Tuesday, October 22, 2013

the big news

i'm sure most of you saw our big announcement on some form of social media (IG, twitter or facebook) but i figured i'd share it here as well in case anyone missed our big news! plus i can post a few more of the pictures that my incredibly talented sister katie took for us (in the span of about 10 minutes before it down poured).

fall is one of my favorite times of the year so i was really excited that we had a reason to take some pictures. i knew i wanted to incorporate pumpkins in some way and i didn't find any ideas that i loved after scouring pinterest, so i came up with this. i used my handy-dandy silhouette craft cutting machine and cut the words and feet out on vinyl. it was quick and easy! plus when we were finished i just peeled off the vinyl and now the pumpkins reside on our front porch.

our due date is may 9th which is my mom's birthday. my sister's daughter emeline was born on the 10th. we figured we'd just add to the craziness that is may in my family with those birthdays, mother's day, my parent's anniversary and my dad's birthday towards the end of the month. i see lots of parties on the calendar in future years which is A-ok with me! i love having a reason to celebrate!

jeff and i found out we were expecting on august 26th (i wasn't even 4wks yet). we actually found out while we were up at the young life camp in saranac, ny for a family weekend (the very same camp and weekend we got engaged last year). we had been trying to get pregnant that month (after waiting the recommended 2 months after the miscarriage) and i knew it would be the earliest i would be able to test and probably get a positive. i also know how special saranac is to jeff (and me) so i thought it would be amazing to get our positive while we were still there. i was pretty confident that i was expecting so i'm glad my suspicions were confirmed! here's the cellphone pic i snapped of the tests. the line was faint (as i was really early), but it was a line none-the-less! gotta love the digital tests that just tell it like it is.

so needless to say, it was a long, almost 8 weeks, of secret keeping. finally going public with the news made it feel so much more real which is so bizarre. we'd already had an ultrasound where we got to see the little baby and hear its heartbeat. you'd think it would have sunk in then, but not completely. although that was an incredibly surreal moment and the first time i felt like i was able to breathe. pregnancy after a loss is so hard. of course i have nothing to compare it to, but it's been a difficult process. i found myself having trouble fully accepting it out of fear that we would lose it again... and then feeling guilty for not being able to bond because of that fear... struggling to trust God with this little life growing inside me... feeling helplessly out of control because it was (and still is) out of my control... being scared every time i went to the bathroom (sorry for the TMI but that was my reality)... it's been a myriad of emotions.

but yes, there was nothing sweeter than seeing and hearing that little heart beating at our 8wk ultrasound.

we are overjoyed at this gift of life growing inside me. even typing that out is so weird! after years of wondering when i'd finally be at this place in life, and now experiencing it... well it's just overwhelming at times. life is about to really change, but in an incredible way.

jeff and i are so grateful for all the love and support we've received along the way. it's so incredible to know our little baby is already so loved and ready to be babysat for (thanks to all of our high school young life friends)!

we also want to say to those of you who are struggling in your own journey of conceiving or bringing your child home through other means that our hearts are with you. we are thinking of you and praying that the Father answers the desires of your heart!

grace and peace,


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

four weddings tomorrow!

well tomorrow is the big day! the episode of four weddings that we're featured on will be airing at 10pm EST on TLC.


those are just a few of the emotions i've had over the last few weeks especially in anticipation of this day. being on a reality show has been so interesting. the fact that i just typed that sentence is SO WEIRD. i'm gonna be on tv y'all. this is insane.

the whole experience was a lot of fun, but way more time demanding than i ever thought it would be. i also never realized how exhausting it would be to have a camera in your face for 6+ hours in a day. your filter has to be on point. you can't even chew your food without it being captured on film. umm awkward.

i will say that the way that i view tv, especially reality tv, is forever changed. i now have this insider's perspective on what goes on behind the scenes and it's actually pretty cool.

i'm rambling, i know. do you guys have tons of questions yet? haha.

seriously though, there are some things that i'd love to share with you (especially after the episode airs). and i'm sure once you see it there will be questions. so i want to open up the platform for you to ask away in the comment section. i'll do my best to answer what i can in a future post or vlog or something.

maybe you want to know how i got on the show in the first place? what was the audition process like? did i actually like the other girls? was it stressful having cameras and a bunch of TLC crew people at my wedding? is your brain spinning now? cause mine is.

alright i'm gonna keep this brief. but i do want to say thank you thank you thank you for all the love and support you have all shown throughout this process. i know you're rooting me on and will still love me no how crazy i look. you will, right? but seriously, all of YOU are one of the main reasons i did this show. to share another part of my life with you that otherwise you might not have gotten to see. to let you into one of the most special days of my life. so smooches to all of you.

also, i'm gonna do my best to livetweet during the episode if i can manage it. if you don't follow me then go request me (cause i'm private): thelifeofsusan

i've heard that if you tweet with the hashtag #fourweddings then you might have a chance of getting your tweet featured on the show. how cool would that be? so say something about how awesome i am. haha! i kid i kid. but seriously, be nice ok? and just for fun let's make another hashtag #susanfourweddings to use on twitter and IG so i can go back and see what you all said/photographed, etc.


ok, i'm really done now. i love you all!

grace and peace,

Friday, June 21, 2013

the here and now

I was 3 days late.

I’m as regular as the sun rising so I was pretty confident the test would be positive. I tried to sneak out of bed around 7:30 that Saturday morning so as not to wake Jeff. I was shaking before I even got into the bathroom. I grabbed the test I had hidden in the cabinet for a moment such as this and did my thing before sneaking back into bed to wait out the 3 minutes. I didn’t want to sneak a peek so I knew I had to leave and come back. When the waiting time was up I walked back into the bathroom where I saw that red line, faint, but there all the same. Jeff had heard me stirring by this point and asked what I was doing. I walked back into our bedroom holding the test and replied, “I’m staring at a pregnancy test with 2 lines on it.” He looked at me point blank and said, “I have no idea what that means.” Love that man and his honesty. I told him it meant we were pregnant and then promptly jumped into his arms crying and hugging him and remarking about how crazy this was. We laughed as we remembered the day where we slipped on using preventative measures and how later I looked at my period tracker app and told him that might not have been the best day to slip up on that. Sure enough that was all it took. I thanked God that I was one of the lucky ones, able to conceive so quickly and so easily. Sure, it wasn’t in the plans for this to happen so quickly but we weren’t completely opposed to the idea either. I told him we needed to go and buy another test, one that actually said “Pregnant” and he obliged so we ran to the nearest drug store, came home, tested and sure enough there it was. What is it about those digital tests that make it feel even more real?

I begged and pleaded Jeff to let me tell my sister. She knew my period was late anyway and had already been texting me that morning asking if I had tested. We decided to go out for breakfast so on the way we stopped by her house and told her and Declan the good news and that they were the only ones who would know for a little while. They were thrilled and Kate immediately filled me in on a few important tidbits regarding pregnancy and the first trimester. Those first few days of only us knowing were fun. People would make comments or ask questions regarding us starting a family (which always seems to happen immediately after you get married) and we’d try to act nonchalant and give vague answers while sneaking looks at one another. It was fun to keep the secret.

3 days after we found out Jeff left to start his month at a Young Life camp in Michigan. I’d be joining him a week later because I was heading out on Wednesday to go to Texas for a wedding with my mom. My mom and I spent the first couple of days in Dallas before making the almost 2 hour trek to East Texas on Friday afternoon. We stopped at a rest stop about 30 minutes away from our hotel and I noticed that I had a very tiny little bit of bleeding. I mentioned it to my mom and we both tried to brush it off, but I definitely started looking things up on my phone while she drove the rest of the way. I was 5 weeks that day. My heart was pounding but I tried to keep myself calm and reassure myself that things were fine. As soon as we got checked into our hotel room I went to use the bathroom again and this time there was more blood, including a clot. I started freaking out, told my mom that I had to call my sister and locked myself in the bathroom. Kate was so sweet and did her best to keep me from having a complete meltdown, but she also knew that this was potentially the beginning stages of a miscarriage. She told me to just rest, drink some water and lay down. Over the next several hours I did just that, but the bleeding progressed and eventually the cramping started to come in waves.

I knew what was happening. I had lost the baby and my body was doing what it was designed to do- reset. It’s hard to describe the pain of those first initial hours when you realize what’s happening and what you’ve lost. It’s gut-wrenching actually. I cried and cried and cried. The hardest part was calling Jeff. I hated knowing I was delivering such awful news and that we weren’t together to walk through this. He had so much going on at camp with several hundred campers about to arrive and then I have to tell him this. Just awful. He of course was incredibly sweet and mostly concerned for me, while I know his heart was hurting in its own way. I obviously never made it out to the rehearsal dinner for the wedding that night. I couldn’t do anything but lay on that bed and feel sorry for myself and angry that this was all happening in a crappy Hampton Inn in the middle of East Texas. No offense to those of you who live there, that was just how I felt in the moment.

The wedding the next day wasn’t until 5pm and by that time the cramping had pretty much stopped. I summoned up all the courage I had and got myself together in an attempt to enjoy the night as much as I could. I felt so terrible that this was all happening on what should have been such a happy weekend. I didn’t want the bride knowing what was happening because I didn’t want to bring any sadness to her day. This was her day. I hated my body for doing this at such an inopportune time. Her wedding was beautiful. I was honored to be there to watch her marry her best friend. I even managed to join her on the dance floor for a couple of songs which was honestly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I felt so fake, but I know I had to be. I hated that.

On Sunday my mom and I started the journey home and ended up getting stuck in the Dallas airport for 4 hours because of a flight delay. All I wanted was my husband and to get on the plane so I would feel like I was one step closer to him. We didn’t end up getting home till 1:30 in the morning, but we did make it. First thing Monday morning I called my OB and talked to the sweetest, kindest nurse who practically cried with me as I told her about my weekend. Her empathy and compassion was exactly what I needed and after hearing horror stories from girls about how they were handled when they miscarried I feel very, very blessed with the way they dealt with me. She asked me to go to the hospital that day to get blood work done so amidst laundry and packing I had to do that because I was leaving Tuesday morning to drive to Michigan to be with Jeff at camp. She called late Monday afternoon and confirmed that it was indeed a loss after looking at my HCG levels. She also told me that I am RH- and that she needed me to come in first thing Tuesday morning before I departed for Michigan to get a RhoGAM shot. They were so great about getting me in early and taken care of so I could get on the road. After traveling 12 hours with another friend whose husband is also here all month and 2 of her kids we finally arrived.

To say that I was happy to see my husband would be an understatement. It was a mixture of joy, relief and sadness at the same time over all that had happened since we’d seen each other last. I’m so grateful that we’re able to be together during this time and be in such an incredibly beautiful environment as well.

As for me, I’m doing ok. It’s been 2 weeks now and physically I feel back to normal. What I went through physically, while difficult, was not as bad as other stories I’ve read. My body naturally took care of everything and for that I am grateful. I remember telling my sister that I felt like my body was broken and she reassured me that even though that feeling is natural, my body was actually doing everything it was supposed to do and I took comfort in that. Emotionally, I go back and forth. Father’s Day was hard because I had a card that I had bought for Jeff (that was packed with our dad’s cards) that I realized I still packed. It was a daddy-to-be card and I just cried knowing I wouldn’t be giving it to him. There are 9 kids here under the age of 4 that belong to staff families and live with us in a large house here. They are so fun and full of life, but it pricks my heart at times, too. Then there are the recent pregnancy announcements that probably just feel so much more prevalent because of where I am. It’s a sucky place to be because while you are so very happy for them, you are also so sad for yourself and then you feel like a jerk for being selfish but the feelings are just real. I’m a human being. I can’t expect to not have those thoughts. I do my best to push them away when they come and not entertain them.

I do trust God in all of this… I know His timing is good and I truly believe that God will give us a healthy pregnancy in the future. I’m bummed that I know I’m jaded for future pregnancies because I’ll be scared this will happen again, but I can’t change that. I won’t be able to be na├»ve again, but there are worse things I suppose.

I’m comforted in knowing how many other people have walked this road and that I’m not alone in my feelings. I thank God for my sister and that she understands exactly how I feel since she lost her first pregnancy as well. While I still hate that she had to go through that, selfishly I’m glad that I don’t have to explain anything to her. She just gets it.

I know this was long and included lots of details… some of them TMI, but this is real life. It’s where I am. It’s my story.

Jeff and I truly covet your prayers as we walk through this. Here's a photo someone snapped of us the other night here at camp.

grace and peace,

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

follow me

i know i've got a lot of updating to do but i wanted to put this out there for all of you since my beloved google reader is going away soon!

click the link below to keep following along and i promise i'll have some updates soon!!!

 Follow my blog with Bloglovin


Thursday, March 7, 2013

life is good

oh little blog of mine... how i miss thee... let me count the ways...

seriously though... the fact that i've neglected this little corner of the interweb for almost 6 months makes me wanna hang my head in shame. but at the same time i love that i don't feel bound to update this all the time. that i can be free to just live my life and come and go as i please. although that doesn't do much for the relationships i've built on here and the people who only know about my life when i post... so to those of you i'm sorry! jeff is constantly encouraging me to blog more and i just nod my head and say 'yeah yeah' and then i don't do it. i got an email the other day from a woman who has read my blog and found some inspiration and i wanted to share part of what she wrote with you:
"Last March I began my weight loss journey.  I stumbled across your blog and found so much inspiration!  I just wanted to let you know that if you still read this I have lost 65 pounds since March.  I found so much comfort in a real person who had done it.  I find it so hard to believe the tv ads and magazines that show people who have lost a considerable amount of weight.  Your faith is so inspirational and I believe that it is so important to the journey.  With God all things are possible. Thank you Susan!!!"
i love how just sharing your story can inspire and motivate someone to LITERALLY CHANGE THEIR LIFE. how amazing is that? it's once again a reminder of the power of social media to connect with people we otherwise wouldn't be able to. the chance to share our story. the ups the downs. the tears the laughter. it is such a powerful tool that can be used to harness SO.MUCH.GOOD. and i'm honored to be part of it... even in a small way!


life is so crazy busy right now with just (hold me jesus) 37 days until the wedding but it is so crazy good. when i give myself time to just stop and think about this season of life i'm in i literally start bawling. no joke. ask my sister. i totally did it at bible study this week. i am just so overwhelmed with God's faithfulness in my life and how he knew, even amidst all the pain and brokenness i endured, that my story wouldn't end there. he saw my wedding day to jeff before i did. and i look back and remember a time where i didn't think the feelings i have today would ever be possible and yet here i am. i'm in awe. in awe of a Creator who weaves the tragedy of our lives into something more beautiful than we could have ever imagined. my heart is full of gratitude and most days i feel like words aren't enough. so i just cry. haha!

so much more i could say but for today this is enough. many more things i'd love to write about but i'll save that for another day.

grace and peace,