Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 15

Many of you may not even understand the significance of October 15. Quite frankly, neither did I until just a few short years ago. It's not a date that will be marked in red on your calendar, nor will you be reminded of its significance by the general public or the news, but it's still an important day, nonetheless, to some more than others.  You see, October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

I will never forget that day in Februray 2008. I got a positive pregnancy test, and Brent and I were over the moon. We had been married about two-and-a-half years, and we were thrilled to be having a baby of our own. We told our parents and friends right away, and I made an appointment. I could hardly wait to go!  The day finally arrived. Brent took off work to be with me. All the usual prenatal tests were done. We even met with the insurance lady at the office to work out a payment plan for all my prenatal care.  We excitedly waited for our turn in the sonogram room. We couldn't wait to see our baby...our baby!

I don't remember all the details now, but I do remember knowing that something wasn't right when the technician went and got the doctor. It was the first time I met Dr. Little, you see, because I was a new patient, but even then, his sad eyes told me before his gentle voice did, that our baby was no longer alive. He told me he would like to schedule a D&C as soon as possible. I understood, but I was numb at first. However, when the tears began to fall, they fell fast and hard. I was mourning for our baby...our baby, that I would never get to see and never get to hold. I questioned God. I asked Him why it was me who had to endure this. I wondered why it couldn't be someone else.

The next few days went by in a blur. I continued to teach, although there were some who did not understand why. What else was I going to do as I waited for that dreaded day? Mope around the house alone while Brent worked? I was already going to have to miss 3 days, so I didn't see the point of taking off more. Besides, staying busy helped keep my mind off things.

The procedure was short and simple. My nurse was so sweet and gentle to me. She held my hand as I drifted off to sleep. She had been there, too, not too many years ago, and she still remembered the pain that it caused; not the physical pain, but the emotional. It meant a lot. On the way home later that day, all I could think of was that I was getting to come home but our baby...our baby, was not. I slept a lot that afternoon. I felt okay physically even after just a few hours, but my heart was broken in two.

I went back to work on Monday. Most people didn't say anything. They didn't know what to say, and I was actually a little glad that they didn't say anything. That may sound mean, but if you have been there, or if you have ever grieved at all over someone you loved, you know exactly what I am talking about.

A few months went by. My heart began to heal. In September, I found out I was pregnant again. Brent and I were excited, but a little scared at the same time, but we still decided to tell our parents and friends the news. I felt good about things. I mean, I had a miscarriage. I met my quota. Things would be fine, right? Yet, somehow, on the way to my 8 week appointment in early October 2008, I knew things were not okay. I can't really explain how I knew, but I did. This time, when the technician sent for the doctor, I knew why. Again, Dr. Little came in and gently told us that our baby...our baby, was no longer alive. I was scheduled for another D&C. I believe this is when he shared part of his story with us. His own wife suffered through a couple of miscarriages as well, but she made it through. He assured us that many women suffer through two or more miscarriages and go on to have healthy, full-term babies.

Again, I continued to teach as I waited for my appointment day to arrive. Again, I am sure some of my coworkers, friends, and family members thought I was insane for doing so. Again, I thought it was the best thing for me to do. Staying busy helped me keep my mind off things at least a little.

The procedure went smoothly again. My nurse...a different one from the first time, was just as sweet as the first one had been, and just like the first time, I was home in a few hours and resting. Again, I healed physically very quickly and I was back to work in a couple of days, but this time, I went on an emotional roller coaster like I had not done the first time. I became very angry. I begged to know why this was happening to me when there were women around the world who were dumping their babies into trash bins or aborting them just because they were an inconvenience to them. I wasn't even sure I wanted to try to have another baby at first, but after much prayer, God changed my heart, and seven-and-a-half months later, on Memorial Day of 2009, I somehow knew I was pregnant before I even took a test. I felt different than I had before, and to be honest, it's the only time I have had that feeling. Sure enough, I was pregnant. I was so excited that I drove to Brent's work to tell him. I'm sure he thought I was crazy!

This time, we wised up and decided not to tell anyone...not even our parents, about the pregnancy until after we went for a sonogram. You see, the first two times, we had to go back to several people and deliver our devastating news just weeks after we told them exciting news, and we decided it wasn't worth all the heartache.

Well, our plan of not telling anyone about the pregnancy fell through the cracks one morning in June when I didn't show up at church for VBS. Anyone who knows me knows that I am on time and that I don't just "not show up" for things. When I make a commitment, I stick with it if at all possible.  However, on this particular morning, I threw up about 5 times. I was exhausted and knew I had about an hour before I had to leave for VBS, so I laid down for what was supposed to be a 30 minute nap. The next thing I knew, I was awakened by my mother-in-law banging on my front door. It was three hours later, and the VBS director, a friend of mine, became very concerned when I didn't show up and  even more so when I didn't answer my phone (I was out of it!), so she called my mother-in-law at work. My poor mother-in-law drove frantically from her work, and I'm sure she thought I had lost my mind when I groggily answered the door, but still didn't offer a good explanation. I felt like a fool!

After all the commotion and the embarrassment, Brent and I decided that we had to come clean, at least with our parents. This was not a situation that would explain itself otherwise. So, that evening, we retold the story to my parents and then Brent's parents and we made our big announcement, but we had them promise not to tell anyone else yet.  A few days later, I was at the doctor's office begging for some relief from "morning" sickness that lasted all day, and I was so thankful that it was summer break! Because of my history, they assured me that this was a good sign. Being sick often indicates a healthy baby, but just to be sure, they went ahead and did a sonogram that day, and there he was (although we didn't know he was a boy at that time), our baby...our Chandler! His heart rate was perfect, and he was moving around. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen or heard! The tears came again, but this time they were tears of joy and thankfulness. The summer went by, and I was so glad that I wasn't having to teach, because I really don't know how I would have been able to do it while throwing up multiple times a day, but finally, by the time school started back in August, I was beginning to feel some better.

My body grew and changed. We found out at 20 weeks that we were having a son, and we announced his name. I took pleasure in feeling and watching him move. Brent loved to see my stomach jumping those last few weeks. Things went well. Chandler was growing and healthy. He entered this world on Friday, Febrary 5, 2010, just two days before his due date, weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces and measuring 20 inches long. He was such a site to behold! He made me forget about all the vomiting, all the pain. He was so worth it! I knew even then that I wanted to give him a brother or sister one day.

So, I consider myself to be a smart, educated, and well-rounded person, but I guess I never dreamed I would miscarry again after having a full-term pregnancy and healthy baby. We were excited to be expecting another baby with a due date just one day after Chandler's second birthday. Since Brent, Chandler, and I all have February birthdays, I thought it was awesome that this baby should share a February birthday as well. However, miscarriage #3 was just as hard as the first two. The only difference was that this time I had my sweet little boy to love on as I grieved. I cried over him many nights, thanking God that he gave me this special gift from heaven.

After miscarriage #4 just a few months later, Brent and I had genetic testing done, and we found out that I have a genetic abnormality called Robertsonian Translocation. We were given the okay to try for another baby, but we were also told that the odds were against us. We decided it was worth trying for. We so badly wanted to add a child to our family.

Four more times we went through this process, knowing that the odds were against us. That's right...I have been pregnant nine times, and I have miscarried eight of those times. Each and every time, God brought me through and made me stronger. While miscarriage is not what defines me, it has certainly been a big part of my story and it always will be. God has allowed me to use my own experiences to help others already, and I believe He has even bigger plans in store. Will we adopt one day? Maybe. Will we try to have another biological child? Not unless God changes our hearts. Are we content and happy with our family just the way it is? Absolutely! 

I am eternally thankful to God that he has allowed me to be a Mama to my sweet and precious little boy, Chandler, who stole my heart before he was born, and who continues to steal it every day, even at the silly and sometimes trying age of four-and-a-half. He is a blessing to me, and I cannot imagine my life without him in it. He has brought so much joy and laughter into the life of me and his Daddy. He is our little miracle....our baby!

If this has touched you in any way, or if you know of someone who might could benefit from hearing my story, please pass it on. I have written it in hopes that someone...even if it's just one person, will find the hope and strength they need to hang on, even in a difficult time such as miscarriage. - Salena

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Where Did Summer Go?

It happens every year. I look forward to summer vacation, and then it comes and goes so quickly. It has been a great one, though. At almost 4 1/2, Chandler is big enough to explore and try more things than he ever has before. I love that he is now old enough to make memories that he can hold for a lifetime.

He is growing up so fast, and although we have our challenging moments, and sometimes even our challenging days, I wouldn't trade it all for the world. He is a sweet and special blessing! Here is a recap of some of the things we did this summer.

Myrtle Beach with my parents (Grandmama & Grandpa)

You can't go to the beach without having a picnic at least once! 

Dollar Movies- He loved them! 

Level Grove Donuts With Dad (He loved Level Grove, by the way!)


Swimming Lessons

He received some cool treats from the library for reading this summer.
Slime was one of them. He had a blast with it!
Making cupcakes for no particular reason
(and staying in our jammies all day sometimes!)

Playing at the park

Enjoying Sunday School with friends

Swimming at Don Carter State Park
with some friends from church
Watching the Demorest 4th of July Fireworks with Brent's parents
(Nana & Grandad)
Catching an Atlanta Braves game
(complete with Coke, Cotton Candy, & Ice Cream!)

Earning a certificate, medal, and fishing pole
for reading 100+ books this summer 

Throwing sticks for Jack to fetch at the lake

Catching a movie at the Tiger Drive In
(a first for all of us!)
The occasional nap
(Unfortunately for me, he decided most days this was unnecessary!)

This summer really wasn't so much about what we did. It was who we spent the time with…each other. I am so blessed to have Brent and Chandler in my life. They are both special and precious to me, and I thank God for them.

Monday, June 23, 2014


On April 17 of this year, after lots of prayer and discussion with my husband, my parents, my in-laws, and a few close friends, I turned in my resignation to Cornelia Elementary School. It wasn't an overnight decision for sure. It's the only school I've taught at, and I was there for 11 years. I was hired the summer after my college graduation, and I stepped into my first classroom as teacher at the young age of 22.

That first year, I was with fourth graders. The next ten years were spent with first graders. I worked under three different principals and four different assistant principals. I met many life-long friends. I worked hard, I learned many lessons, and I had the privilege of teaching over 200 kids who I claimed as my own while they dwelled in my classroom with me. All of these things will always be a part of me, but when I felt the call to leave, I had to answer. I had to take a huge leap of faith. I had to step out of my comfort zone.

Some thought it was because of family issues (we have been considering adoption, as many of you may know, but we have not made any definite decisions on this), some thought it was because I no longer had the desire to teach. Please don't worry, though, I am not giving up teaching. I think it is what I have been called to do. I am, however, taking a different path, at least for now. It's what is best for my family. 

Therefore, I am proud to officially announce that I will be a part of the Trinity Classical School family beginning in August. Chandler will be joining me there as well as a member of the newly-formed preschool program. It has been amazing to see how God has orchestrated all of this. 

If you are reading this, I ask that you pray for us as we make this new and exciting transition. We are very blessed, and I know that God has some wonderful things in store for us on this new journey.

See My Page on Trinity's Website

Saturday, June 21, 2014

To The Beach: Take 5

For the fifth year in a row, we packed up pretty much all that we own and headed to Myrtle Beach for a week. (I keep thinking this will get easier as Chandler gets older, but so far it hasn't.) My parents met us there. Our itinerary? We didn't have one. It was a trip planned solely for relaxation. 

Our original intentions were to sleep in, but the cute little four-year-old with us had other plans. He had his own room this time for the first time ever on vacation, and he loved it. However, I think the lastest we slept all week was 7:30 a.m, but that's okay. It maximized our time together. The only problem was that this same cute little four-year-old only napped one day of the trip, too, so there were usually a couple of let's say "challenging" moments after dinner. 

We enjoyed watching the other early risers at the beach from the comfort of our balcony and/or the breakfast table of our condo. Then, we would soon slather on tons of sunscreen and meander down to the beach for a while. Some sandcastles were built, Captain Hook was buried and then rescued by Jake and the rest of his crew, some waves were jumped, and several novels were read. One day we even hauled the cooler down and had a picnic on the beach. Talk about true SANDwiches! Most of this was done in the shade of our umbrella. I'm way past the days of desiring a tan. I'll just stay pasty white, thank you very much.

The pool was refreshingly nice on the hot, humid days, and the hot tub was nice in the evenings. We went out to dinner a few times, but stayed in a few times, too, opting for calzones one day (yum!) and grilled burgers and hotdogs another (compliments of chef Brent). 

Chandler was all about putt-putt, so Brent and I took him one evening and then treated him to ice cream. It melted faster than we could eat it, but that was part of the fun! It was a good, relaxing trip overall, and I am so glad we got to go together. 

Part of the lovely view from our balcony

Chandler begged his Daddy to dig a hole. He loved it!

This sandcastle was demolished less than 5 minutes later. 

I think the picnic on the beach was one of the highlights for him. 

Chillin in the shade



Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Summer is here. Just like most educators, I am so thankful that this time of year is here. You see, I spend ten months out of the year pouring my heart and soul into other people's children, and now I get two whole months to pour my heart and soul into my own precious child.

It's not that Chandler gets ignored during those ten months. Don't you worry about that for a minute! It's not that I don't enjoy pouring myself into other children. On the contrary, I feel that is what I have been called to do. However, it is nice to spend time with the child God gave to me without having to worry about other kids for a while.

Summer is the time of year that I can explore new things, refresh my mind, and do new things with my son. At four, he's at the perfect age to do a lot of things he's never been big enough to do before like go fishing at the lake, watch a movie in the theater, catch lightning bugs in a jar, go to the drive-in, play hide-and-seek at dusk, and more. He's also old enough to start making memories that he will be able to remember for years to come. For these reasons, I have decided to make the most of this summer.

Many of the things I have planned are for the whole family, like taking a trip to the zoo, catching an Atlanta Braves game, and pizza at Louie's. Other things are just for the two of us while Brent is at work. I can't wait to spend time with my sweet little guy (and the big one too) this summer.

Is everything going to be perfect? No. Will everything work out according to plan? Absolutely not.

Will there be lots of laughs? Definitely. Will memories that will last a lifetime be made? I think so.

Stay tuned for updates on our summer happenings.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Closing of the School Year

Today marked the 11th time that I have ended a school year with a group of students. Ten of those years, I have been with first graders. I'm not going to lie, I have a tough job. Sometimes I lose my patience, sometimes I have a hard time keeping my cool when kids seem not to be listening to a word I say. Sometimes, I get frustrated.

However, today was the close of my teaching career at my current school. It's bittersweet although God has given me great clarity that I am doing the right thing, not only for me, but for my family as well.

I wasn't going to cry, and I didn't until it was time for buses. That's when he cried. He looked at me, hugged me for at least the millionth time this school year, and began crying that he was going to miss me and that he loved me. I lost it right then and there. He pulled my heart strings.

Yes, my job is tough, but that moment was one that helped me know that I do make a difference, even when I feel daily like I have failed. God has closed one door in my life, but I look forward to new doors that are being opened.

Linking up with...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bubbly Teeth

Not long after I dropped him off this morning, Chandler and my mom had breakfast and brushed their teeth, just like any other morning when he is there. However, when my mom was brushing her teeth, she noticed that the toothpaste seemed to be a bit more bubbly than usual.

She stopped, looked at him (I'm sure he had either a big mischievous grin or no expression at all at this point), and asked him what he had done. He said he had put soap on her toothbrush. When she asked why, he replied that he was using it to clean the sink. 

As she retold this story to me this afternoon, I was in stitches. I think she's just glad he wasn't cleaning the toilet with it!

My little boy is a crazy mess, but I wouldn't trade him for the world.