Sunday, January 10, 2016

Best Year Ever

A lot has happened since my last post. I had to come home for a bit from staying up in Oklahoma City with Melina. I knew once I came home I'd get sick, and I did. I couldn't see Melina for over a week due to being sick. During that time she grew like a weed. 1/2 a pond a week. She started being bottle fed a little at a time at a month old and took to it like a champ. After a few long weeks of learning to bottle feed she could finally come home. I was excited and nervous to have her home. Now that she's been home just over a week things are going great. She got released on December 29, 2015 at 5lbs 10.6oz, 7 weeks old, (36 weeks gustation). She is now 6lbs 9oz and 2 months old.

Today is our sweet son Daren's 3rd Birthday. I can't believe how grown up he is getting, it honestly feels like he was just his sisters age. He was great through this whole process and is excited (as we all are) to have our whole family home. He's already the best big brother. He loves learning new things are playing with his toys (cars, puzzles, and coloring). 

I have been learning how to balance my time with both kids and my husband. I have also been working at getting our home back in some sort of normal order. Being so sick during pregnancy and limited to what I could do, then being away for nearly 2 months our home got crazy. It'll take some time to get it back to normal but it's great to have us all home. My husband ripped out all of the carpet in the bedrooms and the he redid the wood floors that were underneath, they looks great! It's lovely having a handy husband. I have also applied for a teaching position with Murry State Community College, it would be all online work so hopefully it works out. I would love to teach adults and it would be great for my schedule. Coincidentally my husband should start classes with Murry State this next week. Things are going well at the Ray house and 2016 will be the best year ever! 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Baby Bump (Melina's Birth)

November 29, 2015

I finally feel like I have a moment to share the ups and downs of Melina's pregnancy, birth, and life story so far. We have been wanting to add to our family for a few years now and we finally spoke to a doctor in Ada, Oklahoma named Bryan Roehl in April of this year. He was able to run some test and find out why I wasn't getting pregnant. This is not new to us, we have struggled to get pregnant the past two times I have been pregnant and have needed medical help to get pregnant. Thanks to PCOS I struggle with infertility. He did a Sonohysterography (saline infusion sonogram) to see if my tubes were blocked causing issues with getting pregnant, sure enough my right side was blocked so he unblocked it and by May 20th we knew we were pregnant again.

We had to have some genetics testing when I was 11 weeks pregnant and every thing came back normal. We did find out at that point that we were having a girl. It was very exciting. Once I was 13 weeks I went in for surgery to have a cerclage put in, the surgery wasn't bad but it took over 13 times to get a good iv in me for the surgery. When I went in for the surgery I was actually already 1 cm dilated. I had some contractions at 15 weeks but was able to get them to stop. I started Mekina progesterone shots at 16 weeks. They really helped me and I didn't have any more contractions for a long time.

When I was 27 weeks on October 27th I started having contractions again. I put off doing anything till the next day and when I called my Dr he told me to go up to the OU Children's Medical Hospital in Oklahoma City, OK to be checked out. I was in preterm labor but they were able to get everything to stop. They decided at that point to keep me in the hospital until I had the baby just to be safe. They gave me two steroid shots for the babied lungs to develop and put me on magnesium to help prevent cerebral palsy. On November 2nd I had contractions again, this time they determined I was dilated to 4 cm and removed my cerclage. Alex and I were so worried I would immediately go into full on labor after that but the contractions stopped again. A few days later my mother in law Cathy flew in to help care for Daren. I felt good for just over a week thinking I might actually get close to 35 weeks pregnant.

Then on November 9th at 10 pm I started having contractions again, we thought they stopped but at 2 am the next morning I noticed them again and they were only 2 minutes apart. I got ahold of Alex and he drove up from our house (over and hour drive) to be up here. I was 6 cm dilated and they knew this time they couldn't get the contractions to stop. We had an ultrasound done and Melina was in a good position to do a normal birth. I got another shot of steroids for her lungs. I was so scared of getting a epidural but still asked for one and it was not placed in correct place and caused me to feel horrible. They then realized Melina had flipped and they wouldn't deliver her breech. So we then knew we had to do a C-section. Alex got to the hospital about 20 minutes before they wheeled me back for the C-section. They did a spinal tap that way Alex could be back there when Melina was born. She was born on November 10, 2015 at 5:35 am at 29 weeks and 1 day. She weighed 3lbs 1oz and was 16 in long.

She was taken directly to the NICU and Alex went with her. I got moved to a recovery room and realized why I was so scared of a c-section. It has been an interesting experience to recover from. One of the hardest parts for me to comprehend is that they did what they call a classical incision on the uterus because Melina was so small and that means they never want me to have contractions in the future for fear the incision will tear. The biggest problem with that is I have contractions so early in pregnancy, so I basically can not get pregnant again. I'm coming to grips with this new reality but it was something we have considered may happen because of my history.

I have been able to stay in Oklahoma City at the Ronald McDonald house near the hospital and this has been a great experience. I miss being home and spending time with family but I have felt it was important to spend this time with Melina to encourage her to grow. She has done very well with her breathing and eating. She is not being bottle fed yet but she has been slowly growing. She hasn't had any major medical issues so far and it is very encouraging to see her being so strong. He nurses say she is feisty and a "rock star" for her size. We are just excited to have her come home as soon as she is able to. We sure do love our sweet baby girl Melina Launie Ray!

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Road of Infertility

So, it's national infertility week. I felt I needed to post something here, but I haven't know what. As many people know I struggle with infertility. What most people don't know is exactly how that affects me and my family. We have been lucky enough to be pregnant twice (both ended in early term labor and neither baby survived), once as soon as I got off birth control and with no other medical help and the second on medication to help. The two doctors I have had said the first pregnancy is abnormal for me because since then I can not get pregnant without medical help. We are blessed to have one amazing and healthy son whom we adopted just over two years ago.

What most everyone doesn't know is that since I was 18 I have known that I have PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) and that it was likely I would struggle with infertility. I even had a doctor that told me way back then I may never have my own biological children and I told my husband this when we were dating. Lucky for me he comes from a family who understands and embraces adoption. What I didn't know is how emotional that would be for me once I was ready to have kids, wondering every month if I could finally be pregnant again and finding out at age 27 that I likely also have endometriosis. We have not been able to have the surgical test to prove the endometriosis but I suffer from many of the classic symptoms and since there are many different symptoms between PCOS and endometriosis the doctor who told me I have it is very confident in her diagnosis. We have had to decide going forward what is the best thing for us to do to grow our family? We have great medical help where we live and many of my doctors have been confident with medical help we can get and stay pregnant until the baby is healthy enough to be born. This gives us hope. We are also confident in the adoption process since that has worked for us before. 

I don't have all the answers for myself or my family and we take things one day at a time and hope we follow the path we should. My hope is that my struggle with infertility and infant loss will give someone else hope or at least help them not feel alone. I hope that this week has helped many understand and at least gain some compassion about infertility.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Road Repair

I can't believe its August already! I feel like this year has flown by for our little family! Daren is growing up so fast. I haven't had a lot to write about the past months so my blog has suffered. However, I watched a video this morning that really got me thinking.

First, let me say I LOVE my son with every fiber of my being. I feel that everything that happened in our marriage that had to do with having kids and where to live lead us to be his parents. He's the most amazing child and I can't imagine my life without him. I assure you we were ALWAYS meant to be his parents.

This is the video and article:

Anyway, back to the video. This video was very sweet and for me very close to home for what I experienced giving birth to our two other sons. This video is of a child born at 25 weeks and our second son was born only two weeks sooner than that. I get so frustrated that some people out there would think my child was never "alive". I assure you as his mother he was alive before he ever left my womb. I felt such a strong bond with both of my other sons and I get so upset when I think many people would think it's odd I refer to having two other sons. Does a mother who loses a child at any age all of a sudden say they have one less child? NO, they have the same amount of children and one just happens to have passed away. As far as I'm concerned I am a mother of three beautiful boys two of whom have passed away.

If you don't agree that my two sons who passed were really alive I feel sorry for you. Heaven forbid you ever have to experience going through what I have been through. I did not choose to have problems with being able to get and stay pregnant. I bet I took better care of my body than many people who have healthy "normal" pregnancies. I often feel gypped because somehow my body is defective and there's nothing I can do to fix it. I even had someone tell me once that they hope they never have to have problems with their pregnancies... guess what.... me too. I didn't choose to go through what I have and I have to deal with the heartache and depression of my reality every day.

My point of this whole post is that I'm coming out un-apologetically saying I have three sons. So if you ask in the future I'm not going to hide the truth or feel bad for being honest. I love my kids and I shouldn't have to lie to try to not make someone feel awkward that my story isn't all puppies and roses.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


I have had little opportunity to blog as I am home in Oklahoma. The main problem I face is that we have no internet at our home here. I can access a slow roaming version of the internet on my phone and that’s it. We made the choice that unless I can find a career that allows me to work from home online we will not pay for the internet because the price is so much higher than if we lived in the city and the service is still slow.

The past month Daren and I have been able to go to Runaway Bay, TX and visit with my parents there. We then traveled back with them to Mesa, AZ and visit with family and friend here. Daren and I are so lucky to have this opportunity. He loves being around his family and friends here and loves all the other kids being around him each day.

While I have been in Arizona I have been searching for a career that I can do from home and it is proving to be more difficult than expected. However, I will continue to press forward as I strive to have a career that allows me to put my family first!

Daren grows so much each day and I’m amazed at how much he learns from others. I wish we could have more opportunities for him to be around other kids more often in Oklahoma because he thrives being around his peers. However, he does love being home with his parents and puppies and playing outside on the many acres we live on.

I tried to take as many pictures as I could of him playing here and enjoying his time!

NOW for the picture OVERLOAD!!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Loose Gravel

I've been trying to think of what to share since I've been out here in Oklahoma. Some days being here feels like I'm back in Alabama on my mission, only because I'm so far from friends and family. I miss being "home" but being here has taught me a lot and it's growing on me. 

Since we got here Daren has grown a lot. He was crawling like a swimmer when we got here and now he's almost walking. He is so smart I'm amazed at how much he understands and how funny he is. He turned 1 on the 10th of January and I can't believe how fast this year has gone by. He's truely the most amazing gift in our lives! 

Our dogs LOVE it here because they have so much room to run and play and lots of birds and critters to chase. 

Alex loves his job and is learning a lot about the oil industry here. He works so hard to provide for us. He is studying hard to take the CDL test soon so he can be a driver for the company he works for. 

We stayed local for the holidays. We had the missionaries over for Halloween since we live too rural for trick or treaters. Next year we may have to go into the city if we're still in this house so Daren can trick or treat! 

We went with the Coggins/Martin family for Thanksgiving (this is the family Alex works for). They have really helped us feel welcome here. I got to make pies for the dinner. I missed some traditional items I'm used to at the dinner and I missed making rolls and pumpkin rolls, but it was a lot of fun. 

It also snowed before Christmas and that was a fun and interesting adventure! 

For Christmas we all went down to Arlington, Texas to spend time with Bonnie and Ed (Alex's aunt and uncle). We had fun but Daren didn't sleep well, so neither did I. Luckily we were only there one night so it was fine. Despite the lack of sleep we all had fun spending the holiday with family! 

For Daren's birthday we didn't do anything crazy, we had home made pizza and chacolate cake (Daren loves pasta or bread with red sauce and chocolate). He likes food in general but always eats everything when it has a red sauce. 

The other day we have Daren his first hair cut! 

As far as my life I'm the primary chorister and have been workin hard to get things ready to teach the kids the beautiful music for the year. I love being able to stay home with Daren. He is such a joy for us! 

I can't believe the holiday season is over and it's nearly spring! Happy 2014! 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Road Trip (and a permanent stay)

Well, most of y'all know our little family moved to Oklahoma for a great job opportunity that Alex got. This is mainly going to be a TON of pictures of the area. 

But first.... Why we moved. Obviously living so far from friends and family isn't the ideal situation, and I personally always wanted my kids to grow up around family. Well, Alex had a job loss and was working an okay job but he had a strong feeling we should move out of state. So we kept applying for other jobs in different areas. He got this job here in Oklahoma and came out in July to find out if it was a good fit. 

This whole time I was skeptical about moving but I also felt like Alex would know the best thing for our family. He loved the job, the people, the area, EVERYTHING! So, we started looking for a place to live here. It took over a month of searching for a place to rent and to find renters in our AZ house but at the last minute when we literally almost gave up we found both a place to live and renters for our house. 

On October 1 we moved into our SUPER RURAL home on 4 acres. The home needs work and I was sad at first because we put so much work into our other house and I felt like we were starting all over, but the home has grown on me. After being here a few weeks I too feel like it is the right place for our family! 

Now for picture overload!!

The drive to get here, Alex drove the truck with Boe. Alexy (my niece, she came to help), Daren, Skie, Edith, and I drove the car! 

The house.... 

The beautiful land... Our yard etc... 

What I see on my drive to "town" for groceries! (About 30 minutes)

The dogs LOVE the large yard!! 

Edith kept freaking out about going outside and we found these in the yard... Fresh deer tracks... I guess we know why she kept going crazy!!