Friday, August 23, 2013


Wednesday is a big BIG day for me.  I'm letting go of the last possibility that I will carry more children in this life.  I'm finding closure. :)

I've been in pain pretty much since the day I "blossomed" (HA!) back in 4th grade.  Yes, you heard that right.  And I'm not sure that I know what a pain-free day is like for a woman.  After 3 very necessary surgeries and clean-ups in the past 14 years, my doctor finally mentioned the big word to me 3 years ago.


But I wasn't ready to hear it.  The "H" word had been preceded in the conversation by Stage 4 Endometriosis, complex cysts, and "It doesn't get much worse than this."  I just sat there letting it sink in and not wanting to hear it.  I wanted to say WAIT!  I haven't had my babies yet.  I haven't felt that joyous movement from inside me.  I have NEVER had a positive pregnancy test.  I haven't had an ultrasound where anyone smiled and measured a heartbeat.  I've tried and tried so hard.  I just did In Vitro twice last summer, and it broke my heart into a million little pieces.  It's just not FAIR....Please don't take my hope from me.  Let me have one more moment of possibility...

But it came out as "... Not yet."

Fortunately, my doctor is an ANGEL and not only did she not push the matter, but she was inspired to help me prepare for one last attempt at In Vitro.  She put me on certain medications that would help me temporarily and lead me right up to the moment when I met with Dr. Awesome in Salt Lake City.  See HERE to read more about him.

3 years later, and 2 miracle BABIES later.... I sat across from my doctor and she said the "H" word again.  This time I'm ready.

And I'm SOOOOOO very excited to be free.  I've jokingly mentioned for years that my womanly innards were just mocking me anyway.  And Kevin and I are so grateful for the 3 miracles that we get to kiss and hug and tuck into their beds at night.  We are so content.  We are grateful.  We are overwhelmed to be called their Daddy and Mommy.  And we feel very undeserving of their precious love.  Everyday.

So I'm starting a new chapter in my life.  Physical strength, hopefully free from pain!  And watching my children grow (which I cherish daily anyway), knowing that my family is complete.

I feel so relieved.

I feel free from the burden of infertility finally, though I will NEVER forget the struggle and journey.  It's made me the woman, wife, and mother that I am today.

I feel FREE.

See you on the other side. :)


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Gardner Girl Am I

This Memorial Day brought the fulfillment of a very special promise.  My grandfather died 10 years ago this Easter time at the age of 93.  I've missed him so much since then.  When he passed, he was quite frail and often had brief moments when he did not recognize those who loved him dearly.  But I will always remember when my grandpa was strong enough to pick me up and bounce me on his hip when I was little.  He used to call me his "imagination maker."  It was wonderful to see so much of my Gardner family again at Grandpa's funeral.  Aunts, Uncles, and cousins cousins cousins!  Some of us hadn't been in the same room for many years. The day after his service, several of the family made the drive to Star Valley Wyoming where Grandpa was laid to rest.  It broke my heart, but I woke up very sick that morning and couldn't make the trip.  Kevin promised me that one day he would take me to see my Grandpa once again.

Grandma passed away two years ago at the age of 97.  And TODAY would be her 100th birthday!  We're thinking of you today and always, Grandma. :)

My last experience with my Grandma on this earth is a very tender one.  I was staying with family in Utah that March, 2011 and Kevin and I were undergoing our very last attempt at in vitro.  My mom stayed with me for about three weeks during that time to help with Noah and with the whole process.  Mom wanted to spend some time with Grandma while she was there, so she picked her up and brought her to my brother's house where we were staying.  I often felt that Grandma wasn't 100% with us toward the end of her life.  She didn't recognize where she was a lot of the time and she would fret and worry a lot about being away from familiar things.  But as my mom took her by the arm and walked her into the house, I met Grandma face to face and said "Hi Grandma."  She looked right at me, and it was like her eyes cleared.  She smiled and put her hand on my face like she always did and I knew that she recognized me for a brief window of time.  I knew that she was truly with me for right then.  It was all I needed. :)

My mom recalls another amazing moment with Grandma during that trip and during my IVF experience.  Grandma lived with my amazing uncle and aunt until she passed and Mom was there visiting one evening.  She and my aunt were talking very quietly about how I was doing and how everything was going with the doctors.  No one had said anything to Grandma about what I was going through or that, once again and for the last time, I was trying have a baby.  When Mom said goodnight, Grandma gave her a hug and clear as day said, "Tell Nicole that it will all be okay."  Mom was shocked by how lucid Grandma was and how strong her words were.  I think maybe Grandma was close to passing through the veil and perhaps was even surrounded by those who have passed and those who were coming soon. :)

This May Kevin kept his promise and took us all to see Grandpa and Grandma once again. :)

And that special fulfillment would have been enough.  But MY dad and mom also flew into Salt Lake City and drove up to meet us so we could go together.  It was an amazing day and it couldn't have been prettier.

I was very pregnant( and SOOOOOOO ecstatic!!!)  and expecting TWINS when Grandma died, so I couldn't be at her funeral.  This was a beautiful day to be able to see them both and to bring my children to "meet" them.  Noah remembers Grandma very fondly.  And Mom hadn't been back since Grandma's grave marker was placed.

Noah wanted to bring them special cards that he'd made, and the kids each brought a butterfly for them.

Here is my Mom and her parents.  When we went to leave, Mom and I both wiped away tears and she said softly, "I love you."

Noah took this picture of us!

Hopefully it won't take another 10 years to bring us back to see them again.  I can't wait to have a LONG conversation with Grandma about being the mother of twins and all that it entails.

Love you, Grandpa and Grandma!

Till we meet... :)

Friday, June 7, 2013


I love that my children have very tender relationships with their great-grandparents.  How amazing that they even know them!  The last of my great-grandparents passed away the year that I was born, so I have no memories or connections with them other than that I can't WAIT to meet them after this life and to know them as family and as a part of who I am.  As the oldest, Noah has been able to know and love 6 of his great-grandparents.  Lucky LUCKY boy.

We spent this Memorial Day weekend catching up with Grandma and Grandpa Stephie in Logan, UT.  I LOVE everything about their home and am constantly flooded with childhood memories whenever I visit.  I smile when I observe Noah and his little cousins exploring all the closets and secret rooms and finding the old  toys that we all used to play with when we were that age.  It's a truly beautiful place.  With two of my absolute FAVORITE people inside. :)

And I L-O-V-E seeing Xiomara with Grandma Stephie.

Xio is named after my Grandma and is so very much like her.  See HERE for more info on that. :)

Now that my Xio is toddling around and her personality is coming out in bucketfuls, I can't believe just how very alike she and Grandma Stephie are... TRULY.  Even in the color of their hair.

So I can't WAIT for you all to be the judge.  Here are some pictures that I love to compare, especially now that all three of us are about the same age in these photos.  Xio definitely has SMITH in her.  But I think she's a Stephenson girl, down to the dimple and feistyness.

What do YOU think?

Grandma Stephie - About 2 years old:

(Seen here with my great uncle, LaVon)

Me (Nicole...) - 2 years old:

Xiomara Marian - 20 Months old

Love my little redhead... and the very special lady for whom she's named.  :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013


After a nice Easter Sunday nap, the Smith kiddos had an Easter egg hunt in the living room.  They laughed as I told them about how there was ALWAYS an egg hidden on Grandpa's coo coo clock when I was a little girl.  Always.  We found some pretty awesome hiding places as well and the kids had a blast together.  It wasn't the most challenging egg hunt that Noah has participated in, but I think he lost himself in the moment with Liam and Xio.

Which is what I hoped for. :)


If you haven't noticed yet from the previous pictures, Liam wouldn't sit still for long... Consequence of a super FUN Easter egg hunt I suppose. :)  We sat together for a few pictures and ended up with some awesome photo bombs!  I love this...

Happy April to you all!!!  I hope you are enjoying rain (not SNOW anymore) and lots of beautiful sunshine.

My flowers are poking their heads out from the earth and I can't wait to see them soon.