Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Streets of the City

"And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing..." Zechariah 8:5

This verse was featured at the funeral of my best friend's son, who passed of a genetic disorder just short of six months old. He died about a month before my own first miscarriage. While it doesn't make me miss them less, it does bring a bit of comfort to picture my three little ones along with her Micah, and another friend's Kimber, and all the other little ones I know about, running around laughing and playing.

My due date for Declan is approaching. Thanksgiving Day. With my history, it's likely he would have been born 3-4 weeks early, and I had a vivid dream of nursing a slightly premature newborn at what would have been 36 weeks. I think of him often.

My heart is also heavy for a family
who lost twin boys this week. Two more sweet children joining that eternal playdate. Two more parents whose lives will never be the same. Love and prayers to all parents missing children today, no matter how old they were or how recent the loss.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

9 weeks 1 day

After losing our son in May and getting through the recommended three month recovery period, Papa Runner and I talked about what we wanted to do. Neither of us were excited about jumping back on the TTC roller coaster, but at the same time we aren't getting any younger. The longer we wait, the harder (and higher risk) it would be. In the end we decided to "stop trying to control everything and see what happens," fully expecting it to take a while. 
Knock Knock
"Who's there?"
The stork.
"Say what now?"
God had other plans.

I've started writing and deleted this post a number of times already. I keep shaking every time I try, but here goes. Today I am 9 weeks 1 day into my seventh pregnancy with my eighth child. Yes, I'm counting days. Everything has gone well so far, and yet it's also been really stressful. I'm hyper-aware of every twitch and twinge. 

It was hard telling the kids. They are excited but also cautious. They asked if this baby will die, too. It's an important conversation to have, and a healthy one, but so hard. Monkey, especially, really really wants to be a big brother. He talks to the baby a lot, and reminds him/her not to come out too soon "or you'll die." He's been really sweet, reading stories to the baby and showing it how to try foods you don't like. Tonight when I put him to bed he said, "Oh, no, I didn't teach the baby anything today!" I said he could show it how to stay in bed at bedtime.

I haven't been to the doctor yet and don't plan to for a while. My fellow loss moms are like WHAAA? and my fellow high risk moms are like WHAAA? and my medical professional friends are like WHAAA? But last time I went early and often, submitted to every test no matter how ridiculous, and followed every recommendation, and none of it made a difference in the outcome. I can't think of a single thing they do in the first trimester that is either necessary or helpful for me. 

STD testing? I've been in a monogamous relationship for 13 years and had a clear test 6 months ago with the last pregnancy. No need to repeat it so soon.

Check hormone levels? None of my losses have been due to low progesterone. If they had been, I'd definitely do this one, but they weren't. 

Dating ultrasound? I've charted my cycles for 13 years and have scientific evidence proving when I ovulated. You can't get much more accurate than that. 

Do an ultrasound anyway just to make sure everything is okay? If they find a problem, there is nothing they can do about it at this stage; knowing won't change the outcome. And if they tell me everything is fine, that won't reassure me. Everything was fine just four days before Declan died, too.

Check my weight and blood pressure? I'm quite capable of checking it myself at home.

Remind me to take my vitamins and avoid alcohol? I should have that down by the seventh pregnancy.

The one thing I am curious about is the possibility of multiples. But because I have a tilted uterus, it's hard to get a clear shot abdominally at this stage. I'm not curious enough to use the dildo-cam just for this when, again, knowing won't change anything. 

I did call the OB's office and let them know so it's recorded in my chart. I'll probably make an appointment for around 20 weeks for an anatomy scan and start regular appointments then. Until then, I'm taking it one day and sometimes one hour at a time.

Prayers and positive thoughts are always appreciated.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I've lost three children to miscarriage at 10, 9, and 13 weeks, most recently in May. When Declan died, I entered the Anger stage of grief. I had a lot of pent up energy, and I couldn't sleep unless I worked myself to exhaustion. Exercise became my therapy, and I trained myself entirely too hard and racked up a lot of miles.

I now seem to have moved into the Depression stage. I don't want to do anything or go anywhere or see anyone. I'd like nothing better than to sleep 18 hours a day and veg out the other 6. Unfortunately, we are really, really busy with activities and programs, several of which I'm somehow in charge of (and that's after dropping two from last year!), on top of home schooling, cooking for my diet, and housework. I've been feeling very overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed lately, but I have no idea how to cut back. I don't even want to run anymore, although I'm too stubborn to give up on my streak (125 days and counting) so I've been power walking single miles and calling it good. I have at least given up on reaching 1000 miles for the year.

Also, a lot of people think depression=sadness, but for me it's more numbness. I think if I could have a nice, long cry I'd release a lot of this and feel some relief, but I can't cry. And I've tried, even getting some really sad books to read. The tears just won't come. And I really don't feel like reading right now, either, although I'm too stubborn to give up on my reading challenge either (35 of 52 books and counting).

There's not really a point to this, so yeah, that's it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My Miracle

A few days after Declan died, a popular ministry posted a meme that made the rounds among my friends on Facebook. It was your typical generic pretty picture with a generic encouraging statement of "Choose Faith Not Fear". The ministry added a little blurb that said something like, if you're afraid for your children's safety, just trust in God's promises. It made me really angry. I felt like it was a slap in my face. God hadn't kept my son safe; he died. But God hadn't broken His promise, He'd never promised to keep my children safe in the first place. What made me angry was this ministry peddling false promises.

I've noticed this theme over and over again lately. I have some dear friends going through hard times right now. I see people "encourage" them by saying of course God's going to fix this very soon and then you'll have an amazing testimony of how awesome it is that God fixes everything. And then they post a discouraged update that actually things are worse and why hasn't God fixed it yet?

I feel like screaming, "God doesn't actually care about your happiness."

Okay, maybe that's a bit over dramatic. But I'm having trouble coming up with a less blunt way to say it. God doesn't care about you having a life of ease where you get everything you want and everything is fixed and easy. God cares about His glory. Sometimes He glorifies Himself through miracles, yes, and when that happens, I'm happy for those so blessed. But more often the best way for God to be glorified is through us suffering and continuing to praise Him anyway.

Because God hasn't promised to fix everything. He hasn't promised that we'll never suffer or struggle, that we'll get everything we want and have it easy. He has promised to be with us and comfort us in the midst of our suffering. As hard as it is, I can continue to praise Him even though my son is dead. And really, isn't that the biggest miracle of all?

Monday, August 10, 2015

If Trump were President

I realize some Republicans are in a perpetual state of anger (thank you, Fox News), and I realize Trump has tapped into that anger. But can you seriously imagine him as president, working with our allies? I think it would go something like this:

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper: We need to talk about Putin and the Russian situation.

Trump: Just nuke the bastard. Boom, done. You're welcome, Canada.

French President Francois Hollande: Don't you think we should try diplomacy first?

Trump: Of course the French would suggest diplomacy. Diplomacy is for cowards and LOSERS!

English Prime Minister David Cameron: You can't just ignore the Geneva Conventions and international law.

Trump: Up yours, King George! I'm an American, and Americans don't answer to foreigners. We didn't in 1776, and we won't now.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel: We can't just "nuke" them. Think of all the civilian casualties.

Trump: Spare me your bleeding heart and your bleeding whatever.

Merkel: Excuse me?!?

Trump: I don't have time for political correctness. I have some bombs to drop. *leaves*

Harper: ...We need to talk about Trump and the American situation.

Hollande: Just nuke the bastard.

Cameron: Boom.

Merkel: Done.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Theatre majors rock!

My Sassy girl is quite the social butterfly. She'll strike up a conversation with anyone and tell them her entire life story, real and imagined. A lot of adults don't quite know what to make of her.

Yesterday we went to the local Shakespeare festival for one of their children's performances, put on by a troupe of college theatre majors. When it was over, the actors lined up in the back to talk to the kids. Sassy marched up to them and said, "Hi, my name is Sassy, and this is my invisible friend Linda, and today is Linda's birthday." Without missing a beat, they all turned to the empty space next to her and said, "Happy birthday, Linda!" It made her day, and mine.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sad News

It is with great sadness we announce the birth and death of our baby Declan around noon yesterday at 13 weeks gestation. There are no words to express what I'm feeling now. Mostly shock and disbelief. This has been such a hard pregnancy from the very beginning with the subchorionic hematoma, the restricted activity, and most recently the ovarian cysts. But as hard as it was for me, I took comfort knowing that at every ultrasound (5 or 6) and as recently as Tuesday, baby looked great. Perfect heartbeat, very active. No signs of trouble.

Having had two losses before, I knew I was high risk to lose this one, too. Every day when I woke up still pregnant, I thanked God I had This Day to be his mother. And when things were scary, I took extra care to cherish the moments I did have. But as things got further along and baby looked great throughout, I was starting to look forward to the future.

[Medical details warning for the squeamish]

I started feeling sick Friday. I thought I had a stomach bug. At no point did it cross my mind there was anything more serious going on. And then on Saturday my water suddenly broke and less than a minute later I was holding him in my hand thinking what just happened? It can't be what it looks like, because he was fine on Tuesday. Thankfully, Papa Runner hadn't left for his errands yet (and the kids were at my parents). He called 911, and we spent the afternoon in the ER waiting for the placenta to come.

I've heard horror stories about how some women are treated during a miscarriage, but I had wonderful care. From the ambulance crew to the hospital staff, everyone showed utmost concern and compassion. My nurse Courtney was particularly wonderful, making sure I had as much time as I needed to say goodbye. She even arranged towels around him so we could take a few pictures.

When it first happened, I was afraid I had mistaken labor for a stomach bug, as some of the same symptoms happen in labor. But I'm actually still sick. Now I wonder if I have an infection that triggered the miscarriage. Or if one or both cysts ruptured and released enough toxins to both make me sick and cause the miscarriage. Or it's possible they're completely unrelated and coincidental. The baby and placenta were sent to pathology to be examined, so we may get some answers, but I know in many cases they don't ever find a cause.

We chose the name Declan because it means "full of goodness". It was already on our short list because it fits well with our other kids' names.The kids didn't say much when we first told them, but they all had some questions last night. Grief for kids can be so different from adults, and I'm sure they will have many more questions in the days and weeks to come.