Friday, November 22, 2013

Thoughts and an Update

There is a beautiful song playing a lot on the radio station I listen to in the car. It is 'Oceans' by Hillsong United and the bit that really gets me (and probably most, since it is the chorus) goes:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I love it but it really is a scary song in some ways... because do you really want to be taken deeper and to have to trust without borders? Of course, as Christians we say we do but the reality of the experience is hard. So hard.

There is a blog post doing the rounds that challenges the popular line, "God won't give you more than you can handle" which one might say to another as they are experiencing hard stuff (amongst other things the author and his wife have gone through an ectopic pregnancy). I have wondered about how biblical that concept is, and on the whole causes me to think about how we respond to others who are facing a difficult time.

Since I'm sharing about other blogs... A friend shared this blog post to do with loss/grieving and miscarriage- and a new book that's out about the topic. It talks about going to church after miscarriage and what it was like being in the service. Something about the power of music causing our emotions to be moved. Nice to know that I'm not the only one who sometimes sobs through the whole worship-time - definitely awkward, and worse if you didn't bring tissues.

On a related note... One way to wade our way through rocky times in life is to share them with others, as a way to help them feel less alone. My mother-in-law shared a devotional with me about the power of sharing your (imperfect) life with others (the author has also been through miscarriage as well as seeing another child saved).

It was encouraging as sometimes I feel a bit lost or unsure in knowing how to support others on their journey, especially since setting up a prayer network with other couples at our church to do with infertility and baby loss/miscarriage. Different people process differently and I don't always know what the best way is to connect with them. However I do love this verse
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. 
When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
2 Corinthians 1:4
and often cling to it, praying that I am able to comfort others, where possible, even if I'm not always sure how!

Okay so aside from what other people are writing, what's going on?!

It has been a while since I last wrote. (I'm really sucking at this blogging thing, aren't I!) Because my pregnancy in April was a partial molar pregnancy, I've had to be in a process of waiting and being blood-tested. This will last until January.

January. That is longer than I would have been pregnant! From an infertility point of view, it is agony. Thankfully I got over that eventually and it has been mentally relaxing not having to think about 'trying'. I'm also in the clear which is fantastic. 

We've made it to November which is when the baby would've been due.To be honest I kind of forgot about it with life being full, but this past week there have been some reminders of my baby, with a friend having delivered her second child, and another friend getting pregnant, also with her second. Both have been good things I expected but have made my heart a little heavy. 

I got to go for a walk alone (score!) in the park on Monday, and it was so nice to breathe deeply. I sat amongst shady trees on a warm (summer is here!) morning and soaked it God's wonderful creation. I let myself imagine what my baby might have looked like if I got to meet her this month, and what sweet newborn features she might have.

  (my instagram shot of that morning)

I'm not actually great at that sort of thing, imagining details, so I didn't get very far, but it was just nice to do that, to acknowledge that my baby was real,  and to let God comfort me through the simplicity of sitting in His grass and trees. 

This time we've had to wait has given me precious time to enjoy Toby. He's almost two and a half years old and I've loved being able to give him a lot of my attention and energy. It has been amazing to watch him soak up knowledge, have conversations, give accounts of experiences and just have fun. (I also love this post, by the way, about having small children if you feel like yet another link ha... and they had them after years of infertility.)

We have also continued our trek into the adoption process. After the last miscarriage, we went through a process of being unsure but we have still felt very strongly the desire to adopt, so also in this waiting time, we have managed to gain approval to be adoptive parents (massive yay!). It feels like God has been guiding us in this area and we feel blessed to have gotten this far.

The thought of having a second whether biologically or through adoption is, in truth, terrifying especially as time goes on, and we become so used to being a family of three. I especially feel for Toby as he has asked about whether I have babies in my tummy and gets a real buzz out of me saying that he is my baby. What a shock he's going to have if one day we do get to have another!

In the meantime we still hope to and are doing okay waiting. It is definitely different now that we have Toby and we are very thankful for what we have. Christmas is round the corner so the next couple months will pass by quickly. I try not to think about 'age-gaps' and all of that, and I know God will continue to provide the best thing for us.

How is everyone?

 (happy movember!)

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

She was a Her

It has been about two months since that last post.

I celebrated my 31st birthday 6 days after my D&C. It was a little odd celebrating after being in a bit of a sadness haze, but it was still great and I was spoilt with lots of love.

We have since found out that my pregnancy was a partial-molar pregnancy. It gives some clarity as to why my HCG levels were high and also a reason why the pregnancy did not sustain. That was what we wanted- a reason. But we didn't want more...

The more difficult part to deal with are that we are not to get pregnant for 6-12 months, as it could complicate things. It is for good reason of course, but for us it was a bit of a stomp in the face when we heard it from the nurse, as we just were not expecting to have extra to deal with after the miscarriage.

I think for most who have gone through infertility... being told you could not try for a baby for possibly up to a year is a bit of a nightmare!

Thankfully I've been well taken care of by the hospital and the follow-up blood tests have been indicative of my HCG/tumour levels going down. We are praying this continues!

Weirdly enough, it really helps that we have something to do each week to deal with the 'wait' and I get a phone call following each blood test. My weekly blood tests have become part of my weekly schedule.

Toby and I have a little routine after a Mainly Music session, where he knows where we are going, he gets something to eat and sits in the corner on the floor (no extra chairs usually in the actual room where they poke you). He knows I get and 'owie' and then a 'band-aid'. He sort of lightens the mood and that always is a good thing too.

Honestly, I've been a terrified of pregnancy announcements of those who are due around the same time I would've been. They haven't been fun and I cringe everytime I think I spot one or a photo of one on Facebook... but everyone's allowed to do what they do and I think God is sustaining me and keeping my skin thick generally.

The one big thing we got to find out was that our tiny baby was a girl. This was so lovely to know and I was so delighted, and yet it was one of the hardest things to absorb too. I praise God for her, yet I am simply gutted also.

We have since named her and also named the previous the babies we have not gotten to meet. This was not the easiest thing to do, as we didn't know that much about the other pregnancies. But we wanted to acknowledge them as lives, and a thought that stayed with me was also that if we don't ever get to have another live child, it would be special for Toby to have some sense of our family experience and history. I believe they were still gifts from God even if I didn't get to meet them. I know this is a tricky one but I choose to think of them that way.

We also planted a tree with some remains we got from the hospital. This is the first time we've been able to do it and it has been really special. I think it has given us some sense of closure, being able to do something to commemorate and remember her by.

It is hard not to count the weeks/months until we can try again, so feels a bit like 'infertility mode' again with all that math. But we're doing well. Toby just turned two (TWO?!!) this past week so that has been a big deal around here.

Time for a cup of tea.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Deep Breath

Toby and I went to the park yesterday. It was nice to do that as it was a rare clear day in a week of lots of rain.

Toby loves being let loose to wander and so I let him but it means I have to wait and watch a lot as he checks things out. We call it 'going for a walk' but it really is more of a two steps forward and three steps to the side, off the path kinda thing.

Often we hang with some friends first at the playground before we set off on our way to feed the ducks at the pond. Then the zigzaggy wandering begins.

Yesterday we ran around in the field. We do this every now and then where we fake-chase a ball and Toby just runs towards it and lies down in the grass every two seconds. There is a lot of tickled laughter and it is the kind of time that fills your heart with joy.

I lay down in the grass too and took a few deep breaths to soak in the moment. It was so fun to turn and see my little man next to me staring back amongst the green blades. It has been a while since I've felt energetic enough to do this!

I kinda wished I had my camera but I was also happy I didn't as it was the kind of time you knew you'd miss if I had been busy trying to catch a perfect shot. Which I would've been doing.

Being under the expanse of His sky and rolling, jumping and laughing on His earth, with his precious provision to me, my son Toby. I needed these deep breaths of air to remind me. We are okay. God is huge.

I struggle to converse with God at these stages of grief. It is like I can't look Him in the eye. Just for now. But I will get there.

We were going to have a baby in November. In the three short weeks we knew, we were already planning how it was all going to be. So much of it was unsaid but we also spoke freely of room arrangements and fun ways to announce the baby. We were so excited!

I don't think we took it for granted, we were just confident this time. My blood test results were good and I was feeling awful. The signs were spot on so we were sure it would continue. So sure.

The bad news that the baby had no heartbeat came at a dating scan. I was there to find out the date he or she would arrive. The husband couldn't attend and we didn't even feel too much of a need to reschedule.

Thankfully our awesome friend Ch came along. The possibility of having no heartbeat had occurred to me in a tiny corner of my head but I was trying to be positive. I think I just was hoping I could be a 'normal person' with this pregnancy for once. Unfair.

We'd jumped through this one miracle hoop of conception and so surely this second miracle hoop would be cleared? Not so.

I run out of words to describe how it feels to get the news. Frozen. Fuzzy. Heartbroken. Those give it a bit of a picture but I think most of us have an idea of that 'time stands still' feeling when you receive awful news.

It is two days today after the D and C. I feel like I don't know what to do next. I'm trying my best to plan small but fun things to look forward to but there are already so many reminders of what I won't be looking forward to and not holding in November, that am a little lost. Pregnant strangers are everywhere.

On another level we have moved on with normal daily life as Toby needs us and a toddler's routine can sort of rule. I love it and I love our time with him. It definitely has been different with having one child, than when you have none and are going through a miscarriage. There is a sense of moving on that is quick.

Yet the echoey quiet of the hollow in your belly is still there and very real.

Regardless, my baby was a miracle baby. A perfect peanut shape on the scan at eight weeks. So large (to me) and so clearly present in our lives. It stormed in unexpectedly and so we desired it to be. Like his/her siblings, I wish he or she could've stayed.

The husband and I are a little confused. Despite having travelled this road before the sadness is still fresh and the sensitive heart is difficult to navigate. My uncomfortable and awful morning sickness is now fading and yet I want to rewind and have it all back. I want my child. I am missing him.

Today we bought a teddy bear to remember this precious baby by. Now we have five beautiful bears in our room and one special boy we do get to see grow, cuddle and be with.

Crying out for comfort tonight, Lord.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Photos from December

Okay so I'm just all over the place with blogging right now. I don't know what to do! Here are some recent pics of us from December...

'Just brushin' teeth with balls stuck in my shirt.'

This was him playing with dad's ear muffs. Priceless. 

This just makes me laugh!

Reading what's on special this week... 

The best part about the nativity sets- the polystyrene... 

Toby's little Christmas tree. 

Us by our tree. Love our Christmas tree!

Toby got this scooter/car from his grandparents and immediately was standing on it!
No way you are going to be a stuntman when you grow up.

Went to the zoo. Beautiful summer day! 

At the kid's activity-area of the zoo. Couldn't get him to look at the camera!

The husband's birthday. That's little chocolate bars on his cake- cos' he is a candy-nut.

Help with brushing Sammy. 

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

First Post of the Year

How is your new year going? 

I don't think I even finished listening to all my Christmas music... yet here we are! Over a week into January. 

My blogging skills have definitely deteriorated now that my posts are so few and far between. I can't even think of what to focus on. So here we go back to point form.

1. It is a beautiful summer day here in Auckland. 

2. Toby and I got to go to the park and play with all these fun outdoor toys- the local council sets these up over summer and they travel around to various parks, today was the one by our house! He was addicted to a little blue car with a door that opens and closes. He doesn't know how to use his feet to 'walk' the car, to move it, so I had to push. But really we didn't really drive it much. We spent most of the time getting in and out, in and out, in and out. 

3. He is now eighteen months. 18. Getting too big and hard to carry for long. But I want to because he's my baby! Hard to see him get big so fast. Yet awesome too. 

4. Toby and I are starting to have mini-conversations. Like:
T: Daddy?
S: Daddy's at work. 
T: Daddy, har (car), voom (vroom). 
S: Yes, daddy takes the car to work. He works at the gym.
T: Daddy, har. Gym. 

5. Some frequently heard words from Toby these days are:
- Bus, school bus, car, mommy's car, daddy's car, dog, truck, dump truck, big truck, man, post man, bike, hat, van, nee-naw-nee-naw (fire engine), tractor, etc. 
Yes. The transport theme is very strong around here. 

6. We had a good Christmas. Did you?
Our Christmases are fairly low-key since the husband's family is not here, and my one brother too. It is kinda nice and sad at the same time. We like that it isn't too busy, but miss them definitely! We do get 'adopted' into our friends' Christmas celebrations though, which is always a plus. 

We're big on Christmas gifts around here- the husband and I. We know there's more to the meaning of Christmas but we embrace the gift-giving with open arms. Toby got a truckload from various grandparents/relatives/us, and on the whole really liked opening them! 

7. I'm always trying to figure out how best to be focussed on Christ at Christmas and I admit it is not easy with so many things going on. Any thoughts? Let me know. 

8. With becoming a mother, I've found it hard to visualise the year ahead, as with a toddler, it is such a day-today type of living. Not sure if many moms find that, but that's me. 

So I came up with a brilliant idea (I think so) where I've given each of the next twelve months a title/theme. Just like how December is often focussed on Christmas, I've kept some of the 'natural' ones... just added a few more of my own (April is My Month, June is Toby Month, March is Easter Month) and some random ones (Silly Month, Encouragement Month, Try-something-new Month). 

This helps each month be a bit more jazzed up and exciting. Or just something for me to focus on and maybe breaks up all the things I 'want to accomplish' into months, which might actually mean I get some things done? 

9. I also have done something similar for cooking, as like most, I get to 3 or 4pm and panic about dinner. So I've made January randomly Mexican, then there's American, Japanese, etc. Birthday months tend to be what our favourite cuisine is kinda thing... It is not a strict ruling, just a way to encourage me to be creative and try new things/re-do things I forgot about. We'll see if that helps with the meal ideas! 

10. Besides blogging, the other thing I don't do as much now is read. I blame a lot of things, but probably just a me-not-giving-it-time thing haha. Anyway. I'm good at starting books but the real issue is finishing. So. I recently finished a book. Accomplishment. 

I read 'Inconceivable' by Ben Elton. It is a humorous fiction novel, British, about a couple who are dealing with infertility... and the impact it has on marriage and every corner of their lives really. It is super funny but also pretty crass at times! 

My friend gave it to me a couple years ago, and I have to admit I was nervous to read it as I wasn't sure how raw it would be. Plus coming from a friend who had not dealt with infertility and had enjoyed it, I wasn't sure how to receive it. But it was good and there are bits of it that are really sweet and hilarious. Then there are parts that are relatable-to and painful. Recommend if you can read past the crude bits. 

11. I'm also reading 'A Common Thread' compiled by Catherine Sylvester. Which is a collection of real-life stories about infertility, loss, adoption, etc. It is Christian-based, so has a lot of depth and heartbreaking bits to it too. 

I've stayed away from serious infertility books for a while, as they are of course heavy and too close to the heart sometimes, but I always enjoy them at the end of the day, because they mean so much to me. Does that make sense? 

12. I'm also reading 'Run Fat B*tch Run' by Ruth Field. Yes. That's the title. Those British again. 

I know I'm not fat (tricky word) and I already do run (sometimes when I have a goal haha), so I'm not necessarily the target audience for this book. But I was just curious as I had read that a lot of women were motivated by it so I just wanted to know why. It is extreme but I like her sense of humour. And there are a few really interesting/good pointers she gives in it. So far. I haven't finished haha. 

13. Then there are two other books that I've been working on finishing for the past year. My husband laughs at all this. 

14. Okay so if you are still with me, it has taken me this long (13 points and maybe one hour?) to warm up and I'm just starting to get into writing some more sensible and fascinating stuff (we hope). But precious naptime is almost over and I should go. 

15. Any new year thoughts/goals/hopes? I was wanting to talk about some but that'll take me another hour to think about properly and type up. 

Have a great week. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Married for 8 Years (almost)

This year the husband and I will celebrate our eight year anniversary.

It is just a few days away and this past weekend we got the opportunity to go away for a night, while my mom had Toby. (Yes he stayed overnight for the second time and it was a success- yuss! Missed him though, was very weird not having him for a day.)

Even though it was barely 24 hours of time-out, it was really special and I had a great time.

We didn't venture far from where we live- just to Takapuna, um pretty much round the corner really. Unfortunately the weather was not great- windy and a bit of rain, so we didn't go for a walk on the beach or anything, but generally good enough for us.

We had wandered around the shops, had Starbucks (Christmas drinks are out!), checked out the place we were staying at, had pizza (very quickly cos' we were a bit tight on time), went to a movie (Intouchables- French movie, SO GOOD, you have to watch it.)...

We also got to sleep in (no dog and no kid to wake us up), had breakfast at a little cafe I'd been thinking of trying (ran past it multiple times on my long runs and watched people stop in for coffee, so glad I finally got to go in) called Mimosa, and went to the Takapuna Sunday Markets. Then had Starbucks again because yes we are that deprived.

I found some Christmas glass ornaments to match some others I have (love!), a gift for a friend, some beautiful calla lilies (that were supposed to be for my mom for helping with Toby but I forgot to take them to her house-doh!) and an old porcelain deer (yes I've named it Bambi already) for my shelf which I'm considering spray painting but we will see.

It was pretty much all the things you could do on a date packed into one, but it was still leisurely and I loved spending precious time with the husband.

Just wanted to remember it so thought I'd put it down here.

Today is also Thanksgiving in the States. I'm not American but I'm always happy to adopt that celebration- very thankful for my husband and all that I have around me. Have a lovely weekend.

Being Brave

This is what I posted on Facebook the other day. 

I'm not usually that vulnerable on Facebook and I was nervous doing it! But two special friends have gone through losses recently and that night I found out a third friend just had too, so it was just really heavy on my heart, as I sensed they were surprised by the sadness, etc. 

Anyway. Here it is:

On Tuesday I decided to buy flowers. What is it about flowers... A beautiful reminder of God's creation maybe.

3 years ago this week we said goodbye to a baby we got to carry for 12 weeks of pregnancy. My precious friend took me to the hospital and later that day I followed J out to the car park with no baby- as if we were just visitors. I remember the lonely corridors. How empty. Hollow. 

e this was all right. I looked normal; I could walk. But my heart broke into a million pieces when I got home and emptied the hospital's brown paper bag of my dirty clothes, and I realised I had nothing. Nothing left of my baby. Invisible.


Yes I have J. And today I have Toby and God has continued to bless us with good things that we celebrate. It is not about not being thankful.

That little life was treasured. We never stop wondering what Baby N would've looked like or felt like. The baby was real.

This is a bit of a step out for me. But my thoughts are going out to the other women or couples who have been here too. And are here today. I know it is 'common' but it doesn't make it easier.

You did not get to meet tiny bud, but your loss is real. Grief is ugly.Your heart is indescribably heavy right now. No one wants to talk about it but many try to say nice things. And some want you to move on. But be mournful if you need to and for a time there really is nothing that needs to be said.

I believe that one day there will be answers to our questions and joyous reunions... and I am praying that God comforts you with his great arms of love and you find healing in his saving grace. Please know in those moments of deep sadness, you are not alone.

Monday, November 12, 2012

"So. Big Gulps."

Hello! I'm here!

How many times have I said that?

Unfortunately there has been a big pause. Not that there hasn't been things to talk about. There's never things I run out of wanting to say. I sooo want to keep this blog going but I'm doing a terrible job of it.

If you guys are still out there, thanks for reading. I appreciate you so much. If not, that's ok. I probably won't know.

Last night I could not sleep because I had too much caffeine. If two cups of tea could be considered too much! I'm useless at caffeine I tell ya. I thought of all the things I wanted to do!

So I thought I'd try my best to capture some of that urgency by doing a quick post now.

Life is really much the same. Except Toby is 16 months now. I know. Huge.

He's really chatty and walks fast (can't quite run just yet)... and we love him to bits.

(messy at meals)

(busy busy always busy)

Do you remember me saying I was going to do a marathon? Well I did it! 4 hours and 47 minutes later... I got to the finish line! It was a big day.

 I feel so proud of myself and was so filled with emotion finishing it. I could not have done it without my running-mate KP who did it with me- trained with me for the last three months and cheered me on endlessly. (She pretty much cheered the whole marathon troupe on- we had people stopping to ask her how she had so much energy!)

(evidence that I did run it)

I also could not have done it without the husband as it has been his commitment as much as mine... As well as all my other super encouraging friends and fam. Some of which were there on the day cheering on us from the sidelines. What a difference it made!

(us and our medals and um... free stuff at the end)

And just to let you know I have not done much since. Haha worst 'down-training' ever. My one foot has been hurting so I'm resting it. That's what I'm saying. 

I went to a Coldplay concert on Saturday night here in Auckland. That was my other 30th birthday 'thing', besides the marathon. I spent my birthday money on the ticket and it was (so expensive but) totally awesome. I actually had some kind of awful bug the night before and was sure I wouldn't make it but I did! I loved it. There was confetti, blow-up lanterns, fireworks, lots of colour and they sounded great.

(Have to admit I sorta got nervous prior when I saw that they were coming on stage at 9pm and nowadays I am really trying to get ready for bed by then haha.)

Not to end on a downer but just on a different note, the last couple days have been interesting for me too as I've felt more emotional about the anniversary of one of the babies we lost (today, 12 November, 3 years ago).

This has actually quite taken me by surprise as I really have not been that focused on it. (This is my safe place where I say stuff, so it might seem like I talk about it a lot if you are reading my posts in one sitting ever.)

But God has really shown me His love through loss and I do cling to that. I just find it curious that it doesn't take much for me to feel that deep heartache- such as when I'm playing with Toby and realise that I won't get to know Baby N like this... or a song that reminds me...

Anyway. Bought beautiful flowers today to commemorate the memory. Looking forward to seeing the peonies bloom. Yay!

Life in general is good but filled up with just normal life things! How do people do it? I'm obviously such a terrible juggler of roles. I haven't even showered today- thought that was supposed to be a 'mother of newborn baby' problem! (9pm right now people.)

I think because I do things like run people think I'm a super-mom. Honestly the comments I got from achieving that marathon-goal were of course lovely to get but also a little misled maybe!

Life is messy. My house is messy.

I love it though. I love having Toby and being able to be his mother. Thankful for that definitely.

How are you doing?