Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy Birthday Ella-Girl!

Thank you for your condolences and well wishes on the passing of my husband's grandmother.  Though we hate being away from Ella, it really has turned out to be the best plan for everyone.  Ella has been enjoying a fun weekend with my parents, and we have been having as well as can be expected weekend with my husband's family, saying goodbye to a strong and determined woman.

It was very strange to be without our child.  In a way, it was "nice" to be able to make the trip without worrying about snacks or dashing to the potty or missed naps or nighttime stories.  We were able to go out to dinner, attend the homecoming football game, mourn at the funeral, and then celebrate at the wedding without trying to keep her occupied.  And yet, I missed having her with me, holding my hand, sitting in my lap, needing me.

I'm sad I didn't get to spend this day--her second birthday--with her.  God-willing, there will be many, many more to celebrate.  Her name--Eleanor--means "light".  Oh, how she has brightened our world during these two amazing years with her!

Though I miss her dearly, it was a blessing to come home with my husband to celebrate.  It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster to go straight from a funeral to a wedding, but I was glad that I could be there for him, with him.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Missing Ella's Birthday

My baby will turn two on Sunday...and I won't be home to celebrate with her.

My husband's grandmother passed away over the weekend, and he would like for me to go with him to Montana for the service on Saturday morning.  When we got the call, my parents were already on their way down to spend a week with us, and I wasn't about to take Ella away from there.  I also wasn't too excited about the thought of a two hour drive, three hour flight, three hour drive to get to his parents' house--especially when we would have pay for her return flight on Sunday, which happens to be her birthday.  So it was decided that my husband and I would go (he actually already had a plane ticket purchased so that he could go to his friend's wedding that night), and leave Ella home with my parents.

We'll celebrate her birthday a couple of days early tomorrow before our flight, and I know that she doesn't understand that her birthday is actually Sunday (in fact, if anything, I think that she thinks that this whole entire month is her birthday--at the rate that she has been asking me to sing "Happy Birthday" to her), but it still makes me sad that I won't be here to truly celebrate with her on her actual birthday.  Our flight gets in at 8:00 pm, but we'll have a two hour drive back, so she'll definitely be asleep by the time we get home, but you better believe that I'm going to pick up my big two-year-old for some middle-of-the-night birthday snuggles as soon as I can.

Today's blessing is having my parents in town to visit and help out.  Ella clearly adores them and is having so much fun with them.  We only get to see each other three or four times a year, so it's so great to be able to have this quality time with them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Call It What You Will

Normal.  Ideal.  Regular.  Textbook.  Perfect.

Call it what you will, I just experienced my first normal, ideal, regular, textbook, perfect 28-day cycle!  I don't know if I've ever in my entire life had a normal, ideal, regular, textbook, perfect 28-day cycle!

Okay, so I admit that when I started spotting yesterday, on day 28 of what I was expecting to again be a 35-day cycle--with which I was "happy enough" because it had at least been consistent for two consecutive months--I was hoping that it was implantation bleeding instead of the start of a new cycle.  And I admit that I do still wish that I were pregnant, but this is definitely the next best thing.

I also admit that, like so many of us who have struggled with in/fertility, a little bit of doubt and worry starts creeping in, despite my relief to be joining of the "normal cycle" crowd.  Thoughts like--what if my cycle was shorter than I expected because there is something wrong with my luteal phase?  Or--we have now been trying for nine months...what if I'm facing secondary infertility?

I trust God has a perfect plan for our lives.  I keep on reminding myself that this is my opportunity to enjoy my time with just Ella and my husband, and I want to spend my time being happy with her, instead of being saddened by what I don't yet have.  And her kisses and hugs and giggles sure help to restore my joy and remind me over and over again just how blessed I am to have her in my life.

Today's blessing was getting an early birthday package from my grandparents in the mail, which included my grandma's chocolate chip cookies.  She swears she just "follows the recipe of the back of the bag and adds a little extra flour", but there's something so amazing about my grandma's cookies.  Although I'm going to try really hard to resist the temptation (I attribute part of my 28-day cycle success to eating and exorcising better this month), the smell alone brings back great memories.  I'm so glad that Ella now gets the chance to enjoy my grandma's--her great-grandma's--cookies.

Friday, September 14, 2012


I was surprised and honored beyond belief when my very-dear friend called me recently to ask if I would be the godmother of her new son.

What an honor!  What an honor to be able to pray for this little boy as he grows.  What an honor to be asked to be a spiritual guide in his life.  What an honor that my very-dear friend, knowing just how much I long to be a mother again, chose me.  What an honor!

I will participate in his baptism, which will be scheduled sometime in the next two years.  Since the godfather, the daddy's cousin, is from Germany but now lives in Spain, we're all kind of fantasizing about the possibility of having the baptism overseas (especially since we never took that trip to Scotland in 2010 because I got pregnant with Ella).  Until that's scheduled, I'm just looking forward to meeting him (and seeing her), hopefully some time in December (they now live in Florida). 

You may remember that he is facing some health complications, as my very-dear friend, a Pediatrics Resident, was exposed to Congenital CMV while she was pregnant with him.  He continues to take an anti-viral medication and undergo tests, most of which have come back indicating that he is healthy.  But they did get results back yesterday indicating that his white blood cell count has dropped into a "bad" range.  They  have spoken with specialists, and have been reassured that his body is designed to fight, but they would still really appreciate prayers that his body increase its production of white blood cells so that he can properly fight any infections to which he may be exposed. 

Yesterday's blessing was sitting outside with Ella after dinner to watch the rain.  I love how curious and adventurous she is these days. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Toddler-Like Prayers

Prayer is something that is very real for me.  I still firmly believe that Ella is an answer to prayer.  And as more and more time has gone on since I got my cycle back in January, I've been praying more and more.  And it dawned on me this morning--I wonder if I sound like a toddler to God with my incessant prayers.

We work on manners with Ella, often reminding her to say "please" and "thank you" and "excuse me" and "sorry".  And yet, when she wants something...she wants something!  It's not uncommon for her to repeat her request over, and over, and over until she gets some sort of response from me.

Milk!?  Milk!?  Milk!?  Milk!?  Milk!?

Monkey!?  Monkey!?  Monkey!?  Monkey!?  Monkey!?

Towel!?  Towel!?  Towel!?  Towel!?  Towel!?  (Yes, my daughter has developed a security attachment to a towel...more on that later.)

Typically, she's not crying or screaming or throwing a fit in rage or even frustration.  Rather, it's typically just reminding me--over, and over, and over again--that she's still waiting on whatever it is for which she's waiting.

I wonder if that's what I sound like to God?

Baby!?  Baby!?  Baby!?  Baby!?  Baby!?

I wonder if He tires of hearing me ask for the same thing--over, and over, and over again.  I wonder if "please" and "thank you" and "excuse me" and "sorry" make any sort of difference to Him.

As an educator, I'm always looking for those "teachable moments", and use these opportunities to talk with Ella about waiting.  I wonder if God is trying to do the same thing with me--getting down on my level, looking me in they eye, helping me learn patience. 

I can usually respond to and fulfill Ella's requests...but sometimes we're out of milk, sometimes the monkey is in daddy's car, and sometimes the towel needs to be washed.  In those moments of unfulfilled desires, there are often tears as she expresses her disappointment in the only way a toddler knows how.  And I respond the best I can--assuring her that I love her, sharing her disappointment, and helping her find something to fill the void. 

What if God's answer to my incessant request for a baby is "I'm sorry, Laura, there are no more babies left for you.  We're all done."?  Would I be able to hear His love and compassion for me through my disappointment and tears?  Would I let Him assure me that He really loves me?  Would I accept His offer to help me carry my burden and disappointment?  Would I allow Him to fill this desire with other passions?

I know I'm not alone, and I know that God is big enough and patient enough to tolerate my prayers and so much more.  I may get frustrated with Ella's requests, but it's a good thing that God is more patient with me.  All I can do is try to be more like Him.

Today's blessing is feeling like I'm more caught up at work today than I was yesterday...or the day before...or the day before.  We're in the middle of our busy selection process, but things seem to be falling into place.