Friday, October 31, 2008

I'm Actually Missing Blogging...

And I guess that title says it all. :)
I've got so much on my heart and mind - I hadn't really realized how much of an outlet this thing has become for me.
So - first available opportunity (happy baby, hubby home) I'll sit down and give - at the very least - the story of how Peyton got here.
Oh - and just so people know - it wasn't entirely "spontaneous". We did induce - with the goal of missing all those painful anniversary days. But, for various reasons only the Lord knows, it didn't work the way it was supposed to and Peyton's birthday is the 19th. But - like I said - I'll give more of the details soon.
She continues to be a very content and relaxed baby... great nurser. And (of this I am proud) has brought her weight up to 7lbs, 10ozs as of Wednesday. What can I say? "Mommy got milk!" (chuckle)
Seriously, though - after all the pain of the last year it is such a blessing to be finally able to supply my daughter's needs. Seeing my body prepare to care for a child when she wasn't there was one of the hardest things I had to go through. Talk about a constant reminder...
More pictures coming soon!
Thanks for reading everyone!
Four generations: My Gramma White (Peyton's GiGi), my mom (Nana), myself and the little star of the show on the day she was born.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Some News

Sooo.... for probably obvious reasons I haven't been able to put up another post for a few days. :) S'okay - I'm loving the sleep deprivation.
She's a trooper when it comes to nursing, and she sleeps super-soundly in between feeds.
I have no complaints - life is wonderful. Keep praying for us, though. Please. :)

On another note (and be warned - this one is sad): Due to the hectic pace of the last week and a bit I wasn't able to put the word out that Oscar is no longer with us. It was a really hard decision - we've both shed lots of tears leading up to it and after... but it was best for him. Basicly, he had some kind of congenital nerve problem in his spine that was starting to really mess up his ability to walk and stay balanced. It was getting pretty bad: he couldn't even get up stairs and his paws were all skuffed because he was always dragging his feet. On the 14th, we took him to the vet where it was confirmed what we already pretty much knew - he wasn't going to get better without a lot of (expensive) tests and a probable surgery that might not even work. Plus, it was advancing pretty quickly - and he's just too big for us to carry around - not to mention he wasn't enjoying life too much because of his ability to not stand up for too long.

We cried and gave him loads of pets and love - and then the vet put him down really gently while we held him. It was over really fast - and he didn't suffer. We gave him a really good life - he was very loved and a happy, one-of-a-kind dog. We miss him like crazy - but we know we made the right decision. We brought him home and buried him in his blanket with some toys - and thanked the Lord for our wonderful dog who was with us for a couple of really challenging years.

The funny thing is that nothing happens accidentally: the Lord knew we were going to have Peyton a matter of days later - and the sting of his loss is obviously diminished by the joy of having our daughter. But we do wish we could have seen our big, lovable, dopey dog with our pretty little daughter...The Lord knows best - and even Oscar served a huge purpose of refining and sustaining in our lives. We're thankful for the 2 good years we had with him - and know no other dog is ever going to be quite the same as our "Okar".

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

With Tears of Thanksgiving...

To all of you who have commented and emailed - previous and first-timers, lurkers, coworkers, friends whom I have met - or the ones I have not yet had the pleasure to... goodness - how do I cover everyone?

Thank you. Words are so inadequate. But I hope you all know what a gift God has given me through your joy and praise of Him today.

Kurt and I are overwhelmed with your love and happiness for us. That's truly all I can say for now...
... except that I'm glad I can still type even with a huge lump in my throat! :)

One more of the little peanut with her daddy - exhaustion and joy. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Birthday Post

Hey everyone - and thanks so much for your prayers and thoughts on this day. I can't express how much it has meant to have emails and comments from all of you who have supported us through this very difficult year.

It was a pretty low-key day, actually. I thought about her lots - but mostly Kurt and I reflected on how far God has brought us in this past year. We read Psalm 139 this morning and wept as the truth of those verses rang out. He has not left us - we are not alone. And she - despite never taking a breath - was skilfully wrought and miraculously made by Him. It's so good to remember that.

My in-laws and folks came to town and visited Autumn's grave - and we all were amazed that it truly has been one year since that morning when we all gathered at Royal University Hospital to say hello and that last painful goodbye to our firstborn daughter and granddaughter.

I've come to the conclusion that this year was about how our walk with God would grow because of Autumn. Her life and death have touched so many people. There have been times I've hated the fact that it had to be me that lost a child - and then others when the truth of "why not me?" keeps me humble and quietly trusting God. Her moments on this earth were brief. But for us who had to continue on without her - to learn to live when she wasn't here with us... at times this year has seemed endless.

Today I thought about baby steps, and grins and giggles. About what she would have looked like, sounded, acted... and I cried for her.

But the 21st has always been a celebratory day for my heart. It was the day I met her - found out what and who she was... wept over her as a person - came to be a mother. There was sadness - more intense than any I've ever felt - but also fulfillment. Even the 20th - waiting for the induction to work - had so many redeeming points. Prayers, tears, cuddles with Kurt... resolve to stand firm and love the Lord because He loved me first even though my heart was broken.

For me, the darkest day of the entire year was the 19th. That was the day which started so normal and ended with a horror so unreal my mind almost could not comprehend it. I vividly recall the doctor telling us our baby had died, feeling physically like I was going to throw up, and then realizing it was great sobs coming out of my body... phoning my mom and having to say, "Mommy - the baby died." The 19th has been the day I dreaded - knowing that at 2:45 am it would have been one year since the last time I felt her move - live. The bitterness of the 19th in my times of reminiscing has almost overwhelmed the sweetness of the 21st.

And yet, the Lord - in His wisdom and immense compassion - has found a way to turn the 19th of October into a day of great rejoicing in a way that is so all-encompassing there is no doubt He alone could have arranged it.


Peyton Grace Elaine Manz
Born 3:09am, October 19th, 2008
Weight: 7 pounds, 2 ounces
Length: 20 1/2 inches

Coming to the realization that the Lord - on the very day he took my first daughter - has granted me the life of my second has been another reason for me to proclaim His faithfulness. He really has brought us full-circle. The seemingly random occurrences of a baby dying and another living... possibly within one exact year of each other are not coincidence. They are purposed. He gave - and He took... and now He has given us - again - another reason to cling to Him. From here on, the 21st will be Autumn's day, and the 19th with be the day God restored my joy with Peyton's birth.

We mourn Autumn - holding and cuddling Peyton makes us miss her even more. But we look at our new daughter and have hope for the future. Hope is addictive - the more I have, the more I seek. Peyton is my baby of grace... and her name reflects that. I love her so much it hurts at times... and being her mommy - truly thinking about being her mommy - brings tears of thankfulness to my eyes and a sigh of contentment to my heart. I have waited so very long for her - and now she is here with all her littleness and neediness... and I love it! :)

So that was how I spent Autumn's birthday - and SURPRISE for those of you who didn't already know. :) Your prayers over this last year have been - without doubt - the greatest reason I am still functioning.

I'll post again soon with the details of how I (of all people) managed to pull off this amazing stunt without letting the cat out of the bag, and how it all came together. Oh - and more pictures, of course. :)

Thanks so much for reading, everyone... I'm blessed that you want to. Speaking of the little needy one - she's protesting something in the other room so I have to go be a mommy. :)

With love,

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More Preggo Pictures

Some more of my favorites... hard to believe this was almost 5 weeks ago!
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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I've been out celebrating with the various branches of our extended family. :)
I've heard turkey can bring on labor.
So far no go.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My Working Man

In the truck waiting to be filled by the combine.

Unloading the oats into the transfer auger.

Checking the pile depth (making sure it didn't go over the rings).
Scenes from my birthday evening. It was actually pretty cold and windy - and every bump brought on a Braxton Hicks contraction... but we did the whole "listen to the Rider game" thing, and just had a great 3-and-one-half-hour visit while admiring the beauty of the stars and the Northern Lights (stretching entirely from east to west last night!).
Oat dust is sure itchy, though. Not an area I need help with lately. :)
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Friday, October 3, 2008

Our Family - September 14th, 2008

Personally, this is my absolute favorite of the bunch.
It doesn't have much to do with me, or how I perceive I look, as the look on Kurt's face. Proud daddy, loving husband, trusting God with both of the girls he loves. Sigh. What a handsome guy I married.
My heart is pitter-pattering as I type. ;)
I'll put up some more pictures later - stay tuned!
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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Post 7 of 9 (September 28th-October 4th)

So I made it back from Regina. (Yay!)

I'm a little sore (a little more sore) and stiff from all those hours in the car and sitting at the conference. That condition wasn't helped by going straight to the field to ride around with my hubby in the truck for a few hours - but the smile on his face when he saw me more than made up for the discomfort of bouncing around on a hard seat. :)

Tomorrow is my birthday - which will probably be just another harvest day (us lucky October birthdays...) but I think I'll go ride with Kurt for some of the day. He was really feeling badly about not being able to do something with me... but I told him I'd let him make it up to me later. (chuckle)

I've been working on my hospital list today - I'm kinda paranoid we'll forget something essential when we go. We used to live only 5 minutes from the hospital - so if we had forgotten something it would have been pretty easy for Kurt to go home, or for someone to pick it up for us... but I'd like to avoid that this time around and a full-hour out of the city. I listed off some of the items I have written to Kurt who phoned a few minutes ago, and after a pause he said, "So... are you thinking you'll have to go to the hospital soon?" :) (He may be thinking about all that bouncing around in the truck last night...) I don't think so - but I guess I couldn't really rule it out, could I?

Regardless - I cannot believe we'll be at 21 days until induction tomorrow. The memories of Autumn come so clear now: my 27th birthday and her being 38 weeks along. Part of the grief is remembering how "innocent" we were. There was no clue anything so horrible could possibly happen - and yet 2 weeks later our world changed forever. Instead of rejoicing and planning her first birthday party I'm happy that her headstone has been placed... I never, never could have pictured this.

But by God's grace, the sadness of those memories has me praying daily and hourly for this little one who continues to fidget and move around to my sheer delight. Thanks for your prayers, everyone. I'm trying to continue my quest to finish Autumn's album... I've hit a little roadblock where some pictures are concerned - but that probably isn't anything I couldn't overcome by just sitting down and studying them for a while. That said: my ankles didn't respond well to the hours in the car or the truck last night - and other than a quick blog post ("quick") and some laundry I should probably avoid the whole "sitting at a desk for hours/standing up and walking around" thing. :)

BTW: I've been "tagged" by two people now (Katrina and Rachel Ann) and they are both different "tags". I am planning on doing it - it just might not be right away. But just so you both know - I'm not ignoring you (thanks for thinking of me). :)