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.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Promise Walk and Pain

It's a little late for my 12 week update considering I'm almost 13 weeks (yay, second trimester!). This weekend, my family did the Chicago Promise Walk for Preeclampsia. The kids were totally on board when we signed up, then lost enthusiasm when they had to actually train. However, they were super excited the day of the race. All four kids finished along with their three cousins, although two distracted boys turned around just a bit early.

It's been another rough week, though. Last Wednesday, I started having episodes of severe pain on my right side. I was afraid it might be my appendix, but it turns out I have two large cysts measuring a combined 7cm on my ovary. Baby is still looking great, but I've had a couple nights and days where I couldn't eat or sleep from the pain. I went back to the doctor yesterday for a prescription for stronger pain meds, and finally got some sleep. It's been such a rough pregnancy so far, and we haven't even gotten to the scary part yet!

Friday, May 8, 2015

11 Weeks, Migraines, and the Promise Walk

Help us fight Preeclampsia for our baby!
I'm 11 weeks along as of yesterday. Baby looked great on ultrasound, the hematoma is shrinking again, and I can slowly start increasing my activity again. I celebrated with a slooow stroll around the neighborhood.

This past week has been a really hard one physically. I had two migraines and a lot of morning sickness. In all five of my previous pregnancies, I've had exactly three migraines during weeks 6-8. Migraines have a vascular component to them. Preeclampsia also is primarily a problem with the vascular connections between the placenta and uterus. The bulk of the work of forming those connections takes place during weeks 6-8, exactly when I had migraines. I've always wondered if there was a connection, if there was something going wrong that would trigger migraines in the moment and preeclampsia down the road.

When I made it through week 8 without a migraine, I hoped I'd be in the clear. Nope, had two in week 10. I have no idea what, if anything, that means, but it's another reminder that this is a high risk pregnancy and I need to be vigilant about my symptoms.

In other news, our family is once again doing the Chicago Promise Walk for Preeclampsia. All four kids have been training to walk the 5k, and they'd love it if you would donate a few dollars for the cause. Here's our fundraising page.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

10 weeks down...

...30 to go. I'm 10 weeks pregnant today. I was diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma a few weeks ago and told to rest. I was hoping to be cleared to resume activities at this week's appointment. Unfortunately, the hematoma has actually grown. Probably from spectating at Papa Runner's half marathon last weekend. I have to increase my rest. The good news is baby looks perfect, growing right on schedule.

I've already trained the kids to do most of the chores, so I don't have any cleaning or laundry to do. The real problem with regard to resting is cooking. I'm on a strict diet to keep my autoimmune condition under control, which is especially important now while my placenta is forming. We can't just order out all the time, nor can I ask people to bring over whatever casserole. That makes it hard. I do have a stool in the kitchen, so I can at least sit at the stove instead of stand.
kumquat

It's also been a rough week for morning sickness. I have always had an easier time than most people, for which I'm grateful, but this week it got worse. Still very tolerable, but never fun.

On a more fun note, I'm just getting to the point where I feel little flutters and wonder, was that the baby or just a muscle twitch? Still not sure it's really a kick, but lots of fun. The kids love to come talk to the baby. They all are convinced it's a boy, so we'll see. They're also fascinated with the baby-to-fruit comparison. They tell everyone they see our baby is the size of a kumquat. Pretty sure none of them have ever even heard of a kumquat before, but it's still awesome.