Friday, April 30, 2010

You probably don't want to read....

Confining yourself to bedrest, though worthy, leaves you with a lot of think time.

That's never been a good thing for me. Too much think time, that is...

So, to combat the thinking time, I've been reading, reading, reading. (Surprise, I know.)

And honestly, as I face a really, really, really big decision today (and am sick to my stomach about it), I've realized why I'm so anxious (well, one of the reasons) about it.

I'm tired.

(Still wondering about the big decision? Well, you probably already know, and if you don't will in about a week or so. See, I don't always put everything out there...though I really get aggravated when people ask me why I'm so "Out There" with information. If you don't like how out there I am with it, stop reading it. I will not be one bit offended if you de-friend me. I'm out there because the internet and blogging and Facebook allow me to actually remain a part of the world, even when I don't necessarily feel like it. I can engage if I want, respond to an email or message if I'm up to it, be encouraged constantly, and not be any more drained than I already am. I am open about information because I figure that the more people I have praying for me and supporting me, the better. Besides...I feel alone. Even when I am not and know I am not, I feel the more pieces of me that I share, the less, I hope, I feel alone.)

See....I'm tired just from writing that whole long paragraph.

But in this, I've found, I am NOT alone.

It's said all over the internet, and I've said it myself.

To mother a dead child is exhausting.

And I'm going to go out there and say it's the hardest job I've ever had. I realize that I may be offending many, many moms who are obviously hardworking and tired, and that's not my point. My point is that when your child is dead, you are no less a hard-working mother, but you don't get any of the credit for it. Because no one really sees it as a job, seeing as the job description is so, so drastically different.

A mother of a living child is up at all hours of the night feeding her little one.
I'm up all hours of the night because I can't believe this is my life...I keep hoping that THIS time...THIS time, I'll wake up and it won't be true.

A mother of a living child has to change clothes out each season and go through the hassle of having to shop for more because their little one is just growing like a weed.
I go into Matthew's nursery, pick up all the sweet little outfits he had....put them on my shoulder as if he was in them and rack my brain trying to imagine what it would feel like to have him in that outfit.

A mother of a living child constantly wipes the tears off her little one when he or she is unhappy.
I either am exhausted because I try not to cry or because I've been crying all day. I run out of tissue.

A mother of a living child engages in fun conversations about the best diapers or what coupons are out for Babies R Us or homemade recipes for Playdough.
I have conversations with billing specialists, doctors, cemetery directors, God...none of them very fun ...or dear, sweet friends who do their best to walk that fine line of not forgetting Matthew but having 'normal' conversation every now and about tiring--for me AND for anyone who talks with me.

A mother of a living child gets tired of all the running around.
I get tired trying to escape the memory conjured every where I go.

A mother of a living child has nightmares of what may happen.
I have nightmares about what has happened already and inevitably, will happen again.

A mother of a living child may be exhausted at the end of every day, but she can walk into her child's room and know it's all worth it.

I am exhausted at the end of the day, and every day....the crib is empty. My heart is still broken.
And it never changes.

So, when you look at me and think, "Wow, she looks tired," you are right. (Of course, I'd rather not have the guy in the A&W Rootbeer workshirt standing behind the counter at the gas station actually TELL me that I look tired, but...he's only going by what he is seeing.)

It may seem like a "no-brainer, just suck-it up, it'll be good for you, you'll be glad you did it and so will they" decision, but it's not.

It's work. And I'm tired.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What. A. Day.


Five months ago, on this day, a piece of my heart left this earth. A piece of my heart that has years' worth of clothes and baby equipment and hopes and plans all over this house and embedded in my dreams. A miraculous piece of my heart is just gone.

As we drove to our appointment, Edwin McCain came on singing a song that I sang to Matthew all the time. Over ten years has passed since that song really became close to my heart...driving over the Escambia Bay every day, looking at the beautiful water sparkling like diamonds....knowing we were very close to beginning my dreams of being a mommy...I heard that song nearly every time I drove over that bridge, and really thought I could not ask for a single thing more in my life.

Singing to Matthew, over the last year, the words were so much more relevant...sooooo many years since I'd first heard that song and now, FINALLY, we were in the homestretch and honestly and truly I was so blessed. Every prayer had been answered and every dream had come true. I could not have asked for more.

Today, crying as I listened to that song, I was thankful to God that I have had two periods in my life where I could say those words. I know that some people NEVER can say that.

While I don't think I'll ever be able to say those words again...I'm grateful that I know what that feels like. It's amazing.

So, anyway...the procedure went well. At first, we were nervous because the doctor was having a hard time collaborating with the sono tech to get the catheter in the right place--which is REALLY important since those little embryos need to go in JUST the right place! She eventually took the catheter out and did it again, and it went just fine. I did acupuncture before and after, and while John calls it my voodoo treatments, I'm all about it. We had some minimal traffic on the way back, but otherwise...not too bad.

We stopped on our way back at Matthew's grave. I don't know if John even realizes today is 5 months (and T, thank you for remembering!) but I wanted to stop by, even if I'm supposed to be on bedrest. It was brief; brief enough to realize the marker was lovely, even if wrong. (Left the I off of I Samuel) Brief enough to realize that a little body I loved with my every essence was in a box beneath some green grass and that I still longed to hold it as much today as I did 5 months ago. Brief enough to get back in the car without worrying John more that I was up.

But long enough to remember that my world was still upside down.

Yeah. It takes my breath away too.

So...five months to the day after Matthew died, we are now praying for his brother or sister to implant and grow and be born and be loved and be held and raised. I know lots of people are praying for twins, and I know a lot of IVF-ers pray for that as well, but please know that while I absolutely pray for the long and healthy life of all my little embryos, twins SCARE me. I know what the infant mortality rate for a normal, healthy, SINGLE pregnancy is (and as per usual, fall right in those very low, low numbers)....I don't know how my heart would bear the tragedy that could come with twins.

I was encouraged today, by a dear girl who really just makes me smile every time I read anything she writes. She told me that God had placed on her heart FOR ME the following verse: "Her children rise up and call her blessed." Proverbs 31:28. She was sure to let me know that emphasis had been placed on childREN. She also said that whatever happened, God would sustain us. And she's right.

Although we are definitely putting the cart before the horse, as two Grade 1, 8-celled embryos don't guarantee a pregnancy, they are beautiful looking embryos, if I say so myself, and so we are hopeful.

I LOVED all the names. Loved them! I had so much fun getting each new comment and can't thank you enough for helping a stressful day be full of fun! I read them all to John as they came in. And you know what he off the cuff said? "Well, with four, it's like Eeny, Meeny, Miney and Moe....though I think Eeny and Meeny are smaller and still growing in the lab, so the two we transferred should be Miney and Moe."

And since John pretty much micromanages my pregnancy from the start, here's hoping this is the beginning of that micromanagement.

So, without further ado, please let me introduce you to Miney and Moe:
Aren't they sweet?

PS: Jade, I had no idea you read my blog (bless your bored heart!!!) but I want you to know that there were four eyes with tears in them this morning as we drove to our appointment and I read your comment. And it was just John and me in the car. I hope you read about the 'firsts' I remembered and how one of the most compassionate and loving things I've ever had done for me was because you have such a special heart. I PRAY that these little ones come visit you in about 37 weeks and I am not just the lady who brought the chocolate but her baby died...MUCH love to you and Deborah and Ruth and Margaret Ann and EVERY single person who took care of us that weekend. You are so dear to us.


We are on our way to Rockville to transfer two 8-celled, Grade 1 (highest grade) embryos. I need names. My sweet Matthew and his mates were Red, Blue, Yellow (and Green and Purple and Pink) Fish, respectively. I can't think of anything I like enough for these two. So, help a girl out? I'll even make a donation to your choice of charity if you give me my favorite. Remember...I am praying we'll be using these names for about twenty weeks...I just can't think that way right now but want to be sure they have names when I introduce them later!!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Incubator 16...

Apparently, that's the place to be...according to my four little embryos. After tossing and turning all night dreaming they arrested, and then being on pins and needles this morning waiting for Jackie to call, (all the while thinking, "They've died. They're gone. Jackie's trying to figure out how to tell me that."), I got some encouraging words.

Of the four, TWO have divided into 4-cells, which is exactly where they should be. One has some fragmentation, but less than 10%, so that's ok. ONE is 3-celled and ONE is 2-celled. Last year, with Matthew, we didn't have any that were 4-cells on day two (I was worried about them growing slowly last year and now know that slow growth doesn't mean anything!) and because we do, and the lab thinks they look pretty good, we are a "MAYBE" for transfer tomorrow.

Which means that they like the looks of them so much that they MAY try to let them get to blastocyst stage and do a 5-day transfer on Saturday.

The pros: A day 5 transfer is more closely aligned to where one's body would naturally be if this were happening without the help of the lab. If embryos make it to day 5, they are usually blastocysts and have higher pregnancy rates.

The cons: They may not make it to day 5. And then, there's nothing to transfer.

The theory, of course, is that they wouldn't have made it anyway.

But that's just theory. And there's no way of knowing. I personally am a big fan of day 3 transfers. Beautiful babies with dimpled chins and huge feet and wavy brown hair come from day 3 transfers.

So....we'll just wait and see how things are in the morning. We are scheduled for 12:45, but if my nurse calls me in the morning, we may be pushed out to day 5.

In the meantime, sending all my love and prayers to incubator 16.

UPDATE: Dr. K just called and said it'd be tomorrow. He didn't seem to even consider a 5 day because we only have a few. I'm glad. He said that based on my age and my 'favored outcome' status, guidelines suggest the transfer of no more than the top two.
Really? I'm a favored outcome?
Apparently. It seems as if my problem is making good eggs and not insisting on c-sections.
Other than that, I'm favored.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Phone Calls....

...when they rain, they pour.

First call was from Dr. K. Of 16 eggs retrieved, they were able to ICSI 9. Of the 9, 5 fertilized. Of the 5, 1 was abnormal fertilization and arrested.

Which leaves 4. Of 16. So...when he called with that, of course he tried to keep looking at the up side. The old, "It only takes one" speech. I hate that speech.

We discussed that there's obviously some egg issue that we haven't been able to hone in on yet. (Um, really? Have I not been saying that, even with Matthew's cycle??) He also said that if we have to do this again, we'll change a few things.

I'm thinking we'll be doing this again. Super.

So, we'll know more tomorrow and if they haven't arrested and are able to be transferred on Thursday, we'll be there.

My nurse also called to give a little more reassurance. She said that of the 4, the lab didn't note anything about the egg quality, and had there been an issue, they would have. The egg quality of those 4 little embryos, that is. Again, we'll know more tomorrow.

Then Dave from the cemetery called. Matthew's headstone is in and has been placed at his grave.

It's a stay in my pajamas and bed day.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I really, really, really want to thank everyone who took a minute (or a few) to think about what I wrote and be thoughtful and compassionate in your comments. As I said, I really was just curious as to how people felt because these things have been weighing so heavily on my mind.

I'm glad to say that I was very encouraged by what my pastor had to say. (And not because I know he reads this!!!) and I got several emails and comments that showed encouragement as well. I read his comment; John read his comment and we both immediately agreed that we knew exactly why we go to church where we go.

What I guess I've feared in saying one belief is right and therefore one belief must be wrong is that as he said, there's a lot of tension between both I said, there's strong scriptural support for each 'side' of belief. So, my fear has been that I do not like muddy waters (and not just because I am a germaphobe. Sort of.) in anything, CERTAINLY not in a faith that guides my life on a daily basis. I am not a fan of relativism, and never been too fond of "What's right for you is right for you and what's right for me is what's right for me," because I think that basically makes the necessity for the word truth null and void. Not to mention is sort of dishonorable to the Truth I DO know.

So when people, whether they are the most devout Christians I've ever met or the strongest maintainers of different or not-at-all beliefs, tell me with authority what IS and what ISN'T, I want facts. I don't want what makes me feel better if it's NOT the truth. Even if the truth hurts, that's what I want. I don't want "feel-good" scripture, although I think there is a lot of it. I just can't put a lot of trust in someone who uses the Bible to swear to me that I simply need to name it and claim it...because the Bible DOES allow for that but also says that just isn't always the case. I can't make peace with a theology that is what I 'want' to believe just because it's comforting. Such a slippery slope....

BUT...I also don't think that there's a person on this planet who can say with authority that God DID do this or didn't, that God DIDN'T want this to happen or did. And THAT is scripturally based--
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

None of us knows God's thoughts. None. We know of His character and we know of His love and we know of His Son and we know of what He wants of us and we know of what He offers us, but we do not and cannot and will not know His thoughts. On this earth. To be able to do so, is as Pastor Mark put it, to have God all figured out...or as Kristie put it, put God in a box that allows us to point fingers or carry around to comfort or simply to make peace with things. And, as she also reminded me of Job 40:8--when we presume we know what/why God did something and it was because He planned a sorrowful tragedy, we might be blaming HIM so we can justify ourselves. much of Job proves that we just don't know. And can't. And like Job, I'll back off trying to make sense of God and do my best to maintain my faith in Him...whatever the reasonings are.

So, actually, though I really appreciated each and every comment, the ones that resonated with me the most were the ones that said just that. We cannot know. And I was so honored and blessed with each comment because they truly ministered to my heart. My end take on it all is again, as Pastor Mark said....each comment was given in part...we all only know "In Part...THEN we shall know fully." (I Corinthians 13:12) I also very much agreed with Julie in that our children were given to us to glorify God. And for that, I will continue to try to do so.

So yesterday, when discussing THIS . VERY . TOPIC in Sunday School (Sorry, Bill...of ALL the days to be sitting right up there with you and the tears to not be able to stop, huh?!) I was SO comforted to be able to answer in reference to Paul talking of the trials they faced so we might not rely on ourselves but on God (II Corinthians 1:9) and whether or not that was God's design or the good that God works for all who love Him--the usage of suffering to draw us closer to Him--that we just don't know. Surely Paul got out of it that he suffered (tremendously, might I add) because God did it to bring Paul's reliance on God and not himself...and I can totally see that. I can also see that that could have been one of the many, many examples in the Bible that God is so amazingly able to use as He brings beauty of the ashes.

And the best part? As Holly said, it doesn't really matter because it doesn't make her love God any less. And such comfort in knowing that my mind seriously just can't know and therefore banging my head against every wall to KNOW is futile. And faith...blessed, sweet and full-of-hope faith is, as Andrea said, what I choose! my dear, sweet and faithful friend and I have been talking about, literally, on a weekly basis for the last 21 weeks, in times like this, the best thing to do is focus on what we can and DO know.

And I know this: God is. He is. If you, like me, are really wanting FACTS for that, I've got lots of books to share with you...I admit they are REALLY way over my head because they are science on the level of Stephen Hawking (who, by the way, said last night that if something happened, can't remember what, but if something happened, then we'd be able to see in the mind of God. Which I don't believe, BUT was interested to hear him say God. In a way that DIDN'T go with, "...doesn't exist.")....even John says the science that supports intelligent design makes him think, but that's such encouragement for me if these genius scientists continue to find more and more reason to believe He exists.

He is Love. Look at this world and the things created and tell me He's not. Look at the miracle He gave me and tell me He isn't.

Jesus Christ lived. Again, if you want archeological and historical facts for His life and death, then feel free to let me know and I'll be glad to share. I also wanted that.

History proves Him to be who He said He was.

And since He was who He said He was, He did what he said He did.

Which was to assure me of my place with my sweet Matthew one day.

So when so much else is incomprehensible and beyond reason, those things are enough.

I've had a post in my head for the last few days...for several weeks, through all this IVF stuff, I have heard a little Matthew in my head asking me, "Wasn't I enough? Didn't I make you a mother? Weren't you happy enough with me? Will you be happier with another? Will another be enough? What will be enough? Why won't you let me be enough?"

And then I realized I'd been hearing two voices for a while.
"Am I not enough? Didn't I make you a mother? Aren't you happy enough with Me? Will you be happier with another? Will another be enough? What will be enough? Why won't you let Me be enough?"

And I think we all know to whom the second voice belongs. I haven't actually written that post because I've been ashamed of my answer.

And still, I guess I am a little bit.

But this last post and all the comments led me to believe that there IS an enough. And His grace is sufficient. It has been so far, for 148 days, even though it didn't seem like it on each individual day. So I'll keep clinging to that. Maintaining my faith that we just don't and can't know all the answers, but I love that Missy shared someone telling her, "I don't know all the answers, but I know the One who does."

IN OTHER NEWS>>>>>>>Yes, there is some!!!!

I DID have the egg retrieval today. We got 16 eggs, which was surprising, but not so much considering I am now at risk of OHSS. My estrogen jumped from 1970 to 4241 overnight and essentially, I have a few other characteristics that make me high-risk for that, and I'm dreading it. It's not fun, had it before, and am really, really not looking forward to it because it's going to really sort of affect several things in the next few weeks. If I get pregnant from this cycle, it would only get, praying that it doesn't go there. My nurse said we may even get to a 5-day transfer because of how many we got, but we won't know much until tomorrow.

Whew. Off to the basement for a tornado warning. The weather report just said, "Lori, seriously...go downstairs now. For real." That Bob Ryan is so nice to me.

So, I'm going. Bob does know of what he speaks!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Heavy stuff today.

Today has been a rough day. Again we hear we are "on the fence" as for whether or not we will trigger, which means that this is still dragging out. One may read a lot about how "Slow and steady wins the race," but more IVF physicians than not will tell you "Not always," and in my case, that's the boat I'm racing in. So...not really thrilled with this morning's results. We had an appointment scheduled at the Apple store after so we can learn how to use this computer and apparently, I stink at using it so much that the appointment I scheduled on their website is for next week. (Maybe subconsciously I know this is going so slow I figured I'd be there in Annapolis again next week?) So, we at least caught 45 minutes of the Making the Switch workshop and that was helpful (although frustrating as all get-out because John does NOT pay attention and then asks questions that he'd have the answer to had he been paying attention and not playing with the computer) and headed back. My car SO knows the route. Oh, but in between, we walked around the mall a bit and then stopped at Matthew's favorite Chick-Fil-A and frankly, I just saw more strollers and cute little baby boys (and girls) than I could really handle today. Top that off with getting tricked into going to Lowe's so we could look at carpeting for the basement but spending another 40 minutes on other stuff, and suffice it to say I'm not in a rosy mood.

Maybe I'll look through my Pottery Barn Kids, my Babies R Us insert, my Similac coupon packets, my Gerber Life Insurance info or the Explanation of Benefits that stated yet ANOTHER procedure for Matthew was denied "Because your newborn was not added to this policy. Contact your administrator to add your newborn." Thanks, he's dead. No need.
All of the above, by the way, today's mail. And yesterday's. And the day's before. Thank God I get a reprieve on Sundays. I'm all about the mail only being a couple of days a week.

ANYWAY...I wanted to post this the other day because I'm very curious. I have been following Kristin since probably right after Matthew died, and defy you to look at the picture of Peyton where she's looking up and has her sweet little mouth open in somewhat of a little giggle and not cry at just how heartbroken you are that this earth doesn't get any more of that sweet face. The other day, I read through her comments about God. I was thoroughly intrigued. I didn't really have any sage advice to offer, other than I know simply because of the miracles that we had in our children God IS and does LOVE us.
I was interested in the comments because it seemed like there were two camps. Well, three if you count the camps that just didn't have a faith in God. The two camps I found interesting were the camps that came from those who do have faith and were trying to share it or their view.
And honestly, I was so glad to see that because it reinforced to me that I am NOT the only one in the world who is having a hard time finding solid ground on which to stand. I don't mean this in the way it sounds....I DO have solid ground. It's in the fact that there IS truth. But the why? and the how? and the shouldn't? and the doesn't? and the wouldn't? questions swirl around and really make me crazy.

So I thought I'd throw this out there too--and see what others think. She has a million and 8 people who read her blog, so I doubt that I'll get as many comments as she did, but I'm curious to see what even one person has to say.

And let me clearly state before I present the questions--I KNOW this is the stuff that different denominations are made of. Trust me. I've been spending a LOT of time seeing what different denominations believe. I KNOW these things are simply incomprehensible to human reasoning. I'm just wondering...

So, one camp is very clearly of the mindset that God did NOT intend for Matthew (or any other baby) to die or any other horrible tragedy to happen. That He is NOT puppet-stringing tragedies for whatever reason--growth, lessons, a bigger/better good that we can't understand, whatever. He is ABSOLUTELY able to make good of ALL situations, though...and does...even if we may never know it fully. This camp believes that we are living in a fallen world; imperfect and NOT the way God wanted it to be. But because He loves us, and wants us to love Him without being programmed to love Him, He created a world of humans with free will--the choice to follow Him or not--and that, because of that free will, we are allowed to choose for the good or for the bad. Which means that the bad exists. He didn't want it; He didn't want us to choose it...but He ALLOWED us to, and allows us still today to do so...and that's why bad things can happen to good people...a result of the fallen world in which we live.

I've loved this camp. It's been helpful. It's been the only way I have been able to retain faith in that God IS Love...and He loves me. And hurts for me. And never wanted this pain in our lives. And didn't want Matthew to suffer. And took him home as a whole, beautiful baby boy.


The other side of the coin is the one that believes God DID plan this. He chose us for this affliction. Why is beyond our ability to reason. He KNEW it was going to happen. He KNEW Matthew was going to only live for 8 and a half hours. He planned every breath Matthew took. Before the world was formed, Matthew was bound only to live a little life and God orchestrated every single person who supported us as that happened to comfort us and to guide us. This camp believes that Matthew lived the exact number of seconds God planned for him to live. God has a plan for each and every one of our lives, and has since time began. His will may not make sense to us, but He is in control of each and every thing that happens to us.

There is peace in this camp too, as I wrote the other day. Peace in knowing His sovereignty is supreme and He planned how to best comfort me before I was born--and seven years after my mother dying, how He's prepared me for this trial.

And scripture supports both camps. I've been reading books on the theological and Biblical foundation for both camps. Which is probably why my head has been just a mess.

How can one be, if the other is?

How can we have a choice in anything if God is orchestrating everything to fit His plan?

How can He not have wanted Matthew to die, yet gave me resources for today YEARS ago?

How could the story of Job and his trials basically being a test of cosmic proportions be an example of God's precise plan for Job's life (He planned the devil to come and tell him he didn't think Job would follow Him without all the good stuff in his life?? He planned for the devil to ask Him to tempt Job? He planned to tell Job that Job had NO IDEA of the battle between good and evil that was going on without his knowledge?) while at the same time be an example of the free will we have (Job chose to praise when others didn't and he really didn't have a reason to either, proving God's point that Job would CHOOSE to praise God and wasn't being MADE to)?

How could God not be orchestrating the plucking of babies from their mothers yet planning each breath every human makes?

How could God not 'intend' for something to happen, yet have each of the days of our lives numbered and counted?

And while I'm throwing it all out can God plan each and every breath that I take, knew of it before the world was created, and yet repeatedly tells us in the Bible that He is patient and slow to anger because He wants so desperately for us to have a relationship with Him? If he is orchestrating it all, if it's all part of His plan, how can that be? If He's waiting for us to exercise our free will and choose Him, how could He have every second of our life mapped out, right up to the second and way we die?

I guess it boils down to this for me:
If God has a plan for us, then isn't everything that happens in our lives according to His plan, by default, part of His plan? Even the tragedy? If He has a plan for our life, and something He didn't intend or 'want' to happen happens, then doesn't He lose sovereignty? How can both exist?

Yep. Told you it was heavy. Told you it's beyond reason. Told you that it's the stuff that make and break denominations--from predestination (so, if He has predestined me, do I *really* have a choice?) to free will (if I don't have choices, what is the purpose of witnessing to others? Why pray? If God's planned it all, and my choice doesn't matter, why pray?)....even people within the same denominations, churches, families...heck, even the same marriages, waffle on these things. Some of the deepest-rooted Christians I know (and dear friends, so completely loved and trusted) waffle--and in the same conversation will somehow be able to say "God is in control" and "This was not what God wanted." I can't tell you how often in the same conversations, "God knows" has been spoken with "We live in a fallen world; it's not God we should blame."

And honestly, before Matthew died, I assure you, I was a major participant in such conversations.

Now, not so much. If I accept the "God didn't plan it, we live in a fallen world, He makes good of it all," camp, well...then I lose God's providence and the comfort from knowing He starts things in us often years before we even know we'll need them. If I accept the "God knew Matthew was going to die and it's part of His plan," then my heart bleeds. Profusely. And my knowledge of God being love is destroyed. My faith in "I know my plans for you...plans to prosper you and not harm you," wears thin.

So, I'm dying to know what others think--what reconciliations have been come to and really, just see perspective. Regardless of what it is...

I even took the Anonymous comment thing off so if you want to be anonymous, fine. I promise I won't write you a blog. I do ask this, though...please, please, please do not tell me that all this questioning could prevent another child in our lives or our healing or has anything to do with why Matthew died in the first place or is an obvious indication of my faithlessness right now. So . don't. need . that.

I'd just really like to know.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Well...I think it should be pretty obvious to me that for every time I whine (as I have been doing a lot of this week), God decides to kick me in the rear and let me know He's only going to let me dwell for so long. I've always been pretty easily motivated by guilt and embarrasment (or trying to avoid it), so what better way to remind me that I have lots of things to be happy for than to have some sweet mom send me a Happy award?? Jill, mom to precious Chase and Emma, sent me this and well, looking at some of my recent posts, I'm not so sure I deserve it, but am very grateful nonetheless. Thank you, Jill!!!

The rules of this award are:
1. copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. list who gave the award to you and use a link to his/her blog (or hyperlink).
3. list 10 things that make you happy.
4. pass the award on to other bloggers and visit their blog to let them know about the award.

Sooo.....Ten things that make me happy? Let's order of degree here--

1. John!!
2. Perfectly timed songs--songs that tell me that God is there and that keep playing over and over in my head.
3. The word Maranatha! Used to be very ritualistically said by me at the end of each church sevice. Not so much ritualistic any more!
4. Beautiful flowers.
5. Amazing people in my life--family, in the flesh friends, online friends, church friends, school friends, doctors who take care of me, 'strangers' who cry with me and support me...I will never, ever cease to be amazed at how many people have touched my heart and continue to do so on a regular basis.
6. Special Christmas ornaments.
7. My silly dog. Okay, dogs, I guess, since it seems like we are definitely keeping Sam.
8. Laughing. I love laughing. I love to laugh. I miss that.
9. Ice cream cake.
10. Matthew! Being Matthew's mother. Every kick he gave me, every piece of chocolate cake I craved...Matthew makes me happy.

The rules say to pass this award on to other bloggers, and I know I should because I won't lie, it IS a nice little pick-me-up! But just look at the list of blogs that I read!!! I am honored to 'know' each of their stories and think they are ALL amazing. Please, please, please...if you are over there ================> and want an opportunity to just think about what makes you happy, then please take that button up there and run! I can't wait to read about all of the other happies!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lifelines....'s one. I never, ever meant for this blog to be one that women who lost babies came to...and still don't really. BUT...if you are...and are looking for a group of women who know how to love you and support you and allow you to be honest with where you are with God and your heartache, here you go. Amazing. Simply amazing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

If you're looking for uplifting, it's not here today....

pes·si·mism: 1.the tendency to see, anticipate, or emphasize only bad or undesirable outcomes, results, conditions, problems, etc.

I admit it. I do see and anticipate the bad or undesirable outcomes. Maybe if I had seen or anticipated what happened to Matthew, I'd not have caved into what everyone was telling me and would have insisted on a c-section, trusting my own intuition for whatever reason, and today, he'd be alive.

I have a hard time NOT expecting the bad outcome. I'm one of those people that those things we all say "Why worry?" about ACTUALLY happen. Admit it. You know I'm telling the truth. It's not like John often says, "See, you worried for nothing!" because the fact is...that just doesn't happen much. It's more like me telling John, "See? I told you."

This is not how I WANT to live. This is not how I WANT to be. I fight it every day, to be honest. But the fact is that the realities of our life color how we look at things. This is one of the things that I pray about ALL the time. ALL THE TIME.

2.the doctrine that the existing world is the worst of all possible worlds, or that all things naturally tend to evil.

This world IS the worst of all possible worlds. It's fallen. It's sinful. It suffers. It sorrows. It's not the world in which we were meant to live.

3.the belief that the evil and pain in the world are not compensated for by goodness and happiness.

Agreed. To a degree. The evil and pain in this world are not always compensated for by goodness and this world. I know people would like to think we've suffered our tragedy; we have our cross to bear. I'd like to think that too. But it's not necessarily the truth. There are many people who have MANY tragedies and bear MANY crosses and live LONG lives suffering. And while I am thankful that is not the way I have to spend Eternity, I am human and readily and honestly admit I do not look forward to spending this life, even if it is just a blink of an eye, continuing to deal with pain and evil. I will, because that's the way it is to be.
But I don't necessarily like it, and am struggling to count it as joy. Actually, I guess I'm just struggling.

re·al·ism: 1.interest in or concern for the actual or real, as distinguished from the abstract, speculative, etc.

The reality is that my precious baby boy died. For no good reason. Shockingly, tragically, whatever you want to call it...the end result is that I now mother a grave.

The actuality is that my life is changed forever. I have been given a life sentence. I'm doing my best to deal with it. But let's not forget that that is what it is: a life sentence--living each day without my sweet boy and how that is supposed to be.

2.the tendency to view or represent things as they really are.

They really are hard. They really are painful. They really are sad. They really are scary. They really are nerve-wracking. They really are disappointing. They really are just unlike anything I could ever imagine.

So...when Dr. Kiperzstock says things like, "Well, in hindsight, I would have liked to see what is happening now happen three days ago," or "In hindsight, maybe we could have upped your medicine a bit more," or, "I'm not ready to can this cycle....yet," or, "Even if this doesn't work, we've learned from it and that prepares us for next time," forgive me for not being
optimistic (disposed to expect the most favorable outcome).

Essentially, as I've been telling EVERYONE....this cycle is going slowly. Too slowly. While I'm not a doctor, I'm not stupid and am a little familiar with what a 'perfect cycle' looks like. I've been asking and asking for a reason--I was worried.

I asked him about egg quality being compromised and he said, "Well, we always are concerned with that, especially since we know you have some problems anyway."

I heard, "Yes. Dang. Wish we'd upped your medicine a few days ago."

He said, "I'm not worried...yet."

I heard, "Well, I am but am waiting a bit to see what happens before I make you freak out anymore."

He said, "I'm not ready to can this cycle just yet."

I heard, "Why would I? Might as well go through and see what happens. If no embryos make it, well...we'll know better for next time."

He said, "Worry doesn't change anything."

I heard, "You worry too much. You act like you expect the worst to happen."

I do.

It does.

To a lot of people. Me included.

Call that realistic, call that pessimistic, call it whatever you want.

I call it my life.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

When the RE calls.... worry.

Well, I do. (Shock, I know.)

Normally, my nurse calls me every afternoon with the results of my blood work and ultrasound and tells me what dosage of medicine to take and when to go in next.

So, knowing this cycle is going soooooooo sloooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwllllllyyyyy (especially compared to Matthew's cycle) and just having a bad feeling about it (and, admittedly, most anything that I pray goes my way these days)...getting a call from my wonderful Dr. K put a pit in my stomach.

He thanked me for an email I sent the other day raving about how much I loved that office. (I do. And I am a big believer in letting people you appreciate KNOW you appreciate them.) He then talked about how he's not worried...yet. I'm responding slowly, yes, and he'd like to be in the ultrasound tomorrow am (yet ANOTHER 4:30 am) so he could look at my ovaries himself and decide whether or not to increase my medicine. Now, if you have ever done IVF and if your clinic is anything like mine, you really don't see the doctor much at all. Oh, we see him every now and then (like really briefly this morning, where John and I both waved at him like we were giddy little school girls) but he really doesn't hang out much in the ultrasound room except for very specific purposes.

Tomorrow, his specific purpose will be to check out what my slow moving ovaries are doing.

We also talked about the whole ICSI thing. I'm not going into details about that other than they want to do it this time because of my hostile eggs. (That's what John and I have termed them.) He said that of the 12 retrieved with Matthew, they'd like to have seen 8 or 9 fertilized and I only had 6. (In fairness to my hostile eggs, my eggs may be hostile but when they 'open the door', so to speak, they allow FABULOUS work, and anyone can take one look at Matthew's picture and know I speak the truth.) So...I feel a bit better about that whole process now that I've talked to him and gotten the validation from him that my eggs, for whatever reason--age, PCOS, too much LH, today is Tuesday--are maybe a little problematic.

I prefer selective.


Anyway, as soon as I got off the phone with him, I called John, feeling 1000% vindicated that *this* cycle is just . not . right. Something's off. Something's different. Just a bad feeling. I almost even had him believing me because even HE knows that the Dr. getting involved may mean something.

Until Jackie called. Jackie, my super nurse.

She didn't even KNOW Dr.K had called. She said things looked fine. Estrogen was going up (673) and I had great lining (10.8) and maybe close to 19 follicles. She said that he would have told her if something was wrong or he was worried and he was probably just trying to do what they like to do--which is make every patient feel like they are uniquely thought about and pondered over and worthy of a personal phone call or two (or several, in our case). Even (gasp) checking your 'routine' ultrasound out every now and then. I *may* have to increase medicine dosage, but no one is really worried. (Save me. Remember, I'm always worried. Working on that by the minute.)

So, I called John back and we both agreed that maybe Dr. K just thought it was nice of me to send an email and wanted to check my file out (he's been out of the office a few days) and give me some personal attention.

Again, I can't say how much I love that place.

So...back tomorrow. And probably Thursday. And probably Friday. And maybe Saturday. And hopefully a retrieval maybe Sunday or Monday.

We'll see.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lesson learned....

I'm going to preface this post with the following:

This is going to be hard for me to write. It's one of those things that I wish had my voice and facial expressions going with it so my heart can really be seen. I am afraid it is not going to come off the way that I want it to.

That said, if you read it and it stings, I'm sorry. I don't want it to. I want to write it because I am so encouraged. Though I don't think that makes sense.

So...this goes back to Nancy Guthrie's retreat last the way, I didn't list any of the information you may need if you are interested in her retreat. I promise you, if you have lost a child, you will probably feel a lot of trepidation about 'doing something like that' (we did!) but you will never regret that you went (we SO don't!)....if you are interested in it, click HERE to go to her site. You can get information about her books (which I admit are sometimes hard to read but only because they are convicting and truthful, and that's often the case when we are convicted and being told the truth, huh?) and the Respite Retreat and more. So, so, SO worth it.

Anyway--when we got there, there was another couple there. Young and adorable. Actually, ALL the couples there were young and adorable! However, one couple was expecting.

I really, really, REALLY was sort of uncomfortable about this. I can't even explain why, but any of you who may read this and suffered infertility, or lost a child, (or both, like us) and are trying to have another child (or even if you aren't) probably understand what I mean. It's certainly NOT personal--heck, we just walked in the door and didn't even talk to them! Jealous isn't even the best way to describe it (although that's the closest word, I guess) because it's not their new baby YOU want. It's more that pregnant women just remind us of such happy hopes and promises...and what you don't have any more. How hard it was to get there and how you don't have a clue of what to do with yourself now that it's gone...I don't know. Like I said, hard to explain.

In any event, I guess being where we are in the process of trying to bring Matthew a brother or sister, and being at a retreat where we were going to be purposefully and determinedly grieving over Matthew sort of made my "DANGER" flags go off and me realize that I should probably keep my distance...if for no other reason but that I didn't want to upset this poor pregnant woman--and I felt that I might just by not being able to handle my emotions very well.

And let's face it. I was jealous. I wanted to be able to talk to her about the absolute joy of being pregnant and even as I type and tear up, I knew I couldn't talk to her about her pregnancy without being a sap. I want to be pregnant again too. I want a baby brother or sister. I want to see the glimpses of Matthew I never got to see and I want to know what it feels like to hold my newborn in my arms. I admit it.

Now--I should clear this up. There are lots of mommies I have *met* who have lost children and are pregnant again (or have just given birth!!!) and I am absolutely tickled to death for them. Truly. I check in on them all the time (sorry if you feel stalked!) and try to encourage them as much as I can because I just know how hard things have been for them and want them to be able to enjoy the blessing that pregnancy is. I don't EVER want them to think that they have to walk on tiptoes with me or their pregnancy because I think that EVERY pregnant woman deserves to bask in every second of the joy that they can.

But...I don't have to spend the weekend with them. I don't have to personally and constantly see their beautiful bellies get bigger and if I am having a rough moment (or day), I can check on them a little LATER...when I am feeling back to where I can be encouraging again.

Lindsay was there with me all weekend.

Now, I have written that I met and fell in love with some amazing and wonderful children that weekend. I cried and cried for such tragedy I listened to. My heart broke for the sheer despair that I would have felt if I was any one of those other parents.

And when I listened to Jeremy and Lindsay tell of their sweet Ayden, it was no different. I was just broken for them. Their first and precious little boy died of SIDS. They are both teachers and had just gone back to school and their amazing and beautiful boy died.

And for the first time in several months, I was SO glad another woman was pregnant. Not one ounce of jealousy, not one ounce of envy or wistfulness--just complete and total happiness that this dear couple was given another miracle. They had been through so much (as I know we all can relate to) and their beautiful boy just beamed in every picture--I could not imagine how on earth they were able to have tasted something so precious and then to have lost it. I was just so incredibly grateful to God for giving them another miracle.

Not because their new little boy, Collen, will ever be able to replace Ayden...impossible. I was grateful that they were given some new hope...and another opportunity to taste the joy of a little one in their lives. I'm so thankful that in a world that is SO UNFAIR (I know, I's not fair!) they were able to have a little bit of what we would think would be 'fair' come into their lives.

Like I said, I realize this will not come off the way I want it. I don't even know that I can put how I want it into words. I know life's not fair...friends, don't I know! And I know that we don't always get what we deserve. I know that God doesn't give good to the good and bad to the bad. I know that we don't get what we get based on what we want or feel like we need. But darnit! I was just SO GLAD THAT FINALLY I could see a glimpse of FAIR up-close. What happened to Ayden wasn't fair and nothing would make it so, but that they were given another pregnancy to celebrate was as close as I think anything else may come.

So, I'll say it. If anyone deserves to be pregnant (and here's where I KNOW this doesn't come out the way my heart wants it, so if you've never lost a child and are trying to get pregnant or are pregnant or just given birth, please, please know that I really am happy for you--having Matthew was the most amazing thing in the entire world and it's much like faith in God, when you have it, you are SO joyful when others do too!), well...I just think it's those women who have suffered the loss of their precious children.

And my heart leaps...literally LEAPS for joy over it!

So, thank you, Lindsay--for allowing me to share this. I really struggled all week because I felt like I owed you an apology for not really reaching out to you and being super excited for you when we first got there. I hope you know how much I truly am! I think it says something that in the group picture, I'm standing beside you--I'd have put my arm around you but I was already worried you thought I was a nutcake.

I also want to thank every other parent there...I hold Hope and Gabe and Savannah and Brendan and George and Russell and Steven and Mikey and John and sweet Annie Jane and Magdelena and little Sophie and of course Ayden so close to my heart!!!


We DID have another appointment this morning. Things are moving very, very, very slowly. Just the way I like it. NOT. There were about 15-17 follicles today, about 9 or so measuring almost 10 mm, and Jackie said I'm going a hair slower, but I have more eggs that are about the same size than I did with Matthew's cycle and she thinks it's a beautiful cycle. Sure hope so! Getting up this flipping early as often as we are is tough! How in the world did I do this when I was in school last year? I don't know what my estrogen is, but my lining was 9.2 so and I have 9 follicles that are as big as they are so I imagine it's pretty good. Probably a retrieval this Sunday or Monday.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Quick update...

Just for my own remembrance...

Saw my least favorite sono tech there (when I asked her if she was worried about the fluid I still have a bit of, she said, "It's not my job to worry about you. I just check it out and tell the doctor.") and she saw 13 follicles. They weren't much bigger and none were at least 10 mm because she said, when I asked how big the lead was, "I'm not measuring. That's just wasting my time since they are so small still."

Yes, she's a pearl.

I won't complain too much though because again, that place is just wonderful. How SO MANY of them know me and my name is just amazing. Sadly, I bet I know why they all do, but...that they do and they care and ask how things are (on Tuesday, three different people asked me how the retreat went) is just so comforting and I am grateful.

Earlier today, I was writing a message to my sweet friend (she knows!) and realized that at that very minute I was typing, 4:46, 20 weeks earlier I had Matthew safely and soundly tucked inside of me waiting to make his grand appearance.

How has 20 weeks gone by so fast, yet taxed me every single day simply trying to breathe?

Friday, April 16, 2010

You know what kills me?

Waiting to pick up a prescription and seeing little boys ranging from newborn to two in outfits I spent last year buying for Matthew.

Trying not to cry thinking about how much I miss my baby boy.

Not really caring that I just couldn't stop.

Why am I still up?

Well, the answer to that is because John isn't home and when he's not, it's hard for me to get to sleep.

It's been a busy week. I haven't had the time to sit and spend the time I have been checking up on the many, many people I have come to know and love and I hate that. I've missed remembrance days, hard days, praises and more. I hate that. So...tried to catch up some tonight and still behind...but it's late, I'm tired and will probably not get much done tomorrow at this rate.

Wait. It's tomorrow.

So, I have about 3 different posts I've been swirling in my head.

I want to do a follow-up to Nancy and David Guthrie's retreat.
I want to tell Beth Moore I love her.
I want to keep up with our cycle.
I want to write about Matthew.

Okay--that's 4. But, since I want to write, talk or think about Matthew all the time, I'm going to just go with that being a given every day.

For now, I will just update our cycle because I don't want to forget. I feel so remiss in my documentation compared to last year with Matthew's cycle. Already I am doing the very thing I have sworn to myself I will not do: I will not be any less joyous about a brother or sister we are blessed to have, and I'm already slacking in that because my heart just isn't all the way in this cycle.

It's hard! I'm going through it all because I am hopeful. John and I are hopeful. We are trying to maintain that hope.

But we miss our little boy. Last night, as we turned the lights out and were about to drift to sleep, I said, "Can you believe this is our life?"

And he very wistfully said, "No."

138 days later and we still just don't believe it.

So this new cycle is still a bit surreal even.

I had my first ultrasound for this cycle. They found 9 follicles with the lead being about 5 mm. My lining was 5.2mm. John and I were kind of bummed as we left because we thought this was being AGGRESSIVE and they saw fewer than last year.

My nurse called me with the results of my bloodwork (E2 62) and told me that things were fine. In fact, my E2 was a bit better than last year and this time last year, there were 10, they increased my medicine a bit and we'll go in Saturday (and unfortunately, we'll probably have to go in Sunday morning too) to check them--she thinks there may be a few more.
I felt a bit better after talking to her but all of this is just so hard. Going through all of this and not knowing whether it will work or not is so anxiety producing.

Have I mentioned that I need no more things that produce anxiety in my life?

But we press on. If you pray for us, and would like something specific to pray for, please lift us up and ask for our spirits to continue to be strengthened. In a NORMAL situation, an IVF cycle is so stressful.

When you throw in the fact that we wake up each day knowing we will spend the rest of our days on this earth without Matthew, well....

As I said...please pray for our spirits to remain strong.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010



The questions are:
What were some of the 'firsts' that you encountered after your loss? How do you plan to, or how have you dealt with special anniversaries and holidays and the memory of your little one?

The first and most horrific thing I really and truly remember after Matthew died was being wheeled down from labor and delivery to leave the hospital. I had all my bags in my lap, I was crying...and my son was not with me. I literally could not believe what was going on. I was just in shock.

Getting into the car with his carseat still leaves me sobbing at the thought. I can't even write anything more than that about it.

We had to go to CVS from the hospital for some prescriptions. The first thing that struck me was how surreal it seemed normal for everyone. So normal. I can't convey how shocking it was to me that the world moved when my son was dead.

When we got home, the first thing I saw when I got into the house was Matthew's Christmas stocking...hung by the chimney with care before we left two days earlier in anticipation of him coming home to it. That memory still stings so much.

Our first Christmas without Matthew, thank God, is a blur. I don't even really remember it. The house was full of family and dogs and hustle and bustle. I was still numb and in shock. I couldn't even tell you much about that day but that I DID laugh--my niece gave a heartfelt karaoke version of Taylor Swift's song, "You Belong With Me," and my hilarious nephew gave it some spice.

March 3, 6, and 19 of this year were hard for me. I was in the middle of little Yellow's FET, John was gone, I was a year older and had lost a child and those dates were so happy for me the year before because they were the dates the dream Matthew had always been became reality. Now, they make me ache--wanting that joy back so badly.

We haven't even hit Mother's Day or Father's Day or his birthday or day he died. At this point, I can't even imagine what we'll do or how we'll deal. I know we will not go to our church on Mother's Day because that would have been Matthew's Baby Dedication. Thank God I have a pastor who is compassionate enough to give the heads up for that day. For his birthday, part of me wants to do something big and grand--wonderful like I've seen so many other moms do. Another part of me thinks that I just don't even have the heart or energy to do so. And then I think, "What? What could I possibly do?" I'm just too broken right now to contemplate it.

I think that every day presents me with some new first, and honestly, the way I deal with them varies. Sometimes, something will make me just fall apart. Sometimes it makes me angry and forces me to bite my tongue so I don't say something I will regret later. Sometimes it makes me wistful but resigned. Sometimes, it even makes me smile a little. I cry right after, but for a second, I smile.

I think that whether it's a first, a second or a 100 gazillionth (and for John, who always asks, "How many zeroes are in that number," I don't know--a gazillion)....I think it will be the same. Nothing set, no protocol...just taking it as it comes and dealing with it the best way I can when it does.


I think, for my own remembrance, it says something that as I was labeling this post, Matthew's first was a label that I have used lots of times before...and it makes me cry thinking that most of the Matthew's firsts before he was born were so, so happy and now I am writing a post about them after he's died.

My heart is heavy today.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What a weekend....

I've had so many people call me, email me, text me and message me about how this weekend went. Funny, before we left, Nancy asked told us she imagined our families and friends would probably do that, and wondered what we thought we'd say.

I shared that I decided my life can't be overtaken with grief.

Now, I feel I should clarify my last post--and say that though yesterday WAS a new day, it still was a sad day. And there will be many, many, many more to come.

I said I didn't want my new identity to be defined by grief. But for everything, there is a season.

This is my season to grieve. I don't know how long it will last. I know that even when it does, the ache will never be gone, nor will I miss my son any less.

Being at that retreat this weekend, I made peace with that. Seeing families in different stages of their grief was encouraging. As I have always maintained, it can't always hurt like this...our bodies are simply not able to physically sustain this raw, fresh wound. Thank God. Meeting and sharing with other families who have experienced this first hand only reaffirmed this belief.

There's so much that I could share about this weekend, and yet...I just feel so protective over everything that was said and shared. I came to love some of the most precious children in the world, and to hurt so much for their devastated parents. I learned once again that I am SO thankful that the pain I endure is NOT the pain that others have endured. I do not even know how to put into words the way I felt about the courage I saw this weekend.

Now, I know...I HATE it when people tell me how brave or courageous I am and my guess is that these people might feel that way too...we are, in fact, all survivors and only because of the grace of God. But friends...please, I beg of you...the next time you look at your calendar and think, "Oh, good will I ever get this, that and everything else done--I don't have two minutes to breathe, much less play dress-up or trucks,"....please, PLAY DRESS-UP! PLAY WITH TRUCKS. Do it for me and every single other mom and dad who would give their lives for that basic, simple luxury.

The next time you feel like what you are going through is just not fair--people aggravating you at work, friends or family members being pains in the rear, too busy of a calendar, whatever--please just try, for me, to stop and take a breath and realize that it's not THAT big of a deal.

I realize this is not easy. I know without a doubt that had Matthew survived, you'd see lots of silly little, "What does sleep feel like?" or "We sure do know Matthew's lungs work--he shrieked the whole time we were (fill in the blank)," statuses on Facebook. I know I would have never, ever been able to understand truly how grateful I should be. How could I? How could you if you haven't walked this road? You and I couldn't know, and if truth be told, I am grateful for that too.

If everyone in this world truly was capable of knowing how this feels, we'd live in such a dark, dark place. Everyone's souls would be crushed. There would be no one able of encouraging or giving hope. I used to get so aggravated with John, especially after my mom died, because he just didn't GET how hard it was to lose a parent. Dad was going through chemo, but we were so optimistic about his prognosis. I was seeing a therapist, my dear Dr. Guyer, and he basically asked me why I was so aggravated with John. I told him it was because he just didn't have any empathy. Dr. Guyer always gave me some "Aha!" moments and he did that day. He told me that if I loved John, I wouldn't really wish he had EMPATHY because it would hurt him. Why would I want him to hurt? How could he be strong for me if he was devastated like I was? What I really wanted from John was sympathy--not able to truly understand because that would hurt so much, but to care for, encourage and lift me up when I couldn't do it myself.

He was right. This weekend was a prime example of how much the ability to empathize with others really hurts. And if we all felt that level of hurt, all the would be so hard to be encouraged.

So, while I understand that sadly, perspective often doesn't come save through practical experience, I'd feel irresponsible if I didn't attempt to ask each and every one of you to try and cherish every single moment you have.

I'd love to say this weekend answered all the questions. It didn't. In fact, for both John and me, it brought lots more to the surface.

What it did do, in such a powerful, powerful way is remind us that the questions may not have an earthly answer, but they DO have an eternal answer.

I was reminded that we have been held in God's hands every second.

Mom asked me how I even came upon this retreat. I mentioned this at the retreat but feel it bears mentioning again as I think it is so powerful.

When my mother died, 7 years ago, I bought Nancy's book. If ever there was a time I needed hope, that was it. Further, I needed answers that were backed with solid scripture. I picked it up, began thumbing through it, and though I may have had the intent to go through it day by day, I didn't. I kept it on my nightstand and every now and then picked it up again for a little wisdom here and there. It stayed in my book rotation through several moves, and even though my nightstand was inundated with pregnancy books in the last year, Nancy's book stayed.
The second night we were home after Matthew died, my family had dutifully and ferociously wiped my nightstand clean of any books that they felt would have made me upset. Nancy's book screamed at me. I climbed into bed, opened the book and began to sob. Being the reader that I am, I am sure I had dutifully read the introduction every time I picked it up to read it (I feel every book is owed the honor of the introduction being read!)--and yet, I doubt that any time I had ever read her story before, I felt anything more than that was a sad story for some unknown person.

When I picked it up that night, and read the introduction, I cried. Nancy was not unknown. I bet she didn't even know it, but she had written that book for me. She was no longer a sad story. She was another mother who knew what my heart felt like--times TWO. John and I began that daily devotional that night.

On some post I made, I mentioned her book and much to my surprise, she made a comment! Seriously--famous author taking the time to comment to ME? In any event, I then went to Nancy's website, found the information, asked John if he was interested (much to my surprise, he jumped on it), and the rest was history.

Though I've rambled, my purpose in recanting this is important. I won't lie and say it doesn't bring up a lot of questions for me, but I can't deny God's providence. Seven years ago, that book came into my life. It held significance, though at the time, I didn't realize just how much.
This weekend, a work that God started seven years ago was actualized.

God knows. He knew. He prepared me and began to prepare me seven years ago. On one hand, I can find complete and total comfort in that--trust and belief that God knows what He's doing.

On the other...I find heartbreak...God knew what was to come. He knew what would happen to Matthew.

And a whole slew of "Why?" questions that I've thus far not had rear their ugly heads.

Another day. I'll have to delve into them another day.

In the meantime, I plan to remember that there is an eternal answer.
And I will not allow my joy to be stolen.
My identity will not be forever identified by grief.

I am Matthew's amount of heartache will ever take the joy of being so away.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Today, 7 years ago, my mom died.

Today, 19 weeks ago, my precious son was born.

Today, 18 weeks ago, I buried his little body.

Today I decided I do not want my identity to be defined by grief.

Tomorrow will be a new day.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Short but sweet...

Won't be long because this is from my phone but I want to remember it. We stopped in Knoxville for lunch. A drive-thru Chick-fil-A. Who knew? Anyway...the young man taking our order was THE . HAPPIEST . PERSON I have come across in a long, long time. Even for Chick-fil-A, this kid was literally like ordering from the sun. I said,"Boy, I need whatever you had for breakfast!" He smiled (even more, if possible) and again, I said, "What do you eat for breakfast?"

He said, "I start each day with a little thanks to God."

Well rock on, Caleb...rock on.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

One step forward....

....two steps back, it seems.

As I said before, conditions were super for our frozen transfer. Way super. So super they still are. Sorta.

I went in at the crack of dawn today and my lining went from 6.8 to 5.7 (remember, they'd like 3 or so) and my estrogen level went from 97 to 86.5 (remember, they'd like about 30).

My nurse was off today, so the nurse who called me said that was ok still and I could start my medicines in 4 days. I asked her if that was a good idea since the numbers were still a bit elevated, and at this point, I'd rather take the BCP a few more days in hopes that it continued to lower. She said, "Well, two physicians reviewed this and think it will be fine."

First: She's not my nurse. She has no idea how heartbroken I already am and how "thinking" it will be fine is NOT reassuring. I THOUGHT I'd bring Matthew home.

Second: My doctor was out today too, meaning the two physicians who reviewed it don't know me either...and are not as invested as Dr. K. is, or are really, really concerned about making sure I go through NO MORE hell than I already have. Again, "thinking" it's going to be fine is not reassuring.

After she essentially said, "You have to trust us," I said, "Fine," and planned to start the stim drugs on Monday.
Then she called me back and said that since my last pill was last night, I could actually start on Sunday if I'd rather. She thought today was my last day (as stated, not really familiar with me) and that would mean Monday. I asked her i it was better to wait day in hopes that my levels may go down a bit ore still and she said, "Well, it's really up to you and what works best for your schedule."


What happened to "Trust us?" Now I get, "Hey, how about YOU play doctor?"

So, long story short, I took the pill one more day and won't start until Monday and feel better about that and my levels having another day to go down.
I'm still going to call MY nurse tomorrow.

Now that I've just shared my frustrations about them, I have to say that I walked out of that building this morning with such a grateful heart. I walk in the door and Rhonda the receptionist KNOWS me. Tells me, "Good morning, Lori." They have TONS of patients, she knows me.

The tech who took my blood KNOWS me. KNOWS about Matthew. Consoles me. Talks to me about God. Hugs me after she takes my blood (without pain; she's amazing...don't even feel the needle go in!) and tells me it's all going to be ok.

The sono tech today, Hope, was amazing. Shared her personal story with me. Tells me she treats each person she scans like she was her sister. Looked at my pictures of Matthew and tells me he was beautiful and precious. Hugs me and tells me she is so hopeful for me.

That place is awesome. The people who take care of me are awesome. It's going to be ok.

We are in Blacksburg right now, and tomorrow will head out to our Respite Retreat. I will be without computer access for the weekend (yikes!) so I will have to catch up on blogs and share how it went on Monday.

For today, I am grateful for a beautiful day, people who care for me, opportunities to build my family, and God who holds me in His hands.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Well, nuts....

So, went for my baseline ultrasound this am. For IVF, this is essentially where they check to make sure your body is not going crazy, is being obedient to the drugs that were given (if any) to suppress your ovaries, see how many possible follicles we may be working with and get the "Good to Go" for starting the drugs to make those follicles produce lots of fabulous eggs. (Only 11 follicles, though, so already starting on mediocre at best!)

Theoretically, I was to start those stimulating drugs Friday. (Ironically, I'd have to take them at our dead child retreat.)

My nurse called today and told me that my estrogen was high and my lining was too thick. Probably because I had such OPTIMAL conditions for the frozen transfer. So, she told me to continue taking birth control today, tomorrow, and Thursday and check on Friday.

Super. Friday is when we were planning to be in Nashville.

So, my sweet, sweet nurse tells me that she really thinks it's important to go to the retreat, so she told me to gulp one that minute, tomorrow am and go in Thursday am for a check and pray it will be better.

Best case scenario is that it is. And the cycle gets pushed back about 4 days.
Worst case scenario is that it isn't. And the cycle gets pushed back even further.

Which really messes up a lot of plans I had for May.


And aggravated as I am, I am more heartbroken for a couple of women I have *met* in the last four months...sadly, because they also have lost babies.

Well, in the last week, two of those women who have been blessed with subsequent pregnancies have miscarried.

Friends--unless you've been here, you can't even imagine what the thought of a brother or sister to your child means. What hope the mere thought of him or her inspires. Not to replace the baby who died, ever, but to have some joy again at the thought of mothering another miracle.
Maybe seeing in a brother or sister what you sadly only now see in a picture.

And when that hope is given, in the form of a subsequent positive pregnancy test...and then lost in hearing, "I'm sorry, there's no heartbeat,"....I can only imagine the utter devastation that comes with that and I just am so sorry.

For their privacy, because honestly, I don't know if they want all sorts of people going by and commenting, I'll not say names.

But please, please, please....lift these women in your prayers! Lift them to God and beg Him for some peace and comfort for them.
Lift mothers who are pregnant with subsequent pregnancies and are holding their breath for an entire 9 months because they are terrified the same thing (or something else tragic) may happen.
Lift women who are going through all sorts of hell on earth as they are thankful for the miracles of medicine and technology and yet, putting their poor bodies (and hearts and minds) through such rigorous treatments for the simple little dream of mothering a child who lives.
Lift those who suffer....for there is so much of it and my heart just hurts. I don't know what else to do but to ask for prayers and bring my own to God.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Because He Lives....

...I can face tomorrow.

I was actually not doing too bad this morning at church. Honestly, I just tried to focus on the fact that this is a remembrance of the day Christ was resurrected and defeated death. This is the day I remember because it means that one day, I'll see my loved ones again.
This is the day that promises I'll be able to tell my sweet son that I love him and to hear him tell me that he knows...he knew every second he was with me.

So, I was pretty proud of myself. Until about the last 5 minutes of the service. When we sang "Because He Lives," which is usually one of my favorite Easter Hymns. I still have been hacking away with this bronchitis-like whatever, so not necessarily a great voice rang out, but my heart was in the singing.

Until the second verse of "Because He Lives."

"How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives.
But greater still the calm assurance,
This child can face uncertain days because He lives."

I lost it. Right there, again, in the pew. I just started bawling. So much so that after that song was done and my pastor told us all to greet our neighbors, he came out from the pulpit to hug me and tell me he was sorry and he knew it was hard and he was always praying for me.

Friends, if you don't have a pastor who will do that for you in the middle (okay, end) of Easter service (one of the typical big two for a pastor, if you know what I mean), then you need to find one. Tomorrow.

I have sung that song countless times, and being Baptist, I'm sure I've sung all three verses during invitations quite a few times in my 37 years. And yet, even through years of infertility and worry about an adoption not happening, I never cried like that. I don't even think I made any association.

But today, I did. Big time. And after my pastor came and hugged me and then went back up to the pulpit, he asked us to sing the last verse again.

And I did. I did because I am so, so thankful I will see my little boy again.

Because He lives.

I also have to say thank you to an amazing woman who I realize is having a hard time missing one of her precious children, yet so compassionate in her grieving that she thought of my little boy. Actually, she thought of a LOT of little boys and girls, and I am so amazed at the depths of mothers' hearts. Michelle, thank you so much for such a joyous little gift for me and my sweet boy. I am so humbled and appreciative.