Saturday, May 19, 2018

Nobody Knows How to Say Goodbye

It was early March and we were killing time the best way we know how - reading books. A month or so after he turned a year old John finally joined the ranks of his story-loving siblings and so the couch is perpetually littered with a mountain of board books. This day was different, however. He had no interest in any of those books and instead kept going back to the bookshelf and fetching the same book : I'm a Big Brother Now. At first I laughed out loud and said "Don't get any ideas, buddy!". I figured it would be too long for his short attention span and put it back. But he kept going back and getting it and finally I acquiesced and read it. It was the new obsession for several days. We read it countless times and no matter how hard I tried to interest him in the other books he would take them out of my hands, place them on the floor, and make me read the one book. After about a week of this I decided to take a test. It was almost like having a joke with myself. Wouldn't it be absurd if John was onto something? And then the test came up positive and the joke was on me. I was in absolute shock. There was a plan. This was not part of the plan. This was so very much not the plan.

Brother's Intuition

The next two days were extremely emotional. I kept looking at John and thinking HE is still a BABY! Even in 9 months he is still going to be a BABY! And what about me? I had been struggling with inexplicable insomnia since John started sleeping through the night (ironic much?). I was finally scheduled to see a specialist to test for adrenal fatigue but guess what - they don't see you if you're pregnant. And guess who has intense pregnancy insomnia? THIS GUY! And of course there would be the progesterone supplementation, the varicose veins, the sciatica... Needless to say I was hosting one killer pity party. But something changed after those couple days. Probably a simple case of grace. I started to feel excited. We decided to tell the kids and their exuberant reaction was more than I had hoped for.

The excitement stayed strong but the stress began to mount again before long. My doctor informed me that progesterone shots were unavailable - the manufacturer only makes so many in a given batch then lets it run out (nationally) for awhile before sending out another batch. So we would have to try capsules and guesstimate dosage because yes, my bloodwork showed that my levels were low with this pregnancy too. It was Holy Week when the bleeding began. I had spotting with my last two pregnancies but this was different. Still I wasn't having any pain so it was not textbook or what my friends and family had experienced. My doctor ordered an ultrasound even though I was just over 5 weeks along and bloodwork for more clarity. The ultrasound showed a large hematoma and not anything else; the bloodwork showed that my hCG levels were very high. It was Good Friday and right around 3 pm when my doctor called. I was washing dishes and I kept thinking of Job, The Lord Giveth and the Lord taketh away -- blessed be the name of the Lord, and the phone rang. The radiologist and my doctor had conferred and they said I had miscarried. As far as Good Fridays go that one felt pretty darn appropriate.

Even though I was early on my doctor said I should get a D&C so we scheduled it for the next week.  The closer to the appointment I got the more emotional I became and the more I didn't want to go through with it. It was not progressing like a normal miscarriage and I just couldn't wrap my head around it. When I went in and met with the new doctor I told him I wasn't going to have a D&C without another ultrasound. He surprised me by not only being supportive of my decision but saying that my chart hadn't convinced him that I was going through a miscarriage. He told me I might as well start taking the progesterone again just in case. The next 10 days were very hard. I was completely torn between grief and hope. After what felt like a lifetime I went in for the ultrasound. And this is what I saw

I didn't even need the nurse to point out the heartbeat - I could see that beautiful heart working as soon as I looked at the screen. Still it was one of the most beautiful sounds I ever heard. Our little one was 7 weeks 5 days old and ALIVE! There was a substantial subchorionic hematoma which meant that I was at high risk for miscarriage and "needed to take it easy" (what does that even mean?). Still, I left the office feeling like I was walking on Cloud 9 and started calling my loved ones. We shared tears of joy and joyful disbelief. It was a total miracle! And for a couple more weeks we celebrated that miracle and loved on that sweet baby. Then things took a turn. 

On Friday, April 27th I went in to the doctor's office and had a very different ultrasound. My little angel was there but this time there was no heartbeat to measure, no heartbeat to listen to. I was so grateful for the compassion of the midwife and doctor that morning. I was so grateful that they didn't balk when I told them that after the D&C I wanted our child's remains so that we could have a proper burial. I was so grateful to go back home and hug my three children and amazing husband. It is not lost on me what an incredible privilege and blessing it is that I had children at home to hold and it was, and is, a balm to my aching heart.

It is a little over 3 weeks since we found out that we had lost our Joseph Mary. I am grateful for the healing that has taken place and I look forward to the healing that will come. More than anything I am grateful for the irreplaceable gift of this child's life and the time we had together. I will always be this child's mother and I will always carry him (or her) in my heart. I am grateful that I had the amazing gift to see him when he was alive and to hear the beautiful sound of his heartbeat, to be able to have pictures to keep. It is every parent's hope that their children will go to Heaven... I know I already have one there waiting for me. Love you so much, sweet baby <3

Friday, September 1, 2017

7 Quick Takes


Linking up with Kelly...

- 1 -

My kids love to draw. Because I am a lousy mom I keep about 5% of their art. Before you award me with the "Worst Mom Ever" trophy please understand that on average my kids produce about 8 to 10 two-sided pages of drawings per day. I'm pretty sure the forests out there are plotting our demise as I write this. At any rate there is a folder that I put some of the art and my 4 year old son has some real winners. 

Existential crises abound in the Egg People...

- 2 -

 As Leo was drawing the other day we had this exchange...

Leo : Mom! Come over here and look at this creature! But don't look there because those are his private parts...

Me: What?! Draw some clothes on your creature!

Leo (chuckling) : He can't wear clothes - he's way too fat!

Me : Leo, we do NOT draw private parts

Censored by the artist

- 3 -

The weather has been beautiful over the past week so we have been spending lots of time outside. The kids still aren't sure what to make of having a big yard. Pretty sure they don't think we are the actual owners.

Perhaps the best photo I've ever taken

Nothing like a pleasant drive in the grass..

Some days she lives in this dress

My little beauty

Tess didn't want to leave that tree

- 5 -

Us country folk have burn piles. Most people use them to burn leaves, branches that fall from trees, etc. We inherited a burn pile from the previous owners. I say "burn pile" but really I mean "burn mountain"

For the sake of scope
I don't look forward to dealing with this. We have an acquaintance who has offered to help us burn it safely and thank goodness because I don't think we had any idea just how out of our depth we were until we started talking strategy. On the upside, the pyro in me is like 

- 6 -

We started preschool the other day and it's hard to stress how not structured or serious we are about it. The only thing that we have real lessons for is the alphabet (we've tackled the short vowel sounds for "a" and "e"). This may or not be sticking. It does help fill the time a little and at least it exposes the kids to the alphabet so hey, small victories. One hilarious byproduct is that Leo has taken to asking Tessa and me to repeat things after him with no context whatsoever, asking me to correctly identify things in his drawings, and congratulate me when I say something he deems accurate. 

- 7 -

If you happen to have competitive toddlers I highly suggest buying this game. Actually I just recommend the game. My kids have been having a blast playing it and since it's cooperative we end each game with highfives instead of tears. We bought it so that my 2 year old would have a game that she could play with us without feeling left out or confused. It arrived the day of her special night of the month and she was tickled pink to be able to stay up playing a real actual game with mommy and daddy (and the sleepless wonder)

~ Happy Friday ~

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I Am Not Enough

I was never someone who struggled with figuring out what my vocation was. WHO my vocation was? Yeah sure that took longer than I expected. But the whole "wife and mom" thing was on my radar for forever. I don't say this because I think I'm a rarity here - plenty, if not the majority, of women have felt similarly. What has come as a shock is how much I struggle in this vocation. I like to joke that I was a much better mom before I had kids.

I know the blogosphere is FULL of posts about how hard motherhood is, how tough marriage can be, how there isn't enough support, etc. etc. etc. But while any number of those speak to how I feel none of them have been in my own words so what's one more? 

I am not enough. There. I said it. This is the refrain that I hear in my head almost all day and the majority of my nights thanks to The Sleepless Wonder 

John AKA The Sleepless Wonder
I am not enough. I am not patient enough. I am not selfless enough. I am not loving enough. I am not kind enough. I am not good enough. I am not holy enough. I am not smart enough. I am not strong enough. I am not talented enough. I am not woman enough. God made a mistake. I am not the mom these beautiful children deserve. I am not the wife my amazing husband deserves. I AM NOT ENOUGH.

I can't do it. I can't make another meal plan. I can't do another load of laundry. I can't wash the same dishes one more time. I can't keep my temper in check. I can't survive on the consistent lack of good sleep. I can't be touched by one more person. I can't handle one more temper tantrum. I can't keep the house clean. I can't let anyone see how inadequate I am. I CAN'T DO IT.

Before you start with the words of encouragement or disapproval I need you to understand that that is not what I am looking for. I need your prayers. Because whatever you might think the truth of the matter is that I am right - I am not enough and I can't do it. Maybe these thoughts begin as seeds sown by the Devil, thoughts that are meant to make me despair. Sometimes it feels like that. But our God is a Father and He does not abandon His children, even if it might feel like it sometimes. So I can sit here and say these things and find consolation because even though I am not enough, He is. Even though I can't do it, He can. And today that is enough.

I will end this with two scripture passages that mean a great deal to me these days. Hopefully you will find consolation in them as well.