Friday, February 28, 2014

Raw Pregnancies

*Warning:  You can't say I didn't warn you.  This gets graphic and I open up about the truth of something I never knew about until this past year.  I share details of what it was like to give birth to three babies: one with a heartbeat, two in heaven.*

At five weeks pregnant no medical care is accepted.  No one runs to "get you in."  They calmly ask you to flee.  Return at eight to ten weeks they say.  It's as if your baby is not worth checking into.  At 12 weeks they nearly faint if they hear you have not gotten medical care.  As you start puking you try not to chuckle about you picturing yourself barfing in their waiting room...while munching on cracker number 50.

At sixteen weeks you finally "get seen" and you try to get a good look at your moving baby.  Your heart skips a beat as the "student" who comes in first has a hard time finding your little one's heartbeat.  The ultrasound shows a highly mobile baby, so much so measurements can't be done and gender unknown.  Another ultrasound is set up for a few weeks later.

Anxiously, your husband holds your hand.  The baby on the screen is moving and showing good signs of health.  Your husband knows--it's a girl.

A few months later you give birth to a beautiful, 7 pound 4 oz girl named Ellie Marie.  The birth story rocky, the aftermath quite an ordeal (did I mention yet the rest of my placenta came out when she was three weeks old?), but your beautiful daughter smiles and sweet personality changes your life forever.

...and that was just a brief description of some details of our first pregnancy.

Little did I know...
Early the morning of March 21, 2013 I saw two lines.


For the next couple weeks I'm puking beyond my control.  More miserable than Ellie's pregnancy sickness (for that part of the pregnancy at least).

I told Jon....
"This is my last pregnancy.  I can't do this to you or anyone else.  again."

(Not because I didn't love my babies.  But because I didn't want to be a burden on anyone.  It was also hard on my body to be pregnant.)

I'm desperately miserable and helpless when pregnant.  I envy those beautiful women and "easy, sickless" pregnancies.  Women who can sleep and not puke before moving in the morning, or smell food and crave something instead of barfing.  Or brush their teeth without gagging to the point of well....throwing up.

But I'm not one who gets easy pregnancies.

All of a sudden I questioned our baby's health.  I don't remember the exact moment when I sensed something was "off."  My sickness was getting better, but I was praising Jesus for the grace of sickness 24/7.  I felt His mercy on me.  But I should have been grieving my baby.  Just days later I was spotting.

I called people..."please I just need to know--is my baby okay?" and "please I have a sense...I'm losing my baby.  Please help me!"

No one would take me in. [Hem, like I was Joseph and Mary...and they were telling me--no room in the inn!]

But they were saying, "Only if you will sign to say you will continue your pregnancy and delivery with us."

What?  (Didn't you hear me?  I think my pregnancy is ending!)  I'm practically in labor now...

Thanks.  So comforting.

Nails were pulled.  Hair lost.  (Literally on the hair part.)

I got an ultrasound.

The sac was empty.

Taylor was born at home--in the night of May 17th.

All I remember is blood.  Lots of clots.  Like softballs.

"This is gross,"  I thought.

(umm literally felt like I was pooping out the wrong end)

But did I mention contractions?
oh man, did I have them!

Now, with Ellie's birth I had no meds for her delivery.  I felt every contraction...even after being induced.  They came fast, strong, and hard.  I also felt her head.  Oh, that head. (Baby heads use to seem so small.)

But laboring a baby not full-term your body responds differently.  It's like a period gone bad.  Pain.  Blood.  Laundry.  Seriously stomach pain!  Body not dilated like it would be for pushing out all that comes out at 40 weeks.

I'll never know what Taylor looked like or exactly when my sweet baby was gone.  But looking back my serious sickness had probably got so bad because my body was fighting.  My body wanted to grow a baby.  My hormones were working overtime.  (I feel like they are still fighting.)

Taylor was due November 21st.

And as that date passed, I also remembered-
I'm still grieving.  Another due date would arrive.  God blessed me with two pregnancies in 2013.  (Yes, if you count Ellie's pregnancy I was pregnant three times in one year.  Sept 2012-Sept 2013)

At about five weeks along we suspect it.  It was July 22nd.  By the time August hit family and close friends knew.  However with sickness I knew it would get pretty obvious.

I was a wreck.  Ellie was gaining teeth, pulling herself up holding onto furniture, and I even remember nursing and barfing at the same time.

Getting an appointment was rough.  With knowing we were moving to Ames, I didn't know who would end up delivering our baby.  With Ellie's pregnancy we moved halfway through.  It brought on unwanted trials yes, but such is life.

Finally, appointment scheduled.  But had to get cancelled and things changed.

Timing is everything.
Beginning of September I was questioning how things were going.  I'm hoping I'm just over thinking things.  I was still nauseous but not nearly what I "should be."  September 10th they let us go in.

1:30 ultrasound we see our beautiful baby.  We should be about 12 weeks.  But Alex has no heartbeat and measuring 8 weeks 4 days.  (I cringe at remembering I couldn't bare the idea of asking for a print of the ultrasound.  Wish I had the courage.)

September 15th I wake up in the morning with extreme pain.  Most moms know this feeling.  You can't speak.  It's already passed the beginning of early stage of labor.  I don't call for help.  I want to labor at home.  My hubby is home (Sunday) and we're living with my parents.  All this support helps with the physical part of the ordeal.  The pain gets WORSE.  I try to go to the bathroom.  Nothing.  Hurts worse.  I get back in bed, but can't lay still.

Contractions every minute.  Each minute.  More intense than the last.  So much pain I can't contain it.  I moan.  Jon wakes up.  "You okay?"

I tell him, "the baby...I'm in labor."

He rubs my back.  (Remember, we've been through this before.  He knows to just help me with the physical pain and then be on alert for what to do next.)
Ellie wakes up.  Jon helps me nurse her.  He takes care of her needs and puts her back to bed.  She moans with me.  It's sweet to hear a baby while birthing one I'll never get to hold.

*Let those sweet, Momma sobs begin.*

Ellie's voice gets me to smile on this worst, darkest moment I've ever had.

10:30am I run to the toilet.

Do you want to know?
Well, I wish someone warned me....
I had to pull "it" out MYSELF.
Lots and lots of tissue.
Big enough to cause those hours of contractions--
that had me clawing sheets, Jon, or whatever I could.
(Or I could just say probably the length of a ruler and thicker than a bratwurst.)

A week prior I was feeling queasy.  My hormones unbalanced and saying "pregnant."

A week can change a life.

Two days passed after the labor but it was not done.  Apparently my mind AND body wanted my baby.  September 17th I had an ultrasound.

No more baby, but more tissue needed to come out (or fear of infection or for future pregnancies).

D&C was the answer.  But in the office.

I was awake.  Thee. Entire. Time.

I left feeling numb (and it wasn't just the shots talking).
Thank God for that shot.
I was to return in 6 weeks as if I did give birth to a baby.

I returned in six weeks looking at pregnant women holding their bellies, moms with six week old babies, and hungry toddlers in the waiting room.  I held my daughter so tight and kissed her to pieces.

This Momma never lets go of her babies.

March 26th is coming.

We would be anxiously awaiting his/her arrival.

Instead I surround myself with numerous moving boxes for our move and thinking what that life would be like.

Monday, February 10, 2014

God With Us

Listen here on youTube, but here are the lyrics:

Who are we
That You would be mindful of us
What do You see
That's worth looking our way

We are free
In ways that we never should be
Sweet release
From the grip of these chains

Like hinges straining from the weight
My heart no longer can keep from singing

All that is within me cries
For You alone be glorified
Emmanuel . God with us

My heart sings a brand new song
The debt is paid these chains are gone
Emmanuel . God with us

Lord . You know
Our hearts don't deserve Your glory
Still You show
A love we cannot afford

Such a tiny offering
Compared to Calvary
But nevertheless
We lay it at your feet

Such a tiny offering
Compared to Calvary
But nevertheless
We lay this at your feet


As I stood there worshiping my Savior I was humbled.  The songs that morning were all focused on His faithfulness, His mercy, and our desperate need for Him.  It's truly been my walk with the Lord these past few months as I wrestle with hard stuff.

But as the words truly sunk in I's not me, it's Him.  It's all Him.  I would be NOTHING if it wasn't for what He did.  I deserve hell, but He sent His Son to die for me....

As I sang those words, "Such a tiny offering, compared to Calvary....but nevertheless...we lay this at your feet."  The tears came.  The eyes so wet I closed them and lifted my hands to my God!  I felt like a fool.  My offering is NOTHING compared to Jesus and what the Father did for us.  

As a mother I can relate.  I would do ANYTHING to keep my Ellie from getting hurt, mocked, kicked, spat on, or slapped.  I would stop it immediately!  Then I thought of my sweet babies taken from me this past year before I was ready.  And I sat down to write down a little note.  I didn't want to forget what the Holy Spirit told me.

"I have a plan in this."

Even though I don't know His plan.  I can trust in Him.  God put His Son, His only Son, on the Cross for me.  That's amazing!  I would do anything to have my babies back.  But God had the worse thing done to His Son, so my family could live.  My babies are not here on earth, but are still blessed by my Heavenly Father.  He let His Son bare the sin of ALL, so that we could live.

"We are free in ways we never should be..."

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Daddy, Mommy, & Us

Writing another post while my daughter roams my parent's house sure to find treasures.  No doubt.  But until then...

My husband is awesome.  Even though he hates snuggling, he tolerates it because that's my love language.  (Not cuddling, but touch.)  He's working full-time and returns to our house in Ames.  He's working hours at night on the house.

Our bathroom currently
I haven't seen him for over three days.  For some of you that's no big deal.  You have to go weeks, months, or even years without seeing your loved one.  And I can never understand how you do it.  I can hardly make it past two days before I go into curl up mode.  (Yes, I literally curl up with Jon's pillow at night to fall asleep.)  My love language is a toss up between touch and quality time.  So ANY time away from Jon is miserable.  I feel so distant.  Our communication suffers.  And so does our marriage.

But lucky for me I can email him a short message or text him and he responds right away.  He gives me reassurance that we're okay and in a few short weeks we'll be together again.  Always.  Life will still be crazy.  But at least I'll have time with him at night, for dinner, and by my side in the dark.

So when you see me and I seem a little flustered.  Just know.  I'm waiting for my little family to become "one" again.  I'm feeling out of sorts.  We're living out of boxes (besides our dressers and toiletries).  It's been like this for eleven months.  Yep, almost a year.  I'm ready.  It's about time!

Because right now my favorite time of the week.... (and soon to be favorite part of my day) when hubby comes home!  And Ellie is awake and gets so excited to see him!  She gives off a little giddy excitement and crawls quickly to see her Daddy! :)

Sept 2013, KC Zoo

I get to see Jon Friday night!  Then he's leaving again on Sunday to finish up more stuff on the bathroom.  Hopefully that means the tub will be put in next week.
March can't come soon enough!  Oh wait...slow down!  We got lots to do!!  But we're ready to be all living together again!  Well, you get the idea. :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Thoughts on Biggest Loser

Because I'm not going to say "stuff" on Facebook anymore, here are my thoughts.

Did you watch the finale of the Biggest Loser?  I did.  I didn't watch any part of that show until the finale (however I've seen previous episodes from different seasons so I know how it "works").  In the finale they announce the winner who is called "The Biggest Loser" (interesting name I think so) and they win a ton of money.  Which is pretty awesome....have something happen in your life, result to food, poor eating habits and life changes, etc.  Then go on the show with a ton of other people, work hard, change those habits, and get a chance to win a ton of money for your effort.  It's kind of a cool idea for a TV show, rather it's the best decision making or not.

However every ONE who knows about the show has clearly posted thoughts, posts, links, etc on Facebook regarding last night's winner.  She went from a size 20 to 0/2.  She looks on the thin side, but she won a ton of money.

My thoughts?  Sure, I'll share.  That's why I wrote this post.

First: She looks great!  Did you see the before and after?  I know she looks thin.  She's a size zero--hello!  There's plenty of girls and boys in this world that are that size.  I'm not one of them.  And because I'm not I can say, "She looks great!" :)

Second: I'm not going to share to the world that I think she looks unhealthy because I don't have that right.  I'm not a doctor.

Third: She had the ability to win a ton of money and that's probably why she made the extreme change in her life.  Once she bounces back to "normal life" she'll probably enjoy a cookie, cake, fries, or popcorn from time to time.  She did say in that article she's going to enjoy life!  She may or may not start to look more "healthy in your eyes."  But who am I to judge?  Which leads me to thought four....

Four: We continue to judge people by appearance before we ever get to really know them.  It doesn't change after high school apparently.  Here we go....teaching our kids not to bully or say harsh things.  Then we go to Facebook and social media sharing how awful we THINK she looks.  (ouch)

Five: I don't want to be that mom that says things.  Maybe it's a heart issue for you or you're just stating a fact of how you feel.  However you look at it, it's still could be hurtful for her to see all this negative feedback.  She worked HARD to get where she is today.  And I don't want to be the one to make it any harder for her.

Six: Sometimes we judge people in areas because we are insecure ourselves.  I'm not saying that's true for you, but just a thought to put out there....

**Found this post, after I already posted this.  It's a good read! :)
**Those are my thoughts.  What are yours?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ramblings about a 16 month old

Ellie turned 16 months old today.  The last post I wrote about her was 15 months old, and nothing much has changed since then.  She still wants to hold your hands to help her walk, she's finally past the "I will only eat baby food" stage, and talking nonstop.

Her new words keep adding almost daily.  The ones she says the most: Mama (any thing to do with eating or nursing), Daddy, Grah-ma (Grandma), Gah-pa (Grandpa), more (helps at meal times), done, down, no, book, Abby (parent's dog), apple (sounds a lot like Abby), and ball.  Some words we've heard her say before but not repeatedly: Sam (her cousin), dog, moo, oww, uh-oh (usually when something drops).

It has truly been a blessing to us to have her know all these words!  Communicating with a toddler can be very difficult when you don't know what they want or need.  They can't speak their mind.  And they definitely know they are frustrated!!  So lately it's been helpful to have her at least be able to say words at meal time so we can help her know what she wants.  She's definitely learning words in areas that are helpful.  Of course all her words right now are mostly people, things she likes to do, and words needed at meal time.  Because why would I force her to say things that won't really be beneficial right now?

The other day Jon taught her whisper.  It has been very helpful, since she is very good at knowing the right timing. ;)  She also knows "hi" and bye but usually waves.  But bye gets confused with "nigh-nigh" meaning nap or bed time. :)  She usually likes that and says back to me, "Ma-Ma."  Because she knows soon after picking her up and taking her to her crib means she's also going to nurse!

Here are some of my quick and easy meals for Ellie since she's past the baby food jar stage....which is so much easier!!  hallelujah!  However I still pick some up for when we go out to eat or having something she can't have yet (thanks to no back teeth).

Today while she was eating lunch I put a pan of BBQ chicken in the oven and two big sweet potatoes.  That should be enough for 5-7 meals (note I didn't say days).

It's super easy and I pick a pan that goes in the dishwasher!  As soon as it cools I put it in a container that has a lid and label it.  I also take the skin off the potatoes and mash it up a bit so it's all ready to go!

For fruit I do strawberries (she can't get enough of those), applesauce, and some day hopefully more.  But this time of year is a pain to try more fruits.  Plus applesauce is just so easy!  And she doesn't care for bananas unless I blend some with a bag of frozen strawberries.  I know she will like more fruits (since she eats them well from baby food jars) but right now this time of year is hard to get it.  Let's just say I stock up well on applesauce right now and love to get the pouches when I'm at Target.

they are cheaper than baby food pouches!

Besides BBQ chicken she also likes honey mustard chicken.  It's always an easy change up for her.  Since she's not picky yet with how often she has the same thing, it's nice and convenient! :)  I also picked up some already cooked and cubed breakfast ham and it's such an easy, not as messy, lunch option!

Because some times a messy lunch is not something I'm up for
For breakfast I just do whatever I think is necessary based off of what time I think we'll eat lunch or work it around her nap(s) for the day.  Like this morning she slept in so it was more like a brunch.  I put green pepper, ham, and cheese with eggs.  She ate it up like crazy!  She also ate some applesauce. :)  But typical breakfast looks like one or more: scrambled eggs, toast, yogurt, fruit, etc.

She's quite the eater!  She's also nursing as much as she was about six months ago!  However that makes it hard for me to be away from her for very long since pumping is quite the ordeal.  I'm going to start having her try room temperature whole milk during the day whenever I can to try to have her adjust to less feedings.  Then I can pump and have more on hand when I'm not with her.  However with her stuffiness I don't want her to drink a whole lot of milk.

People ask me how long I think I'll continue nursing her and I have no idea.  Back when I was pregnant I thought I would just let her let me know what she wanted and adjust with a newborn.  Since the two would be so close in age I didn't want her to think someone had taken over her position as Mommy & baby time.  But now that we don't have that issue I have no idea what I'm going to do.  She doesn't give any impression that she wants to do less nursing anytime soon.  And she's not a chubby baby so I know if anything it's benefiting to continue to nurse her.  It's soothing, and comforting for her and I don't want to force her to stop.  Our sweet, sensitive girl will just let me know when she's ready to stop.  Until then I might slowly adjust to one or two less each day.  She eats really well and sleeps well so I know she's doing okay!

Mean time: Her mom is pulling her hair out (not literally) getting ready to move at the end of this month.  Today I already grabbed 30 items of clothing from the closet to give away or start collecting for garage sale collection.  Even though we're moving to a house and not another apartment we don't need to hold on to clothes I don't think we'll ever wear again.  I also need to go through our filing cabinet and reorganize our papers.  Then go through the room of doom.  My parent's storage room is filled with all our stuff....slowly over the past 11 months it has gotten a little crazy!  Living in boxes for 11 months isn't something I would recommend!  We also started to purchase things for the new house and didn't put it in a box.  For moving day we need everything ready for the movers!  There's lots of things I need to do here.  However so much more needed at the house!  (We still have nothing usable in our bathroom.)  A much needed update post on the house is needed...but can't be done until I get to the house and take some pictures!

Looking forward to the day I can show you pictures of our house before & after! :)
Especially now since our new couches will be arriving to the house on Feb 27th!