Monday, March 29, 2010

change of perspective?

I really, really, really like the therapist I'm seeing. 

Today Paul came with me (yay - only took a couple months of convincing!), so we talked a lot about how I feel things and how that affects our relationship, when Paul doesn't feel things exactly the same way. We also talked about how he's doing. It was a good conversation, and he's even open to coming with me again.

We talked about how low I've been feeling lately, and I felt a bit validated when Paul agreed that it has been worse lately, for whatever reason. She suggested that I go back to some of the coping strategies that helped me early on, since what I'm feeling is so raw again. One of those is to set aside time each day (or when I need it, but the time should be intentional) to address my feelings and let it out. Crying, journaling, blogging?, whatever, but it's time to give purpose to the feelings. The reason is to set aside specific time so that the feelings don't HAVE to penetrate every moment of every day. This is EXACTLY where I've been bogged down lately. It's like the grief is a weighted vest that makes breathing difficult. I can be intentional about growing stronger while working with it rather than exhausted from working against it. I own it. It doesn't own me. 

I am a feeling person. Is anyone surprised?? To a degree, I have chosen this path. It can be a harder road to refer to my babies as people rather than "just" pregnancies. There is no distance in that for me. Other people might cope differently, and that's okay. Today she suggested that I also might choose to see the good - celebrate the life that exists, first here on earth, in me, and now in heaven. I feel like I have focused more on what I DON'T have, especially since I knew these babies for so little time and never got to hold them. But I CAN celebrate their lives.  

"The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." Job 1:21
God gave my babies life, and my babies dwell in heaven now. I will praise God now and forever, and I look forward to the day we all celebrate life together.

I'm going to work on this. And if you find me stuck in my own head, please remind me, dear friends, to celebrate life.
Saturday, March 27, 2010

my heart hurts

My heart hurts. So much. I feel so broken.

I guess I'm feeling a little impatient. Why aren't I feeling better than I am? Why am I so sad NOW? It has been almost four months since our second baby died, and next month will mark one year since our first baby died.

I'm doing good things that should be helping. I did the blood tests on schedule, and we have a plan for treating the blood clotting abnormality for my next pregnancy. I like my doctors. I've stayed on my med and even increased the dosage. I have a call into my doctor about a referral to a pysch. I've been seeing a therapist who is kind for three months. I've been spending good time in the scriptures and connecting with other women in a Bible study. I'm praying constantly, journaling, crying when I need to, and doing things that make me happy. I've had quality time scrapbooking, knitting, reading and watching The West Wing.

I'm grieving. I accept that (most days), but that doesn't seem to be a good enough answer for others. It's not the immediate days or weeks following my miscarriage(s), so I should be all better, right? No. I'm not. I'm different now, and I'm trying to find my way.

I realize that my path through life won't always be straight, but I don't know how to get around this giant boulder. I can't see around it or over it, and I don't know what to do next. I haven't been here before. God can move it if he wants to, but right now, I'd just be grateful for any hints God might send my way.
Thursday, March 25, 2010

words i need to hear today

"When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, when the road you're trudging seems all uphill, when the funds are low and debts are high, and you want to smile, but have to sigh, when care is pressing you down a bit, rest, if you must -- but don't ever quit…"

This came to me by way of a good friend. I have no idea whose words they are, but I like them. It's a hard day at work today.
Sunday, March 21, 2010

how can i keep from singing

This song is one of my favorites because of its simplicity, and it's been on my heart a lot lately. It has special meaning because I am a musician; I can't imagine my life without music. But more than that, I am an optimist. I will be joyful and praise God in the midst of it all. And I will cling to this hope.

I accompany two children's choirs at my church, and "How Can I Keep From Singing" was in my folder the first day of rehearsal last fall. Just a few weeks ago, they sang it for Sunday services. (Three, in fact, instead of the usual one - even more worshipers heard them that day!) How special to hear their sweet, pure (usually-in-tune) voices join together in these words!

My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation
I hear the sweet though far off hymn
That hails a new creation:
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?

What though my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Savior liveth;
What though the darkness gather round!
Songs in the night He giveth:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of Heav’n and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift mine eyes; the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smoothes
Since first I learned to love it:
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing:
All things are mine since I am His—
How can I keep from singing?

While this isn't my favorite version, I do love Eva Cassidy!
How Can I Keep From Singing - Eva Cassidy
Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I AM a mother

Last week, a friend posted a note on Facebook asking all of her 'mom' friends to share how their faith and/or spirituality has changed by having children for a paper she is writing for a seminary class. She didn't tag me. While I noticed the omission, I wasn't angry because I realize that I live in a grey area for some people. She and I had a great conversation following my first miscarriage, and while she was pregnant with twins, but we hadn't talked since my second pregnancy and miscarriage.

In a somewhat uncharacteristic move for me (though I am becoming bolder), I emailed her my thoughts...

I have never needed my God more than now. I have never prayed as often or as urgently as I now do every day, though I have always considered myself to be a faithful person. I am closer to God because I believe with all of my being that my babies are in heaven. And because of God's promise to us, through Jesus, I WILL see those babies one day. I will get to hold them in heaven the way I never could on this earth. There is no greater hope than that. And it is because of my babies that my faith is deepenend.

When I think of how much my heart hurts, when I cry, I try to remember that there is no one who understands this better than God; after all, it was God's son who died for something much bigger than himself. God counts every tear that falls. But I'm not sad when I think about where my babies are. Even though my time with them was so short, I want nothing but the best for them. And that, for me, is one of the few things I can describe about what it means to be a mother. And I AM a mother. It's hard to claim that word sometimes. But it happened when God gave those babies to me to love forever.
Sunday, March 14, 2010

a slightly different plan, but still a plan

Well, I met with the hemotologist on Friday. His take on my history of miscarriage and new test results is that I should be on Lovenox for my next pregnancy. While the thought of giving myself injections for nine+ months doesn't thrill me, I am still encouraged that each doctor I talk to wants to pursue treatment to help me achieve the best possible outcome. So do it, I will.

We talked about living with a blood clotting disorder and what I need to know. Mostly it's just awareness, except for being on a blood thinner during pregnancy, unless I ever develop a blood clot.

The new information and new plan is a good reminder that nothing is certain. Plans will change, and that's okay. It's just the means to achieve the end. Accepting that I can't control or plan for everything has been a lesson learned (and one I'm still learning) throughout all that has happened.

But I still like having a plan, even though it is subject to change...
Monday, March 8, 2010

the results are in!

My doctor called today! My blood tests turned up heterozygous factor V Leiden, an inherited blood clotting abnormality. Everything else (and they were looking at a lot) looks normal.

So we have a plan now. My doctor wants me to start baby aspirin. That's it! I can do that!

She explained how she came to the decision not to do heparin; doctors are split on using heparin when a patient presents as I do, with recurrent pregnancy loss but no history of blood clots. After consulting with other doctors in her clinic and the perinatologist (see previous post on finding out that bit of info), she feels that the benefits don't outweigh the risks of heparin at this point, since the literature and protocols don't point to it as the standard treatment. If I were homozygous (two affected genes) instead of heterozygous (one normal gene, one affected gene), the recommendation would be heparin. Or if I had two blood clotting abnormalities, heparin. Insurance won't cover heparin therapy at this point. She did say, though, that if I were to have another miscarriage, we would do heparin and insurance would cover. Of course we hope that the aspirin will do it. It stinks to go through the steps one at a time sometimes, but it's helping us gain more information and rule things out at the same time. I am seeing a hematologist on Friday to learn more about the test results.

So medically, we're cleared to start trying to get pregnant again. Emotionally and mentally, we're not quite there. I feel so much better after talking to my doctor, though! I think going through the tests and getting results is a big step in moving forward. We have a plan.

We also have a plan for when I do get that BFP. My doctor wants me to call right away to get started on progesterone and have baseline hcg and progesterone levels taken. Then as soon as hcg is over 1000, I'll go in for an early ultrasound. Knowing that she plans to monitor me closely also gives me confidence.

So thank you, friends, for your kind words and thoughts!
Thursday, March 4, 2010

not quite an answer

So the nurse from my doctor's office called me back today. She said all my tests are in (good), and my doctor was waiting until she had them all to contact me (ok). But first, she wants to consult with a perinatologist in Sioux Falls (no peris in ND) about the course of action/treatment plan for me (huh). But the nurse didn't have the results, so she wasn't able to tell me anything more. I asked what the timeline is for getting back to me, and she's going to get back to me on that...

Heeeeeeeere comes anxiety! I am numb. My thought process - test results in + my doctor consulting a perinatologist = they found something that's out of the ordinary = something wrong. I know that I really don't know anything right now. And I will try to wait patiently. Instead of being scared, I'll try to think of it instead as they found something that they can respond to...and that will be good.

After I cried in a colleague's office, I left work early to do a little shopping at Michael's.

Tomorrow is another day...hopefully with another call from my doctor's office.

my story

My husband, Paul, and I have been together for eight years and married for four. We love our two cats, Leinie and Luna, and together we live in ND where I am a grantwriter. I'm a mom to two babies, though I never had the priviledge to know them on this earth. (It's hard for me to claim that word - Mom. Something to work on...)

On April 20, 2009, I had a miscarriage at 17.5 weeks. It was sudden - no symptoms until it happened - and happened at home. We took our little baby with us to the ER. We had decided earlier that we weren't going to find out the baby's sex until birth, and that day, we decided we didn't want to know. But I think our first baby is a girl. Recovery was physically very difficult, and we did not feel comfortable with our doctor, so I found a new doctor, whom we love.

On July 9, our 22-day old niece died of meningitis caused be a late-onset Group B Strep infection. My heart ached for my sister-in-law, now knowing what is feels like to lose a child. She and I have grown very close this year.

We underwent a bit of testing - my doctor was looking for structural abnormalities, given the second trimester miscarriage and an ultrasound that showed a large ovarian cyst. Everything checked out okay, and we were given the go-ahead to try to get pregnant again. One month later...we were expecting a baby in June 2010. My doctor kept a close eye on me, checking hcg and progesterone levels frequently. We also had several ultrasounds. I ended up on progesterone supplements, but all was going well.

Until on December 4, at a regular appointment, when there was no heartbeat at 14 weeks. It happened again. We were so sure that we would get to take this baby home. That was a Friday, and we had to wait until Monday for surgery. That week, while I was home, I spent a lot of time online. I felt an urgent need to grieve well (or better than the first time) and to remember these babies separately from one another. I think this baby is a boy, though we don't know.

How is it that our family lost three babies in the span of eight months? We are a family of strong faith, and we have grown stronger yet, somehow. But it's hard to live with these questions.

Now, I'm undergoing extensive blood tests. We're actually waiting for results at the moment. I've never wanted tests to show something 'wrong' before! I'm hopeful that we will learn more, and that there will be ways to respond in pursuit of a better outcome next time.

I pray for strength, hope and peace daily.

welcome to my little corner of the web

Hi friends. If you are here, you are a friend.

I really didn't think I would ever start a blog, but here I am. After my second miscarriage in December 2009, I found myself online a lot, often seeking strength from other women who have had similar experiences. I followed their blogs first as a creeper, but found myself increasingly want to interact with them. First, it was following. Then, leaving comments. And now, apparently, it's sharing my story on my own blog. (And I see fun stuff going around from blog to blog, and I want to play!)

This blog is about me and my life. My babies have changed me forever, and right now, I am grieving and healing. I anticipate I will spend a significant amount of time sharing about where I am in my process. But I strive for balance in my life, knowing there is to me than just the sad things. I will strive for balance here, too.

I feel like I've written my thesis statement for my blog...maybe as a writer, I just feel the need to declare my intent for my audience. :)

Thank you, friends, and welcome.