December 31, 2008
Wait a Minute!!! Chris and I (me, Luci, Narrator :) ), we just got married three months ago! I can hardly believe that we are now starting our own little familia! Yep, that's right! We are Preggo, with child, bun in the oven, livin on the edge - ok maybe not the latter. We were trying to be conservative and have a year of blissful marraige just he and I,
Pepe la Pooch, Bear, Jake and our newest addition Myrtle... That would be our two dogs, our fish and turtle! LOL!
God had a little surprise for us this Christmas, as Chris and I both cried for joy and pure fear, but more joy when we found out we were going to have a little baby! We are over joyed!
Thus is the reason for this blog! I want our family and friends to be able to go somwhere to watch the "little Klare family" grow. And boy we just got started and it is AWESOME!!!!!
January 5, 2009
January 13, 2009
So the past week has been a fREaK OuT for me! Why? Maybe the hormones are rushing in and out, but one things for sure is " Oh Snap, I am really gonna be a mama!" It's Cool, It's Cool, I can do this! I was going through some old photos to describe what I am feeling, and I saw one that does it perfectly! LOL! Sorry Jacque and Michael, but being a first time parent kinda looks like this: "OH SNAP!"
After looking at this picture, and knowing what awesome parents they are I can definitely relate in that everything's gonna be just fine!
One thing I have been doing is trying to rearrange my everyday routine to incorporate Christ more and more in my life. This has helped me so much! In the mornings on the road I turn the radio to Sacred Heart Radio, and that helps me focus and pray in the morning. Lunch time, it's off to mass at St. Gerty's! I just love love love the community there. Plus everytime I see one of the St. Gertrude's Sisters it's like seeing Sr. Maria Fidelis (Lissa), everyday! And at night it's the same, but trying to appreciate my husband and honor him more.
So, today I offer it up to all mothers and fathers who are on this trip for the first time because it can be a crazy ride of emotions! I pray for your holiness, your faith, your hope, and your love! But most of all, I pray for SANITY! :) It's Gonna Be Great!
January 19, 2009
It's hard to imagine life without my ole' buddy and husband, Chris. It's amazing what you learn about yourself AND your spouse, when you are put into one house and have to cohabitate. I knew before we got married that we were different, but but not polar opposites! It definitely makes for life to be interesting all of the time! And as I am experiencing on a daily bases new emotions I have never felt before, I hope that he can bare with me and I him. This weekend we had a cute date and went to watch a movie with Kevin James, MAll COP. Then we went to the boat show, that was downtown at the convention center. It was pretty neat to see all of the amazing boats, but as the day wore on, so did my nerves. Hunger and tiredom are the two worst combinations for me, because i get so cranky and just want to crawl into a hole. After a quick bite to eat it was off to bed at 8:00 on a Saturday night. Wonderfully to my surprise, Chris woke me up every couple of hours to make sure that I was feeling alright, and that he loved me and to tell me he couldn't sleep, and that's why he wasn't coming to bed. I think it was the EXTRA LARGE coke at the movies. For some reason he couldn't sleep until 4:30am. But I woke up the next morning, thinking how much he let's me know he really loves me and how I adore those special moments. It teaches me to hold precious all of those special ways that he shows he cares!!
January 26, 2009
Today I heard our baby's heart beat for the very first time. It was the most amazing thing I have ever heard in all my life. The doctor took about 2 or 3 minutes probing around my belly to find the little thumper, but as soon as he spotted the baby BAM!!! It was loud and FAST! I couldn't hardly believe it! Chris and I, I think, are overwhelmed with pure joy and excitement that God gave us a little gift of hearing our babe for the first time! I know I keep tearing up at the very thought of remembering that sound. First I heard my heart beat and it was slow and soft... And like a typical KLARE out of the gates strong and fast was baby Klare's heart! Oh my what I have to look forward too! This morning was probably the most amazing day I have ever had!!! I have an ultra sound on Tuesday to confirm the date for the baby, so stay tuned for more info on the little Klare Peanut.........
February 6, 2009
This week Chris and I found some news that I was carrying conjoined twins who are sharing one heart. We are very scared about many factors that will come with our pregnancy, but one thing remains the same, that we are so in love with them! After many hours of crying and leaning on each other for support, we have found our strength in our faith. God has chosen all four of us for a very special purpose. He doesn't ask us to question His will for us, or turn it into something different, but to embrace it. These two beautiful babies are His Will for us. They are perfect in every way and most amazingly they get to share a heart. We believe that their heart will touch so many and we know that they have already touched ours, and have brought us so close to each other and to our faith. We believe that for everyday they are growing and living either in my womb, or in this world that we will love them with all of our hearts! We thank everyone for all of their prayers. This will be a journey for all of us to remember, that our first two children are so close to one another that they will always have a partner on this earth and in heaven and can be so beautiful to share their one, amazing and perfectly beautiful heart. We ask for continued prayers for our babies that they will always feel safe and loved. We also ask for prayers for Chris and I for our courage and increase of faith. We pray for all of our families and friends in thanksgiving for all of you and for your own journeys in life, to embrace them with faith. WE LOVE YOU ALL!
February 10, 2009
All of last week seemed to be a catching of breath for both Chris and I. We were surrounded by our brothers and sisters who came into town to support and celebrate the lives of these two unique children. We were so grateful to everyone for the meals sent to us, and the flowers, and the many emails of love and kind words for us and our children. It's quite a reflection on how God all these years has been building for us a strong bridge of support for us through all of you to get us through this. Thank you! With the many prayers said last week, we decided to name the babies Hope and Grace. Although we are not definite on the sex of the twins, 75% of the time they are usually girls. Now if they end up being boys we will just adjust to something like Bob Hope and Lou Grace ;) ... But as you can see we are doing really well given all of the "unknowns" to this pregnancy. There are many unknowns to deal with, which scare Chris and I the most. Whether we will have tomorrow, 6 months, or the rest of their lives to enjoy their unique love they have given us. But we are prepared and hopeful in what God gives us. Many people might find it hard to understand why this was given to us, and even find it as punishment or just not fair. Chris and I do not feel this way. We feel chosen. Our sufferings come in so many different ways and in so many different sizes. The suffering is only not knowing when they will be with us or leave us. But we have been chosen and are grateful to be given this chance to love two children of whom many mothers and fathers would have chosen to terminate their chances of life. If ... and that's a big IF. If, God gives us a miracle of life with these children then we dedicate it to Pope John Paul II. He told us "Do Not Be Afraid" and we will not. God says that only the faith of a mustard seed is needed to move mountains. For John Paul II's canonization a miracle is needed to be performed, perhaps he will help us move mountains. BE NOT AFRAID!!
We are naive to think that we will never know suffering in our life. Each and everyone of us will. It will come in many forms such as sufferings of diseases in alcoholism, drugs or cancer; abuse, loss of life, loss of a job, loneliness, or depression. There are all types of sufferings!
I once was suffering from the thought that my soul was so ruined that I was bound for Hell, and that God would never love me. My Mom told me that it was in recognizing this suffering that I should thank Him. Thank Him, because he gave me a feeling of loss and void of His love. I did thank God for recognizing this void of Him in my life and for the suffering of my sins. After that I was able to purify my heart.
February 26, 2009
Chris and I are blessed to be given a great group of Doctors at Good Samaritan Hosptal! Every week we are get to bond with the girls while watching the ultrasound monitor. We will get to see them every week by ultrasounds until they are born! yeah!
This past week at our appointment we got to see their little legs and feet kick each other and play footsie. Their tiny arms were floating around, and at times holding on to each other and giving hugs.
I am now 16 weeks at that's about the time when you can see if the babies are really boys or girls. Chris was very anxious to find out what we were having because he was afraid that if they were boys, his son's wouldn't like the name he gave them of Grace and Hope! lol!
And as we probed around, we saw that indeed we are having TWO BABY GIRLS!
I can't tell you the joy I felt watching them be with each other. It is unbelievable to see them grow so much in 1 week. We could clearly see toes and fingers, and knees and I can't wait to see little tooshies!
We were unable to see their faces clearly because they are attached from the top of the pelvic bone to the top of their breast bone. Their faces were so close together I think they were exchanging sweet kisses! I am waiting for the day that I will be able to feel them move inside of me. Until then I will just continue to rub my belly and talk to them, and Chris will continue to give them kisses through my belly and sweet blessings everynight.
We have started reading them baby books. For valentine's day I bought Chris some baby books, because he finds them easier reads for the girls, than his MANY books and magazines on plants, trees, and flowers! That's my husband! :)
If anyone has any good book ideas please let us know!
Continue to keep Hope and Grace in your prayers, we love them dearly and I know that they love all of you too!
I will keep you update on how their little heart is doing! They are close to 5 inches long now and their heart measures just over a 1 1/2 centimeters! The heart beat is at a strong 157 this week! Which is perfect!
Many blessings from the Klare family on everyone's lenten sacrifices! Remember to sacrifice for the conversion of sinners! There are is so much sin and temptation in this world, that the world needs your prayers and sacrifice! Let us pray especially for our Priests and Religious!In our Lady's hands I pray she keeps all of you and your families!
March 2, 2009
Auntie Mia was so sweet to make this poster for us! We loved it!!
A friend of ours Allison, found this Willow Tree carving for us to always remember our daughters! It took everything I had to hold back the tears! Thank you Allison!
Now we can add the girls to our little collection we started when we got married!
And finally, what you have all been waiting for... Let me introduce you to Hope and Grace!
This is a little pair of feet ... hard to tell, but they look like Chris'!
Another set of feet... Again, picking up the Klare feet!
My personal favorite... I saw this and thought "How can you say this is not life?!"
The girls are hugging in this one... If you can tell, one arm is grasping the other... LOVE!
Hands.... And Below... proof that I am having Girls... comical, but it's fun to show. It's hard to tell, but for those who can...And Finally, our girls head to head, always embracing each other!
March 5, 2009
This past weekend was super fun... Even though I am a little slow on posting the events. :) My sweet Cuz Ashlee came into town last friday to be with me. I told her that I had some plans to go meet up with a friend of mine to go play B-I-N-G-O and she hopped in the car to join me. We had so much fun dobbing the N-33's and the B-2's. But as soon as we took on 12 bingo cards... Watch out, those old ladies mean business! It was too hard to keep up, I was dreaming of bingo balls all night!!! But it was soo fun!
Jess came into town! Yeah! Chris, Uncle Ty, Auntie Jessi, Auntie Mia, Grandaddy, Good ole' Cousin/Auntie Ashlee and I went to the Home and Garden Center at the convention center... Chris has been counting down the days... but before we went, we took some pics of our progressive bellies! Well, just mine and Jessica's! :)IF you look closely, my belly is way higher than Jessica's, AND we all know that I am having Girls!! LOL! What do you think Auntie Jessi is having?!?!?!? TAKE THE POLL...
March 12, 2009
Dear Hope and Grace,
Today was a pretty tough day for Mamma. My day started out pretty normal. I ran late picking up your Auntie Mia, I listened to the same radio station "The Sonrise Morning Show" and I got to work 6 minutes late-like usual, and I thought about you both all day today at every minute. After work, I had a doctor appointment with your favorite Doctor, Dr. Coppage. She was really nice to all of us explaining how you are developing. The good news was that last week we confirmed that Grace, you had both arms and legs; and Hope you too had both arms and legs! Which we weren't sure that all four arms were there. The disheartening news is that they still believe you have a four chambered heart. Which means that usually for two growing girls, there should be 8 chambers. Typically a girl should have 1 heart and 4 chambers, but you girls must love each other so much you didn't want to separate that either. And that's ok!
So you are probably wondering why I was sad today. Well, you see... Mamma has really tried hard to be as strong as she possibly can for Pappa and for all her family and friends. But today I guess I just realized that I really wanted to be selfish and keep you here with me. I wonder everyday all about whether you look more like me, with curly hair and chubby cheeks; or if you look like Pappa with his gorgeous eyes and good and perfect nose! :) I just see my belly growing and it seems like it's one step closer to holding your precious selves and yet, it could be one step closer to having to let you go.
I am praying everyday for a miracle for you two. Sometimes I feel so selfish wanting to keep you in a sometimes ugly world instead of going to a most perfect Heaven. Because if I had to chose, I would not want you to go to heaven, just yet! I would want you to see how much I really can love you with my hugs, my kisses and my wacky ways. And I want you to see your Pappa's amazing love, his cuddles and the beautiful gardens he grows every year. It hurts our hearts to love you so much because we cannot contain the joy you have given us. But we do. We always will.
But let me tell you what comforts me girls. What comforts me is that even though I want to hold you in my arms, I hold you every day and carry you with me wherever I go. I am comforted that it's ok to cry about you possibly leaving me, because it is an expression of how I want to be with you again. I am comforted that you have each other to talk to and love. I am comforted that your pappa and I get to see you growing every week. But I am most comforted by the fact, that God has loved me and protected all these years even when I sometimes did not love Him back, and for someone to love your Mamma like that means, He will love you just the same. This love God will give you is unconditional. Your Pappa and I too will love you unconditionally.
Every day girls you and I will continue to wake up and thank the Lord for one more day. And when things get really tough, we will continue to pray, "not my will Lord, but thine be done". Please forgive my moments of weakness when I am a blubbering mess; and please always remember that everytime you hear my heart beat, it beats for you!
Pappa and I love you so much! And if you continue to give me cravings for ice cream, I promise I will fulfill them by eating it. You just let me know what kind. I will see you next week in your ultrasound, keep that heart a beatin'! Your Mamma says so.
May the Immaculate Heart of Mary continue to strengthen you.
March 19, 2009
Have you ever felt like, "Man, when it rains, it pours", and you just need some time from the rain to take in the sunshine?!!?
These past couple of weeks have just been two of those weeks! So many times in our lives we get caught up in the humdrum of life and all it's complications and don't stop to reflect what's going on until we've HAD IT! And we end up throwing our hands in the air screaming to the heavens "Whoa, Whoa, WHOA God!! What is the deal?"
So... two days ago was that breaking point for me. And it just so happened to come in the form of a car crash. That's right. I totaled my mother-in-law's buick as I rushed into work-running late as usual! I spent half of the day at the hospital, making sure Hope and Grace were ok. Thankfully, my belly has so much fluid, it was a perfect little air bag for them. I too was ok, a little sore from the seat belt or the air bags deploying around my tummy, but thankfully no one was hurt.
So while spending 4 hours in the hospital, and the rest of the day on the couch I just thought to myself, "Lord, why can't we just catch a break?? I mean it IS St. Patrick's Day and I wore green for Pat's Sake! So... no luck?"
I just broke down.
"Lord, I am so tired! Chris is so tired. We feel the stress and worry of the Girls, of work, of bills etc... and now - a totaled car??!! What is going on Lord? Please!"
Why continue the rain, when I am drenched? In fact, we are all drenched? We are all tired?
And then I realize, I need this rain! We all need the rain. What happens when a flower does not get water, when farmer's experience a drought, when we run hard but do not drink? This water/rain is the way to life. I do not like the rain because I would much rather have the sun shining on my face everyday. Of course, what I am meaning to say is, I do not like the difficulties, the change of plans, the inconveniences, the pain! I would much rather be showered with good luck, things going my way-the way I have always planned, and just things that make me happy. But we all have been there. We have all had things go our way for a time, live superficially, filling ourselves up with emptiness. And then what happens? We are thirsty. WE THIRST.
But if this is how it were-to have no pain ever- then how would we ever realize what blessings are real, what truly makes us happy, what makes us - US, what quenches this THIRST? This downpour will subside! But I need this rain to make me live again. To wash me and make me clean. I need the water to help me grow and become stronger and more beautiful me. This water will give me new life.I am but one of many flowers the God has planted. He nourishes me daily with the sun (my faith), he talks to me and tells me how beautiful I am and gives me warmth ( my husband and children ), he gives me the company of many other flowers just like me ( my family and friends ) and he gives me the rain to shower me with love, to purify my heart, to make me clean so that I may better receive the Son again and appreciate it - Jesus.
March 23, 2009
This weekend I headed off to Charlotte, North Carolina to see my sister Jacque. One month ago she gave birth to her second daughter Emilia. She has her plate full with little Lucy and Emilia, from waking early to feeding the baby, preparing a meal for Lucy, feeding the baby, playing with Lucy, feeding the baby, disciplining Lucy :) , and right back to the same cycle and it's not even NOON!!
Being with the Trailov girls really made me feel the depths of my heart. I knew it was going to be difficult to hold a new born and not think of my girls. As soon as I held both Lucy and Emilia in my arms, I felt my heart fill up with so much joy. It was more therapeutic than it was difficult! I needed my neices!
This may sound weird; but the first time I held baby Emilia, I asked her, "did you see my girls before you came? Did you know them?" And do you know what she did??? Nothing, but stare at me! :-D. But I asked her again before I left, and she just gave me a big smile! And I guess for me, it is enough to know that where Emilia came from so too my girls will come from. And I whole heartedly believe that it is from God's love.
It was an amazing weekend for me to bond with my neices, to tell them how much I love them and to reinforce how amazing their parents are! I am inspired by Michael and Jacque's love for their girls. And got a little insight that no matter who your children are - they will require lots of patience and LOTS of love. But most of all, parenting comes with it's own bag of fears and worries! Can't escape that one. Thus, I am definitely not alone in that aspect!
This weekend, Jacque and I read together many of the posts/comments that people have been writing on the blog. We also shared our stories of people who are being true prayer warriors for the girls. For instance, some of the close friends she has who are sick throughout their pregnancies and offering up their sufferings for Hope and Grace. Stories like that just make me realize how tremendous God is working in people's hearts for my daughters. But most of all I think what completely humbled me this weekend, is everyone's immense faith and THEIR trust in God to be consistant in their love and prayers for us. It's just breathtaking really.
At Sunday Mass, I was taken by God's sign to me of all these prayers everyone is storming heaven with. Father said, "We offer this mass up for the Klare Family". When I heard him say that, my sister and I immediately wondered if that meant for Hope, Grace, Chris and I. We aren't for sure if it was for us. But it was a sign to me, that so many are remembering us in their prayers at bringing our intentions to their churches, to their families and in the silence of their own hearts when they pray alone.
And so, I take this gift or sign from God and I wrap it in my heart with pretty bows and I will share them with my girls and with my husband. I will allow them to unwrap this gift from God and take from it what they will. I have taken from it that, I do not know many and some of you, and yet you reach out to hold us close. I have taken encouragement from all your words to persevere and to get up when I have fallen and am tired. I have learned, that I have a whole family in Christ that cheers the girls to their finish line. And if we are weak, I know with you, we will be strong.
Thank you does not seem enough for your prayers. But please know that I do ask God for anyone who has prayed for us, to mend and console whatever you may also be bearing in your hearts.
So that is what I took away from Charlotte. Pretty heavy stuff. But a good heavy!
I am immensely grateful that I have my sisters! I have all of my sisters in Christ. I have Gina, Sister Maria Fidelis, Jacque, Jessica and Mia as my sisters for life, just like Emilia has Lucy and Hope has Grace! Sisters are truly your toughest warriors for the heart!
March 28, 2009
I received a call at work from Good Samaritan hospital asking us to come in yesterday and speak with one of our Doctor's, Dr. Coppage. I was very nervous because it was a random call in. However, per the receptionist, if it were serious then a doctor would have called us in and not her. So Chris and I so anxious to see what our doctor had to go over with us, hopped in our truck and headed over. When we got there, of course everyone was more than friendly. I did my standard routine of weighing in, taking my blood pressure (perfect), and filling up the cup. After that Doctor Coppage came in to see us. We went over some blood tests that I still need to have done and some other minor issues, but then came this statement, "I think it is time to start making plans." She told us that, "the girls are doing much better than she had anticipated and that we should all start preparing ourselves for if they are born and what their real chances are!" MUSIC TO MY EARS! Finally, we have a real ray of hope! She also said that we have come so far since 12 weeks when we first met her. It has been 2 months and the girls are still going so strong. She said we still have a long road of ahead of us but, we are at the point to determine what our girls' real chances are and to begin meeting with the top pediatric surgeons and Children's hospital and be ready for whatever these girls have to give us! And so here is the plan: next thursday, April 2nd, I will be going in for a complete ultrasound. This usually takes about an hour and all it is, is measurements of everything about the babies. From their heads to their tiny toes! mm... I love to see their toes! After that we will me the Associate Director of Children's Hospital, to go over some basic things we already know, but to basically meet him. On April 9th, we make our big visit to the Doctors. The girls and I will head back to the MRI and do a fetal echocardiogram (sp?)-which is done by a cardiologist to tell us all about what the condition of their heart is. After those two are reviewed by our doctor's at Good Sam and the Surgeons at Children's hospital we will have a meeting to go over our findings. When we first did the MRI with the girls at 12 weeks, they were the size of a little lime and they weren't as developed as they are now. Now that they have grown tremendously the team of doctors can better understand all about them. April 9th, will be a big day for us. We will be getting either good news or bad news. But either way, a plan of action will take place to protect their lives the best we can. To Chris and I all of this is great news! We of course realize there is a very long road ahead of us. But today God has answered many of our prayers and the cries of our hearts. Please keep praying these next two weeks for our doctors and for our families, and of course for the girls. So that we may better face the road ahead.
April 3, 2009
With all my heart I love my children. I love Grace, because I believe she is meek and honest. I already know that she is blissful and yet intense in thought. I love Hope, because she is impulsive. I know that she is very strong but needs tender moments daily from her mamma, pappa and sister. I know them in my heart. My heart has been filled with their love and with the love they have brought to me from heaven. They are now about 1lb each. From the ultrasound we can tell they have big feet, beautiful big eyes, round cheeks and little button noses. We can see their little round tooshes that meet their chubby thighs and their ever moving legs. They move and play all day long, especially after the yummy treats I give them after dinner. They are full of life! And share this with Chris and I everyday. We love them deeper and even more profound with every new thing we learn about them. And yet with all my heart I feel deep sorrow, terribly deep sorrow, that I never new could exist in me. It is not despair, nor anxiety. It is not hinted with anger or jealousy. But the sorrow comes from my heart loving my children to the point of never wanting to let them go. Yesterday my mom asked me, " Luci, is it not enough that I am praying that you may just hold your children?" And I blurted "NO! It isn't enough! It isn't enough that I can only have them for an hour, a day, or two days if they are born. I want them forever with me!" My heart exploded with love. It overflowed with this love of my children.
"Lord, why must you possibly take them from me? Why must the odds be so against us? Why must this be a looming pain in our hearts for us? I do love them! I love them with my whole heart! I would never be able to let them go. Can you hear my cries, Lord? Can you see my whole heart and how it aches to be with my children? I love you too, Lord! I try so desperately hard to be faithful to my prayers and to consoling your heart. I know that your heart aches too Lord. I believe that this pain I have is small compared to all you have suffered. And I know I could have chosent the easier path to all of this. I could have chosen to not continue the pregnancy. I could have chosen to not want to accept our children. But I have listened to your call and they have changed my heart! I am not who I was. I am not who I will ever be again because of them! Increase my faith. I am grateful Lord, though it hurts. Because in this I have found my heart to beat harder and stronger for valuing the lives all I meet. Thank you Lord, because this suffering has been beautiful. I have seen those around me who know my girls girls' fight for life and it is changing their hearts for you too. I thank you dear Jesus, because I have found a new love deeper than I have ever known with my husband. We are more in love than when we first met or when received the sacrament of marraige. We are more united as ONE faithful force for our girls and our marraige than I had ever imagined we could be. I am thankful Lord that we have been chosen to carry this load. Because, even though the way of the cross hurt, it was the only way to our salvation. You taught me this. I pray that I can embrace this cross with you. I know you hold it with me and help me carry it, I am not alone.
'Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow me, I will bring you home. I love you and you are Mine.' I sing this to the girls everyday, to remind them Lord, that you are carrying this cross with us, and showing us the way home! Our souls find peace in this hope."And so in the end of a prayer, where I begin so tired and helpless, He lifts me up to continue this walk with Him. He gives me the joy of looking outside of my own heavy heart to know there is a hope that has not been lost or stolen. There is still a love and mission that Grace and Hope are giving us all.
"Thank you Grace and Hope for your act of selflessness in sharing your amazing heart. Thank you for being an example of beauty in your immense strength for life. I love you and you are mine!"
April 15, 2009
April 15, 2009
Please forgive me for taking so long to update this journal for Grace and Hope and all our dear family and friends. Last week being Holy week, celebrating Easter with the Dominican Sisters and my family in Nashville, and then spending these past few days in the hands of our doctors and prayer have really kept me away from sharing with you the past few steps of our journey.
Holy Week was amazing. I must admit that it wasn't as prayerful and contemplative as I would have had it, but work and the humdrum of everyday still calls, even in the holiest of days. But it was a beautiful time for me to reflect on this walk that Chris and I are taking with Jesus. Our own little calvary where we can carry this cross with Him. This suffering, this cross is beautiful. Yes, beautiful! It is beautiful because Jesus has give the answer to our salvation. In suffering and dying on the cross Jesus gave us our Salvation. And in turn we follow this example where we must pick up our cross daily and lay our life down for Him so we may enter heaven.
Easter Sunday! I must say this was the best Easter I have ever had. Chris and I travelled to Nashville where we met my parents and younger siblings, the trailov family (my sister Jacque's family), and my very amazing sister, Sr. Maria Fidelis o.p. There we celebrated Easter Sunday mass with our family, and our extended family of 250 Dominican Sisters. It was amazing to attend Easter Sunday Mass in what felt like a little piece of heaven on earth. All the sisters sang beautifully and commemorated this day in our faith with such gratitude and joy. Authentic Joy.
Easter Sunday! I must say this was the best Easter I have ever had. Chris and I travelled to Nashville where we met my parents and younger siblings, the trailov family (my sister Jacque's family), and my very amazing sister, Sr. Maria Fidelis o.p. There we celebrated Easter Sunday mass with our family, and our extended family of 250 Dominican Sisters. It was amazing to attend Easter Sunday Mass in what felt like a little piece of heaven on earth. All the sisters sang beautifully and commemorated this day in our faith with such gratitude and joy. Authentic Joy.
We spent the day at the convent walking the beautiful grounds, partaking in the luxury of chocolates and cookies and sweet bunny marshmallows that we all indulge in every Easter. And then worked a good sweat on the tennis courts, while some of the sisters played in a friendly game of Football Frisbee! Even if I wasn't pregnant, I wouldn't attempt to get in a game with them, they are all-stars!
But in a few moments of down time between the Easter Egg hunts, the football and tennis games, I was able to spend time with some of the sisters. Sr. Maria Fidelis introduced me to come of the Sisters who have been praying for my sweet Grace and Hope. I was able to share with them the good news of them growing and kicking wildly. To thank each of them for their prayers and for their vocation to prayer. I was so honored that through my sister's vocation to the religious life I would gain 2oo + other sisters who are devoted to prayer for all of us who need it in this God-less world. It was a bear hug from God himself to have all the Dominican Sisters cheer Chris and I in support for doing God's will and providing a way into life for our daughters.
I have a few pictures of this weekend to share of our trip to Easter with the Sisters!
Chris and I & Chris and our neice, Lucy
Jacque and I Mom, Sister Maria Fidelis, Lucy and myself
Doctor's Visit News:
Monday morning we headed off to Children's Hospital with the intention to find out as much as we could about Hope and Grace's condition and to get somewhat of a plan together. So where do I really start?
The Fetal ECG and MRI went as expected. The girls were whirling and twirling, kicking and playing just enough to make all of our appointments go at least an hour over schedule each appointment. Those are my girls! Thankfully our doctors had patience, because little Hope and Grace did not want to sit still. It could have been the syrup I had on my waffles that "kicked" it off. :)
The day consisted primarily of nerves and prayer during each new microscope we were under. Chris, faithful to his fatherly and spousal duties stayed calm yet eager to be at mine and the girls side through it all. Our great protector! Our parents were in attendance at the team meeting with about 15 doctors and basically this is what we discovered:
Hope and Grace are strong. They are both independantly thinking, they have a great spirit inside their Mamma's womb and full of life! Their heart, is a four chambered heart. This means, it is in perfect construction to be in one baby's body, but would very much struggle to beat for both. The cardiologist informed us that there is a pretty significant hole in the heart that would have to be fixed with in the first six months of life, it wasn't a huge threat to their survival seeing as the hole could be repaired. They are sharing their liver and what appears to possibly be a set of lungs. Still not sure on that yet. The heart and functional lungs are seemingly to be mostly in Hope's body, leaving Grace to rely mostly on her sister for life in and outside the womb. What is still to be determined is Grace's actual functionability outside of the womb and cut from the umbilical cord.
From this point on I can only speak from what myself, Chris and our parents are understanding from this meeting, but we still have another round of tests and confirmed beliefs with the doctors next month. From what we understand, Hope has a very real chance of life. We understood that because she is holding the heart in her chest and it is that of a normal heart of a single baby that she would be given the best chance of separation and life. For my sweet Grace, life is totally dependant on the heart her sister is sharing with her and the umbilical cord nourishing her with life. It seems right now to be uncertain of her chances at life when she is born. As far as we can see she does not have the appropriate vessels leading from the heart to her body or to her lungs, if she has a set - we are not sure.
This is a long road still ahead of us, that we must fight the looming fear of stillbirth or early labor. But we still maintain certain trust in God that He will prepare us for whatever we will face. There are so many probabilities we are still facing, and all the FACTS are still unclear as to what will happen. But today it is clear that my girls are showing us all the example of selfless love. The love they share between them is beyond that of emotional attachement, but that of complete physical reliance and spiritual purpose. They have offered their bodies to serve each other and to give example of true love. As Jesus told us, "there is no greater love, than to lay one's life down for the other." They are doing this everyday, sharing their bodies with one another so provide life for their sister.
Soon, the girls and I will be on bed rest to give them enough time they need to grow and develop to be given a chance at life on earth. I know that while I am nervous about what exactly that is going to mean for the next three months, it will give me a greater chance to spend time with my girls. I feel as though I know them so well already. But I look forward to deeper prayer to God for them, to singing and talking and feeling their movements with them. I look forward to each day that I get to show them I love them. It will be our very special time to be with each other and be a family.I wish I had more answers. But God does not reveal his plans in all of one sitting. We take it one day at a time and moment by moment. Please continue to pray...
April 28, 2009
April has been beautiful. Full of great News! My sister Jessica found out she is having a baby girl! As we all wait impatiently for the name of her new babe, I have dreams of what I am calling her. For some reason, my dream last night, I was calling her VIOLET! I saw her this past weekend and I was over-joyed to see how she is growing and glowing! :)
Chris and I also got to celebrate a little Husband and Wife time and took a trip down to Nashville to see the Grand Ole Opry. There we saw Vince Gill, Martina Mcbride, Little Jimmy Dickens and number other stars in country music that just blew us away with their talent!
We also spent some time with my Aunt Mary Lou, Uncle Eddie and their new little addition to their pack of 11, Magdalena. Magdalena has been in ICU at Children's Hospital in Cincinnati. This past Saturday she had Cardiothoracic Surgery to correct the hole in her heart. Thankfully, the surgery is over and they are working through her recovery. She seems to be doing well, but i can't wait to go back and be with her and hold her little hand. My Aunt and Uncle are so strong and are truly saints! It's amazing the example of fortitude they are sharing with Chris and I! GO MAGDALENA!
On Sunday, Chris and I and the WHOLE brood of the Gray Family headed to Springfield, Kentucky to celebrate our nephew Noah's first Holy Communion! It was a great reminder of how God is so Good to ask us to receive Him when we are so young. Afterwards we had a picnic where we ate, played Softball, talked and opened gifts!
And finally, a great blessing for our family happened yesterday! My cousin Anna, who for so long has been known as my twin, had her first baby. She gave birth to a baby boy who weighed in at 8 lbs 11oz. His name is Gabriel, after his dad and I am sure will be just as fun as him too! What a gift God has given them today!
Now let's see what May has to bring!
May 6, 2009
This past Friday was my last day of being in the office at work. And as I said "goodbye" to all of my peers I thought, "What will come next?"
A silly question to ask, but one that made this pregnancy very real. I realized that in just a few short months God will be revealing his plan for Chris and I. I am not scared or frightened, but I am simply in the unknown of what will happen.
Now that I have these 3 months of complete reflection and preparation for my children, I don't even know what to do! I think of preparing them a room. But will I have two babies or one baby or any babies to bring home? I think about buying clothes. What clothes could I get for them? I think of bottles, pampers, car seats and cribs everyday and wonder if I jump the gun will I get my hopes up a little to high?
And then I reflect on Our Blessed Mother Mary, who showed us the true example of how to bring a child into this world. She has given me my answers. She carried Jesus in her womb day in and day out, frightened for His life from the very beginning. She was obedient to God the Father in giving her whole self to protecting this life. She was wife to Joseph, and obedient to his protection. She did not have an abundancy of clothes, toys or a crib. Instead, when the time came, she wrapped Jesus in a swaddling clothe, and used a manger for a crib. What a humble birth that the Holy Family has taught all of us.
God did not tell Mary the day of Jesus' birth or what to have prepared. He simply asked her for her "yes" to do it. I try so very hard to daily give my "yes" to God and to my husband. I give my "yes" to my girls, that no matter the outcome we will be a family, because God has asked us to. And I am neither holy or as truly perfect as Our Blessed Mother was, I wouldn't even try to compare. But I can follow her example that she gave. I can try to love God with all my heart and be completely unconditional with my love for Him in accepting the unknown fate of my children, just as Mary did.
Material things are not what make a family anyway! It is the love between them and how they show it. I chose to love my girls with kisses, hugs and I am sure lots of tears when they are born. Chris will chose to love them as he has this whole time of being pregnant, with pride and joy and with his fatherly protection. We will follow the example of Mary and Joseph and the infant Jesus to be simple, to be faithful and to be trusting in God's Will for us in our lives. We will prepare our hearts and our souls first before we prepare a room.
This family God has blessed me with, is strong. We are united by these two girls who fight for their life every day. And to think it's an amazing feat to see how far the girls have come! As they wiggle and kick each day inside of me I know it is God's love poking me. With every heart beat that beats each day, it is the prayers of all our friends and family that are making that happen. If the odds had their way, the girls would not be here with us today. But they are and they are strong!
And so, I have 12 more weeks to go. And we pray like true warriors for these two souls sharing a heart. I give Grace my "yes". I give Hope my "yes". I give my husband, Chris my "yes". And most importantly I give God the Father my "yes". In this I completely accept my vocation as a wife and mother as God has asked.
May 8, 2009
I woke up this morning and flipping through the news channels I stumbled on CMT music videos, and I was captivated by this video. I thought it was beautiful! And by the end of it, I was on my couch alone, crying uncontrollably. I guess, just thinking of all the wonderful moments I have had with my mom and my dad made me just think, I can't wait to share that with my girls. And then at the end of the video, there was the "I love you Mom" that came up. I couldn't help but think, every second of every day I spend with my girls that I get to share special moments with them too. And maybe this was their little way of saying, "I had the best day with you today." I love being their Mamma. ok... i am crying again. :)
At this time,I quit writing until the girls were born. I was on bedrest and very tired. The pain of the pregnancy was excruciating as I was swelling endlesly from preeclampsia. June 2, 2009 we received the news that there was no chance to save the girls if they were born alive. At this time, it was now just waiting. Chris and I spent the next few weeks preparing to see our children...
June 23, 2009
These are the tiny, loving hands of Hope Gerard and Grace Cecilia. According to Daddy Klare they came out hugging! Tuesday, July 23, around noon, Luci and Chris went in for their weekly appointment. The babies heart rates were low and Luci felt her first contractions. It was time. Luci started the phone tree and several hours later she and Chris were surrounded by family. She was both excited and scared. Chris was a pillar of strength for her. At about 5:00 p.m. the nurses began shooing us out of the room. We covered the halls, two waiting rooms and the chapel! Like I said, she was surrounded. They had prayers coming from family near and far, from Dominican Sisters all over, and from all of you who read this blog, some of which don't even know her. God's grace truly supported these two suffering parents. Their courage and peace were amazing. At 6:01 p.m., Hope and Grace entered the world. Luci's incision was much smaller than anticipated and she will heal nicely. The doctors handed the baby girls to their dad and he baptized them. Opening their eyes, they got a good glimpse of their father. Then one of them looked over at her mom and gave her a big wink. Luci and Chris focusd intensly on their baby girls. They watched every breath and savored each second. Then the little girls peacefully, so very peacefully, left for their trip to paradise. Hand in hand, they went eagerly to see the King who created them so specially. For He knit them in their mother's womb; so wonderfully He made them. Psalm 139:13-14 It was time to share Hope and Grace with the family. Everyone rotated into the hospital room a little at a time. Most of us held the little treasures and marvelled at their tiny hands and long feet. They weighed 6 Lbs 8 oz. and had a full head of hair. Everyone just kept saying, "They are so beautiful". In the meantime, Luci and Chris just gazed upon their girls with love. Chris would help hand the babies to anyone who wanted to hold them. He situated their precious heads with such tenderness. Luci kept saying, "I am just bursting with joy, I can't explain it. I just love them so much." When Luci held them upon her breast, the girls single heart lying over hers, she would lean down and kiss one and then the other. And she always gave them equal kisses. Once she leaned over and gave three kisses to Hope then three to Grace. Seconds later, she gave five kisses to Grace and then five to Hope. Her goal was a million kisses. I think she probably did it! The greater the love, the greater the pain. Finally, it was time to let their babies girls go. And they wept; from the depths of their souls came a sorrow that only a parent who has lost a child could know. Their deep moans of loss pierced Heaven and was heard by Our Lady of Sorrows, who knows their pain. She will not fail to comfort them. The beauty of the lives of Hope and Grace is that we have all grown from this experience; grown in love, courage, faith, Hope and Grace. Many have been touched by this story, and by the exemplary love of Luci and Chris. May we always remember the beauty of life, even if it is only for 46 minutes. So let us stop and pray for Luci and Chris. Heavenly Father, you give and you take away, blessed be your Holy Name. We ask you to strengthen Luci and Chris in this time of sorrow. We thank you for giving Luci and Chris some precious moments with Hope and Grace. May those precious babies praise you forever in Heaven and obtain grace for us, here below. We ask this through, Jesus Christ, in whose name Hope and Grace were baptised. Amen. Prayerfully submitted by Sister Maria Fidelis
First off I want to thank Luci and Chris for asking me to share my experience on their blog. I was very flattered to think my words meant so much to them, when in reality everything THEY have said the past 8 mths has touched ME more deeply than words could ever express. I feel I can’t articulate nor do justice the feelings I am trying to process. I remember mths ago when the Klares started this journey. The first phone call from Luci, I will never forget. My heart sunk that day and it wasn’t until I saw those beautiful girls on Tuesday I was able to feel the weight lifted off my chest. Luci updated me sometimes weekly, while other times were harder and she couldn’t bring herself to talk about it. It has been such a rollercoaster of emotions for me, and like I’ve repeatedly said to Luci, I have no idea how you are waking up so happy each day, you are truly amazing. To be so faithful and so trusting that even in times of deep sorrow, they still felt it was such a blessing. Though I believed it was a blessing all along, I wasn’t still wasn’t able to understand it. Luci and Chris asked me months ago if I could be there with them on the day the babies came and capture every second I could with my camera. I knew this was going to be the hardest experience I would probably ever face, but I agreed to it because Luci means so much to me and if this was something God wanted to happen, then it needed to happen. I’ve always been taught people come in and out of your life and each person will have a purpose. Six years ago when I met Luci, I could have never imagined experiencing this with her. I truly believe this was my purpose for Luci, and Luci for me. When Linda, Chris’ mom, called me Tuesday to tell me it was time, I was unprepared. Though I thought about this moment everyday for months, I became extremely overwhelmed. I began to sob. I knew it was time for Luci to give up what she has loved SO DEEPLY for 8 mths. I was unsure exactly what to expect in terms of appearance and most importantly if I would even get to see them before they became angels. Once I arrived at the hospital I was able to share a moment with Luci and Chris before and tell them I couldn’t wait to meet the girls. We anxiously awaited their arrival in the chapel. I prayed that God do whatever will bring the most peace in the Klares hearts. I prayed that Hope and Grace would have no pain and that Mary would be waiting for their arrival to take them home herself. And of coarse I prayed for the strength to pull it together and be strong for them. At about 6:30pm the nurse came in and told us everyone is ok and well, and they were ready for me. Instantly BAM, the floodgates opened. I took a step back, took a deep breath and their family said “just remember, you are photographing angels, and how much more of an honor is that? You can do this.” As I walked into the room they were just arriving as well. Immediately upon entering, I felt this warmth, this joy, this peace… Heaven was literally in that room. It was if my tears were wiped away and all I could feel was happiness. I saw Chris holding his girls with the biggest grin on his face presenting them to his beautiful wife. He sat on the edge of her bed and they just gazed at their princesses. I instantly started shooting everything I could. I knew they’d be beautiful, but I never imagined them to be this perfect. As Dr. Coppage explained each of their characteristics, Luci and Chris seemed so proud. Once Luci was able to hold them she gave them their first few kisses of the million she promised them to follow. Soon the happy parents gave the twins their first bath. It was then I got to see how tightly they embraced each other and how naturally their heads fell into a kissing position. I was in awe of this miracle. I then understood how Luci and Chris accepted this cross to bear 8 mths ago. These pure and innocent girls, this miracle in front of me…these angels…they were perfect in every way. They bathed them as if they were parents of 10 other children. Chris was exceptionally great and adorable as he gently moved them to clean every crevice. Each time they picked up a part of them I quickly snapped my shutter. I did not want to set up any shots for I felt their natural movements with the babies were just right. Soon they were ready to show off the girls to the family. All the grandparents came in and with great joy held the babies and kissed them all over. Fr. Came in and held an amazing service, though we already knew Hope and Grace were sitting on God’s lap in heaven. Next all the aunts and uncles arrived in small groups. Looking at each person as they held the girls tight brought such warmth to my heart. Even as they teared up, Luci stayed so strong. She’d call them over and hug them and tell them how happy she was and they should be. She said it best when she said, “I’m not sure what it feels like for Heaven to pour down on me, but this must be it. I am just so happy.” It was true. God gave us these girls to teach us the beauty of life. To remind us how blessed we are even in times when it feels quite the opposite. As the hours passed and it was getting late the nurse and I quickly grabbed some inked footprints and handprints. Even though I took hundreds of photos, you can’t quite grasp the fragility and teeniness of them like you can’t with a print. When we were done, I picked up the girls for the first time and kissed them myself. I thanked them for allowing me to be a part of their short life. I thanked them for the peace they brought to my heart…for teaching me the importance of life, for it can be so fragile and short. And most importantly for reminding me that everyone I love so dearly, are not mine, they are God’s children and I must surrender them. As I handed them back to Luci she told them for the hundreth time how pretty they were. Chris stood by all three of his girl’s sides and wept. I knew at this moment, this was the beginning of the unknown for them. Their faith and families got them through this journey and it will continue to get them through the rest of their lives together. Even tonight when I shared the photos with them, they still seemed so happy. This is just so remarkable to me. Everyone I have shared this story with says, “I don’t know how they did it, because I know I couldn’t.” I hope these images continue to give you peace for years to come. And as your family grows (big!!), each child will get to see their big sisters and be as proud as we were this week. You have no idea how much it meant to be to be part of this amazing journey. I thank you for inviting me into the most intimate part of your lives thus far. I am deeply comforted in knowing that my baby inside me now has 6mths to make best friends with your girls in heaven!! How cool is that? I know they are and always will be looking down on us. I will never forget the feeling on heaven upon us. I love you guys and I am here to share with you every high and every low. Love melanie.
My Dearest Daughters, I miss you. I love you. It's hard to believe that it was more than two weeks ago that I received the news that you were to be born to me that Tuesday evening. I was so scared. I was so unprepared to finally meet you. I truly was not ready to part from the joy you brought while I carried you. I shook with such anquish knowing that once you left the comfort of my belly, that you would shortly leave me forever here on earth. But it was time. When the Doctors told your Pappa and I that your heart rate was low that it was time your Pappa gave me so much strength in his quiet confidence, that we could do this together. I must have said a million "Hail Mary's" before being wheeled away to the operating room. Our Lady was with us and she was faithful. You came to us at 6:01 pm, and you both took your first breaths of life. When I saw them carry you both over to the warming table and your Pappa by your side to baptise you, it was the proudest moment of my life. I couldn't beleive that you were mine and that God had given me such a beautiful family. It is an image I will never forget - Your Pappa in his blue scrubs baptizing your foreheads with holy water, and though I could not see your face Hope, I know your eyes were open looking at your father. And Grace your eyes open looking at me for the first time. To see your eyes so big and beautiful staring back at me let me know that the ultimate gift had been given to your Pappa and I - the gift of life. When your Pappa brought you over to my arms I was so impatient to get every glimpse of you I could. We sat together for the first time as a family. How big all our hearts grew in that moment. And then I kissed you for the first time. My lips have never felt something so soft, so pure or so holy. What I had been waiting to do every moment of everyday since I knew you were coming to me. In your Pappa's arms and my hand carressing your faces I was in love. I fell in love with your curly hair, your smooshed noses, your long fingers and long feet and so in love with your beautiful bodies that were connected together in a hug so tight, that even God did not choose to separate. I was so proud to show you to our families that gathered in prayer and love to welcome you into this world. We were all there, expecting you to come to us and to fill our hearts, and you did. How I miss your sweet lives in my arms. It is a feeling I will never forget for the rest of my life. When I go to bed, I can still feel you on my chest, pressing our hearts against each other, as we did in the hospital bed for hours and hours. And I hold my heart so tightly as though I am holding you again. And though your sweet heart finished beating, the hearts of your Pappa and I are still here. We are so blessed to have been sustained through all the prayers that were offered up for us in the months previous and in those very moments of your birth. We were not overwhelmed with grief or pain, but yet only saw such beauty and comfort in knowing you were here and with us. I couldn't stop the AWE that overwhelmed me in that you were right there in my arms snuggling with me. It was truly what I had asked the Lord, and he did give to me. And as I watched your Pappa bathe you and dress you, and look at you in such pride and love I think I fell in love with you three all over again. And today, my sweet Grace and Hope, I have to continue without seeing your faces or watching your Pappa hold you, until we are called to be with you in Heaven. And this hurts my heart the most. I know you must hate it when I cry everyday and have this longing pain to be with you, but it is because I love you. It is good this pain and suffering I feel for you daily, for I hope that it only makes me stronger to be a saint like you have taught me; that way, I may go to Heaven right away and sweep you back into my arms again where I desperately need you to be. Please pray for me, girls that I will be strong, that I will be patient and most of all that I will be completely surrendered to God's Will. We have had such a tremendous journey together. Haven't we? You have been with me at each second, of each moment of each day for the past 8 months and now you are with Jesus. Thank you my darlings for bringing me the greatest joy my heart has ever known. Thank you my sweet dumplings for making me so proud of who you have become to so many people who have heard your story of LIFE. Thank you my children, for being an example of love in sacrifice that you made with your bodies, your heart and your souls. Thank you Hope and Grace filling my heart with your love. I will always cherrish and appreciate that God gave you to us. He gave your Pappa and I life with you in our arms; something that was supposed to have never even have happened. I am so unworthy of such a gift. You brought to me Heaven in a little room, in this big world. You showed me that all this time your Pappa and I were right about you, in that you are fighters for Life and for Faith! We were right in that, even though God has asked so much of our little family, that much was also given to us. Only something that our four SOULS will truly ever know how beautiful it all really was and is. God has called you girls each by name. We love you and will be with you again.