A Year of Milestones

I love this time of year. On social media, back to school pictures of nervous and excited children have switched to pumpkin patch pictures and football games. Although it is still pretty warm here in the south, students everywhere have officially traded in swimsuits for Halloween costumes. It is beginning to feel a bit like fall.

Last year, in the days before Mark was born, I remember waddling around town preparing for his birth. The weather had taken a strange turn, and we received a tremendous amount of rain.

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I suppose it is only appropriate that more rain came again as we approached Mark’s birthday.

Mark turned one as Hurricane Matthew whirled in the Atlantic leaving destruction in its wake. Although we were fortunate and had no damage to our home, many are still recovering from the devastation caused by the deadly hurricane. Please continue to pray for all those affected in Haiti and here in the United States.

As for Mark’s birthday – I had a fun puppy-themed birthday party planned, and family had hoped to drive in for a visit. We obviously had a last minute change in venue and drove inland to my parents’ house. It all worked out in the end. My in-laws drove to my parents’ house, and we celebrated Mark’s first year with cupcakes, laughter, and many new toys.

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Was it really a year ago when we welcomed our sweet 7 pound 13 oz baby boy into the world? Today, he is almost twenty-six pounds, devouring all food put in front of him, has lots of teeth, and has started to take a few steps. Each day he looks and acts less like a baby and more like a little boy. My heart simply cannot handle it!

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I have read over and over on mommy blogs about how the days are long, but the years are short. There is so much truth to that! Some days I fall into bed completely exhausted soon after Mark falls asleep. However, I then look at the little boy eating breakfast the next morning and wonder where the last couple of months have gone.

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On what would have been Isabelle’s first birthday, I remember reflecting on the unexpected firsts that I had that year. They were not the kind of firsts that my heart desperately wanted. This year, however, I did get to experience all of the things you expect to go through during your child’s first year. It certainly has been a year full of milestones and learning experiences for all of us.

There are the gross milestones:

The first time he pooped on me when I was changing his diaper (1 week old)

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The first blow out (2 weeks)

The first time he got sick to his stomach all over me (11 months)

There are the fun milestones:

His first smile (2 months)

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His first Christmas (3 months)

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The first time he slept through the night. (3 months)

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His first tooth (4 months)

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The first time he rolled over (4 months)

The first time he crawled. (5 months)

The first time he tried solid food. (6 months)

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The first time he played with a helium filled balloon (8 months)

His first time in the ocean. (9 months)

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The first time he took a step (12 months)

There are the milestones I would rather forget:

His first shot (2 months)

His first hospital stay -not including the days after his birth (4 months)

His first trip to the ER (11 months)

And then there are the moments that stay in a mother’s heart forever:

The first time he looked directly at me and then smiled

The first time he said “mama”

When he used to scratch and rub my face while nursing as if to confirm I was still there (He now likes to stick his finger up my nose while nursing.)

The first time I asked for a hug and he gave me one

It has been quite a year.

It seems appropriate that each year, 9 days after we celebrate Mark’s birth, we then shift our attention to Isabelle as we raise awareness of pregnancy and infant loss. It is a reminder of how precious life is and that all babies are truly a gift.

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Today, October 15, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. It is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss. This includes babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. It is time to break the silence and eliminate the all too common notion that those who suffer such a loss must internalize their grief. The goal of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day is to raise awareness so that we can open the lines of communication with those who have lost babies and therefore promote healing. The reality is that an estimated 25% of women have experienced a loss, and far too many are suffering in silence.

Please join me today at 7:00pm for the Wave of Life. Simply light a candle in memory of all the little one’s in heaven to help raise awareness. Let’s light up social media to let those who have lost a child know that they are not alone in their journey.

For more information check out the below links:

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness

October 15

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