Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas from Heaven

I received this from a couple different friends this week... I can't think of a better way to celebrate Christmas than with Jesus himself. Merry Christmas Madison!

Merry Christmas from Heaven

I see the countless Christmas Trees, around the world below:
With tiny lights, like heaven's stars, reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away your tears,
For I am spending Christmas, with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs, that people hold so dear,
But the sounds of music can't compare with the Christmas choir up here.

For I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring,
For it is beyond description, to hear an angel sing.

I know how much you miss me; I see the pain inside your heart,
But I am not so far away, we are really not apart.

So be happy for me, everyone... you know I hold you dear,
And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I send you all a special gift from my heavenly home above,
I send you each a memory of my undying love.

For after all "Love" is the gift more precious than gold,
It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

So please love and help each other, as my Father said to do,
For I cannot count the blessings, or the Love he has for you.

So have a Merry Christmas, and wipe away those tears,
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I can't tell you of the splendor, or the peace here in this place,
Can you just imagine Christmas, with our Savior face to face!

I'll ask him to lift your spirit and give you a hug, as I tell him of your love,
So then pray for one another, as you lift your eyes above.

So please try to let your hearts be joyful, and let your spirits sing,

Merry Christmas!

Love Always,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


A few weeks ago we had a kind of last minute getaway to Florida with my parents. It was in celebration of Chris passing his Series 7 exam, Jonah's 4th birthday, and just to get away and enjoy some time with family. We left for the airport right after Jonah celebrated his birthday with his class at school, and the next day we went to DISNEY! Jonah absolutely LOVED seeing Mickey, Minnie, Chip & Dale, Buzz & Woody and all the other characters. Though probably the first thing he'd tell you about Disney is that his NOT favorite part of it was seeing Zurg from Toy Story, because he was shooting at us on the Buzz Lightyear ride. For the most part he loved the other rides, except for a few where it got really dark and the 3D show where he thought forks were going to hit him. The night ended with seeing Cinderella's Castle all lit up for Christmas (beautiful!!) and watching the Electrical parade.
We stayed a few more days in Orlando at a very cool condo.. they had pirate ships in the pools with slides and water cannons, and activities like painting a treasure chest and treasure hunts around the pools. We spent some days relaxing by the pool and went to Downtown Disney and checked out Christmas decorations at some of the Disney hotels in the evenings.
After a few days in Orlando we spent a week in Fort Myers Beach. Unfortunately it was quite cool when we were there (low 60's most of the time) so we didn't get to spend a whole lot of time on the beach, but we still had a great time doing some shopping, going to the Naples Zoo, and going in the pool - the pool is outside, but the water was much warmer than the air so it wasn't too bad- until we got out :) Luckily our last day was beautiful, so we spent it on the beach in the sun!
Thanks for another great vacation Mom & Dad!

Monday, November 22, 2010

so what happened?

My doctor suspected, and tests on the placenta later confirmed, that Madison died from a Group B Strep infection. I am by no means a medical professional, but I'll do my best to explain the way I understand it.. Group B Strep is a common bacteria that pregnant women are tested for late in pregnancy. From what I understand it's something that most women have at some point, and is usually harmless to the mother, but can cause complications in a baby. If a women tests positive for the bacteria, which I had, she is given antibiotics during labor, which I was given, and this is supposed to prevent the baby from getting it during delivery. My doctor figures that somehow the bacteria got into the bag of water earlier in labor, giving her the infection, and my body was sustaining her until she was born. This is extremely rare, my doctor has only ever seen one case like this. That woman went on to have 4 other healthy children. However, to be extra cautious, if I were to get pregnant again we would go to Spectrum at the first signs of labor and do a c-section, with a neonatal team standing by in case of complication.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Madison Paige

Four weeks ago, at 11:21pm on October 26 our beautiful princess, Madison Paige, was born.

I woke up at about 1am that day, having contractions every few minutes. After an hour or so I woke Chris up, and we both paced the house for awhile, debating whether or not this was the real thing and if we should head to the hospital. Finally at about 5am we called my doctor to tell him we were heading in, and called my mom to come and stay with Jonah and take him to school. Funny thing is school ended up being cancelled that day due to high winds and a tornado watch - Jonah was also born during a storm, and there was a snow day the day after he was born!

The contractions were coming consistently every 2-3 minutes, but after about 3 hours in the hospital with no progress they sent me home to try and sleep. They said I might be back later that day, or it could be another week yet. Dr. Taylor told me how his wife had contractions every 5 minutes for 2 weeks before one of their children was born. I wanted to punch him. :)

I managed to get a few hours of sleep and Chris went in to work for a few hours. By about 5pm the contractions were still coming every couple minutes, and stronger than ever, so we went back in, a little afraid of being sent home again. Thankfully this time they saw some progress and we got to stay. Everything was looking great, baby's heart rate was perfect, and thanks to an epidural I was feeling much better! Things progressed fairly quickly, my water broke, and soon after I told the nurse it seemed like the baby was getting really low. She checked and said no... wait! I can feel the head! She called Dr. Taylor in a panic, and he broke many speed limits on his short drive to the hospital. During delivery the baby's heart rate started to drop, so Dr. Taylor had to help get her out quickly with a forceps. She had her cord wrapped around her neck, which is what caused the lower heart rate, and kept pulling her back in. But at 11:21 our beautiful baby girl was laid on my chest, and we heard her little cry.

After that the nurse took her from me.. I thought just to get her cleaned up and weighed and such, but when my doctor and several nurses gathered around her I knew something was wrong. She wasn't breathing. Chris and I started praying, and one of our wonderful nurses, Megan, came and prayed with us. They worked for several minutes on our baby girl right in our room, and later took her into the nursery to try some more to get her to breathe. They told us there was a neonatal team from Spectrum on the way. Chris called our parents to tell them to pray. Megan prayed with us again. Then a little more than an hour after she was born my doctor came to tell us she was gone. Our precious baby girl went home to be with Jesus.

They brought her to us and we got to hold her. We named her Madison Paige, a name that we had picked out before we were even pregnant with Jonah. She was the most beautiful, perfect baby I had ever seen. Beautiful dark, curly hair like her daddy, and even though we never got to see her smile, we could tell she was going to have a dimple like her big brother. Beautiful. Her grandpas and grandmas and Auntie Liz and Uncle Jonny came to see her and hold her. Then the nurses took her for a few hours while we somehow got a few hours of sleep.

We got to spend all day with Madison on Wednesday. Big brother Jonah got to come and meet her. He was so excited to be a big brother. He couldn't wait to make her laugh, he had been practicing how to burp her and give her a bottle and put her pipey in her mouth. He called her "Princess" from the time he found out he was having a little sister. He was going to be a great big brother.

The day is a bit of a blur... we got to have Madison all day, we had some visits from family and friends who hugged and prayed with us. But we went home that night. I think one of the hardest things we've ever had to do was hand our baby girl back to the nurse and go home. Without her. Without our baby who we've dreamed about for years. She didn't get to come home to her beautiful pink room her daddy made for her, to her closet full of pink clothes, to her mommy and daddy and big brother who loved her so much.

On Friday we got to spend some time with Madison again at the funeral home. We got to hold her again, Jonah got to hold her. She looked beautiful. Like a princess, an angel. On Saturday we had a beautiful service at our church with tons of people there to support us. Pastor Randy and Amy did an amazing job speaking and Terp made a beautiful video from our pictures of Madison. We then had a small graveside service with family at Zeeland Cemetery.

We are so blessed to have an amazing family, friends, and church family to help us through this time. The Sunday after Madison's death hundreds of people from our church surrounded our home in prayer and song. It was unbelievable. I have not had to cook a thing in the last 4 weeks, we've had tons of meals coming in. We've gotten hundreds of cards, emails, and facebook messages from people letting us know that they care and are praying for us, and many gifts to help us remember our baby. There is always someone there to give us hugs when we need them or cry with us. We are so thankful to all of you, we couldn't get through this without you.

So how are we doing? For the most part we're ok. The only explanation I have for that is God, and the tons of people lifting us up in prayer. And Jonah. We're so thankful for him.. he can make us smile when we're sad, he wipes away my tears, and he gives me his animals to cuddle with to make me happy. He doesn't really understand why Madison didn't get to come home and sleep in her bed. I recently realized he thinks heaven is at the funeral home... I told him that someday we'd get to go to heaven and see Madison again, and he asked if we could get mints from the bowl when we got there. He says "Don't worry mommy, when Madison's done at heaven she'll come home." Just the opposite, sweet boy. When we're done on earth we get to go to heaven to see her. We miss Madison like crazy. We don't understand. We're mad. We want her back so bad. I'd give anything to hold her again, and one of the only things that keeps me going some days is the promise that some day I WILL. I cannot wait for that day. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

Please continue to pray for us and the rest of our family. Pray for strength to get through each day, and for peace that only God can give.

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.
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.

Psalm 139:13-16

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall Family Pictures

A couple of weeks ago our friend Terp (Christina Terpstra) took some family pictures of us. She's actually graciously donating her time and talent as a fundraiser for some other friends of ours, the Geurinks, whose family of five will be moving to Lesotho, Africa in a few months to help run the Beautiful Gate orphanage for five years. You can read the Geurinks blog here. Terp also still has a couple openings for family pictures this coming Sunday afternoon - you can read more about the fundraiser and sign up here for that! Thanks, Terp!


Baby girl's room is finally almost done! It's been a long process, but Chris did an amazing job! The room used to be used kind of as an office/storage room, so after emptying that stuff out it was time to pull out the old carpet. It ended up being two layers of carpet (who does that?!?) that was GLUED to the wood floor. So it took ALOT of scraping and sanding to get the floor ready to be finished. It turned out beautiful though, and Chris did a great job painting... see for yourself!

I think we are almost ready for baby girl to arrive! Now hopefully the doctor was right about this being a girl... or we might need some help doing some emergency painting and shopping! This room is definitely not for a boy!!

Jonah's Rainy Day Art Project

Since Jonah loves all things dinosaur (go ahead, quiz him on his dinosaurs... you'll be amazed :) ) we decided to spend the rainy morning painting a new picture frame to put in his room. Now we just need a picture of him in his Halloween costume to put in it!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First Day of School!

Today I got to join Jonah for his first day of Threeschool at Zeeland Christian! He was so excited! He got to meet his wonderful teachers, Mrs. Scholten and Mrs. Dykstra, and go on a little treasure hunt exploring his classroom. He had to find the hook with his name on it, where he got to hang his new backpack, two places to wash his hands, the Show and Tell basket, and his mailbox where his teacher left him a special treat -- a little bear with a Hershey's Hug & Kiss on it, a reminder for him to always give mommy a hug and a kiss before school :) They had circle time, where he chose to sit on the penguin, and they listened to a story, sang "Jesus Loves Me" and said prayers. They had some free time to check out all the fun toys in the classroom, eat a snack of Teddy Grahams and juice, and have their hands painted purple to make handprints on some special papers. He had a great day playing with all the toys and some new and old friends. Now hopefully Friday goes okay when mommy doesn't get to stay with him!

After lunch we went to celebrate his first day of school at Captain Sundae, where he thoroughly enjoyed some Spiderman ice cream. Unfortunately that didn't have such a happy ending... apparently a bee wanted to share the ice cream that was all over his face, and my poor little guy got stung in the eye :(

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Here are a BUNCH of pictures from Chris' recent trip to Montana with youth group. He doesn't want to blog about it (big surprise there!), so be sure to ask him about the trip and just enjoy these pictures from God's beautiful creation!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

We spent an absolutely beautiful Memorial Day weekend up north in Cadillac! We had a great time just relaxing and getting fried on the beach and playing in the water. Chris had fun doing some jet-skiing and hiding a geocache in Lake Cadillac in front of our condo in about 6 feet of water. We actually saw 3 people go looking for it which was kind of fun! We did lots of grilling out, and got Jonah his first slip 'n slide, which he had a blast riding down the hill!

Also, I'd like to say a huge THANK YOU to all the men and women who have served and are currently serving our country in the military!