Thursday, May 22, 2014


I have briefly mentioned that since Noelle is here, I have much more joy - and more fear. 
I think I need to "get real" here and expand on my faith vs. fear battle since her arrival. 

It's hard. And it can truly be exhausting, physically and mentally. In many ways, I feel like a new parent. So many fears. Except... I am not like a new parent. Because a new parent still has the luxury of innocence. They are not sure what to expect.When I put McKinley down for a nap, I expected her to be alive when I checked on her. And she was. So was Ireland and Kezia. Link was not, and that has forever changed me as a person and as a mother. So, again, while I don't expect Noelle to die... I don't expect her not to, either. It's always in the back of my mind. It's hard to find peace. I try to sleep when she sleeps during the day (when I can), but it's hard to let myself relax. Losing a loved one, especially a child that you were supposed to be in charge of, and especially from SIDS where they don't know WHY it happened, does funny things to your brain. You make illogical correlations and irrational assumptions. I hear her make noises when she sleeps and I think "Good. okay. I know she's alive." And then, I think "but what if Link made little noises like that, too, right before he died? What if he struggled? What if that means she is going to die if I don't check on her?" So, I do. I check on her. Again and again. Is her color okay? Can I see her chest rising and falling? Is the blanket anywhere near her face? Is she strapped in? 

I tell myself to not freak out. I tell myself she's not going to die. I tell myself "I have to trust that it's going to be okay this time because she's sleeping in our room or close by me all the time. I have to trust that the Snuza will go off if she stops breathing. I have to trust that she is strapped in so she can't roll over." 

But at the end of the day, these things are not enough to put my trust in. I know that I could have her in my arms all the time, I could have the Snuza on her 24/7, etc, etc, etc... and she could still die. 

19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted." 2 Nephi 4:19

I realize that I cannot put my trust in myself, or the Snuza, or strapping her in... or anything. It doesn't mean that I will stop doing these things, but it does mean that I acknowledge that I can't put my trust there.  I need to put my trust in the Lord.  And that's HARD, because when Link died, I felt like my trust was betrayed. I trusted Him, and He took my baby away. Over the past year or so, I've struggled with that, and I do not by any means have a perfect faith now, but I do realize that trusting the Lord doesn't mean that my life will be easy, that we will always have money, or that those I love won't die. It simply means that I trust Him to direct my life. I trust Him that whatever happens will be for my ultimate good. My ultimate growth. My bigger-picture-plan. 

We read the story of Jesus walking on water the other night:

30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and took hold of him, and saith unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

And I realized that I am much like Peter in this story. When the winds of doubt and fear come into my mind and get overtaken with thoughts of "what if," I start panicking. Drowning. But I know when that happens, I need to redirect my sight (trust) to the Lord. If I keep my gaze on Him, I won't sink. I will be able to ignore the storm swirling around me and instead enjoy the miracle of walking on the water - i.e. being in the moment with my loved ones and just enjoying the seconds, minutes, hours, and days that I get to spend with them. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Noelle's 2 week Photoshoot!

I already posted these on FB, but there are some people who don't do FB, so I thought I'd post them here, too. We had these done when Noelle was 2 weeks old. She - like all my other babies - didn't cooperate so well with pictures. They've never just slept through the whole thing and let the photographer position them at will. Nope. They are wide awake and fussy and they don't understand what's going on. We had maybe 5 minutes where she slept (and we did get a few cute ones in), but most of the time she was awake & fussy. Oh well! We still got some sweet ones. :-) I always meant to get professional pictures of Link, but with the whole hospital fiasco and everything, I never did. And it always breaks my heart... so I'm so thankful for these pictures of our sunrise baby. We love her SO much!!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Share Walk

Whew! There has been so much going on lately - so many things at the girls' school, life with a newborn, Mother's Day, and our 14th Anniversary. But I definitely wanted to talk about the Share Walk of Remembrance & Hope that was held yesterday.

I don't think I've written a whole lot on this blog about our local Share group. In the hospital, we were not given any information on grieving - no pamphlets, no support. But the local Share group came and brought a big bag full of sweet gifts for myself and the girls - as well as information on the local support group they have for pregnancy/infant loss.

I went to that first meeting when I was only a couple weeks out from Link's death. It was hard, but so freeing to talk to these ladies that I knew understood the pain and agony I was in. I haven't gone to every support or service meeting, but I've made it to many & I truly feel a special bond with these ladies. They are AMAZING. Many of them have endured multiple losses. Many of them drop everything they are doing at a call from the hospital to go hold the hand of a stranger who has lost a baby and cry with them and tell them "I understand." That is something every bereaved parent needs to hear. Or they go to the hospital and take pictures of these tiny angels who are no longer breathing. Those last pictures mean so much.

Yesterday, we had a walk to remember our precious babies, and to bring awareness to this group, so they can have the financial support and support from our medical community to help those who have lost.

I am so thankful for my sister with 3 of her kids and my parents who drove all the way from Salt Lake to support us, as well as Jason's parents from Richfield and his brother's family from St.George. Also, our amazing friends, the Bealers come to support us. I made a poster to put alongside the other sweet posters telling about our babies. I also put a transfer onto the shirts with Link's picture. At the park, there was a beautiful prayer said. A touching poem read. A sweet song sung. An amazing balloon release. The walk was beautiful and wonderful and seeing not only my family with Link's name on their shirts and in their hears, but probably 250 more people with names on their shirts and in their hearts, all saying YOU WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN!

It was a beautiful thing.

If you couldn't come & want to donate, you can do so @ Thanks again for all who support this wonderful group!

Had to make sure Noelle had a shirt, too 

My parents


The transfer of Link I put on all our shirts

Camri & Canyon

I love to see the cousins from both sides hang out together :) 

Heading for the walk

Link's poster

Love every person! 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

April Newsletter & Slideshow

FAMILY:  April was very busy and wonderful. After some unfortunate car trouble (Cindy’s tire blew on the freeway), the Edwards were able to come to visit us from April 1 – 6th. We had fun – the kids played together, Cindy helped Heidi make 26 freezer meals (yay!), Cindy made Heidi a nursing blanket, playing at the park, going to McDonald’s, having a “tea party”, going for a walk on the East Canyon Park trail, going to the movies – we saw Nut Job, and Jason took the kids swimming while Cindy and Heidi went out to eat at the Pastry Pub. Also – on the 3rd – the girls all got their hair chopped! They went to the salon & Kylee Low cut all their hair, at least 12 inches! On the 5th & 6th, the kids had fun being creative while we watched general conference. Grandma Potts & GG Tew came on Sunday and watched the second session with us and we even saved them some homemade sweet rolls J Tuesday, April 8th, was a big day for our family – we welcomed the newest member! Noelle Eve Hamilton made her entrance at 10:50am. For more information on Noelle, see her section. We have all been so thankful and excited to have her here!! She had to stay an extra day to be under the billi lights for jaundice, but we got to come home on the 10th and after all we went through with Link, it was so nice to just take her home. We’ve had so many friends, ward members & neighbors bring meals and gifts for Noelle. She has quite the wardrobe of new clothes & blankets! They are each so special & we are so thankful for everyone’s generosity. Grandma Potts stayed for almost 2 weeks to help out – thanks grandma!!! Also, Grandma Devenish, Aunt Kim, & the Hamiltons all made a trip to meet the newest member of the family. The Bensons arrived on the evening of the 10th & had fun meeting Noelle. Other fun activities with the Bensons included eating Grandma Potts’ cotton candy, going to the St. George Children’s Museum and splash park, going to McDonalds, going on a hike, painting, and having a movie night. Our girls’ spring break was from the 16-18th and we mostly relaxed at home, enjoying Noelle. We did work out in the yard a bit, though, and Jason & the older girls met the Bealers at the park and they played, flew kites & had a picnic. Easter was the 20th of April this year and even though mom stayed home with Noelle, we still took pictures of our family in our new dresses and after church, we headed to the cemetery to visit Link’s bench. Overall, we have loved the warmer weather – watching the flowers come up and the trees get their leaves. And we have all loved getting to see so many loved ones who have come to celebrate our new arrival!

JASON: Jason was able to take some time off this month to enjoy visits from both sides of the family & the Bensons. He enjoyed hiking with McKinley & Ireland and exploring the Spring Canyon area. Jason stayed in the hospital the first night after Noelle was born and was so good to help out. He is such a great hands-on daddy – holding, burping, and changing diapers – even when Noelle pees all over him J He has been good to take the girls to church by himself as well and the girls love to help him get dressed – picking out his shirt and his cologne. Jason had some bad news at the end of the month – one of his coworker’s son died. We are so heartbroken for their family and have been praying every day for them.

 HEIDI: Heidi is so thankful that her baby girl is out of her belly & in her arms! It’s SO nice to be able to breathe & sleep (at least somewhat) again J At the beginning of the month, Heidi went to Walmart & it was a very windy day. She opened her van door and the wind blasted it open – right into the door of the car next to her, leaving a big dent L She left a note and it turned out it was the car of a family in the ward. We are working with them on taking care of the damage. Another big bummer this month was that Heidi dropped her phone & it’s all cracked now L  Heidi was so very thankful that she was dilated enough to set an induction date! She was so thankful to hold Noelle for the first time and hear her cries. She now knows many, many women who did not hear their baby’s cries when they were born. Having a new baby obviously brings sleep deprivation, and there is most definitely an added anxiety with worrying about losing Noelle. Heidi checks on her many MANY more times than she ever did her other babies – checking her color, checking her breathing, but she has brought so much joy as well. It is so healing to have another baby to hold and feed and love.  She was also thankful that labor was pretty fast and her epidural was good J

-McKinley came home with a flyer to try out for the new children’s musical theater production – Suessical. She practiced so hard! She did really well & made call-backs & earned a place in the musical as Pearl Noodled Finch as a singing part. WAY TO GO McKINLEY! We’re so proud of you! Rehearsals are over the summer with the play at the end of August. We know she is going to do great & hope it’s a wonderful experience for her. She already has a friend that is in her cast – Emma Beacham.
-When her cousins were here & we were going to go pick something up, McKinley didn’t want to go & begged to stay behind. She said “Please let me & Michael stay home! We’re older… and he knows karate!”
-McKinley’s class went on SEVEN field trips in April! Some of the places included to SUU to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday and to Snow Canyon for a long hike!
-One morning for breakfast, McKinley had written everyone sweet notes and put them in their places. She also drew a picture of our whole family (including Link & Tundra) and cut it up into a puzzle for us to put together J
-For activity days, McKinley did quilts and the activity days girls surprised her and us by giving us one of the quilts for Noelle!
-McKinley is so excited to have her sister here. She is a very big helper with Noelle and is good to hold her, bring her to us,  get her binki, and burp her.

-Ireland has once again resumed the role of “baby obsesser.” First thing in the morning & after she gets home from school, she has to know where Noelle is. We are constantly telling her to give Noelle some space – especially when she’s sleeping. She is a helper, too, though and is good about getting things we need for her as well as singing to her, talking to her, and just being with her. She also loves (like she did with Link) to take her little hand and rub in down her face. She was a bit worried when we had to stay an extra day at the hospital for her jaundice. Mom assured her we’d be home the next day, but Ireland still remembered Link and said “how do you know? How you do know you will be home tomorrow?”
-We love listening to Mindy Gledhill and one of our favorite songs of hers is “Hourglass.” The song says “Oh..Life’s an hourglass.” Mom heard Ireland singing it the other day & she was singing “Oh… Life’s an outer blast.” J
-Ireland was arguing with her sister & was complaining to mom. She said “But she used a violent voice!”
-Ireland was excited she got to have Joshua AND Sienna come stay with us for a while. So much fun!

-Kezia is excited about her baby sister, too, although she’s not quite as infatuated as Ireland or McKinley. She does love her baby sister, though, and enjoys our mornings together.
-Kezi LOVED having Grandma Potts here for so long. She definitely would have kept her here if it was up to her.
-Mom took the girls to the park one day and in the car she said “Mom – you get a super mom card” – she gets “super-kid” cards at preschool, so mom was pretty happy to get a “super-mom” card J
-Kezia seems to have gotten her sister’s ability for creativity. She decided to put on a treasure hunt one day. Mom was going to go on her treasure hunt, but Kezi stopped her, saying “there are no pajamas allowed on my treasure hunt.    Period.”
-Mom complained about something daddy did and said “naughty daddy.” Kezia said “yeah… you should pick a new husband.”
-For some reason, Kezia is VERY against saying the word cute. Do not call her hair cut, or her picture, or her clothes “cute.” She gets really upset. She thinks cute is only for babies and she wants you to say “beautiful.”
-She also has banned us calling her anything but KeziA. Not Kezi. Not Kez. Only K-E-Z-I-A. It takes a lot of getting used to because we are all so used to shortening her name.
-Kezia’s favorite scripture story is Jonah and the whale. She knows that we can’t ever hide from God. She says “Jesus can see you every day – even in a barrel!”
-Kezia wanted to do something that wasn’t okay & mom said “I’m not letting you because I’m the mom.” So Kezia replied “Well, then you have to be the dad.”
-Kezia still LOVES the movie Frozen and loves to take mom’s phone and record herself singing “Let it Go.”

We know Link was there as we welcomed Noelle into the world. Jason gave Heidi a special blessing the evening before Noelle’s birth and we both felt like Link was close and watching over his sister. To the hospital we brought 2 pictures of Link & Heidi wore her “Link earrings” and her Link bracelet. The day we brought Noelle home, there seemed to be more rainbows that usual in our home – on almost all the walls in the living room. Jason & Heidi both felt like Link was overjoyed to have his sister here. Heidi brought Noelle to her brother’s bench a couple days after Noelle’s birth and talked to him and thanked him and reassured him that he will never be forgotten or replaced. Noelle does seem to focus a lot on Link’s pictures in our home. We pray they will have a strong bond.

Welcome to the world – and welcome to our family Noelle! Heidi did a whole blog post about Noelle’s birth, but the short version is that Heidi chose to be induced on April 8th because we already have birthdays on the 5, 6, 7 & 9th, so Noelle fills that gap J Our appointment was for 4am and she was here by 10:50. At the end, there were some scary moments with her heart decelerations and different things, but she got here safe, sound & healthy. She had to stay an extra day for jaundice. She didn’t like the billi bed too much, so we’re glad she only had to do that for one day. We were so thankful to get here home!! Grandma & her sisters had made a welcome home sign as well as making a “sunrise/rainbow” cake and some beautiful, colorful flowers. She is sure a loud baby at night with all her grunts, squeaks, hiccups, coughs, etc. Her mommy checks on her a Lot. Noelle is more of a spit-up baby than any of the other kids & we are going through a LOT of burp cloths and clothes. Good thing she was given so many new clothes! Noelle really has some frog legs and can fully put her feet flat on her diaper. She also seems to be infatuated with her hands and is constantly putting them on her face, only to get a surprised look like someone did it to her. We were a bit worried when Noelle hadn’t had a BM for a day or so once we got home from the hospital, but the next day she started and hasn’t stopped! One time when daddy was changing her diaper, she peed ALL over his shirt & pants! When Noelle was 2 weeks old, we went over to Jessica Dupass’ home for Noelle’s photoshoot. Like her siblings, she wasn’t very cooperative. She was awake and pretty fussy most of the time, although we did get about 5 minutes where she slept and we snapped as many pictures as possible. Noelle’s sisters love her VERY much and can’t wait to show her off to all their family & friends. Noelle still struggles with keeping up with Heidi’s milk supply, but hopefully soon we’ll get that down J Even after almost a month, she still has quite the head of dark hair. It is beautiful! She definitely has more hair than any of her siblings had. For now, she sleeps in the little vibrator chair – swaddled, but strapped in & with the Snuza monitor on her. One night it went off a few times (we think it was the way she was strapped in), but it definitely scared us! We are thankful for the monitor, though. Noelle loves to lay on a blanket in the living room and stare at the light coming in to the windows. Overall, she is a very sweet, cute baby and we are SO VERY thankful to have her in our family!