Monday, September 17, 2012

Take 12 Project - September 12

In last month's Take Twelve layout, we said goodbye to Justin before he left on deployment.  While our family had already been separated for a few months because of Justin's training schedule, his deployment overseas brought a whole new set of fears and challenges for our family.  But I know that he was eager to get to sea, which he absolutely loves.  

This September, the 12th fell on a day dictated by a new routine for our little family.  September has presented new challenges and blessings which have forever changed our lives.  On September 7 at 11:50 pm, we welcomed into the world our beautiful baby boy, Benjamin.  He weighed 3 pounds, 3 ounces and was 16.75 inches long.  His gestational age at birthday was 30 weeks plus 6 days.  

Ben thankfully had a strong cry right out of the gate.  My sister was able to snap this photo of him before the doctors and nurses brought him down to the NICU.
Part of me feels like I jinxed myself celebrating 30 plus one not so long ago.  But I know that there is so much to be grateful for.  Baby Ben got almost an entire week longer than Charlotte did in the womb.  I was able to get 4 hours worth of steroids (to help with Ben's lung development) before I delivered.  And even though Justin was not there, I did get to speak with him both before and after the delivery.  My sister was also at my bedside during delivery.

Talking to Justin after delivery.  
Ben is currently in the NICU and being cared for by an amazing team of nurses, corpsmen and doctors.  It is the same NICU that took care of Charlotte once she was transported from Arizona to California almost three years ago.  Right after I delivered, the attending neonatologist (who was also there when Charlotte was at the NICU) said to me, "You make strong preemies."  Sigh...

My favorite photo of Benjamin to date.  Taken on September 13 after his oxygen tubes were taken off, with his IV hiding behind his head, and his light mask off.
So on September 12, my photos reflect this new reality of constantly pumping, household chores, parenting Charlotte, visiting Ben in the NICU, and trying to keep some sense of routine and normalcy for our family...on my own, without Justin.  I know that I am strong enough to do get through the days and take care of our children.  But there are moments, especially when I'm driving back and forth from the hospital on my own, that I cry and am dumbfounded that here we are again.  In the NICU.  With a preemie.  I honestly and genuinely thought that I would carry this baby full term.  But it just wasn't meant to be.  And this time around, even though I am surrounded by the familiarity of the hospital, many of the same amazing nurses, and an understanding of what to expect as Ben continues to grow, I don't have my husband's shoulder to cry on.  And this entire experience, by the time Justin comes home, will only be mine and he won't be here for any of it.  

I am exceedingly grateful for what we have and am overjoyed by our new baby boy.  However, there are fleeting moments during the day or in the middle of the night where I feel that I am left chasing for rainbows in what sometimes feels like a rainstorm.  But I know that there are rainbows out there.  I just have to keep my head held high and be strong.  

Here is my layout for this month:

Supplies:  Patterned Paper, Cardstock, Stickers, Thickers by American Crafts; Punches (EK Succes, Martha Stewart Crafts; Stamps (Studio Calico, Technique Tuesday); Twine (Twinery); Epoxy Sticker (Epiphany Crafts); Xyron Mega Runner; Homemade Foam Tape.

The inspiration for the title came from here.  

For the photo page, I simply created a 12 photo collage in Picassa and printed it as a 8x10 photo on my home printer.  

And here is a close up of the September 12 subtitle area.  

Play Along.  If you are playing along this month, make sure to upload your Take 12 layout to your blog or any photo-sharing service, then link it up to this blog post by midnight EST, September 18 for a chance to win a spot in this year's Big Picture Classes Boot Camp!  

Also, as some of you may already know, Ella Publishing Co. is now a part of the Big Picture Classes family!  Big Picture Classes is the leading online education program for creative classes worldwide.  Their focus is to teach inspiration-based scrapbooking while making the creative process of scrapbooking fun and easy for everyone.  

GIVEAWAY!!  To celebrate the new relationship between Ella Publishing Co. and Big Picture Classes, I will also be hosting a giveaway - a seat in a Big Picture Class taught by Tracey Clark, Picture Color.  This is a 30 day self-paced course that will encourage you to turn your lens towards the colors that delight you the most.  To enter my giveaway, make sure that you "follow" the blog and leave a comment on this post.  I will draw a name and announce a winner on Sunday, September 22.  

To our friends and family, thank you for your constant prayers and words of congratulations and comfort.  And to everyone else, as always, thanks for stopping by!


  1. so, so proud of you...military wives have a strength like no other and of course you have passed that along to your children! Wishing you every possible blessing my friend!

  2. You are an amazing woman Van! It is no wonder that your sweet baby boy is as strong as he is. Blessings to your sweet family and welcome the world baby Ben!

  3. Congratulations! Your babies are just too eager to begin living in this amazing world. I bet both of them will make a big difference here.

  4. Congratulations Van! Sending some extra strength your way! He sure is a cutie!

  5. Congrats Van! He is precious. I send you a lot of strength in this difficult time.

  6. Congrats Van!!! You are such a strong, amazing person! He sure is sweet. Sending you and your family strength and big hugs!


  7. He does look very strong! Just like his Mommy!

    Thinking of you and your family, and wishing you well!

  8. Oh my Van. You are one strong Mamma!!!! Thoughts and prayers are with you and your beautiful family. I so understand your feelings being the Mom of 5 preemies myself!!! Stay strong my friend, and try and get as much rest as you can.

  9. Love you Van. You are SO insanely strong. <3


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