Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Anabelle's Princess Room

We have just about completely finished Anabelle's room. Here are some pictures that I've taken. The canvases, crown and tissue box were all custom painted by Tricia Burford, (Mural Creations and More). She painted the canvases to match Anabelle's duvet and sheets from Pottery Barn. I think she did an amazing job, and Anabelle absolutely LOVES her room! If you ever need any paintings or murals done, I HIGHLY recommend Tricia! Once I get moving a little more on Sawyer's room, I'll have her do more artwork, and possibly a mural! I'll post pictures once his room is finally finished! (Sawyer's early arrival kind of put the decorating on the back burner)!

Finally...I'm back...and with LOTS of news to share!

Ohhhh, the time has flown by, and so much has happened, that I don't know where to begin! I guess the biggest news is that our precious baby boy, Sawyer Grant Collins, was born at 5am on July 2! Our sweet surrogate was rushed into emergency induction due to a placenta abruption at 34.5 weeks! After 12 LONG hours of labor, Sawyer entered this world weighing on 5lbs, 3oz. Due to his prematurity, he was taken immediately to the NICU where he was born, (Orange Park Hospital). The initial concern was his lungs, but after just a couple of hours of O2, he was breathing like a champ! Sawyer remained in the NICU for 2 weeks due to his inability to "suck" and eat on his own. He ended up with a feeding tube until the day before he came home. Sawyer lost down to 4lbs, 13oz in the NICU, but was back up to his birth weight when we left. He has been such a joy, and Anabelle has fallen into her role as "big sister" better than we could have ever hoped for. She is absolutely in LOVE, and has been a complete angel! Below are some pictures of Sawyer's first couple months of life!

Sawyer, just moments after his birth

Stacie cutting the cord! Amazing to witness my baby's birth AND to be able to cut the cord!

Sawyer in the NICU

Sawyer and Anabelle cuddling in Mommy and Daddy's bed

Sawyer was able to lift his head before his actual "due date"! Strong boy!

My sweet boy at 7 weeks old!

Daddy getting some sweet kisses from Sawyer
At 2 months of age, Sawyer is weighing just over 9 lbs, and is smiling and cooing up a storm. He doesn't sleep nearly as well as Anabelle did at night and we've delt with reflux and tummy issues, but all in all, he is doing OUTSTANDING! He is truly another blessing from the LORD!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bedroom "Re-Do"

Due to Jeanie's, (my sister-in-law), persuasion I'm going to post pictures of my recently completely re-done bedroom. Adam and I got new furniture from his parents for Christmas, along with some new bedding, so we decided to completely re-vamp our bedroom before we got started on Anabelle's big girl bedroom and Sawyer's nursery! It was a lot of work, but we are LOVING our new bedroom!!!!! So much more of my taste! Good-bye to Adam's bachelor pad furniture! I'm posting a before picture for you to see, too!

Bedroom Before!!!

Bedroom After!!!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Adenoidectomy and Myringotomy

On April 2oth, my baby girl had to go in and be put to sleep to have her adenoids removed and a procedure called "myringotomy" to drain fluid from her ear drum. The adenoids are a mass of lymphoid tissue where the nasal passages "blend" with the mouth, located right behind the palate. Anabelle's were enlarged, causing a lot of snoring and mouth breathing. We believe it was also the cause of many of her sinus issues and ear infections. So, the best thing, according to Anabelle's ENT, was to have the adenoids removed. The myringotomy was just a tiny incision that was made to help the excess fluid drain from Anabelle's ears. Anabelle did OUTSTANDING, and woke from the surgery without as much as a whimper. She was an absolute trooper. She got sick twice right after the surgery because of the anesthesia, but the only reaction to that was her saying, "I just throwed up". What a strong little girl in such a tiny body. I'm amazed at how well she did. That following Thursday and Friday, she was feeling so well, that we spent several hours at the beach each day.

However, Friday night, Anabelle ended up with fever and no apetite, which continued into the weekend. We had her checked at her pediatricians office, and they said all looked excellent with her healing. So, we believe that the culprit for her post "recovery" fever is a virus! However, Anabelle is now on the mend! We are just continuing to pray for a full recovery for our little muffin!!!!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easter 2009

We had a wonderful Easter this year, celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!!!! I am so thankful for all the blessings the Lord has given to me, but most of all for my salvation. Being diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 26 was very difficult, but I cannot imagine how difficult it would have been had I not known that He is in control and that my life here on earth is just temporary. Because of my precious Savior dying on the cross for my sins, I can rest in the knowledge of my eternal life with Him in Heaven!!!!

One of my greatest earthly blessings is my precious daughter, Anabelle. She has grown and changed so much from year to year, and she is such a bright spot in my day. I love to hear the new and funny things she comes up with. Her charm, intelligence and wit blow me away every day. She is such a joy!!!!! I've posted pictures from each Easter so you can see how much she has grown!!!! What an angel! We are so looking forward to our little baby boy celebrating next Easter with us!
Easter 2007 - Anabelle is 9 months old

Easter 2008 - Anabelle is 21 months old

Anabelle and Daddy - Easter 2009

Anabelle and Mommy - Easter 2009

Clay County Fair

Sorry for the lack of updates. On April 4th, the 3 of us went to the Clay County Fair. Anabelle LOVED the rides and the animals, and Adam and I, of course, thoroughly enjoyed the fair food!!!! There is nothing like good ol' fair food!!!!!

Anabelle, the fair "DIVA"!

Anabelle and Daddy going down the slide

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Girl's Week (week of 3/9)

This week Adam was away on a work snow skiing trip. Anabelle and I took full advantage of the time and had a wonderful girl's week! On both Monday and Tuesday the weather was absolutely PERFECT so, Anabelle and I spent both mornings at the beach. She had such a blast playing in the sand, and I was able to enjoy the nice sunshine and some relaxation!

Other than lots of trips to the park, Tunnelz and Tumblez and dinner at Chick-Fil-A, Anabelle had 2 play dates this week. The first one was with one of my best buds, Amanda, and her two children, Ryland and Ava. We let Anabelle and Ryland feed the fish and turtles at the Town Center and then had a nice lunch at Cheesecake Factory. Anabelle was her usual sassy and bossy self, but Ryland took it all in stride! What little sweeties our children are!

The second play date was with another one of my friends, Madelen and her daughter Allison who is just 2 months older than Anabelle. She and Anabelle had a blast playing with Allison's toys! Madelen made yummy cupcakes to celebrate my upcoming birthday, which Anabelle thoroughly enjoyed!
We just had lots of fun girl time, but have been so ready for Adam to get home. We missed him terribly. Our house and lives are just not the same when he isn't home!!!!! We love you, ADAM!!!!! More than you will ever know!!!!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's a BOY!!!!!

Amy and I before the ultrasound

The Lord has been so good to us in so many ways. Today we had our 19 week ultrasound, and first and foremost, the baby is perfect! Such a little perfect miracle!!! So "fearfully and wonderfully made"!

Our sweet baby boy!

Not that we weren't thankful enough to have what seems to be ANOTHER perfect and healthy baby, we found out it is a BOY!!!!! To be blessed with a girl AND a boy is far more than we could have ever asked for or dreamed of! From the beginning of the pregnancy, Anabelle had always said that her "little baby 'broder' is in Ms. Amy's tummy"! Amazing what children just know!!!! ;) Today was such a special day, and I was glad that we could all be there with Amy, to witness it. Adam and I are just over the moon! Amy had already bought some boy clothes for the baby, and gave it to us at the ultrasound. (She believed it was a boy from the beginning)! What a precious person she is! Absolutely beautiful on the inside and out! I still cannot say enough about her! I just absolutely adore her! I'll be forever thankful to her and my sister-in-law, Jeanie, for helping us to bring our two miracles into this world!

After the ultrasound - proud daddy holding the ultrasound images!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


There seem to be a few very "dramatic" transitions within the first few years of a child's life. Yesterday we experienced one of those very important transitions!!! Anabelle took her first nap and had her first night's sleep in her big girl bed. Although there is a lot left to do to her new bedroom, we want her to start getting used to a big girl bed so we can start on the new baby's nursery.

Well, Anabelle didn't do so well during her first nap. Although she never tried to get out of her bed, her normal 2 - 3 hr nap was only 20 minutes. Last night, she feel asleep quickly and did pretty well! She whined out a lot and I would go and put her back into a "normal sleeping position" and cover her up. But, within minutes she would either be horizontal on the bed or would be sleeping right up against the bed rails. I'm sure after a few more nights in her big girl bed, she will be doing great! I'm absolutely exhausted from checking the video monitor every 30 minutes and going back to her room to move her back onto her pillow. I think every one of her transitions has been much harder on me than on her! First it was the bottle at 12 months, then the paci at 27 months, and now a big girl bed at 31 months. Where has my baby gone???? It brings tears to my eyes to think of all the things that made her seem like a baby, are all gone. The excitement of watching her grow and watching that adorable and funny little personality bloom as she gets older has made it so much easier to handle! She talks like she is a teenager sometimes, and she keeps us in stitches. My little baby is growing up, but I have a feeling that the fun with her has just begun!!!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

First Blog Entry

Well, with some hesitation, but definitely lots of excitement, I have jumped on the blogging band wagon! As this is our first post, let me get everyone up to speed! Adam, Anabelle and I are so excited about sharing our surrogacy journey, family excitement, (with lots of drama), leukemia updates, and most importantly, things we are learning from Jesus through it all! Our life has been so blessed, and we want to share in the excitement with our friends and family! So, with that..."here's to the adventure"!!!!!

To start I want to share that I was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia in November of 2004. I started a new medication called Gleevec, which I was on for just over 4 yrs, and it did WONDERFULLY for me. It put me into almost 100% remission, however, I still have .2% leukemia detectable in my body. Now, I am on a newer medication called Tasigna, which seems to have less noticeable side effects, (other than giving me pimples - which I haven't had to deal with in years - YUCK)!!! Through this diagnosis, Adam and I have learned many things and our relationship with the Lord has certainly deepened! It has been a roller coaster ride, and we have clung tightly to our Lord and Savior through it all, and have witnessed so many miraculous blessings on the way!

As most of you know, children are such miracles and blessings in their own right. Our first, Anabelle, was certainly a little miracle! Due to my leukemia medication being a "Class D" drug and possibly being harmful to a developing fetus, we had decided that it was best for me to not try to get pregnant. My sweet sister-in-law, Jeanie, offered to be our Gestational Surrogate, and carry our child for us. What a blessing!!!!! We went through the entire "invitro-fertilization" process where my eggs were stimulated, and taken to be fertilized with my husband's sperm, basically in a petri dish. They were only able to get 6 eggs from me, (most women at age of 27 get about 15 - 20 eggs). The doctors gave us little hope that any would fertilize. Well, all 6 did! The best two embryos were implanted into my sister-in-law, and the other 4 were frozen. They gave us a very low likely hood that this would take, and result in a pregnancy, but we had the Lord on our side, and were praying only for His will throughout the entire thing! One of the little embryos stuck, and Anabelle was born in July of '06!!!! And, she is such a little joy!!!! (Not to mention a handful)!!!!

Now, for the next miracle. We met our friend, Amy, back in the beginning of 2007. Amy has 4 children of her own, and lives very close to us. She had done one surrogacy at that point and the baby had been born a week after Anabelle. I instantly hit it off with Amy, and we fell in love with her family, as well! Amy had another surrogate child in July 2008. At this point, we were ready to move forward and use our remaining frozen embryos, and have Amy be our surrogate. We knew that the chances of a frozen embryo resulting in a pregnancy was slim, and we were informed that we only had 2 really healthy ones, as the other two did not look that great. Well, we thawed the best two, and they did not make the thaw. However, the remaining two were thawed, and after the thaw, their quality actually improved! (Now, you can't tell me the Lord didn't have His hand on this situation the entire time)!!!! Still, not the highest expectations that these last two would result in a pregnancy. We had prayed for the Lord's will, and knew that if it didn't result in a pregnancy, it was not His will. We had placed the entire thing in His hands, as had Amy. Well.....our 2nd miracle baby is on its way and due August 4th!!!!! We will find out the gender on March 5th! So, definitely be on the lookout for an update!!!!!

I ask you all to be praying for our precious friend, Amy, and the baby she is carrying for us. She is such an angel, and has been such a blessing! I cannot begin to imagine the number of lives she touches on a daily basis! She truly is an angel!