Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving thanks in everything

"in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

The Bible tells us to give thanks in everything. Paul wrote that while he was in prison, he had every reason to complain but instead he wrote"rejoice in the Lord always".
Sometimes its difficult enough to remember to give thanks during the good times, when things are going well. So how are we supposed to give thanks when times are hard and nothing seems to be going right?

I'll be honest, I don't do that.

This year thanksgiving was different than years before. Yes, we most certainly do have a lot to be thankful for but there is also a lot of things I am not thankful for. I am not thankful that my baby died and that he is not here to celebrate thanksgiving with us. How I am I supposed to give thanks for that stuff?
Luckily for me, when I read deeper into that passage, I notice something; it says to give thanks in everything not necessarily for everything. Bad things happen; we do not have to give thanks for them, but we can give thanks in the midst of them.

I do give thanks for God's glory being displayed through the hard times.

For that I am thankful.

And some other stuff I am thankful for;
This is an excerpt from our responsive reading in church today

For all the times we laughed till our sides ached; for all the times we were troubled and friends we didnt even know we had sprang up from nowhere and ministered to us; for all the times we could have chosen evil over good but didnt; for all the times we could have been hurt but werent; for all the times we could have died suddenly and unexpectedly but didnt. Oh Lord, I thank you.

For the sheer wonder of our creation, preservation, and redemption; for the privilege of prayer, the gift of the Spirit, and the gifts of the Spirit; for the everlasting arms beneath us; the watchful eye above us, the friends around us, and the trust within us. Oh Lord, I thank you.

For seed time and harvest and food enough; for every good nights sleep and every good days work, every good friend and every grand sunset; for warm memories of the past, and the promise of an eternal tomorrow; for the eyes to see beauty, ears to hear a birds songs, hands to hold someone else's, and for someone else's hand to hold. Oh Lord, I thank you.

For all persons whose love for us is unconditional, and in whose presence we can drop all pretense, be ourselves, and know we shall be accepted; for the one who calls us long distance, and the ones that call us darling, and the ones who calls us Dad and Mom, and for the One who shall one day call us into eternity. Oh Lord, I thank you.

and of course for paco! for regained strength, for healing, for the miracle of organ donation, for mindy and the rest of my family, for doctors and surgeons, for nurses and meds, for lots of urine and the disappearance of 'cankles', for scar creams and 'tank-inis', and for a husband who has loved me unconditionally through it all.

Hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

show and tell vol. 3

Another thing to show off:

this is a shadowbox i made. it is filled with the gown and hat he wore, little booties we received, his funeral program, his crib card, hospital bracelet, a rose cut from the bouquet of flowers at the funeral from his grandparents, and a bib made my robb's aunt with his name embroidered on it, and the 'Son' ribbon we cut from the bouquet we got him for the funeral. And his hospital picture.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Show and Tell vol.2

This is the cutest photo book ever. Selena contacted me awhile back after she stumbled across my blog and thought she recognized robb and i, turns out she designed our wedding photo book a few years back! and she offered to make one of brenham's photos, it is cute as can be and love, love, love it!!
She is working on a website to advertise her up and coming organization in which she will be making more books like these for other parents of lost babies. I will be sure to pass that along as it comes!
Thanks Selena!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Show and Tell vol.1

We have been so graciously blessed by so many of you over the last few months since Brenhams passing in many ways. Many of you have used your creativity and talents to bless us with remembrances of him and I just wanted to start a little 'show and tell' series over the next few days to show them off.

This is a life size doll of brenham made by sandy e.

(he looks so tiny in his crib)

Sandy E. started her own business awhile back where she would make dolls for parents of preemie babies and has since passed the business on to someone else but she so generously offered to dig out all of her supplies to make us a doll of brenham. she used his exact measurements and weight to create this awesome reminder for us. the first time i saw it and held him, it brought back so many feelings and memories of when we were holding brenham in our arms so many months ago. I love to show it to people who never got the chance to hold or meet brenham so they can see just how tiny he was. And whenever my arms ache to hold him again i go and grab him out of his crib and hold him for awhile. Thanks again sandy for this beautiful gift. You've got so much talent!

Brenham is one loved little boy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

just what i needed

yesterday my sister lisa treated me and mindy to a spa day (she and my mom came too)! We all got facials, manicures and pedicures! We had a great time and it was just what i needed! Thanks again Lisa! Don't I have the best sisters EVER?!? me and mindy
mom and lisa getting their pedis!

me and mindy before our facials!

We are already planning our next spa day!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I think i know whats going on here

it took robb finding me sobbing in the shower at 12:15 last night for me to realize something is not right here. I came to the conclusion that i never had the chance to fully grieve the loss of brenham. 27 days after he died my kidneys failed and i had to focus on fighting for my own life instead of the loss of my son's.
The last 6 weeks I have been celebrating my transplant, rejoicing over my new life. But all along I have been pushing the grief away. And its been brewing and intensifying this whole time.
And it took all of last weeks bad news to make it all come to the surface again. Not a fun place to be. Back to square one. Lets hope I'm not here too long.
Thank you so much for your prayers and encouraging comments. They are helping.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

its been a rough week

This week has been filled with so much sadness, sin and sorrow. My heart is heavy and I have drifted back into that slimy pit, the one i just pulled myself out of. One step forward, two steps back.
I know many of you have been praying for my sweet friend Nicole. I had the privilege of spending time with her this past week and getting to know dylan, who will be making his brief arrival on this earth very soon. I am trying to stay strong but i cant understand why God allowed dylan to be sick and why he wont be around for longer than a moment.

Others I know just had there lives flipped upside down and their hearts will never be the same. They are broken, crushed and hurt, and so are we.

I am angry. So many people have been put through the terrible loss of a child. It's been happening far too often around me lately and the hurt all comes flooding back. I have fallen, and i have been thrown back into the pit of sorrow.
I am trying to trust that God is doing the right thing in these peoples lives, and that He has our best interest at heart. I know that the God of the Universe will do the right thing. He is complete perfection. all wise. only good.
But, it doesnt feel like this is the right thing. I need your prayers, your encouragement.
"lift me out of this slimy pit, out of the mud and mire. set my feet on a rock and give me a firm place to stand. put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to You, my God. cause many to see and put their trust in You, Lord." Psalm 40:2-3

Saturday, November 15, 2008

i've been tagged (again) here to read the original tag post.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

for those of you who here for directions on how to make the plate clock.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Drum roll please....

And the winner is

Yea, I am so excited, Patrice designed my new blog layout awhile ago so I am super excited to be able to give you a plate clock!

I will be contacting you in the next few days, once I get a chance to pick out some plates for you to choose from!

I wish you all could have won, maybe we'll do something like this again sometime!

Answers to the Guessing Game.

Y'all dida great job guessing, i am super-duper impressed! This was fun!

Here are the right answers:

1.Paco is the name of my kidney! Good work everyone!

2. I woke up at 7:40 am on Monday, I gave points to everyone who guessed in the 7:00-8:00 range

3. Paco is located on the RIGHT side of my lower abdomen.

"right here"

(not sure what that is sticking out of my head:)

4. there are 21 total diamonds. 9 in my engagement ring and 12 channel set in the band. ( i gave points to any guesses close to that!

5. Brenham was 13.4 ounces of cuteness!
6.The correct guesses were... candy, plate clock supplies, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and laundry detergent,
7. I had the pick and pair lunch, cheese broccoli soup and fried chicken salad, I gave points to anyone who guessed any sort of soup or salad
8.Redken is the brand of choice. See...I may have an obsession.

9. If Brenham would have been a girl her name would have started with an “E”. We have another girl name we like better now, but im still not sharing what it was :)
10. 7 surgeries in 7 months!
11. Pacey, "Pacey Boy", "Cuter-Bug", "Lovie", "Naughty-Love" I would have accepted them all!
12. Brenham's original due date was July 7, 2008

The winner will be announced tonight!! Is the suspense killing you?!?!

I had a check up at the doctor in Grand Rapids yesterday, it seems like everything is going well, creatinine is 1.4 and my medication levels are finally where they need to be. He also commented on how small my incision is! he said its the smallest he has ever, EVER seen and about half the size of the ones they do there! Love that! I cant imagine it being twice that long, I am glad its not. I am healing up nicely, I still get a little sore at the end of the day or if i am out and about for a long period of time but thats to be expected. Its been 5 weeks since the transplant!! Woot Woot!!

Winner of the guessing game will be announced soon! Stay tuned!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Blog Readers!!

It’s a guessing game.

Below is a list of random questions for all you readers to guess the answers to. Some questions you may be able to dig around for the answers and some will be strictly guesses. Answer the questions in the comments section. For every correct answer you guess your name will be put in a hat and I will draw a winner so be sure to leave an email address so I can contact you. There is prize and trust me it will be worth your TIME (hint hint)!

1. Who is Paco?
2. What time did I wake up today?
3. Was my new kidney placed on the right or left side?
4. How many diamonds are in my wedding ring set? (engagement ring and wedding band combined)
5. How much did Brenham weigh?
6. The other day I went to the dollar store and bought 17 items, guess one of those items.
7. What did I order at applebees for lunch today?
8 What brand of hair products do I use?
9. If Brenham would have been a girl what would we have named her? (i'll give you points if you get the first initial right!)
10. how many surgeries have I had within a 7 month time frame?
11. whats my doggies name?
12.when was brenhams original due date?

Have fun. And Good Luck!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Craft Night

Last week I had my girls over for craft night, we made clocks out of dinner plates. check 'em out!
whoa! motion shot.

Stay tuned to find out how you can get a plate clock of your very own!

Friday, November 7, 2008

answers are in.

Thanks for your questions, it was nice to have them all in one place so i don't miss any.
Here we go:
~I noticed that you are crafty and I am working on some projects for christmas. I will probably be at fields fabric and hobby lobby on friday. Can I pick up anything for you? I am going to try to make some crayon keepers and cute bags to match for my niece and daughter. (Wish me luck)
Thank-you for your offer, i have actually been able to make a couple of stops myself at hobby lobby this week (love that store)! Good luck on the christmas projects, sounds like they will be cute!
~Are you on any diet restrictions? Would you prefer breakfast foods or dinner foods?
I am no longer on any diet restrictions, yipee! Hmm, breakfast or dinner, thats a toss up we really like them both!
~ If a child at my home is starting to develop a cough is it still safe to drop off food? If I use every sanitary caution?
Thank-you that is so thoughtful of you! Like you said just use sanitary caution!
~At this point post transplant what are you able to do? Are you able to go out a lot? Or do you just need to stay in and rest at all times? Little bit of both?
At this point I just have to be careful not to over-do it and make sure i moderate my activity with adequate time to rest in between. My body has been working really hard at healing so I still get really tired but I have been getting out of the house a little bit each day which has been so nice.
As far as limitations go I cant exercise for another 4 weeks for sure until that pocket of fluid on top of my kidney goes away. No lifting anything over 10 lbs, limit stairs as much as possible. thats about it.
~How is your sister doing?
Mindy has not been feeling quite herself lately, but we're not exactly sure why. she may have overdone it or maybe its part of the normal process. Either way we are praying for her to feel 100% real soon. Thank you for asking.
~are you or will you be able to work again? Or are you more restricted post transplant about who you are around and where you can be?
I am not working yet, as long as everything continues to go well i am planning on going back the first part of next year and just slowly get back into it and see how it goes. I'll have to be careful not to be exposed to illness or get run down by being too busy. What's nice is that I do hair from my house so i can make my own schedule and my other job at a home decor shop is very flexible as well. I'm very lucky with that!
~Where do you live? I'm wondering how long after Brenham was born that you discovered you needed a kidney transplant?
We live in Michigan, I could show you where exactly by pointing to my hand but we Michiganders get mocked for doing that! Brenham was born on February 29, 2008 and the day I was told i needed a kidney transplant was April 1, 2008 (bad april fool's day joke huh?)
~ do you have any specific prayer requests other than the general "to feel better"?
I do have some specifics, thanks for asking! Please continue to pray that Paco will continue to work a long long time, we are hoping for the rest of my life. And for no episodes of rejection, that the disease will not come back in the new kidney, that all my labs continue to be strong. For my body to stay healthy and that i will be able to stay clear of illnesses. Please pray Mindy. And please pray prayers of praise and thanksgiving everyday for the miracle of life i have been given I cannot say that enough!
~Your new kidney is working GREAT (oh the joy of that) but what happen to yours. Did they take your out to make room for the new one or do they stay there and just die and go away.
My old diseased kidneys are still there, they are probably still functioning a little bit but eventually they will catch on that they arent really needed anymore and they will shrivel up and completely shut down. There was no reason to take them out, it just makes for a harder recovery. So i actually have 3 kidneys! Great question!
~My question is for you and Robb. Over this past 8 months what is your most favorite moment?
Oh a very good question, make us think! I have a few but my most favorite moment was when i woke up from surgery and the first thing robb told me was "it's working!" and joy filled my heart. i still get chocked up when i think of that exact moment of learning i had just been granted a miracle! How cool is that?!?
Robb's favorite moment:
Seeing Katie back to normal, smiling and having fun. (his words)(robb is kinda sleeping right now, i might have to ask him to elaborate on that later when he is more with it!)
~What happened to the bad kidney? Does someone have it a jar like on Grey's Anatomy?
Both of my bad kidneys are still in there, that would be pretty cool though to have them in a jar!!
~What about your sister and future children, does that affect her?
Nope it shouldnt affect her at all, as long as she doesnt develop high blood pressure or anything she should be able to have normal pregnancies and deliveries when the time is right, they suggest to wait a year for everything to completely heal.
~Are you a coffee drinker?
Yes I am mostly into lattes or mochas or something but i'll do the good ole fashioned coffee too!
~This is going to be the first Holidays coming up without Brenham, how can I pray for you to make this time easier for yourself and Robb?
You know, last Christmas I remember going to all the parties and thinking about how much more fun christmas 2008 would be with little baby Lubbers around lighting up the room, opening his presents would have been more fun than opening our own.
It will be so hard.
Last Thanksgiving I specifically remember being at robb's aunt and uncles house for dinner and we all wrote down what we were thankful for on leaves cut out of construction paper, since 2 babies had been born into that family that year several of them put down their children. i wanted to write that too but since we hadnt shared the news of our pregnancy at that point yet i didnt but i thought that would for sure be number one on the list for thanksgiving 20o8, it still will be just not the way i had thought.
I dont know what will make it easier. Probably nothing, just one of those things you gotta get thru. Prayers would be appreciated.
~Who kept you puppy dog for you while you were away and was he happy to see you when you got home?
Robb's parents watched the dog for the majority of the time we were gone other than during the time they were in MN with us, then robbs cousins watched him. He was in great hands!
He was so happy to see us and now he wont leave my side, i think he is worried i'm going to leave him again!
~My twin daughters were due this coming Monday. This is a very hard time for me and I know you understand that. Is there a special way that you honored Brenham on your due date? Do you have any suggestions on how to get through this difficult day?
Krista, and anyone else with an upcoming expected due date, first of all know that i am praying for this. I wish I had a magic cure for the pain you have been and will be feeling. I wish I could tell you "it wont be so bad". It will be. For me, the day itself went ok. I thought about it constantly but tried to keep myself busy. I kept telling myself "you dont know for sure that this would have been the day he would have come" and i am sure you can relate to that especially with twins. But that didnt help. I thought that once that day was over all the thoughts of "i should be 30, 36, 38...etc. weeks pregnant today" and the feelings that went along with them would be gone, but that was not true because now you will start thinking "they would be 2, 4, 6 weeks old today" and so forth. Just do whatever you need to do to get through the day. I know a lot of people thought i was crazy but i bought an "its a boy" balloon and brought it to his grave, just because i wanted one. It was silly, but it was something that made his birth real to me, and i wanted his birth to be on his due date so thats what i did. I dont know, thats about it. Whatever you do, it will be special. I'll be praying.
~How did you choose Brenham's name?
I saw the name Brenham on another blog that i stumbled across when i was very newly pregnant. I liked it because it was different but not what i consider to be "weird". I mentioned it to robb but he wasnt so sure about it so we kinda forgot about it and kept searching. The week of brenhams birth robb was out of town on a business meeting and on the day he came home 9the day before brenham was born) he told me he was thinking a lot about boy names on the plane ride and that he really did like brenham, so we decided on it that night. The next day he came so brenham it was. we werent 100% on it but now we love it and its so "him".

Ok and the question everyone has been dying to know....I like to leave y'all in suspense!
I've gotten several questions all similar to this one, so i hope this sums it all up:

~ I'm wondering what you are thinking about kids. Have you and Robb even had a chance to think about that yet with everything else going on? Would you ever consider having a baby through a surrogate? If you can't have your own children, do you think you would adopt?

ok, well. the first drs i saw in grand rapids back in april told us we shouldn't have children after transplant, that they didnt think my body could carry a baby and would jeopardize the new kidney, but my OB dr. always said it would be fine as long as we waited a few years after transplant. When we went to Mayo Clinic for a second opinion the dr. we saw there spent a great deal of her time discussing this with us, she said "absolutely, go for it, as long as everything is going well a few years after transplant" and we let the drs know so i can get on 'pregnancy safe' meds. she even told us we could get pregnant while i was on PD if we wanted. My PD nurse said "absolutely NO getting pregnant while on PD". The drs we talked to after transplant have said, "it should be fine but there are always risks, especially when you take into consideration what happened last time."

So that answers your question right?? haha. needless to say we are confused.

Our hearts long to have our own children someday and we pray for that gift everyday but we also want to be smart and make sure that Paco will be safe for a long long time. But being pregnant again (at least one more time) is my biggest dream and we are willing to do whatever it takes to have that. In due time. And we know that with God ALL things are possible.
Right now, we are considering other ways to expand our family more quickly and hopefully down the road sometime we will be pregnant again. It would be a shame not to have a little robb or katie jr. here on earth!
Our hearts have been opened to adoption, we know we would be able to provide so much to a child who's biological parents could not. and we would also be thrilled to have a surrogate carry our baby for us if i can't. This is definitely always in our prayers everyday and we are excited to see what God has in store for our family! And i hope you'll stick around for the journey. i cant wait to share it with all of you! oh happy day!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My meds.

This is in response to question #1 left by anonymous: "I would love to hear about how the body handles a kidney transplant. Are you on medication from now on and how does the medication make you feel. I guess I'm just curious if you will feel totally better. (I'm hoping that you will.)"
I thought it was a pretty important part of this process so it deserved its own post.

My body naturally sees my new kidney as a foreign object and is constantly trying to attack it. To prevent this from happening I right away received very high doses of anti-rejection meds while i was still on the operating table. Right now I am on 3 different types of anti-rejection pills that kill off your immune system so its not as likly to attack it. I take those twice a day along with some other anti-viral, anti-bacterial, acid reducers, etc. I currently take 24 pills a day, but that has been and will be constantly adjusted as time goes on. Surprisingly, this is a lot less than i was taking while on dialysis.

my weekly pill organizer

a 30 day supply

During the first week after transplant all those meds did a number on my body, they made me so sick i ended up losing an average of 3 lbs a day for a week... 21 lbs. I totally would have been safe for elimination that week on "the biggest loser"!
But since that week, i have been feeling great, no side effects to date. Praise God. I've always had a pretty good appetite but nothing compared to what it is now, so needless to say the weight has been coming back, only 11 more pounds to gain back.

I will be on anti-rejection pills for the rest of the life of the kidney but slowly tapered off to a lower dose.
I feel great, like a new woman! Thanks for the questions, I'm working on the rest of them. If anyone has anymore you can still post them in the comments section of that post, i will keep checking it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Round 2?

Should we do another questions and answers post? Thanks everyone for your questions, i will answer them but just wanted to get 'em all covered at once so if anyone has any leave 'em in the comments section and i will answer them shortly! I had a lot of fun last time!
They can be about (mostly) anything!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

No More Hardware!!

Now you see them....

Now you dont....

My ports are gone! The one in my stomach got taken out while i was on the operating table, so i dont remember that and the one in my chest was done a few weeks later in the clinic, and boy was that nasty. The Dr. just numbed it locally, but not enough so i could feel it. And since it was in for so long there was lots of scar tissue growing around it that he had to rip, cut and stretch away at, ouchy. It took about 25 minutes to come out, the dr. was sweating he was pulling at that thing so hard. It was not fun but i am so glad they are out!
Another reason to rejoice!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Burning Ceremonies

I wasn't joking when i said i was going to burn all of my dialysis stuff after the transplant!
Welcome to the burning ceremonies....

My old meds (do you like my jammies?!?!)

the blanket i brought to dialysis

the dialysis bag
roasting the PD solution bag over the fire :)

all gone!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

two pink lines

it was positive. i couldnt believe my eyes, after months of disappointment, I was thrilled to be looking at those two pink lines. I immediately started brainstorming cute, creative ideas to share the news of our pregnancy to robb and our families. That was the longest day of my life, waiting for robb to come home and see this on the front door.

but his reaction was worth the wait

we had so many dreams for that baby, and we were thrilled. looking back, exactly one year later i now realize really how much those two pink lines have changed our lives.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

His name is written in the sand

thanks carly and sam, this is beautiful.