been and is good in it all. He's been preparing us for this day- the one week birthday of our tiny premie miracle and the day that marks a week since our precious Titus went to be with Jesus. I'm so proud to be married to Bryan. He's more than a godly man. He constantly chooses the Lord's will. He constantly ministers to others regardless of what's happening in his life. He has constantly served me without hesitating, especially this last month. He is my rock, and a complete blessing. I could not do this life without him. Happy Engagement Anniversary Bryan! Love you!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Funeral Info for Baby Titus Bauer Adams

We’re going to have a graveside funeral service and celebration of Titus’ brief but powerful life at 11:00am on Saturday, February 11th at Old Hall Cemetery. The address is:

Old Hall Cemetery

1200 McGee Lane

Lewisville, Texas

Please join us as we say goodbye to our sweet Titus. He will always be our little Twinspiration and we thank God for giving us this son even though our hearts ache when we think of not getting to know him more! As one friend said, “Titus had more of an impact in 46 minutes than most people do in a lifetime.” Let’s celebrate his life and the life he saved in his brother Asher!

Bryan and I would love for you to join us if you can.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Asher's Birth Announcement Sign in the NICU

On February 2, 2012, I went into labor at 23 1/2 weeks. Our sweet Titus passed away shortly after being born. Although his death is so painful, we are often comforted by the impact he had on so many and especially on his brother's life. If you read the previous post, it explains just how brave he was, and how much Titus did in his short life. His brother Asher fought to breathe and live from the moment he came out, and today he's almost 4 days old! Every day is huge blessing!!

The NICU nurses made this announcement for Asher, and it hangs beside his bed. It brings us joy to look at it while we are in there. The nurses are so caring and loving...they have been truly amazing! We also got our first card from Asher that a nurse made, with his picture inside. We are thankful to experience small joys of parenthood like this for the first time! It seems sometimes even simple sweet gestures like that give us a feeling of normalcy.

The nurses also drape a baby blanket made by volunteers over each baby. Asher's is a Noah's Ark theme blanket and the charge nurse told us she picked that out for him because it has animals in two's on it, and Asher will always be a twin. Bryan, the nurse and I all shared a hug and a few tears in that conversation. I'm so thankful for her gentle nature. She hugs us every time she sees us. Titus was born a few minutes before Asher, and his weight was 1 lb 6oz...another evidence of God's grace..he gained more weight despite the challenges of not having fluid. It's painful to see that blanket some days and be reminded that Titus is not with us, but we also never want him too far from our minds, and we want that for Asher as well. They were together in the womb for 23 1/2 weeks, so I'm sure Asher is comforted by this blanket as well and maybe it helps him feel his brother's presence is still close.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Why We Named Our Boys Titus and Asher

Today was and is a milestone in our pregnancy journey. Today we would have been at 24 weeks. We had planned on telling the boys names today and just having a celebration to be at 24 weeks- a critical point in viability. God had other plans, but we are still celebrating today, every milestone, no matter how small is so significant now. Actually each new day that Asher is doing well is a milestone that we are thankful for!! So, we still want to share with anyone who has not heard the meaning behind the boys names'. Thankfully, we had just decided for sure in the last week what they would be called. We had not discussed it at all until about the 3rd week we were here, neither of us had been ready before that to discuss names..with the losses we've had, and being unsure at 19 weeks that we would make it had just been a sensitive topic.

Both Titus and Asher's names are from the bible. Titus was head of the church in Crete. Paul wrote letters to him instructing him on leading the church. In Titus 1:4, it says "to Titus, my true child in a common faith". And then 2 Corinthians 8:16 says "thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you". Titus represented a strong name to us and with what he had been through and was facing, he needed a strong name, and one that represents a lasting impact. We believe our little Titus has and will continue to fulfill that purpose of communicating God's love, and Truth..just like the Titus of the bible. His middle name comes from a little lighter meaning! We are fans of Jack Bauer in the tv series 24...and in every episode Jack Bauer saves the world and always finds himself in situations where you wonder just how he will get out, and he always does...he's a pretty hardcore guy! One of our best friends made this comment about our baby A after his water broke and he moved his position from head down to laying across my cervix. It was definitely a "Jack Bauer" move! And Titus was letting us know that no one was going anywhere! We know Titus will have a lasting legacy for his bravery, and his sacrifice for his younger, and littler brother. We are so proud to call him our son. We have and will continue to grieve not knowing him more, and watching him grow..but we know his life served purpose and that will comfort us on the hard days.

Asher in the bible is one of Jacob's sons. When he's born Leah says in Genesis 30:13 "Happy am I! For women have called me happy. So she called him name Asher." It also means blessed! We thought this was very fitting for our "baby B". And in Deuteronomy 33:24-25 it says "and of Asher he said, 'Most blessed of sons be Asher; let him be the favorite of his brothers, let him dip his foot in oil, Your bars shall be iron and bronze, and as your days, so shall your strength be.' " So, Asher not only means blessed but also there is a meaning of strength behind his name as well! His middle name, Mark, I knew a long time ago would be in my son's name...if I had a son. Mark 9:24 says "I do believe! Help me with my unbelief." This verse is so simple, yet says so much. In all the infertility struggles we had, we had to cling to this verse..sometimes as painful as that was. We had to constantly pray that we DID believe God's plan for our family, but at the same time, we needed His help in the times it was hard to believe. I love that Truth. God expects us to trust Him, but He also has compassion on us in telling us He knows that won't always be easy, and that's okay to express that it's not easy. So Mark 9:24 has an even BIGGER meaning to us today as we continue to trust God for the future of Asher's life. We DO believe God is big, able, and willing to bless us with a healthy son. BUT, there are days where that's harder to believe. And so, on Friday night..when we were told we need to rush to the NICU so we could say goodbye to our Asher, we were sitting and watching the nurses work on him and we were at a loss for words to even pray. Bryan prayed Romans 8:26 and just told God we didn't know how to pray, but we knew the Spirit would intercede. After a few minutes of just anxious silent prayers, I reached over and said to Bryan "we need to pray his middle name".

So, that is the story of our boys names'. Thank you for praying for our little boy, and for us and our hearts. We TRULY have been overwhelmed by the love and power of the church..meaning everyone who's lifting us up- church is not a building. It's a people, fighting for one another in prayer, by showing love, and by serving each other . That is all of you. And we are more than blessed by your the love of Christ that shines through you.