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God has blessed me tremendously with an amazing husband, Doug, and two gorgeous little boys, Gavin and Joey. It has always been a dream of mine to have a large family but God may have other plans. I had a series of 6 consecutive early miscarriages when trying for baby #2. We are currently trying for baby #3 after our 7th miscarriage. I am faithful that God's plan is perfect, even when I am not happy about it. I love comments and meeting new followers so please don't be shy!

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

What To Do When You are Seeing Red

I must admit that while I would rather be an expert on today's fashions, quality photography, or financial investing, it appears that I am the go-to person when it comes to miscarriage. Believe it or not, I don't mind getting the phone calls from friends who find themselves in that horrible state of limbo where they know they are pregnant, are having spotting or bleeding, and just don't know what to do. My heart breaks for them and, to be honest, it makes me sad for myself that I know as much as I do. But, since I have gotten these phone calls more than once and I don't have very many friends, I know that there must be thousands of women who are looking for advice on what to do. Since they (or you) don't have my phone number, I will write my best advice here.

  • Do not consult with Dr. Google!
I know I am probably already too late on that one since that is probably how you found this article. But really, stop surfing the net looking for hope or truth. You won't find the answer as to what is happening to you. Many people have bleeding and do not go on to lose the pregnancy. Many have the exact same bleeding and do miscarry. Reading everyone else's story of their bleeding in pregnancy will not tell you anything. It will only get you hopeful one minute and leave you crushed at your next click. No one can tell you how your story will turn out.
  • Try to remain calm.
With as much as we want to know immediately if everything is going to be okay, there is nothing in early pregnancy that can be done immediately to determine if you are going to miscarry or not. If you are fairly certain of your dates of conception/ovulation and you should be beyond 6 1/2 weeks pregnant then you may be able to have an ultrasound that can determine if there is a heart beat. But, even if you do or do not see a heartbeat doesn't mean 100% that you are okay or not. So... most likely it is going to be a hurry up and wait process. Especially if you are between a missed period and 6 1/2 weeks. Click here to calculate how far along you are in your pregnancy.

  • Call your OB (or GP if you do not already have an OB)
Depending on the practice and their standard procedure they will likely tell you one of two things. They might have you come in for a blood test. If they only order a Qualitatative test it will only give you a "yes or no" answer. This will not be helpful. Ensure that they order a Quantitative test. If they do this, they will be checking to see where your beta HCG is. This one number will not tell you anything significant at this point. They will likely have you come in for a second blood draw 48-72 hours later. It will be the the second blood draw that will be more helpful in determining viability of the pregnancy. There are several beta calculators that can be found online but my personal favorite it this one. Beta HCG Calculator.

If your doctor's office tells you there is nothing they can do (which ultimately is true) and to go to the ER or do nothing then my advice is this. Call them back. Be your own advocate. Of course, if you are miscarrying there is nothing really to do to "save" a pregnancy but they work for you. They can be more proactive if you push for it. Ask them for a beta series (as described above) to see if your numbers are rising or falling.

Again, in either scenario you have to sit tight and wait for the results of the blood tests. Some offices can get them back for you in the same day. Some won't receive them until the following day.
  • Choosing whether or not to go to the ER is a tough call.
You may think that the ER is going to be the fast route to getting answers. This is not always the case. In the ER they will do the same blood test that can be done at a clinic or doctor's office. Which, as I explained, doesn't tell you anything until you have the results of the second draw 48-72 hours later. They may offer you an ultrasound but at least in my experience they clearly stated before even starting the ultrasound that they would not be showing me the screen. It was an uncomfortable silence for close to 20 minutes. Plus, like I said earlier, an ultrasound may or may not tell you anything. So, if you chose to go to the ER in hopes of being reassured just know that you may leave with very little additional info and a big bill for an ER visit. There is a chance that you will learn that everything is on track and baby is measuring well.
  • While you are waiting do NOT consult Dr. Google!
I know I already said this but I really can't emphasize this enough. Stress is not good for you regardless of if you are pregnant or not. You will never walk away from the computer feeling great about what you have read. Checking your symptoms is not good either. For some people having a backache is early pregnancy is totally normal. For some it is a sign of miscarriage. The same can be said about just about every pregnancy symptom. Bottom line, as if I have not made it clear, Dr. Google is not a friend to you right now.
  • Do not use tampons even if your bleeding is heavy like a period.
Tampons can introduce bacteria into your open cervix and result in an infection. Always use pads when bleeding during a pregnancy. This will also enable you to better describe the rate of bleeding should you be asked. The general rule for bleeding is that you should go to the ER if you are filling more than a pad per hour.
  • Prayer is a wonderful thing!
Pray for God's will. Pray for patience, understanding, peace. He will hear you and answer your prayers.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This Kid is Funny!

Since Gavin has been able to talk he has been a funny kid. I used to try to keep track of what I like to call his "Gavin-isms". But, there seems to be new ones every single day. So, today, I am just going to share a few of my favorites.

This fall, with Joey showing up on the scene, we spent a lot of time lounging around the house. Therefore, Gavin was forced to listening to a lot of Doug and I having typical conversations. When Gavin needs to spend a few minutes on the potty (read poop) he loves to have a captive audience. He want to "talk about some things." Most days he just rambles on, smooshing together bits of songs, books, TV shows, and whatever else he has been exposed to that day and tells a story that no one understands. Not even him. One evening, while at my parents house Gavin announces that he needs to go potty. I think he was disappointed that he didn't have someone standing in the bathroom listening to him so he calls out and says, "Nana?! Nana!? I need to talk to you about something! I need to talk to you about propaganda!" Apparently Gavin listens very attentively to our conversations!

A few months later, as Gavin was starting to really warm up to the idea of having a brother, he came up with an idea that I should leave for the day and leave Joey home with him.

Me: Are you going to take care of your baby brother?

Him: Yep!

Me: Are you going to change his diapers?

Him: Yep!

Me: Even if he poops?

Him: Uh-huh!

Me: Are you going to feed him if he gets hungry?

He looks at me and pulls his shirt up to his neck and asks, "Do I have breasts?"

And finally, the most recent Gavin-ism was just yesterday. Gavin was sitting at the kitchen table and eating breakfast. I was sitting across the room feeding Joey. Gavin asks me something but I can only make out a couple of the words through the cheerios in his mouth so I say, "What, honey?"

He asks again, "Mom, where did ____ go?"

Since I still couldn't tell what he was asking about I say, "Where did what go honey?"

Gavin, exasperated with my apparent inattentiveness, "I am talking about your husband! Where did Dad go?"

While he has said a ton more funny things, many of them would not be nice to put out into cyberspace for his future wife to find. Those, I would rather tell her at her bridal shower.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Pregnancy of the Bogus Variety

In my years of trying to create my family, I have come across my share of women who have had what I believe to be bogus pregnancies. They fall into one of two categories. The innocent wishful thinkers and the attention seeking fakers.

The wishful thinkers are the one who are usually very new to the trying to conceive scene. They have never payed any attention to their cycles because the only part that ever mattered was when their period showed up. They worried that it would fall on the day of their much anticipated first date, or threaten to ruin a much needed vacation to the beach. If at any point in their cycle they got a headache, they took a Tylenol. If they had cramps, they took a Women's Tylenol. If their period was especially heavy they complained to their co workers about PMS and feeling lousy but, like most normal people, didn't inspect the contents of the toilet or the toilet paper.

As soon as they have unprotected sex for the first time they begin the frenzy of over analyzing every possible symptom of early pregnancy. Dr. Google tells them that some women have implantation cramping. Then, like they have never had before, they have some cramping! Then Dr. Google tells them that some women get headaches early in pregnancy due to the fluctuation in hormone levels. Then, oh my goodness! They have had a headache for the past few days, right? Then Dr. Google seals the pregnancy deal by saying that some women who miscarry very early will go on to have a normal period with cramps and possibly some clotting.

Sadly, a lot of women then, for some unknown reason, want to believe that they were pregnant. Even if it was just for a moment because all of those symptoms couldn't have been just a regular period showing up right on time. They must have been pregnant. Despite having taken pregnancy tests nearly every day and never getting a positive test, they are still convinced that they were pregnant.

It shouldn't bother me. I know. It isn't a contest but somehow I feel like my really early losses are regarded as me just being crazy and thinking I was pregnant. I totally understand the desire to be pregnant as much as the next girl but without at least a positive pregnancy test, there is no pregnancy. Otherwise, every month of trying could be interpreted as a miscarriage by someone who just really wants that baby but gets Aunt Flo instead.

Now the second category of fakers really gets my blood boiling. These are the women who knowingly never got a positive pregnancy test but claim they have. They may have really really wanted to see a line on a test. They may have even thought that maybe they could imagine a line on a test at one point. Granted, the cheap internet pregnancy tests that often will show a line where the positive line should be but it will never show up in the time limit when there is no real pregnancy. It can't be called a positive pregnancy test and anyone who uses those tests knows this.These women seem to just want people to feel bad for them and they think that accumulating miscarriages is the way to do it. Again, not a contest. But when I see this happen, I fear that people will think that I am doing this. I do not want a trophy for the most losses. I hope my number of losses stays right where it is. But, if I do have another loss along the way, I want people to know that I am being authentic. I will need support. I will not make up a miscarriage. It isn't fair to women who are going through the real thing every single day.

I am officially done venting. At least about this. For now.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Miscarriage and Infertility Phenomenon

There is a phenomenon that, unless you have had a miscarriage or deal with infertility, you will never be aware of. A woman can go years and manage to see only a handful of pregnant women. Many of those pregnant women are probably on television shows or celebrity gossip magazines. But, if a woman is suffering with infertility, has a miscarriage or has multiple miscarriages, pregnant women start materializing before our very eyes. A simple trip to the grocery store can become a gut wrenching adventure full of pregnant teenagers and women dripping with children and sporting very round expectant bellies. Going to the mall is no longer a search for the most flattering outfit. It is a nightmare of ladies about to drop and give birth at your feet as they walk out of Baby Gap holding 3 bags full of adorable onsies and itty bitty tennis shoes.

Then there seems to be the sudden outbreak of co-workers or family members who have surprise pregnancies. They are the ones who claim they weren't trying or better yet, they were "on the pill" and really can't afford another child. Then they sit and complain about morning sickness, needing to pee all the time, and back pain from their growing bellies.

Facebook friends are another breed of anxiety inducing people who in most cases are just glorified strangers. All of the sudden every person that you ever went to high school with is expecting a baby. People that you barely knew, way back when, are posting ultrasound pictures and belly pictures. Just when you think every possible person on the planet who is of child bearing age has announced their pregnancy then the birth announcements come flooding in.

And just when you think it can't get any worse the phone rings. Your best friend in the whole world calls with that telltale shrill and giddy voice. Then, your voice begins to quiver as you try to say how happy you are for her. That feeling of your heart sitting so low in your stomach that you might either have to poop it out or throw it up. You want so much to share her excitement but all you can do is say congratulations and fake it through a few more sentences before making up some very valid sounding excuse to get off the phone. It is only a matter of seconds before the fake smile washes from your face by a waterfall of tears.

It is so hard to have a miscarriage or deal with infertility and then when "The Phenomenon" is shoveled into your face it is almost unbearable. This is how I finally decided to cope. When I came across a glowing pregnant woman in the grocery store or mall, I just reminded myself that I don't know her journey. She may have had 6 miscarriages too. She may have had to try for 3 years for that pregnancy. Not that I would ever wish a loss or infertility on anyone, but it somehow made me feel better to think she had "earned" that belly. She deserved that baby as much as I deserved one.

If it was a unwed teenager or someone who wasn't in a place to take care of a child I just had to remind myself that God sent them that child for a reason. Maybe that kid would save my child's life by donating an organ or becoming the doctor who cures cancer. While I very much wish that God would have put a baby in my belly or let me keep the one that had been there, there is not a finite number of babies. It isn't like God is going to run out just because someone else happened to get in line in front of me.

I think it is totally normal to be jealous, hurt, sad, and sometimes even crushed to know of others' good fortune (even if they themselves don't see it as good fortune at the time). I recall once hearing that the odds of getting "your baby" is something like 1 in 66 billion. When I look at my sons, I know that they were worth waiting for that 1 in 66 billion lottery ticket even if it meant dealing with The Miscarriage and Infertility Phenomenon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Saying Goodbye

I have an aunt that used to drive me crazy. She insisted on hugs and kisses every time we said goodbye. Every time. Even if we were all leaving one place and all going to be meeting at a second place. I would always try to give a wave with a general, "See ya!" Never worked. She would, without warning, be planting a kiss, complete with a sticky lipstick print, and giving a full frontal tight hug. I would be saying to myself, "You have got to be kidding me. I am going to see you again in no more than 30 minutes! Is this really necessary?!"

After a visit to Grandma today, the goodbye routine sort of made sense. After visiting for about an hour, Gavin was showing signs that he was ready to go. Joey was getting fussy probably because of being hungry and the fact that the old people like to keep the thermostat set at 74 and then have the fireplace going on top of that. So, I packed up the boys' toys and things and reminded Gavin to give Grandma hugs and kisses. Then I did the same. I told her I loved her. I have noticed that in the last few months I have been saying it a little differently. Not just the typical, "I love you." I make eye contact and say the words with emphasis so that I hope she hears in my voice just how much I do love her. Then I picked up my stuff and headed out to the cool breathable air. As I walk to my car I force myself to think that there is a possibility that I just told Grandma goodbye for the last time. I am not trying to be morbid. Just honest. She is 98 years old and while one tends to think that people die after a battle with an illness or during a hospital stay, it is most likely that Grandma will pass away in her sleep. It could happen today. Next week. Maybe next year. Or maybe she will be around for another few years. But, just in case, I need to make sure I tell her how much I love her.

The truth is, just because she is 98 does put her at a higher risk of passing away before the next time I see her but any one of us could be living our last day. I am going to try to be more like my aunt. I don't know if this is why she insists on the hugs and kisses at every parting but it's not a bad thing to do. God may call us or a loved one home at any moment. I want to do my best to make sure that everyone knows how much I love them. It might be my last opportunity.
Monday, March 21, 2011

Days Like This

Today has been one of those days that I wish I would have had the option to stay in bed and hide under covers. It started with my morning temperature being so low that it wasn't just under my coverline. It was so low that it was lower than my pre-ovulation temperatures this month. So low that, rather than contemplate the possibility of taking a pregnancy test, I contemplated whether I should just use a pad today or go ahead and use a tampon since my period should be here any minute. Anyone who has tried to conceive by charting knows how that low temperature can just ruin a perfectly good day. Bring on the cramps and hormonal rages.

I did have to get out of bed because my in-laws were coming over to watch the boys so that I could go to workout. As most every other stay at home mom will admit, that means that I have to frantically clean the house so that they don't see how we live most of the time. While I am trying to straighten things up, Gavin is driving Joey crazy by grabbing his arms and hands whenever Joey was trying to reach for something. I think Gavin thinks it is funny when Joey is frustrated because despite my reminders to leave Joey alone, Gavin continued his mission to make Joey crazy. This made me crazy. After a long weekend of little sleep, this didn't take much. Then off I go to exercise. I am tired. Crampy. Irritable. Just plain annoyed to be awake.

Because the class was larger than usual and I was showing up at the last minute, I got my least favorite spot in the room. Front and center. But, considering how my morning was this didn't surprise me. The instructor was calling out exercises and between yawns and my mind wandering I managed to follow along. She then asked me to help her demonstrate an exercise. Now, as she is handing me the exercise band I have a gut feeling. It was one of those feeling where I just knew that this was going to end badly. She handed me the plastic handles of the rubber band stretching tool. She put the middle of the band on the front of her tummy and began running in the opposite direction. I don't think it takes a masters degree in physics to see why this was a terrible idea. I watched the already thin rubber band stretch thinner. Thinner. As it grew even thinner my eyes squinted as if to prepare for impact. Then SNAP. I felt my right hand holding a plastic handle with no tension. My left hand was holding the other handle which was flying through the air coming back to literally whip me.

As if the instant pain wasn't excruciating enough I gritted my teeth and thought I was going to be able to laugh it off. I am not a big fan of attention and being in the front row and having the entire class watch me get whipped by a huge rubber band was nightmarish. Then, she asked the question. The one where no matter if the pain is emotional or physical, it makes the tears well up and pour out. "Oh My God, Maria?! Are you okay?"

"Yes, I'll be okay." I answered hoping to make the whole situation disappear as quickly as it happened.

"Are you sure? Where did it get you? Oh no! You are going to cry! Oh no! Please! I am so sorry! Oh no! You ARE crying."

I put both of my hand on her shoulders to calm her down. I knew she felt terrible but I just felt like everyone was already focused on me. I wanted to cry because it hurt so freaking bad but I wished I could have disappeared through a wall to do it. Her drawing so much attention to me was making me cry more. I didn't want to make her feel worse by telling her exactly how painful it was so I explained, " I am just really tired. I am hormonal and PMSing and plus it did hurt. I will be okay. I am a tough girl." She finally let it go.

I am really hoping that the rest of my day improves. Although that will probably be difficult since my period will likely be showing up to remind me that I am not pregnant again this month.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011

To Quit or Keep Trying

One of the most frequent things I get asked or see women asking about on various message boards "I am not sure I could go through this again. How do I try again after a loss." I am sure that every woman who has had a loss would have a different answer since everyone deals with things differently. But, I can share how I managed to fall down 6 times and get back up 6 times.
  • I had to choose what would be more painful, another loss or never having another baby.
That was a tough one for me. After the first few losses, I flirted with the idea of adoption but ultimately knew in my heart that I was willing to try almost anything to feel a baby kick in my tummy again. I knew how painful loss was but I knew that the joy of a child would far outweigh my hurt.
  • I made a plan.
I had to have a plan for each cycle. Since I managed to fall pregnant so frequently (never longer than 4 months) I would try various supplements, fertility aids, vitamins, etc. It made me feel like I was at least trying to do something different. I thought that if I used different "tricks" then I would get different results. I also liked to know what my doctor was prepared to do as soon as I had my positive pregnancy test in hand. It helped me to feel more empowered to know, proactively, what the plan would be.
  • I prayed.
I learned that asking God to let me stay pregnant wasn't working. Begging for a pregnancy test line to be darker or asking for my beta hcg numbers to be doubling weren't the right requests. I learned that I had to pray for God's will. I prayed that if it was God's will for me to stay pregnant that is what I very much desired. If it wasn't in His will, I prayed that God would hold me close and guide me through loss. I prayed for understanding and peace with whatever He had planned for me.
  • I counted my blessings.
I knew that I had so much to be thankful for. The fact that I had my son, Gavin, was such a blessing to me. My losses helped me to appreciate what a miracle he really is. I really learned how lucky I was to have such a supportive husband who, while he grieved differently, always let me grieve in whatever way I needed to. I knew that if I was going to miscarry again that God had blessed me with a wonderful man who would love me through it all.
  • I let God decide.
Quit or keep trying? God knows what we should do. If I ever really found myself wondering if I was strong enough to go through another loss, I asked Him. Thankfully God made me strong enough to go through 6 losses. Now, I find myself wondering if I am strong enough to handle any more losses. I hope I don't have to find out.

What a Sick-o!

This morning at about 6:00 am, I am awakened by Gavin coughing. While I almost hate to admit this, my first thought was, "Shhh. Please. Shhhh. You are going to wake Joey." When it continued, I again thought to myself, "Shhhh. C'mon! What are you doing?! You never cough. Are you trying to wake everyone up?" Then, Gavin calls out, "I have to go potty." He had a really sad and painful sound to his voice but I thought that since Doug just got home from a business trip last night, that Gavin was just really eager for some daddy time. Doug got up to take him to the bathroom.

I laid in bed willing my bedroom door closed. It didn't work. I heard the bathroom door opening and closing. Repeatedly. I heard footsteps. Then the bathroom door again. Then the shower. I was slightly perturbed that Doug was making so much noise. Amazingly, Joey slept through it all. Thank goodness. Then I drifted back to sleep. I am awakened by Doug telling me that Gavin had spent the whole morning throwing up. He threw up all over his bed (Oh.. so that was the coughing!).
Gavin had no fever. When I asked him how he felt, he said, "I feel good, Mommy." A few minutes later he starts coughing and back to the bathroom we go. I decided that today would be a good lay on the couch and watch a movie, read some books kind of day. Halfway through the movie my dad stopped by to visit and check on the sick-o. After a few books, Gavin is wanting a snack and wants to play. Everything is now back to normal. All very weird.

Gavin has always been a very healthy kid. Almost freakishly healthy. He has never been to the doctor for any reason other than a check-up. He has had the sniffles twice but never needed any medicine to recover. He had one other episode of vomiting but much like today, never had a fever and was fine within 6 hours.

But the reason I am sharing all of this is not to gross you all out with puke stories but to share this. It is so disgusting to be sick. There is nothing attractive about vomiting. And while I certainly didn't enjoy seeing what I saw this morning, I was not grossed out in the least. Well... small fib. I was a little grossed out at one point but, while sparing the gory details, it involved my bare feet and Gavin not quite hitting the mark. I know people always tell you it is different when it is your own kids but it is so true. I prefer not to have sick days but taking care of my sick little one is just one of the many joys of being a mom.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy 8 Month Birthday!!

He is worth every tear. Every miscarriage. Every day of uncertainty.
My rainbow baby is 8 months old, today.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The "Why" of Miscarriages Still Unanswered

I have posted before about how I went through so much testing and wild attempts to "save" my pregnancies. All the tests came back normal, aside from the MTHFR and the PAI-1, but nothing that clearly explained my losses. I tried the progesterone, prescription Folic Acid, and the Lovenox and nothing did the trick. I know that so many other women are in the same position I am with recurrent losses and nothing in the way of an explanation. Doug and I talked about how there are just so many things that may or may not contribute to a possible miscarriage. There is just no way for any doctor to possible know all of the things to even test for. Our bodies are so intricate and complicated that there must be a million different possible "glitches" that could take place that results in a loss.

This may seem oddly placed but let me tell you a little bit about my morning. After waking up earlier than I would have liked I changed Joey's diaper. He has been fighting a bit of a diaper rash so I put some Calmoseptine on his bottom and then since that stuff is like Spackle, I used a wipe to get the remaining cream off of my finger. I then headed to the kitchen to get breakfast ready. After prepping 3 different unique breakfasts, I had made a bit of a mess so cleaned up with some Mr. Clean (with Febreeze). Then after eating I went to get ready to go to my exercise class. Brushed my teeth, washed my face, put on deodorant, etc. and got dressed.

Pretty mundane as far as morning routines go but lets go back and think about what I really did. In a matter of about 40 minutes my skin absorbed the chemicals of the diaper cream, the wipes, the kitchen cleaner, the toothpaste, face wash, deodorant, and when I put on my clothes I was coming into contact with the laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets. Interestingly enough, I just realized today that the Mr. Clean Kitchen and Bathroom cleaner says that if it is used on any surface in which food comes into direct contact a rinse is required. So from now on I have to clean up my kitchen after I use my kitchen cleaner. Great news.

I don't think that God designed our bodies to come into contact with so many chemicals. We are soaking up so many things that our bodies just don't know what to do with. I am going to make it a goal of mine to get back to basics as much as possible. I want to use only the products that my 98 year old grandmother used in her youth. I don't know if this has anything to do with my losses but I do know that limiting my exposure, and the boys' exposure, to toxins can't hurt them. And while there is no way of knowing, maybe, just maybe, this will help protect my future children, too.

Just Tragic

With the recent disaster in Japan, I have been reminded of something that I often wonder about. Why is it that when there is a tragedy, be it a natural disaster, a horrible accident, or maybe the events that transpired on 9/11/2001, there is always an outpouring of prayers? People aren't afraid to speak openly about praying to God for the victims, the survivors, and anyone affected by these happenings. But talking about Christianity without a tragedy is for crazy religious whack jobs. No one wants to acknowledge the existence of God (at least publicly) unless there is a shield of some difficult to understand event.

Lets say, for instance, we are standing on a street corner and we look up just in time to see a man on a motorcycle get hit at a high rate of speed by a semi truck. I am sure I am not alone in thinking that the first words to leave my mouth would be "Oh My God!" Then, others who witnessed the scene, would gather and watch in disbelief. If someone in that group of onlookers suggested that we bow our heads and pray for the man on the motorcycle, I don' think that anyone would disagree with the idea.

Now, lets just suppose the same scenario takes place minus the motorcycle and minus the semi truck. Now it is just a group of people standing together. Someone suggests saying a prayer. I can imagine there would be looks of confusion. Why would we just pray for no reason? No one is sick or dying that we know of. Right?

I know it is totally unrealistic to think that people would just stop on the street and start praying for each other. But I think it is worth asking ourselves why we don't. I think so many of us have been trained by main stream media to think that the majority of people do not believe in God and to openly suggest that we do might offend someone. I think we should be proud enough of our faith in God to pray openly without a tragedy in our midst. Our prayers shouldn't be reserved for asking God for a huge, huge favor when we really need something. We should be thanking God every day for everything he has blessed us with.
Monday, March 7, 2011

The Voices in My Head

Before I became a mother,I worked in the mental health field. It was nearly everyday that it was noted in someone's file that they were schizophrenic. They heard voices. IF this was the only criteria for schizophrenia then I would have to say that I am, indeed, schizophrenic. Every morning, the voice in my head coaxes me to get motivated to climb out from under the warm blankets on my bed. The voice in my head then helps me choose what to wear. Then the voice helps me decide between a pop tart or a bowl of cereal for breakfast. The voice in my head helps me decide what is appropriate to say in a conversation. It helps me decide how to respond to my son's inappropriate behavior. It helps me in everything I do. Everyday.

When asking someone who may or may not be mentally ill if they hear voices is really unfair. I think we all hear voices. It is just a matter of if we identify that voice as being our own. I used to always think that that voice was me. But after giving it more thought, I think that voice in my head is God helping me with my day. God is present in everything that we do and he is always willing to communicate with us, if we are willing to listen. And, if I am ever not sure about what I should do, if I ask Him, He will answer.

I have decided to really focus on listening to that voice in my head. God is trying to tell me what I need to know all the time. I need to listen. I also need to beware that the Satan isn't able to permeate my head and convince me to do evil.

This must be what people mean when they say that God spoke to them. They must really be listening, ready to really hear and really do God's will. I need to better job of being schizophrenic and letting God direct me.

Just for fun. This is Gavin a few years ago.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Counting My Blessings

I know how hard it is to go through a pregnancy loss. I know that most women agree that a loss is a loss, regardless of when it happens in a pregnancy but I am thankful that I lost my pregnancies early. My heart breaks every time I hear about a late term loss or a still birth. I literally shed tears and my heart aches. It is almost more painful than my own early losses.

Then, on a whole other level of loss and pain, I read stories like that of the Staats family. I read this woman's blog last night and cried so hard for her that I had to take breaks so that I could catch my breath. I couldn't even tell Doug what I was reading because words couldn't come out of my mouth.

Last night, with a tired and tear stained face, I was slowly drifting off to sleep. A few a moments later I was awakened by Joey. I went to his room and gave him the pacifier that had fallen from his mouth and tiptoed out of the room. I crawled back to bed eager to get warm and comfortable again to be awakened by his cries. I went into his room, calmed him again, and just stood there. I cried for Maddie's mom. I was calming my fussy baby, initially frustrated by my desire for sleep, only to recognize how many women were crying in their beds because of having an empty crib with no crying baby.

I took a few moments and prayed for all of these women. I prayed that they find peace and that they look to God for His comfort. Then, I thanked God for all of my blessings. It is easy to take for granted all of the wonderful things we have and I have to thank Maddie for reminding me to hold my boys just a little bit closer for just a little bit longer.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rough Night

It is days like today that make me question if I am really ready for another baby. Last night, Joey fell asleep like a dream and then, after about 3 hours of good sleep, he was done. He started crying and would fall back asleep for about 10 minutes. Which, coincidentally, was just long enough for me to get comfortable, warm, and halfway to Sleepytown. I would do this same agonizing cycle for a couple of hours when I finally gave up.

I let Joey sleep in bed with us. He always sleeps like a log when he is nestled between Doug and I. He rests his arm on my head or back and will sleep soundly until Gavin shouts, "Time to wake up!" promptly at 7 AM. Last night was a little different though. Gavin had his first nightmare. At 3 years old, he hasn't been able to really explain what it was about but inferring from the scream at 3:30 AM, it had something to do with a missing sock. Yes. A nightmare about a missing sock. I found him in the hallway, shouting, "I need my sock back!!! I need my sock back!!!" through tears of shear agony. It broke my heart to see him so scared and disturbed but I couldn't help but smile that his first bad dream was about a sock.

I took him to the bathroom to hopefully distract him from the thoughts of the dream. I reassured him that I would help him find any and all socks when the sun came up. I tucked him back into bed and shared a few minutes of cuddling and told him how much I loved him. I crawled back into bed next to Joey who was awake but calm. I was about to drift off when I realized that the monitor that goes to Gavin's room wasn't working because I could hear him calling for me but his voice was coming through the wall, not the monitor. After a couple of minutes of figuring out the monitor, Gavin started crying that he needed to go potty. Again. Doug volunteered to take him this time. He finally settled back in. And we all got to have a couple more hours of sleep.

We had a pleasant morning until we discovered that our heat wasn't working and there wasn't any firewood brought in the house. Since the inside temperature was 61 degrees, it was a good day to go shopping. That went well and both boys were manageable. Once we returned and ate lunch, it wasn't long before nap time arrived. Joey hasn't been napping very well or very long lately so I was prepared for a challenge on that front. Gavin, on the other hand, had been telling me all morning how he was still tired. After last night, I can't say that I was surprised. I was tired too. So, I took Gavin up for his nap. Then fed Joey and took him up for his nap. Joey, was acting tired but wanted me to stand right by his crib while he fell asleep. Meanwhile I am hearing Gavin shouting, "MOOOOOOOOOOOM!? CAN YOU HEAR ME?!" Of course Joey was hearing it too and listening attentively to his shrill shouts.

I walked away from the crib to hear Joey instantly scream. I went to Gavin to ask him what he needed, trying to maintain my patience despite being able to feel the anxiety and shear exhaustion bubbling up. He requested some books to read. Okay. Easy enough. I go back to Joey's room and get him settled back down again. I finally see him drift off to sleep. I come downstairs to unwind, relax, watch some TV that isn't animated, and blog. I had just enough time to log into my computer to hear Gavin, in his innocent yet seemingly manipulative voice say the dreaded words, "I have to go potty." In my effort to get everyone along to nap, I had forgotten to make sure he went potty before he went to bed. My eyes actually started to water. Not exactly tears but just moisture that wanted to drip out to relieve some of the stress. Upstairs I go. Then, almost as if he was determined to ensure that I didn't have time to do anything other than tend to him, he tells me, "I am going to go pee. Then poop." Ugg.

So, as I finally am able to sit down and relax without any little voices, I have to wonder... Am I really ready to add to my family? I know that in a few months, today will be just a distant memory. Everyone has rough days, right? I wonder if there is ever an ideal time to add to a family. Won't there always be rough times no matter their ages? Maybe this is God's way of showing me, "See. I know what I am doing. I'll add to your family when I know you are ready."

Clearly, I am not ready today.

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