“Smile” 


Smile, though your heart is aching. 

Smile, even though it's breaking. 

When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by. 

If you smile, through your tears and sorrow. 

Smile, and maybe tomorrow. 

You'll see the sun come shining through, for you. 

Light up your face with gladness. 

Hide every trace of sadness. 

Although a tear, may be ever so near. 

That's the time that you keep on trying. 

Smile, what's the use of crying? 

You'll see that life is still worthwhile. 

If you, just, smile.

-Charlie Chaplin

Smile, one of my grandmas favorite songs. Someone told me just today, "A lot of what's in you, your grandmother put there.  Don't forget that."  I couldn't agree more. Grandma was and will remain an extension of the term "mother" in my life. I lived with her for a short while after my grandpa died, and I remember how she grieved. I mean, 40+ years of marriage will do that to you. Initially I didn't know what to say, I would offer my shoulder, rub her back and offer tissues. But mostly, just my presence was a huge help.  Here she was, one of the toughest women I knew, weak and fragile. I remember praying for that kind of love, naively admiring love and marriage when I truly didn't understand what went into it. Yes my grandma loved my grandpa, I know that.  But as an adult, I now understand  what it means to love someone with your whole heart. For grandma, it involved giving your all to them for over 40 years. And then one day, that person leaves and you're left alone.


I moved closer to my grandma when I came to college.  My mother passed my senior year and I always wanted to attend the University of Florida.  Each year we would make our trip down to Florida and spend Christmas or Easter. And each year we'd pass the UF campus and I would stare out of the window imagining what life in college was like. So it was a given that I would apply for college there and when accepted, I chose Florida. This was such a time of learning and growth for me as a young woman. I just lost my mother and then half of a year later I was in Florida with  my grandma and she picked right up right where I needed her to. I mean, we talked about everything and my grandma was not shy.  


While respecting the fact that I was a college student and in a new environment, she told me sweetly one day. "You can do whatever you want on Saturday night, but you will be in church Sunday morning."  And she meant it. And not only did she look for me, she saved a seat for me and whatever friends that decided to join. She didn't care much about how many or who, she just knew little miss Monet WAS going to be there. Period. That was another time of growth for me. Growth in my faith. I knew God, I knew the Lords Prayer, the books of the bible, and some scripture. Heck, I grew up in church since I was a kid! But there's a change that takes place in you when you're a young adult, and an adult. And the learning and growth that take place far exceed anything you learn as a child. That childhood experience was the foundation. But my growth  as a young adult was the building blocks. Each weekend (or week depending on the time in the semester), my grandma also expected me to take a drive out to her house. It didn't seem so far when we were kids, but my grandmas house was a good 30 minutes away, on a good day. And that drive in college, plus the time spent there took a good chunk of my Saturday or Sunday. Grandma would feed me, well. Talk to me, see how school was going, studying, friends, professors, you name it. She kept tabs on my every move and for good reason! I was young and immature and as much as I thought I had it together, I didn't. I came to school at 17, I was NOT together. Lol. After my meal, and no, you couldn't leave without eating, I would also zonk out for an afternoon nap. My grandmas guest room bed was so comfortable, so soft, and so big compared to my twin back at the Ivy House. Grandmas home was my get-away from all of the stresses of college life and my grandma pulled me out for that breather every week.


My grandma always had this thing she would say:

When I finished a big exam or paper: "We finished that big exam or paper."  

When I finished a semester: "We finished a semester."

When I scored an A in a class: "We scored an A."

When I graduated from college: "We graduated."  


She and I. Why? Because everything I went through, she went through, with me, because she was so heavily involved in my life and she was there every step of the way. I remember one night, I decided I was going to have a drink or two with my friends in their room. Her grandma senses must have gone off because she dropped in the next day for one her surprise inspections. No time to prep because she is calling me from down the road. She could immediately hear I wasn't feeling well. Upon arriving, grandma insisted we go to our little soup and salad spot, McCallister's for lunch, followed by a trip to Publix to ensure I had quality groceries. I got in the car looking a mess. Grandma, who never misses a thing, asked me if I was alright. I told her my tummy was upset... and she suddenly decided she was going to take me directly to the hospital because I needed a check-up!  I came clean, and accepted the lecture that followed. She was right. I was being stupid and I needed to be more responsible, especially as a "young lady". I continued to enjoy my time in college, but my grandmas advice and knowledge always stayed with me. She was definitely in my head.


Fast forward a few years and I finished graduate school. Oh excuse me, "We finished graduate school."  And I moved back to Gainesville to work. In my mind I thought I would stay with my grandma for awhile until I got on my feet. Wrong. After two weeks, I secured a job as a speech therapist and I was already working full-time at the part-time job I had in college. Just until the new job started. One day grandma said, "Okay, let's go look for some apartments". What?? Grandma wasn't going to let me freeload for months?! No way! She was always encouraging me and teaching me to be smart, responsible and independent and that included after becoming a recent college graduate.  Found my own place, 15 minutes to grandmas house, 15 minutes to work. I resumed my church involvement but stepped it up a notch.   I even began to participate in some of her club activities, after all, we both wanted to keep up with each other.


As you can imagine, with time came age and my grandma couldn't do the things she used to. I get it. It's funny how the tables turned a bit. My grandma, the once over protective guardian became a bit softer, and I turned into the over protective granddaughter. You messed with her, you messed with me.  I was right there, on the job. Time passed on and grandma aged more, I began to host Thanksgiving at my place. I could never match the meals that grandma made and to this day I would give anything to have a sample.


Fast forward to my wedding day and it was decided that grandma would move north to spend more time with family.  The day after marrying David, we loaded the car and moved to North Carolina. That was such a tough day. Yes, I was so happy and in love. Yet I was leaving Florida. Especially my daddy and grandma.  I cried and I wept, and David gave me a moment to get it together. But that move was so significant. Yes, "We got married". But no, "we weren't moving". At least not moving together. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but there was a change for me.


Since becoming pregnant, I decided to wait and tell my grandma face to face. After all, she didn't quite understand iPhone FaceTime, and she deserved more than just a phone call. Now that grandma has passed away, I regret that decision. How could I let that opportunity pass? She knew about my PCOS. And she knew of my fears years ago.  She also believed that I had nothing to worry about.


Once, a while ago, while visiting family.... My grandma was meeting one of her great-granddaughters for the first time.  As she was talking to the baby, "...Hi!! Aren't you beautiful? I'm great-grandma, I love you." Oh how the baby lit up. But then she said something that has rung deep in my heart for years.


"Now great-grandma just has to see your auntie Monet have a baby and then I can pass on to heaven."


Ouch.


So today, I sit here thinking of our relationship. --Not excluding my family, just speaking from my experience. I want to note they were always there with us and we're all a close family.--

But I reflect on our relationship, how far we've come. And I sit here pregnant with a very important surprise that I waited too long to share. And now it's too late. And to make matters worse, I'm here locked down in the hospital protecting our 3 little miracles.   How could I miss her funeral?  I've always enjoyed dreams that include deceased relatives. Especially ones with my mother because we always sit, talk, and catch up on life. It's like our girl time.  Maybe one day, after the triplets are born, I can share this huge surprise in one of my dreams with her.  


And tell my grandma, "We did it. We had 3 babies."


RIP grandma, and love you always! I will sweetly sing your song to the babies. And place some of your light within them. ❤️❤️


Smile.

 
 
Doctor: Okay Mrs. Payne, so based on this information, our next course of action will be to admit you into the hospital.


Silence. Blank. Stare.


David:  Okay.  So are you talking today, tomorrow, next week?


Doctor: Today.


More silence.  Blank stare.  Actually, I wanted to look at David and that doctor like the picture of the giraffe above.  But I was neither shocked nor sad.  Actually I knew, correction, we knew this day may come. And it did.  And it left me looking like the giraffe… in the picture above.


Pause.


I know what you’re thinking.  I already know.  If you’ve been following our blog posts thus far, I last left you with a post discussing our pregnancy involving quadruplets.  This is true.  And I have many, many more posts ready and prepared to share with you to continue the story.  However, we just couldn’t drop the entire story on you all at once, could we?  And this sudden change of events is cause for an immediate update.  I promise, promise, promise to continue the story soon.  


Play.


Last week was pretty interesting.  We went to the doctor for a routine visit, and left there and went straight to the hospital. I always knew medical bedrest was possible.  Every blog, book, doctor and nurse I spoke to told me it was possible.  I, knew it.  But until it happens, and it becomes a reality, you kind of wish it away and not really think it would happen.  I even had a few women close to me suggest that I pray about it and pray that God does not place me on bedrest.  Don’t get me wrong, I pray about any and everything.  Yet something kept me from praying “away” bedrest.  In fact, my prayer was along the lines of asking God to allow his will to be done.  And whatever he believed to be fruitful for our children, then it be done.  And I also prayed that he continue to speak to us through our doctors, using them as a tool to achieve his work, and that whatever our babies needed, it be done.  Correctly.  So there you have it.  I accepted the possibility of bedrest and I knew it may or may not happen.  Well today it did.  


What does medical bedrest mean to us?  A hospital stay, for an extended period of time, possibly weeks. It may involve just a few weeks, or until the babies are delivered.  We were 25 weeks at admittance, with the doctor’s goal set at 28 weeks, then 30, etc, etc.  Following check in, paperwork, gowns, socks, beds, vitals, and fetal monitoring, we were left with just the two of us… trying to figure out what the heck we were going to do next.  Afterall, this IS a major disruption in our lives. I don’t care how “prepared” you are for something like bedrest.  When that doctor says go to the hospital and check in, you go.  And while you’re “going”, you think of everything you didn’t do before you left home. Nesting, laundry, meal prep, bills, securing your pet, preparing that room, donating that last bag of clothing.  Everything. At least I did.  Next, we had to notify our parents, update them on the situation and make adjustments to accommodate this very real situation.


So here I am, writing you today from my hospital bed.  It’s cozy, I have a great view, the doctors and staff are all so warm and welcome. However, I am not home.  Not in my bed, not under my own covers and not snuggled up with my husband and doggy.  I’m here, far from home protecting our babies and ensuring they make it home with us one day soon.  It’s funny how these little lives take over your life so early and you fall in love before they are even born.  I’m reading some blogs and posts about how to survive bed rest, and I’m adjusting well.  David too has some adjusting to do.  Anything for our 3 P’s.



 
 
Blessed.  


That was the word of the week.  Word of the month!  All of those years of worry, all of the years of praying, and we were set on a path, a journey to lead us to not one but FOUR babies.  QUADRUPLETS!  In the two weeks that followed, our emotions went up and down, but those close to us used the word blessed.  I remember crying one night, asking David, “Why can’t we just be normal?”.  Here we were, all of these years setting ourselves up for our 1 baby, 1 car seat, 1 daycare bill, 1 nursery, with 1 crib.  And all the while, the Lord had other plans in mind.  Was I upset about our miracle?  No. Was I complaining about our blessings?  Not at all. However this was an experience that we did not plan for, and we were taken by surprise.  And the weight that comes with this type of blessing is massive.  Here I was, carrying 4 little lives, and I was expected to just carry on like everything is normal.  Why?  Because carrying a baby, especially multiple babies is so high risk, that the risk of miscarriage is great.  And given this risk, it has been suggested that we keep our miracle a secret for some time.  Goodness, I can only imagine the heartache of sharing your good news, only to come back and share the opposite.  So we sat on our miracle, bursting inside with great news, and we carried on with our lives.  


This blessing made me think back to the Sunday before we found out our test results.  Our Pastor’s message that Sunday was “You’re not alone”.  


The three key notes from the lesson were:

1. You’re Chosen;

2. You’re a Champion;

3. Walk in your Commission.  


At the end, for the altar call, Pastor Watson extended an invitation to come up for extra prayer.  David and I went up, hand in hand, knowing what we were praying for, and knowing what we were testing for the next day.   Pastor specifically laid hands on us both and stated, “Today, this week, this month, before 2016 is out, a major blessing is coming your way.   Mark this day, that the Lord has spoken.” He then continued to pray for renewed and strengthened peace and faith.  The next day we learned we were pregnant, and shortly after we learned we were having 4 babies!  David joked with him a few months later, after sharing the news, and said, “…next time, we don’t want you to lay your whole hand on us, just a pinky finger”.  Because clearly our Pastor heard a word from the Lord and it surely came to pass!  


We joke about that now, but truthfully, God had been speaking a word like that to us for months before we became pregnant.  Years even.  That is why we held onto our faith and knew a blessing was coming, we just had to hold out and wait for him to say yes.  ‘Sit back and watch God work!’- was my saying that rang through my head all week…and it was true.  He wove us a blessing beyond anything we could imagine.  And we just thank him from the depths of our souls.  
 

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    About Monet

    Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Monet is a classically trained musician, with a love for children and education.  Upon entry into the University of Florida in 1999, she changed from a major in Music Education to a major in Communication Sciences and Disorders with aspirations to be a Speech-Language Pathologist.  She completed post-graduate work at The State University of New York - University at Buffalo (SUNY-UB) in 2005 with a Master's in Speech Pathology.  She then began her career in educationally-based Speech/Language therapy, working in Gainesville, FL; Charlotte, NC; and now Rockledge, FL.  Monet also works privately as a Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist.  
    Monet's inspiration for writing began with a dream in writing a music appreciation book geared at children, and was further inspired by her journey towards motherhood.  She and David hope you enjoy their blog, and that it will inspire other women, of all races and ethnicities to seek help if needed in their journey, and to not hide behind societal or social norms and influences. It is difficult to speak up and out about personal matters, but its easier when you have a team of family and friends on your side to support you along the way.  Many blessings and please comment throughout the posts.  

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