11 months

This week (6th) is Jaycees 11 month birthday.  I’m not real sure how that happened so fast but if you ask me how I feel I’d say pretty good. We’ve been in a GOOD place lately. Even with all of our infertility struggles we’re good. We have more good days than bad days and that is amazing.

I finished my doula training and got to attend my first birth! A sweet friend who was carrying twins lost her son at 18 weeks and continued to carry both of them to term. Praise the Lord they got to take home a healthy Baby girl but I know they ache for the baby they lost. Helping her just reaffirmed that this is where The Lord is calling me and that is REALLY cool. Prayers as I enter into this new world! And prayers for the family who just lost their sweet baby.

Nothing new to report with infertility just that everything looks normal (aside from not ovulating). So next month we will do a few things to see if we can get there. We are praying continually that the Lord will reveal his plans for us. I have a lot more peace just knowing there isn’t something major keeping us from getting pregnant. Does that mean it’ll happen? No, but I trust that this is where God comes in, and let’s us know which direction he is leading. Please know that if you see me this week/month I will have some rough days  please try and extend some grace my way.

I have always wanted to write to Jaycee on this blog so I am gonna:

Dear Jaycee,

11 months is hitting me hard.  11 months gone, Jaycee girl. How did that happen? Time has flown by without you here. I often wonder if you’re walking up there in heaven? Rowan says they DEFINITELY have chick fil a there (because it wouldn’t be heaven without chicken). He misses you sweet girl. He wants a baby sister to hold and snuggle so bad. He loves you so much. In the store the other day a woman saw me and your brothers shopping. She said, “oh you need to try for a girl next”. I shrugged her off…. Because it happens more times than I care to admit, but what did your brother do? He said, “oh! We have one! She’s just in heaven”. You changed us Jaycee girl. Changed us in so many good ways. Ryker talks about you too and he will even tell me that he misses you. You are loved and I know the love our Father has for you is far beyond our love for you. You’re in the most magnificent place and That brings me SO much peace and comfort. I know you are good. Safe in the arms of our father. I miss you today Jaycee girl. Did you know I will be leading VBS on stage with Anna? On your birthday? I can’t believe that is a month away. Rowan is making all the plans to celebrate you and I know what you’ve got up there is far better than what we could do here (but we sure try!). We love you Jaycee and we miss you more than I ever dreamed.

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:20-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Infertility.

I often go back and forth with sharing these sort of intimate details of our life. Usually I put it off for awhile until I get a message from a friend/stranger thanking me for sharing my story. I understand that we have become a bit of oversharers but if it reaches one person then it’s worth it.

This month was another month of “no” from the Lord on getting pregnant. I was hopeful yet disappointed when the news was not what I had expected. Each month it is another disappointment, and honestly I’m not sure how much more of that we can take. Long story short, I am not ovulating so I am taking clomid. This month I ovulated but did not get pregnant. I was angry, sad, frustrated and ultimately pleading with the Lord that he would reveal his plans for our family.

You see, to some it may only be 8 months of trying to get pregnant but to us it’s been over a year. Being told that conceiving on our own won’t happen (and no one knows why since we have three times) is hard. It’s hard for anyone, but especially for those who have walked loss. It adds a certain sting to our story that I don’t yet see the purpose of. Is there purpose there? Of course, and I know He has great plans for us, but I just want to know “WHAT ARE THEY?” If He is calling us to adopt then I want that to be made abundantly clear.

infertility is hard, and it’s hard on a marriage. Even the strongest one it will shake. It is stressful and comes with a LOT of mood swings. Y’all, Jesse puts up with A LOT from me and add clomid to that? Yikes. We are praying for the Lord to reveal his plans because emotionally we are both worn out. The disappointment, the stress, the mood swings…. it’s a lot after the year we’ve had. I have a hard time shutting the door on having another pregnancy so we really need prayers for guidance on that. Not that I am discounting what the Lord can do because he can do whatever he wants and in His timing, not mine. Jesse is amazing at praying over us, our decisions, and for the child(ren) that will be added to our family (however that happens).

Yes we have had three pregnancies, two healthy boys, and a daughter we will see again one day. I am so grateful for them and that the Lord has shown me how much to be thankful for. I enjoyed Jaycees pregnancy even through all of the pain because I know what a gift that was. I have two kids who aren’t in diapers, don’t require constant attention, and who sleep all night long. Sounds nice, right? It is, except I would give just about anything to be up all night, to nurse a baby, to change countless diapers and be overwhelmed with motherhood. Y’all, I am not saying this because it’s not hard. It is hard. It is exhausting and when you’re in it, it feels like it never ends, but it does. Eventually they sleep, they don’t poop their pants, they don’t nurse, they play quietly alone, the grocery store doesn’t require a nap (well sometimes it still does), and the crying stops. For those of us who want to be pregnant and have more children these milestones are BITTERSWEET.

I sound like a broken record but I am prayful in the ways God is using this for His glory. It’s hard and I wish I could say that His promise makes this all puppies and rainbows, but it is still hard. I struggle with the “why”. I want to know “why us?” My type A personality does not do well when things don’t go my way. Obviously God is using this to teach me trust and patience-I get it Lord, I have no control. I am so thankful for everyone who has been joining us in prayer, especially in this season. Our biggest prayer is that the Lord uses us for His glory and that we know what that is.

I often tell Jesse that I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to be “these people” because we still have days where we aren’t ok and I’m learning that’s Ok. Those days are fewer but they are real and giving myself grace to feel that is hard. There will most likely always be days that are tough, and today was definitely a hard day. This road can feel isolating at times and that is hard for me. The waves of grief shift as time goes on and it is much more manageable, but when the wave knocks you down unexpectedly? You better be ready.  I have made an effort this week to say “yes” more to the boys, put my phone away more, and take some time for self care which is so important for me.

We have gotten the forms to fill out for foster/adoption and we will start those this week (that could take awhile). We are leaning on God and praying that he reveals JUST where he wants us to be and to have peace in that decision. I am so thankful for the friends who see the ugly and love me through it. On the hard days when they recognize I’m having a rough time and take the time to check on me or hug me. Today I walked out to have a minute and saw Lara Leigh at just the right time. It was the perfect time for the Lord to meet me and let me know “you’re not alone. Look around”.

Join us in prayer over the next few months. For the Lord to reveal his plans, for all future Chestnut kids, for peace and guidance. We’re coming up on 10 months which feels VERY close to a year (because it is) so I am sure the hard days will show up again.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:4-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

A year.

February 26th 2016 changed our life forever. That was the day that we learned our sweet daughter would not live outside of the womb (for very long). As we sat in the ultrasound room for our 19 week “routine” anatomy ultrasound with both our boys fully expecting to see their healthy baby sister, our world was turned upside down.

A few weeks earlier we learned she was a girl and genetically everything looked good. I had a gut feeling that something was off (something I told Laura about and Jesse days before my ultrasound). If you know me at all you know I am a pretty anxious person, always have been. Jesse said “everything is fine babe” and I tried to suppress the feelings of anxiety and tell myself she was normal…. but she wasn’t. As the scan started they got very silent after a few moments. He asked me “did you have genetic testing done?” And I responded that we did and everything was fine, I also told him he was scaring me. He said “well. Her head is small”. I saw the screen and knew something wasn’t right. I began sobbing and praying as hard as I could while trying to reassure the boys but tell Jesse this wasn’t good.

He took the boys to our friends house, and then came back. The sonogram pretty much ended there, and we were given the option to terminate but needed to see a specialist first, we would be getting in immediately. We made a few calls and prayed with Cari over the phone. We sat in a waiting room full of pregnant people waiting.

For two hours.

Waiting to be told in the most cold, unsympathetic way that we were dumb for not terminating because she would die anyway. We stood firm in that conviction and in my mind I never doubted for a second that we would carry her as long as the Lord entrusted her to us. Jesse was my rock and I am so thankful that the Lord met us there, He saw what we needed and we got it. We were on the same page from the start. We could see her heartbeat, her legs kicking, her hands and feet yet they told us we could just end her life because that would be “easier”.

We chose life for our daughter because she was worth every ounce of physical and emotional pain. She lived on this earth for 51 minutes and taught us so much about love, patience, and appreciation that I can’t even express. We saw God work in the most painful moments of our journey, and I have never felt His presence more than I did then in those months. We are changed, and while that is mostly a good thing it’s also a hard one.

Grief doesn’t end, it evolves. I am not “old Ryley” and this new Ryley is a little lonely at times. This week has knocked me down pretty hard. I tried to push it all down but on Friday it hit. It’s been awhile since I have cried a lot of my day, and been blindsided by the grief…. I guess that’s a good thing? Well, on Friday it did not feel good. Driving down Coit (not my normal route.. thanks IPhone) I remembered that on a Friday a year ago I was driving to the appointment where our life changed. I remember the songs on the radio, the clothes I was wearing, the yelling boys in the backseat and the enormous amount of coffee I had just to make it to that early appointment. It all came flooding back to me and the tears began to fall. And they kept falling for the majority of the day.

Blindsided.

I know the Lord is teaching me many things. One of those is my ability to “go with the flow”. I dont think I’ve mastered this one (not even close) yet grief thrusts us into that way of life more than anything I have ever experienced. Today has been a mostly good day and I can honestly say that I’m in a better place than I expected. I have had a few moments to reflect on that day, and see the beauty in the hard moments. The Lord has definitely provided (as usual). I am so thankful for all of the text messages, hugs and all of you who took the time out of your day to love on us.

This season of “firsts” will be a challenging one, but also full of grace and love. Bittersweet memories come back, but so do the good ones. Jaycee is STILL impacting the hearts of many and for that I am SO thankful. Jaycee was fearfully and wonderfully made. God knew exactly what he was doing when He created her. Anencephaly did not surprise him and this diagnosis day does not define her or the amazing impact she had. I PRAISE Him for the life she had and what she taught our family because LIFE matters!

“For you formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13-14‬ ‭ESV

8 months (a little early)

Well, somehow were quickly approaching Jaycees 8 month birthday. I’m not sure how that happened so fast, but it did. These past few weeks have brought a new set a challenges that we have never experienced before: Trying to get pregnant which feels less and less likely at this point.

This month I started taking clomid to try and induce ovulation. Well that didn’t really go as planned and I am having to do something else to sort of “reset” my body and start over again in a month. I have three more cycles that I can do clomid and if I do not get pregnant then we’re out. I have done some wrestling this week because honestly this is something I have to come to terms with. Yes I know it’s only been 8 months, but February 26th marks one year since we learned of Jaycees diagnosis. So a year that we’ve been waiting to bring home a child that never made it here. That’s a long time y’all and this infertility thing is not something we’ve ever experienced before. I have this feeling that maybe this is it for us? Maybe this is Gods way of not-so-gently pushing us to adopt. That pull on our hearts has come up more and more this month, and something I’m feeling more and more convincted over.

We’ve been given this amazing story and voice for life, and we have become so passionate about life in and out of the womb. Christians who are pro-life often get a bad reputation for only advocating for life in the womb, and we truly believe there is purpose in EVERY life. Is this Gods way of telling us we need to live that out through adoption? As time goes on I can’t help but think yes. I am not promised another pregnancy, that is not a guarantee and something He has made very clear to me. I have to wrap my mind around wanting what He wants for us. Being obidient in His call for our family. So right now, it looks like we will also begin pursuing adoption. We ask for your prayers  moving forward. We don’t know what this journey looks like, but we’re not closing any doors that God has clearly opened for us.

We’re going to be reaching out to some of y’all who have walked the adoption journey. At this point I do not know if we will for sure follow through with adoption, and we’re praying fervently for the Lord to guide our choices and decisions. Right now, we feel as though he is guiding us to start that process so here we are. We’re praying daily for the Lord to use us the way He wants.

Some of you saw my fb post and I’m currently half way through getting my certification to become a bereavement doula!  This is not something I ever thought I’d be doing, before Jaycee. After Jaycee God placed several opportunities in my lap and this was the obvious choice in where he was calling me to serve. I pray that I am a blessing to moms as they walk a hard road. I’m learning so much from this training and I am pretty exciting to be able to serve in that capacity. Walking through something as hard as Jaycee with another mom feels heavy but also brings so much joy. Being able to use Jaycee’s story for more good and creating a lasting legacy in her name just warms my momma heart.

lastly VBS, Oh VBS. I just love VBS. If you know me you know I love working with kids. I love being in the word and watching little kids soak up all of that knowledge. Last year I had to bow out of VBS committee because of everything going on. When Tianay reached out to me a few weeks ago I knew I wanted to join back this year. Well, funny story. I knew they needed stage people because my two awesome friends just couldn’t do it this year, and I prayed about that choice. After a few days of thinking and praying over this I decided to tell Tianay I would lead VBS. Keep in mind that VBS is usually at the end of July. Well, while in conversation with Cari (trying to convince her to come back) she told me she would be out of town and that VBS is June 6-9th. I can not post my actual response to this (Cari and Tianay know and we’ll just leave it at that). I felt like this was Gods way of telling me this is exactly where he needed me to be on Jaycees birthday. I was dragging my feet and honestly terrifiedg. So today I am reading the script and what is day one’s lesson? (day one is Jaycees birthday) That God created us for a purpose. Really? Really? I mean, I get it God. You want me there. Loud and clear, couldn’t of sent an owl and been more clear. I just laugh at this point in all the ways God is speaking to me because sometimes it’s comical the things I feel like he is leading me to do because they are HARD. I am so excited and think this is going to be the PERFECT way to celebrate Jaycees birthday. Will it have moments of hard? Oh yeah, thankfully my friends are good at grace.

All of this to say that sometimes God has plans for us that we never dream about. Sometimes those plans are hard and they look WAY different than our own plans. We’re human and we can only see now. We can’t see things how God does, and we can’t understand them because He is God. He is good, and He has a perfect plan for us. What this means for us is wrestling with that and wanting what He wants. I’m not typing all of this so y’all look at us and go “wow look how awesome they are”. No. Because it’s hard. I want what I want, and I want to be open about struggling with the plans He has for me.

But He knows better.

He is enough.

He loves me

He knows what’s next. We are trusting that, as always, he reveals his plans for us. We’re praying that He gives us peace when those plans look different and feel heavy. We’re trusting Him to bear that burden when we can’t. Because HE can.

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. Isaiah 43 1-6

More waiting.

I debated sharing this, mostly because it’s highly personal. Not something I would share with everyone, but for those who have been following our story I figured you might wanna know? Or you don’t, and that’s cool too (you should probably stop reading now if that’s you)

This past month was Jaycees seven month birthday. I didn’t blog because honestly I just couldn’t. We’ve had a lot going on here and I just couldn’t pull it together. We are not pregnant. In fact, we learned this week that there are some things going on with me that are actually going to make It more difficult to get pregnant. Without going into a ton of detail we decided that I would go on something to make me ovulate. This is most likely the only measure we will take to pursue having a fourth child. Not because I am against fertility treatment, but I am only willing to commit so much time (and money) into having another biological child. I had a tough few days this week and struggled a lot with “why?” We have never had issues getting pregnant, and for that I am thankful. I am so beyond thankful that we have two healthy living boys, but we always wanted more.

Jaycee changed my perspective on a lot of things. I feel like the Lord has made me especially grateful for my children, more aware of the everyday blessings, and so thankful for my pregnancies. I treasured every sickness, ache and pain, and her movements. I wasn’t nearly as grateful with the boys, I complained a lot. Pregnancy is hard, y’all. I’m not saying it isn’t (heck, I was sick for 7 months with Rowan. Look at him now!) Jaycee changed that for me, and I wish I could go back and enjoy the boys pregnancies all over again. When I think of the possibility that we may never have another biological child, it makes me sad. I never would of dreamed my life would move in this direction. After 11 years of marriage, 3 kids (2 living), and 28 years old, struggling to conceive again. After we lost a child, this flat out sucks.

But yesterday brought me peace. I had an appointment and we discussed some options, and we have a “plan”. If you know me and anything about my medical history none of this is surprising, if there is some strange medical thing, I most definitely will have it. Being an enigma to medical professionals is what I do best. We’re not done, and I know that. I may never birth a baby again, but I will hold a baby again- OUR baby. It may not be a child that I have birthed, and that’s ok. Yes I’m confused, but mostly I want to know why.

Why has God written this story for us?

What is HE ultimately calling us to do?

I don’t know. I wish I could say I’m OK with all of this, but right now it’s fresh. It feels like we’re dealing with disappointment after disappointment. Are we richly blessed? Oh yes, and I am so SO thankful for my babies; God has entrusted me with their life, even if it’s short. Am I hurting? Yes. I had many moments this week pleading with God. That He would reveal His plan for us. If it isn’t biological children that he makes that abundantly clear. I know our family isn’t complete yet, but I have no idea what it looks like and I wish I did.

Jesse once again has been amazing. He stayed up with me on Wednesday until midnight while I cried and revealed my fears to him. He’s so good at being positive (so much so that sometimes I tell him I “don’t want Susie brightside right now”). He reassured me that God is not done here and maybe He is calling us to love on those who need it most. I love him, y’all. He “gets” me and my crazy.

Hanna is settling in well, and we’re loving having her here. The boys are busy bothering her most of the time, and getting to annoy the heck out of her.

This week has been hard and I can’t thank those of you who listened to me cry this week. Reassuring me and letting me be angry. Letting me wonder why things have to be SO hard sometimes. Y’all, keep up the prayers. At some point we won’t ask for them constantly, but in this season we are. Pray that the Lord reveals his plans to us, pray that if His plans aren’t what I had pictured that we feel peace in that.

February 26th marks one year since we found out about Jaycees diagnosis. This season is hard and full of reminders. I actually deleted timehop because I didn’t want to see all the things leading up to her diagnosis last year, it was too much right now.

I am taking some verses from Job and posting them. I often joke that I read Job for a pick me up, but I’m not kidding. Job was faced with REAL pain and suffering.

“My days have passed, my plans are shattered.
Yet the desires of my heart turn night into day;
in the face of the darkness light is near.”
-Job 17:11-12

“I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!”
-Job 19:25-27

Job remained faithful in God. Does that mean he didn’t hurt? NO! But he kept his hope in God and was blessed in return (after much pain and suffering). My hope is in our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. I know he’s not done writing our story yet, and I’m ready to see what he has for us next.

 

 

2016

Yall, This year. This year has DONE. ME. IN. We have had so much happen this past year that I can’t even begin to describe all the emotions. Christmas was a bittersweet day for us. We missed Jaycee yet enjoyed watching the boys enjoy Christmas. My granny loved Christmas, and this was our first year without her too. She always went big for Christmas so naturally my mom took on that job. The boys got spoiled by both of our parents and they loved every second. It was a day full of bittersweet memories. I think each holiday will always hold a heaviness for us, but this year especially.

Last Monday morning at 4am Jesse woke me up with bad stomach pains. He couldn’t sleep (that’s saying a lot for him) and eventually decided to drive himself to the ER. After a few hours thanks to my amazing friend (shout out Jenn) I was able to drop the boys off and join him. They ruled out appendicitis and kidney stones and decided to admit him because his CT showed swelling in his abdomen. Later that day he would have an endoscopy to try and determine why. I picked up the boys that afternoon and dropped them with my neighbor who has become one of my closest friends (bonus…she lives two doors down) before my mother in law would come and help us that night. During that procedure they found multiple ulcers in Jesse’s stomach. Evidence that this year has also taken a tole on him. He’s strong, he’s been the leader of our family, and working hard to make that happen. It caught up with him. The word “cancer” was tossed around with “small chance” after it. I think the pre-Jaycee Ryley would of shrugged it off, but I’m no longer a fan of even small statistics. I’ve lived 1% and the Lord has shown us how temporary our time is here. During that hospital stay I emailed our church and not 15 minutes later one of the minsters was there praying over us. 15 minutes after that another amazing man and great friend showed up. And the people just kept coming. Dinner was brought, boys were taken care of, and many prayers were said. Maybe stomach ulcers seems like a small deal to most, but for us it was another “thing”. We were scared and anxious, but the Lord provided so many people yet again to love us well. We have since gotten word that it is NOT cancer but a bacterial infection. Praise. The. Lord. I am thankful for this good news because God knows we needed it.

As some of you saw we are welcoming a foreign exchange student into our home January 1st! Hanna is 15 and from South Korea. This is something that fell into our laps at just the perfect time. We have been praying that God would add to our family, whatever that looks like. We have been trying to get pregnant as some of you know, and are not pregnant. We felt like the Lord was calling us to this and couldn’t say no. We are so excited and ready for this next adventure. We are learning what it looks like to FULLY trust Gods plan for our family. It is different than what I expected, much different, but His plans are perfect. We rest in the fact that God can see what we can not. He knows just what we need and we’re praying daily that he shows us exactly what His will is for our family.

Lastly, I have signed up and will start doula training the beginning of the year. I decided after a few months of prayer that this is where the Lord is calling. I am doing a specific training that focuses on bereavement and I am so ready for this journey. With Jaycee (and Ryker) my doula was such an amazing blessing. To have someone advocate for Jesse and I when we wanted to focus on Jaycee was so important to us. Being able to use Jaycee and our story to help other families seems like the best way to carry on her legacy. Most importantly this means I get to bug all my doula friends more and my amazing friend Stacy(my doula with Jaycee) has agreed to let me bug her the most.

2017 is going to start off with a bang. A season of new starts, and saying “yes” to what the Lord is calling us to.

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James‬ ‭1‬:‭12‬

6 months

IMG_2896.JPG6 months….Half a year. That feels like an eternity when our hearts ache for a little girl who left this earth far too soon. It’s hard to imagine that it’s already been that long, and we think about our Jaycee girl every day. As these anniversaries creep up there is always a heaviness on my heart, but this one especially. This would of been our first Christmas with Jaycee. A little girl to spoil and love on here on earth. Instead it’s our first Christmas without her and that stings. Thanks to a few friends who made suggestions on our last post, we decided to pick little girls for our family at church this year(our church adopts out families each year). We went shopping for a 2 and 7 year old little girl today and had a lot of tears and conversations. Honoring Jaycee by blessing another family this season was such a great idea and something we will continue to do every year. We miss you so much Jaycee girl and we had so many plans for you. His plans are greater, yet it still hurts.

6 months later and I’d say we’re doing “better”. We have more good days and less bad days. We know the Lord is faithful and provides so much for us yet we are forever changed. We are constantly learning who the “new Chestnuts” are. We aren’t the people who love crowds anymore. We don’t always say yes (ok, rarely) to outings. Our perspective is different, and for that I am grateful. Jaycee taught us how to love harder, be grateful always, and lean on God more. This is a hard season for us and our grief will never be done. The loss of a child is not something we will move on from. She’s a part of our family and we will always have seasons that bring reminders. It does get easier and praise the Lord for that.

We’re also patiently (or not so) waiting to see what God has in store for our family next. I am not in control even when I REALLY want to be. I have seen several pregnancy announcements lately and while I rejoice in that life and the blessing they get to have, I long for that too. I don’t think we ever realize how much we take for granted until it isn’t there anymore. The diapers, the breastfeeding, not sleeping. Heck even the pregnancy vomit and pain. We want that.

Realizing im not the Ryley people share everything with anymore is hard. Life goes on and friendships change and that’s hard. That’s a part of grief I’m not sure anyone talks about. Grieving the loss of the old you. The you who assumed you’d never be the person who’s baby died, the person who was watching everyone experience all of the amazing blessings of life while wearing her daughters ashes around her neck. We should talk about that more because THAT is hard. For those of you who are pregnant please don’t see this as a post where I am mad or upset that you are. We are thankful the Lord has provided and celebrate that new baby.

I’d like to say after 6 months I have it all figured out, but that’s a lie. I have nothing figured out. I’m learning how to be the new Ryley. How to live my life without a part of me here on this earth and some days that’s just ugly. We are loved well, and I am so thankful for all the ways Jaycee continues to be honored. God has opened so many doors for us and is showing us how to love on other families who are unfortunately walking this road. These friendships are lifelong ones and I am so thankful for them. The friendships that I have gained in this journey are forever ones. The friendships that have gotten stronger continue to bless me daily. I am so thankful for each of you who continue to love on us daily.

It is no coincidence that today when Rowan started a new week in his bible curriculum that the verse was “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Do not fret- it only causes harm
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:7‬-8.

For someone who has a tendency to worry and fret this verse spoke truth over me today. Proof that the Lord speaks to us through his word, but only if we’re willing to listen.