This is the story of how Ella got her name.

Elizabeth "Ella" Ruth

As you know, we named our first baby Ellis, whom we lost way too soon. Her name means "My God is the Lord" in Hebrew. We wanted to remind ourselves that no matter what, God was God, the author and perfecter. Ella means "bright light", which is how we felt about our rainbow baby. She was the light at the end of a dark tunnel. We also loved the fact that our two babies names are so similar. We wouldn't have Ella if we had Ellis, so they are very much connected for us in the most bittersweet way.

Eric has an Aunt Mary Ella who is very special to us. Ella was partly named for her as well. I was a nanny for a family for twelve years (They were basically my second family. Those kids are more like siblings to me) and the youngest who was my favorite was Ella.

Elizabeth was chosen for multiple reasons. I was baptized in the Greek Orthodox church when I was a baby and was given the middle name (a second middle name) Elizabeth. Also, Eric and I have clung to Elizabeth and Samuel's story in the bible.

Eric chose Ruth. We both love Ruth's story and we hope and pray that Ella grows up and exemplifies a lot of her qualities.

Still feeling very, very blessed. I stare at my little girl for hours not fully believing that she has been entrusted to me. Thank you, LORD.

elizabeth ruth - ella

She's here and I can't believe I even HAVE a birth story to share!

On Monday the 14th I went to work for my very last day. Monday night I said "Ok baby girl, anytime now is great!" Well, my baby is a good listener :)

We laid down to go to be around 11:30. We kind of talked for a few minutes and then I heard a popping sound coming from below, accompanied by a swift kick. I asked Eric if he heard it and he said no. I was fairly sure it was my water breaking, but I was afraid so I didn't move! That was at 12:15. Finally I rolled over and knew right away it was time! Eric jumped out of bed like lightening when I calmly told him it was time ;)

I got up and went to the bathroom to confirm, and called my doula. She didn't answer so I left a message. Long story short, she never got my message and therefore was not at our birth! Kind of crazy. My plan was to use the Bradley Method technique along with the doula to have a natural birth. But when I didn't have a chance to experience small contractions leading up to the big ones, that plan changed fast. My contractions started about 10 minutes after my water broke and they were intense. I couldn't breathe or walk. Eric was still trying to pack the rest of our bag (since we had started but never finished) and get us out the door.

We got to the hospital around 1AM and after answering a bunch of ridiculous questions for what felt like forever we finally got upstairs to our room. The nurse had all kinds of trouble with the computer and the monitor. They told me who was on call for my doctor and that she would probably deliver me since my doctor didn't come in until the morning. I calmly informed them that if they called my doctor that he would indeed come in. They seemed skeptical, but they called him and guess what? He came in a few hours later. He had promised me from day one that he would be there no matter what! I love that man.

I was at 5 cm before I got the epidural. I have never been so sure of anything in my life as wanting that epi! It was wonderful. I was able to relax, enjoy my labor, and even get some sleep. I progressed about a cm an hour and by 12PM on the 15th I was ready to push (although I stayed at 9.5 cm for FOREVER). Pushing was so much fun, honestly! I had the best time. I pushed for about 40 minutes.

Ella was born at 12:41 PM at 6 lbs 5 oz and 19 1/4" long. The moment she was placed on me Eric and I both lost it completely. I relive that moment in my head every day. Absolute best day of my life, besides the day I gave my life to Christ.

We are so grateful to God for allowing us to experience this pregnancy, birth, and parenting of this little girl. I have never realized more how our lives are not our own. This baby is not mine, she is all God's.

I'll be back soon with the story of her name!

the most bittersweet day

Today is Mother's Day.

When we hear this phrase, every woman in the world immediately conjures up some image in their mind. For most, it is of their own mother and they are probably very happy memories.

There are also those who never knew their mother.
Those whose mother is no longer here on earth.
Adoptive parents who have a dichotomy of emotions while looking at their blessings.
Parents who have been paper pregnant for too long, or those with failed placements.
Women who have desired children for years and have not been able.
Grieving mothers who have lost children in pregnancy, infancy, or beyond.
Mother's of embryos still frozen and waiting for a chance at life.
Mother's of children who have walked far from the Lord.

Today, I feel more emotional than I have in a long time. I love my mom. I have written about her before. Though our relationship hasn't always been easy, it's always been there. I know I take her for granted a lot.

I am heartbroken for my dad. This is the first Mother's Day since his mom (my Tata) passed away. She was an absolutely incredible mother. She exemplified a mother's love in more facets than we realized until she was gone.

I am also grieving with and for my precious HP sisters. This day is so painful for the ladies that are still waiting. This day screams "not for you!" but for those who are "blessed." I know, I have been there for the last four years. Today was the first day I was able to go to church on Mother's Day in three years.

I am grieving for and with all of my friends who have miscarried or still births. It is so hard to know you are a mother, even though the world doesn't really recognize you as one because your child resides in Heaven and not on earth.

Especially heavy on my heart are the women who did have a living, breathing child who was taken from them after birth. I literally cannot fathom that type of pain.

I guess my point here is yes, Mother's Day is a day to celebrate. I don't want to take anything away from moms. God has definitely given mothers a difficult and mostly thankless job, so one day out of a year to honor what our mother's have sacrificed is not a bad thing. Most people don't even think about rubbing salt in wounds on this day because many times those wounds are well hidden.

Today is bittersweet. Today by the world's standards I am a mother (though baby girl has yet to make her grand entrance). Last year I was a mother by God's standards. For years before that my greatest desire was to become a mother.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well
  My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand —
    when I awake, I am still with you.

what a year can bring

It's my birthday.

Last year on this day...

I turned 26, still nestled safely within the "mid-twenties" range.
27? that's late twenties no matter how you slice it ;)

I ate at my absolute favorite restaurant, The Village Grill. It's kind of a birthday tradition I started for myself.

I was still carrying Ellis, though not many knew. I went to the hospital on my birthday to have blood drawn. The nurse who did it cried when she saw what the day was for me. I was too numb to care. Three days later, I had the D&C and started the real grieving process.

The day before my birthday I was also at the hospital, this time to see my sweet friend Jenn's new baby girl.

The day after my birthday I celebrated my littlest nephew's first birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAYCE!!!)

Last year on my birthday I was the angriest I've ever been at God. I ashamed to say that I have been angry at the one who holds me in the palm of his hand, but I was nonetheless.

What the Lord can do in a year. The forgiveness of my sins, the cleansing of my spirit, the renewal of my faith time and time again. An unforgettable trip to Costa Rica. A peace about growing our family in whatever way he chose for us. A church that stood by us. Friends and family that loved us at our ugliest. A marriage that stood the test of loss, and came out stronger.

And of course, as I sit here typing with my gargantuan sized belly, the sweet blessing of a little girl soon to make her self known to this world.

"So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten..." - Joel 2:25

What a year can bring. Thank you, Lord.