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Baby Number 4: Heaven will be sweeter than before.

On September 15th, 2018 we found out that we were expecting baby number four! We were so thrilled and told the kids a few days later after getting some solid lines on those little sticks. Brinley then told some gym childcare workers so we figured we better tell our family members since those sweet ladies at the gym know ha!

I told Travis by letting him (slowly) recognize this change in our decor…

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My pregnancy was pretty similar to my previous ones. Typical exhaustion, nausea, food cravings, tightening pants, etc. We had no reason to assume anything was awry. We even took a selfie in our doctor’s office excitedly awaiting our first appointment to hear that beautiful heartbeat! Now that all feels naive but I guess we were very blessed in our naivety.

We found out on November 7th at our 11 week appointment that our baby did not have a heartbeat. Her heart stopped beating at 9 weeks. Shock. Both Travis and I kept making comments in those first minutes about just how incredibly thankful we were that we had not heard those words before…”there’s no heartbeat”.  Our Doctor is such an amazing man, so kind and gentle. His voice is reassuring to me. 1 in 5, he said. I told him, “Wow, I’m so sorry you have to give this news so much.” 1 in 5.

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Grief is something that I have not had much experience with in my short 30 years of life. I deleted the video of Travis finding out at some point over the three weeks of carrying that angel baby, waiting for her to say goodbye. That’s what I’m thinking denial is. I wanted you so badly but I can’t have you so I’ll pretend I can just delete you. The stages of grief: shock/denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. But they are mixed up and screwed up and come and go.

We had dentist appointments for the kids about an hour after finding out. We walked in, sunglasses staying on the whole time, and gritted our teeth through what felt like a hellish hour. How does life just go on? To make matters worse, the lady at the counter asked me if we were going to have more babies. I cried and told her we just found out that we lost a baby. She was well-intentioned and sweet but I never want to ask anyone that question ever again!

Brinley was very upset when we told her but she followed up her tears and hugs with “It’s okay mommy, you still have three babies.”. That is something I have clung to so hard. I have clung hard to the amazing truth that we have had three healthy pregnancies, deliveries, newborns. It doesn’t take away from the grief but it surely brings joy. My heart aches for women going through this tragedy without a child to kiss.

Brody was so calm, so sweet. Travis asked Brody if he had any questions because he was pretty reserved and quiet. Brody said no but as we walked out of the bedroom he chimed in with, “Actually yeah, Dad. Why does this happen?”. Oh, my sweet boy. Travis explained to him that we do not know why these things happen but what we do know is that God is good and we can trust Him.

The anger part is also something new to me, at least, this type of anger. The evening we found out, we put the kids to bed and I went to take a shower.  After my shower I went to our closet and that’s where I saw it. I bought a hospital gown for labor and a beautiful robe to wear after giving birth to this baby. I hadn’t ever bought a special hospital outfit but I wanted this special item. I fell to the floor and wept hard. Why did this happen? In that moment, it all didn’t feel fair. I know myself enough to know that I can accept these feelings and be okay expressing them. No one can tell me that I can’t feel these feelings. I can now look at these items and smile, prayerful that I might one day wear them.

The day after we found out about our baby, the Camp fire hit our neighboring town of Paradise in what came to be the most destructive fire in California’s history. The following weeks were filled with chaos. We left town for a few days but returned to the worst air quality in the world. The destruction of this fire, what it had done to the lives of so many friends of ours, put a sort of halt to our own personal tragedy. I was okay with that. I didn’t realize that I used that as a distraction, something else to talk about and focus on while I waited for my body to realize that something wasn’t right and it had a job to do.

Three weeks passed and with many, many friends and family praying with us, I was finally able to say goodbye. Through each contraction, I was praying “I know You’re with me, I can do this.”. My doctor had warned me that it was going to be labor. Yes, it definitely was. Although my Doctor had told me this, I was surprised with how intense this labor was. Especially being that this little baby was so small. With too much blood loss for our comfort, we headed to the hospital to get a blood count and get checked on. That quickly escalated when they couldn’t get my blood pressure reading and I passed out in the triage room. I came to with a big surgery light above my head and Travis rubbing my shoulders saying “You’re ok, babe. You’re ok, babe.”

I can laugh about it now and it actually brings a smile to my face. It is so dramatic! Really, Danielle? You passed out in the triage room?? Travis said to me “Hey, babe. Good job getting us back there so quickly. They rushed you to the trauma room way ahead of the other patients!” The reality is that it was just too much on my body–the stress, blood loss, etc. The nurse pointed out the amount of blood on my bed and the Doctor came in and was able to remove everything without surgery. I felt an immediate relief, both physically and emotionally. I hadn’t realized how much this miscarriage was affecting me. I hadn’t been myself for weeks. My mind was somewhere else, my body belonged to this little baby still.

In those moments after I delivered the baby, I started to see all of the ways that God had His hand on that day. We had friends take our kids for the whole day so the kids were not with us. We got to the hospital 5 minutes before I passed out, after kind of being stubborn at home for an hour or so. That was His prompting, without a doubt. I had texted a few friends while still at home that I was concerned with my bleeding. Those friends are prayer warriors. They’re also the friends who came to our home while we were in the hospital and cleaned up blood, cleaned sheets, did laundry, scrubbed toilets, dropped off dinner, flowers, cards and chocolate. The blessing of our community is not normal. I am so thankful, humbled, and undeserving.

I want to remember this baby’s story just like I write my other baby’s stories. I’ll celebrate this baby’s due date on May 27th every year just like my other babies. I never thought I’d be researching bible truth on babies in heaven, but that is where I am now. And I know, without a doubt, that Heaven will be much sweeter than before.

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Beckham James:: One Year Old

How do I come up with the words when I simply want to pour my heart out? I don’t know how to express the complete love and adoration that I have for Beckham. This boy has completely undone his daddy and me. We are head over heels for him. How can this happen again? God is so, so good.

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I’m wondering if this love we have for our baby boy feels like the most redemptive of love because Beckham was our toughest baby and our marriage struggled the most with his arrival. That would make sense, right? God has used Beckham’s precious life to grow our family in some beautiful ways.

I remember thinking when Beckham was born that he would just adapt to our life and we’d all easily welcome this sweet baby into our home. While those things did happen, they didn’t happen as smoothly as I had hoped for. We realized at about two months old that he preferred to sleep on his tummy. This was a HUGE discovery for us–I literally had not put him down for two months as he would scream the moment I put him on his back in a swing, on the couch, in his crib, etc. Isn’t it amazing how quickly we forget these trying times? Thank God for that!

Three months old brought lots of great times of watching our boy be happy! Beckham had the BEST gummy smile. Every smile that he made, we would comment how we just wish it’d stay like that forever.

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Six months old brought the head of fuzz! He had a solid head of strawberry blonde hair just like his big brother did at that age. Six months did not bring sleeping through the night… but that didn’t happen for Beckham until he was done breastfeeding around 1 year old. I remember loving his snuggles even in the middle of the night. And anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE sleep. God gives us an undeniable adoration of our children and the desire to care for them is deep.

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We kept the tradition up and Beckham’s first food that he tried was sweet potatoes just like his big sibs. He was not a fan ha! It took a big longer for him to love food.

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Family Portraits Fall 2017-6Family Portraits Fall 2017-12Beckham loved finger foods around 8 months old and would the drool buckets daily! He loved sucking on his fingers, finally didn’t hate the carseat and loved being outside with his big brother and sister! Crawling around was the best! He’d screech and crawl for Travis to pick him up whenever he’d come home from work. Beckham got his first tooth at 10 months old and still only has 7 teeth at 17 months old! The dentist said he is behind on his teeth but that he thinks that is actually a good thing.:)

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We celebrated Beckham’s First birthday with family and friends and just loved reflecting on his precious first year! He’s LOUD, happy, adventurous and loves animals.

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Beckham has LOVED summertime and has been such a JOY! He loves food, exploring outside, sucking his thumb and playing chase. He is just now starting to love books and is imitating our words. He only says a few words consistently like “dada” “dogdog” “hot” “hi” “baba”. He signs “more” and “all done”. He’s more of a grunter. 😉 FourthOfJuly-1Beckham James, you are a gift from God. Your dad, sister, brother and I love spending time with you, getting your slobbery kisses and watching you learn. We pray that your life would be full and that you would know how much you are loved!

Broderick:: 5 Years Old

Brody, our big five year old boy!

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Year FIVE was a big one for him. Brody became a big brother to two siblings, started TK, learned to ride a two wheeler bike, started to sound out words and try to read, learned to swim and participated in his first organized sport (wrestling).

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A big change I have seen in Brody this year is his confidence in situations where he is nervous. We are so proud of him pushing his limits and persevering through trials! Travis and I see how his sensitivity and emotions seem to get in the way of him succeeding at something he can physically do. Brody has shown so much growth in this, we can’t wait to watch him accomplish lots this year!

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Brody’s ideal day as a five year old would likely include a play date with every friend he could possibly include. He asks every day, “Mom, can _____ come over and play? What about _____? When can ______come play?”. He loves to play Ninja and Star Wars with his buddies, especially his friends Jaden and Noah. He loves to ride bikes with this friends and often asks if Ethan and Owen can ride bikes or wrestle.:)Brody loves legos, catching lizards, exploring outside, getting a treat at TeaBar (Mango frost), doing dance parties(ninja kicks), going to the park and playing soccer & baseball in the yard with daddy. His favorite food is steak and he wants to be a police officer and baseball player when he grows up. He has started to do chores and has two that he does regularly–emptying the silverware from the dishwasher every day and taking care of the recycling with daddy.

Brody doesn’t like squash, is not a fan of when daddy cuts his hair, and doesn’t like being on stage in front of large crowds. Brody still thinks getting married is gross and looks away when characters in shows or movies show affection. This is hilarious to us because he can’t get enough mommy hugs & kisses but thinks girlfriends are gross. Ha! I’ll take it.:)

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Brody has been given a sensitive & empathetic heart. We pray that this allows him to see those hurting and be a light to them. We talk often about being the kid in class who includes the one who is being left out. We love the inquisitive mind of this five year old. He is full of questions and the things that he thinks and says are so real. We have such in incredible opportunity to encourage him–it is an honor.

We love this boy so much!! Happy 5th birthday, baby boy.

Brinley:: 3 Years Old

Happy 3rd Birthday to our Brinley girl!

Somehow you are already three–it has both flown by and dragged on all in the same.

This past year has brought so much change in you. You have become quite the opinionated girl and your love of all things pretty has exploded! You have brought me to my knees in defeat and prayer more than I thought possible. I know that God is already using you in your beautiful and short three years of life.

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You truly are the most affectionate and social three year old that I know! You run into the arms of so many of your friends (and their parents) and I know you put a smile on so many faces when you share your love. When we run into friends when playing outside or running errands, I often tell them that they can walk away because you will talk their ear off! But they stick around because you are so incredibly sweet and sincere in your questions like “Why you have the shirt?” and “You have a grandpa?” or “Where is your dog?” .:)

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You get in trouble for sneaking into mom’s room for lip gloss on the regular. I wised up and hide it now. You even got into my make up bag and properly applied mascara! Oh, girl. I have my work cut out for me!

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Your opinions about things like how your hair is done(braid, no braid, loose braid, too tight, up, down, curled, straight), what shirt you don’t want to wear, how to buckle in the car seat by yourself, and what show to watch in the morning are STRONG. We often talk about doing something because mom says that is your only option. There s usually some pouting but you are getting better and better at listening without complaining. Maybe these opinions are strong because you are strong. Truly, you are a tough girl! You keep up with the boys in the neighborhood on your scooter and you wrestle Brody with gritted teeth!

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To be honest, there were a few weeks recently where I couldn’t see us getting through this year with you. You are strong-willed and not easily compliant. This has been a tough go for mom! But, after much prayer and lots & lots of snuggles(your love language), we are over that hump and onto the next…potty training! You have done a great job wearing your big girl panties and pull ups. Once again, I didn’t see this coming but you surprise us every day.:) Getting to go to Awanas with Brody has been a great incentive.

brinely3-15brinely3-9Brinley, you are our one & only princess and we adore you. You dad and I talk often about how sweet you are and how much we love you. We pray for your heart, that you’d love people well and that you would be a light to the world. You are a gift from God and we praise Him for how He made you!

 We love you!

Happy 3rd birthday, Brinley!

Chico, CA Birth Photography:: Baby Girl R

September 21st, 2017

Reign Vienne

This feels a lot like dejavu…the most amazing dejavu. If you look less than two years ago in my blog posts, you will see this couple welcoming their 5th baby boy. But this time they welcomed their first baby GIRL!

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I fully expected to walk in to Desiree and Adam’s hospital room to Desiree holding her baby girl. Thankfully, she held out just in time for me to be able to capture Desiree pushing one time and pulling her baby up to her chest.

The nurses were in tears as they witnessed Desiree & Adam meet their first daughter.

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“Well, that was fun! Where are we moving this party to?!”

Congratulations Thatcher family! You have full hands and even fuller hearts. You are a beautiful family.

And in case you’re wondering…yes…this baby girl brought the baby fever levels up quite a bit.

All images copyright @AlbiniPhotography.