Wednesday, February 19, 2014

... And Then There Were Four

I realize that I haven't updated here as much as I would like. Raising three kids under 4 years old is not for the faint of heart! What I didn't realize, though, is that I never introduced you all to our sweet addition born October 17, 2013, weighing 6lb 11oz and measuring 18 3/4inches. So without further adieu...

Meet Ryleigh Grace Delisle!! Now at 4 months old, she has mastered tummy time and rolling from tummy to back, she is all smiles most of the time, and she has a great giggle!! Eliana and Jacob are enamored by their little sister, as are we. :)

  


    





Sunday, May 12, 2013

You Are Seen...

It wasn't until I personally experienced the elation of that first positive pregnancy test that I began to understand what it would mean to be celebrated on Mother's Day. After all, with my first-ever due date being May 9, 2008, I remember the joy I felt in thinking that I would get to BE celebrated that year... in addition to celebrating my own mom.

And so at 13 weeks, when it was discovered that we had lost that precious life, I felt as though I no longer belonged. I not only lost my child, but also my entry ticket into the club of motherhood.

To no one's surprise, then, when I learned I was pregnant again a few months later, my hope was renewed. I may not have had that first child in my arms to love and to hold and to cuddle on Mother's Day of 2008, but I would have another child whose life was being formed inside my very being.

And yet the unthinkable happened: between the joy of that second positive pregnancy test when we learned I was pregnant with Isaac, and Mother's Day of 2008, we learned that Isaac's prognosis was very, very poor. So poor, in fact, that we were given no guarantees of how long he would make it... either in the womb, or out.

So came Mother's Day of 2008. And to maintain a spirit of honesty, I will say this: I was dreading it.

I remember being in church that morning, and all of the mothers were asked to stand. And here's the thing: I didn't know if I should stand or not.

I had no evidence of my motherhood for the world to see. I had lost my first baby, and wasn't far enough along in my pregnancy with Isaac to be past the "is she pregnant or....?" phase. I didn't know where I belonged... other than this strange limbo of somewhere between motherhood and not.

The following year...Mother's Day of 2009. I am sure it goes without saying that this was one of the most difficult "firsts" since Isaac was born and passed away. My pregnancy and our loss of Isaac was very known my the members and attendees in our church; our pastor had even brought us in front of our congregation a few weeks before he was born to have them pray over us.

So once again, on Mother's Day of 2009, all of the mothers were asked to stand. This time, there was no confusion.

And I did. Knees trembling, tears streaming, and heart breaking... but I stood. Because to honor my son and acknowledge that he was born, and that he lived, and that he was here... how could I not stand?

It's not the picture of honoring mothers that we think of when celebrating Mother's Day. It isn't the situation whose sentiments can be nicely contained in a Hallmark card. Yet, it is often the situation that goes unacknowledged.

And so today, as I shared on my Facebook status this morning, I want you to know that YOU... you, whose situation doesn't fit the norm or can't me nicely summed up in a card... YOU are seen.


To the mommies out there who have every reason to celebrate today: I wish you the happiest of days. 

To the mommies out there who can't hold one (or more) of their kiddos because of a loss: I am missing them with you today. 

To the ladies out there who long to be a mother but have yet to see that dream realized: I am praying for you today. 

And to those of you who have a mother who is no longer here to celebrate with you: I am remembering with you today. 

Lots of hugs to each of you today, friends, whether your situation is celebratory and joyous, or if today is a day that brings up hurt and sorrow. You, too, are seen and acknowledged. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

12 (ish) Week Ultrasound and Consult

One of the strangest things about this pregnancy is that the timing of it aligns completely with my pregnancy with Isaac. So much so that the due dates are only two days off, and which consequently means Isaac's birthday and this baby's birthday will be within days of each other. And yes, that is hard.

Today I have my 12(ish) week ultrasound, nuchal fold test, and consult with my high-risk obstetrician. This is the same appointment, and the same high-risk doctor, at which we first learned of Isaac's prognosis. Almost to the day, five years ago.

To say it feels anything but odd would be false, and perhaps that's because of the timing of this pregnancy. It all feels so similar. In some ways it is such a gift because it brings to mind my sweet son so often; in other ways its poignancy is so much greater than my pregnancies with Eliana or Jacob. So what does that mean regarding today's appointment? I am a lot more nervous about it than I would have expected.

It is no surprise, however, that God meets me right where I am with it, and this morning's devotion was no exception.

"...Similarly, I give you sufficient Peace for the present, when you come to Me by prayer and petition with thanksgiving. If I gave you permanent Peace, independent of My Presence, you might fall into the trap of self-sufficiency. May that never be!... Approach My throne of grace with bold confidence, receiving My Peace with a thankful heart."    ~ From "Jesus Calling", April 18

So please pray with me today, for a great scan, that baby is looking good... and most of all for the Lord's perfect peace.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

This Is {some of} Us

We had the pleasure of having updated family photos taken recently by a good friend, and this one happened to be one of my favorites. Eliana has gotten so big, and Jacob, well, is three pounds bigger than his older sister :)

 
** All images are personal property and may not be copied, used, altered, or displayed without prior consent.

Friday, March 22, 2013

An Open Letter to My Obstetrician

Dear Dr. D,

I wanted to thank you for the years of care you have personally provided for me and for my family, particularly during my pregnancy with Isaac. Many, many aspects of my care at *** have been great, and I appreciate the sensitivity you have shown us with regard to concerns that have come up in regard to some of the prenatal care I previously received.

Recently, upon hearing of my current pregnancy, Dr. B asked me in a phone conversation if I was going to continue my current pregnancy since she knew it was not planned. I had seen her on a Friday for my annual checkup, discovered on Saturday I was pregnant, and called her on Monday to talk with her.

Before learning of my most recent pregnancy, I had been contemplating switching practices out of convenience. Once I learned I was pregnant again, I wanted nothing more than to have you and Dr. B to once again provide my prenatal care and deliver our newest (and final) addition to our family as you had with our other three children..

However, Dr. B's response to my news came not only as a surprise, but with a lot of hurt. On a very basic level, I have a hard time understanding why a doctor would ask a married woman (and truth be told, anyone) that question. Based on the depth of my pregnancy history, though, I have an even harder time understanding why I would personally be asked that question when my beliefs on this are abundantly clear. What I have struggled to understand is this: If I didn't end a pregnancy with a child I was told was going to die, why would I end a pregnancy with a child simply because it was unplanned?

I know you all have numerous patients that you see because you are a large practice; but I, personally, am still your patient. I, personally, deserve the same support of my values and beliefs while being provided exceptional obstetric care. At this point, as much as I would like to feel otherwise, I believe it is in my best interest to switch to a practice that is, as a whole, more understanding, supportive, and respectful of my beliefs.

Thank you, Dr. D, for your personal support and care for our family... For being the brave one to walk into a waiting room filled with our family and close friends on the morning of October 7, 2008 to share with them the news that our sweet Isaac was no longer with us... For so sensitively cutting out portions of the discharge instructions pamphlet from the hospital because you knew that reading about them would be hurtful... and for looking Spencer and I straight in the face after Isaac's delivery and telling us you thought we were heroes. I do not at all think of myself as such; but I know that in saying that you recognize in us how much we love our son, and how deeply we treasure the lives of each of our children. I want you to know that we haven't forgotten these things... And we are grateful.

Best,

Stacy Delisle


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Therein Lies The Miracle

I remember so clearly during my pregnancy with Isaac praying for that miracle... the one in which God would prove Isaac's diagnosis wrong... The one in which for no good medical reason Isaac made it... The one in which Isaac was healed on this side of Heaven... The one in which those around us who didn't believe in God at all couldn't help but then believe.

After all, the stage was set. The doctors had said he had no chance of living after he was born. And other doctors had said that his condition, though his genetics, brain, and heart were all just fine, could not be treated. It was the perfect story... one set up for a miraculous ending... the one in which God saves the day by healing our son and sparing his life.

And when it didn't happen that way... when Isaac's story was much, much shorter here on Earth that I would have ever hoped, I spent a long time wondering: "God, you are capable of miracles... where was it?"

It has taken me a long time to come to the place where I now understand this: I was only looking for one kind of miracle.

And because of that, I had been blind to the fact that the Lord HAD in fact performed a miracle... one different than that for which so many had prayed... but a miracle, still.

You see, when confronted with unthinkable tragedy, we only have two choices: fight or flight.

We can either go to the wrestling mat with God, like so many past heroes of the faith; or, we can walk away.

"God, you didn't heal my son..." Fight, or flight?

"God, you promise a hope and a future... where is it?" Fight, or flight?

"God, you provided Abraham a ram in the thicket... where was OUR ram?" Fight, or flight?

So while the miracle we, and so many of you had prayed for, never came to fruition, the Lord has still performed a miracle in our lives through our sweet son:

Even when the unthinkable has happened, we are still standing. We are still okay. And we still have faith, hope, and trust in the One whose ways are higher than ours.

And this is not of ourselves...

It would be easier to run. It would be easier to give up on a God who allows your son to die. But that is just it... even in our brokenheartedness... our questions... our frustration with Him... our lack of understanding, and even lack of trust because we just couldn't seem to reconcile our circumstances with the truth of who God is... God never gave up on us. He continued to pursue our hearts, to help us understand, and to bring us to a deeper level of faith and dependence on Him.

Countless people, particularly women I have encountered who have also suffered the loss of a child have asked me this: How in the world do you go through this and still remain strong in your fatih?

That is just it: I am not strong. But He is. And therein lies the miracle: that life's deepest tragedies can be suffered, but that one thing remains: His love never fails... it never gives up... never runs out on me. And so faith remains... hope remains... and love remains... Because He is the great I AM, and will never change... not even in the most painful of circumstances.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Post in Which I Share One More Thing...

 
Got to see this little one's heartbeat flickering away yesterday:)

 


SURPRISE!!! Baby Delisle #4 is due to arrive in October :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Post in Which I Answer Your Questions and Pour Out My Heart

It has been hard to write an update.

That is honesty at its best.

I want so much to tell you that being at home is better than I have ever dreamed, that my kids are in a great routine, that we are well rested and happy and enjoying every last minute.

And I want to tell you that even on the hard days, I know better than to complain and know that I should wholeheartedly cherish every difficult moment.

That would be honesty at its worst.

What I do want is to remain authentic about where we are, how we are doing, and how the Lord is using all things for our good and His glory.

So how is it being at home? It is hard. Really, really hard.

If you have been reading a while, you know that we have been battling significant sleep issues with Eliana since she was about 15 months old. This past Monday, she turned 3... needless to say that is a long time. We have taken her to two different sleep specialists whose best advice was to: change her nap time, and put her on an adult-level dose of melatonin. Her pediatrician has chalked all of this up to tempermant and typical bumps in the road.

I knew in my core that it was more than that.

As I continued to watch Eliana, look for patterns, and tried to look for some sort of correlation between her behavior, her sleep, and her eating, I began to notice some things I hadn't intended on finding.

During my first two years of teaching, I had the pleasure of having "Bobby" in my class. "Bobby" was smart as a whip... he loved the color blue, knew the name of EVERY President in US history (in order, the dates of their term, their party affiliation, whether or not they were married, and their family members' names), wrote everything in all capital letters even in the 5th grade, and had a sweatshirt that doubled as a security blanket. He had a need for things to be perfectly even, and if they weren't he found some pretty creative ways to make them so.The sound of the fire alarm caused him panic, and any change in routine was enough to rock his world. He couldn't stand buttons or zippers, had to have socks where the seam ran across the top of his foot, and his mother had lovingly cut the tags out of all of his shirts. He had the most creative mind and the most endearing speach. "Bobby" had been diagnosed with high functioning autism.

And so has my daughter.

Little by little, I started noticing little quirks and idiocyncricies with Ellie that caused me pause, and made me internally say, "Hm. That really reminds me of  'Bobby.'" At first, I was able to chuckle and shrug it off and just think about how, like "Bobby", Eliana is so endearing. She has a vocabulary and way of speaking that makes her sound like she is 3 going on 30. :) She is amazing.... she makes us laugh, she remembers the funniest things that you or I in our busy pace would most often forget, and she is so, so sweet.

And she struggles. She struggles when things are too close too loud, too bright or too tight. She can't stand to wear certain articles of clothes because they don't feel "right." She has a certain way of putting on her coat that, if disrupted, will set you back significantly in trying to get out the door. And she doesn't sleep well. Still. After all, it is currently 4:34 am our time, and I am down here writing because after being awakened at 1:00am with a full blown tantrum that not only lasted for 2 hours but also woke up her brother... it's hard to get back to sleep.

So it has been hard... and that is honest. Some days I feel like Moses when God called him to go to Egypt to face Pharaoh. You know the part when he says, "LORD... Please... send someone else to do it?" (paraphrase mine). I feel that way sometimes.

Like Moses, I don't feel prepared or equipped to handle this role. And like Moses, God is with me... fully equipping me for each turn. Most days I have come to the end of myself... and the state of my laundry pile, dishes, and playroom would validate that.

And it is at the end of ourselves where grace is. Where strength is. And where our intimacy with the Lord grows. It is where we see all that we are not and all that He is and how without him... this parenting thing? How would it even be possible? It is at the end of ourselves where His power is made perfect in weakness and we can be patient again... just one more time. The Lord has been really working on my heart and my focus, convicting my heart to trust that he will enable me to be calm in the midst of a tantrum that lasts for hours just one more time. Not all the other times today, or tomorrow, or this week... we'll get to those as well. But this time... just one more time.

Do I love being at home? I do. I love it. I am so grateful that God has provided the means in so many ways for us to do so. I love that I don't have to rush out the door every morning, that on a whim we can change our plans for the day, and that I am the one who is home helping to mold the hearts of my kids. I love seeing the little ways in which they are learning and growing, how their personalities are developing. I love having random dance parties with Eliana, indoor picnics (although I can't wait for spring to get OUTdoors), doing crafts, reading books, and tickling little Jacob until he is laughing so hard little tears creep out of the sides of his eyes.

And I am grateful that I get to be the one to help my daughter through a difficult period as we figure out how to best meet her needs as a little one recently diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. It is hard. It is really, really hard. And God is faithful...

His "faithful" is immeasureably bigger than my "hard."

So, Ellie is 3, Jacob is 14 months, and their smiles make my heart swell :)


 

 
 
 






Friday, March 1, 2013

Too Long...

Oh it has been way, way too long again.

The holidays, the stomach bug, and life's momentum have kept me from here much, much longer than I had hoped. Lots going on in the Delisle house, lots for which to be grateful, lots that I have been pondering, praying over, and purposefully crafting into posts.

While that's happening, how about another round of questions... haven't done that in a while, and it will be fun!

So, please feel free to leave questions you have for me in the comment section below... questions about our walk with Isaac, our kids, our marriage, etc.

I look forward to reading them!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Simply Jesus

Like many of you, I have spent a lot of time thinking... praying... reading... pondering, particularly this Christmas season since Eliana understands a lot more, about how as a family we should handle Santa. And Elf on the Shelf... I mean, he is a cute little fella, don't you think?

What you are about to read are my thoughts and opinions, and are in no way a judgement on how your family has tackled the questions surrounding these Christmastime characters. I recognize, though, that this topic can become very contentious, and for this reason, have disabled comments on this post. Should you desire to share your thoughts with me, you are welcome to email me at the address on the right side of my blog. That said, I hope you'll read on.

As children, both Spencer and I grew up in homes that "did Santa." I remember fondly writing him letters, listening to a message he left me on a cassette tape, leaving out cookies and milk and being amazed at how they were gone in the morning. As I got older, I started realizing that some Santas looked a lot more real than others, and eventually, as Santa would make his rounds through our neighborhood, I remember trying to guess whose Dad was dressed up as Santa that particular year. We would wait in line to sit on Santa's lap, run into Santa in various places as we completed all of our Chistmas-y tasks, and I remember singing all kinds of Christmas carols, including "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

And now as a mother, this is where I stumble.

Some in the Christian community would argue that by "doing Santa" and allowing your children to believe in him only sets them up to later doubt you about the truth of God's existence when you share with them that Santa Claus's existence isn't real. And for some, that may be true; and if so, it is a good reason to avoid Santa as "the guy who rides on a sleigh and brings gifts to all of the good boys and girls."

But for me, it's more than that.

As a mother, I want nothing more than to instill the truth of the Gospel and the love of Jesus in the hearts of my children. And I believe our society's modern-day inclusion of Santa is completely counter to that goal.

Let me explain.

Did you catch what I shared a few paragraphs back? That Santa is the guy who brings gifts to all of the good boys and girls.

Think about the words to the much-beloved song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"...

You better watch out, you better not cry
You better not pout, I'm telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town.
He's making a list, checking it twice
Gonna find out who's naughty or nice
Santa Claus is coming to town.

He sees you when you're sleeping,
He knows when you're awake.
He knows if you've been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake.

Truly, I loved this song growing up. It was cheery, and joyful, and I was always convinced that I had been on the "good" list... or at least, I had been good enough. I remember, though, being legitimately afraid that if I missed up, Santa wouldn't come to my house. And while I was sad at the thought of him not bringing me presents, I was more worried about the fact that Santa would have been disappointed and that I wouldn't have measured up. I wouldn't have earned his visit.

Do you see the flaw here?

Our culture "does Santa" in such a way that children believe the gifts that they receive from him are based on their good behavior. Yet nothing could be farther from the truth of the Gospel.

Scripture tells us in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We can never be good enough to earn God's favor. The second half of Romans 6:23 says, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You see, Santa says, "Be good to earn the gifts I bring;" Jesus says, "You can never be good enough; the gift of eternal life that I give is free."

I don't want my children to grow up in a home where they think that gifts on Christmas or birthdays, the love of their parents, or most importantly, the love of God and offer of salvation is based on their behavior or works. I want them to know the Gospel and the love of Christ, and I want the decisions that we make as parents to be those that help foster their understanding of it.

So for us, our focus for Christmas is one thing: Jesus. Simply Jesus.

You may be wondering, then, how we handle the fact that Santa is everywhere, and that many families we know do the whole Elf on the Shelf thing. Foremost, we don't ignore Santa. To our kids, Santa is a fun, fictional character with made-up stories about him that we read around Christmas time. They liken Santa to Elmo, Mickey Mouse, or Dora. We have done the Santa train and breakfast with Santa, but it is treated the same way as meeting Bob the Tomato at the bookstore, or Clifford at Port Discovery.

Secondly, we have started to talk to Eliana (who will be 3 in March) about the real Saint Nicholas. In the spirit of that discussion, we have started to ask Eliana to look through her toys and pick out some that she no longer plays with for us to give away to other children whose parents may not be able to afford to but them toys. We have explained to her that God is generous and has given us more than enough; and so, we need to be generous as well... not keeping everything for ourselves, but as we are fortunate to get new toys, to then pass along those we no longer use. {As she gets older, we may change this some and have it make more of an impact by asking her to give more sacrificially; for now, though, in the mind of a 2-year-old, giving away ANY toy is sacrificial.}

Lastly, we tell the truth to our kids about who the gifts are from. We do give gifts to them on Christmas, and do so as a tangible reminder of the gift of Jesus that God has given us because He loves us. We tell them that we give them gifts because we love them, too. I grew up in a home where gift giving was extravagant... I mean, really extravagant. That is not the direction we have chosen to take with our own children. Of course I loved and appreciated the generosity of my parents; but if I am to be honest, for most of my childhood and teenage life, I looked forward to Christmas because of what I would receive and overlooked that One who as already given me everything I have ever needed. I focused on what I would get, rather than the gift that had already been given: Jesus. And so we are careful about how much we buy {many of which were second-hand this year} because we would never, ever want it to be about the gifts. We want it to be about Jesus. Simply Jesus.

I feel like our culture is so caught up in the "I know what I want, and I want it now" (remember that song?) mentality, and it is so easy to let that permeate every aspect of our lives, including the ones we had intended hold sacred. Black Friday starts earlier and earlier, and at this point, poses an interruption to family gatherings on Thanksgiving. Parents map out a black Friday strategy so that they are able to get everything their kids want {or they want to get them} from each store. Gifts upon gifts upon gifts pour out so far from under the Christmas tree that they may end up needing their own zip code. And when others see the enormous pile of gifts they remark, "Wow! Santa must have known you were really, REALLY good this year!"

I wonder if that's how the parents in Uganda, where a good friend of mine moved to establish a nurse-managed health clinic, think of Christmas. I wonder if they do black Friday. If we were to zoom out on our perspective a bit, I wonder how ridiculous this might just all seem.

Oh, how I long for more for my children. Not more gifts, more stuff, or more make-believe. I long for them to know Jesus and to think that He is the greatest thing. I long for them to know the joy in giving... generously giving... and how it is so much better than anything in this world they could receive.  I long for them to know that they have already been offered the greatest gift given: salvation through the One who came as a baby, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross for their sin... because they could never, ever be good enough to earn it.

So after a lot of thinking, praying, and talking with other Christian moms, this is where we have landed as a family. We have been asked many questions and have been countered with many arguments about why believing in Santa won't hinder their faith; why we need to let them believe in the "magic" of Santa at Christmastime; and how our kids better not ruin it for the ones who do believe in Santa {don't worry... we're working on that and I think we've got it covered :) }. The truth remains that when our children think of Christmas, they remember one thing: Jesus. Simply Jesus.  And we want all that we do to point to Him and His great love for us.

Some resources I have found helpful with this take on Christmas:
http://truthinthetinsel.com/
http://www.thrivingfamily.com/~/media/Thriving/1-articles/PDFs/ADVENT2012-printable.pdf
http://thethingsilovemost.blogspot.com/2011/11/25-days-of-christmas-service.html

From our family to yours, we wish you the merriest of Christmases... praying that you can rejoice in the hope of our Savior.