Monday, December 27, 2010

Prayer Buddy Reveal!

I felt very blessed to be able to pray for Laura at this Advent!  It is a gift to be able to pray for others as well as when we are prayed for!

I enjoyed getting to learn about Laura through her blog, and can't wait to continue following her journey of losing weight and praying for her to be able to start a family too!

God bless you Laura! :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas, Snow and Belly Pics!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!!  We are so blessed by all of you!

This was the main picture we used for our Christmas card!  (I say "main" because we used 4 pics in our card- I may have to scan it, because it turned out pretty cute!)

And here is the snow we woke up to the morning after Christmas!  So not officially a white Christmas for us, but close enough to make me deliriously happy!

And I forced Rob out into the blizzardy conditions to take a few pics of me and the belly in the snow! ;)  The snowflakes made it a bit difficult to get a clear pic, but you get the idea!  The belly is definitely growing! 

I have an OB appointment tomorrow morning, but we'll see if the roads are passable!  I'm 26 weeks today, so I'm scheduled for the glucose tolerance test tomorrow as well.  And of course, I just can't wait to see how much weight I've gained from all the glorious holiday food I've eaten! LOL!  :) 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My first "Quick Takes" one day late!

 1.  Isabel discovered one of her Christmas presents about 5 days ago.  In DH's office closet.  It is an art easel which he had not covered (!!!) and she went in to look for something, came out and said nothing.  Yesterday she finally comes up to me with a somber face and says, "Mommy, I think I've ruined my Christmas surprise!" and about bursts into tears!  Poor thing!  I told her that since her cousins are coming for Christmas, that the easel may not in fact be for her and even though she accidentally saw it she will just have to wait to check the tag on Christmas morning to see if it is really a present for her!  Bless her heart.

2.  DH is deer hunting.  This is the 3rd or 4th trip to hunt this season and likely the last (since deer hunting ends Dec. 31st), and he has not gotten anything!  There hasn't even been a deer sighting any time he's gone!  It's been very frustrating for all of us.  Surprising fact, but last year he shot 3 deer and we basically ate deer meat (over ground beef) for the entire year...I've learned alot about cooking deer in the last year ;)  Most important in my book of deer meat tips:  don't eat the bucks!  Wayyyy too gamey!

3.  I was just amazed last night at a Cyber Baby Shower I attended for Sew Infertile!  First, she and her baby are gorgeous.  Her family is just the cutest!  TCIE who organized it all is simply amazing for coordinating everything!  It was so fun to see and hear other bloggers whom I read regularly!  I was just overall very impressed!   Who knew a cyber shower could be so much fun??

4.  We're possibly going to get a little bit of snow tonight (a little bit like an inch)...but I LOVE the winter weather, so I will take any I can get!  They had snow showers in the forecast for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but have now taken them out :(  So bummed.  Really, I'm an inclement weather junkie.  Snow storms, thunderstorms, all fascinates me!  I never wish for destruction or damage obviously, but I'm just fascinated by how intense weather can be sometimes.

5.  Isabel came down with a fever (102.0) Thursday, the day before we were supposed to go to our first ARCH (Association of Roman Catholic Homeschoolers) activity which was a craft-making fair.  To say I was disappointed was an understatement.  I have not made any Catholic homeschooling friends yet and we are halfway through our first year of homeschooling!  I've got to get on the ball!  And I'm worried that once new baby gets here it will significantly decrease my ability/desire to get out and do more activities like this.

6.  Our cat, Kee Kee is always a pest around Christmas time.  He consistently drinks (all) the water from under our Christmas tree and if we happen to leave a wrapped present under the tree, he unwraps it (or does his best) in the middle of the night.  Oh, not to mention all the ornaments he bats off during the night.  *sigh*  If  Kee Kee is my biggest battle this Christmas, I'm doing pretty good ;)

7.  I'm looking forward to Christmas Eve Mass.  I LOVE it.  I love that the sanctuary is decorated with poinsettias and Christmas trees.  I love the joyful music!  I love that the anticipation of Christ being born is finally ready to be fulfilled!  I love the warmth and love of family (who normally wouldn't attend) going with us to Mass...the way it should be.  I love especially that I am pregnant during Christmas (I'll be almost 26 weeks then) makes it more real to think of Mary carrying baby Jesus in her womb.  Although it is rather crazy to realize that I've been pregnant 4 out of the 8 Christmases that DH and I have been married...I'm so excited that this time I feel like I'm at a place where I can truly enjoy and bask in the excitement and wonder of being pregnant with a baby we hope to be able to keep!  Thank you God!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Be still and know that I am here.

I think the Lord has been trying to send me a message through my baby. 

Lately I've been running around here and there....there is so much to be completed before Christmas! 

Christmas shopping.
Ooops, gotta run to the grocery store we are out of milk (actually in our house it's eggnog).
Couldn't find all the Christmas gifts at store A, make a list of more stores to try.
Time for school.
Time for a playdate.
Run to the post office for Christmas stamps.
Wait....did I order the Christmas cards yet?
Where is the order for a Christmas gift that I placed back in mid-November?
Not to mention dirty dishes, laundry, the bathrooms need cleaning again, are we going to finish putting up the Christmas lights on our house?

Wait....have I felt baby move today?.....In the busyness of this time of year, I am moving around so much I haven't noticed if the baby has been moving.  So I stop and am still....and I wait....and yes, baby is moving.

And I realize that with all this rushing around, if I haven't even noticed the baby moving within me, how can I notice the baby who is to be born to us on Christmas day?  Have I taken the time to notice Jesus today? 

Be still and know that I am here.  "Be still and know that I am God"  Psalm 46:10.

The God-child is getting ready to be born.  Will our hearts be still enough to know when He is here?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holly, Jolly Choices at Shutterfly!

Yes, I use them too!

Shutterfly is offering some terrific Christmas cards in their selection this year!

Classic black and whites with an elegant appeal such as Oh Holy Night featured below:

Or perhaps you want to show off as many pictures as you can fit! 

Picture Tree offers that option!  I love the idea of being able to fit eight pictures into one card!!

One of my favorite features and why I like to use Shutterfly, is that you can sort the Christmas cards by "religious Christmas cards" and that is a key feature for me, because if it doesn't say "Merry Christmas" or have some sort of religious Christmas theme, then you probably won't see it arrive in your least not from our household.  I think it's important to keep the Reason for the season front and center!

I love Wishing You a Christ-filled Christmas shown below:

 Room for four pictures and a beautiful message???  I'm loving it! 

Shutterfly is also offering a promotion for bloggers to create a post like this showcasing some of your favorite Shutterfly cards to be able to receive 50 free Christmas cards, but hurry because this deal is ending at the end of the week!

Get on over to Shutterfly so you don't miss out on a beautiful Christmas card opportunity!  Already ordered your cards??  Shutterfly has photo calendars, photo mugs (great gift idea for someone!) and holiday invitations as well.  Happy shopping!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Prayer Buddy, I have a request! *UPDATED!*

This sounds silly, but to me it is just devastating...tragic (okay so I'm a little dramatic over this)!

I've lost my Christmas CDs!!!!!!!!!!   

Yes, my entire collection of Christmas cds...the whole case....just gone.

So prayer buddy, if you could ask St. Anthony for his intercession, I would really appreciate it!

I've searched the entire house, the car, the garage....even called work to ask them to search there.

I have had pregnancy brain really bad this go round, but I really have no idea where these cds could be.

Thanks for the prayers!

UPDATED 12/8!!!  Prayer Buddy, you are good!!!  My husband found my cds this morning in our garage.  Not sure how they got there...maybe they slipped out of something, but I really can't believe that's where they were!  Anyway I was SOOOOOOOOOO excited to have them back!  Thanks for the prayers! :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hello December!

I went to confession last Saturday to jump-start my Advent and it has really helped to set me out on the right foot and to get my attitude more in line with the season.  My priest basically said the same thing that I've already been told!  "We all have dry times" and "You are being a little too hard on yourself" (in regards to my prayer life seeming to be lacking). 

He recommended that I use "less words" when I pray. 

I don't know what happens in the confessional, but I just start rambling sometimes (maybe trying to over-explain things) and as I was doing this, I could see in his eyes (I go face-to-face) that he was thinking, "Woah there, slowwww down." 

So now that I have a cleansed and renewed heart and soul, I really do feel refreshed and eager to prepare for Jesus! 

My Advent plans include:

*Advent Prayer Buddies:  I'm so happy to be able to pray for my assigned prayer buddy this season! 
*Advent Special Intention:  I'm praying for God to work some special blessings, and know that He alone can move hearts toward His will.
*Advent Prayer Tree:  This is a tradition that I grew up with as a child and have continued it since we have had Isabel.  I take a small Christmas tree and print out names of friends, family and other special people; tie them up with some red ribbon and we pick one scroll off the tree at dinner to pray for as a family.  I love that this teaches Isabel that during Advent we can do little things (like offer our prayers for other people), and that can help prepare our own heart for Jesus' birth!

*Decorating!  Okay so everyone does this, but I LOVE putting out all of our Christmas decor...and playing the Christmas music that goes along with it!  It feels so "right" to have the house decorated for Christmas.  All the work that goes into decorating reminds me that it is so worth the time and effort!  We are decorating for the coming of our Lord and Savior!  What a beautiful thing!  I think we're getting our Christmas tree on Thursday....can't wait!
*Teaching!...My little one that is, about the beauty and wonder of preparing our hearts and waiting with eager hope for Jesus!   Who knew that I would love homeschooling and watching her learn and grow so much??  My lesson plans for the next four weeks all revolve around Advent...I'm super excited about the laminated, traceable seasonal vocab words I made for her today (she is big into tracing her letters and probably loves dry erase markers a little too much). 

I mean, seriously, who wouldn't love to teach her?

I'm looking forward to it all, and hoping that in it all I can draw closer to God and better appreciate the reality of Christ our King, born to us as a little child. 

And for the pregnancy update:  

Here's my 21 1/2 week belly shot. 

I had an OBGYN appointment on the 11/29 and had gained *gasp* 8lbs in the last 4 weeks!  Okay, so that may be shocking to you, and while I was a little surprised it was that much, I wasn't very concerned.... I saw a new doc who was a little shocked and who clearly had no idea how much I gained with Isabel!  LOL!  Overall being up 15lbs from the beginning of my pregnancy is SUPER good in my opinion! ;) 

We are no closer to a fact, it's become more of a game/battle between Rob and I to even discuss names.  So you are still in suspense, as we are! ;)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Pre-Advent Slump.

So I'm halfway there and I have so much to celebrate!  This baby is still growing inside me!  Things are going right.  The baby looks healthy.   It's a sweet little baby boy, a new chapter for our family in many ways!  And yet while I'm thankful and truly full of praise and wonder that God would allow us another opportunity to be parents to a little soul on earth, I'm also feeling farther from Him than I have in awhile.

I'll call it my "Pre-Advent Slump".

In my times of sorrow and grief, most especially after losing Mary Grace, I was so close to the Lord.  It felt as if he had nestled me right next to His heart and carried me for days and months.  I had a better understanding of suffering and how it brought me closer to Him, and how it was useful for other souls as well.

And now that I have crossed through that "valley of death" of loss and infertility, it is as if the Lord has set me back down to walk on my own again.  I don't feel His presence like I did in the valley.  I know that He is still there.  He hasn't stopped walking by my side.  But perhaps, now that I am in a "good place" in my life with things going amazingly well I have forgotten to turn to Him.  My suffering has been removed and replaced with great joy, but at the same time it is a lonely feeling.   To be carried by the Lord and then to be set down to walk on your own is more difficult than I had imagined. 

Some people won't understand this.  So let me clarify a few things.  I don't wish to be in the past.  I don't want to be stuck back in the pain of infertility, and I don't want to lose any more babies.  But it was in that suffering that the Lord drew me to Him in a new way...and it was the most beautiful place to be.  In a way I would almost explain it to be like those people who have had a near-death experience and seen the light of heaven, only to be sent back to their earthly life with disappointment that it wasn't their time to be with God.  I think it would be like that.  I have had that taste of closeness with the Lord and now I no longer have it and even joy seems muted.

Maybe it is something you only experience during suffering.  Or maybe after He set me back down, I stumbled from His path.  Different roads caught my eye and I was lured the wrong way, not necessarily into sin, but into complacency and self-reliance.  I know God doesn't push me away, so maybe I have been pushing Him away without even meaning to. 

And it's not as if I've been skipping Mass or jumping into huge piles of sin either.  It's more like my prayer life has faltered.  In these "good times" it is easier to be lacking in a complete and utter dependence on God.  I have been starting to subconsciously feel like I can do this on my own...see how well everything is going?  And while saying that out loud brings me to the quick realization that that is simply not so (I know in my heart that everything...every breath, every beat of my heart is because God allows it), my prayer life does not reflect that reality. 

I thank God during our morning prayer, mealtime prayers and Isabel's bedtime prayers and here and there throughout the day for that random baby kick, or Isabel's 4 year old humor, or Robert's patience with pregnant-old-me.  But there is nothing beyond that. 

What I know is that prayer life takes work and I have not been lifting any "spiritual weights" if you will.  I know there are times when I will feel spiritually "dry", but I've got to lift myself out of the rut of self-reliance and get back into completely relying on my Creator for all that goes on....the good and the bad. 

Somehow for me, it was easy to rely on Him in the bad....but is much tougher to rely on Him in the good. 

So on that note I'm glad that Advent is right around the corner!  Lent and Advent are my favorite liturgical seasons because as a Type-A I need to PREPARE!  And by the time that they get here, my heart is in deep need of new soil that needs to be tilled. 

What are my plans for Advent to get my soul into better spiritual shape??  More about that in the next post, and I'll humor you then with a belly shot too.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Please lift this family up in prayer!

Megan at Heart of St. Monica alerted me to this sweet family's website several days ago, and I have been following the birth of their sweet little son, Jedidiah Joseph who was diagnosed in utero with Trisomy 13. 

He lived for 13 days, but passed away last night.  Please send a prayer to Our Most Holy Father for this family during the difficult days ahead. 

What a testament to the value of life and dignity of the human person this family has been!  Thank you for covering them in prayer!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Almost 19 weeks!

Good news!  I'm officially off my progesterone in oil shots!  (Which is really great because I only had like 1 more dose left before I would have had to refill it- another $75!).  Dr. C emailed me that my last progesterone draw showed levels at 58.6 at 18 weeks and 2 days.  I will recheck my levels in one month just to make sure they are still hanging in there!  But no more needles!  Hooray!

We hit another milestone which was Rob getting to feel baby boy Holmes kick for the first time (18 weeks 4 days).  The kicks and pokes are definitely getting fact I remember thinking this with Isabel too that the kicks would gradually get strong, but no, it's just been a huge jump from weak movements to pretty significant ones!  Which makes everything so much more real.  I'm LOVE, LOVE, LOVING it!!!

I can tell Rob is very excited about having a boy, and he has started acting even more loving (as if that were possible ;) ) since finding out the gender of this little baby.  I'm getting the "you're just radiant today" and an increased number of random "I love you" comments and some belly rubbing too :)  It's quite adorable and I have to say that I don't mind all the extra attention. 

We are very slowly talking over some names....and I mean slowly.  Poor Rob...he has to deal with my Type A-need to make a list-need to have the name picked out 6 months in advance- personality!  He is very laid back and would not mind showing up to the hospital without a name, waiting to see what this baby looks like when he pops out and deciding on a name then.

The thought of it leaves me totally stressed out! 

I did compromise with him though.  If we had a list of names, I agreed we could take that list and out of those pre-chosen names we could select the official one once the baby is here.  I would definitely be able to do that, but not arrive to the hospital with nothing to go on!

In fact, I kind of prefer that idea...having a list of names which I'm all for not sharing!  It's funny with Isabel we picked her name out way in advance and we were not shy about letting others know!  But with this baby, I think it may have to do with that uncertainty that lingers about whether or not he will actually arrive.   So the name may be a secret until he gets here....I guess we will all just have to wait and see!

Tomorrow I will be 19 weeks!  Can't believe I'll be just a week away from the halfway point!  Thank you God!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ultrasound Pictures :)

A picture of our family on this happy day!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Anatomy Scan Update!

Praise Jesus!!!  This baby is as healthy as can be!  All the measurements and organs looked great and right on track!  Baby weighs 7 ounces at 17 weeks 5 days.


it's a BOY!!!

Our ultrasound tech was so sweet....she had also had an anatomy scan which did not go well in a previous pregnancy, so she totally understood our nervousness AND she told me as she was looking at each part if it was appearing normal!  I couldn't have asked for a more understanding and kind sonographer!  Thank you God!  To top it all off, she is also pregnant with a boy and due in April!!

We are just on cloud nine and so thankful that God has allowed us to be pregnant with a healthy little boy!  I feel like now I might actually be able to sit back and really enjoy the rest of this pregnancy; allow myself to revel in the magic and wonder of it all instead of living with fear and hesitations that it might not work out. 

Baby boy was not shy about showing his parts multiple times!  I will be getting pictures from the scan up soon!  DH and I are going out for a dinner date/celebration to The Melting Pot tonight and finally we will get to start discussing some names!!

*Sigh*  What a relief!  I am just so thankful for all of your prayers!  I know that they helped :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stressing this week...

So I've been a wreck since Friday the 22nd.  I haven't meant to be, but after having an emotional meltdown in front of my parents, my mom embraced me in a hug and asked, "Are you worried about the big ultrasound next Friday?"

It wasn't until it was vocalized that I was able to acknowledge why I've been a grumpy, sobbing, snappy mess for the last several days.  I am completely anxious over our upcoming anatomy scan.   Usually I only break down a few days before a regular ultrasound, but considering this is "the big one" I should have known that this would be a rough week.

The anatomy ultrasound is the one in which we found out that things were terribly wrong with Mary Grace.  It was literally the ultrasound that changed our lives forever.  We went in with joy and excitement about simply finding out our baby's sex.  I had not a care in the world, and had not once considered that something could be wrong with her.  We left that appointment with the knowledge that our baby would probably not live.  So I guess that it is reasonable for me to be worried, anxious and nervous that this big ultrasound on Friday will not go well for our newest little addition currently growing in my womb.  I do have a bit of excitement over hopefully finding out the gender, but that is definitely overwhelmed by the fear that something will not be right.

I feel silly too, not having expected this sort of reaction from myself.  Afterall, for the last 2 months I've been rehearsing the first thing I will say to the ultrasound tech at this anatomy scan:  "I need you to tell us as soon as you see that something is wrong."  Yeah, not a very optimistic outlook, I know!  It's not that I'm truly expecting something to be wrong exactly...I think it's more of a way for me to prepare myself in case something isn't right. 

So after the meltdown in front of my parents (umm....very unusual for me, by the way) on Saturday, and chewing on this realization that I'm on pins and needles over this ultrasound, we went to Mass on Sunday.  The homily was on being open to the truth in your own life...and I had to accept that I'm not holding it together like I think that I am!  When we stood up to say the Creed, I noticed on the pew directly in front of me, a piece of paper with a saint intently looking down at a crucifix he was gently holding..."Wow", I thought, "that looks a whole lot like St. Gerard...wouldn't that be something if a St. Gerard (the patron saint of expecting mothers!!) card was sitting right in front of me?  It would be like a sign or something."

I stared closer and could see "Majella" printed on the end of the card....St. Gerard Majella....that would be him.  Convinced that this was a sign for me, I thought to myself, "okay, this lady in front of me is literally sitting with her purse on this card, so it has to be hers.  If she doesn't take it after Mass, it must really be meant for me."

Well, guess who left the card sitting directly in front of me???

I picked it up and took it home.

From the card: "Saint Gerard's dominant virtue - trust in God's providence" and "His favorite expression, 'God will provide'".

"Over two hundred years ago, the saint once remarked: 'If anyone unable to bear the sufferings which God has sent him, calls on me for help...or if I hear of such a one, I will pray that God give him the grace of conformity with His holy will.'"

It may be guaranteed to be a rough week for me emotionally, but as long as I keep my eyes on Jesus, like St. Gerard in the picture, and can place my trust in God's providence....He will provide for me no matter what happens at Friday's ultrasound.

And just to show you that my belly is in fact growing, here is a belly pic from this Sunday at 17 weeks.  Thanks for any prayers you could send my way this week!  I will update again on Friday!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

16 weeks

Each week keeps passing by and I can hardly believe that I'm still pregnant and things are going so well.

The movement that I "thought" was the baby, most definitely was!  And has been increasing in frequency and strength.  Yay!  Grow baby, grow!

Also, I was so blessed by my friend Amber, who offered to let me borrow her fetal heart doppler!  On those days where I've been too busy to notice any movement, I use it to reassure myself that he or she is still alive in there!  It is just wonderful.

I had a regular OB appointment Friday, the 15th and everything went well.  Although my doctor is of course strongly urging me to get the flu shot.  Now normally I have no problem with this except for all the stories I've read about women losing their pregnancies last year after receiving the H1N1 shot.  So this year, with it being a combined flu shot I have some reservations about getting it.  My OB was very persistent..."pregnant women are the highest risk category", "there is no statistical evidence to link the H1N1 vaccine to miscarriages or autism", "we had women in the hospital from this, women died!", "1 in 3 women miscarry anyway"....okay got it.  But I don't want to be one of the ones to miscarry!  So the dilemma is:  am I better protecting my baby by not getting the flu shot or by getting it??  Would LOVE to hear your comments on this...especially if you are pregnant- what did you do?

The rest of the appointment was fine..heard baby's heartbeat on doppler.  Doc is guessing it's a girl...just for the fun of guessing.  My anatomy ultrasound is scheduled for October 29th (JUST 2 WEEKS away!!!), so I can't wait to see if this baby is healthy and of course (hopefully) find out the gender!  I've gained 6 pounds in 6 weeks (which quite frankly I'm happy about seeing as it is the ONLY weight I've gained this far which had been making me nervous). 

It's strange to think that a year ago on October 15th, Rob and I attended an "October 15th" Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day service in Raleigh, as we remembered and mourned the loss of Mary Grace and our other babies.  And a year later I was celebrating the new life thriving in me, and celebrated our family and life in general by attending the NC State Fair.

Last update is that my last progesterone check was 44.2 at 14 weeks 2 days which is very good.  Dr. C has now bumped me down to just 100mg 2x/week instead of the 200mg 2x/week I was on.  

And yes, I'm overdue for a belly shot....I'll take one soon!  I promise!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Quick update!

Okay so I am 14 weeks 2 days today and just started my PIO shots back up.  I will be heading to the lab sometime this week to get my progesterone levels redrawn.  I feel more reassured (basically from everyone's comments) that everything should be okay even though I've been off PIO for about 2 1/2 weeks!  (Yikes!)

My nausea is all gone...thank you second trimester!  And thank you God for letting me get this far in my pregnancy.  Every day is just amazing to me that I am here, right in this spot in my life, pregnant....again.  What a blessing, and I literally say a big "thank you" to our Lord every day for this privilege.

Of course it's hard/impossible to know if things are going okay in there at this point.  And I've been wavering on whether to buy a fetal heart doppler (found used ones for as cheap as $50 on craigslist, but I'm still too frugal to pay that!)...but I kept thinking any time now I could possibly start to feel some movement since this is not my first baby.  And the last two days I feel almost totally sure that I have felt the baby move!  No kicks.. it feels more like a rolling or turning inside.  It seems so early, but I remember going to the OBGYN for an appointment while I was pregnant with Mary Grace at 12 weeks and the nurse asked if I had felt any movement yet, and I said, "seriously?" and she said it was possible!  So I guess it can really start this early!

Feeling some movement is enough to give me a bit of peace of mind.  My next OBGYN appointment is on the 15th and it really is just a week and a half away now.  October is so busy for us...there is something going on every weekend, and so far we've been really busy during the weekdays as well, so I'm hoping the time will fly by to the 15th!

Oh and my crazy not-being-to-empty-my-bladder problem due to my stubborn uterus has finally resolved itself...haven't had any trouble in over a week!!  Which is a huge praise!  I guess it makes sense that my uterus has finally found it's correct position as my belly is starting to poke out a little bit yay! :)  I'll take another belly shot hopefully this Sunday at 15 weeks.

This has turned into a longer update than I intended! :)  But I did take the plunge and check out a "new baby on the way" book from the library for know...trying to work her into the reality that we hope plays out come April.  We got the Berenstain Bears and the New Baby...and to my surprise it is her favorite library book of the week.   She has asked to read it every day during lunch since we've had it! 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Freaking out a little regarding progesterone!

So NaPro nurse calls and tells me my progesterone at 11wks4days had gone down to 39.0 and while they expect a slight decrease around this time, Dr. C wants me to continue with the PIO shots and draw my levels again in 2 weeks. 

Well....big problem... 11wks4days was also my last PIO shot.  She hadn't given me another prescription and I assumed (yes, I know what they say about assuming)....that since she hadn't called with my progesterone level and hadn't called in a new prescription that everything was okay.  Since she said that we would likely stop PIO at 12 weeks depending on my levels.

So I'm a little bit freaking out.  I asked the nurse...."So is it a problem that I haven't had a PIO shot in about a week and a half??"  And she asked Dr. C and called me back and they are refilling my prescription and sending me a lab order to get my blood drawn sooner than later. She never answered if it was a problem. 

So now I'm wondering how much damage I've done by not being on PIO for this long with already decreased levels??? 

Yeah, I'm having a little bit of a melt down about it.  :(  I just feel so stupid.  I should have called a week ago..I just kept forgetting or putting it off and then we were out of town...and now here we are a week and a half later. 


Monday, September 20, 2010

Cyst, what cyst?

Oh that pesky 5cm cyst that they were talking about possibly have to remove surgically in my second trimester???

GONE.  That's more.   (**insert "MIRACLE!!!" here**)

I'm not sure the doctor believed the sonographer, because he came back in and re-scanned me after I had just cleaned off all the ultrasound jelly...and sure enough, he declared it resolved!

Oh boy, it is such a blessing when God's plans are right in line with what we pray for, isn't it??  

I'm 12 weeks and 1 day today and we had the NT scan which measured the nuchal fold area of fluid in the neck.  Baby's came back at 1mm...which was excellent!  Over 3mm is concerning for Trisomy 18 or Down's Syndrome.  I also had bloodwork done, and the results will be in Thursday or Friday, but the sonographer said that unless something comes back really, really wrong with the bloodwork, then we should be screen negative for T-18 and Down's!

Baby H measured about 2 inches, with a heartbeat of 161!

We saw him bring an arm up around his head and another arm covering his face.  The sonographer tried to get a look to take a gender guess, but baby would not cooperate today.  No big deal.  I was just so relieved that baby is still alive....(I know I must sound like a pessimistic person talking like that, but it is just my reality now).  Every ultrasound comes with a genuinely fearful excitement....Fear that the baby will not be alive, and excitement to be able to see a living, moving baby.  It's literally both feelings.  So I can finally let out the breath I've been holding once I see movement or the heart beating.

We had the amazing guy sonographer who did a big scan with Mary Grace, and who did the amnio scan with her too.  He is just the kindest, most wonderful sonographer possible....I wish that every woman who walked through that clinic could have him as their sonographer.  In fact, I wish they'd screen people to have a compassionate, sensitive and kind-hearted personality, because that is exactly what you need in a high-risk clinic.

So all in all, this was just a WONDERFUL doctor's appointment.  Our anatomy scan is scheduled for November 8th with the clinic, but my own OB might prefer to do it in his office, and if I can get in sooner at my OB, then I will!

Here are some 3-D pics from the scan today!  These are always tricky to pic baby has arm up alongside his/her head.  Second pic turned to the side; you can see his/her ear bud.

(Below):  Arm up beside head again, and other arm rubbing eye?
Very bottom pic:  Turning away!  How uncooperative ;)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Time for an update! How 'bout a belly shot?

5 Weeks

11 Weeks

So I'm getting a little "thicker" but not really a "bump" yet.  I cannot fit into any of my old pants or shorts I'm wearing as many elastic-waist skirts as I can.  (I only have one pair of maternity not want to go and spend the money on more since we should be getting into cooler weather soon, right?)  That's what I'm praying has been blazing here in NC.  

I had my progesterone levels drawn today and based on what they are, I think we will be stopping the PIO shots after my next 2 doses.  That was the impression I had gotten from Dr. C (NaPro).  So I am awaiting the results...and a little nervous about stopping them, I have to admit.  My level at 8weeks 3days was 41.5.

I am having a bit of a problem that I had during weeks 13ish-16ish with Mary Grace's pregnancy....and that is my stubbornly tilted uterus (retroverted) refuses to right itself and starts pressing on my areas around my bladder causing me to be unable to relieve myself....uh yeah, it's as frightening as it sounds especially when you have a full bladder.   During Mary Grace's pregnancy I had to resort to self-cathing (umm....just as bad as it sounds!)....but when I started having that feeling this pregnancy I scoured the internet looking for an alternative.  Luckily there is a stretch/exercise/position that I am able to do that temporarily rights my uterus so that I can urinate....lovely, huh?  I am so thankful we have not had to go the other route, and praying that my uterus will find it's rightful, righted home soon.  This is really only happening at my sleep position must be contributing to the uterus flopping back the wrong way??  Just guessing here...

Nausea has been less, but still here and there....resulting in lots of food aversions.  Oh and I didn't even know it could be possible to have these this early, but I swear I've already been having some Braxton Hicks contractions...about 1 or 2 a day for the last 3 days.  Really surprised me and hopefully it is not something to be concerned about even though it seems super early for those.

My next appointment is on Monday.  We are having another look at the cyst and I guess this will decide whether we schedule surgery or whether there is no need at this time.  And immediately after that is our NT scan;  yay!  Another peek at Baby H! 

I have been so bad about following blogs lately, and obviously about updating my own!  These last three weeks have also started the beginning of homeschooling Isabel, so between the nausea and schooling and oh the rest of everyday life, I've just fallen behind!  ;)

Friday, September 3, 2010

I Saw Baby Move!!!

This morning (9 weeks 5 days) I had my first official prenatal appointment at my regular OBGYN office. 

Doctor did an abdominal ultrasound for the first time this pregnancy and we saw baby lying really still (got a little nervous for a moment) in my womb with the heartbeat flickering away (can breathe again, baby is alive!).  Doctor asked if I saw the heartbeat movement and when I replied, "Yes", I guess the movement of my speaking startled baby and it threw out it's arms and legs and started wiggling all around!!! 

It was just AMAZING!!!!!!!  There's something about each passing appointment and ultrasound that makes your pregnancy more real each time.  From seeing a spot on the screen which is your baby, to seeing the flicker of the heartbeat, to seeing movement! just melted my heart today with love and relief and joy to see that little baby dance around. 

God has been so good to give me these weeks so far with Baby Holmes and for all these little blessings of extra ultrasounds and special care to make sure baby is doing well!  I just feel so blessed today!!!   What a wonderful feeling!

Amazing too is the fact that I haven't gained any weight since my OB visit at about 6 1/2 weeks....not sure how that can be possible since my pants no longer button!   Since I go back to the specialist about my ovary on September 20th, my regular OB doesn't want to see me for another 6 weeks, so October 15th.  I'll be almost 16 weeks then....I can't believe it! 

And something I don't say nearly enough is Thank You for all the prayers for this pregnancy!  I feel so blessed every day to know that people are praying for our family and for this little baby to make it!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

So what happened on our Marriage Encounter weekend?

So I signed DH and I up for an ME weekend as our anniversary gift to ourselves back in July.  All of this was done electronically, and I even got a receipt!  Well 3 days before the weekend was supposed to start I had not been contacted by anyone and was starting to wonder!  So I contacted the local ME people and they did not have us on the list!!!  I emailed them my "receipt" and they were as shocked as I was.  Luckily another couple had just canceled and we were moved to the top of the 9 couple waiting list.  So we were still "in".

So we got to the weekend and I have to say that alot of it sounded very familiar, because DH and I are involved with Catholic Engaged Encounter and this had alot of similarities.  I was a little unsure of how much we would "learn" on the weekend.  But we both kept an open mind and really started to enjoy ourselves!

And then the miracles started happening....okay maybe "miracle" is too strong of a word.  But we had some really amazing things happen that God most definitely had a hand in!

First, at dinner we met this lovely couple and started discussing my pregnancy and how it was a little difficult because we felt very fearful of what might happen having already lost 4 babies.  She understood as she had experienced infertility herself...and then she told me that she had gone through several surgeries with Dr. Hilgers from Omaha.  I ABOUT choked on my food!  WHAT?!?!  You have worked with Dr. H???  (So I've read lots of people's stories about using NaPro and working with Dr. H but I've never met anyone in real life yet, and to find her at my ME weekend??)  And sure enough, she is one of his first research fact, she's one of the women from:  In Their Own Words:  Women Healed !!!!!!!!!   I don't think I really knew what to say.  I was just awestruck that God would have put us together...first at a retreat that we almost missed attending due to technical glitches, and second that out of 35 couples, He put us together at dinner (we had assigned seating at every meal, but did not get to sit with every couple). 

So the second part is that Rob and I were able to talk about our fears about this pregnancy, and to release some of the pain we have held onto since losing Mary Grace and the other babies.  I guess there were some parts of our grief that we held separately; we had never shared with each other.  And this weekend allowed for a huge release of those feelings, and an ability to better understand where the other stood as far as how we were approaching this new pregnancy emotionally.  I don't know how to better explain it, but it was HUGE for us.

Third, we asked the priest for a special blessing over this pregnancy.  He told us to meet him in his hotel room after one of the sessions, and we came in and sat down and gave him some background information...our fertility history if you will.  Then he completely surprised me with the following 3 questions:
1.  Do you blame yourself for these losses?
2.  Do you feel like you've let your husband down?
3.  Do you feel like he'd have been better off marrying someone else?
I knew the answers to these questions immediately, but had never spoken them out loud or talked them out with Robert.  My answers were yes, yes and that order. 

He asked Rob some questions and then asked if he could pray over us.  He put one hand on both mine and Rob's head and began to pray back and forth between english and speaking in tongues.  This went on for several minutes and Rob later told me that he experienced a deep feeling of instant peace.  And after he was done praying he said he had a vision of Rob and I very old sitting around a breakfast table with many grandchildren all around. 

It was really beautiful.  And I think it was just what we needed to be able to move forward through this pregnancy in hope, rather than just moving forward in fear.  So that was our weekend!  God really put it all together for us, don't you think? ;)  I would definitely recommend an ME weekend to anyone who already has a good marriage and is looking to make it better.  They have them for different denominations as well, so it is definitely an option for many people!   Check out Worldwide Marriage Encounter for more information.

Friday, August 27, 2010

3rd ultrasound update: 8 1/2 weeks

So today I had my 3rd ultrasound with the maternal fetal medicine specialist.  This time as the sonographer was doing the ultrasound, Dr. G came in during the ultrasound to take a closer look. 

Let's start with the good news!  Baby Holmes is growing just perfectly in my womb and looks great!!!  I was so thankful to again have a live baby with the heartbeat ticking away at 178bpm (high, don't you think??).  I asked Dr. G about the "low fluid around the baby" that he had commented on at the last visit and he miscommunicated with me....there had never been low amniotic fluid....he had been talking about fluid elsewhere.  So that is also a huge relief, because last night I googl.ed "low amniotoic fluid in first trimester" and it was NOT good news....thus I was completely fearful of what the ultrasound findings regarding Baby Holmes would be today.  Needless worrying!  Thank you God that this little baby is growing just right!!!  Our daily prayers are being answered!!!

So Dr. G and the sonographer are looking out at my left ovary again and really spent alot of time analyzing what was going on.  In the end, it looks like I have a 5cm "cyst" or "tumor" on my left ovary.  Dr. G said that normally when they find a mass 5-6cm, they remove it and biopsy it.  However, since I am in my first trimester, there is a higher risk of miscarriage when surgery is done at this time.  I told Dr. G that I was not going to take ANY risks with this baby.  So he has decided that we will give it another 3-4 weeks and do another ultrasound then and decide what to do.  At that point, if the mass/cyst has grown, then he will recommend that it should be removed.  Or if it is the same or diminished, they might just watch it throughout my pregnancy and wait until I have delivered to remove it. 

This news was a little surprising. I guess I was most shocked by the size!  I didn't realize it was that size.  But I am still really not that concerned about it.  It was only when I was checking out after the appointment that the thought crossed my mind, "Grandma S. died of ovarian cancer".  But I'm just not "going there" in my head.  What I'm worried about is making sure that Baby Holmes is doing well, and today I got the proof from that ultrasound that he or she is doing just fine!  Praise God!

My next (regular prenatal) appointment is next Friday, September 3rd; so another sweet look at our baby to look forward to!! :)

And I promise to update on our marriage encounter weekend!  God was sooooo lining that weekend up for us!  It's too cool not to share!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Down and out!

That's how I've been feeling this week.  Absolutely down and out from morning sickness.  Except my morning sickness is all-day-long sickness.  Luckily I have not been throwing up much...but the non-stop extreme queasy feeling has just been awful. 

So Friday I finally conceded and called my OB for an anti-nausea prescription.  Got it within 2 hours and took 1/2 a pill (directions say 1/2 to 1 pill every six hours!)....well the half pill knocked me out within 45 minutes.  Luckily I took it right before naptime; so made it upstairs and napped with Isabel...but when I woke up it was like a bad hangover.  So I'm trying 1/4 of a pill next....I'll report back when I wake up ;)

Nausea aside........our MFM (maternal fetal medicine) ultrasound appointment last Monday went well.  We got to see baby again, alive and well with an even stronger heartbeat!  This time I brought Isabel and Rob with me, so it made it a little more real for our entire family to witness it together.  Doc still noticed *something* over near my left ovary/tube and has now put me on pelvic rest for the next 2 weeks.  No intercourse, no heavy lifting, no gym (ha...wasn't going to the gym anyway)!  It has me just a little more concerned this time since he put me on pelvic rest, but I'm still not very worried about it.  Have to go back on 8/27 to take another peek.  And quite honestly, the more ultrasounds that I can get to make sure the little one is still alive in my womb, the better!

Other things we've been dealing with are the sweet, innocent prayers of dear daughter, Isabel.  "Dear God, please let the baby in mommy's tummy grow big and strong and be born alive and come home to live with us."  The first time she prayed for the baby to live, I almost lost it.  A 4 year old shouldn't have to pray for that.  She shouldn't have to know at such a tender age that some babies (in our case, most babies) don't make it to be born alive into the world. 

However, it's the prayer that our whole family has been praying since we found out we were pregnant.  Please God, let your creation, this precious little baby, LIVE!  At this point, I fear my anger toward God if He decides to take this baby too.  Not because I would not be able to handle it on my own...but because of the pain it would cause me if Isabel lost another sibling.  How would she react to another loss, older as she is this time?  What if she loses faith in God because He keeps taking something so precious to our family time and time again?  I don't dwell on this.  I try not to even go there.  But in private I beg God not to take this baby for Isabel's sake.  

In other news our marriage encounter weekend was just what we needed, and I can't wait to share some AMAZING ways in which God was working while we were there!  But I'll save that for another post! 

For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being.  Job 12:10

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I've Been Praying For................

My Heart Exults during the summer prayer buddies session!  I have been so honored to pray for her!!!  Her blog has truly blessed my heart!

I had not known of her blog before getting matched as her prayer buddy, so as soon as I got my assignment, I raced over and read through her entire blog!  And I was just so overwhelmed by the match!

Our wedding anniversaries are just a week apart (not the year, but the day).

We have the same cat....okay well I thought they were sort of similar looking ;)

            ( HER CAT )                                                                

  ( MY CAT )

We both hate Las Vegas!....okay well I haven't really ever been there and hate is a strong word, but I don't think that I would enjoy it.  I've just never had an interest in going.

She went to see Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck on tour...DH and I watch Glenn Beck's our daily DVR date every night.

I was just so excited to begin praying for her!  On every new post I would want to comment, but I couldn't even add myself as a follower because I thought she would suspect I was her prayer buddy!  So I've been secretly reading, leaving comments in my head (yeah, I know that was no help), and secretly storming heaven for you, prayer buddy!! 

She and her husband are just the cutest couple!  And she got to take an amazing pilgrimage to the Holy Land at the very beginning of the summer prayer buddy session!   If you have not been there, please head on over and check out her blog!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Results of Prayer.....

So my prayer buddy must have been seriously storming heaven for me this last month.






SHE PRAYED ME PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

July 25th we got back home from our Florida vacation and AF was due that day.  Well as soon as I got home I ran upstairs and took an IC (internet cheapie test) and it came back positive under a minute!  I took another one immediately because I thought the first one must be a joke.  And positive again!  No squinting needed!!

Start shaking....

Tears well up.....

Take the tests downstairs and show Rob.

He is in disbelief too.  I send him out for the real deal tests:  FRERs  (First Response Early Response).  That comes back with an instantly decent line! 

Start my progression pics and take tests every morning until I am out of peesticks.  It's actually progressing!!! Not a chemical pregnancy!  One bad thing that could happen that I can scratch off my list!!!  Hooray!

Call my NaPro doc and speak with a nurse.  Doc calls me back and has no idea who I am....have to explain I am her NaPro patient 3 hours away and she immediately calls in Progesterone in Oil to a local compounding pharmacy.  Have my blood drawn to check progesterone levels only (no betas) before starting the PIO shots.
2ml of PIO 2x/week is what I'm getting for now.

Get this:  Conception date was JULY11th!!!  Yes, our wedding anniversary AND Mary Grace's due date!  I think our little girl in heaven was doing some praying too, what do you think?  And I also asked St. Benedict to intercede for us too on July 11th!!!  Amazing!!  Thanks St. B!!

That puts my due date around April 3-5, 2011!!!  Another April baby like Isabel, God-willing!

How am I feeling??  Initially cautious until I saw my test lines really progressing.  But now I am ecstatic!!!  I walked into the guest bedroom and was mentally rearranging furniture at 4 weeks 4 days!!

Do I still wonder and worry at every slight twinge?  Yes.  But I am trying to turn all of that over to God.  I praise Him daily for the miracle of this new little life growing inside me again....for as long as He allows me to have this baby, I am thankful. 

And I am so very thankful to you, prayer buddy!  I absolutely think your prayers for me were what tipped God's hand to bless me!!!!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!  And to everyone of you who has lifted me up to the throne of heaven for another baby, THANK YOU!!! 

Today I had an early ultrasound to confirm that the baby is in the right spot, and sure enough there it was snuggled right into my womb where it should be, and we even saw a heartbeat!!

No pregnancy of mine (except the first) has been without drama however.  On Friday I had a gush of bright red blood, some light spotting and then nothing since.  OB saw my subchorionic hemmorhage today on ultrasound which should not pose any was just scary.   Then my OB checks my right and left sides around my ovaries and tubes and sees *something* on my left side.  He prints me out a picture and gets me in to a specialty clinic for a high resolution ultrasound (yes, all this morning) and the doc there isn't sure what it is either.  He thinks maybe a ruptured cyst has left some old blood?  I have to go back in on Monday for a repeat scan at the specialty clinic to make sure the *something* hasn't developed a heartbeat.

They joked that it probably is in fact a heterotopic pregnancy (one in the womb, one outside the womb) because I have had so many against-the-odds bad things happen in pregnancy.  But I feel very confident that it will turn out to be just fine. 

This is baby #6 and I am so in love with it already!!! And soooooo happy that my husband allowed me to share the news this early!!! 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Praising God for all kinds of blessings!

My first praise is that our DD (dear daughter) Isabel, has finally been cleared by UNC Children's Hospital not to be a patient of theirs anymore!!!   Isabel has been labeled Failure to Thrive since around about a year old when she started falling off the growth charts...and when I say "fall off" I mean she was in the negative percentiles for a long time.  So after many tests, lots of stress, lots of prayer, lots of trusting God, different doctors appointments, blood draws, invasive procedures, medicines, food supplements, and high calorie meals....and she is finally at an acceptable weight, height and most importantly continuing along on her growth curve in a nice upward trend and out of the negatives!!!  We have one more appointment set, but as long as Iz continues to do well then our doc said we could just call in and tell her and not even come in again!!  Amazing!  Thank you God!

Second praise goes out to my mom (who's been visiting here this week) and my husband who attended Latin Mass with me last Sunday!!!  This was my first ever Latin Mass and I could have never gone on my own.  I am one of those I-like-to-do-new-things-with-other-people kind of people :)  It was really interesting...there were parts that I really enjoyed and parts were I just felt completely lost and wondered how long I would be able to remain on my knees before passing out.  What I really enjoyed was the reverence and holiness of the priest and also the congregation....I wish I could take that reverence and holiness and sprinkle it in my own church.  Oh that is truly what every Mass should be like....people would understand that we are in the presence of Jesus! 

Third praise is for the great friends that I have!  I am just so blessed to have such beautiful friends who are true friends in every sense of the word!  Thank you God! 

Fourth praise is that I ovulated this cycle!!!  That stupid Ferti.laid that ruined me for 2 whole cycles has unleashed it's evil curse over me and allowed me to ovulate once again just like clockwork.  I seriously thought I had really messed myself up after I took it and realized that it caused me to not ovulate... yeah, good job Angela, taking the Anti-ovulation Pill.  *rolls eyes*

Fifth praise is that DH comes home tonight after working in Charleston all week!  He travels here and there for work, but rarely for an entire week.  I've missed him alot this week and can't wait to see him. :)

Sixth praise is that DD, myself and my mom got to go to Adoration together yesterday morning and it was such a peaceful way to begin our day and lift up some special people (including my own prayer buddy!) in prayer before Jesus!  I don't know about any of you, but when I go to Adoration and I'm really deep into my prayer the rest of the room takes on this light-filled, golden glow.  I keep thinking it's some sort of trick my eyes are playing on me, but it has happened ever since I attended a healing Mass...that the entire room glows while I pray at Adoration.   Not sure what that means other than maybe I need to have my eyes checked, but praising God anyway for the peaceful time with Him yesterday.

Oh and Prayer Buddy!  I do have a special prayer request this week!  Would you please pray specifically that everything would be in the right place??  Doesn't make sense yet, but I'll fill you in!  Thank you so much!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm baaaack!!!

Back from my blogging vacation and my real-life vacation too! 

It's so hard to jump back into the swing of every day life after relaxing and having so much fun! 

Here are a few sneak peaks from our trip:

We had breakfast with a duck!

Glorious sunsets on the beach!

Caught lots of lizards!

Were attacked by parakeets  (hahah...just kidding)!

Saw lots of live alligators...this one was only subdued by Isabel's fingers in it's eyes.

We played with a beautiful baby boy!!  
(Look at Isabel's face!  Do you think she's ready to be a big sister already??)

We ate, played, swam, lounged, relaxed, visited with great friends and just thoroughly enjoyed our time together as a family!  It was lovely.

And Prayer Buddy.....I just have to say that whatever prayers you've been saying, they are working miracles in my life over here!  Can't wait to fill you in!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blogging Vacation! **Updated with some test results**

I am taking a short blogging don't worry!  I'm still alive!  :)

And never fear, Prayer Buddy!  Because I will not be taking a vacation from my prayers for you!!

Two things that I'll leave you with....first is a quote from Fr. Corapi that I've been really thinking about this week:

"Every one of us is called to take our place on the battle line.  Every one of us has a unique, precious, unrepeatable role to play.  To the degree that you correspond to that grace, souls will be saved.  To the degree that you fail to correspond to that grace, souls will be lost."  Fr. John Corapi

And the second is this scripture from Colossians:

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.  Col. 1:9-12

**Update**   NaPro doc called with SA results and I need some help/advice.  Here are my notes:

Count is great at 134 million. 

Two things were "off": 
1.  Morphology (percentage that are normal) = 14% and that is "relatively low"
2.  PH = high = infection

Her recommendation was for DH to see a urologist locally and "sometimes they tell you to supplement with Proxeed to improve morphology."

Anyone know anything about Proxeed?  Or what have your DHs done to improve sperm morphology?  Also the infection thing is kind of weird too, because we were both on antibiotics in December/January per my regular OBGYN to try to eliminate any possible infections.  I mean I guess they can come back (duh).

Would love ALL comments on this!  Dr. C did say "morphology of 14% shouldn't exclude as far as absolute infertility" (which I took to mean that there was probably still something else going that wasn't our only problem).

Thank you!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

7 Year Wedding Anniversary!

Sunday July 11th, 2010 marks 7 years of marriage for Rob and I!

It would also mark Mary Grace's one year birthday; had she joined our life here on earth.  Last year on this anniversary I was in a completely different state of mind.  I was still very focused on the "what if she had lived" scenario.  I don't think you ever completely move on from that place.  It just occurs less often now; that my mind pauses to imagine her as a healthy one year old...possibly taking first steps...grinning, giggling, following Isabel around like a relentless little puppy.  Sometimes it's like a sweet almost-memory for real that I can almost remember it happening.  Of course, that is my own fantasy land.  She wouldn't have been healthy even if she could have lived.  What is reality is that she is healthy and healed in heaven...and God-willing, I will meet her there one day.

This year I feel much more able to celebrate my wedding anniversary!  I was still caught in the unwillingness of allowing myself to want to be happy...everything was still too fresh last year.  But this year I've even been anticipating the date with great joy and very few of the conflicting feelings I had last year.

I was recently sharing my story about Mary Grace and our other failed pregnancies with a lady who had lost a baby right after birth.  She looked at me at one point and said, "You know you are a statistic now; 50% of couples who have lost a child end up divorcing."

I was immediately flustered, I was so in shock!  Not in shock that some marriages end in divorce after they lose a child...I can totally understand that.  Maybe a little shocked at the percentage she gave.  But mostly because I was thinking, "Oh you have no and Rob?  There is not an inkling of a possibility of us ever divorcing!  If only you knew us!"  I don't mean to sound boastful or arrogant, but it's true!  We are that solid in our marriage and let me tell you, we do work at it.  Marriage takes alot of hard work...of give and take...of communication (and boy have we had some issues with the last one lately) ;)  Not to say that we don't have work still to be done!  There is always room for improvement and I know for sure that I could do a whole heck of a lot of improving.  But nothing would ever break apart the sacrament and vocation with which we have committed ourselves to in front of God and our friends and family!

Always and Forever.

That is our motto.  And to keep us strong in our love for each other, we love God first.  We worship together at Mass.  We serve together with Catholic Engaged Encounter.  We go to confession as a family.  We take time to thank God for our blessings and ask Him to protect what He has united.  Our relationship with God is a vital part of what keeps our marriage together!

And something that I'm really excited about is the anniversary present we are giving ourselves!
A second honeymoon, you ask?
A new car?
No!  Although those things are lovely we decided on a marriage encounter weekend!! 

I can't wait!  I am so excited!  I have been wanting to go on one of these weekends since before I was pregnant with Mary Grace.  I had heard about how exceptional the experience was and wanted to take advantage of a chance to work at our own relationship.  And now we get to go to one in August! 

 So Happy Anniversary my Love!  I'm so grateful to you for wanting our marriage to be successful till death do us part.  We may have had our share of hardship in the past and there may be more to come, but our relationship is so much stronger because of it, and most importantly we have grown in our love for and faithfulness to God.  Thank you for loving me the way you do and seeing the good in me.  You are certainly my very best friend!  I love you!
Always and Forever, 

 Awwww....we were so young!!! :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Regular OB meets NaProTechnology

Called up my regular OB today, Dr. S. to see if they could perform my Follicle ultrasound study and the different lab work that NaPro doc (Dr. C) wants done.

Receptionist has no clue if they can do it...."we have an ultrasound machine."   (Yes, I'm well aware of that; it's a Level II...that's how we found out about Mary Grace.)  I say nothing.  She patches me through to the nurse answering machine.

I leave a very detailed message including every type of blood test listed on my order sheet.

Nurse calls back and asks why I am seeing a doctor that is 3 hours away.  I ask if she's ever heard of NaPro Technology.  She hasn't.  I explain that Dr. C is a specialist in this area of fertility care and that is why.  Nurse wants Dr. S to call me back and speak with me personally.

2 hours later phone goes straight to voicemail!?  It is Dr. S.  I listen to his message and call him back.

He answers immediately and wants me to explain what is going on.  I tell him that I'm seeing a new OB who specializes in NaPro...ask him if he's ever heard of it.  He has not.

He immediately starts in on me asking why my new doc thinks it's necessary to do a follicle study considering my history.  Especially, he adds, when there is no research to back up doing a follicle study or assessing hormonal events throughout my cycle. 

What??  I'm thinking in my head about the 30+ years of research that NaPro is based on, but I can't really interject anything because he is continuing on in a diatribe about me being better off using techniques that insurance will cover that have had many years of research, and that he wants to make sure that I'm not having tests done unnecessarily, and why don't you just go here (a fertility clinic) because they helped him 10 years ago, and it's going to get really expensive really fast if your insurance doesn't cover this.  Well he knows darn well that we won't go certain routes because we've had that discussion in his office many times before.

He must have asked me 8-10 different times (I thought at one point about starting a tally to keep track) if I was sure I wanted to continue with this other doctor and aren't I sure I wouldn't rather start with injectible meds and give that a try first? 

Whew!  To say I was flustered and upset at the onslaught is understating it!  About the only thing I was able to affirm several times was that NaPro was the route that DH and I were now pursuing at this time and I trusted the judgement of my NaPro doc about which tests she thought we should undergo. 

Now...I don't want you to misunderstand.  I believe my OB (Dr. S) absolutely said all these things believing that he has my best interests in mind.  I think he honestly believes that I am about to get "taken" by some quack doctor who is going to take advantage of my infertile position and run all kinds of useless and expensive tests on me just to make a dime.  So I'm not mad at the way he reacted when I told him about new doc.

I am however, frustrated by the fact that he has never heard of NaPro and therefore knows nothing of what it might be able to do for me!  I pointed him to and I have to say that I am hopeful about what he might think once he looks into it....and oh boy, he will!  After my ectopic pregnancy we got into a discussion about the ethics of it all and once I explained my views as a Catholic (he is Jewish, I believe), he went and did his own research about what Catholics believe on this issue because he wanted to have an informed opinion to be able to better serve people like me.  Which I thought was really awesome! 

I just know he will come away with some insight after reading that website and getting linked to Pope Paul VI Institute's website!  So I am asking you to say a quick prayer for him right now!  And prayer buddy if you are reading this, please say a prayer for him that his heart would be open to learning about this technology!

All we can do is tell others, right?  God has to do the rest.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Delicious Dish Spotlight!

Okay I have to point the finger (in a good way) at Karen over at Hope-Pray-Trust!  She gave the recipe for Chocolate Stout Cake see: The Best Chocolate Cake EVER! and DH made it for me on Sunday and it was spectacular

We celebrated the Fourth of July with his side of the family and also had a late birthday celebration for me (which is why I didn't make the cake myself; can't make your own birthday cake, right?)  So DH volunteered and did an excellent job!  The only slight mishap was trying to remove the cake from the bundt pan before it totally there was a bit stuck inside the pan, resulting in a slightly misshapen cake...but it certainly did not take away from the taste! 

(DH with his cake...pic is taken outside because my camera wouldn't cooperate with the lighting inside, however you still cannot see the cake since it is dark and on my black plate!  At least DH and DD look cute!)

(Picture really just does not do it justice....just make it and taste it!  Your mouth will thank you!)

This cake was so awesome....I don't like overly super-sweet stuff and this was just perfect! 

Thanks Karen for posting that recipe, now everyone get over there and print it out!  It is definitely one for the recipe box!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

So excited about Prayer Buddies!!

Can you hear me giggling with excitement over here?  Well believe me, I am!

I am so excited to get to participate in Summer Prayer Buddies this time around...this is my first time joining in since I just discovered the wide world of Catholic infertile bloggers during Lent!

I think it will be very cool to focus a special part of my prayer time on this particular person to whom I've been assigned.  I do want people to know that there are lots (40 is lots to me!) of people who read my blog.  Most of you, I don't even know!  There are Catholics, Protestants, non-believers too who have taken the time to follow Mary Grace's story.  I have always spent my time praying for all of you!  I do not discriminate in my prayers.  I pray for all couples who are experiencing infertility or pregnancy loss.  I pray for people who have not experienced any of this.  I pray for those who have gone on to get pregnant; that their pregnancies would be successful and their children a tremendous blessing to them!  I lift you up at Communion, I offer up little sacrifices here and there throughout my day for you...If you read my blog, know that I have prayed, am praying and will continue to pray for you!  I pray for readers past, present and whatever situation you are in.

Do you know why you are special to me??  Because some way or another, God brought you to this blog!  God wanted you to be a part of Mary Grace's story, and that touches a mother's heart in a simple but deep way.

I am Catholic and my viewpoint is that of a Catholic!  Being a Catholic Christian shapes how I see and interact in the world.  I will not apologize for that.  There are many who will disagree with my viewpoint!  That is okay.  I am still praying for you regardless of the issues upon which we disagree.

With that being said, I have added a "Welcome!  I'm a Catholic!" disclaimer to my page (hey, just in case you didn't already know).  I think free speech is important on my blog as well as in the comment section; however I do ask that we be respectful of everyone.

Lord, I ask that You send Your Spirit in a special way to those who read this blog.  Please bless us our hearts and help us be conscious of the words we speak/type that they may be charitable and full of love.  Please open our hearts to both give and receive Your love in every situation; even those which seem most difficult to us at the time.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

There I day out of confession.

There I day out of confession, walking into Mass this morning with my daughter on one hand and my husband on the other, a smile on my face and then I see them...the couple that has to be about our age that sit all the way across our stadium style sanctuary (ie., I've never gotten to meet them because they jet after Mass)... so I have no idea who these people are, but they have a little boy around Isabel's age, and then another little boy who must be under a year.  I've watched them Sunday after Sunday from across the sanctuary as their family has grown...I was always a little envious when she got pregnant with her second.  And as we are walking across the parking lot, this husband is letting the wife out at the front of the church so she can take in her two boys and she turns to the side as she gets out, and lo and behold if she is not 8 months pregnant with her third baby! 

Oh I just wanted to crumple into the pavement!  I even said something out loud like, "you have got to be kidding me, Lord!"....and then of course I immediately regretted even having thoughts like this!!  Why should I be overcome in this wave of envy??  Because that is the situation I think I should be in?? 

I knelt down to pray before Mass began and asked for forgiveness for feeling this way.  And then this thought just came to me that I am right where God wants me. 

I am right where God wants me.  For some reason He has chosen this path for me.  And whatever that path is, as long as I am striving to know and do His will, that is where God wants me.

I felt a few minutes of peace and tried to keep my eyes from wandering past the altar to where they sit.  It's not that I felt resentment towards these people!  Not at all!  In fact, they look like a great, faithful young couple with a beautiful family that I'd like to get to know!  It's just that the "picture" of their family is where I thought I would be...where I thought God would want me.

Fast-forward to homily time and we have a new priest this Sunday who is filling in while one of our regular priests is away for the summer; I was eager to hear how he preached and what he would have to say.

Here are the main point notes that I took (yes, I am one of those people who pulls out a pad of paper and tries to take discreet notes during the homily sometimes!):

*Close companionship with Jesus may require we walk the lonely walk to Golgotha.

Woah Lord, ummm...yeah, it does feel pretty lonely being the only couple in my group of friends who is going through difficulty conceiving.

*Yes Lord, I understand.  I know there's a cost involved and come what may I still want to follow You.

You're right, Lord.  There is a cost involved.  Not just the suffering and isolation of this secondary infertility and losing our babies, but the cost that comes from finding moral ways to regain my fertility; moral ways to have a baby while still following You.  (By this I mean the cost of friends or family who become distanced because they just don't understand why it is not an option for me to go out and use certain fertility treatments to have a them it seems so simple:  just go do IVF and quit complaining about not having a baby; get on with your life.  This is a "cost" to me...that the beautiful truth of following the teachings of the Catholic church is not recognized as such). 

*The cost then dearly and radically changed their lives forever to a wholehearted commitment to Jesus Christ.

For me, the cost of secondary infertility/losing babies has definitely changed my life forever.  The thought of following church teaching on fertility treatments is radical to some people.  The fact that losing babies has made my desire for more children increase to what the Lord will allow me to have, may also be radical to some people.    Do I have a wholehearted commitment to Jesus Christ?  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Why would I continue to follow on this difficult path if not for love of Jesus?

Sure I stumble, often!  The path is difficult, stony, sometimes uphill!  But I am headed somewhere.  I am traveling through this earth to heaven...that is my destination!  And no journey is without it's snares and pitfalls. 

But I continue on in the midst of the "cost":  sometimes ridicule, insult, insensitivity, hurt feelings, misunderstanding...I continue on for love of Jesus.  I gather my strength from the sacraments and prayers and the Bible, from friends and family who give their support.

It takes courage.  It takes reflection.  It takes humility to know when you've taken the wrong step.  But for the love of Jesus I can continue on through it all.

Bring it!