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Sophia’s Birth Story | A Story of Hope

On June 25, 2013 I came out of the bathroom beaming with the news that we were going to be a family of four. Baby #2 was on the way in our family and we couldn’t be more excited. We were thrilled. We kept the news to ourselves for a few days, and I remember laying in bed saying to each other “Can you believe we are having another baby?!?!” It wasn’t too long before we had our first doctor’s appointment where everything looked perfect. We heard the most precious sound as we listened to our baby’s heartbeat, and quickly went and bought Stella her very first BIG SISTER shirt. We Skyped with my Mom while Stella wore her shirt, and eventually put a picture of Stella in her shirt on Facebook to announce the news.

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On October 4,2013 we had our anatomy scan where we saw a beautiful healthy baby GIRL. Immediately we began imagining what it would be like to have two little princesses at our house. We thought about tea parties, dress up, and the giggles of two little girls that would be in our future. When we left our appointment we headed right to Kohls and bought Sophia Kate her very first little dress. We looked through the whole store and settled on a gray dress with white polka dots and a soft teal onesie to go under the dress.

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1378516_10151667284961500_797493274_nI really loved being pregnant, and had a perfect pregnancy. We spent the last months of pregnancy preparing for our little girl to arrive. Stella was so excited to meet the baby and would kiss my tummy every day and talk to the baby. Soon our house was full of baby gear, and hospital bags were being packed. The last things were bought and we started to play the waiting game. Because Stella had been such a big baby I went in for an ultrasound on February 4th to check on Sophia. She looked perfect and was getting bigger. We could even tell on the ultrasound that she looked like her big sister.

 

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On February 7th everything changed. It was going to be a busy day, there were lots of errands to run. I sat down in my favorite chair with my Bible and my journal that morning. I could feel my sweet Sophia moving in my tummy, and in that precious moment I wrote these words. “God’s ways don’t always make sense to our finite minds, but we can always trust that His way is perfect. Help me to follow You no matter what, even when it doesn’t make sense. Help me to trust Your heart and rest in You, for You are good”.

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The rest of the day was busy with errands, and picking up last minute baby things. That evening when we settled in bed I realized that it had been a little while since I had felt a kick. It had happened many times before so I didn’t mention anything to Jeremy as he fell asleep. I just decided to wait to fall asleep until I felt my baby girl move. I waited for about an hour before I realized that something was terribly wrong. I laid there in bed and I prayed that I would feel a little movement, but I couldn’t shake the sick feeling in my stomach. I woke Jeremy and told him that we needed to go to the hospital. For a moment I think he thought about telling me to wait longer, but he could see on my face that something was not right.

We drove to the hospital and as he held my hand he said “no matter what happens, God will get us through.” When we arrived on the labor and delivery floor and signed in the nurses were so sweet. They took me to a labor and delivery room and used the heart monitor to try to find Sophia’s heartbeat. After a moment I could see the face of the experienced nurse start to shift. Her cheerful spirit was fading as she called for the charge nurse to come look. At first they tried to tell us that she might be hiding, but as I looked at my very pregnant belly I knew there wasn’t a place for her to hide. The charge nurse tried to find her heartbeat as well until after a long while of searching they called for the sonographer. As she rolled her cart in and placed the gel on my tummy it only took an instant for our sweet Sophia’s image to appear on the screen. Our precious baby girl, with a still heart.

All the sonographer could say was “I am so sorry” as she shook her head to the nurse. In that moment I felt completely numb. It took a moment for the tears to even form as I felt so many dreams being shattered. Jeremy fell to his knees at the side of my bed as we both wept.

We had to wait until the next morning to be induced so during those first few hours we called family and friends to tell them of the news. As soon as we received the news we so badly wanted to cuddle up with our sweet Stella, but we waited until the next morning until she woke up. What a comfort our sweet Stella is to us. Throughout our stay in the hospital we had so many sweet friends and family members visit us. On Saturday morning Jeremy put an announcement on Facebook about what had happened. It was hard to think of the right words to say, but what happened next was amazing. Comments and messages started to pour in from people we knew, and from people we had never met. We received such an amazing outpouring of love in those hours that we were overwhelmed. We sat for the long induction process and read and cried as we saw each comment come in.

The induction process was started and it just didn’t seem to be working. In the moment it was frustrating to have the medications not work, but in hindsight we were able to spend that time with friends, and with each other and the Lord and start to process what was going to take place. One of the sweetest moments on Saturday was having our sweet friends surround my hospital bed and pray with us. As guests came the comment we heard often was that they could feel God’s peace in our hospital room.

We didn’t get much sleep in those few days in the hospital. just a few little naps here and there. At one point Saturday night I was having a few contractions and climbed out of bed to sway a bit. While Jeremy slept a bit I prayed and cried. The words to a song about Job that I learned in college came to mind, so I sang in the night beside my hospital bed. “The Lord giveth, he taketh away, blessed be the name of The Lord. I served him before, and I will serve Him today, blessed be the name of The Lord.” I didn’t know in that moment that Jeremy was actually awake as I sang but a few weeks later he told me that it was in that moment that he knew that I was going to be ok, and that we were going to get through this.

The contractions went away and the morning came. On Sunday morning and our dear friend Rachel who is a chaplain in a women’s prison took the day off to come stay with us. She was supposed to have moved the month before but I believe that the Lord delayed her job transfer so that she could be with us. She had a message prepared for the women at her job that day called “It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Later”. She shared it with us that morning and we took such comfort in knowing that though we we will not have our sweet Sophia in this world, we will see her again in a little while.

Sunday was a slow day as they continued to try to progress my induction, but things did not seem to be moving. My doctor was on call on Sunday which was such a blessing to have her there with me though we cried as we saw each other for the first time. Friends left around 8:00pm on Sunday and I skyped with my Mom for awhile until around 9:30 when they came in to check how far I had progressed. Sunday morning I had been only 2cm dilated and when they checked me at 9:30pm I was only a 2-3cm.

As the nurse chatted with Jeremy and I excused myself to the restroom I began to feel strong contractions. It had only been a few minutes since I was checked and I was in so much pain. I really wanted a natural delivery but I was having such hard contractions for only being 2-3 cm that I thought I might need to get an epidural. When I came out I was in so much pain and my doctor arrived. She saw how much pain I was in and said that she should check me, I told her that I had just been checked 15 minutes before but she decided to check anyway. I was 9 cm, and with one more contraction while she checked me I was a 10 and I was ready to push. Definitely no time for an epidural so I was able to deliver naturally.

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So many people had said how hard labor and delivery were going to be because I already knew the end result, and I was scared of what it was going to be like going through so much pain knowing that my little one was already gone. But it wasn’t how I thought it would be. I still was excited to see my sweet girl who I had waiting almost 10 months to meet.

After only about 20 minutes of pushing, only an hour after labor had begun at 10:36pm on February 9,2014, Sophia Kate Schmucker was born. The room was silent as she entered the world. There was no sweet cry. Only the hushed tears of the doctor and nurses. Yet, it was in that moment that we finally got to meet the little girl we had so anxiously been awaiting. We were able to look at her sweet little body so perfectly formed by the Creator. I held her and wept as I admired every single feature.

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Labor had left me tired, so I rested while Jeremy went with the nurse to bathe her. When they returned with her swaddled and  dressed in the little gray polka dot dress we had bought for her when we found out she was a girl I just held her. I was so tired and Jeremy told me to rest so I laid down and held her in my arms as I slept for a little while. At first I felt guilty for wanting to rest, but in retrospect I am so glad that I did. Just laying there with her precious body laying next to me felt so normal. I had done the same thing with Stella so many times when she was a newborn.

The next several hours were so precious as we held her and commented on every part of her and who she looked like, and how much we loved her.  We took photos of her, and had our friend Nicole come and take photos of us all together.

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When the time came that we would leave our room and have to say “see ya later” to our precious Sophia, we took our time. Jeremy and I sat on the couch in the labor and delivery room and just talked as I held her. We talked about how good God is, and we talked about what we had learned in these hard days and how Sophia had changed us. We shared Scripture with each other that God had comforted us with. We changed her out of her dress and swaddled her. We thanked God for her short life and we prayed that her life would have influence and that people would be drawn to Christ because of our sweet baby girl. We held her and sang “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, through tears we worshipped our Savior for this precious gift. I have never felt God’s presence so near as in those moments.

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I can’t help but thank God for this precious girl and the time that I had with her. I wish that I had so much more time, but I am so grateful for the time that we were given. 37 beautiful weeks that I will never forget. I know this may seem like a sad story, but it is also a story of hope because we know that this is not the end of the story. Sophia’s life on this earth was short, but we look forward to the day when we will worship our Savior next to our precious little girl who is worshipping Him already.

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Nicole

I’ve followed you on Instagram for a while now and have been praying for your family constantly. You are so strong and faithful. God bless you! <3

Samantha Egan

Your family is such an example of joy that only Christ can bring. Thank you for sharing your story of hope and faith and for challenging the rest of us to love Him more.
Praying for you as you miss her presence here and anxiously await your reunion.

Caitie Sheppard

Weeping as I read…sad tears and happy tears! Though the sad tears aren’t for Sophia Kate…just for you and Jeremy. I wish there were words to express just how much my heart hurts for you both. Thank you for your testimony and for your sacrifice of praise…I know the Lord is being magnified thru the short life of baby Sophia! I love you both and little Stella too…

Donna S Wysong

You all are soo precious! Thank you for sharing, we think of and pray for you all so very often!

Kami Van Slyke

Thank you for sharing your story of hope. As I walked a similar path in life losing 3 pregnancies in succession, the Lord comforted me by sending the reminder that my babies were worshiping at His throne – the greatest achievement a mother can ever attain. He does give, and He does take away…and He is always, always good. Bless your family.

Lisa Palmer Gupton

God bless you all. Thank you for sharing your beautiful girl’s story. I am a NILMDTS photographer and I am so glad that you have these beautiful images to remind you of how gorgeous she is. I look forward to meeting her one day up in Heaven.

Michal Senora Naugle

Thank you for sharing your story, Kristin. I love you guys so much. Like Caitie said below, my heart hurts for you both . . . I praise God for the grace He has given to you. Continuing to pray for your precious family. God be glorified.

Sandy Heale Thompson

Thank you so much for sharing your hearts. God loves you so much. We just had some friends who said see you later to their precious little boy at 24 weeks. I’ll share this with them, and I’ll add your names to those I pray for in this time of hurting. You are a blessing to so many and eternity will tell the influence of your testimony.

Nicholle Peterson

You faith is SO inspiring!!! Praying for your family! Thank you for sharing such a powerful message! God will be glorified!!!

Ashley Pesata

Thank you for sharing sweet Sophia’s story.. Praying for your comfort and so humbled by your faith. You are a light to others even in this challenging time. <3

Cindy Mrva

Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. May God continue to bring you and Jeremy comfort and rest.

Cathy Dey

What a wonderful testimony in a difficult time. Praying for you.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story and for bringing God glory through your response in the midst of intense suffering. I cried all the way through it, and I am saying a prayer for you now. May God continue to carry you and lavish His love on you. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a couple of weeks but this is my first time stopping by your blog. <3

Helen Kam

Tears are streaming down my face as I read your post. Thank you for sharing your story and your faith. Excited for you and the rest of us to meet precious Sophia in our heavenly home one day :) -fellow p31 mommy

ANN DAVIS

Just read your story and cried the entire time. You have gone through so much as a young couple, but the Lord is with you all the way and you have had such a great attitude about it and have praise him all the way. I know that the Lord is with you and your family.You will meet her in heaven and be together again. Just remember Romans 8:28. I am praying you and hope you will come to Lighthouse to see us soon. We love and miss you very much.

Ami Adams

I cried as I read this, tears of sadness and joy. My heart aches for the pain you and your family went through. We will never understand why things like this happen, but I am so humbled and encouraged by the faith you and Jeremy have. Even through one of the worst things a parent could ever go through, you chose to worship Him. Thank you for sharing your story.

I’ve always believed that we woman are the strength builders and by sharing your story you are helping other woman/parents to also be strong and to have Faith. I commend you for sharing your beautiful story. Your Sophia is definitely smiling down on you and your family from heaven. God Bless

Hanna Steinert

I just read your story and cannot stop weeping. Holding my son in my arms like you are holding Stella, I am amazed by your overwhelming faith in the Lord. We will pray for your family!!

Kristin, I’m joining you for your 31 days of Scripture reading challenge on Instagram – I wanted to learn more about you and your family, which led me to this post. As many others have noted, I too cried my way through it. I am so sorry for your loss, but my heart is flooded with joy as I sense your true peace & hope in Christ. Thanks for sharing so eloquently! Looking forward to getting to know you better as I continue to read your blog in the coming days!

Brittany R. White

Wow.. Thank you for sharing this story of hope. My heart is weeping… but you gave me hope. Thank you for this.

Brandy Kimbrough

As a woman that is 38 weeks pregnant, the title of your story caught my attention. I never thought the story you would share with us would be about the loss of your baby girl and how absolutely beautiful your faith is in the Lord. As I read your story, my face is just flooded in tears because I couldn’t imagine saying “goodbye” to by son before even saying “hello”. Thank you so much for sharing such a difficult time, this has shown me that my faith in Him needs to be stronger and that I need to find comfort in Him even with the most difficult times.

Anonymous

This is such a beautiful story and your faith is amazing and inspiring. As a labor & delivery nurse for over 10 years I have seen far to many families experience this loss and it is heartbreaking every time. As I read your story with tears falling, I am Thankful to God that He gave you and your husband the grace and strength you needed. I found your blog when looking at the give me Jesus mugs…I’m so happy I did and I look forward to reading more of the story:)

Tamisha

Kristin, I found you on Instagram today, I started following you. I then check out your website then I went straight over to your blog. I read Sophia story tears started to flow from my eyes. You guys give me so much hope right now about life. May god continue to bless you and your family!!!!!!!

I was so touched by your story. I couldn’t stop crying as I read about your terrible tragedy. You are such a beautiful family with two gorgeous littles girls! Your strength and faith throughout this journey has humbled me. I also have a little girl who is going to be a big sister soon, which made your story all the more real to me. I did not know you personally, but my husband and I went to PCC and worked at the ABeka Book Distribution Center at the same time you guys were there. I was friends with some of your roommates and saw you and your hubby around campus a lot. Your honest port rail of your feelings and your “Job” like attitude through all that you have been through, has changed my life and made a difference to so many others. The Floyd’s will be praying for you all as you continue to walk on this difficult path. May God Bless you above all that you ask for your unwavering faith.

[…] February-brought almost unbearable pain, when we got the call in the middle of the night that my oldest daughter lost a baby to a stillborn death  at 37 weeks. You can read her story here. […]

[…] + An incredibly moving testimony: Kristin shares the story of the birth and loss of her daughter Sophia and how she changed her. Sophia’s Birth Story: A Story of Hope. […]

Danilee Aristil

Thank you so much for sharing your amazing story! The testimony of you and your husbands faith is amazing!

[…] post on her blog. She’s so lovely, friends. So darn lovely and is a mama of three girls, one is in heaven and two in her […]

[…] next, the lovely Kristin Schmucker is a Beautifully Brave mama to three girls: one is in heaven and two are in her arms. She blogs over at her namesake blog, where she’s currently in the […]

Jacqueline Light

I just can’t stop crying but am more overwhelmed with your faith! I You are an Inspiration

Kari Gonzales Watters

Beautiful Sophia.

Jessica Markoya

oh my gosh…crying as Im reading your post. I had two miscarriages and this hit home. Grieving for you and reminded again that God is good in the midst of our pain.

[…] especially stuck out to me… “there’s purpose in the pain.” When I think of Jeremy & Kristin’s story, I see that so clearly. Amidst such heartache, these two were able to trust in the Lord that he had […]

Joyce Mullenix

Thank you for sharing. I also wept as I read it. I am glad that that I had the opportunity to work with you on the past and to see the growth in your faith. Take care.

Robin Knoll

Sitting in the coffeeshop, crying, because this one hits to close to home. I know exactually how you felt when everyone was crying except for that sweet baby. Thank you for being vulnerable, and honest, and holding true to the fact that the Lord is still good. It’s rare to find someone who will worship through tradedy, instead of blaming the maker. This is such a beautiful tribute.

Beth

9 years ago this last December, my nephew was born, 10lbs, 21 inches, and having already gone on to eternal rest with our Heavenly Father. Thank you for sharing this story with us and giving me a bit of perspective into how my SIL must have felt during those hours of grief, and still even today. Hugs for your family, and congratulations on your newest little joy

Liliet Prevost Gomez

I just found you through Instagram while nursing my baby to sleep, what a story of hope. Thank you for sharing, God bless you and your family for remind me that it’s the quality what counts not the quantity. Sophia’s life is still making an impact today

[…] 4. Not long after losing her daughter, my friend wrote something on social media that I’ll never forget.  She wrote that losing her daughter made her want to go out and try all those things she’d always wanted to do, but never had. When I read that, it was like the Lord wrote it on my heart: I would write a book. I’m thankful for my friend’s influence. Even in her darkest moments she was faithful. To read more about her story, go here. […]

[…] shares on her website about the very difficult trial of experiencing the unexpected stillbirth of their baby girl. Her testimony of how God brought her out of the pit of despair touched my heart, and I know it […]

Kristin’s Book List | March 2014

Just two books on this list since February’s list was a little late since I finished up at the beginning of this month. I am always looking for great books, so feel free to leave a comment if you have a recomendation. I am also planning to do a little review of some of my favorite books that I read last years. So look out for that soon.

God is Able | Priscilla Shirer

I have read several of Priscilla Shirer’s books and I always love them so I was excited when I saw this on sale at Lifeway. (Lifeway always has a great selection of books on sale for $5, and they always get me…lol) I really enjoyed reading this book, and I especially love that the entire book was centered on one verse of Scripture, and the fact that God is able to do so much more than we could ever imagine in our lives. I love Priscilla’s natural writing style and personal stories, but also that she uses a ton of Scripture. Reading her books feels like having coffee with a good friend, and at the very same time as convicting as sitting in a powerful church service. definitely enjoyed this book.

CLOUT | Jenni Catron

Part of the description for the book states, “Clout is power and influence. It is an undeniable trait that opens doors and moves mountains. You have it, and you can use it to change the world around you. With Scripture and stories from her own life, Jenni Catron maps out the pitfalls and clear paths on the way toward discovering and unleashing your very own clout.” I had seen this book pop up on my instagram feed a few times so when I had the opportunity to get a free copy to review I was really excited about it. The book was good and had a lot of valuable insights about leadership. I did feel like it focused more on leadership in the workplace and less with ministry leadership and personal influence which was what I was expecting. That is not necessarily a bad thing but it didn’t seem to apply as much to me as I thought it would as a stay at home mom and small business owner. I also wish that the author would have used more Scripture to back up the points that she made. I think that it was a good book with lots of little nuggets of truth, but not necessarily applicable to the stage of life that I am in.

Passion | Louie Giglio

It was at some point while I was in college that I first heard of Louie Giglio, but it wasn’t until Jeremy and I visited his church for an Easter Sunday service that I realized what a dynamic speaker and teacher he was. I was so excited to have the opportunity to review a free copy of his new book Passion| The Bright Light of Glory which is also the name of the yearly conferences that he holds for college students. This book is compiled of several talks by different speakers that have been given at Passion conferences. The goal of Passion, and of this book are to magnify the name of Christ, and I couldn’t love that more. Each chapter was great, and I loved the stories of so many people, young and old, who have dedicated their lives to making Christ known. Even though the Passion conference is designed for young people I think that this book can be encouraging to all ages. The message of the supremacy of Christ is valuable to all generations and the sermons and talks in the book are such a great reminder of why we should live to make Christ known.

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Two Commands

Yesterday I talked a bit about success, and what it isn’t, so today I thought I would talk a bit about what it is. I have realized that most blog posts that I write come out of conversations that Jeremy and I have. We talk, and then I think, and then I blog. The amazing thing is that sometimes we have different conversations and they seem totally unrelated until I sit and process them and realize that they really go together.

How do we measure success? What are we called to do?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:37-40

We are called first to love the Lord with every part of ourselves. To give Him everything, every aspect of lives. If we love Him with all of ourselves, He will be our everything, and we will be willing to give Him anything. He will be the One that we run too, He will be what we think about, He will be our Everything.

The second part is that we are called to love people. We are called to give of ourselves, to pour our hearts out to those we meet. We are called to be vulnerable and to help those that feel helpless. I love this quote from Katie Davis “I have learned that I will not change the world. Jesus will do that. I can, however, change the world for one person. So I keep stopping and loving one person at a time. Because this is my call as a Christian.”

What we don’t realize is that when we get the first commandment right and we really love the Lord with our everything, the second commandment just flows out of us. We love people because we love Him.

I am not always sure how loving others should flow out of me, and sometimes I feel the Spirit prompting me to step out of my comfort zone, and I ignore it. But, I don’t want to ignore it. I want to love others even when it isn’t what is comfortable, and even when they aren’t just like me.

Help me Lord to love you more, and to love the people that you love so much

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The Measure of Success

What is true success? Jeremy and I have been talking about this a lot recently. It seems that the worlds view of success, and God’s view of success are two very different things. Over the past year we have been trying to intentionally be conscious about our focus. We want to focus on the gospel, our relationship with God, and our precious family.

It is so easy to get distracted by things that don’t really matter, and then to measure success by things that aren’t the most important. Success is not measured by bigger houses, more expensive cars, or even by financial security. Success is measured by a life that makes an impact on this world, a life that draws others to Christ and lives for Him.

What good is it if we have a beautiful home, but do not use it as a place to teach our children about Him?

What good is it if we have more than enough financially, but do not use it to help those without?

What good is it if we give our children everything, but we speak of them negatively on social media?

What good is it if we have a secure job, but never mention the name of Christ to our co-workers?

What good is all this world has to offer if we miss what is most important?

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Caitie Sheppard

So very true…Thanks for the reminder! :) ♥

Ashli Brown

Awesome word!

For this child I prayed…

When I was pregnant with Sophia, I prayed for her. I prayed so many things for her, but I always came back to my two greatest desires for her. That she would know and love Jesus, and that she would draw others to Him. It is amazing to me to think about how deeply she knows Jesus in this moment, and I can’t wait for the day when we will worship Him together. She has already drawn me so close to Jesus and Jeremy has said the same along with so many friends who have told us how impacted they have been by her short life. And, I truly believe that her life will continue to draw others to Him.

I think we are so often obsessed with our purpose in this life and rightly so. We want to fulfill what we were put here to do. Then I realize…Sophia’s life purpose was fulfilled in her short life.

It is tempting for me to feel that my prayers were not answered, but they were. I prayed for her, and God gave her to me. She was taken far sooner than I wanted, but her life was real and full of so much purpose. I will probably never know the reach that her short life had, but I know this…she has drawn her Mama to Jesus arms. The same arms that hold my baby girl, hold her Mama too.

For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him. I Samuel 1:27

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Donna Carr

such a perfect perspective… blessed be the name of Jesus.

Cami Perez

Very well thought and expressed Kristin. I completely agree.

Jennifer Brown

Hugs sweet friend. I’ve been praying and sharing Sophia’s story with so many. Love you!