Wednesday, May 30, 2012


So, thankfully I got back on track for a transfer last week.  Hooray.  BCP being taken, mock transfer and baselines being scheduled, plans for the end of June ironed out.

And then I went to my RE here in NC yesterday.  To do the mock transfer.  Technically, since we just did one in December for Trey's cycle, I didn't need one, but since I had a D&C almost two months ago, it wouldn't hurt to just have a saline ultrasound and make sure all was well.

It wasn't.

Dr. P's resident started the procedure.  No offense to residents, of course, but the reality is they are just getting into gaining experience, so someone presenting with a little bit of difficulty may throw them.  I have no problem helping someone gain experience; we all have to somehow.

That said—OH.MY.WORD.

This is a procedure that usually is pretty quick and pretty painless.

Not yesterday.  That poor guy was just flustered, and FINALLY, after turning my insides out, he told Dr. P he needed help.

So Dr. P took over.

And discovered that I now have a stenotic cervix.

I try not to Dr. Google anymore.  Too much that just makes me crazy.  What I was told was that scar tissue from the D&C has essentially closed my cervix.

I just cried.  There on the table.  As he's talking about all the things that could I may not even be able to transfer the two blasts we have left EVER, much less at the end of June.

He tried a bit more to get the catheter into my uterus and then I just began to bleed.  A lot.  So much that they wouldn't let me sit up from the table for 15 minutes because they were worried about me passing out.

I was a bit dizzy, I guess, but more in shock.


More insult to injury.

I called Jackie and she said Dr. K wanted me up there in Waldorf ASAP.  He wants to see what is going on.  There are things that can be done, but he needs to assess.  Luke and I are driving up tomorrow and Dr. K is going to try this mock transfer again there in his office and see what he thinks.  Depending on what he finds, he may have me go in for a hysteroscopy on Monday.  Super fun.

Jackie told me that worst case scenario was doing the transfer, but under sedation so they could just 'push' through that scar tissue.

Which presents its own set of problems.  Lots of women have been known to suffer from incompetent cervix as a result of this...a stenotic cervix due to D&C.


And at this point, is it worth doing the transfer now?  At the end of June, rather?  If I am still having issues, why exacerbate?  Take a chance on getting pregnant, even get pregnant only to LOSE AGAIN because it was just too early after the D&C?

How would I or doctors even know what the right decision would be?  It's all supposition.

The silver lining is that we found this out NOW—in an office in NC rather than at Shady Grove on June 25 as I have two precious blastocysts all thawed out with no place to go.

I cannot imagine.

So, until Friday...more limbo.  I hate the limbo.  I hate it.

So many people push for 'acceptance' in the grieving process...heck, just acceptance of life in general.

It is what it is.  Bloom where you are planted.  Recognize what you can change and live with what you can't.

Yada yada yada.

I'm so over all the what-ifs.  I am and always have been a planner.  After Matthew died, I realized that the best plans fail.

Miserably.  So, I am a lot more go-with-the flow now.

But this is ridiculous.  I'm about at the top of my load.

And oh, Luke??????

The WORST case of Hand, Foot Mouth his doctors have ever seen.

As was quoted last night, "He looks like Job."

Yep.  He does.  And it's been miserable for him.

Us too.

This is just a little glimpse..I can't keep him still enough to show how bad his hands and feet look.  Thankfully, he's on the upswing as the sores are scabbing over, but God love him.  Poor thing.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Irony Isn't Even The Right Word...

...but I don't know what else even comes close.

I should be 18w5d.

I have been begging...literally on my knees BEGGING God to start a new cycle (sorry if TMI) because without a period, and like YESTERDAY, we are not on target for anything... ironic that when I should be getting my little Trey's anatomy scan (according to what I wrote in pen in my calendar) tomorrow...

I am thrilled beyond thrilled to have started today?

Thanking God.

Answered prayer.

But so, so painful at the same time.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

You'd Think I'd Know Better....

...than to write anything in pen.

Paper after paper after paper with penned signature to bring a baby girl who needed a family into our family that needed a baby.

Didn't happen.

Penned journal entry after journal entry about a baby boy who will never read how much his mother loved him.

Because he died.

A calendar that tells me that this week, I'd be 18w4d pregnant.

With my third baby boy.

Every week, carefully and joyfully marked so that my countdown could be forever memorialized and one day I'd show him how much I was waiting for him.

Written in pen.

Ruined calendar.

Ruined dreams.


I'd like to blame it on the pen.

But I know better.

You'd think I'd know better.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Women's Rights...

We went home this weekend for a few different things.  The main thing was for the Marine Corps Aviation Association's awards dinner and celebration of 100 years of Marine Aviation.  Seriously cool.  How many people get to have dinner with men or women who hold Medals of Honor?  Or meet and revisit with heroes of every war or situation since World War II?

Grandma watched Luke and we had a lovely night at The Gaylord in DC.  There was a super fun after-ceremony party, and John kept coming to me telling me we had to leave.  There were tons of people still left, so I didn't understand why he was being such a party pooper, and then he said, "Hon, it's after 2."

As in 2:00 AM.

I did not believe my body could still do that.

It sure was fun.

We had some things we were to do on Monday, so we spent Sunday taking Luke to the zoo.  He had a blast and I had a blast watching him.  His little personality is really, really starting to come through.

And I am in TROUBLE!

He is so flipping cute.  But...has his mommy and daddy's stubborn will; daddy's daredevil mentality and mommy's "You're not the boss of me!" philosophy.

So, cute as he is, he sure is starting to test his boundaries, but he KNOWS it.  Gives a sly little grin and then watches for our reactions.


On our drive home, we went through a little NC town.  We passed by a small church, not sure of the denomination, and I read its marquis.

"The greatest right a woman has is to be a mother."

I don't know how I feel about that sentiment.

Well, yes, I guess I do.

I do not believe that it is a woman's right to be a mother.

It's my right to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

It's my right to vote, believe and worship as I choose and freely express myself.

But it is my honor and my privilege and my greatest blessing to be a mother.

As I drove by that sign, I thought how much it must have hurt some women as they walked in, seeing that sign, on Mother's Day—as they may have been in the throes of infertility or child loss grief.

How demeaning that is to women who for whatever reason BUT their choices are not mothers.

How there are some mothers I am aware of that I want to literally SLAP SILLY because in my opinion, they sure as heck don't 'deserve' to mother the children they do...but that's not my call.

Saying that the greatest right a woman has is to be a mother just really rubs my skin raw.

If it was only that easy....

"Hey!  I invoke my right of motherhood!  Bring on the baby!"

Yeah, right.

That statement implies that we get to choose whether or not we get to be mothers.  While that is often true, to the extent that we choose whether to attempt or accept motherhood or is all, all too much more often that we don't.

More often, I think we beg God to allow us to finally see two pink lines...get the phone call saying our HCG was off the charts...let us bring the baby home...let us keep the baby...

Let us be mothers.

It's a permissive issue...motherhood.  Not something we are automatically granted by our citizenship or our existence.  Something that we are allowed...or not.  However it is our families are created and built, it's certainly not something we just click our heels together for and get.

(Well, most people.)

Now, don't get me started on why some are allowed it and others aren't.  Please.  I have no answers and won't even attempt them.  Still asking lots of questions myself, thanks.  Just have come to the conclusion that it's not mine to reason.

Just like it's not my right to be a mother.

Because's a miracle I do not take for granted.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The "R" Word

Something on my heart.

The other day, Grandma and I took Luke down to the little playground a few houses down.  There were two little girls I didn't know swinging on the swings.

"Ing!  Ing!  Ing!" happens to be the newest and best thing Luke has to say to us, and so I was pushing his gleeful little self in the infant swings.  It was a really pretty day, and Luke was flirting with Grandma and cackling with joy and I just took in just how precious those little simple joys are.

And then I heard the one little girl say to the other girl, "Don't be so retarded."

I couldn't help it.  I'd love to say it was the teacher in me, and maybe a bit of it was, but the mother in me couldn't hold back.

"Oh, that's not a very nice word, sweetheart."

I threw the girls off, I think, by even talking to them, much less sort of chastising them.

I went on, because they were both looking at me as if I should.

"I'm sure you don't really mean it to be not very nice, but it's not a nice thing to say to someone."

"Why not?" asked the little girl who was being told NOT to be retarded.

"Because a lot of times, people use it in a mean way to talk about other special people who can't protect themselves or defend themselves.  Some people mean it in a really mean way because it makes fun of people who are different than we are.  I know you and your friend don't mean it that way, and you probably didn't even know it could be meant that way, but I wanted to be sure you knew so you don't hurt anyone's feelings when you don't mean to."

"Oh," they both said, sort of in unison, and continued to swing.  Then the one little girl started to tell the other she could speak French.  In an accent and with enunciation that makes me instantly think of National Lampoon's European Vacation, she mangled the phrase, "Parlez vous Francais?" and they went on with their conversation, punctuated every few minutes with making goo-goo eyes at Luke.

Lesson noted.  They moved on to a new topic instantly.  Without any hesitation.

As a teacher, I've seen my fair share of children who would be dubbed with the "R" word and I can tell you that there are few experiences more rewarding than working with special needs children.  I've NEVER allowed my students to bully one another for any reason, and CERTAINLY not children with special needs because their needs made them different.

My great Aunt was a precious woman I adored...she lived to be 70 and had Down's Syndrome.  Born in 1919, her family was basically told to institutionalize her and be done with her.  Thank God I come from a line of people who would sooner eat raw alligator eyeballs than dismiss ANY life.

John's uncle has pretty profound Asperger's.  He has had some rough times in his life, due to ignorance and ridiculous treatments, but again, his family would never allow anyone to discount the importance of his life simply because it was so, so different.

I am heartbroken when I read (far too often, I might add) about women who have persevered through fertility treatments, only to get pregnant and then find out their child had Down's Syndrome and they decided to abort.  Please know I am not judging...I cannot imagine what the thought and heart process must be to come to that decision.

But seriously???

Had Matthew lived, we would be looking at some really, really profound issues.  SERIOUS issues.  The kind where you walk by the kid in the chair or whatever, watch his mom as she is drying his chin from all the drool, and you think, "Poor, poor kid."

We would have taken that in a HEARTBEAT.  We would have cherished every single second we could have had with that precious boy, regardless of the condition he was in, and I would have defied a soul to count his life as anything less than the miraculous life I know it to be.

So I get really, really upset when kids today so callously throw that "R" word around...because it is up to stop it.

To stop our children from bullying others because they are different.

To prevent our children from being ok with being hard-hearted.

Stop them from finding joy in hurting others with their words and actions.

Now honestly, those little girls really didn't seem to even know what they were saying.  Their innocence in understanding why it was an ugly word was soooo apparent.

And proves how easy it is to just instill in our children (and in us, really...think about any time you've made a joke about the short bus, or someone being a pancake short of a stack, or know what I am talking about) how to be kind.

How to accept.

How to eradicate that word and others like it that imply that mental/physical deficits make one a lesser person.

Less human.  Less worthy of love.

Because I'll tell you this...I'd give my eye teeth to have had my little boy live.  My boys live.  No matter what conditions they may have had.

And that words like 'retarded' are still used the way they are just makes my stomach sick.

Just had to get that off my heart.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

His Name Was Trey...


Tuesday will be 5 weeks since I had the D&C.  Just over 5 weeks ago, I was carrying another sweet baby boy.


My gut told me girl.

But he was a little boy.  A little boy with normal chromosomes.

Perfect.  Healthy.  Great lining (so thick it was noted in my placental report).

And gone.

My sweet, sweet, sweet friend and doctor let me know this evening.  I know a lot of people think that was really crappy timing.  I understand that and think their concern for me is so precious.

I think this information is an amazing gift, though. I have been praying, praying, praying for some certainty.  I mean, yes, I had my 'gut' feeling, but people can always refute 'gut' feelings.

Not give them merit because maybe they are just what our hearts want to believe.

No refuting the science of DNA analysis, though.

A perfect little boy with normal chromosomes.

Normal chromosomes.  A lot to digest for me right now, but for another time.

For tonight, I am grateful to be given such amazing information.  To go to sleep saying the names of all three of my boys.

Before we lost him, John and I were having a really hard time coming up with boy names.  We sort of felt like we'd 'used' all the 'good' boy names (that we could both agree on, ha ha!).  We had a little girl's name.

But were having a hard time with boy.  I had several.  John kept negging them.  He really only offered one.  Alexander Jay.  I like Alexander, thought Alex and Luke sounded nice together, but Jay wasn't screaming at me and Alexander means Defender or Protector of Men.  This mama was not thrilled with the thought of my boy having such a responsibility before he was even born.

So, I told John he needed to come up with some more.  One afternoon, I took a nap while Luke napped and John looked into baby names.  When I woke up, he had a few (some were really interesting, I have to say) but the one he liked best was Trey.  He said, "It means three.  Third."

I laughed.  Really?  John Matthew—a gift from a gracious God.  Samuel Luke—God heard and brought us light.

Trey?  Hey kid!  We've run out of boy names, so since you are third, you get Trey.  Ha ha.

We joked about that a lot.

And appropriate right now????  What name will cement his place in our family and our hearts MORE than one that tells exactly who he was?  THIRD.  Real, perfect and precious...our THIRD child.  THIRD boy.

Third in birth order, but equal in placement of our hearts.

And, like his brothers, he will go by his middle name.  His name will be Alexander Trey, and he will be called Trey.

His name, with Matthew's, will be spoken.  His existence was real and does not get erased because he died before he was able to be born.

He was a healthy, perfect little boy and he was a miracle and he will always be known as our third child.

As a teacher, whenever moms came in at Open Houses or events like that and I found out the child I was teaching was one of their THREE sons, I always joked about how strong that mom must be!  How busy that house must be!  How there must be a very, very special place in Heaven for the mom of three boys!!!

Guess what?  There sure is.

And two very loved little boys are holding mine for me.

Mother's Day...

How ungrateful are the thoughts going through my head today.

I know that.  I have prayed all morning for them to be taken away.  I'm trying really, really hard to overcome them.

But they are there.

Mother's Day.  Bleh.

My mother is dead.

Two of my three babies are dead.

I had to spend nearly 11 years just to even get to babies who die.

Year after year of sitting in the pew hearing all about how being a mother is the most important job there is and there is no greater honor for a woman than to be a wife and mother.

So do you not get to be honorable if you can't bring babies home to raise?

I know that's not what is ever meant, but I think it's very rarely thought about when pastors all over the country are making their Mother's Day sermons.  Or planning baby dedications on Mother's Day.

I think they are forgetting about the vast amount of women for whom Mother's Day hurts.  Stings.  Stirs up more aching and more longing.

Here's the way I look at it....I am grateful beyond grateful for the blessings of my children.  For the joy that Luke gives to me every.single.second. (Even the ones where he's flapping his arms and throwing whatever toy he has down in protest of something I am doing.)

But that's every day.  Every day is Mother's Day to me with that boy.  Every amazing day I am thankful for hearing him say, "Mama?  Mama?"

The day that's *designated* Mother's Day?  That one hurts.  Makes me miss my mother so much.  Wish there was so much she could see and I could talk to her about.

Makes me realize that this whole 'motherhood' road I've been on really hurts in a lot of places on a lot of days.

Makes me wish for just a nanosecond that I didn't even know what infertility and loss felt like...even if it meant that I just never had a desire for kids.  To save me from that pain.

It's just one of those markers that stares me in the face and reminds me I'm supposed to feel one way but really feel another and I have to reconcile those feelings within myself and to the world.

Tough job on a day that's supposed to be all about me.

Did you know that Mother's Day the holiday eventually came to be as the result of women gathering together during the civil war times...mothers who were grieving together and mourning the losses of their sons?

Now that's a Mother's Day that's more realistic and applicable to me.  Sadly.  I'd rather accept that kind of background and remembrance for Mother's Day proper, and then spend the other 364 days relishing in the joys of motherhood.  The gratitude I have for the mothers and grandmothers I've had in my life. Being glad that my dad has another woman in his life who loves Luke.  Celebrating the wonderful mom and Grandma (Luke's almost there in saying it!) that John's mom is to us with little things through the year, instead of one day that has all these expectations placed on it.

Just not having to act like Mother's Day is this great, all-about-me day that is all celebration.

The reality is, I don't need a lot of celebrating.  I'm psyched at the nap I am getting (rather, should be soon as I finish typing this blog!).  One day, I'll be all about flowers made of pipe-cleaner and handprints, macaroni necklaces and candles made from baby-food jars.

Now,'s just too soon after losing Matthew and his littlest sister or brother to not have some pretty heavy melancholy.  I know too many moms who are not recognized as moms. Too many women without their mothers.  Just too much sadness that's sort of overshadowed.  That bothers me just a bit too much.

I'm rambling.  I don't even know what point I am trying to make...other than I get how Mother's Day is a great and amazing day—how I am grateful beyond words to raise my hand when told to in church.

I just also know how much it hurts for so, so, so many women.  And I hate that.  If you are one of them, and reading this, I'm sorry.

Truly.  I'm sorry.  I get it.

(And I should mention, my service at church this morning, even with a baby dedication, was AWESOME!  My pastor and his wife have dealt with infertility for years.  He gets it.  My church in Maryland never made me feel less of a person because I wasn't a mother either, even with baby dedications on Mother's Day too.  What is it about baby dedications on Mother's Day?  Anyway, just wanted to put that disclaimer in.  For the last few years, we've been very, very blessed with our churches and church families.  Just know that sometimes, even the small "Raise your hand if you are a mother," or watching a baby dedication on Mother's Day really, really stings.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

People-Shaped Spaces....

So many things going around in my head.

Finally got an under-5 quantitative HCG level.  Officially un-pregnant.

A month ago, today, we saw the baby for the last time.  Yesterday, I should have found out for sure if it was a baby boy or girl.  Today, I wait for test results I feared wouldn't come, and feel that with each day passing and no results, I was right.

Today someone told me their 18 year old sister was pregnant.  Surprise.  Due in October.  On my due-date.  Isn't that always the way?

MercyMe's The Hurt and The Healer constantly plays in my head.  Plays in my car.  Plays on my iphone. (I just tell Siri to play it and she DOES!  Admittedly, that rocks!)  Reminds me that I am alive.  Pieces of me have died, but I am alive.

And grateful for a beautiful life.

I go between crying with no warning to giggling hysterically at something that Luke does.  He is so funny, that boy.  I have, have, HAVE to do a catch-up post on him, but I'm too busy hanging out with him to have time to really do that post justice.

I'm anxious and optimistic about the upcoming transfer, but really feeling like if it doesn't work, I just may be done.  I told John I'd go for one more fresh cycle, for him, but would only be for him.

I saw something in my FB newsfeed today that sort of resonated with me. "A grandchild fills a space in your heart that you never knew was empty."

Of course, it's not the grandchild's the space in my heart that I never knew was empty.

That's what's been getting me.  Before Matthew, I KNEW there was a space in my heart that was empty.

In truth, though, I only thought it was one space.  I didn't ever dream that I'd be lucky enough to have more than one child, though I certainly, certainly would have loved to.  After so, so many years of infertility, though, I just figured if I was blessed enough to just have one...I'd be beyond thrilled.

And that one was Matthew.  Of course, I dared to dream when they told us that we had one embryo frozen from Matthew's batch, but that poor little embryo was a slow-growing one from the get-go and I maintained realistic expectations that Matthew would be the only child we'd have.

Fine with me.

Until we lost him.  How?  How?  How could we go through life without even trying again to bring that sweet joy of parenthood—parenthood we actually get to experience with a living child—into our lives again?  I know many of my close friends and family thought I was done with IVF after Matthew died.  I know why...but thankfully, as devastated as we were, the joy of his life and the hope for more joy was just sweeter and more motivating.

I didn't realize there was even a Luke-shaped space in my heart, but now, I can't even imagine how I ever lived before him.  I never knew HIS space in my heart was empty, until he came and continues to fill it every single day.

He has brought such joy to our lives; we felt like we'd be nuts if we didn't at least *try* to see if we could bring in more of that joy...another precious gift to love and raise.  A sibling Luke would get to live with and with whom he could grow.

But I didn't feel like I had another empty space in my heart.  I had Matthew's.  I had Luke's.  Good enough.  John and I kept telling each other that another baby would just be icing on the cake.

That was until we got pregnant.  When I saw that pink line start to form and get darker, I realized there WAS another empty space in my heart.  I never even knew it was there.

It hurts.

It's one thing when you don't even know the empty space is there.

It's another when you not only know it's there, but you are acutely and painfully reminded how it's still empty, just in a different way.

After this transfer, I don't think I even want to know about any more people-shaped spaces. I know that sounds awful, and to think that I'd have missed out on Luke if I wasn't willing to discover his 'space' in my heart really stings.

But finding out about spaces that don't get filled on this earth is wearing on me.  I feel like before we did IVF, we were very clear on where we felt God was in the whole process.  Laying it so strongly on our hearts to go for it.

Not feeling that much more.  Maybe that's the pain and the fear of more pain talking, and don't want my life to be lived with that as a guide.

I don't think so, though.  I think I've discovered about as many people-shaped spaces as I'm supposed to.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I'm Tired Of This Ride....

Today, with Still Standing, I am joining Tara as she (and others linking) are talking about where they are in this 'journey.'

If honest, I don't love that terminology.  I feel a journey is something I chose to do...take a trip, an adventure.  Planned a course and set out for the 'journey.'

These days, I feel it's more like I am on a really old and rickety roller coaster...the kind that makes you giddy and giggle in a very scared and anticipatory way, but after you are off, you look at it and go, "What in THE WORLD was I thinking????"

It's a ride that frankly, I'm tired of.

I've spent the last 12.5 years either wanting to be pregnant, trying to be pregnant, trying to adopt, trying to do both, being pregnant, being un-pregnant, trying to be pregnant again, raising a living baby, trying to be pregnant AGAIN, being un-pregnant AGAIN and trying to be pregnant AGAIN.

Did you get all that?  Dizzying.  And I'm tired.

I  KNEW the second I typed that my nurse said my HCG decline was the fastest she'd ever seen, I was asking for trouble.  I just knew it.

I have had to have blood drawn every other day for the last two weeks.  It was 22.  A couple of days later...15.  A couple of days later...8.  A couple of days later...SIX.  SIX, people. (I need to have 5 or under to be officially un-pregnant and start the countdown for all the recurrent loss testing.)

Sigh.  I'm SURE today is the day it will finally be official.

Thankfully, six is close enough to five that my nurse said we could use Friday's result as the first day for the countdown.  That means that I will do the loss bloodwork on the 15th of June, get the results back, and then am scheduled for the transfer of our remaining two embryos on the 25th of June.

I had lunch with my sweet friend today and as we were talking about it, I said, "I know that will be here like, yesterday, but really...I am just sick of being in the middle of pregnant and not-pregnant.  I just want out of the limbo.  I either want to be pregnant and done or not pregnant and done."

That made me sad.  I hated that I said that I felt stuck in the middle of pregnant and not-pregnant.

I am NOT pregnant.

There is no denying that.  A month ago today ensured that.  I sort of feel like I'm doing what I often accuse others of doing to me—assuming that getting pregnant again will make things easier.

Will make this pain as I am looking at a Mother's Day now with TWO babies gone sting a bit less.

It won't.

But like Luke didn't take ANY sting of Matthew being gone...he DID add to the joy in our lives in exponential and immeasurable ways.

I can't lie and say I am not really, really hopeful for more of that.

I'm just getting to the point where my hope for more is not balanced with sheer disgust and lack of desire to create more babies only to have them die.

This ride is getting to be too much.  Just too much.

I'm tired.

Friday, May 4, 2012

On Being Strong...


Lots of people say I have it.  In loads.  I never agree.  I always think of it more as having no other choice.  I'm reminded of that quote that's roaming all over Facebook that says one never knows how strong they are until he or she has no other choice but to be strong.  I guess that's how I've always viewed strength.

My grandmother had a rough life.  She was one of the strongest women I know, but again, as a single mother of 8 divorced from a cheating, alcoholic and abusive husband in the late 40s, what choice did she have?

My mother and father didn't have the easiest lives.  My dad grew up in very poor Appalachian Virginia, the son of many generations of coal miners.  Think living in tar shanties.  For real.

My mother would have been glad to have that...she and two of her brothers (most of her brothers and sisters were much older than the youngest three...) and my grandmother often considered themselves lucky to live in a car.  Depend on the Salvation Army for weekly meals.  Seriously...hard lives.

But they were both strong.  Ended up coming from the lives they did before me and my siblings to the lives we lived with them...ones where they were educated and successful and thrived.

And so did we.  I've never wanted for anything that I needed, and though I worked hard to do it, I put myself through school, got a few degrees that I don't do a darned thing with, and have always felt like I could do just about anything I wanted to...if the motivation was there.  I come from a line of people most would consider strong, and I guess most would consider me strong too.

Especially those who have known me in the past several years...whether teaching (and if you don't think THAT takes amazing strength, you obviously have no idea what a teacher's life is really like!), or dealing with years and years of infertility, or losing my mom, or John's dad...being a military spouse and separated from John more than most people could even fathom, losing Matthew, losing his sister or brother...I guess it's fair to say that many people think I am strong.

But I've never thought of it as anything but the only option.  What else DOES one do?  I know the answer to that, but truthfully, with the exception of the first few weeks after Matthew died, I've never, ever, EVER considered actually giving up a feasible option.  It was all about Survival.  Period.  If people see that as strength, I guess I can't convince them otherwise.

Something about this acceptance that strength is just all one can be in light of devastation in his or her life has been bothering me.

Because the reality is, it's NOT.  Being strong is NOT the only choice.

It IS a choice, but it's not the only one.

And I think I've been undercutting myself.  I went in this morning for what I PRAY is the last blood test to see if my HCG is 5 or under and the woman who has been taking my blood said, "I don't mean to pry, but are you pregnant?"


No.  I'm not.  Anymore.

I told her what was going on and saw she was visibly moved.  Luke was being as cute as he could be, flirting with her and making us giggle as we were both tearing up, and she said, "Well, I'll pray for you.  I can tell you have such a strong, strong family."

I sort of rolled my eyes and said, "Well, don't know about strong, but we are blessed, that is for sure."

How wrong of me.

We are blessed, no doubt, but we are ALSO strong.

A friend emailed me the other day about a dream she'd had and in it, she shared with me how God was telling me that He just needed me to give Him control and to wait in Him.  Just to wait and allow Him to bless us even more than we could imagine.  I told her that I feel like I have, for the most part, but this last week of blood testing has been dragging and I've been impatient.  Last night, she emailed me a verse:"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." Psalm 27:14

She had come across it and thought it fitting in light of our conversation.  I did too...because two weeks ago in church in Pensacola, we sang Be Strong and I cried as I did.

I love that hymn.  My grandmother loved that hymn.  I cried as I was singing because being strong is hard, and being of good courage is even harder...especially when your heart is broken again and again. But I believe the end...that the victory is won.  And for me, that was worth crying.

So, after I get this email with this verse, seriously, fewer than 3 minutes passed and I saw another post from another friend with THE.VERY.SAME.VERSE in my newsfeed.  Two people COMPLETELY unaware of each other (they have no knowledge of each other and don't even have any similarity to anything other than maybe they are both friends of mine.  They don't even live in the same countries.).

The point is...that same verse.  Being strong and being of good courage and waiting on God.

As a woman who waited for what seemed like eternity (ok, 10.5 years) to bring a child into our lives, I feel like whether or not I wanted to, I've gotten good at waiting on God.

I also feel like the mere fact that Luke lives shows I am able to be of good courage because without good courage, I'd never have been able to go through another cycle...or the one we just did...being of good courage means knowing the worst can (and does happen) and you still have faith that it may be just what your heart desires.  So, I feel like I'm good on that.

It's the being strong.

I always deny being strong.

My bad.  I AM strong.  I'm going to start claiming it.  He tells us all be strong in Him.

Doesn't mean that I am superhuman or act superhumanly...but in His strength, I AM strong.

That's a big deal.  To me, at least.

Tomorrow, the Still Standing magazine launches.  I am beyond excited about this magazine because it's hard to believe that I am part of a group of women who have had the unbearable happen in their lives, and they not only bear it, but bear it beautifully.  Amazingly.  With strength that they've CHOSEN to exhibit.  I think you'll be pretty impressed with the stories and lives of these women, and we'd all be honored if you visit.

See what strength looks like.

It's pretty awesome.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Gut Feelings...

You know, I always find it funny that people are willing to put soooooo much faith and belief in the universe as some sort of giving and taking, controlling/allowing entity, but have a hard time giving that same faith and belief to One who makes the same claim and has some actual historical backing.

That said, I certainly am not judging...we believe what we believe, and usually because that's what our life's experience has taught us to do.

My point, though, is that so, so, so many people are willing to say, "What a day!  The universe opened up a thunderstorm this morning, but ended it with me running into an old friend, so all-in-all, balanced!" but when you tell them about some 'gut feeling' you have, it's discounted.

Mother's Intuition?  Usually only believed in by mothers.

Thinking of someone and then the phone rings and it's THEM?  Coincidence.

Run into someone who ends up changing your life? Quirky happenstance.

I don't know...I guess I am just surprised at what some people have no trouble believing and what they absolutely, positively can't fathom believing in.

And totally discount.

Like gut feelings.  Dreams that are so real and SO applicable to what is going on in one's life that it's almost...eerie.

The other day, I went to the new OB here in NC.  Obviously, since my favorite doctors in the world are in Maryland, I was nervous.  It was supposed to be a 15-week check of the baby.

Instead, checking to see how I've recovered from the D&C. (Fabulously, thanks for asking.)

This doctor was great.  He was empathetic.  He was kind.  He was compassionate.  He read my chart.  He put me at ease, all things considered.  My BP when I went in was 176/116.  I'm a 90/60 kind of gal.  Yes, you may THINK you have it all together, but your body won't lie...when I left, after talking to him, it was 110/86.  Still high, but way better.  I mean, let's be real...I was there to see how well the baby had been sucked out of me.  If THAT doesn't jack someone's blood pressure, I don't know what will.

Anyway, we talked about gut feelings.  He felt like the fact that I wanted a c-section the ENTIRE pregnancy with Matthew was a gut feeling, and he's sure it is hard for me to realize that would have saved Matthew's life.  It IS hard, but honestly, I'm betting it's harder for every single person who told me that if I wanted to do 'the best thing for the baby,' I'd not even consider a c-section unless absolutely necessary...yeah, so, listening to all that essentially killed my son.

We also discussed Matthew being breech until 35 weeks.  "Maybe he knew..." the doctor said about Matthew.

Yep.  I ABSOLUTELY believe that.  It was because I chose to listen to everyone and try and have a vaginal birth that I tried all I could to turn him.

Ignoring gut feelings again.

Or every time Luke has something and I don't react to it because I don't want to be that mom, even when I am really worried...only to find out that the kid has H1N1 or something and I SHOULD have brought him in way sooner.

Ignoring Mother's Intuition because I don't want people to think I'm a neurotic hover-mother.

Or taking those darned (yes, I know....very pregnancy-safe) inhalers with this last bout of bronchitis.  The baby's heartbeat stopped 4-5 days after I took them.  The VERY STRONG heartbeat just stopped.

Ignored what my gut said.  Even if that had NOTHING to do with losing the baby, I am trying to live my life with nothing to regret.  I regret taking those inhalers.


Just wish people would not discount gut feelings as much.  Just because something can't be explained, that doesn't mean that it should be discounted.

So I am going to share something very personal and very private.
I could be very wrong.  I don't claim to be anyone who has revealing dreams or anything like that.
I'm as skeptical as the next person.

But I also know what my gut is telling me, and it is telling me that the baby was a girl.

I had a dream about a week and a half ago.  I'd been feeling that we were not going to get any information from the testing (still haven't, and still doubt we are) but that God was telling me it was ok. He knew the baby.  He knew the gender.  He knew the name.

So, in this dream, I was in the hospital and was told the baby was a girl.  They were writing her name on the birth certificate.  I was crying and asking what happened.  They kept repeating, "Trisomy 22."  I kept saying, "That's not even a real thing!!!"

No explanation, just kept telling me, "Trisomy 22," and telling me her name.

So the next morning, my sweet friend and I talked about this dream and I decided to google Trisomy 22.

It IS a thing.

A serious, rare and sad thing.  I've never heard of it.

And when a baby has a complete Trisomy 22, it is incompatible with life.  Miscarriage always occurs, typically in the first trimester.

I was just at the end of the first trimester when the baby died.

Many might discount this as weird or kooky or whatever.

I feel like it's the best comfort I've been given and personally by the Great Comforter Himself.

The new OB said to me, "You know...all things considered, you are really in a healthy place.  I can see the joy on your face that tells me you aren't lying when you say you are content with your life right now.  I can tell by the tears you've cried how much your heart still grieves your first son and this newest baby.  I can see by the way you are using your hands and talking quickly about the upcoming transfer that you are excited and hopeful...but I can also see by the way you are tearing the tissue up that you know nothing is ever guaranteed and you have a realistic view of what could very likely come as a result of another transfer and/or pregnancy. I wish more of my patients could have what you have."

What I have?

What DO I have?

Gut feelings.  Gut instincts that we are ok.  God laying it on my heart that these next several weeks (we are probably doing a transfer sometime between June 20-24th) and following months are going to be ok.

Even though my life experience tells me that it probably isn't, my gut is screaming at me to give it a chance.

I'm going with my gut.