This is the story of our precious baby boy, who was diagnosed prenatally at
17 weeks with a fatal chromosome disorder called Trisomy 13. Although
Jonathan's condition is considered "not compatible with life", we desired to give
him every chance at life. Our prayer is that those who are touched by our story
are drawn to God, who is Life Himself. John 14:6

To start at the beginning of our story, click here.


end of 2011 update

i've been meaning to update all of my blogs for at least 3 months now, which is a perfect illustration of where i am in life right now...3 months or so behind on just about everything! it makes me feel a little bit stressed when things don't get crossed off my "to-do" list in a timely manner, but i guess it's just the season of life i'm in now. and i don't expect for things to improve much until my kids are out of college.

but i did want to post quick update on the events at the end of 2011.

first of all, i just want to say that 2011 was a fantastic year for our family. the best yet, in fact. we are happy, healthy, blessed, and surrounded by family and good friends. i have so much to be thankful for! 

the run for new life 5K went off without a hitch again this year. however, we had a much smaller crowd, mostly due to the race being held in december (it was REALLY cold) and on the same day as a much larger race. quite honestly, if we were to judge our success by the turnout, we might be disappointed with all of it. but instead something extraordinary happened, and with it came a great reminder that God is very much the Orchestrator of the details and that when we feel like we have failed or fallen short, He shows us that He is greater than all of our weaknesses! it's just amazing.

anyway, we were presented with exactly the type of opportunity we hold this very race for.  one of the participants this year had very recently lost a full-term baby unexpectedly. not a believer and very much alone, we had to opportunity to minister to her and to get her connected to some awesome people in my church that would help supply for her immediate needs, including her spiritual needs. 
i think the lesson the Lord taught us in all of this was: 1. it's not about us. or our lost babies. sure, the race is filling a need in our area, where there are no other memorial walks of this nature. but for us, the organizers, it is no longer about doing this for our own babies. it's about doing it for the individuals and families who are facing a loss or have experienced a loss and who do not have hope for healing. we know personally and intimately the healing power of the Lord Jesus after losing a baby. and it is now about sharing this hope with others. 2. it's not about numbers. if one, only ONE person comes to know the healing power of the Lord because of our little 5K, then it will all be worth it, whether there are 500 people walking it or just 5.

so we've already started the planning for next year's race with excitement of what the Lord has in store. it's moving back to october (pregnancy and infant loss awareness month) on a day where there are no other races in the area.

on a side note, i got to run this year and....actually won the whole thing! my time was 22:10 and i won a year membership to gold's gym. so that was pretty exciting for me since i haven't raced in almost 5 years.


it's that time.... exactly one month, i will be participating along with a great group of people in the 2nd annual run for new life 5K.  i am actually running this year! 

if you aren't familiar with our "story", here it is in a nutshell:  we are a group of friends (3 of us who have lost babies and our mutual OB) who believe that the idea for this annual race was divinely inspired and in each of our hearts before we all even first spoke about it.  and since pregnancy and infant loss is something people still avoid talking about, we felt that it was the perfect way to honor those who have experienced loss as well as memorialize the babies we never held or didn't hold for very long.  for me, it means very much to be able to do something, anything, in jonathan's memory.

if you live in the local area (destin/niceville/ft. walton beach) then we would love for you to come out and support this event!  or, if you want to travel here from another area, we are totally OK with that, too. :-)

we are currently working on last minute details to try to make this event just as great as last year. 

if you are interested in joining us, here is the link to register:  the first 200 to sign up will get a long-sleeved red t-shirt with a similar design from last year, including a place to write in the name of a baby or child you are running in memory of.

you can always contact me for more info as well.


jonathan's 2nd birthday

the telltale signs of the season have arrived.
the days are getting shorter, so the mid-afternoon light is a little more golden. the sky has lost the haziness that accompanies the summer and is now clear and bright blue. the breezes are a little cooler. and the butterflies are here again. all these things are a big part of my memory of jonathan's birthday as well.

after the building up of emotions of the past week as jonathan's 2nd birthday approached, the day has finally arrived.

i had big plans for jonathan's 2nd birthday: i was finally going to sit down this past week and go through each note that was written for us, rolled up, and tucked away for us in the "prayer/wish frame" during jonathan's funeral two years ago. can you believe i have not done this already? all those notes just waiting to be read, saved up for a time such as this.

unfortunately, that big idea got lost among planning and co-hosting a baby shower, attending a concert, kate's soccer practices and her game today, my everyday household duties and taking care of the kids, among other things. just keeps on going and the moments i would like to spend quietly remembering my baby boy just don't happen as often as i would like them to.

we also planned on going out with friends and family for mexican food (of course) tonight.  what better way to spend this day than spending it with people you care about, right?  even those plans did not go exactly as i had intended, but still worked out for the best in the end.

so even though my week did not go as i thought it should, i do believe that God graciously gave me some sweet reminders that He is very much with me as we tried to celebrate another milestone as best we could.

for example, i was completely blessed this week when the ladies of my wednesday night bible study took the time to remember him, pray for me, and let me share part of his story and my testimony.  it was unplanned, but i was thankful for the opportunity.  talking about him is still very healing to me.  it must be something about affirming the Lord's goodness and faithfulness to me during that time.  or to revisit all of the different ways God made Himself very real, almost tangible, in my life.  or to share all of the joy we experienced even in the midst of devastation, because of what He did for us.  i love to remember it.  i love to talk about it.  and i'm so very thankful for it.

also, tonight as we were heading to the mexican restaurant for dinner, it turned out that the restaurant we had chosen wasn't open for some reason.  i only chose that place because it was where we ate frequently while i was pregnant with jonathan and where we ate right after his funeral with our family and friends.  i was disappointed at first, but we just ended up going across the street to another mexican restaurant.  it worked out much better since we got a private room and the kids could act like kids and not bother any other customers.  anyway, during the move from one restaurant to the other, we saw a fantastic rainbow!  it was sunny except for one very small rain shower heading our direction.  and as we were pulling into the restaurant parking lot, it rained on us just a bit, like we had our own personal cloud above us.  it was so symbolic of the rain that fell as we buried jonathan two years ago.  i don't think we would have experienced either the rain or the rainbow, if we had been at the other restaurant like we had originally planned.

"The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God" ~Psalm 68:8

i love the fact that our God is such a personal God, that He would give us those two little signs of His presence with us tonight.

so, even though much of what i had planned for this day and this week did not materialize, i will go to bed tonight on jonathan's 2nd birthday so thankful that God, yet again, provided so much peace and comfort to us on what should have been another difficult milestone in our journey.  and knowing that if He has given us these sweet expressions of His love today, how much more He is loving on our jonathan in heaven on his birthday.

"Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails." ~ Proverbs 19:21

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:10-12
celebrating with friends
birthday gifts for jonathan


approaching two years...where we are now

a couple of weeks ago, i had lunch with a good friend.  she had just returned from a short-term mission trip to haiti, and i couldn't wait to hear all about it.

she told me about the camp they had put on for the local children.  they had only planned on about 50-60 but over 100 showed up each day, including some adults.

she explained that though all of their food and supplies was budgeted to the max, somehow they always had enough for everyone.  it was as if it had miraculously multiplied, just like the bread and fish that Jesus and His disciples handed out to the crowd so long ago.

she told me about how she came to find a very sick little girl.  if no one had noticed her, surely she would have died.  but somehow, they even had enough money left over to buy her medicine.  they saved her life.

and that is just one story of many from her trip.  numerous lives were touched.  so many children got to hear about Jesus and see His work in action through others.  and of course, my friend's life was forever impacted as well.

and... she told me that she felt her even being there all started with jonathan. 

i'll explain:  we had a  "celebration of life" right before he was born, with proceeds and gifts going to the charity "heart of the bride" (HOB.)  she came to the celebration to support us, got to hear about the awesome things HOB is doing in third world countries, and ultimately signed up to travel to costa rica and haiti to serve children in great need.

so, almost two years after jonathan's celebration of life, it sure was a blessing to hear how the Lord used that event in a series of events that led my friend to haiti to help save lives physically and spiritually.


the cycle began all over again for me on june 22 this year.  it was the day, two years ago, that we learned something was wrong with our baby.  and just like last year, the events of that day replayed on a loop in my mind.  same with june 24, the day we learned what he had was a fatal chromosome disorder.  and it goes like this on key dates throughout the rest of the summer and early fall, until the final two significant dates:  the day jonathan was born (october 8) and the day we buried him (october 14.)  from there i have rest until, apparently, june 22 comes around again.  it's not a bad thing.  it

two years on this side of it is a really good place.  i remember hearing (and loathing) the phrase, "time heals everything" or something like that.  back when the wound was still open and raw, that saying only mocked me, as time slowly dragged on with no relief in sight.  i remember wishing i could just snap my fingers and be healed of the pain.  looking back now, i can see how valuable the slow healing process really is; to be able to see how far you have actually come and to appreciate the process that brings not only physical and emotional healing but also spiritual healing.  it's one of those experiences i wonder how people can survive without faith in God.  to know that even in the hardest time of my life, i still had hope, peace, joy, and even contentment....and to feel this way completely drug-free....i know it was only because of my faith.  and not the size or depth of my faith, mind you, just that i had at least the amount of a mustard seed. :)

also, i believe that because of my faith, i can sit here today and honestly say that i am thankful for my experience.  meaning, if i were given the choice today to go back in time and change the events of 2009, i actually would not.  this is where it gets tricky to explain.  i know some people will get what i'm trying to say, and others will think i'm heartless.  i assure you it's not the latter, really!  but i am at a place where i am very content with where my life is today, and that includes the testimony of my son's short life and death.  to go back and change that testimony now would be to lose out on not only my own amazing and transforming personal experience with God, but to also disqualify every good thing that came from his life and to selfishly cancel any positive effect that jonathan's life had on anyone else.  i know for certain through the hundreds of messages we've received, that jonathan's life did in fact greatly impact others; not because of anything we did, as we know it was because the Lord used it for good (Rom. 8:28.) 

i would never want to change any of it.  keeping the perspective that this life is not all there is strengthens me to make it through each day i live here without him.  my faith tells me that he is in heaven and that one day i will not only see him again, but spend eternity with him.  my time here without him is equivalent to a small dash on a never ending line.

i don't want to live my short life here with incessant grief over missing him, or always wondering "what if?" (though i'm sure i'll have some days like that.)  instead, i want to live each day celebrating the gift that jonathan was and still is to us and reflect on all of the good things, the priceless things, that came from his life.  sure, i miss him greatly.  but i remind myself that i will see him again soon enough.

so....yeah.  this is where i am almost two years later.  it's where i prayed to be so long ago now.  it's a place i wasn't sure i'd ever be.  i don't mean to sound like i have fully "arrived" at any particular stage in my faith or in my healing process, because there is always work to be done in my heart.  but it's where i spend most of my days now, and it's a good place.  where i used to feel like, "why does this have to be my testimony?" now i feel like, "i can't believe i have the privilege of this testimony."

that is what a little bit of faith + two years will do.

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." ~ Psalm 147:3

"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
...He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live."
~Ecclesiates 3:1-8,11-12.


what's next?

hello friends.  if you are still reading this blog, with my posts so few and far in between these days, you deserve some sort of loyalty award! :)

the truth is, i've been struggling with what to do with this blog these days.  in my spare time, i've been compiling and formatting all of these blog entries and comments, as well as messages i've received about jonathan into the form of a hardcover book for our own personal keepsake.  it has been a labor of love for sure. we're talking 700+ pages!  (i'm using Lulu. anyone familiar with this?)  in doing this, i have been reading through my own entries chronologically, something i haven't actually ever done.  it's been quite painful to reread the posts i've written, remembering the heartache that inspired every word.  but at the same time, it's been a blessing to be reminded of the Lord's goodness and faithfulness through it all.

i've also considered wrapping up the blog with a final post...some sort of tidy conclusion about our journey and what i've gained from it or something like that.  i've since come to realize that that would likely be an impossible task.  there is just no way to fully and comprehensively include all of those thoughts into one little blog post and say "and they lived happily ever after, the end." 

i know it's not the end of jonathan's story.

jonathan's legacy continues, much to my delight.  and, i feel in my heart that it will continue, though right now i'm not sure how that might be fully actualized.  i'm praying about some things.

in the meantime, we still have a very active online/email ministry via this very blog.  even though i'm not posting much these days, i still get several emails a month, (weekly, even) from precious families walking a similar road.  it breaks my heart to hear each story and at the same time humbles me that people would reach out to us in their time of need.  my aim is to encourage...yet i am usually the one who is encouraged by these families!  still, it is an honor to be able to "help" someone else, just as others have greatly helped us in our time of need.  we will always be available to you.

i am also on track to return to my "woven together" project here soon.  the concept needs a little more tweaking and i'm also praying for a local (?) ministry partner in that as well.  i'm just not sure i can pull it off as a one-woman show right now.  i hope to be up and running again in the very near future!

we are also currently in the planning stages of the 2nd annual "run for new life 5K" that will take place december 10th.  i am going to run it this year in memory of jonathan, and i'm excited about being able to do so.  i haven't raced in 4 years.

so, back to the blog.  after praying and talking it over with greg, i have decided that i will still post here as the topic relates to jonathan.  though i have previously written several posts to accentuate "life after loss" so to speak, i now feel strongly to keep the focus on jonathan and our journey as it continues and to reserve everything else (like family updates, family pictures, etc.) for our family blog.  unfortunately, i had to make that blog private due to some issues.  many of you have been following jonathan's journey for so long as friends and prayer warriors, and if you would like to keep up with us on our private blog, just send me an email. :) 


it's how we roll

a snapshot update of evan:


his name in the sand

so, i heard about this site while i was pregnant with jonathan. it's a beautiful idea; your baby's name memorialized in a picture-perfect little piece of heaven (otherwise known as a white-sand beach in western australia during sunset.) but when the time came for me to make a request, the photographer was on a break after the birth of her own child. and then there was a waiting list 6 months long or something like that. 

so when i heard via another baby loss blogsite that she was taking names again, i jumped on it right away. and just a few days later, it was done!

you have to click on the link since i don't have the rights to the photograph, but you will be glad you did. the pictures are so beautiful. spend sometime looking around at the other sunsets and you too will agree that this magnificent beach must be a little piece of heaven.

but for me, my little piece of heaven today is seeing my sweet boy's name written out in the sand. there's just something about seeing or hearing his name.  that's my jonathan. 

we miss him so.



every day my three-year-old daughter asks me the same question, even though my reply is the always the same.

"mommy, can we keep evan?"

"yes, we can keep him."

my heart is full because of how much she loves her new baby brother, and at the same time my heart breaks for her that she has had to experience the loss of jonathan and has to ask that we keep her new brother.

i realize that while kate's life has always been good and filled with lots of love, i'm also not oblivious to the fact that she herself has suffered a loss and is still processing it as best she can for her age.  while she was not yet two years old at the time jonathan was born and not affected directly by it, she most certainly was affected through us.  i think we did our best to keep life as normal as possible for her during my pregnancy and after losing jonathan, but i'll just say that it was during this time she learned to play independently.  i did not have the energy or patience to sit on the floor and play with her because my focus was always somewhere else.  to this day, i feel regret and guilt about missing out on that precious time with her, even though (maybe) i did the best i could manage.  the fact she will most likely have no memory of it makes me feel a little better and thankfully it hasn't affected her fun and high-energy personality.

i also feel bad for her that part of her routine on sundays is to visit a cemetery or that each year she will mark jonathan's birthday as a bittersweet day and not at some super hero-themed party.  she'll never get picked on by him or find pleasure in returning the deed.  there are so many precious moments that she'll miss out on - that we'll miss out on - because he's not here with us.  it makes my heart sad to know how this affects her life even though she is not fully aware of it all.

she often talks about death and asks us questions about jonathan or about her grandmothers who have recently passed away.  once she told us that jonathan died because he fell into the fish tank (i'm thankful for the comic relief!)   it's quite the challenge to explain to a preschooler about death, so i'm sure we'll have to revisit the topic quite a bit until she understands better.  but for now it's a great opener into a conversation about God, Jesus, and heaven.  that seems to be comforting for her.

so obviously, we wondered how she would feel about us actually bringing a baby home with us this time.  and for 3 and a half months now, she has shown nothing but love for evan.  she loooooves that baby boy and can't hardly keep her hands off of him (i can relate.)  she talks about how she has two brothers now, one here and one with Jesus, who's taking excellent care of him.

our adjustment to life as a family of four (five) has been very smooth.  evan is a very good, easy baby which has been like the cherry on top of an amazing blessing.  kate has adjusted extremely well to being a big sister and is very helpful.  i persevered through the sleepless nights with thankfulness and perspective and am finally getting a full nights' sleep now that evan has been sleeping 10-11 hours straight.  i've also been eating well, exercising daily and i have lost all the baby weight.  i feel better than i have in over two years!  it's been so nice to have the energy to keep up with kate and spend the time with her that she needs from me and also to take care of evan.

looking back from where we were almost two years ago to where we are now, i'm amazed and humbled by the journey the Lord has taken us on.  the reward for us has been a deeper relationship with and love for the One who rejoiced with us at each hill and guided us through each valley.  He has proven Himself to be always faithful, trustworthy and good.  the blessings that the lives of each of my three children have brought me, at the risk of sounding cliche, has completed me.  He has certainly brought us to a place of restoration.

"The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm—
my great army that I sent among you.
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has worked wonders for you
never again will my people be shamed."
~Joel 2:24-26

one recent evening as kate and i were driving home in the near dark, i swerved to avoid a rabbit.  from the backseat, kate asked me, "what's wrong, mommy?"
"it's OK....i was just trying to avoid hitting a bunny."
"if you hit the bunny, it's broken?"
"yes. but i didn't hit it, it's OK."
and kate replied, "'cause if it's broken, God will fix it."

yes He will.  maybe not in the way we would hope for God to fix it, but in the end He shows that His ways are perfect, His Word is true, and He is faithful.


i cannot help but notice the "threshing floors will be filled with grain" in this scripture; i had not even noticed it until today.  less than a month before jonathan was born, i had written this blog, the threshing floor , and i LOVE how today this scripture is like a reply to the blog i had written on that day. 

here is a snippet:

and i believe the process of threshing has been chosen for me. i don't attempt to understand fully what all this means for me. but perhaps this trial is the very tool God is using as i am being "threshed" and "winnowed"...where the worthless chaff in my life is removed completely and only the good remains. and while it is so very painful, He reminds me daily that He is the one leading me through it, and creating in me a stronger faith and character than what i had before it started. in the end, my "harvest" will be a blessing.

filled with grain, indeed.


a piece of jonathan's heart

ever wonder why God does or allows some of the things He does?  i do, all the time.  the past two weeks or so have been full of bad news for the world and for people i care about.  the earthquake and tsunami in japan.  the death of a former coworker, the day before he was to get married.  a dear friend whose dog died a week before her mother passed away and whose father is very ill as well.  people i know who have sick babies or complicated pregnancies.  friends facing serious trials and even persecution.  i could go on and on. 

i have a perspective that i might not have now had i not gone through the suffering of losing jonathan.  and though i'm not comparing losing a baby to experiencing a devastating tsunami or anything, i feel that my response might be the same:  i don't know why God allowed it to happen, but i do know that the Lord provides at all times.

He provides for physical needs.  emotional needs.  spiritual needs.  even the needs that we have that we don't yet know we have.  during the time i was pregnant with jonathan and then after losing him, God's provision for my needs was comprehensive and even lavish.  today i still stand amazed at the graciousness of the Lord, even though i can't understand many of His mysterious ways.  and i'm OK with that, as i choose to believe with faith that of a child.  my prayer for my friends who are suffering as well as people who are suffering all over the world is that they would cling to the Lord for their needs.  and He is sure to meet them in their very place of need, and provide above and beyond what they would ever expect.

Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.
~Psalm 91


speaking of the Lord providing for a need before we become aware of it....

i have another testimony of the Lord's gracious provision for us while we were pregnant with evan.  i haven't shared this story until now, mainly because i didn't want to cause anyone to worry about evan's health as the worry was not necessary.

we went to our first appointment with our specialist in pensacola about two weeks after we learned that we were having a healthy baby boy (evan.)   i was 17 and a half weeks pregnant, far enough along to get the detailed ultrasound that would focus on all of evan's organs to make sure that everything looked good. 

after what we had been through with jonathan, i had done enough research on trisomies and looked at a million ultrasound pictures of complications like what jonathan had, that i felt like i could have done the ultrasound on myself and i would have known what i was looking at.  (no disrespect to the docs or ultrasounds techs....but i'm waiting on my honorary degree.  ha!)  anyway,  everything looked great.  all of his measurements were perfect and there were no signs of complications or abnormalities anywhere.

until they scanned the heart.  beating?  check.  four chambers?  check.  working correctly?  check.  but then i saw it.  it was one of those "bright spots" that jonathan had in most of his major organs. evan had one in the left chamber. 

no one said anything about it during the ultrasound.  my specialist told us everything looked great and that he would meet us with the genetic counselor in the conference room.

soon we were staring at a sheet of paper with information about the "echogenic intracardiac focus."  it was explained to us that it was probably a calcium build-up or even just a reflection off of a muscle or tendon in the heart.  it was a "normal variation" of the make-up of the heart and had no affect on its function.  however, there was a small chance that it could be a soft marker for down's syndrome (trisomy 21.)

OK, what???

not what we wanted or expected to hear, especially with our history of already having a trisomy-affected baby.  our genetic counselor tried to reassure us best she could by offering the fact that since we both had normal chromosomes, the chances for us to have a second trisomy baby in a row would be astronomical.  still, we were offered to have an amniocentesis done that day.

greg and i went back and forth on the decision to do the amnio or not, and finally left the doctor's office and went to a bookstore across the street to escape the emotion and duress of being there while trying to make a tough decision.  we wandered around for what seemed to be a long time, mulling over the pros and cons of the amnio.

it was during this time that i reflected on that verse the Lord had given me the day i found out i was pregnant with evan:

Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
~Isaiah 43:18-19

in my heart i knew that evan was OK.  everything else in that ultrasound backed up the fact that evan was completely healthy.  but after all that we had been through previously, it was still hard.   i wanted to believe God for a completely healthy baby and believe that He was assuring me of this through that scripture.  it may seem black and white to some, but for us, with our wounds still on the mend, it was so very hard.

ultimately, we decided not to do the amnio for the risk it posed, even though our specialist had done literally thousands and had never had a loss.  we now had no way of knowing 100% that evan was chromosomally normal until he was born.  we opted instead for monthly ultrasound follow-ups and i took the quad-screen blood test to see if we had an abnormal screen.  only if i had an abnormal screen would we then proceed with the amnio.

so for two days i prayed non-stop for evan's health and for God to give us a normal quad screen result.  i did some research on down's syndrome and made peace with myself and the Lord if that was His will for evan's life.  i went back and looked at jonathan's screen results and even his came back normal at 1/321 for a trisomy.  (the threshold for "normal" is around 1/280.)  i wanted BIG numbers for evan, so there wouldn't be a doubt about it.  for my age, the chance or risk for down's was 1/528.  so i was hoping for something along the lines of 1/800 to make me happy.  and so i prayed for numbers.

two days later, it was numbers we got:  1/1200!

now, i know that God isn't just about numbers.  and i know about the false positives and negatives of this test.  but the Lord was bigger than my unbelief and He graciously provided relief for us through these numbers, even though He certainly didn't have to and we certainly didn't deserve it.  isn't He good??

so the bright spot on evan's heart became much less concerning to us.  a few people i talked to, including two physician-friends, were well aware of plenty of normal, healthy babies born after being found to have an echogenic focus.  each follow-up ultrasound we had on evan showed a big and healthy baby boy, perfect in every measurement, even though that bright spot was still there each time.

i know that the Lord created evan exactly the way he was meant to be, bright spot and all.  but why the bright spot was there, is one of those mysteries we may never have the answer to.  if it is just a normal variant that poses no health concern, then why not just leave it out and spare us the grief and worry?  maybe it's there for a reason we can't know about.  the Lord knew that we would become aware of it and be concerned and that's why i believe He provided that scripture for us to hold fast to.  He's amazing like that.

so for now, as i hold my precious, healthy, adorable baby boy, i like to think it's just a little piece of jonathan's heart that evan carries with him.  it's certainly another reminder to me of the Lord's graciousness to us.

2 weeks old


sweet baby evan

evan turned two months old on the 22nd. i can't believe how fast time is flying by, but at the same time, i knew it would. 

i can honestly say that i have enjoyed every single second with this sweet baby.  i spend each day adoring him and taking in just how beautiful he is, how soft his skin is, how sweet he smells (most of the time), how good it feels to hold him in my arms.  all we begged of the Lord was for a healthy baby, and He outdid Himself by blessing us with evan.  evan loves to be held, he doesn't fuss much, he eats well (he was 14+ pounds at 8 weeks old!), he rarely spits up, he doesn't pee on me when i change his diaper, and he sleeps on average 5 hours straight each night, one night even hitting the 7 hour mark. 

ok, now i'm just bragging.

but even in the roughest of nights, i am enjoying evan so very much.  in fact, it's when evan and i are the only ones awake and i'm completely exhausted that i reflect on just how blessed i am by this precious gift. 

besides, it's hard to feel anything but love when he greets me with a sleepy smile in the middle of the night.


long time no blog

i've been a "little busy" lately...

and this is why:

i just can't stop loving on this little guy!



i have gotten the biggest kick out of seeing how much my children look alike....

here's kate at 2 days old...


 and here's evan at 2 days much like his sister!

and a couple more...these are at 3 weeks old...



oh, but let's not forget jonathan!  i didn't think he looked like either greg or me, so i never thought in my wildest dreams that evan might actually look like him...



perhaps it's just meant to be that i will always see glimpses of our jonathan in evan.  it doesn't at all make my heart hurt, although we still miss him of course.  instead, it's just been a sweet reminder that jonathan is still very much a part of our family.


evan's birth story

what a difference a year can make. last christmas was bittersweet without jonathan. our wounds were still incredibly raw from losing him that we weren't able to enjoy the christmas season the way we should have. we were supposed to be celebrating our first christmas as a family of four, and jonathan's absence was overwhelming. we did our best to make it through for the sake of our two year old daughter who was just learning the true meaning of christmas (as well as how to unwrap presents by herself.) watching kate enjoy all of the sights, sounds, and meaning of christmas helped us make it through with smiles on our faces.

and so, the fact that evan's birthday was right before christmas and that we brought him home on christmas eve...well, i can only consider it as the graciousness and tenderness of the Lord that it happened that way. evan was our amazing christmas gift and we are so overjoyed and thankful for him and the timing of his birth.

so, for evan's birth story...

i had long "decided" that evan would be born a little early (but still full-term.)  it was my third baby and third babies come earlier and easier, right?  besides, i so badly wanted him home in time for christmas, and i admit i was scared of delivering a 9+ pound baby.  so i was encouraged when, at my 36 week OB appointment, my doctor checked me and i was already dilated to 2 cm and 70%. 

but at my 37 week visit, there was no progression, in fact, evan's head was not even as low as before.  i was so disappointed.  as in, crying while my OB had to console me in the exam room.  but thanks to her encouragement and to a week of consciously laying down my own desires and timing in favor of the Lord's, i submitted to His greater plan for evan's birth.  he would come when he was supposed to, not when i wanted him to. even if it meant waiting until after christmas.

and then, at my 38 week appointment, the 20th of december, i was suddenly 5 cm dilated!  (i've read that 4 cm is considered active labor.)  however, i wasn't having regular contractions yet.  so for the next two days, i walked for hours until i had hard contractions.  and still, each time we would get ready to go to the hospital, they became irregular again.  so i went to see my OB again after the two days to see what was going on.  at this appointment (on the 22nd), i was dilated to a 7!  because i live an hour from the hospital and was so dilated, my OB admitted me to labor and delivery.  this was around lunch time.  when i was admitted, i was checked again, and this time i was 8 cm.

my OB had a couple of surgeries to do first, so my contractions were monitored while we were waiting for her.  not much was happening still, but when the contractions came, they were pretty intense.  greg and i talked about my options regarding pain relief with the anesthesiologist but in the end i decided to go natural due to the fact that i was already 8 cm and that surely evan would come quickly. 

so then my OB came in and broke my water.  at this point, we had a scary moment as evan's heart rate started dropping quickly.  it went from about 140 BPM to 80 BPM to 60 BPM in just a matter of seconds.  i freaked out of course, and my mind went directly to those last moments with jonathan when the nurse couldn't find a heartbeat anymore.  this just wasn't supposed to be happening with evan!  but thankfully, evan had only just dropped lower into my pelvis when my water was broken.  everything was OK and the nurses adjusted the monitors to find evan's new position.  but what a scare!

i still wasn't having regular contractions at this point, so i was started on the lowest possible dose of pitocin.  this was around 3:15 or so.  within about 10 minutes, my contractions were regular and unbearable.  i started asking about demanding pain medicine but it was too late.  evan was born about 30 minutes later after the worst physical pain i have ever experienced.   he was 8 pounds and 21.5 inches long.  note to my pregnant friends:  the epidural is an amazing thing and i highly recommend it!  note to self:  never do that again.

and...we heard the most amazing sound right after evan was born...his incredibly loud cry and the happy chimes playing over the hospital speakers, letting everyone know that a baby had just been born.  last october, we never got to hear this song or jonathan's first cry.

and now, evan is three weeks old already. where does the time go? we are thoroughly enjoying every moment with him. just his presence here with us makes the long nights and the numerous times i've had to clean up bodily fluids off of me completely worth it. and while perspective has a lot to do with maintaining a good attitude while suffering a lack of sleep, it also helps that he is completely healthy, eating well, and loves being held and cuddled. and we oblige. you can't spoil a newborn, right?

however...i must say that, of course, evan does not completely fill the hole that jonathan left. before evan's arrival, i had prepared myself that evan would not be jonathan's replacement. and now i've actually experienced it to be true. i know i will not ever fully understand why jonathan had to die or why it had to happen to us, as long as i live on this earth. i've tried to analyze it a million times, but only God knows.  and because i know God to be good and His ways to be perfect, i can trust His purpose for jonathan was also good.

at the same time, i do believe the Lord has a very special purpose for evan.  in fact, evan probably would not be here had jonathan lived.  but evan is here, as an answer to our prayers and a blessing to our family.

here is a little of that journey:

almost a year ago to the day, i wrote this post based on the scripture Isaiah 61:3: “To all who mourn in Israel, He will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the LORD has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for His own glory.”  i was basically asking for God to make something beautiful from our journey of sorrow and joy.

a few months later, i was pregnant.  then, during the summer bible study i took part in, one of our assignments was to write and speak a blessing over one of the other ladies randomly chosen for us.  my OB, who led the study, happened to be the one to speak a blessing over me.  in that blessing, she asked the Lord for the blessings that jonathan would have had to be given as a "double portion" of blessing for evan (based on 2 Kings 2:9) so that evan would have double the impact in this world as jonathan did.  what a wonderful prayer for my sweet boy! 

and then, a few more months later as i'm approaching the end of my pregnancy, my OB brought to my attention the scripture that follows the "beauty for ashes" verse in Isaiah 61:3...

Isaiah 61:7 says: "Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours."

and finally, this has everything to do with evan's middle name "joseph", which means "God will increase."  the name joseph has always been on the radar since it is my father's name.  but when i saw what the name means, and how it fits into the context of receiving a "double portion", i knew that it had to be part of evan's name.

i love how that all came together!  God has indeed made something beautiful from the ashes.  and it's just the beginning.


a year of hallelujahs

our year (plus a couple of months) in review...


merry christmas!

our christmas gift has arrived! 

evan joseph tomaschko was born at 3:59 pm on december 22nd, weighing 8 pounds and was 21.5 inches long.

he is healthy and perfect.

we got to take him home on christmas eve.  God is indeed gracious and we have so much to be thankful for!


making plans

almost a year and a half ago now, we were making plans for our unborn baby boy, jonathan.

not the kind of plans anyone would want to make, though.  unfortunately, those plans included the course of treatment after birth (basically, how he would die) and funeral and burial plans instead of what colors his nursery would be or what he career he might choose when he grows up.  and even in the making of those heart-wrenching plans for his death and burial, i knew that i would have to go to a baby store in order to get some of the things he needed, whether he lived or died.  a blanket.  a keepsake baby bible, perhaps.  an outfit to be buried in.

we never knew when jonathan was going to be born.  his due date was november 30th, but most trisomy babies don't make it to full term.  we knew he would be small at birth.  and, it stays warm here in florida sometimes through october and beyond, so i knew i needed not one but two outfits for for the warmer weather and one for if a miracle occured and he made it to full term in the late fall.  i guess it wouldn't have made a difference what oufit he wore...but at the time, every choice we made for jonathan was made with careful consideration.  it was part of our desire to do the best thing for him in the big things as well as the small, for as long as he was alive.

jonathan was buried on a warm and rainy day in october in a cute little light blue sailor-themed outfit, which even though it was sized "preemie", it still dwarfed his tiny four-pound body.

which left the winter outfit, a beautiful (and way too expensive, but hey...) light blue cable-knit sweater outfit to be returned to the store. 

however, because it took me months to go through any of jonathan's things after he was gone, i didn't realize that i had missed the short time frame to return the outfit.  i was stuck with it.  i'll be honest, every time i came across it, it was hard to look at it.  but eventually i decided to keep it because it was one of the few things he left behind for us to remember him by.  it was tucked away into a box, up on a shelf.


pregnancy after a loss is full of ups and downs.  i think most people who have experienced this would agree.  one minute you're so excited and hopeful and the next, you're worried if there is something wrong you don't know about or that maybe the doctors missed on the ultrasound.  you anxiously await those pregnancy milestones...seeing the heartbeat at 6 weeks, making it past the "miscarriage risk" at 13 weeks, then the gender/body scan, then viability, then full term...and all the weeks in between.  the hardest thing i've experienced during this pregnancy is not the morning sickness, or the tiredness, or the pinched nerves and other aches and is the anxiety or doubt that comes creeping in at times.  throw in some crazy ol' pregnancy hormones and it's easy to become a neurotic mess. 

not to mention, i feel like i've been pregnant two years straight and still waiting on the baby to arrive.

oh wait, that is pretty much the truth.

but now, at 37 weeks pregnant, we're busy making plans for a new baby.  we've had to believe and trust that evan is actually coming home with us.  every single act of preparation we've made for him has involved a conscious decision to believe and trust God for this baby boy.  it is only by this faith that we finally have the crib set up and clothes hung in his closet. that the carseat is down from the attic and has been cleaned.  that the nursery is getting it's final touches.  that my hospital bags are almost completely packed.  that we are slowly but surely getting physically, emotionally, and spiritually ready to meet our newest son.

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." ~Isaiah 26:3

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." ~Romans 15:13

there was definitely no "flip of a switch"-type of transition from one pregnancy to the next; it's certainly taken the whole nine months to truly accept the blessing of a new, healthy baby, as well as to realize that the acceptance of evan as our newest miracle doesn't mean that we have to leave all things jonathan-related behind in order to move foward.  i've reached a point in my healing where i have decided that all of what jonathan left behind is something to be shared and treasured, not tucked away in hidden places. 

and so, through the tenderness and timely provision of the Lord a year and a half ago, evan has the perfect outfit to wear when we bring him home from the hospital...


baby ailah update

i just learned that baby ailah passed away today after blessing her family with 28 days of life.

please continue to lift up her parents and family in prayer if you are so led.

thank you!


this just makes it all the more real...

this is not news to anyone, but more like reality settling in for me...we're gonna have a baby.  a very large healthy baby boy.  sometime next month!!!

a couple of weekends ago, a group of friends and family helped make this seemingly distant event become very, very real to me with each word of encouragement i received as well as with each baby blue item i unwrapped.

this is actually happening.  and it's time to celebrate...

the spread...

the amazing matches evan's nursery!

the gift centerpiece

the onesie says "I roll with Jesus" with a stroller on it!

hand-painted by my friend cathy!

group shot...unfortunately taken after a few ladies had already left.


me at 32 weeks (evan is measuring 3 weeks ahead!)

i'm so thankful for everyone who has sent me such kind words of encouragement and sent up prayers on our behalf for baby evan and my pregnancy.  we are blessed by you.


finally...'s here! 

after weeks of editing drawings and measurements, we are so pleased with the final product.  "gulf coast monuments" in fort walton beach did a fantastic job.

the top part says "our gift from God" because that is what jonathan's name means.  hence, the scripture at the bottom which reads "Every good and perfect gift is from above..." ~James 1:17

the picture we chose completely represents where we believe jonathan is the arms of Jesus.  i can't even explain it in words, but the feeling i felt when jonathan died in my arms and the moments that followed...i know with absolute certainty that there was a holy presence in our hospital room that night.  i've never felt it so strongly before in my life and i haven't felt it as strongly since.  God was with us.

and so, just over a year after jonathan's birth and death, the headstone also represents to us the final thing that needed to be done for our son, almost like a large granite bookend to the past year.  there's not much left for us to do now; maybe occasionally wipe off any dirt left from a rainstorm, or pull any weeds around his plot, and bring him seasonal flowers and other items.  sadly, this kind of maintenance takes the place of us caring for him like we would if he were here with us.  how i'd love to give him a bath, or have the opportunity to change a dirty diaper, or clean off his muddy hands or face after he had played in the dirt.  instead, we get to parent a headstone. 

wow, the perspective i've gained from all of this.


another goodbye

this time, i am saying goodbye to my paternal grandmother, "mimi", who passed away yesterday just shy of 90 years of age.  and even though she was almost 90, it was still somewhat of a shock that she passed away so suddenly, as she seemed to be in decent health most of the time.  her passing makes it the third loss in my family in just a year and a half.

Mimi with Kate, a couple of years ago
but i know that the Lord ordaines our days and knows when they begin and when they end. 

and i am thankful that i got to grow up with a grandmother who lived nearby and loved having all of the grandchildren over to her house.  i have such great memories of spending time with all of my grandparents from as far back as i can remember.

i'm thankful that my children will have the same opportunity to spend lots of time with their grandparents as they too all live nearby.

i'm also touched that jonathan shares a birthday (october 8th) with my maternal grandmother, "nana", who passed away a few months before he did.  my mimi's birthday is on december 9th, a couple of weeks before evan's due date.  it sure would be interesting if evan were born on that day...i guess we will see.