Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Lily's birthday--April 4, 2000 4:25 am
6 lb. 11.5 oz
19 3/4" 

Her story began much earlier than that.

We wanted Lily to join our family for more than eighteen months before she was even conceived.  After a year of trying to get pregnant (and an emotional breakdown every month when I discovered I wasn't), we went to a fertility specialist where they diagnosed secondary infertility--an unexplained infertility after successful pregnancies.  That's when I learned that fertility is a roller coaster, kind of like moods.  The doctors never could really explain why I wasn't pregnant; both Brad and I tested normal, but something wasn't quite right.

That's when the doctor prescribed Clomid, a mild fertility medication that stimulates the ovaries and aids in conception.  It has a few side effects, but we were willing to try the weakest dose for six months.

Infertility is hard.  It's hard on families and it's hard on marriages.  I was a complete monster the days my period would start, and I had three little kids (3, 7 and 8) who had no clue what I was wrestling with.  I remember one time apologizing to them for the way I'd been acting, trying to explain that we wanted a new baby to join our family but that it just wasn't happening.  They were so little, and in retrospect I can't believe I burdened them with that information.

Just as the sixth cycle on the lowest dose was concluding and I still wasn't pregnant, Brad and I had a long discussion about whether or not more children were in our future, if we were being selfish, if we should just stop with the three we had or if we should up my dose for six more months. 

And then I was pregnant.  Just like that.  A tiny miracle.   And that's exactly how I felt--it was a miracle.

Until I started spotting at seven weeks.  In a panic, I called my doctor.  This couldn't be happening--we had worked so hard to get this baby here, and now?  Now I just couldn't even think the word.  He brought me into his office that morning, and in the kindest, gentlest voice possible, told me that I was probably in the early stages of miscarriage.  He would draw some blood and in two days they'd draw more and compare the HcG levels.  Two days later--I was still pregnant.  This time, doctor gently told me he thought it was a trophoblastic pregnancy--an empty sac with no baby.  He sent me for an ultrasound the next day to confirm his diagnosis.

Brad had to work that morning, so I went in alone.  This was 1999, and I had only had a pregnancy ultrasound twice before--with Heidi, nine years earlier, and with Ben four years before.  I was a mess.

I will never forget the sight of that wiggly little bean on the monitor--two arms, two legs, and most importantly, a strong, beating heart.  With tears streaming down my face, I got into the van and rushed home so I could call Brad.  During the drive from the doctor's office home, the theme song from Disney's Tarzan came on the radio:

Come stop your crying
It will be all right
Just take my hand Hold it tight

I will protect you

from all around you
I will be here
Don't you cry

For one so small,

you seem so strong
My arms will hold you,
keep you safe and warm
This bond between us
Can't be broken
I will be here
Don't you cry

'Cause you'll be in my heart

Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more

You'll be in my heart

No matter what they say
You'll be here in my heart, always

I knew that my Heavenly Father was aware of me, right at that very minute. I had that sweet new life safe within me, right next to my heart, always. And everything from that point on was perfect, absolutely perfect.

Fast-forward to April 2000.  I was ready to have that baby, and I mean ready. Even though she wasn't due until April 23, I was contracting and dilating at my appointment on April 3.  In my impatient way, I decided I would try what I had done with Ben--castor oil.  Looking back, I realize how dumb I was, but I'm keeping it real--castor oil and ruby red grapefruit/tangerine juice.  It worked.

At 3:30, we checked into the hospital, where the nurse told me I was 4 and 60% effaced.  They watched me for a few hours, but nothing else really happened.  At 7 pm, the doctor checked me and gave the same information--I hadn't changed in almost four hours, I was 20 days early, and he would send me home. The nurse felt really sorry for me, and she said, "You have two hours to convince him to keep you here.  You better get walking."  That's when I put on my slippers and my jacket and yanked Brad out to the banks of the canal behind the hospital. We walked.  We walked FAST.  We walked FAR.  

And at 10 pm, when he did his next check, he broke my water and let me stay.

Since I'd never had a good experience with epidural up to this point, I was determined to have this baby naturally, and I can honestly say that labor was not that bad or horrible until about an hour before she was born.  Then it got harder, but I was powerful.  It was amazing.  It was miraculous.

I felt the need to push, no one believed it was time, but the nurse checked at my insistence, then she yelled for me to stop while she ran to wake the doctor.  He barely had on gloves before Baby came out, with little effort on my part.

I wish all my births had been like Lily's--it was truly a spiritual experience where I felt close to God as I partnered with Him to get her to this world.  

That night, Brad brought the kids to the hospital for our naming process.  Heidi was so thrilled to have a sister that she wouldn't believe until she saw the girl baby for herself.  She wanted to name her Annie.  Tucker was all for Alexis, and Ben (at age 4 and somewhat inexperienced with the process) wanted Heidi Monica or Benjamin's little sister.  Mom and Dad bantered Molly, Lucy, and Lily, but none seemed to fit this tiny girl.  Tucker generously told Ben he should get to pick, since he'd never named a baby before, and Ben picked "Lucy Rose."  That settled it.

Dad took the kids to Arby's for dinner, and while they were gone, I nestled that little head to my breast and started calling her by her new name. This new little baby with the big cheeks and my dimple.  Lucy Rose didn't fit.  In the 30 minutes that the family was gone, I knew our new sister was Lily Jane Denton, named after Brad's great-grandmother Lillian and Brad's mother Priscilla Jane.  Even to this day, her name is one of my favorites.

Twelve years have passed with Miss Lily (also known as Lily Jane, Lil, Jane, Janey, LuluBelle or just plain Lu), and our lives have never been the same since.











 I love her tenacity and perseverance.  I love her sparkly personality.  I love her take-control attitude. Mostly I love it when my aunt looks at her and says with a smile, "Little Jenny."

Happy Birthday, Lil.  I love you.
You'll be here in my heart, always.


  1. Happy Birthday to Lily! It's my daughter's birthday today, too!

  2. Your journey in Motherhood is inspiring, Jen. Lily is so cute. I hope she has a wonderful bday!

  3. That is so funny because in the first picture of you holding her, it looks just like Lily right now!
    Thank you for saring yet anothher beautiful birth story. I just finished my last round of Clomid and we have decided since I dont like being a monster to my children that we arent going to try to get pregnant for a while. I need a break!
    But it really helps to know there are positive stories from infertility. Thank you for sharing. :)

  4. How sweet! Happy birthday to her and happy birth day to you!

  5. You worked so hard to get your kids here.
    And boy, were they worth it.

    Lily is clearly a GREAT girl! And happy birthday to her.


  6. I call her LJ or Apple (that was her name when she was 4) - I still believe she rules the world!

    I cannot believe she is 12! She is such a great young woman. The time is going so fast.

    Love you Lily Jane!

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  8. I still think Heidi, Tucker and Ben should be the ages there are in that first photo.

    Also, Phil Collins? Works every time

  9. I remember that day so well! I finally got a little sister! :)

  10. Well girl we were pregnant at the exact same time! My Trent is May
    5th, 2000. Great time, great year to have a baby!

    Your Lily is a beautiful girl - she looks exactly like you!! I bet you hear that all the time. I am so glad she made it into this world happy and healthy!!

    Happy Birthday Miss Lily Jane :-D

  11. What a wonderful story. I am glad she is here.

  12. I have memories of her as a two year old running around the gym. I can't believe she's 12! She's one of my favorites. :) Happy birthday, Lily!