Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Survived September

At the beginning of the month, I posted my fears about facing September.  It's now the last day of the month, and I survived the painful anniversaries.  September 17th was bittersweet.  I remembered the traumatic loss of my first baby, but I chose to focus on the joy of my husband's birthday.  Up until that day, I had cursed God that the two days coincided.  That morning, I realized that it might actually be a blessing.  I had a reason to get up that morning.  I had a reason to dress up.  I had a reason to celebrate.  I had my husband, who loves me dearly.

I didn't get pregnant this month.  In my perfect little plan in my head, getting pregnant this month would have been a perfect way to cap off a year of loss.  I could have told my husband on his birthday, or perhaps my parents on their anniversary.  But it didn't work out that way, and I realize that my perfect little plan in my head is no where near to the richness of the amazing plan that God has for my life.

My blessing is the support, understanding, and prayers that I have received this month (and beyond) through the connections that I have made through this blog.  Thank you for being with me through these challenging times.  I don't personally know anyone else who has struggled with Recurrent Pregnancy Loss, so I would be lost without those of you who have been through this and understand me.  I don't say it enough--thank you.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Really?!? In the Break Room?!?

I just arrived at work, and went about my normal routine.  I turned on my computer, grabbed my lunch, and headed to the break room to toss it in the fridge.  As I turned to leave, I noticed that someone had brought in leftover baby shower plates, cups, and napkins.  I couldn't help but exclaim "Really?!?" out loud (luckily I was the first person in today).  The absolute last thing that I want to do when I am struggling with IF and loss is eat my lunch off a plate with a cute little pregnant belly staring up at me!  And I can only imagine the conversations that these items will start.  This is the same break room where "Guess the Gender" games were posted on the dry-erase board for the three women who were pregnant in the last year.  This is the same break room where my colleagues have placed bets on who is going to be next to get knocked up.

I get it--I'm sure that someone is just trying to be helpful.  I'm all for recycling, and I do admit that we often run out of plates, cups, and napkins at various points throughout the semester.  But it still doesn't make it any easier.  I know I'm being super-sensitive.  Ugh.  I wish I knew how to be more accepting.

Aside from the break room surprise, I'm blessed to have a chance to hang out with some friends tonight.  We've been slowly building up a network or young married couples at church, and the guys are getting together tonight to watch football while the ladies have some "girl time".  I'm really looking forwad to the opportunity to join together in fellowship.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Joyful, Patient, Faithful

I love one of the verses that we focused on today in church:  "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer" (Romans 12:12).  One of our other pastors preached on this verse about two years ago when we were first trying to start a family, and my cycles were all crazy.  I remember thinking that this verse totally applied to me at the time.  Now, two years and three losses later, I'm struck at how much has changed, and yet how much I still need to be joyful, patient, and faithful.

My blessing for today is the love of my parents.  They left yesterday, and I am just so aware of how blessed I am to have two people who love me as much as they do.  I pray that the Lord bless them with grandchildren, and I pray that He bless my husband and me with the opportunity to be the types of parents that they were to me.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pre-Wedding Pants

I never gained the "Freshman Fifteen"...but I definitely gained the "Newlywed Twenty" during our first year of marriage.  My wonderful doctor chalked it up to being happy and comfortable--which I totally was.  But I did recognize that my pants were getting tighter and I was needing a size bigger when I shopped.  Then the RE had me totally change my diet and start doing 200 crunches a day and 60 minutes of cardio.  I admit that I don't get quite the full hour of cardio in, but something sure is working...because I once again fit into my pre-wedding pants.

Aside from the annual exam with the OBGYN last week, I have only gotten on a scale once since making these healthy adjustments (it was after the third loss, and I needed something to make me feel a bit better).  I'm not doing all of this to lose weight--I'm doing it all so that I can maintain a pregnancy.  I want to get pregnant and gain all the baby weight, so I don't need to be constantly checking the scale right now.  But hey--if I am losing weight and getting thinner, that's just an added bonus for now.  Besides, my husband has noticed a difference and he's impressed.

I went shopping with my mom today and fit into pants two sizes smaller than what's currently hanging in my closet.  I didn't buy them because I didn't quite "love" them--I admit they were still a bit tight--but at least they zipped up!  That was enough for me.  Now...if only I could get pregnant and stay pregnant and be this excited about gaining weight.  Oh, how I long to see the day when I can't zip up my pants.

Today's blessing was finishing putting out the huge pile of rocks that we started about a month ago.  They had been there for two years (remember, they technically belonged to our neighbor, but were on our property).  My parents helped (or, I should say, my dad helped and my mom claimed to be "supervising").  But it really looks good, and it's a huge blessing to feel a sense of accomplishment.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tempting and Temping

Why is it that when I really try to focus on eating healthy and working out...that the universe keeps tempting me with cookies?  Someone brought leftover cookies into our break room at work after they weren't eaten at a meeting, then my grandma sends the best homemade cookies to my husband for his birthday, then finally a student brings me a cookie today in her advising appointment!  I resisted the break room cookies...ate the cookie from the student (because it would be rude not to, right?)...and indulged in one of the cookies from my grandma.  Luckily my parents are here to help eat the rest of them so that I can stop being tempted by them.

Aside from things that are "tempting", I've become someone who is now "temping" in tracking my basal body temperature each morning.  I know that I have said that I'm not going to obsess about trying, but I feel like I can justify this move as "statistical data research" to confirm or deny if I have in fact ovulated.  My mucus sure seemed to indicate so last month, but yet I didn't seem to observe any other symptoms that I've typically noticed in previous cycles (namely, sore breasts).  This can be just one more piece of the puzzle. 

But I give anyone permission to call me out if I ever sound like I'm starting to "obsess" too much.  Please feel free to keep me in check as you see fit.

Today's blessing was a slow day.  Things were so busy for the last two weeks...and I know that they will pick up again.  But for right now (or at least today), my schedule was nice and open, which really allowed me to get some things done that I have been meaning to accomplish, and I was able to leave the office on time.  It's just a little thing, but it's nice to get to come home while it's still light outside.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Not This Cycle

My period started last night.  I was actually rather shocked--I hadn't expected it for a few more days.  I'm a little disappointed, but I ultimately trust God.  I prayed that I only be able to conceive if I would be able to carry to full term.  I can't miscarry if I'm not pregnant.

I'm blessed to have my parents here visiting.  It's their anniversary tomorrow, and I wish I would have been able to share a positive test with them.  But even without that good news, it's still wonderful to have them here for the week.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Today is the anniversary of the day I lost my first baby.  Today is the anniversary of the day when my world crumbled around me.

Today is also my husband's birthday.  While I will never forget this day from a year ago, today I choose to focus on the celebration of having my husband in my life.  With him, I can get through today.

Today I'm reminded of how much I am blessed by a Lord who loves me and strengthens me and helps me to get through days like today.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

30 Minutes

I had my annual exam with the new OBGYN today...and I was in and out of there in 30 minutes!  I couldn't believe it!  I was prepared with a book, but didn't even get through one chapter.

The new doctor seems great so far...although I do really miss my former doctor who moved out of state.  But so far, this new doctor did a good job of listening to my story and not minimizing my experience.  She says that everything looks great and "as normal as the day is long".  When I mentioned that I think that I ovulated last week, she agreed that it was probably too early to test, with which I feel at peace.

I do feel a bit bad for the nurse...after explaining that I had experienced three miscarriages in the last year, she asked if I've ever been pregnant.  Poor thing--I know that she was just going through her typical routine...and I'm not a typical patient.

I feel like God was looking out for me, and I'm feeling pretty good today, all things considered.  It was a year ago today that my former doctor explained that it sounded like I was going to lose the first baby.  That was at a different clinic, but this office was where I had the ultrasound that showed an extremely low heartbeat.  I feared that I would have to sit in the waiting room for hours with pregnant ladies all around me, but that wasn't my experience.  Tomorrow is my husband's birthday...and will also mark the one-year anniversary of my first loss.  Please pray for me tomorrow--I fear it's going to be hard, but I know that I can make it through with God's comfort.

Today's blessing is that everything seemed to go so smoothly with the doctor's office.  Finding a doctor who cares and listens and understands is such a huge blessing.  I know that I had these things with my former doctor, who I truly miss, but I hope that I can create a healthy relationship with this new doctor as well.

Monday, September 14, 2009

To Test, Or Not To Test

With the most recent loss, my RE told me to just monitor my HCG levels with HPTs rather than bloodwork.  So I bought a three-pack.  The first was still positive about two weeks later, the second was negative after our trip to Chicago...and the third is still under the sink in the guest bathroom, just waiting for me.

My husband's birthday is on Thursday.  I would love nothing more than to bless him with news that we're pregnant again on his birthday.  But I think I ovulated around this time last week (Cycle Day 21...last cycle was 34 days) I fear that it would be too early to test.  I realize that marketing for so many tests claim that you can get results five days before your expected period.  But as much as I would like to know by his birthday, I also don't want to be sorely disappointed on his birthday.  (Besides, my breasts don't hurt...which were a clear sign in the last three pregnancies).

To complicate this calendar, I'm scheduled for my annual exam with the OBGYN on Wednesday.  I can just imagine that conversation:
  • Nurse:  "What is the first day of your last cycle?"
  • Me:  "Monday, August 17th"
  • Nurse:  "'re late?"
  • Me:  "Well, yes, by a perfect 28-day cycle, then yes, I am.  But I think that I ovulated around September 7th, which would be around Cycle Day 21...but last month was 34 days..." (and then I would probably continue about how my cycle was completely out of whack the previous year and is now better with the help of diet, exercise, and Metformin, but still not perfect--probably way too much information that the poor Nurse was expecting)
  • Nurse:  " might be pregnant"
  • Me:  "Well, maybe...hopefully!"  (and then I would probably go through this whole battle that's going on in my mind about testing now or waiting)
Part of me wants to say that if they offer to do a test, then perhaps I'll take them up on the offer and use theirs instead of wasting mine.  But part of me also has this nagging thought that HCG levels are more concentrated first thing in the morning...and my appointment isn't until 2:00 in the afternoon.  So I'm back to "square one".  Perhaps the doctor will be able to tell, just by looking inside...

I'm really trying to practice patience...and there is just something so despairing about a negative test--especially when it's my last one.  I realize that I can easily buy more tests (and I almost did yesterday), but I guess it would just feel really rewarding to have a truly positive test out of the package that I purchased for tracking the last if I can find something good and beautiful out of something that started out as heartbreaking and sad.

Today's blessing is the completion of our dirtwork.  Our backyard looks so bare without all the weeds...but it really does look good!  And no more weeds is a bonus blessing!  There is a ton of potential for some cool projects.  Now it's just a matter of deciding what to do (and coming up with the finances).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Last Time I Was Here...

Anyone who works in Education can attest to the fact that our lives often follow the academic calendar.  We see a new batch of faces each year, and yet we often run through the exact same calendar of events.  We make small adjustments and improvements each time, but for the most part, things will look relatively identical to our calendar for the year before.

So goes my weekend.  I clearly remember hosting the retreat for first-year student leaders on Saturday, and then hosting try-outs for another group that I advise on Sunday.  I even think that my husband was at drill that weekend as well.  But I can't help but think "the last time I was here...I was pregnant".  I remember it distinctly.  The spotting when I wiped had just started the week before, so I remember guzzling gallons of water, hoping on each trek to the bathroom that this time would show that the previous trips were just flukes.  I remember packing fruits and veggies to nibble on during the try-outs since I was "eating for two".  I remember going home and waiting for my husband to return from drill, worrying the whole time about how to tell him that the spotting was intensifying. 

Even though everything else around me is exactly the same, I know that I'm different.  I'd like to think that I'm a better person than who I was at this time last year.  I feel like I've grown--at least I know that my faith has grown. 

I'm blessed that the retreat went so smoothly yesterday.  We had a few no-shows, and I had to ask one of the mentors to run and get a vegetarian sandwich that apparently hadn't been ordered, but it went really well overall.  We even had overcast skies for the morning activities, which is a huge relief when you live in the desert.  No one was injured, and it seems like everyone had a lot of fun.  Seeing the joy and excitement in these students reminds me that this is what God called me to do.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Working Through the Weekend

You know that song "Working for the Weekend"?  Perhaps they should rewrite it for me as "Working Through the Weekend".  It's going to be a busy one.  I was up at 5:00 am this morning (even earlier than I do on regular work days) to prepare for a retreat that we are hosting for a group of first-year student leaders with which I work.  The retreat will be at our Associate Dean's house, and I had such a busy week that I wasn't able to fully prepare for it.  So I've been in the office for a couple of hours now, but feel like I'm mostly ready.  And I'm so thankful that our returning group of student leaders who act as the "mentors" are totally on top of things, so I can really rely on them to step up.

Luckily this retreat is just a one-day event, so I don't have to worry about coordinating any over-night activities.  But I am sad that I will miss most of the football games today.  Once this retreat is over, I'll need to help out tomorrow with hip-hop try-outs for a different student group that I advise.  I know nothing about hip-hop, but one of my students asked me to serve as the "faculty advisor" a couple of years ago, and I've stuck with it.  I totally admire their talent, and the try-outs are a lot of fun to watch.

My husband will be out of town this weekend with Army Reserve training, so at least I don't feel like I'm neglecting him.  He got up even earlier than me and then had a two hour drive, so I can't complain too much.  I still need to prepare for his birthday on Thursday, so perhaps I can muster up enough energy this weekend to do something nice for him.  Next week will be another long week at work, but my parents are coming to visit next weekend, and will stay with us for most of the following week.  So there is light on the horizon!

My blessing for today is the generosity of our Associate Dean.  It really is so impressive that she and her family will open up their home to 60 first-year students!  She has a great house, a huge lawn (a rarity in the desert), and such a caring heart to want to make this whole college experience a great opportunity for these students. 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

His and Hers

I apologize in advance, as this post is a little bit "personal" and "revealing" in nature.  So please feel free to skip this post if you are queasy about bodily functions.

Okay, now that I have only those readers with strong stomachs or extreme curiosities, I have a confession to make.  I have a hard time differentiating between my cervical mucus and the "liquids" supplied by my husband.  (I know...I'm's not the most pleasant thing to discuss).  I was really trying to not obsess too much about pinpointing when I ovulate, and I thought that it happened sometime over the weekend, so we did a lot of trying over the weekend.  But then I woke up a few days later with what was the closest resemblance to "egg whites" that I have ever seen...and it was excessively "abundant". 

So now I feel like I'm completely second-guessing my ovulation detection abilities when I can't even tell what's "his" and what's "hers".  Oh well.  I trust that God always knows what He's doing, even if I don't.  And besides, an additional round of trying can never hurt.

Transitioning into more agreeable topics, I was totally blessed, honored, and humbled today by a thoughtful gift from a student.  One of my international students came in for an appointment, and brought me a beautiful hand-carved sea shell from China.  He is a great student who has really worked hard, and has been excelling in his academics.  He is now ready to transition from being a "pre-major" to starting the upper-division courses, so he'll also switch advisors in the process, and he just wanted to thank me for my help over the last two years.  His generosity was such a humbling reminder of how much my students rely on me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Joshua Lynne

Today is the first in my string of challenging days in the month of September.  Today marks the anniversary of the passing of my nephew, Joshua Lynne. 

My brother and sister-in-law would have been (and will still be) amazing parents.  Joshua was a very active baby while still safe and cozy in the womb, but apparently my brother could calm him down just by talking to my sister-in-law's belly.  I know that they love Joshua so much, and anxiously await their next opportunity to try again.  My brother is the writer of the family, and I feel like I can't do him or Joshua justice with my words right now.  But I do love them so much, and I want them to be filled with God's peace and comfort as they struggle through this time of mourning and celebration.  If I'm this torn up about missing Joshua, I can't even imagine how they feel right now.  Please keep them in your prayers.

Despite the sadness, my blessing for today is in recognizing how supportive my family is.  We were always pretty close while growing up, and I would say that we have always had a "by no means perfect, but more healthy than average" type of family relationship.  But the infertility challenges and loss faced by my brother and sister-in-law and my husband and me have brought my whole family even closer.  We need each other for prayers, comfort, and especially moments of celebration.  I truly am blessed to be part of such a loving and caring family.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hope and Faith

In a recent post, I referenced a verse from the Old Testament in which a woman pleads "Don't raise my hopes" (2 Kings 4:28).  It got me thinking more about the concept of "Hope".

The definition that I like most for "Hope", as a noun, is "the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best"*. Based on that definition, I hate to admit it, but I don't think that I have a lot of Hope. I guess it's just really hard to have that "feeling...that events will turn out for the best" when experience has shown me otherwise...not once, not twice, but three times.

But this doesn't mean that I label myself as "hope-less". Rather, I am trying to become more "faith-ful". In contrast, the definitions for "Faith" are "confidence or trust in a person or thing"* or "belief that is not based on proof"*. Now those definitions fit my experience! My "confidence" and "trust" are in God, and the "belief" that I have sure isn't "based on proof".  It's so hard to say with total confidence that I will carry a baby to full term.  But I can say with undeniable faith that I trust that God has something amazing planned for my life.

So that's where I stand at the moment--waffling between my levels of Hope and Faith.  I've come to this conclusion:  In the absence of concrete Hope, only Faith remains.

Today's blessing occurred while we were working on the yard (yet again).  As we were getting to the end of our energy levels from moving rocks all day, a guy drove by and stopped and asked if we needed any dirtwork completed.  Um, yeah!  We have a whole acre of natural desert...and weeds.  We moved in two years ago, and have been waiting for the right opportunity to move some of the dirt and make more of a defined "yard".  This guy has done work for some of our neighbors, and actually has his equipment in our neighborhood all week, so he would be able to do the work at a discounted rate.  We still aren't financially ready to do all that we want to do, but this dirtwork will definitely be a great start, so his offer really is a blessing.

* definitions according to

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Those Five Words

I'm so proud of myself. For two months now, I have refrained from saying "those five words" and consequently ruining the mood. You know "those five words", don't you? They are: "Honey, I think I'm ovulating".

As much as I want to shout that news out loud, I don't want my husband to feel like there is a clock ticking away above our bed. I want us to be able to love each other for the sake of loving and desiring each other.

But sometimes, I wonder if he can read my non-verbals. Even though I didn't utter those five words, I do admit that I've been a little bit more "assertive" with him than normal. He even commented on how I seem to have a "one track mind", so maybe he's onto me. Not that I think that he minds...

I do think that I ovulated, or perhaps will do so soon. I admit that I'm jealous of those women who can pinpoint exactly when they ovulate. It always seems more like a "hypothesis" than an "exact science" for me. But I think that I read the signs correctly, so now it's just time to wait and pray and see.

Today's blessing was a chance to sleep in. Since I normally wake up around 5:30 am six days out of the week, my internal alarm clock tends to wake me up around that time on the seventh day as well. So I was shocked to wake up at 8:45 am, and even more amazed to find that my husband had even woken up before me. I feel totally rested, and totally blessed to know that I have a three-day weekend ahead of us.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Don't Raise My Hopes

Have you ever heard the story of the Shunammite woman whose son who was brought back to life in the Old Testament? It can be found in 2 Kings 4:8-37. I love the raw emotion of the woman when she blurts out: ""Did I ask you for a son, my lord?", she said, "Didn't I tell you, 'don't raise my hopes'?"".

Up until the point when I read that verse, I was feeling a little out of place for praying and asking God to not let me conceive again until He's ready for me to carry to full-term. Sometimes I just feel like I can't handle another loss, so perhaps it would be easier to just be "in-conceivable" than a "mis-carrier". But I can totally identify with that Shunammite woman from centuries ago. It's reassuring to know that I'm not the only one who has asked God to not raise my hopes.

This may seem out of place, but my blessing for today was the return of College Football. I realize that some might not consider this a "blessing", but I absolutely love College Football! This really is my favorite time of the year, and trust me--it brings me plenty of joy each week!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wake Me Up When September Ends

"As my memory rests
But never forgets what I lost
Wake me up when September ends"
-Green Day

I'm afraid that September is going to be a hard month. There are some wonderful celebrations in the month of September, but the month is also going to bring a painful anniversary as well.

At this time last year, things were great! After a year of trying, I was naively blissful about my first pregnancy at the beginning of the month. But a few days into September, I started spotting a little bit (I remember that the spotting started on the day of our Orientation, which will again be scheduled for this Thursday). I read that plenty of women experience spotting, so I tried to stay calm and not worry. Then I got a call just after midnight on September 8th from my dad (it can't be good when you receive a call from your dad after midnight). My dad is a pastor, so I guess you could say that he's accustomed to sharing bad news, but it's so much harder when the news is related to your own family. He shared that my brother and sister-in-law had lost their baby. She was 7 months pregnant at the time.

As the month went on and we dealt with the heartache of losing my nephew, the spotting got more intense. On September 16th, we attended our 12 week appointment, at which we had previously expected to hear the heartbeat with the Doppler for the first time. But as I explained my symptoms and the intensity of the spotting to my doctor, with the Doppler sitting there on the counter, she kindly explained that it sounded like I was losing the baby. She did some bloodwork and sent us home to wait it out. This was the day before my husband's birthday; and to make matters worse, he had to fly out to Alabama for work shortly after the appointment.

September 17th, my husband's birthday, was a Wednesday. I went to work, and stayed late to advise a student organization. The pain intensified throughout the meeting to the point that I found myself digging my fists into my abdomen to try to find comfort. I made it home before beginning to bleed heavily. By 1:00 am, I knew I needed medical help, and somehow drove myself to the hospital, where I promptly passed out in the bathroom, hitting my head in the process. They performed a D&C later that afternoon. My mom flew down to be with me, missing her 33rd anniversary celebration with my dad.

I know it's not healthy, but part of me really does wish that I could tell everyone to "wake me up when September ends", just like the Green Day song. But like I said, I know that's not healthy. And there are wonderful events in September that I really want to be able to celebrate! My husband's birthday is September 17th. He's my best friend, and I love birthdays, and I really want to be able to make him feel special that day (and always). It's unfortunate that I'll always associate sadness of the first loss with his birthday; but in a way, I don't know how I would make it through that day if there wasn't something to celebrate. So while I don't want to forget the first loss, I do want to focus on the joy that my husband brings instead. And September 20th is my parent's anniversary. It sounds cheesy, but without them, I wouldn't be here. I truly admire their relationship, and I know that they will be such amazing grandparents. I want so deeply to see them in that role.

So please bear with me. I feel like I need to warn any readers that my blogs might be kind of sad this month. For the most part, I'm doing really well. I'm in a good place, and I truly feel that God is surrounding me with His comfort. But I'm human, and I still hurt sometimes. So I totally appreciate your prayers and support as these milestones come and go.

Today's blessing was a beautiful sunset on my detour home. I normally drive the exact same drive everyday, but I noticed that there was a wreck on the freeway where I would normally merge, so I ended up taking the back roads instead. I admit that it definitely was not the most direct route, and probably would have even been faster to have just gotten on the freeway and waited through the traffic. But it really was a beautiful drive, and sometimes I need to be reminded to stop and appreciate the amazing desert around me.