Guys - God can use all things and all people to bring them closer to Himself -
Check out this amazing and beautiful story of Amy Milton and her walk with God - her testing of her faith, motherhood, womanhood and romance.
This is part 1 of the 2 part series - get ready to cry.
motherhood. It doesn't look the same for any of us. But you know what all of us are carrying around our own baggage. Whether it's helping your children with autism or anxiety, living with chronic illness, surviving from abuse and all of its forms are feeling depressed or stuck in your life. Girl, I got you. We are going to talk about all those things, but we're also going to talk about super fun and nerdy things too. Like historical costuming or sewing, minimalism, hair and makeup gaming, DIY crafts, motherhood, brand hood is not even a word, and homeschooling, but mostly you are going to see Jesus every day. What are my friends, thank you so much for coming back to nesting early birds. And I'll be with you in just a second. The ESP or the English Standard Version of the Bible says, Now who is there to harm you, if you are zealous for what is good. But even if you should suffer for righteousness is sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts. Honor Christ, the Lord is holy. Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. Yet, do it with gentleness and respect. Having a good conscience so that when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's Will than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous that he might bring us to God being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. If you wanted to hear the what the word testimony means, in a regular definition, not Christian speak. The dictionary says it is a formal written or spoken statement, especially one given in a court of law, for instance, evidence or proof provided by the existence or appearance of something. It's also known as a public recounting of a religious conversion or experience. So without further ado, please welcome my friend as she gives her beautiful, yet bittersweet testimony.
Hello, everybody. Welcome back to nesting with the early birds. I'm your hostess Shannon Earley, and today I have a super special guest with me. She's not only the mother of two special needs boys. She has also been married to her friend and love of her life for 11 years. She is a super smarty pants with a Master's of Science in marine science from the College of William and Mary. You might have heard of it as the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. And she's going on her third year of mops leadership. She's been enrolled ranging from hospitality, creative activities, and she's going to be this year's co coordinator. She is a kind hearted, good natured, intelligent and crafty lady. Please welcome my friend, Amy Milton.
Well, hello, Shannon.
Amy, I am so pumped that you're here. This is exciting. It is exciting. It is your first podcast. It really is my first book. But you're a podcast addict as well. Right?
Oh, yes. And actually my oldest is becoming a podcast addict as well. That is so cute. always asking me to put one on whenever we're in the car. Oh, really? Like what do you guys don't really listen to her us? for the kids. It's usually science base. And actually a lot of the ones I listen to your science base just because that's my family we are. But another one he really likes is this really funny debate called smash boom best. And they debate the most ridiculous things like which is better pizza or french fries. Oh, cute. Cute.
Yeah, I could debate all day. Just give me the thing. And I'll Bulldog it like
Yeah, but it's it's great because it's it has some educational components to it where you can learn the ins and outs of how to actually debate.Yeah, so we I think a lot of the kids programming tends to be educational and great bunny.
Yeah, man. This lady is not kidding. I'm currently sitting in her cozy room. And when I first got here on her table, she had two subscription boxes.
Different science and tech things for her kids. And I was like, What is this this like mirror craft kit thing. So I'm telling you when I said she was a smarty pants, I was not lying. Speaking of smarty pants is I wanted to talk to you today about something that you did. That was definitely, I would assume, like a different part of your brain from the science brain. Right? So yeah, creative, spiritual section of your brain. And it's regarding actually devotional that you worked on, right? Yes, this was a devotional, I gave it a mops meeting back in the fall of 2018.
And it came about because at our leadership retreat, we all ended up choosing the meeting things that spoke to us so that each of us took turns giving devotionals for the meetings.
Now mops does produce videos that go along with the meeting plans. But our members didn't really respond to watching videos for every single meeting. Yeah, I like to mix it up, right. I think it keeps everybody engaged. Yes. But this one, I use this video, it was called loving the life you didn't choose. So I watched it. It really spoke to my heart. And
the author of it is Melanie Dale to the book author as well. I realized that yeah, I think mops a lot. A lot of times for those videos, they choose book authors,
or other professionals that have written something that has spoken to them as part of the theme. Yeah. And then they bring them in to do the videos, but I don't know. Yeah. I mean, for those of you that don't know, just real quick mops is technically mothers of preschoolers. But it's really for moms in all stages of life. And they have such high quality content, right, like the other eight, absolutely. And it's really just a way to engage other other women meet each other alongside whatever road you're on, and really support each other. Right? Absolutely. I would say honestly, I was really skeptical about maps at first, whenever ones like maps, you know, drink the Kool Aid, I was really like, I don't know, you tell me, I'm gonna like it. I'm not gonna like it. And then all the women just kept growing on me and growing on me. And I was like, Oh, this is legit. And I love that the meetings are not just
yes, we do talk about children. But we also talk about ourselves. Oh, yeah. Like, it's a lot of self grow. Yeah. And I had no idea when I first attending mops meeting what it was all about. And I did make that mistake thinking, Oh, it's just for preschoolers. And I had an infant. And maybe it wasn't for me yet. And so one of my friends said, Hey, you really should check it out. And when rainbow baby was, oh, I don't know. A few weeks old. I went to this informational meeting and learned about it and said, Okay, well, I'll try this out. And I haven't looked back, it has been
an amazing experience for me as it has truly changed my life and my mother. Oh, hey, you guys. She's her getting teary eyed. So she obviously loves this. And the fact that she's going to be a co coordinator, like the amount of work that goes into that role. She obviously loves it, and I need to I've been going, I guess it's gonna be my sixth year, which is, it doesn't even make sense to me. You know, I started with two children. I have four now. Like, what? Yeah, anyway, sorry, I, you know, you can also find this video that she's talking about. It's on Facebook. And like you said it was by Melanie Dale. Yes. Okay. And it's called loving the life you didn't choose? Yes, I actually just watched that video today, just preparing for our interview. So I'm excited to hear what you have to say. So when you first saw this video, by the way, um, you had said that your mops group didn't want to watch videos every single time. So did you watch this video by yourself or as the whole team? I watched it by myself just to get further inspiration for what I was wanting to talk about. Okay, so were you the leader of devotionals and stuff, then? No, no, actually, at that point, I was the creative activities director. Okay. And I think in previous years, we always had the coordinator was always the one who got up and gave a devotional. And for some people, that's their forte. And for other it's really not. And then the other thought was that, well, the membership gets to know the coordinator really well, but they don't get to know the other members of the leadership team. And so you know, kind of from that thought, it came about that we ended up sharing the load there. And it was really great to hear about each other's life experiences and each other's thoughts and how these things spread.
To these other women. Yeah, definitely. And so when you first listen to this by yourself, like what stage of life? were you in? You know, How many children do you have? Or
so I had two, my two boys. My youngest was three. And my oldest was seven and a half. And things were kind of Rocky with my three year old for sure. Like,
we had, like the beginning Inklings that there was something going on.
And any of you listeners that have children with special needs, I'm sure you know, exactly what Amy's talking about. And it's a pretty yucky feeling. And it's something where you keep thinking, you know, maybe I'm looking into this too deeply. Maybe I'm a bad mom, but there's just always something not quite right. None of this self help book works. You know what I mean? Like, no parenting advice ever works. And you're just like, okay, yeah, like, What's going? Yeah, I think I mean, all of that was just starting to filter in and what I was speaking about was more about my path to motherhood, and how my path to motherhood looks nothing like what I'd ever imagined it would look like. And I think that's true for a lot of women. Definitely, yes. So like, okay, so when you were listening to it with your seven and a half year old boy and three year old boy, like, why do you feel like God plays it so heavily on your heart?
I don't know. I mean, that's hard to say. Looking back.
I just felt like,
at the time, I think at the time, I was feeling like, I didn't choose to reach motherhood in this way. Yeah.
Yeah, definitely different ways that I've wanted to, you know, get into debt. Well, when you imagine the sound of music, and it turns out, it's
it's more like, I don't even know I can't even think about it, like loss boys, the vampire movie.
Okay, so we are going to have a special treat of having Amy share the devotional with us. And also the special treat of me not interrupting her while she speaks. So we'll see how that goes. There's gonna be a lot of head nodding and be like, Yeah, really emphatically letting her know I'm listening. So Amy, take it away. All right. So what you really can't see about me because of course, this is a podcast and not a video is that I am an older mom. Most of my mom friends are a good 10 or more years younger than I am. And that's just because our kids are the same age. I mean, honestly, having kids the same age is such an equalizing factor when you're a mom.
There are more and more women who intentionally start their families later, for a variety of reasons, whether it's time for graduate school time to get her career established time to travel, or time to just even enjoy life with your responsibilities, especially when you have more disposable income.
But for me, starting later wasn't a choice. It's just the way life worked out. And certainly wasn't the way I had imagined my life going at all.
From a very young age, I knew I wanted to be a mother. I had a very traditional view of family and gender roles in my head. And it just seemed like it was a given. This is what girls do. They get married, they have babies.
And to be honest, I'm not entirely sure where the image came from considering both of my parents divorced when I was in the first grade, and I was raised by single mom.
during my teenage years, I was what my mother called boy crazy.
I love dating. It made me feel special. Having a boy Give me his attention. You know the flutter of nerves, hormones,
getting to know someone new having a new best friend to talk to you all the time.
Mom was always telling me not to get too serious. Of course.
She was married young, and she wanted me to wait until I knew myself better. Wait until I had lived on my own for a while.
Her advice fell on really stubborn, really rebellious deaf ears for sure. I started dating my high school sweetheart the fall of my sophomore year. It was the same year.
You know, mom had good rules. I had early curfews parents drove us until I was 16. And I had my own license. A parent always had to be present if we hung out at each other's house.
But we were in there.
And despite my mother's plea that I'm not getting too serious, I did have pretty serious feelings about that guy.
We had some ups and downs a break of a few months during my junior year. But we stayed mostly together through my high school years.
He went to college locally so we could still date.
We talked about getting married once we were done with college, and eventually this just became a given in my mind. Nope, college wasn't gonna break us up. We loved each other. We'd finished college, get jobs, get married, start our own family.
That was the plan.
But you all know how the best laid plans right go sideways.
A week or so before my high school graduation, I discovered I was pregnant. Amy Yeah. I had four scholar, four scholarships lined up for college. At the same school my boyfriend attended.
So this was definitely not part of my plan.
We went to a women's clinic to get verification, and see how far along I was. I was eight and a half weeks. with twins. Amy Yeah.
I remember feeling absolutely insanely elated at that news.
How can anyone asked me to abort two babies? abortion was not a choice I considered even for a second and my very naive black and white teenage bond.
My boyfriend had an older brother go through it too, and they chose adoption. So that's what we would do. simple, straightforward. We had a hastily thought out plan.
But again, my world went sideways.
Adults I loved and trusted did in fact asked me to have an abortion.
Another asked if I had even considered the possibility of keeping them.
I hadn't. But it was definitely something I needed to think about before I could be at peace with that decision.
Once I started actually considering whether or not I could raise them myself, I was treated like my pregnancy hormones took away any possibility of rational thought.
The adults around me showed a remarkable lack of faith in my capabilities. Various threats were made. My boyfriend and I were barely speaking.
In the end, it took most of that pregnancy to come to the decision that adoption was indeed the best option.
I had no real job skills. I didn't want to put the burden on my mother. I didn't think it was fair to her.
I wanted nothing more than to be a mother.
And here was letting go of my babies
so that they could have a better life than I could provide.
My heart was shattered into a million pieces. And for a really long time, I felt like I was missing a limb.
Think to this day that has been the most terrible and the most beautiful decision I've ever made.
I registered for the spring semester of college four weeks to the day after I delivered them. Oh my goodness, my scholarships were still in place. I was getting back on track.
My boyfriend and I managed to stay together about another year and a half before we split for good. We had indeed grown apart.
I dated other men still with a long term more in mind than just having a good time. There none lasted past a year and mostly only a few months.
It was okay. I meet someone. I just wanted to be done having kids by the time I was 30. That seems doable.
Fast forward through college graduation work. And then graduate school.
I've been seeing that vision becoming less realistic with the passing years and thinning dating opportunities. Around the time I was turning 30 I had a serious boyfriend and a job I absolutely loved.
It was a long distance relationship but we were making it work. life seemed great. That vision was finally within reach.
But life took another step sideways when you broke things off a day or two before my birthday.
The via email
that I read while I was at work, Mother farter
Good riddance. I want to punch through the screen right as stupid face. Yeah, that's a cautionary tale in your personal email while you
Oh my gosh.
I didn't meet my prince charming for another three years and boy that I kiss a lot of
Frogs to get there.
It was another long distance relationship. But this time it worked. We got engaged a year later, were married 10 months after that. We enjoyed being married for six months before trying to start our family. Three months later, we were pregnant.
Things were finally settling into place. Though that plan had been shifted back about 10 years.
done by 40 sounds like a plan.
So baby boy was born and we were over the moon in love with him.
But things didn't go perfectly.
Baby Boy was having a really hard time latching to nurse.
The day after we got home from the hospital, I had a lactation consultant come to the house to help us figure it out. An hour later, every trick in the book, every trick in the book, and baby boy and I were both still in tears. So fashion. Breastfeeding, my baby was another part of that childhood dream of motherhood and it was crumbling before my eyes.
My fighter flight adrenaline rush didn't fully go away for weeks. I couldn't sleep unless I knew somebody was up with it.
What I know now is that's probably postpartum anxiety. That's all I was on postpartum, postpartum. But you know, and that's never part of anybody's plan. No, yeah. Before he was even a week old, we got a call from his pediatrician. his newborn screening results came back and it looked like he had a metabolic disorder called MCAT.
So I'll read you this little clip from the Mayo Clinic so you can understand what MCAT is. It is medium chain, a soul co A B hot dehydrogenase, or MCA D. deficiency is an inherited disorder. It's a genetic that prevents your body from breaking down certain fats and converting them into energy. As a result, the level of sugar in your blood can drop dangerously low.
It's present from birth, and it's lifelong.
We had to get back to the hospital get blood drawn my tiny newborn to confirm the screening results. The lab looked at them and didn't think they could draw from such tiny things. We were sent out to the lobby to wait while they figured out if we could go to the nickeil instead.
And the end it was in the neonatologist who did the blood draw? And we just had to wait for results. A day or two later the pediatrician call back and confirm the diagnosis.
But the great news, a specialist at Children's Hospital in DC had an open appointment that day. That
you Yes. But I later learned that seeing baby boy was considered an emergency. And they stayed late specifically for us. You see, this metabolic disorder was discovered to be responsible for a percentage of SIDS cases or sudden infant death syndrome. And more severe treatment was simple enough, we just had to feed him every three hours. Or he could die.
Define like a virus, we'd have to take them to the ER and get a glucose drip, or he could die.
Yeah, his body couldn't process fats correctly and would simply run out of energy. If he wasn't fed often enough.
I had to feed my baby and it wasn't latching to nurse.
We were terrified.
We were devastated. I mourned my perfect healthy baby.
I mourn any chance of sleeping longer than two hours at a stretch at a time. I mean, seriously. I think that was a lot of it. Yes.
Finally, I had my family that I always wanted, but it was so much harder than I ever thought it could be.
But what do we do as moms? We muddle through, we make it work.
When baby boy was a year old, we moved back here to Richmond, home for me and closer to family for both of us. My eggs weren't getting any younger. So we started trying for baby number two, and we're pregnant A month later.
We lost that baby at 15 weeks.
I got pregnant again about six months after that, but miscarried right away.
And then nothing.
We started seeing a fertility specialist underwent five IU eyes. That's intra uterine insemination and still nothing.
How is this fair? I'm a birth mother. I've given up so much already. Why couldn't I have the family that I envisioned? We had baby boy and we were so grateful for him. But we didn't feel our family was complete.
So we're going to try this one last procedure, all the expensive injectable meds
and a final IOI before moving on.
To another doctor and possibly more holistic treatment plan. So the procedure I had went really well.
And when I went back in to check the my ovaries required before starting the shots, I was told I already had one follicle growing, our timing was off. And we couldn't do the shots that cycle unless we just wanted to throw our money away.
Again, my hopes for the family I wanted seemed impossible. And I was already past the done by 40 goal myself.
But you see, God had another plot twists in mind.
We did end up conceiving rainbow baby that cycle on our own.
No, get out. Yeah, I've been working out regularly enjoyed a very healthy pregnancy, despite my geriatric tournedos. And let me tell you on the paperwork, and it does so far for your ego. Are you known as a geriatric mother? I was known as morbidly obese.
Yeah, it's terrible.
So yeah, it says.
So we had planned this delivery with the midwife.
All natural. We've had a doula. So I was laboring mostly at home.
So twice while I was in labor, and found myself alone during really difficult contractions, I called out in my head because I don't pray out loud very often. I said, Lord, watch over us.
And I immediately felt a warmth and a calm through my body.
It was entirely a piece.
I knew it would be okay.
Rainbow baby was born at home. Not intentionally mind you. Yeah.
with just my husband and I do the president liked and I knew it would be okay. Because I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit with us. girl
that is something I wish that everyone could feel that miraculous love. That hope and that peace, even if it's just for a moment.
Because it is humbling. It is awe inspiring. And it was truly a transformative experience for me to feel that Yes. How could it not be in praise God that you were open and willing to feel it? You know, Great Scott that you called up. And you know, Amy, even though you felt that at that moment, it seems like you've had a lot of difficulty but you can also see God's love throughout it and just the way he's grown you as a person
you're beautiful you've got a such a beautiful heart and it's got to be part of the pain that you've gone through. You know, sometimes that stinks it's like well thanks great pain but yeah, yeah
yeah, I could live without that.
I just did
a podcast recently about Paul being in a shipwreck and how during the shipwreck an angel the war during the storm in a hurricane I mean going crazy an angel of the Lord came in appeared him was like everyone's gonna be fine.
And so Paul's like alright, I believe you know that fate will all these peoples are freaking out because the ship is going to have a you can tell it's gonna wreck and there's this like that. And these guys go to try to sneak on 12 friends and their dream soldier one of Amy's testimony you can see already how the reward is from the lens of something and wonderful in her we can't we you know through all of these ups not only was still trusting one of those things but whether her relationship was super tight with the brain others could always you know, go through difficulties or like
gods and guys they're not you that when you're going because you will because it's not just easy because you're a Christian but my
like for His glory that next time on my property, I just kill it to your part. I will nobody knows last time when you can really see how I even tried to do these Morocco's said her life and how he shows himself in a mighty way. Thank you so much, Brad.
are gonna say you gotta remember him, even
with early birds, if you can find one of those degrees. So
early birds, and also email me nesting with the early birds in low calm, lovely number earliest spelled
le y. And lastly,
totally loves you all the time. Like listeners, right? Like how brave is she? How brave are you to share that? That's scary. It's only through him, girl. I mean, seriously reach it.
That's scary. And wow. Like, there's so many women out there that have got to be listening right now they're going through something similar. You know, and just the support that women need even you remember reminding them about the anti support that you received. Oh, yeah, it was horrible. absolutely horrible support women, guys, if they're going through something like this, you know, like, that's got to be the most difficult.
I can't imagine as a teenager, how you were so sure to not have an abortion. Like That is so cool. Because that was so scary.
Yeah, I mean, that was just the place where I was, I mean, I was absolutely anti abortion, and no ifs, ands, or buts, and had that very narrow black and white thinking, right? I mean, views are completely different now than they were when I was 18. But there was a reason why I had those black and white views. And that reason is why
those twins exist today and are leading beautiful lives of their own. Praise God, wow. Life might not go the way that I planned, but it was certainly going the way that God planned. And for me, this is the hardest thing is this whole letting go