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Monday, February 22, 2010

Where I Am

Pregnant after recurrent miscarriage.

Pregnant after one loss, two losses, three, four, five, six losses.

That's where I am. It's a bit of a strange place to be. There are mixed emotions here in this place. It's a place of "if" when you desperately want it to be a place of "when." It's a place of uncertainty when you want nothing more than to be at peace, a place of "maybe" when you wish it could finally just be "yes."

The bottom line is that I'm very, very happy and grateful for another chance. I think my husband and I had come to a place where we were genuinely afraid we might not get another try. We wound up waiting three years for this second chance (or seventh chance, actually) and we are overjoyed to be making progress in this pregnancy. The majority of our pregnancies haven't made it this far. Two were over by the time we were 6 weeks along. One turned out to be a blighted ovum. The remaining three we actually saw on ultrasound, saw their hearts beating, but they were too small or had some other problem that raised concern with our doctors. Each time it was incredibly hard to pick ourselves up and find a way to start over again. All were hoped for, prayed for, and loved beyond belief by two people who wanted them more than anything.

What I want people to understand is that going through pregnancy after recurrent loss is very hard. It's not that I don't want to be where I am now, of course. This is what I've been working for and striving for, and why we've been seeing a specialist on a regular basis. It's why we've endured surgeries and tests and procedures for 9 years. This is why we've kept going. Once you've arrived there, though, it's hard to "just relax." (It's funny, that's what people love to tell you the whole time you're trying, too. It's much easier said than done, and we've all learned that relaxing doesn't make babies!)

Waiting to get pregnant is also one of the hardest things I've had to do. I would never try to minimize the pain of that experience. There is nothing easy about it. I find myself still thinking in terms of the 2 week wait that the person trying to conceive knows so well. Right now my appointments are 2 weeks apart, and in between I'm left wondering if everything is still okay, if there's still a baby growing inside. I can't help but feel some fear and worry during those times because I can't erase our experiences in the past. They are with me every day. No, I may not grieve those losses as strongly as I once did. Those wounds aren't fresh anymore, but they are certainly still sore. I think they always will be.

My fear manifests itself in ways that I recognize. I've been there before; I'm still the same person inside. I still cringe a little when people congratulate us on our pregnancy. It scares me to hear it spoken of aloud sometimes, as though it may be taken away just as soon as we begin to celebrate it. I still make plans for the future by saying, "If we have a baby in September..." or "If this pregnancy works out..." I don't want to be that way, but I just don't know how to be any other way at this point. Loss is all that I know. I don't know what it's like to get a positive pregnancy test and then get a baby to take home. Oh, I hope for it every day and I plead with the Lord to let this be the one! Sometimes I can almost even picture it and let myself imagine having a 3-month-old at Christmas.

But at the same time, I still have funny feelings about Mother's Day. I still feel weird and out of place when others tell me their pregnancy and birthing stories, as though I've now joined the club. I don't know if I'll ever feel like other mothers. I guess one day I might, but now it's so hard to imagine. I think part of that comes from the fact that I have been a mother to lost babies for many years now, and that goes mostly unrecognized by general society. I still feel a stab of pain when I hear others told how very blessed they are because they have children. It reminds me that no one ever looked at me as a barren woman and called me blessed. Somehow it is overlooked that a woman can have joy in her Lord and happiness in her marriage and fulfillment in her life -- and that woman is also blessed. Yes, even those who have sorrow are blessed. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4 (I wrote more about this subject in an older post.)

All that I know to do now from day to day is look ahead to the next appointment, the next chance to see what is happening inside. If it's good news, we celebrate each small victory and each step toward our dream. It's a strange feeling to have both fear and hope, uncertainty and determination, worry and trust. But it's where I am.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Third Ultrasound

Today we had our much anticipated third ultrasound. It went very well, thank the Lord!

Before I give you the details, I want to thank everyone who left comments and sent texts and e-mails to tell us you were thinking of us or praying for us. I always feel so overwhelmed by the love and support we've been receiving, and it means so much to us to get those messages when we are feeling nervous about an appointment. We truly have felt covered by your prayers. Thank you!

The ultrasound today gave us a good look at our growing baby. We were thrilled to see that the baby is measuring normally (21 mm) for 8w5d. Again we saw and heard the heartbeat (179 bpm), which is always comforting. I still think that our doctor is optimistic with the way the pregnancy is progressing. He doesn't seem to have any big concerns so far. We will have another ultrasound in 2 more weeks, on March 4. By then I will be almost 11 weeks. I already consider this baby a miracle, but I know we will be absolutely elated if our next appointment continues to show more progress and if we actually make it to the second trimester.

Today I also got my H1N1 flu shot. The office was out of the regular flu shots, so I'll have to try to track one down around here. I was glad that I've been seeing lots of commercials and reminders about flu shots, and that I remembered to tell the doctor that I hadn't had any. (In fact, I've never had a flu shot in my life before today.) He said I definitely should get them, so I obeyed.

I also began to notice something new over the weekend. It seems that lately every day I wake up and find that my stomach is getting larger and larger. I never remember experiencing that to this extent with any of our previous pregnancies. I certainly did gain weight each time (that I'm still carrying around all these years later), but I've really been seeing changes specifically in my waistline over the past few days. Of course, as I said before, I welcome any sign that our baby is still with us and still growing!

Today we feel as though we've jumped another hurdle. The next one is in our sights, but with each one we become a little bit more hopeful.

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Now for an update on the weekend, in case you were wondering. We got my mom and family all moved in! It took working full days from Friday to Tuesday, but almost everything is unpacked and put away. They have been sleeping in the new house since Saturday and they are loving it! It makes my heart so happy to think of my sweet mom settled into her beautiful new home. I love it!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pregnancy Update

We are about to be gone for the long weekend (hubby has Presidents' Day off) to go and help my mom and family with their big move. I wanted to write a quick post to touch base before being mostly away from my computer for the next 4 days.

Things have been going fine with our current pregnancy. The days have been dragging on, especially when we're waiting in between appointments. We have one more week to wait until our next ultrasound to find out if our baby is still growing. Sometimes it seems like forever, but when I remind myself that we've been waiting for 9 years, it makes a week seem so much more tolerable. I'm learning to be patient, and I'm learning that worrying won't do me any good.

This Saturday I'll be 8 weeks along, which means that by ultrasound day on Thursday I will be almost 9 weeks. I'll tell you why this is important to us. Our fourth pregnancy was the one that made the most progress. We saw more growth and development of that baby than we had any of the previous pregnancies or the two that followed. Although I had carried babies for as long as 11 weeks before, they had usually stopped growing around weeks 6 or 7. Sometimes we hadn't known there was a problem, and sometimes we waited the extra weeks to be certain that the baby was no longer living.

But baby number 4 was different. We had a wonderful ultrasound at 8 weeks, and then a week later the baby had grown to 9 weeks but the heart had stopped beating. We were dumbfounded, speechless, devastated, you name it. Our doctor at the time was pretty speechless, too.

I hate to relive that time in our past, but I want you to know why 9 weeks is important. The weeks that follow will be crucial for us. If the baby makes it to 10 weeks and looks normal and healthy, it will be the longest we've ever gone. If the baby makes it to 12 weeks, I know we won't be out of the woods forever, but I think we will both begin to relax a little bit.

For now, though, I'm doing okay. I'm still taking it day by day. I still have very little energy, a huge appetite, and major nausea in the evenings. That's totally okay with me; I welcome any sign that our baby might still be growing.

We are looking forward to a weekend away, for something different and a change of scenery. I don't think I've been out of the house at all (besides doctor's appointments) since my birthday more than 2 weeks ago! We are excited about seeing family and getting our first look (in person) at Mom's new house. My handy husband has a list of projects that he'll be working on, but I'll be the unofficial supervisor for the weekend. I've already been told that I won't be allowed to do much of anything other than sitting and watching. :)

I hope you all have a great weekend, whether you celebrate Valentine's Day, Presidents' Day, or even Mardi Gras (a little early)!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

And More Awards!

(Note: This is the second of two award posts I've done this week. If I told you I gave you an award and you don't see it here, it may be on the first post HERE.) :)

I have two more awards in my possession that I need to pass along! I'll get right to it. First, last month I was give the Making Lemonade out of Lemons award by A from Remember All the Way. Thank you, A! This is a sweet award because it recognizes bloggers who display a positive attitude. Now, to me this doesn't mean being all happy and joy all the time, but it means remaining hopeful and positive even through hard times! When I think of a blogger with a positive outlook, I definitely think of A. But since I can't give it back to her, I'm passing it along to 10 other sweet friends who have also earned it!

Here is the award followed by the rules:


- Put the Lemonade logo on your blog or within your post.
- Nominate at least 10 blogs with great attitude or gratitude.
- Link the nominees within your post.
- Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
- Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Now here are the 10 gracious bloggers I'd like to pass this award to. I am constantly encouraged by each of them and their amazing attitudes and outlooks.

Sunny at Progress Not Perfection
Melody at Life is a Bowl of Wedgies
Jennifer at Thoughts From a Blonde
Michele at BTW... We Did Not "Just Relax"
Erica at Parenthood for Me
Abby at LIFE as I Know it
Stacy at In Its Time
Asha at And So it Goes...
Alicia at Consider it All Joy
Idgie at A Long and Winding Road

Congratulations, ladies! Thanks for encouraging me to keep making lemonade out of lemons!

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Next, I was given the very cute Sugar Doll award from a very cute blog friend, Jennifer at Thoughts from a Blonde. Thanks, Jennifer! Getting to know you has been really fun so far and I'm so fortunate to have such sweet people like you walking beside me on this road.

Here is the award:


The rules are simply to copy the award to your own blog, tell your readers 10 things about yourself, and pass it along!

Whew! Okay, here are 10 things about yours truly. I've tried to keep it brief this time!

1. My favorite colors are green, brown, and red. All three colors appear on the walls in different rooms of my house.

2. I don’t like the taste of coffee or tea.

3. I have absolutely no musical talent. The only musical instrument I play is guitar on Rock Band Wii. :) My husband, on the other hand, plays the actual guitar and is currently doing a great job learning how to play the drums! He alternates playing drums and guitar on the praise team at our church.

4. My husband and I have three adorable nephews, ages 9 years and 7 years (my sister’s boys), and 10 months (his brother’s son). I actually have 4 more nieces and 1 more nephew, if you also count the children of my half-siblings. Two of my nieces are married and have children of their own, which makes me a great-aunt.

5. I love to eat seafood. I’m sure living my whole life near the Gulf coast has contributed to this, but I can’t get enough of it. I especially love fish, shrimp, and crawfish.

6. I had my vision corrected with LASIK eye surgery 2 years ago. I was pretty scared, but it didn’t hurt a bit and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made!

7. We take lots of pictures and I love to scrapbook them. Scrapbooking is definitely one of my favorite hobbies, but unfortunately I neglect it sometimes. Other times I’m holed up in my scrapbook room and people don’t see or hear from me for days. :)

8. I would absolutely love to visit all 50 states. So far I have been to 21 of them, which I guess isn’t a bad start. I still have lots of traveling to do! I have mostly been all over the south and to parts of the east coast. The only places west of Texas that I’ve been to are Colorado and California. How many U.S. states have you visited? If it’s more than 21 I will probably be jealous!

9. I have visited 21 states but have only lived in 2 of them. I lived in Louisiana for the first 24 years of my life and have lived in Texas for the last 9 years.

10. I love all kinds of movies, but some of my absolute favorites are movies based on Jane Austen novels, Victorian literature, and just BBC miniseries in general. I’m a sucker for those! I love getting lost in that world for a little while.

I'd like to give this award to some special blog friends who write about all kinds of interesting things, from life to homemaking, from renovating to decorating, from singlehood to motherhood, from faith to family -- all are special to me and I love their blogs!

Lauren at Thread by Thread

TRS at Single Solitary Things
Amy at Inside the Parsonage
Faith at Millerhomestead's Blog
Renovation Girl
Anna at Anna's Joy

Click on any one of these blogs (or all of them) and you're bound to find something you like or can relate to! And ladies, thanks for being such beautiful and talented women that I'm happy to know.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Awards!

I am long overdue for thanking some lovely ladies for giving me some sweet blog awards! I apologize for letting them pile up like this, but I am finally getting around to coming up with some random things about myself and passing these awards on to some dear bloggy pals. I know this may be cheating, but I have come up with 7 things you will either find interesting or incredibly boring, and I'm using these 7 for both of these awards. There's no way I could come up with an additional 10 random things! I'm sure there is only so much randomness about Stacey that the blogosphere can handle in one day.

So, here goes. First of all, I was given the Honest Scrap award by Katie way back in November. Katie is a sweet and funny gal whose blog always makes me smile (that is, when it's not making me cry). She has been through a lot and has shown such strength and determination. Thanks, Katie!

Honest Scrap Award


Rules:
This is how this award thing works- some awesome person passes the award to you, and you in turn write 10 HONEST things about yourself and pass on to another awesome person!

I've decided I want to know 10 honest things about Erin at Loss of Great Expectations. Erin has a fairly new blog, so it would be great if you would go over and show her some love and support as she shares her story!

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Next, I have received the Beautiful Blogger award from four sweet friends over the past few months. Thank you Michelle from To Baby and Beyond, A from Remember All the Way, Tammy from Tammy's Journey, and Michelle from All in God's Time. I consider each of these ladies to be such dear friends. They have encouraged me so much along the way and remained faithful and hopeful through their own struggles. I am in the company of some truly remarkable women!



Here are the rules for the award:

~Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.

~Copy the award and paste it to your blog.

~Tell us 7 interesting facts about yourself.

~Nominate 7 bloggers that you love and link to their blog.

Here are my 7 "interesting" things:

1. I grew up in a very small town in Southern Louisiana. I adore my home state and I enjoy every moment that we spend visiting there. The food, the people, the atmosphere – you just can't beat it. Let me tell you, right now the entire state is on Cloud 9 after the Saints have won the Super Bowl! This is the first year in my entire life that I’ve ever been interested in the big game, but I was absolutely thrilled with the outcome. Yay Saints!!

2. I would love to be able to speak fluent French. Having grown up in Louisiana, I took many years of French in grade school and high school, but I haven’t retained very much. All of my grandparents spoke/speak French, and my parents understand it but don’t speak very much of it. My great-grandparents all spoke it as their primary language. It’s a part of my heritage that I would be sad to lose.

3. This may disappoint my dear pet-loving friends, but I am totally grossed out by pet hair! I don’t like the thought of it in general, but especially not on my clothes or in my house or anyplace close to where I’m eating. I know it’s extreme, but I’m serious! Although we had a sweet little beagle as a outdoor pet when we were first married, we do not currently have any pets (hairless or otherwise).

4. At last count, there were about 100 different blogs in my feedreader. I probably add one or two new ones every month. The vast majority of them are infertility-related blogs, but there are a few other blogs about decorating, etc. that I like to stalk. I find it very satisfying to get my unread news all the way down to zero, although it doesn’t stay that way for very long! It is definitely a challenge to actively follow that many blogs but I enjoy it very much and have “met” some great people.

5. I am married to a wonderful man who is incredibly resourceful. My husband has a mind that never quits. He is very smart and can figure out how to do just about anything. He loves to know how things work and has become quite the do-it-yourself-er. He will absolutely find a way to carry out any idea or plan that he has, and I really admire him for that. If he can’t find what he’s looking for in a store, then he’ll just make his own version of whatever it is. This is a quality he inherited from his precious grandfather and I’m so thankful for that. It has made for a very interesting marriage!

6. I am an Elvis fan. I grew up listening to his music (my mom has always been a fan) and have always loved it. I have been to Graceland twice, once when I was little and again about 7 years ago, but I have never been inside the house. It’s something I’d really love to do someday.

7. My mom and family are getting ready to move this weekend from the house they’ve lived in since I was 11 years old. We will be heading over there to lend a hand (don’t worry, by “we” I mostly mean “my husband”), and I’m already thinking of a sentimental post or two to write about the whole thing. I’m very excited for them, and I have to say, I wasn’t expecting this mixed bag of emotions I’m feeling about it. There will be more to come on this later, I'm sure.


I'm very happy to pass this award on to the following beautiful bloggers:

Rebekah at Life After Levi


Kathryn at This 'n That From on the Mountain

Deni at Making our Troxclair Family


Jessica at Marking Adoption Journeys with Joy

Andrea at Life, Love, & Pursuit of our Fairytale

Rebecca at Something I'm Not

Becky at Day by Day

I hope you'll stop by and visit their blogs. You'll find some amazing women with different stories and from different walks of life, but each has earned the title of Beautiful Blogger in my book!

*I know that I have two other awards to get to, but I'll get to those in a later post, hopefully soon! Thanks, friends!

Monday, February 8, 2010

From My Heart To Yours

There is something I think I've been needing to address on this blog for a while now, even since before we found out about pregnancy #7. A comment from a friend on my last post reminded me that now may be the best time. (Thank you, Kathryn, for your comment and for your honesty.)

Here is the part of Kathryn's comment that I want to address:

I think you will understand, too, when i say i'm excited & hopeful for you. With every cell in me i deeply desire that this child continues to grow & bless your family. But i'm also struggling with the sadness that my husband & i will never have this. You know i love you & deeply hope & pray for your blessing, but i may be silent.

To Kathryn and to everyone else who may feel this way -- I get it. I really do. I know that it's a risk when you form relationships through blogging with other women who wish to have children. I know what it's like to feel that you are the last one standing, waiting for something that you fear will never come. It is hard, even though you care deeply for your friends and want to see them happy. Even though you've prayed your heart out for them to have their dream fulfilled, it still stings a bit when they move forward with that dream and you don't.

At this point in my life, having been married since I was 21 and now at the age of 33, my husband and I have seen all of our friends have children while we waited and hoped. We love our friends' kids, and we have shared in their joy over the years with each new baby. But still we were sad as each year our own babies didn't make it. Each time we thought it would be our turn and each time we were sorely disappointed. One of my fears when I started blogging (being totally honest here) was that again we'd meet a whole new crop of friends and have to stand on the sidelines while everyone else welcomed their miracles. And to tell you the truth, in the long run, it hasn't been as hard as I expected. That's because I've found that when I really let myself get invested, when I truly open my heart to care for other women who are hurting and struggling with infertility and loss, I can truly rejoice with them when they do succeed! After all of the hurt and loss that I've experienced, I find that I share in the excitement and the anxiety each time someone has a positive pregnancy test. I pull for those precious babies to make it, against all odds and statistics. My desire to see a baby live and grow is stronger than whatever sadness I may feel for myself. I finally learned that when someone else has a baby it doesn't lessen my own chances, and it's not a race to see who can get there first. I now see the value of not comparing my life to the lives of others. (Please note that these are things that I have learned for me personally, and not things that I'm suggesting that any of you should learn!)

And I know, sometimes you have days where it seems that everywhere you turn someone else is pregnant. I know that's not easy, especially if you've had to face the possibility of a future with no children. Sometimes it's hard when an infertility blog becomes strictly a pregnancy blog and, try as you might, you simply can't relate to anything anymore. You feel that your "Congratulations!" and "I'm so happy for you!" may begin to fall flat after a while, because even though you are being 100% genuine, it's really all you know to say. And it feels strange because you consider that person your friend, and of course you still do, but you simply don't feel like you fit in with the new Mommy Blog format and comments. I have been there before, and in most cases I've decided that the friendship is important enough to me to continue to follow and look for opportunities to show support when I can. New mothers definitely need support and prayers, too! Before long I notice that it's not that hard anymore, and I find myself learning about something I hope to do myself someday.

With that being said, I firmly believe that the attitude and demeanor of the blog writer is key. I look for and cling to those who are still going to be sensitive to bloggers like me. I appreciate those who refuse to forget what it felt like when they were where I am. Those bloggers make it easy to continue to follow them well into motherhood! The same is true for me in real life. There is nothing more off-putting than having a friend in real life who has been through infertility and loss, who stood beside you and walked through the valley with you, and then they forget all about you and your sad circumstances after they have children. You never hear from them and they avoid talking about "your problem" like the plague. It hurts. I can never understand how they can seem to forget what it was like, yet sometimes I realize that it must be pretty freeing to escape the jaws of infertility. Maybe they choose not to look back, and they just no longer see us trapped in this quicksand. But oh how I cherish my friends who won't let pregnancy and motherhood affect the bond that we have with one another. Sure, their lives are different and I do want to be involved with that new aspect, but they are still the same person with all the same things I loved about them in the first place. I love friends like that.

It seems that I had way more to say about this subject than I thought! Thanks for hanging in there for this long. I'm just now getting to it, but here is my main point: I feel with absolute certainty that I have a duty, a responsibility, and a ministry to people who have been through loss. My experience has changed my perspective and my outlook forever. After giving a decade of my life (involuntarily) to infertility and miscarriage, how could I simply forget where I've been and what I've lost?

What I truly want is to encourage others who have been hurt the way I've been hurt. Whether I beat this thing or not, whether this current pregnancy actually works for us or not, I'm not abandoning that ministry. I finally feel like I have a purpose in all of this: I don't want to miss an opportunity to tell someone that I understand the pain of miscarriage that they are feeling, that they are not alone, and that it's not their fault. I know what waiting feels like, and I know what being left behind feels like. I understand how you can at the same time be ecstatic for your pregnant friend and yet feel devastated for yourself.

I never want this blog to make anyone feel hopeless about their own situation. I hope that, if I beat infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss, it might encourage others who didn't think they had a chance after six losses. I never started this blog to record every pregnancy symptom or month-by-month photos of a growing belly. I'm not criticizing those who do that, but I just know that this blog isn't the place for those things. I never want to cause extra pain to my sweet friends who are still waiting, and especially those for whom having a baby is no longer an option. That's why I don't share ultrasound photos, and that's why I won't post pictures of a pregnant belly or even a positive pregnancy test.

But what I will do is let you know our news, and I'll let you know whether I'm feeling hopeful, excited, uncertain, or terrified. And I'll keep praying for you and asking for your prayers as well. Please know that I understand if reading about a pregnancy is too much for you right now. I'd be sad to lose your comments and insights, but I completely understand if you can't find the words to say and don't wish to comment. Please know, though, that your comments are always welcome here, and I will make every effort to be sensitive to what you're going through.

And I'll make you this promise: I will never forget what it was like and where I've been. And I will never, ever stop praying for you.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Comments

It has been great to bring you some pretty positive posts lately, and I have really enjoyed sharing these small victories with you so far! Let me say, too, that I know what it's like to wait when it seems that everyone around you is moving ahead. The fact that so many of you come here to support us and offer your encouragement even during your own struggles really touches my heart in a way I could never describe. Your comments and prayers are so precious to me, as are the ones from friends who have been where we've been, and from friends and family who have not but have invested in our story and our lives. We are so thankful for you guys during every single step of this journey. In these very anxious and uncertain days, it means so much to have you standing with me. It even gives me strength to know that if we found ourselves at the very bottom again, you'd still be there to pray for us. That is truly invaluable to us right now. I am grateful for every single one of your comments!

Thankfully, the good is really outweighing the bad when it comes to support and encouragement. But oh yes, the bad is still there, and I hope you won't mind if I just vent for a moment. There are still those whose intentions I know aren't bad, yet they still manage to say things that just get under my skin. I've been here many times before and I know that so many of you have, too! What is it that makes people say these things?

This week I called one of my relatives to tell him our news. After our last two appointments showed really good progress, I felt it was time to let him know as he was really the only close family member we hadn't told yet. (By the way, yes, this is early for us to be telling a lot of people, but so many of our family and close friends read the blog that I knew if I put it out here, we would have to make the decision to go ahead and tell certain people.) So, I called my relative and after a few minutes I found myself talking to his wife, which was definitely not what I would have chosen. And just as I thought would happen, she began telling me that all I needed to do was think positive thoughts and have enough faith that this was going to happen and everything would be just fine.

I couldn't get a word in edgewise. I tried to explain to her that we were hopeful and that we were very happy to have received such good news so far, but that we still had a long way to go at this point. I'm only 7 weeks into this, I said. She just wasn't hearing it. There is nothing more frustrating than someone who won't even hear you out because they are so determined to get their agenda across! Never mind the suggestion that my failure to do this six times before might have something to do with how little faith I had or how my thoughts just weren't happy enough.

I don't think anything gets under my skin worse than a comment that makes an infertile person feel like their condition, or their losses, were their fault. I'll be the first person to admit that my faith is sometimes weak. Sometimes I struggle with trusting that there is a bigger picture that I may not see at the time. Sometimes I can be negative; I can let what has happened in the past scare me into thinking that this can never work and we will never succeed. Just today, even after being on such a high after yesterday's ultrasound, I found myself letting doubt creep in. I felt totally overwhelmed because of the amount of time that is ahead of us. I just wanted to hit the fast forward button! The idea of myself walking around with a big, pregnant belly and then holding a living baby in our arms seems like it is so far out of our reach and a million years away. But I really don't think that's a faith problem. I think it's a human problem.

We have memories. We do have a past. And while I think it isn't healthy to let what happened in the past control our emotions, we are still human. I wish I did have a memory that was as deep as the ocean. But I don't. I can't help but remember the babies I've lost, and frankly, while I wish it never happened in the first place, I really don't want to forget them. The experiences I've had have changed me and changed my perspective about so many things. That is something I wouldn't want to trade at this point. We've come so far, and sometimes I think you can only recognize how far you've gone by looking back at where you've been.

It's great to have faith that this pregnancy will work out and it's great to think positive thoughts. But ultimately, I'm not in control of my child's life or death. I'm leaving that in the Lord's capable hands, and I will pray every day for this child to make it. That's what I wish I would have said to the person on the phone. Trying to remain positive in the face of where we've been is a challenge, but I personally think we are doing okay with what we have and where we are.

Okay. I think I'm done with the soapbox for now! Thanks for letting me vent. :)

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Finally, to end on a much sweeter note, I want to tell you something very cute that my darling nephews said. When their mom, my sister, showed them our ultrasound picture from yesterday (which I had e-mailed to her upon strict orders), they both agreed that it was definitely a girl because they've both "always wanted a baby sister."
How precious are they? First of all, what 7- and 9-year-old boys want a sister?! And how adorable is it that they would consider our child more like a sibling than a cousin? It truly gave me the warm fuzzies to hear that, and you know, that even makes up for the dumb comments that I know we'll continue to hear every now and then. Man, I love those kids!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Second Ultrasound

I can't begin to express how much we have appreciated your prayers this week. Please know that they were truly felt!

I was really battling my nerves last night and this morning. It was an incredibly restless night and an anxious morning as we headed to the city, in the rain, for our 10 AM ultrasound. We arrived at the top level of the parking garage a few minutes before 10 and checked in at the front desk right on time. Just 5 minutes later, we were looking at our baby!

The doctor wasted no time showing us what we were desperately hoping to see on that screen. The baby looks great and everything is measuring normally for 6w5d. We saw that wonderful, flickering heartbeat, and for the first time ever we actually heard the heartbeat as well. It was a glorious 132 bpm and, I think, the greatest sound we've ever heard.

I couldn't help but cry tears of joy. The realist in me says that this is good news, but it's one big hurdle with more to follow. But the optimist in me is absolutely elated because of what we saw today!

My doctor is a straight-shooter and gets right to the point, so I decided to ask him what I imagine every person in my shoes (or socks, as the case may be) must want to know, "Should I be hopeful right now, even despite my history?" He answered "YES," and my tears kept flowing. Chuck and I hugged and cried after Dr. G left the room. Well, I cried. Chuck was as cool as a cucumber. After all, he'd been telling me all along that it was going to be okay.

And now we wait some more. Our next ultrasound appointment will be in 2 weeks, on Thursday, Feb. 18. For today, though, it's great news! One day at a time.

These are the verses in Scripture that I've been clinging to for the past few days:

1 Praise the LORD.
Praise, O servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.

2 Let the name of the LORD be praised,
both now and forevermore.

3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the LORD is to be praised.

4 The LORD is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.

5 Who is like the LORD our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,

6 who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?

7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;

8 he seats them with princes,
with the princes of their people.

9 He settles the barren woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.
Praise the LORD.

Psalm 113

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Waiting and Hoping

Our long wait between appointments is finally almost over. The next ultrasound is only two days away, on Thursday morning.

The good news is that I haven't seen or felt anything out of the ordinary (well, you know, out of the ordinary for a normal person). My symptoms are definitely still around. My sweet husband must feel like his only job in the world right now is keeping me fed! As always, he is taking tremendous care of me and has been making up for my severe lack of energy and voracious appetite by handling most of the housework and all of the cooking. I am so very thankful for him!

The only thing that could be classified as bad news right now is my memory. I wish I could forget about every awful ultrasound that we've ever had. I wish I didn't go into each new appointment with those terrible memories around to make my stomach turn and my heart race. I'm sure my nerves would be around to do that to me anyway. So far I have been doing okay at keeping calm. I haven't had any major freak-out moments and I'm trying really hard not to dwell on the past. It's hard to do, but I'm trying to consider this pregnancy an experience all its own.

In keeping with the "one day at a time" mindset, I've been making it part of my daily routine to thank the Lord for each new day. I know, this is something I should have been doing every day of my life anyway! But it has really helped me to focus on today and try not to worry about the past or about tomorrow. Of course I'm praying for this entire pregnancy from beginning to end, which I hope will be a long time, but thanking God for THIS day and the answered prayer of today alone gives me comfort.

So, for now we are still waiting and hoping. We're thankful for today and hopeful for tomorrow, and praying that each new day will bring us closer to bringing home a happy, healthy baby.

I'm keeping you all in my prayers. If I don't already know from your blogs or from e-mails, please let me know how I can pray for you!