Friday, February 28, 2014

Going Under: Taking care of the Mole

My ultrasound yesterday showed that there was still molar tissue left in my uterus. Small, like the size of a walnut I was told, but still there. It needed to come out so I was scheduled for a D&C this morning. The good news is that my urine pregnancy test already came back negative and my blood work reported a Beta Hcg of 87. These numbers are good. Finally, something good to report! This most likely means that the tissue didn't have a very good blood supply. However, it did not change the fact that the only way to get the walnut-size-mole out was with surgery.

So Patrick and I left for the hospital around 6:00am this morning. Patrick's dad came to the house to watch Owen for us. We arrived around 6:30, I rolled to the operating room at about 7:30, and I was heading home a little after 9:30. It was quick. I was a little nervous about having to be put to sleep under general anesthesia but I really felt like it was the best option available. I'm happy with my decision. I feel like my recovery was way faster because of it.

I don't really remember much after I got to the OR. I remember talking with anesthesia briefly, my doctor standing on one side with her hand on my arm, and my friend, Cindy, standing on the other side of me (She said she would stay with me until I was asleep). The anesthesiologist asked me to take deep breaths "all the way to my toes" as he placed a mask over my nose and mouth. I remember laughing and then apologizing that I was laughing at him. What was this, yoga class? I think I had everyone else cracking a smile too. The next thing I remember is the breathing tube coming out. I only remember gagging. Then peoples hands were suddenly moving me to a stretcher. I remember tears. I wasn't hurting or even sad. They were just coming. I was embarrassed so I think I pulled the sheet over my head. Then I remember hearing Patrick and opening my eyes to see him standing next to me in recovery. I asked, "Was I crying?" My nurse and Patrick told me I was "a little weepy", but they assured me it wasn't bad.

We stopped to eat breakfast at The Original Pancake House on the way home. I was groggy. Coffee, eggs, bacon, and pancakes sounded so good. When we got home I was still a little groggy. Owen was taking his first nap so I took a nap as well. Now I feel really normal. Patrick and Owen are taking afternoon naps so I figured I'd write what I hope is one of the last installments of the miscarriage and molar pregnancy posts. 

At this point, I'm waiting to see what my hcg level does. My doctor is hopeful that I will reach zero by next week. We will see. Once I reach zero, it will be monthly blood draws for sixth months. At that point I am considered "clear" of this molar tissue. Let's pray I get to zero and stay there!

Thanks for reading, for praying, for sending letters, food, and texts. I'm so thankful for the support I've experienced in the last few weeks.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Spring Break Plans

We booked ourselves a quick spring break trip to Savannah, GA last night. It's going to be our first trip without Owen. I can't believe it's taken us this long. We've both left Owen at different times. He has spent several nights away from us before but it's never been so that both of us could spend time together. It's always been so we could go our separate ways (usually me to work and Patrick on a youth trip).

Cozumel (January 2012)
I feel like we needed this trip back in January for our sixth anniversary and now, after the events from the past couple of weeks, I think we need it even more. I'm hoping that it will be a good time of relaxation, reconnection, and a little adventure thrown in. We plan to eat good food and pamper ourselves a little bit. I'm pretty certain that the last time we went on vacation together was for our anniversary over two years ago. 

Disney World (January 2011)
I've been to Savannah several times. Once when I was in seventh grade for a school trip and then again with my family when I was in high school. I'm slowly gathering information on things to do and places to eat. If anyone reading has any recommendations, please let me know.

I'm guessing this will be a good in between in terms of how active we are compared to our last two trips we've been on. Disney and Universal was go, go, go. Our cruise to Mexico was pretty relaxing. We had one day of exploring but we lounged around on the ship the rest of the time. While in Savannah, I'd love to take some time to tour the city. However, I'm thinking a trip to a spa would be great too. Hoping to strike a nice balance here. We will have three full days to fill with activities.(!) I'm pretty excited.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Diagnosis

Last Thursday afternoon (February 20th, 2014), I received a phone call from my doctor. I immediately felt cold when I realized who was on the other end of the line. Something was wrong. Normally the nurse calls. "Your pathology report came back and you had a partial mole," were some of the first words out of her mouth. I almost couldn't believe it. As if the miscarriage wasn't enough to deal with. Her words were like a punch to the gut. I listened as she explained that I would need an ultrasound prior to my follow-up appointment next Thursday and that if there is anything left (like tissue) in my uterus then I will need a D&C next Friday. She also reminded me that this meant weekly blood draws for a while until my hcg level drops to zero. Plus, I will be monitored for the next 6-12 months once my levels drop. Being a labor and delivery nurse helped me absorb this information quickly. I was thankful for that. However, nothing prepares you to hear this type of news.

Molar pregnancies are just random flukes. They are genetic accidents that occur in about 1 in every 1000 to 1500 pregnancies. Tissue that should have become a fetus instead develops into an abnormal uterine growth (trophoblastic tissue). There are two types of molar pregnancies- complete molar pregnancies and partial molar pregnancies. Complete molar pregnancies occur when an egg with no maternal DNA gets fertilized by a sperm. Obviously, there can never be a baby in that instance. A partial molar pregnancy occurs when an egg is fertilized by two sperm. Because all of the information is there, a baby can develop but it usually has severe chromosomal anomalies and therefore doesn't live very long (as was the case for me). Unfortunately for me and other women who experience partial molar pregnancies, a partial mole can be difficult to detect on ultrasound because they present rather normal.

So what does this mean? Probably nothing. However, some molar pregnancies can lead to gestational trophoblastic disease. Basically, the abnormal placental tissue continues to grow after the miscarriage is thought to be "complete." This is why it is very important to ensure that everything has been expelled from my uterus. For a partial molar pregnancy, about 50 in every 1000 women develop trophoblastic disease. Even more rarely, the trophoblastic tissue can become cancerous. Fortunately, because women receive such careful monitoring, the cancer is caught early and is usually cured with one treatment of chemotherapy.

A molar pregnancy does not mean that I can't get pregnant again. It also doesn't mean that when I get pregnant it will happen again. There is about a 1-2% chance that it could happen a second time. However, because of the recurrence and cancer risk, I am advised not to become pregnant for 6-12 months after my hcg level reaches zero. If I were to become pregnant before the "all clear", I would be putting myself at increased risk for missing a potential problem.

I have had a few days to absorb this information. At first, I was really upset. Patrick walked into the bedroom as I was hanging up the phone with my doctor and I just cried. I didn't know how to tell him. I didn't want what I was saying to be true. I didn't want to tell him that I couldn't offer children to him for a while. I didn't want to tell him that I was carrying around this "disease".

The odd thing is that I had actually discussed molar pregnancy with him a month earlier so he had a vague idea of what I was talking about. About a month prior to finding out about our miscarriage, Patrick had asked me why it was so important that my hcg level get checked and was there really any harm in waiting a while to find out if our pregnancy was a "good" one. I pointed out that there can  be risks involved by not seeking medical care when a miscarriage or problem is suspected. I used molar pregnancy as an example. However, I told him that it was highly unlikely that I had it. I had already had one ultrasound. However, I had almost completely forgotten about partial moles which are hard to detect on ultrasound.

How ironic. It's bizarre that I had a bad feeling about this pregnancy from the start. I knew in my gut that there was a problem. Now I have the diagnosis. I feel somewhat like a sitting duck. I'm going to be waiting to find out what this potentially malignant tissue decides to do inside of me. I feel damaged and unhealthy. I feel helpless and hurt. These have been some of the hardest emotions and feelings to deal with. Thursday night I couldn't sleep. I got up and began cleaning the kitchen. I cried and cried as I scrubbed everything clean. It was my therapy. I couldn't control whether or not I was "clean", but I could scrub the heck out of my kitchen. I cried out to God. I prayed. I cleaned. Sometime around 2:00am I went to bed.

I'm feeling better now that I've had some time. I know that I will be well cared for. I know the risks that I fear are rare. I'm starting to feel okay with this year long "sentence". I'm even starting to get excited about things that I can do with this next year now that baby making is out of the question. Patrick and I are hoping to take a nice vacation (without Owen). I've got some plans in the home renovation department. I've even got plans for Patrick and I to work on our own health. There is a part of me that wants to do everything in my power to be healthy. It's not that we aren't healthy right now, but I figure eating well and exercising more can't hurt.

I'm choosing to focus on the positives. I have more time to spend with just Owen and he is awesome. I have more time to enjoy being a mommy to one sweet baby. There is a lot that can be done in a year and this is going to be a good one. I'm going to continue to fight. I'm going to hold on to the truths of God. I'm hanging on now more than ever to the fact that God wins. I've said it before on this blog. It's so true. It's become my mantra. God wins. 

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will keep you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand."- Isaiah 41:10

Our God is victorious. Regardless of what happens in this life, whatever curve ball gets thrown, we know that God reigns in victory over sin and death. Let us hope and rejoice in that.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Life through my lens

I feel like it's time to take a break from talking about all this sad stuff and focus on some happy things. Here are some moments that have made me happy.

Helping daddy make a fire.
I love it when he puts his hands behind his back.
Happy Valentines Day.
Love him.
Tired baby.
No hands!
Loves reading books.
Playing outside in our PJ's. Don't judge.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My experience with cytotec

Warning: The following post contains detailed information regarding miscarriage. I decided not to hold back but share openly about my experience. I'm giving you the option now to stop reading.

After receiving confirmation that I had miscarried baby #2, I was given options on how I could proceed. The decision was completely mine to make. I could either wait for my body to miscarry naturally, I could take medicine to try and induce the miscarriage, or I could opt for a dilatation and curettage (D&C).

The waiting option was pretty much out the window for me because, in my opinion, I'd already done that. I was 11w6d based on my LMP but carrying a baby that seemed to have passed at 6w0d. Initially, I wanted to go straight to the D&C. I have heard horror stories about cytotec (misoprostol) causing terrible cramping, severe bleeding, and heard that some people go through all that and still end up needing a D&C. Plus, I wasn't sure how I was going to manage cramping and bleeding while taking care of Owen.

I received a phone call Friday (the day after confirming our miscarriage) and the date for my D&C was set for first thing Wednesday (February 19th). I lined up childcare for Owen and was fully prepared to go that route. Then my dad called. We got to talking and he seemed to think that I would handle cytotec well. Because I was already starting to have spotting, he thought that if I took the medicine when I got off work Sunday morning that I could be "done" within 12-24 hours. The idea of avoiding surgery was appealing to me. Plus, Patrick was basically off Sunday afternoon and evening which meant that he would be around to help. I started to think that it would be a good option to at least try. Plus, if it didn't work, I was already scheduled for the surgery. It seemed like a win-win (well, not really given what we're actually talking about but you know what I mean).

Long story short(er). I did it. I took 800mcg of cytotec Sunday morning at 7:45 as I was preparing to leave work. I was bleeding by the time I got home. Maybe I'd get through this rather quickly. I went to bed for a while only to wake up around 1:00pm and discover that I wasn't bleeding anymore. At 1:30pm, I took 600mcg. By 7:30 that night, I was discouraged. However, I went ahead and took another 600mcg dose before heading to bed. I was exhausted from working the two nights prior.

Around 9:00am on Monday I took another 800mcg dose. I had a talk with my dad a little before that and he said that he saw no reason why I couldn't give it another try. Apparently, sometimes it takes a while. Patrick decided to head out and get some work done. I promised him that I'd call if I needed anything but I really didn't think that I would. Then, around 1pm, I began to feel some mild cramping as I was preparing lunch for Owen. The cramping stopped but then I felt a gush. It felt like a lot of blood. I left Owen in his high chair and went to the bathroom. I sent a text to Patrick at 1:19 that said, "Yep. Come home." I thought this was it.

The rest of the afternoon went along rather calmly though. I would be fine for about thirty minutes, experience a gush, run to the bathroom to change my pad, and then I'd be fine again. Sometime around 3:30, I went ahead and took a 400mcg dose. I decreased the dosage because I thought that the heavier bleeding meant that I was close. I even got a call from my doctor's nurse around that time and she scheduled me for an ultrasound for the next morning since we really couldn't be sure if I'd passed everything. I was pretty certain that I was headed for a D&C. I was thinking that maybe my body just doesn't respond to cytotec. Then things made a sudden change.

My phone records show that I called my Dad at 5:31pm. I called him from the bathroom to ask if my bleeding was an acceptable amount or if I should be concerned. I had been sitting there when I realized that I had gone through 4 overnight pads since 1:00. I knew I didn't qualify for the "no more than a pad an hour rule" but I was starting to think I might be bleeding too much. My dad told me that he thought I was probably close. He said that the bleeding usually picks up right before you pass everything. He also said that taking another 400mcg dose might help my body complete the process. However, he ended the conversation by reminding me that sometimes it can get stuck in the cervix. I've actually seen that happen before so I knew what he was talking about. He said that if my bleeding didn't slow down or if it picked up that I should probably get checked out.

I hung up the phone and took another 400mcg dose. I went back to the living room to sit down. Patrick was fixing us dinner. Owen was in his highchair eating. Then I felt it. Blood felt like it was pouring out of me. Without saying a word, I rushed back to our bathroom. The pad I had just put on was soaked. I was officially bleeding like a faucet. There is just no other way to describe it. I called my sister first and asked her to please pack a bag and come over. I told her I was bleeding too much and needed to go to the hospital. My phone records show that I called her at 6:05pm. As soon as I hung up the phone with her I felt my vision fading. I was about to pass out. I quickly got down on the floor. Through my blurry vision I dialed the number to the hospital. In the back of my mind, I was wondering if I should actually be calling 911. At some point in the conversation I was put on hold. I took the opportunity to yell for Patrick. I told him that we needed to go to the hospital and that Caroline was on her way over. I told him he should go ahead and scarf some food down and that I would be okay on the floor for a bit. After he left, I began to realize that I really wasn't okay.

I called Frances (at 6:13pm), our youth pastor's wife, to see if she could come over. I knew she would be able to get to the house faster than Caroline. I then sent a text to Patrick (I didn't think I could yell to him) saying that Frances was now coming. He quickly appeared in the bathroom again and began asking me what he needed to grab. I could tell that he was running around quickly. I was trying to mumble out various items but I really don't remember what I told him to get. I was laying on my side with my cheek pressed up against the cold hard tile. I was trying to stay with it and felt like I was hanging on to reality by a couple of threads. I began praying that God would give me the strength to get to the car but also thinking that Patrick might need to carry me. I even told God that if this is how he wanted me to go then it was okay because he is God and all. However, I also told him that it really wasn't what I'd prefer. I heard Frances arrive and heard Owen begin to scream in protest to having a stranger take over.

I began to feel like I was with it enough to get up. I knew that this was my window of opportunity. I pulled myself up by the counter and began making my way down the hall. Patrick saw me and said, "You look really pale." I said, "I know" without slowing down. I had caught a glimpse in the mirror already. I made it to the car and to the hospital by 6:54. Patrick got a wheelchair and got me upstairs where my nurse friends could take over.

They got my weight, I went to the bathroom to change into a gown, and then I put on one of those gigantic postpartum pads. By the time we were finishing with my orthostatic blood pressures I was not only passing out, but I remember telling the nurse, "My pad is already soaked." I knew we needed to control this bleeding fast. My blood pressure was low... like 60's/30's? I just remember the nurse saying, "Yep, we need an IV." She also called for help.

I really thought I might be headed for an emergency D&C. Luckily, I began to feel better as I laid flat on my back. It seemed that as long as I didn't sit up, I could stay in touch with the world. I was able to talk with the doctor somewhat clearly and explain what had been going on. She was able to assess me, perform an ultrasound, and then start with the pelvic exam. I remember telling her, "I'm hoping that it's just stuck in my cervix and that's why I'm bleeding so bad. If you can get it out then maybe I'll be okay."

I was right. Our little baby was just stuck. I was actually surprised by the size of it when she got it out (yes, I'm a curious nurse that wanted to look at it). It looked like an egg-sized clot at first but when I looked closely I could tell that it was tissue. The doctor seemed to think that she got everything including the placenta. She performed another ultrasound and could tell that I still had some clots in my uterus so she ordered methergine.

It worked. My bleeding slowed down. I passed three large clots (like the size of my fist) the next time I went to the bathroom, but my bleeding really slowed after that. I just had to wait for my body to stabilize. I kept getting dizzy every time I sat up. The doctor estimated my blood loss to be between 500mL and 1000mL. She said it was probably closer to the 1000mL since she felt confident based on her observation that I lost 500mL while at the hospital. She said that there really was no way to know how much I bled before I got to them.

After three bags of fluids, methergine, a midnight snack of chicken fingers and fries (shared with Patrick), a little mini bag of magnesium, and a shot of rhogam, we were able to leave. We got home around 2am. It really wasn't until the next morning that it set in. It was over. I was no longer pregnant. I never really cried through the whole process. There have been brief moments here an there that I have felt more emotional and raw. For the most part, however, I think Patrick and I both feel bad that we don't feel that bad. Sounds crazy, I know. Part of me is just happy to be alive after the whole experience.

Everyone grieves differently and I believe there is no right or wrong way to do it. Our faith has played a large role in our outlook. I long for God to take these ashes and create beauty. I've seen God do it over and over again in my own life and in the lives of others around me. I know that he can take the ugliest and most painful things we go through and bring glory to His name. This is why I've chosen to be honest about our loss. Maybe God can use my honesty to help others.

I take comfort in knowing that this is not the way the world was intended to be. I'm not angry with God. As a Christian, I truly believe that evil hunts us. We are to expect hardship and pain. I feel like Joseph after he was sold into slavery by his own brothers. After years of hardship, he rose in power in Egypt. When he was reunited with his brothers he later said, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." (Genesis 50:20)

What evil meant for harm, God meant for good. In just one week, I have seen my marriage strengthen as my love for Patrick has deepened. I have been in awe as the extra down time has sent me to Scripture. I have been encouraged by fellowship as people have sent loving texts and comments, and as food has arrived in our home. None of these things fix what has happened. However, they have made our burden lighter. We have no doubt that God's heart toward us is loving and gracious.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Miscarriage Baby #2: The roller coaster timeline

Well, this pregnancy has been one heck of a roller coaster ride. I couldn't even bring myself to write weekly posts because of all the questions and doubt in the back of my mind. While I wanted to hang on to hope that everything was tracking along like a normal pregnancy should, I just couldn't sit and write about what this baby might be doing inside of my body. Long story short, I didn't want to write it because I knew deep down that something was wrong. I didn't want to set myself up for more heartbreak. I feel like I can best explain this by making out a timeline of everything that has taken place.

November 22, 2013- LMP

December 9, 2013- Oops (birth control mishap). Woke up the morning of the 10th and told Patrick we might have accidentally made a baby.

December 31, 2013- Positive pregnancy test.

Once is really all it takes. Feeling like fertile myrtle. Completely shocked and nervous about two babies under the age of two. Went ahead and told a few close friends about the pregnancy, which is completely opposite of what I did when I found out I was pregnant the first time. Also, I got really really sick later this week with a terrible cough that brought up nasty stuff from my lungs. The chest tightness and pain was almost more than I could take at times. I was so sick. All the medicine had me worried about the baby.

January 10, 2014- (7 weeks by LMP) first trans-vaginal ultrasound showing a gestational sac, yolk sac, but no baby. Estimated to be 5 weeks and 4 days but not given a definite due date because there wasn't a baby yet. Immediately had a bad feeling about this pregnancy. I just couldn't make the dates work. I was told to come back in a couple weeks and to cancel my first doctor appointment that was scheduled for that Monday. The scheduling people said I couldn't be seen until February 13th for my next ultrasound and first doctor appointment. Kind of shocked that they were okay with me waiting that long but felt like I had no choice.

January 13, 2014- (7w3d by LMP) Called the nurse that works with my doctor to discuss my concerns and request blood work. She also went ahead and scheduled an ultrasound for January 21st.

January 14, 2014- (7w4d by LMP) Hcg level drawn

January 15, 2014- (7w5d by LMP)  results were 21,000 meaning I was likely in my 6th week of pregnancy. The nurse told me that at that high of a level, a baby should have been seen on the first ultrasound. Told the nurse that the dates didn't match up. Explained that I was pretty certain of conception. She asked what I would want done if this is a miscarriage (cytotec vs D&C). Now I was really expecting that this was a miscarriage. Told that I would receive a call later that day telling me what my doctor wanted done next. I fully expected another lab draw 48 hours after the first to see if the numbers were doubling or not.

January 16th, 2014- (7w6d by LMP) Never got a phone call but decided I would just wait for that next ultrasound for confirmation of miscarriage. Still no pregnancy symptoms.

January 21, 2014- (8w4d by LMP) Walked in to see that the tech was set up for a vaginal ultrasound. I figured this meant that they thought it was a miscarriage too. We could see Owen with abdominal ultrasound at 6 weeks with no problems. The second trans-vaginal ultrasound showed a gestational sac, yolk sac, and what I assumed was nothing. Surprised to hear that the tech found a fetal pole with a heartbeat. It didn't look right to me. I kept asking, "You are sure it's not a blighted ovum?" I couldn't actually see the heartbeat but she said it was there. Estimated to be 6 weeks and 0 days. Now the dates really weren't adding up. Told the tech that it didn't make any sense. Given a due date of Sept 16, 2014. Feel kind of uneasy that these dates don't match up and still not having a single pregnancy symptom- only spotting every other day. The technician asked if I was still scheduled for another ultrasound. I told her I was and she said that was good because I would need another ultrasound at my next appointment. I thought that was really odd and wondered how they were going to bill me for all of these scans.

January 26, 2014- (9w2d by LMP but 6w5d by early ultrasound) Abdominal ultrasound at work. Able to find gestational sac but nothing else.

February 7, 2014- (11w0d by LMP but 8w3d by early ultrasound) Abdominal ultrasound at work. Gestational sac with nothing else visualized. Pretty certain that this is a miscarriage but hoping that maybe my uterus is just tilted too far backwards.

February 8, 2014- (11w1d by LMP or 8w4d by early ultrasound) abdominal ultrasound at work. Full bladder this time and a friend trying to help with the ultrasound. Gestational sac found measuring 8 weeks and 2 days. Really difficult to see anything else. I'm now convinced that it is a miscarriage.

Now get ready.... The next event on my timeline was a long day.

February 13th, 2014- (11w6d by LMP or 9w2d by early ultrasound) I was ready to have this day over with. I couldn't even eat lunch due to my nerves. I wasn't  sure how I was going to take the official news that our baby was gone.

Patrick, Owen and I arrived at 12:45 for my 1:00 appointment. About 15 minutes after signing in I was told that both my ultrasound and my appointment were cancelled. Apparently they had called my old number. I stood there feeling like my body was going numb. I felt helpless and completely at the mercy of all these people who keep changing my appointments. At this point, I'm seriously considering going to a different doctor because there is too much red tape to get through to see my own doctor.

The secretary began the process of rescheduling me for February 24th. Then she told me that I was not going to be getting another ultrasound because I had already had two. I had been wondering how they were going to justify a third one and now I began to wonder if anybody was ever going to care enough to listen to me. I was ready to go home. If it hadn't been for Patrick, I would have left. He was my knight in shining armor. He stepped up to the desk and respectfully requested that I be seen by another doctor. I stood behind him trying to fight back my tears.

As we sat waiting for them to check with the other doctors' schedules, I started to cry. I remember saying, "I feel like nobody cares and they just keep shuffling me around." I managed to pull it together and then my doctor's nurse came out to tell me that they were working on getting someone to see me. I hated that we were being somewhat demanding, but I hated how this whole thing was unfolding even more. I was ready for someone to tell me what I already knew- that my baby was gone.

About an hour later we were taken to a room. The doctor I saw was absolutely wonderful and I really felt like she listened to me. She sat there reading my last ultrasound report. I told her that I understand that you can't just do ultrasounds because people want them. I even told her that I realize I'm not trained on how to perform ultrasounds. All I could tell her was what I knew to be true. 1) My dates didn't match up and I am regular with my cycles. 2) I have no pregnancy symptoms. 3) I've been spotting a lot but understand that can be normal. 4) I didn't see the heartbeat that the tech was talking about. 5) I've been able to scan myself at work and it's just an empty gestational sac.

After she heard everything she decided to use vaginal bleeding as justification for another ultrasound. Then she completed an assessment on me including a pelvic exam. I then had to sign papers with the nurse about what testing I did and didn't want on this baby. I declined everything because I knew there wasn't going to be any need. They told me that there was going to be a little wait before I could get the ultrasound. They had me go ahead and have my routine labs drawn while we waited.

After waiting for what felt like maybe another hour, we were called back for ultrasound. The tech started with the abdominal and commented on my retroverted uterus. Then we started with the transvaginal. I knew immediately that there was nothing there. The tech didn't talk. She finished, turned off the machine, told me I could get dressed, and that she would get the doctor to come talk to us. Patrick and I knew what this meant.

Even now, it's hard for me to put into words everything that I was feeling. Mostly, I wanted to leave. I was starving because I hadn't eaten since breakfast. Owen had missed his afternoon nap and was getting fussy. I couldn't blame him. Patrick had been my amazing support, but I could tell that he was getting tired too. It was 4:45 when we finally made it to our car to go home. It was a long day, but it was over with. I now had someone else tell me what I already knew- our baby passed away sometime around the 6 week mark. We can now begin the process of loss and healing.

There is more to this story but I'm going to stop here. I will probably share the rest later when it is all over and I've had time to process it all. 

Monday, February 17, 2014


Today is the day that we would have excitedly been sharing the news of a second baby. I should be 12 weeks and 3 days pregnant right now. I should be saying goodbye to my first trimester but instead I'm saying goodbye completely.

This pregnancy has been a roller coaster of emotions. It's been filled with doubt, hope, prayer, and, in the end, brokenness. I'm now a member of the club that no woman wants to be a part of. I wasn't even sure that I was going to share this part of my life so publicly. It's so personal. It's so raw. It's wearing my heart thin.

In the end, I've decided to share because I want to be authentic. I want to offer hope to anyone else out there suffering through a similar situation. I want God to take my pain and use it for his glory. I want to bring hope into devastation.

I've always known that a lot of women experience a miscarriage at some point in their lifetime. I've actually always assumed that I would have one at some point. Statistically, I've read that 1 in 4 women will have one. Personally, I feel like the number is actually much higher. It has always seemed to me that it's more like half. Early miscarriage like what I've experienced is usually attributed to some chromosomal problem with either the sperm or the egg. It's not likely to happen again, but it can. It's not something that can be prevented. It's also not something that either of us caused through external factors like alcohol, coffee, or an activity. These early pregnancy losses just seem to happen.

Knowing these things may or may not provide comfort. I think I'm comforted a little by knowing that it's not just me. I'm not some sort of freak. My mom has had one, most of her friends experienced one, and I've realized from working in labor and delivery and seeing many different women's medical histories that it's common. I'm not a failure. This kind of thing just happens.

I'm currently sitting at home waiting on my miscarriage to complete itself. I started medicine called cytotec yesterday to try and induce the miscarriage. If it doesn't work then I am scheduled for a D&C first thing Wednesday morning. I'm hoping to avoid surgery if I can. So far, the medicine doesn't seem to be doing much. I've had a few cramps but nothing bad. I've been bleeding some but it's not like what I was told to expect.

I've found myself reading a lot of Scripture in my spare time as I wait. This one section from Isaiah (where my life verse can also be found) really stood out to me.

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion- to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified." Isaiah 61:1-3

In many ways, I feel like I'm somewhat callous about what is taking place. It wasn't uncommon for me preface a statement with, "If this baby sticks then..." I also have been jokingly referring to this baby as "Don Julio" ever since I found out we were pregnant. I'll let you figure out the reason why... Anyway... My point is that I've walked a fine line throughout this whole pregnancy. I know what can go wrong and so I fight the urge to get attached early on. It's a protective wall that I put up. However, there are holes in it. Deep down, once I found out about this baby, I wanted it. Now, I have to wade my way through the mess back to hoping and trusting.

I'm going to be okay. I refuse to give in to despair. I'm going to continue to hope and claim Christ. I find great comfort in knowing the outcome of it all- I know that God wins. Because of Jesus Christ, we have victory. There will come a day when there will be no more tears or mourning. Sin will exist no more. All broken things will be restored. God wins.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Goodbye dark paneling

I've finally made some progress! The paneling in the basement living room is painted (thank you Caroline for the motivation!). I decided to continue with Olympic's grey beige since it's been a good neutral for the rest of our home. I'm hoping to have a little more fun down there with accessories like a fun rug and art.

a nice before shot
similar angle after one coat of paint
two coats of paint
Also, I bought some brown slipcovers to help downplay the old hand me down couch and love seat from my parents. I'm sure we will replace them at some point, but it's not in the budget for the current renovation.

If anyone out there is still rocking a paneled basement, then have no fear of paint. It's cheap and really brightens up the space. I actually really like the look of painted paneling. It adds texture.

Now I just need to start on all this trim... eek! I HATE trim. It's so tedious and seems never ending because you have to prime it, paint it, and then paint it again. At least I do with this severely dark stained trim that we inherited when we bought this house. My plan is to paint the bookcases white as well.

This room is going to need to fulfill a lot of different roles but I think it can be done. Right now, it is mainly used as Patrick's workout space/home gym (in case you didn't notice the dumbbells or pull up bar in the previous shots). I'd like to see it also function as a family room. I can see us hanging out in here having movie night, playing games, and sitting by a fire. This fireplace is way better than the one we have upstairs. Plus I don't have to worry about Owen falling in it!

I've also been without an office for a few months now. It's not terrible, but I'm realizing that it was nice to have a desk set up in our home for bills and letter writing. My home organization has been declining ever since I chose to devote our third upstairs bedroom to be solely for guests. All this to say, this room needs to have a workspace.

Lastly, I'm hoping that once this room finished, the neighboring room will follow which will allow the two rooms combined to be the perfect hangout for my boys when I'm trying to sleep on Saturday. I currently wear earplugs to sleep so it isn't terrible but I occasionally wake up to things. It's totally worth it though. I love this little guy and his daddy.