Monday, December 28, 2009

New Year, New Goals, Same Me...

Wow it's been sooooo long since I've posted and entry and I must say that part of the reason is a new found gun shyness to posting anything online...why this apprehension??? Well, it seems that no matter how hard a person tries to not offend anyone... someone is offended. While I don't like to offend anyone and do not set out to offend people purposefully, it does happen and I am sorry for that. HOWEVER, I have come to the conclusion through a lot of prayer and encouragement from messages that I have gotten from readers (who I had no idea were readers) wanting to know when I was going to start posting again, that through this blog I am able to reach people outside of my immediate circle on issues that I am faced with and with the possibility that I may also be able to share Christ with those people. AND that through the people whom I have met via blog world, I am learning such valuable lessons as well. Thanks Dana, Jay, and Lauren and BTW I 'm so sorry I haven't been present lately!!!

So on the top of my New Years Top Ten is to try to look at the BIGGER picture rather than the single red pixel that is trying to distract me from the rest of the image.

And without further ado...here are the rest... (WOOO HOOO you know how I love lists!!!)

  1. See above statement...
  2. To be present daily for my family in body and in mind.
  3. To do a devotion EVERY DAY!!!
  4. To evacuate this downward spiral of spending and significantly reduce bills.
  5. To loose 30 pounds!!! I had lost 28 but gained 10 back over the holidays...sad face :-(
  6. To return to my old ways of organized and purposeful living rather than random chaos that has been our life since well, Jacob's death.
  7. To begin a prayer list and purposefully pray over those things at least once a week, but strive for every day.
  8. Keep in touch with friends MORE...yes, this means you!!!
  9. Forgive when it hurts so much to do so.
  10. Remember that my life is the example where someone might be looking for Christ.

What is on the top of your list???

I recently heard that 90% of Americans make New Years resolutions and only 20% keep them...I really want to strive to be in that 20% this year!!!

Have a Blessed Day and New Year!!!

April

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Thankful Thanksgiving...

It is early and me and the dogs and I are up while the rest of the house is still dreaming... I've been thinking back on a few things that have taken place over this year and Thanksgivings past and am awestruck in how things just keep changing...I've said it before and I'm saying it again...the dream or expectation of how our lives will turn out compared to reality is so eye opening and shows us that God is in control...we have free will...but only God knows...

With that and in remembrance of a tradition that Rhonda, my husband's oldest sister, started on my first Thanksgiving with their family...six years ago...I'd like to go around my table and thank those who have influenced my life...in no specific order just as you come to mind.

To God...Thank you for all of it...the good, the difficult, the grace, the love, and these people whom you have placed in my life...or me in theirs.

To Rick...I am thankful for your love. My whole life I watched my dad love my mom and dreamed of a love like theirs...the kind that others can see when they look at us while we don't know they're watching...you have given that to me and I hope that I have given that to you. Our friends joke that we are obsessed with each other and they pick on us for doing almost everything together...but I see that as them knowing that we are real, that we are bound to each other, and that it is us...in our bubble. In the end, after the kids are grown, the friends and family have walked out the door.. when it is just you and me...I will snuggle into you and feel your arms around me and you will know that you are my favorite... and I will thank God then, like I do everyday, for giving you to me. I Love you.

To my Dad...Super Man. I am thankful that you are the single most influential person in my life. Through your actions and expectations you have taught me strength, independence, loyalty, how to give love, how to receive love, never to quit, to stand and when necessary to fight, gentleness, pride, humility, forgiveness, and most recently levelheadedness...is that a word? I'm still working on that one. At one time, forever actually, I thought you unbreakable and all powerful, able to do anything and everything...somehow immune to the things that tear at the rest of us...like super man...then Jacob died and I saw you break. Through that I realized that you weren't unbreakable, but I also watched you, in your broken state, pick me, Rick, and everyone else up and carry us through to the other side and only when you knew that we were safe, did you allow yourself to be carried by God...no one else. I pray that I inherit that kind of strength too. God shows his strenght through you. You are amazing.

To my Mom...the engine that could...for a long time I didn't give you credit for your strength because you cloaked it in insecurity...I only saw untamed emotion. But you have taught me not to give up...to fight through the struggles...however unrefined and messy the struggle might be to just keep going. You are the tryer...is that a word?? You are the best example of the adage "learn from your mistakes". I've come to realize that my experiences with you growing up are in direct relation to the fact that you were in the process of learning how to do...well, everything...I know that sounds weird and possibly insulting, but what I'm trying to say is that I understand. Your childhood wasn't filled with the Betty Crocker cookbook memories or the Cleaver family holidays, so as I was growing and learning from you and dad, you were teaching yourself how to make those memories for us. Like the recipes, some turned out and some didn't, but you figured out what went wrong, then did it differently the next time, until it turned out good. I had a great childhood; thanks to you.

To Trystan...For being silly, smart, and stubborn. For standing for what is right even in the face of criticism. For your heart and the love that you give freely and the protectiveness you feel for your siblings and friends. For giving me something to look forward to as I watch you grow into a man. For loving your dad. For stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things.

To Tonya...I am thankful that you make me play. You keep me balanced. Anyone who knows me knows that I am driven...and driven people tend to be too serious...fun suckers as you would say. You have taught me to relax, take it in, and have fun doing it, within reason. Thank God for you, because Trystan was taking on my more serious traits and doing it to the extreme. You and I also share a common bond through different issues that we have both experienced in our lives and I love you for that too.

To Jenny...for your compassion and your God first take on life. In almost every conversation that we have, I see how devoted you are to God first and how ferociously you strive to protect your family. That you want to please God and do what is right...and you do it in a way that doesn't make others feel that you are judging them or that your choices are better than theirs...you just love all of us and are so aware of others.

To Chad...for proving people wrong and being the best example of God's power to change. I am so inspired.

To Breanne...for not choosing me. Ok, I'll wait so that you can read that again. Yes, I said for not choosing me. In my driven state...I strive to be the best at everything I do. In my life, (I am not being boastful in this statement) I have pretty much accomplished that...until now. I have worked hard to attain the goals that I have set for myself and have accomplished most of them. By you not choosing me, you have shown me that no matter how hard I try and no matter what I do...I can't be everything to everyone. That is a hard pill to swallow,but now that I am faced with it, I am learning how to fail and how to bow out. This is called humility.

To Lea...for being you...for calling me at 6:00am and making me get up and walk...in the rain.

To Tony...for knock, knock jokes and fitting in Trystan's pocket.

To Travis...for being different.

To Dana...for a different perspective. I have truly cherished the conversations that we have had and the way that you open the box and urge me to step out of it. I love you.

To Kedra...for being a fixture in my life. Though circumstances have limited our time together of late, you are my longest standing friendship. I have been here for almost 15 years and you have been my friend for 15 years...that is a blessing to a person who moved a lot and didn't have the chance to make the lifelong childhood friends.

To Ronnie...for worrying about us and for saying things like "the law"... that still makes me laugh.

To Carrol...for the time that you told me that you had prayed for God to send someone to take care of Rick and the kids. And that you knew without a doubt that person was me and that you didn't have to worry anymore because you knew I would love all of them and take care of them.

To Tracy...for calling and checking on me so often after Jacob died. I didn't feel like an outsider then...I felt like a sister.

To Rhonda...for being a person that Rick could turn to in times when the one he was supposed to be able to lean on wasn't there for him. For having the presence of mind to step back and find a new role when we were married. For realizing that as his wife, I am that safe place for him now. That I am here for him everyday, loving him, and taking care of him and our family.

To Brittney...for telling me that I am making a difference.

To my Grandpa...I really miss you. I have a picture of you that was taken about this time last year. It is one of my favorites. You are standing by our fireplace with your coat and stalking cap on because you had just come in from the cold and you have the biggest smile on your face...I just love it. I wish that I had taken more time that Sunday before you left and that I had given you a bigger hug. I remember about a week before that, after Trystan had mowed the yard, you were telling us how proud you were of all of your boys, how much they had blessed your life, and how much you would miss them. I had told you how I wish that you could go to God when you get there and ask him if you could send us a message to take away all question and fear about the unknown and you said that you would work on that...then a few weeks later, you did. I was always told how much you loved grandma and how you said that you would never leave her. That night that you left...I think you did go to God and ask him if you could send us a message that everything is true, that we have nothing to fear, and then asked him if you could bring grandma and He said yes. So you did. You didn't leave her. As a Christan, I know what God says about heaven, but as a human I fear the unknown...you have taken that from me and for that and so many other things that I can't see through the tears to type, I am so thankful to you. And by the way...I am working out more now and my stomach is looking better; I tried the higher heeled shoes that you said to try and my heel doesn't hurt anymore; My face isn't breaking out like it did when it bugged you so badly, so if you have something to do with that, thanks and keep up the good work. Also, If you wouldn't mind giving Jacob or Jake, if he is already all grown up, a really really big hug for me and his dad, that would be great... Tell him that if I knew what his favorite food was that I would soooo be making it for him today.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and have a blessed day!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Part Two...Beyond Reach and Beyond Caring

The Solution…Return to Faith in God.

So close, yet so far away...or closer than we think...

Okay, so even when Jesus (God in human form) was actually in the presence of human kind and could be touched, heard, and hugged; crime and sin were still rampant. Because of the original sin that was brought about by Adam and Eve, all of us have an innate draw to making bad choices…but can we really use that as an excuse to allow the decay of morality in our youth??? In my opinion…NO. God gave us free will to CHOSE our actions and the tool with which we can make ourselves aware of what is right and wrong and how to live …the Bible.

I love how the Casting Crowns song The Word is Alive includes a message in which the speaker, Tony Nolan, summarizes the legitimacy of the bible in a way that is awesome and thought provoking…


“The Bible was inscribed over a period of 2000 years. In times of war, and in
days of peace; by kings, physicians, tax collectors, farmers, fisherman,
singers, and shepherds.

The marvel is that a library, so perfectly cohesive,
could have been produced by such a diverse crowd, over a period of time which
staggers the imagination.

Jesus is its grand subject, our good its design,
and the glory of God is its end.”

One of our friends and a great speaker/preacher, Luke Bishop, spoke at our church this past weekend and one of the things he said stuck with me…”People look at the Bible as a list of rules rather than as a list of opportunities.”

I think that this is where we, as leaders, teachers, and parents as a whole, fall short. We’re taking the easy way out. Instead of standing for those things that are true and right, we bend a little, then the next generation bends a little more, then the trend continues on and on until there is nothing but wrong remaining. And we bend when it counts…


“Oh, will it really be so bad for Jonny to miss church this one time, I mean, he
really wants to go here or do this or play this…one time won’t hurt.”

Then the next time, they remember that we gave and remind us and convince us to give again, thus perpetuating the cycle. And we give for the happiness of our children focusing, not the big picture, not with the intentions that the whole of society with take a turn for the worse…

I’m not saying that church in itself is what is important, believe me there are times when I absolutely do not feel like going, but...God is what is important. God, Family, Church…and IF God was first in our lives (mine included), wouldn’t we want our families to grow to accept God, love Him, and in turn obey His wishes…one of which is that we assemble as a body of believers to praise Him…aka…go to church.

I am also not suggesting becoming Hitler incarnate…I am a firm believer in choosing my battles and I absolutely feel that if you put a choke collar on your kids while they are yours to “train”, they are very likely to run wild when the collar comes off. But, I do think that we can reintroduce a sense of morality, truthfulness, pride, and love back into our youth’s lives by following or at least finding out what the Bible says about raising and disciplining our youth and actively applying it in our lives.

In my search to answer so many of my “Why…” questions that arose from the earlier mentioned string of events that have taken place in my family’s lives, I began researching what the Bible says about raising and disciplining children and I ran across a site where most of the work had been done for me (yeay!!)…and now I’m going to share it with you…


What does the Bible say about child discipline?

The Bible has a lot to say about child discipline, particularly in the book
of Proverbs. As early as Deuteronomy 5:16, God's will that children should honor
their parents is made clear. This command, when obeyed, is accompanied by a
promised reward: "Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has
commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the
land the LORD your God is giving you."

As good parents, we know our children are a gift from God - a gift that
comes with responsibility. Our job is to raise them with righteous standards
(Psalm 127:3, Deuteronomy 6:6-7). Child discipline, then, is not about punishing
wrong behavior as much as it is about setting a course. Proverbs 22:6 says,
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from
it." Laying a good foundation is essential in raising loving, moral,
well-disciplined children.

First, let's look at what Biblical love is not:

It is not love to raise a child who lacks self-discipline and is controlled
by his or her desires, whether for attention, food, material demands and
entertainment, or seeking to gain something for nothing.

It is not love to allow a child to shrug off responsibility for his own
actions and not to accept the consequences of those actions. Nor is it love to
allow your child to manipulate, control, or justify his or her disobedience.

It is not love to carelessly or intentionally provoke anger in your
children. "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in
the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).

Now let's look at what Biblical love is and the proper way to train and
discipline a child:

Love is actively training and teaching our children - diligently
(Deuteronomy 6:6-7)! Put consistent and loving effort into being an active
parent, daily.

Love is providing for your children's physical needs. (2 Corinthians 12:14)

Love is applying with faithful discipline (Proverbs 23:24; 22:15; 23:13-14;
29:15; 29:17). Discipline with consistency.

Love does involve the promotion of biblical teaching to your children early
(Psalm 34:11). The best teachings are by example. Children imitate what they see
more than they do what they're told.

Follow God's pattern, as He disciplines us, for our own good (Hebrews
12:5-11). Be steadfast in correction, yet giving encouragement and praise where
it is due.

The Word of God, found in the Bible, is said to be a blueprint for life. In
it, we are given everything we need to know about being a loving and responsible
parent. Parents must realize that undisciplined children who dishonor their
parents will eventually bear heavy consequences for their dishonor and
disobedience.

As parents who love our children, it is our parental responsibility to
correctly raise our precious children. If we disregard our responsibility to
teach them, we are ourselves being disobedient children, dishonoring our
Heavenly Father. He loves us, as we love our children, and has entrusted us with
their care. As a parent, child discipline is your most important
purpose.

I truly believe that we can be active participants in changing the path that so many of our youth are on by just employing the ideas that God presents to us in His Word.

In my experiences, I have come to know that we are watched so closely by those around us that even if we have limited interaction with youth, our actions, reactions, self presentation, and views are absorbed like liquid in a sponge by those around us. It is the behaviors that we send out that are attributed to us, remembered, and mimicked.

If someone was turning your life into a movie…what would they remember about you? How would they act out your behaviors? Would you want to watch the reenactments of yourself and your choices or would you high tail it in the opposite direction???

My answer...some days are better than others and I hope that they would see that I try daily to effect their lives in a possitive way and to push them to strive for higher ground rather than giving them more negative examples that only lead to a harder and darker road.

Just a thought… Have a Blessed Day!!
April

Friday, October 23, 2009

Beyond Reach and Beyond Caring...

Previously, I have expressed some concern over the condition of today's youth in society...if I haven't done it here, I know I have had several conversations on the topic in real life and, in my opinion, this is a subject that should be burdensome to all of us, with or without children.

Before you read on...consider the following...I am not attacking children, teens, or parents, nor do I think that all is lost, but I am....well to be honest...I am searching for something and at this point anything that will allow me to positively influence the youth that I am in contact with (mine and yours).

My concerns are multi-faceted because I interact daily with youth of varying ages and in differing roles. Recently a string of events has taken place that have left me asking myself is it too late...are they beyond reach... or worse, are they beyond caring??

Listed in order of my time spent in that role, my interactions with youth are as a Mother, Teacher (7th - 12th grades), Youth Ministry Leader (2nd - 6th grades), and Friend.

Here are my major concerns...
  1. Why do most youth feel that they have the right to lie, manipulate, falsely accuse, cheat, and destroy???
  2. Why do most youth feel no remorse nor feel that they owe those that they wrong any kind of explanation or apology???
  3. Why do most youth feel that they are entitled and innately deserve to be handed anything that they desire???
  4. Why do most youth not fear....anything???

I have found that the easiest and most common answer to any of these questions is that they just don't have a good homes, parents, families, etc....I'm sorry, but that is a copout.

Before I began working consistently with youth I completely agreed with that generalized statement and as a parent I thought, well that exempts my kids because we love, care for, help, and raise our kids right....WHATEVER!!!

Now, as I continue to interact with youth from several variations of home life, social class, and in a professional or personal environment, I have come to the conclusion that while a poor home life and the separation of social class does have some effect on youth's moral development I do NOT believe for an instant that it is the main contributor. Why you ask...let me tell you...and yes, I'll put it in a list for you...I though you'd never ask.

  1. I have seen a person from a loving home with rules and expectations that equally offer praise and encouragement, and who do teach their kids the right things accuse they're parent/s of abuse because...well I guess they just felt like it.
  2. I have seen a person from a poverty stricken home offer they're lunch to a person who was hungry but forgot their lunch and had no money to get anything.
  3. I have seen a person from a prosperous home put on a mask of strength to get through the days of people accusing her of thinking she is "better" than them because she won't participate in their "extra curricular" activities only to go home and try to pick up the pieces from a parent who is less than stable and very volatile...then wake up the next day and do it all over again.
  4. I have seen a person from a prosperous home give the coat from their back to a person from a povertous home who was shivering from cold and have that person refuse it because it wasn't from a certain store and a person from a povertous home offer their coat to another and the other not take it because it was dirty.
  5. I have seen a person from an obviously abusive home lie to protect the very person that is abusing them.
  6. I have seen a person work so hard to achieve a goal, to be a leader, to go above and beyond for the betterment of their team only to be cast aside and the credit for their work given to a person or persons with little or no involvement at all.
  7. I have seen siblings grow up in the same loving home with the same rules and the same expectations and be two people who could not be more opposite in their views, morals, and lifestyles.

Some of these things are personal and some of these things are observed...but no matter...it is from these examples and others that I am able to draw the conclusion that home life and social class do have an impact but are clearly not the sole factor in the degradation of the morals of our youth. By these examples it is clear that manipulation, lieing, hatred, jealousy, judgement, and love occur across all lines of home life and social class, so if those aren't the causes...what are???

I know that I don't have all of the answers, even if I like to think that I do...I don't and in this arena I am certainly at a loss. So after the onset of the afore mentioned string of events, I was having a conversation with one of my close friends on this very topic...imagine that. Her husband, just happens to be our pastor, interjected and said that he had just been reading an article or something about the differences in youth a while back and now. The excerpt that he read went something like this:

In the distant past children were often treated as slaves to their
parents and parents were like slave drivers...children were
considered contributors to the family's household and
were made to work, work, work for their parents. Now, the tables are completely
turned and the parents are the slaves to their children and are made to work,
work, work for their children. Children direct the parents where to go, where to
take them, when to do it, what to buy them, tell their parents what they will
and will not do, and how or even if they will allow their parents to discipline
them.

As I was hearing this, I realized the truthfulness of the statement. I do not feel that it would be appropriate fro my child to be a slave to me, nor do I feel that it is appropriate for me to be a slave to my child. Both statements are extreme and both are true...so where is the middle ground where parents hold the authority but love their children and teach them limits expectations, and love; and where children challenge but respect authority, learn their limits, have expectations of themselves, and love their parents? Is it beyond reach? Are both parents and children beyond caring? Where is the breakdown and is reconstruction even possible??

Come back for part two...but in the meantime I'd love to hear your take on this.

Have a Blessed Day!

April

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nothing Like a Baby to Bring A Family Together

Yes, I said a baby...



Meet Sasha, our new baby girl...she is sooooo sweet and it's about time that I get to post some super cute, happy stuff here.

So here is how it went down...Rick has been hinting, well more like placing large signs everywhere, letting me know that he really wanted a lab puppy for about the last 6 to 8 months...while I, the realistic and logical one was thinking "hey I know who's gonna end up taking care of the puppy after the newness wears off...me that's who and I so don't have time for that" and employed the avoidance method. If I ignore it, maybe it'll go away and it worked...until last night.

I called my BF to let her know that I had a few things for her to pick up and she told me that she'd swing by on her way home from taking her son to look at puppies. A few weeks ago, their St. Bernard who was a bazillion years old, passed away. I was a bit surprised, but thought hey this could work for her son's birthday present as well...althoug I don't think she was intending to bring one home that night.

Later on she dropped by to pick up the items I had for her, so Rick was talking to her while I was showing the photo video that I created for the wedding reception this weekend to the bride when I hear ..."April, come down here...hurry...hurry". So I am rushing downstairs thinking that something bad had happened...and there it was...the new puppy and Trystan was holding her. Rick continues to excitedly tell me that the puppy is 1/2 Lab and 1/2 retreiver...an amazing mix of the two best kinds of dogs he assured me. Then as they are handing me the puppy and we are all cooing at it and loving the new puppy smell (seriously, I really do love the way puppies smell) he says..."AND their free!!!"

I had been pushed into the corner with the soft, fluffy, puppy and was being attacked with the pleads of the most important people in my life...what was I to say....so, I caved. An excited and victorious "Yes!" from both boys filled the air.

We got the number to the puppy person, called, they told us to come on out, and off we went...and here she is.
















We're all having a great time with her, and the best part is that she hasn't had an accident yet!!! WooHoo...more good times ahead...praise God!
Have a Blessed Day!
April

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What To Do Now???

Yesterday, I called Dr. M's office to let them know that I had started and the nurse then told me that Dr. M wants to double the clomid for this cycle and I was forced to tell her that we (and by we, I mean my husband) have decided to take a break for a while. I explained that even though we had only been seeing them for 2 months we have been trying to get pregnant for almost a year and a half. She was really great and said that she understood and that many couples feel this way after the first few months, then told me that if I happen to be late any month just call and they would order a pregnancy test for me.

They are so sweet over there. By far the most accommodating and hard working Dr.'s and nurses that I have ever been involved with.

So, I guess that I should feel relieved that I don't have to remember to take my temp every morning, and count days, and pee on sticks, and hold my breath for days to see if I'll be pregnant...but I'm not. After I told the nurse that we were stopping, I just wanted to sit down in the school's lunch room (that is the only place my cell works at school) and cry and maybe have a temper tantrum. Seriously, I just feel like Jacob died all over again....empty...hopeless.

God love my husband, I know he is upset about it too and then having to go to the cemetery for my grandparent's funeral and see Jacob's burial place right next to my grandparents didn't make this any easier for anyone. So I'm keeping these emotions to myself. He said that he has to protect me, which is very chivalrous...he's my knight in shining armor, and I love him for it...but I'm not ready to stop trying.

If this is an exercises in submission, I am determined to pass with an A, so I will wait because he wants to wait, but everything inside me is screaming out to keep going...the what if's are enough to drive a person crazy. So, I'll add another row of stones to my wall and deal with it myself and hope that this too shall pass.

Have a Blessed Day...

April

P.S. Lauren, I'm so sorry sweetie...I know exactly how you are feeling and I hope that you keep trying and end in success. God Bless!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We'll Praise Him When We Win or When We Lose

The test came back negative today...then 15 minutes later I started. We, well I cried, for about 5 minutes then got up and started moving. It just isn't God's will right now...and that's ok.

Do we still want a baby...of course; but our lives are not empty without one. We have each other and we have our family. God has a plan and when I prayed for His will to take place in this situation I meant it. Me being pregnant right now is obviously not in His will and I have to accept it and then move on.

Are we going to try the IUI again??? Not right now. The doctor told us that antibodies make it difficult to become pregnant, not impossible. Nothing is impossible with God, so if I am to get pregnant, I will, with IUI or not. If in the future we feel that we should give it another try, then we will, but not now.

Are we going to give up completely...um no. If you knew me at all and I said yes we're giving up, you would laugh in my face...Neither of us give up, but we are going to turn it over to God completely.

So, we will praise God when we win and we will Praise God when we lose. Today we lost, but God is still mighty, amazing, all powerful, and worthy of all of our praise.

Have a Blessed Day!!

April

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Prayer Is A Powerful Resource

I feel that a repeat of an earlier pray is appropriate at this time and must praise God when I realized that a particular portion of this pray has been answered. All of my medical exams came back as they should and I am healthy.

Thank You Lord for that answered prayer and please hear this prayer again.

Please God, forgive me of my many sins and help me to choose a better
path.

Please God, hear the prayers of my heart and take my fears away.

Please God, keep our family safe, together, healthy, and living for
you. Please God, don’t take me from my family.

Please God, fill the empty room down the hall with the gift of a
child.

Please God, show my children that the proper result of pregnancy is not
death but life. Don’t let their last experience of Jacob be their only frame of
reference that may scare them into never wanting a family or children of their
own.

Please God, fill the void I feel in my heart and in my arms with the gift
of a child. Please God, don’t leave empty the crib, car seat, stroller,
walker, swing, and bathtub that still lie unused in the loft of our garage. Fill
those items with a child’s coo, giggle, and cry.

Please God, give me the chance to see the look on my husband’s face as he
rocks our baby to sleep while singing a song, the smile on Trystan’s face as he
pick’s up a sibling so eager to be held, to see the smile and raised arms of a
child who just realized that mommy walked through the door; and let my ears hear
the ring of and excited “Mommy…” as a child runs to my arms. To see the healing
that will take place as my parents hold their grandchild and may it restore the
joy that they once held in you.

Please God, allow me to reach people with our story of Jacob, who is with
you; then allow me to be able to tell them of the blessings of the gift of a
child you sent to us after Jacob.

Please God, take away the feeling of uselessness as Trystan grows and needs
me far less than I need him. Take away the emptiness I feel when our house is
silent, void of the sounds of children.

Please God, help me to enjoy the new season of independence that Trystan
has entered instead of being consumed by missing his toddler days. Help me to
help him become the young man that you would have him to be.

Please God, help my doubt, my fear, and my impatience. Help me to remember
that my time is not your time; my ways are not your ways.

Please God, give me peace and joy in whatever result for my life that your
perfect plan holds.

Not my will Lord, but yours be done. Amen.



And thank you for all of your prayers in this matter. I am blessed to have such support in my life.

Have a Blessed Day!!

April

Monday, September 21, 2009

With GOD Nothing Shall Be Impossible...Luke 1:37

The test came back and...I need to go back on Wednesday and get tested again IF I haven't started yet.

The level was at 5.3 and anything under a 5 is negative so this is considered borderline.

PLEASE PRAY!!!

Have a Blessed Day!
April

Cautiously Optimistic...Lord Calm My Nerves

This was a rough weekend of which I will explain in more detail when the events come to an end, but today...today I am going to school and calling the doctor to schedule a blood pregnancy test.

God is hearing all of our prayers and maybe getting an ear full from both my grandpa and grandma who went home to be with our Lord this weekend.

Please pray that I do not start or spot, that I get the test and that it comes back positive, that I don't have a miscarriage, and that a healthy pregnancy will result in a healthy baby and mom!!! Oh and that I don't have a panic attack in the meantime...just thought I'd throw that in there too.

I am praying for all of you who are in the same boat that I am.

God Bless all of you and thank you for your prayers!!

Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What is the deal...Seriously

Just to let you know, this is a total vent session for me...and my feelings may be intensified due to the fact that I am tired and therefore grumpy.

Today, in one of my classes, I learned that a barely 16 year old in my school is PREGNANT. So again I ask, WHAT IS THE DEAL??? Even if I weren't trying everything in the doctor's power to get pregnant I would still be spitting fire right now. I mean what is with the world? Where are the parents? What is going on??? When is this going to stop??

I do realize that even with parental involvement kids will still make their own choices when parents aren't present, but @ 14 and 15 years old they should be worrying about getting their driver's licenses not how they are going to afford a baby and make it through to graduation. None of these kids, as far as I know, can afford their own cell phone, let alone a child.

Not only that but then when I had the girl in my class this afternoon, her friends were all like "Oh, I hope its a girl" and "Oh, look at your belly" etc...excuse me while I vomit.... So, of course, I pulled them aside and reminded them that the classroom is not the appropriate place to be discussing such matters, but what I wanted to say was not nearly that nice. The Lord was surely with me because if not I would have definitely let my opinions be known and would have probably gotten fired.

Last year one of the seniors got pregnant and downed a handful of BC pills to give herself a miscarriage and one of the juniors got pregnant and had an abortion. I am just really disgusted over the entire matter.

This type of behavior is effecting younger and younger children...CHILDREN...at some point the people in the generations are going to have to stand up and realize that the lives that their parents lived were not right and make better choices to put society back on track. If people would just open their bibles and read God's word and what He wants for us, how happy, safe, and content He wants us to be and just follow His requests, their lives would be so much better.

It just isn't that hard to do.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Be Carefull of What You Ask For...

In my last post, I said that I hoped to keep busy to avoid obsessing about whether or not I am pregnant...God answered.

On Wednesday, my mom had her gallbladder removed. She was sent home and everything was looking good. On Friday, I received a call in the middle of my 6th hour class saying that my mom was being rushed to the hospital by ambulance. I literally hung up on him and called our Principal to come and cover my classes then took off running out my classroom door.

I was so scared that I was getting ready to lose my Mom and was worried about my Dad driving the 35 or 40 miles from work to the hospital. He loves her so much and I knew that He would be feeling large amounts of guilt for going to work even though she had been fine for 2 days since the surgery.

My Mom and I have never been super close, and we don't see eye to eye on many, many things, but in that 7 mile drive from my school to the hospital, I felt sheer terror at the thought of loosing her. I believe that something in me changed at that moment; a transition from childish grudge holding over stupid things that happened in the past to a mature perspective of in the long run none of that crap (excuse my language) matters.

It turns out that she was having a complication from surgery and bile was leaking into her abdominal cavity and causing excruciating pain - yes, she was being very vocal when I got to the ER. Thank God for my Aunt, who stays home and was able to be there when my mom called 911 and stayed until she was transferred to a larger hospital in Springfield.

So, really really long story short. They inserted a drain tube through her liver to suction the bile out and ease the pain. She is still in the hospital and will have a scope procedure and either a stint will be put in to link the bile duct to the intestine or she will have to have surgery again to repair the leak. So my dad, my sister and me have been running back and forth in shifts to stay with my mom since Friday. I took the day off to be there during the procedure that was supposed to take place today, so my dad could go and get things arranged at work so he will be able to stay with her when she comes home. But the procedure was postponed until tomorrow...ugh

Did the Lord stop there...nope...He wanted to make sure I didn't have time to think about things...my Grandpa, my Dad's Dad, has cancer and is not doing well. After being in the hospital for 2 weeks, he was sent home with hospice yesterday. He had a really bad day and night, and this morning wasn't much better. Now he is being transferred to the same nursing home that my grandma, his wife, is in. Is this it?? Will he ever come home again??

Please pray for my dad and his brothers. They are all very close to my grandpa and this loss is going to sever a portion of their hearts. As it is, I can barely look at my Dad if he ever talks about it for the pain in his eyes. Loosing Jacob was so hard, but I didn't even get to hold him while he was alive, I can't fathom what it is going to be like to loose a person who has been present your entire life, I think it will leave a gaping hole. We do know that G-pa is saved and will be returning home to Jesus and he will get to meet Jacob before any of us, but it will still be a huge loss to all of us, but especially to my dad and uncles.

In the midst of all of this I haven't really thought about the IUI or the fact that I could be pregnant, but I did manage to remember that I had to have a progesterone level test today to find out if I did in fact ovulate. Results are in and the nursed exact words were "April, your test came back positive and Dr.M said that you DEFINITELY ovulated." Ummm....OK...what does definitely mean??? I mean seriously, that's like saying the steaks are done or the steaks are DEFINITELY done...there is a difference. Did I have one really big egg or did I release multiple eggs??? Does that mean I had more of a chance of conceiving??? Hello...could you be a little more specific?? Of course I didn't say any of those things, but I was thinking them!!!

According to my cycle, I should start on the 19th, this Saturday. But the nurse said they will wait 2 weeks from the IUI procedure to do a blood pregnancy test, which lands on the 21st (two days after I should start), so PRAY that I don't start and the test comes back positive.

In the meantime, I'm not asking for any further occurrences to take place that would help me to not think about things. Tonight we have a sports meeting for Trystan, Tomorrow I have class, Wednesday is Church, Thursday I have my first test in my class...I've decided that I am busy enough!!!

Although, I am thanking God for showing me how important my Mom is to me even in the face of past hurts and future disagreements.

Have a Blessed Day!!

April

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Please God....Let There Be Life

So...I could be pregnant right now. Yes, right now.

It is hard to describe what is going through my head; but truthfully I'm trying not to actively think about it. But it is there, always, lingering...what if??

So, me being the freak that I am, and I know that I am a freak, I analyze every pain, feeling, and hunger and compare it to the last pregnancies. Like "Oh, my lower back hurts, it's probably pms...I'm probably going to start my cycle soon" or "Geeze, I'm really tired, maybe I am pregnant." By the way...my analyzing is done in my head so that my husband doesn't keep telling me that I can't let all of that stuff control me...so don't tell him!! That part of my personality really drives him crazy, but he loves me anyway.

I am already really busy, so I keep myself preoccupied without much effort and I think that is for the best, otherwise I'd be on swagbucks researching myself to death.

Please pray that this round worked and that I am able to conceive and have a full, healthy pregnancy that result in a healthy and living baby. My husband taught our Sunday school class this past Sunday and one of the thing he said is that prayer is the most untapped resource we have and I am asking you to tap into it!!! God knows the desires of my heart and the hearts of all of His people and His timing is perfect, so I will trust in Him and in His timing; I just wish I had His watch!!!

Have a Blessed Day,

April

Friday, September 4, 2009

Good Lord, Help Me to Remember...Joyfully


My prayers of late have not revolved around a child lost or a child desired, but a man-child present. Trystan.

Trystan, Trystan, Trystan. WOW there is so much to say about my guy. I love him. There aren't even words to explain this...he holds my heart.


He drives me crazy. One minute he is asking how my day went while fixing me a drink at dinner time and the next he is bawling because he wants to do an assignment HIS way instead of the right way.


He is growing up to be a really good son, grandson, brother, and friend. He mows his Great Grandpa's lawn and tells him no when he tries to pay him for it. He hangs out with his big sister and his little brothers. He likes to go to lunch with his Grandma and fish and hunt with his Papa. He likes to fix things and wrestle with his Dad.

He still curls my hair in his fingers (like he did when he was a baby) if he is sitting by me while we're watching TV and he always calls me to say goodnight when he is staying at a friend's house...he even tells me he loves me.
He is soooo stuborn; but unyeilding in his beliefs and morals. He fights us tooth and nail about how things are supposed to be done and how he wants to do things, but he won't bend on his preferred bible even if they are using a different one at school.

Why all of this hulabaloo you ask...his first day of Junior High was last Thursday.

I know, right!! My baby...8lb 11oz, 20 inch long baby boy started Junior High AND he will be 13 in March. By the way, he is now measuring 5 foot even and will be nose to nose with me in only 3 inches!! Does anyone have a paper bag?!?!

Lord Help Me!

I know that all of you are laughing at me, and I am laughing too...NOW. But last Tuesday when I went to the orientation and met all of his new teachers, I thought I was going to have a panic attack and I cried the whole way home...seriously. But you'll be proud of me for what I did next...I sucked it up, put powder on to cover the tear marks, came into the house and told him how awesome Junior High is going to be this year. I saw the anxiety melt off of his face and he asked..."What do you mean?". Then I showed him all of the cool stuff that I got from the orientation. Then I waited until the next day to explain the new rules and work load!!
Needless to say the first week of school went off without a hitch. And on the second day he came home and told me how much he thinks he is going to like Junior High.

I guess I had built this milestone up in my head as some kind of doomsday. I kind of feel like my time is running out with him and if he doesn't need me anymore then what is my purpose??? I know, God will reveal that to me in His time, but while we are waiting, take a stroll down Trystan lane with me and you will see what I am remembering…and what I am so looking foward to.

















I am blessed beyond all measure for God to have gifted me with this child, now a young man, as my son.

Have a Blessed Day!!

April
















































































































































































































Thursday, September 3, 2009

How long is too long???

Ok, so as I am going to my college class tonight, I run into not 1, not 2, but 3 of my past students. This normally wouldn't be a bad thing, but as I saw the inevitable "Hey, Mrs. Cluck! Are you teaching out here? What's going on?" question coming; the feeling of impending doom set in as I had to, once again say "No I'm not teaching, I am actually taking classes....yeah I want to increase my certification level...ok, well, I better get to class...Have a great class and don't forget to study...bye"

Seriously, how embarrassing is it to be taking cl assess to earn a degree right along with the students that I taught in High School last year?? Thank the Lord that none of them are in my class, because I am pretty sure I would have to withdraw from the class!!

How is this possible...well, I'll tell you....I started out of High School at a communications company as a receptionist, then was promoted to a trainer. I trained state government and private companies on how to use their phone and voicemail systems. Then I moved to a technology training firm and became a Certified Technical Trainer. I took a huge number of tests on almost every program available and became a Master Instructor for Microsoft. Then I moved to a government office and became a network administrator, a fancy way of saying I controlled all of their computers. I also taught technology classes at our local community college for about 5 years. Yeah, I worked alot. I was a single mom for 6 years, so the extra money was needed. Then I was offered a job at a Career Center or Vocational Center teaching business classes to high school kids where I attained what is called a State Board of Education Vocational Teaching Certificate. The teaching certificate allows me to teach in a specialized field, meaning I can teach 6th -12 grade students as many classes related to technology as I want from accounting to graphic and website design, but I can't substitute for an English, history, or math teacher. Nope, I still didn't have a degree.

Then my position at CACC was reduced to part time due to funding, which was not good financially, and that is also the school year that Jacob passed, so when one of my friends called about the business and technology teacher opening at out local school district, I jumped right on it. I was hired and this will be my 2nd year at the school. I really love it!

So, yes I am a high school teacher with a teaching certificate and a ton of technical certifications, but without a "DEGREE". I don't feel that I am a bad teacher because of this fact, actually, I feel like I am better able to teach business classes having worked in the business world for so long before becoming a teacher. But I do feel lesser, personally, when I am in a group of my peers with 4 year degrees and I am not one of them and when my students ask me where I went to college and I have to change the subject. Hence my current enrollment in college. But really, when is it too late? At this rate I'll be trying to get my degree when Trystan, is enrolling in college or I might end up taking a class that is taught by a former student!!!

Lord, please light my path!!!

Have a Blessed Day!

April

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Epiphany Altered...

Alright, so maybe my epiphany was on the fanatical side...better to err on the side of caution right!?

This past Friday, I saw Dr. M to find out if I was pregnant, which I wasn't...sad face, then to have the endometrial biopsy to find out if the lining of my uterus is thickening enough to support the implanting of a baby. We find out about that next week.

After the biopsy, which I was really afraid of because everyone had told me how excruciatingly painful it was going to be but wasn't, I asked Dr. M about the studies that I had read on the Internet about ibuprofen. Here is what she said...

She has never read anything published in medical journals Which indicated that ibuprofen increased the chance of miscarriage that drastically, however, she does not recommend that her patients take ibuprofen around the time that they are ovulating because it can effect ovulation and implantation.

So, I plan to err on the side of caution and use the Epsom salt bath soak that Dana suggested and severely limit my ibuprofen intake. And I do apologize if I scared anyone half to death, but you saw the same thing I saw if you read the linked studies in my last post and I was scarred myself.

God Bless You All and Have a Blessed Day!

April

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Epiphany...

By definition an epiphany is a moment of striking personal realization or insight OR a manifestation of the Christ to the Magi (for the definition of magi…see the movie The Mummy – one of my personal favorites). Ok, so I am obviously not a magi – then I guess that definition number one must apply in this situation. But I am really leaning towards divine intervention!!

Last Thursday night, I was at my uncle’s house saying bye to my cousin Bobby, his wife, Shawna, and their kids, Kylie and baby Eddie. You may remember me mentioning that they were visiting from California in my Seven Down…Two to Go post. While I was there, Shawna said that it sounded like I was about over the summer cold that I had been nursing and asked if I had taken anything for it. In fact, I had broken down after 3 nights of no sleep, and taken some Tylenol Cold and Sinus (which did nothing) and on the fourth night of no sleep Rick was almost slipping Nyquil into my drink – apparently, I get a bit cranky when I’m tired. Anyway… Shawna, being a nurse, said that was fine as long as I didn’t take any Ibuprofen or NSAIDs (Motrin, Naproxen, Advil), just in case I am pregnant now and don’t know it. I know that it is not a good idea to take Ibuprofen while pregnant because it is a blood thinner and studies have shown that it can cause some pretty serious birth defects during the 3rd trimester. But, I didn’t really think anything more about the comment at the time and moved on to a new topic and of course playing with the baby while Trystan was coerced into playing dolls with 4 year old Kylie. It was hilarious and I am fairly certain that my son has a weakness for blondes because he is a pretty big guys guy and he wilted like a leaf when she smiled, gave him a big hug, and “please, Tistan” …but that is a different story.

After saying our goodbyes, we came home and went to bed. I actually fell asleep without a problem that night and didn’t even wake up when Rick kissed me goodbye before he left for work…it was amazing, I never sleep like that. At around 7:30am I sat straight up in bed, wide awake, with what can only be explained as an epiphany. You see, I have been having some pain in my right knee and left heel especially after working out, and since medications from the Tylenol family do not really work for me, I have been taking Ibuprofen. Probably since last November, I have been taking it to help with the inflammation and pain, once to three times a week on average, no big deal right…

So here was the striking realization… IF Ibuprofen is bad for you during pregnancy, could it have a negative effect on a person who is trying to get pregnant? I had never been told anything by anyone about not taking it if you are trying to conceive. I even looked on the bottle label to see if anything was listed there and I found the warning to pregnant women about refraining from using the product during pregnancy and the dangers associated with it during the 3rd trimester. So, I looked it up… God bless the internet.

Behold the epiphany was right on the money, hence my feeling that this may be divine intervention. I found several studies where Ibuprofen was shown to increase the chances of miscarriage. One of the sites can be accessed here. A miscarriage is defined as child loss before the 20th week, by my calculation that is not the 3rd trimester. Normally, the chance of women miscarrying a healthy and viable “embryo” aka “child” is 10-15%. These studies showed that the chance of miscarriage while taking ibuprofen increased to …are you ready…80%. Seriously, 80 %, that is an increase of over 65%. Ok, so does anyone else think that this information is kind of important …because I do?

In the third study I found by Otis, the organization that does all of the research on pregnancy and drug interactions, went further and stated that some studies have found that Ibuprofen has been found to inhibit (stop) a fertilized egg from implanting into the uterine wall. Um…ding ding ding we have a winner…the two miscarriages that I have had have been very early in the pregnancy…like I was only 4 or 5 days late and the pregnancy test came back positive, but when I went in for the sonogram they didn’t see and implanted embryo YET, which I was told is normal for that early of a time frame. Then a few days later, I miscarried. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like an implantation problem to me.

To be fair to everyone, there were other studies that found that there was no link between Ibuprofen and miscarriages and if any of you are reading this thinking “uh Duh, how could you not know this?!” then forgive me, but I didn’t know, nor was I told any of this information before I decided to look it up for myself.

So, in my guilt ridden state that my own ignorance could be the root of my inability to; I looked up the time period that Ibuprofen remains in the human body after ingestion. The answer is 12 to 24 hours and the dosage has nothing to do with the time period. I can’t remember the exact day that I last took any ibuprofen, but I know that it was right around the time that I first saw Dr. M, which was August 5th, so it should be well out of my system by now. And you can bet that I will be talking to Dr. M about this when I go in on Friday.

Have a Blessed Day!!

April

Friday, August 14, 2009

Summer In Review...

Well, this is my LAST official Friday of the summer; I go back to work on Monday. Then my college classes begin the following week, so the frequency of my blog entries may slow to a crawl, but I will try to make at least one post per week.

My larger goals for the summer were to decorate Trystan's room, prep for the new software and accounting lessons I will be teaching this year, clean out the basement, and go on vacation. I accomplished one out of the four goals...going on vacation. But as I was looking back over the summer, I realized that far more important things than studying and painting took place. Friends and family took precedence over the mundane daily tasks. So maybe I'll have to cram a few chapters ahead of what I'm teaching and maybe I'll have to do 2 loads of laundry instead of one each day to make up for skipping a few days, but the memories and time spent with my kids, family, and friends this summer are far more rewarding to me than an uber-clean house (not that the house was really dirty).

Some of my favorite memories of the summer are:
  1. Playing in the pool with Rick and Trystan. I love to hear my husband laugh and in the midst of all that we have gone through in the last year and a half it is an occurrence that takes place too few times. That day we laughed and laughed and laughed.

  2. Meeting Dana on vacation. She has become a dear friend whom I value greatly, and her girls are so huggable and cute!!

  3. Spending 10 fun filled and stress free days on vacation with my family.

  4. Spending days poolside with Tonya and her daycare kids. She forces me to relax and set the intensity aside for a few hours and to remember that kids are kids, not small adults.

  5. Cooking with Trystan. Those meatball subs were amazing!!

  6. Starting this blog and meeting you.

  7. Keeping Jenny and Chad's kids for a day. Swimming with all of them, watching them in a Wii tournament, and cooking with the girls was such a sweet reward.

  8. Watching Rick play football with Tony and Travis.

  9. Seeing the joy and accomplishment on Bre (14) and Trystan's (12) face as we loosened the apron strings a bit and let them have a little more freedom and independence. We let them go to the other side of town with a group of friends and stay out 'till dark on several occasions, and for the most part they checked in on time and were home on time too!

  10. Watching Bre, Trystan, Seth, and Tony catch a wild mouse that was living in the wooden railroad ties on one side of our pool area. It was hilarious, they caught it after two hours of trying different trapping techniques, we released it, and then I think it packed it's bags and left 'cuz it hasn't been seen since!!

So, I put together a Summer in Review slide show for all to enjoy!!!





By the way, the Noodle Sprinkler Craft that Dana posted was a great addition to our pool time and the kids loved it!!


God has truly blessed me in so many ways. I need to remember the blessings that are amidst the trials and trust that God is true to His word and blesses those that believe and serve Him.

Have a Blessed Day!!

April

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Seven Down...Two to Go

Since my last post we have gone through seven out of the ten initial tests needed by Dr. M, our reproductive endocrinologist.

Yesterday, I went in for a secondary exam and ultra sound with Dr. M's associate Dr. G. During the ultra sound he asked if Dr. M had mentioned a Fibroid on my uterus..."um, No". He wasn't really concerned about it but did mark it on the picture for future review. He was able to get a picture of my left ovary, which Dr. M wasn't able to do and said that either I have a follicle getting ready to release an egg or I have a cyst. Again, he didn't seem overly concerned. But now I am. The next two tests will determine whether or not I have ovulated and IF I'm not pregnant they will take a biopsy of the lining of my uterus. I really don't want to do that test because I've heard that it really hurts plus I will have to take a day off of work, so pray that I am pregnant. Both of these test are scheduled to take place next week. If I am pregnant then they will give me progesterone to support the pregnancy.

For those of you who are wondering why I am seeing this doctor, it isn't just because we want to have a child, but to figure out what is going on with my body. It isn't normal for any woman to have several miscarriages, to only loose 5 lbs in 6 months while working out consistently, to suddenly have acne that just doesn't go away, to always be tired but never able to sleep, or to have stray hairs popping up. So my position on this is that even if we don't end up getting pregnant, I want to know what is going on with me and to feel better.

A very good friend of mine is more than sceptical about me going through these procedures and her reasoning is that maybe God doesn't want me to have another baby, maybe next time I will be the one who doesn't live. She has the ability to voice my internal fears... it is eerie. While I love this person very much and value her opinion, I have to somewhat disagree with her. I believe that God has opened this door for me to walk through whether it results in a pregnancy or whether it prevents me form having diabetes or reveals that I have endometriosis, I need to see it through. However, there is a point where Rick and I have decided to draw the line; we will not be looking into invitro fertilization nor will I take fertility treatments that will force my body to release multiple eggs. We have both prayed about it and that is where we will stop. Perhaps we would be willing to take those steps if neither of us had ever had children.

Over the weekend and after talking to my above mentioned friend, I seriously questioned what we are doing and even considered calling and cancelling my appointment for yesterday. Then I spent a few days with my cousin and his wife who are visiting from California. They have a four year old daughter and a six month old son, who was born only 2 weeks before the 1 year anniversary of Jacob's death. As I held and played with Eddie, I realized that I was not ready to stop trying. It was not a jealousy thing in any way. I was just comfortable, not uneasy or panicky, just at ease. Carrying him around while I was taking pictures, fixing my dinner plate, etc.. just the everyday things that felt natural doing with a baby on my hip. And then came the snuggling, you know, when they lay their heads down on your shoulder with their little hands gripping your hair and shirt. I just love it and it sealed the deal. I guess that Rick noticed too because he said later that he was "ready" and that he "wants this to happen just as badly as I do".

IF God has decided that we aren't going to have another child, then we won't, and we will have to accept that. I am ready for that possibility, but I also have hope and faith that God will lead me down the right path.

On a separate note, a few people made comments about how comfortable I was with Eddie and he with me, and that they couldn't believe how calm I was and that I wasn't upset. My other cousin's baby was born in March and I just found out about it literally on Saturday. People just don't talk to me about babies. It is ridiculous. Seriously, people who have lost a child aren't really likely to have a mental breakdown while in the presence of a baby or while hearing about someone being pregnant or having a baby. At least I'm not. It kind of drives me crazy that people treat me like I'm going to crack at any moment. Sorry for that side bar, but it's true. If you know someone who has lost a child, ask them if it bothers them to be around babies or to talk about pregnancy or babies. Maybe it will bother them or maybe it won't; but I bet they will appreciate you asking.

Have a Blessed Day!
April

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ready, Set, Go...No, Wait...Ok Go

Two nights ago, after showering and washing off the day of Six Flags perspiration, I flopped into bed exhausted and ready to fall into a deep sleep. Alas, when I hit the bed all I found was restlessness, I could not fall asleep, and I hate that. I snuggled up in my favorite position next to Rick; with my head tucked into that nook area at his neck and shoulder, with his arms around me and ahhh…wide awake. I haven’t really slept well for the last year or so, but usually praying will help me to relax and I find that I fall asleep mid prayer; nope, didn’t happen. The culprit… August 5th, (imagine ominous music here) dududuuuu, Infertility Dr. Day.

I couldn’t stop thinking about what I would find out the next day. I was really afraid that Dr. M was going to examine me and tell me that I am forever more barren, that I have cancer, or some horrible and life altering diagnosis was going to be made. Irrational fear or cautious preparation, I prefer the second label, but either way, I wasn’t going to get the deep, restful sleep that I wanted that night. Instead I got the tossing and turning, up to the restroom 10 times sleep. Yay me!!

At around 6:00am I finally did fall asleep and dreamed. I can’t remember the whole dream, but I do remember that Rick and I were in the hospital with our new baby girl and I was attempting to nurse her, when the door opened and visitors came pouring in. I usually don’t remember a lot of my dreams and that is all I remember of that dream; but what hit me more than the visual was the sense of peace and lack of anxiety that I felt in the dream. Now, being the logical person that I am, I try to analyze everything and as we, Rick and I, were driving in to Dr. M’s office, I was trying to figure out if the dream was God answering my prayer or if it was the Freudian explanation of my Id expressing the strong desire to have another child.

By the way, my analytical tendencies absolutely drive my husband insane, so on this particular day, I decided to keep my thoughts to myself. I have been praying for the past year that God would either bless us with another child or that he would take the desire for a child away from both of us. Neither of us has lost the desire hence the trip to Dr. M.

We pulled up to the office and Rick looked at me and me at him and He said “Ready?” and I was like “Yes…No… ummm Ok” and we walked in together with solid resolve and determination…or something like that.

My husband’s faith is amazing, he is so strong in the Lord and just doesn’t worry; he just accepts that it is all in God’s hands. It drives me crazy and keeps me steady at the same time. I am so not that person. I have to constantly tell myself that God is in control and that He has us on this path for a reason. But where Rick stops and accepts, I keep digging for the reason.

This may be a long post…So here is what we found out…NOTHING. I’m not sure what I was expecting, I guess that I was expecting for her to look at me and through divine intervention be able to pinpoint the issue right there on the spot…instant gratification and unrealistic expectations, welcome to my life.

Don’t get me wrong, Dr. M was great. She was very thorough in gathering our histories and had already studied my file in depth. This made me feel like she was really paying attention and that we weren’t just another couple in a cattle call line. After gathering our histories she did a physical exam and internal ultrasound on me. She explained everything that was appearing on the screen and showed no signs of concern or approval (darn it). She was able to get great images of my uterus and right ovary, but my left ovary was not as cooperative and boy did it hurt when she was pushing around in there trying to get a good view. RED FLAG. After the exam, we went onto her office and I thought “OK, here it comes”, I may have even winced a little. She explained the 3 main reasons for infertility which are: 1 – Sperm Issues, 2 – Ovulation issues, and 3 – Scar tissue/Endometriosis. She didn’t divulge any suspicion of what is going on other than there is something that is preventing us from getting pregnant, Duh, but that it could be any number of things.

I derived from the information that she was giving us, from my symptoms, and the ultra sound that she suspects possible Insulin Resistance that can cause PCOS and possible Endometriosis on my left ovary. She also wanted to check for antibodies in Rick that are sometimes present after a vasectomy reversal. The antibodies essentially see the sperm as alien entities in the body and attach to the sperm disabling them from swimming. Apparently, sperm are kept hidden from the immune system and when a breach of the male reproductive system is made, say in the instance of a vasectomy or a reversal, the immune system becomes aware of the sperm and can decide to attack or ignore them. We also found out that work out or nutritional supplements that men use to aid them in gaining weight or building muscle, specifically containing any kind of testosterone booster will wipe out a man’s sperm count. I didn’t know that…did you? Guess what Rick takes!!!

Anyway, I found out that there is a whole lot more to getting pregnant than meets the eye and the plan is to systematically rule out possible problems one test at a time, but in a hurry, then wait and hurry again. Everything has to be done at certain points in a woman’s menstrual cycle.

THE PLAN:

1. Yesterday Rick and I both had blood drawn for the antibody test
2. This morning I had to rush a sample ala Rick back the Dr. M and have a fasting blood panel drawn from me to test for hormones, thyroid, and insulin resistance. We won’t get those results until next week. They will also combine Rick’s sample with the blood they drew from us yesterday to check for the antibodies and will complete a sperm motility test. Those results should be in this afternoon.
3. I started the Basal Body Temperature Chart today (day 10 of my cycle) and will continue to chart my temperature every morning before getting out of bed or even turning the light on. My temperature is supposed to drop on the days of ovulation and then rise until I start my next period. If I’m not ovulating (a sign of PCOS and Insulin Resistance) the temperature shouldn’t drop as expected.
4. I start using an Ovulation Kit tomorrow (day 12 of my cycle) and continue until the strip indicated a surge in the LH hormone that indicates ovulation. If the tests do not show a surge in the LH hormone by day 14 or 15, I have to call Dr. M.
5. Then they will perform a Post Coital exam, ultra sound, and blood pregnancy test, Pretty much I have to go in and have a pap test within 12 hours of intimacy. Umm Yuk!
6. IF I’m not pregnant by then, I will have an Endometrial Biopsy at day 26 pr 27 of my cycle, right before I am supposed to start my period. This tests the thickness of my uterine lining to see if it is thick enough to support a fertilized egg. If not I think they will start me on progesterone suppositories to thicken the lining.
7. More tests…to be continued
So, remaining true to my analytical tendencies, after church, I popped open the laptop and I researched the notes that the nurse took and tried to figure out what everything she told us meant. I hope I explained it well up above and provided the links to further answer any questions you might have.

I am not really confused, but I am more worried, and have more questions than I did before we went. For instance, if I have Insulin Resistance and have had it for sometime, do I also have the other serious conditions such as heart disease and will I develop full blown diabetes because of this? Will I have to take medicine for the rest of my life and if not will the medicine affect my liver increasing the potential for liver cancer? Will I have to take hormone therapy which also increases the chance for several types of cancer? As you can probably tell I am really scared of cancer.

Alas, through the research I have found that if I do have to take insulin medication, it is generally not forever and can be discontinued after loosing 5 to 7 percent of my current body weight. Apparently, maintaining a healthy body weight makes a considerable difference in how your body reacts to insulin and insulin has a direct effect on ovulation. If weight is kept at a reasonable level and I exercise regularly that will also keep me from developing full blown diabetes. One major symptom of insulin resistance is the inability to loose weight no matter how hard you try. The medication allows the body to absorb the insulin correctly therefore allowing the body to burn the sugar stores normally and in turn allowing the person to loose excess body weight.

So as it stands right now, we are on the path, to what end I have no idea, but again God has us on this path for a reason. Psalms 119:105 says “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”. A few years ago I heard a sermon in which the preacher asked what happens when you are camping at night and hold a lantern up? The answer is that the lantern projects light out a further distance away from the base and allows the camper to see further or perhaps many different paths that could be taken. Then what happens when the lantern is placed on the ground near the feet? The answer is that the light is only projected out about a foot from the base allowing the camper only to see their next step. I think that the verse means that if we stay close to God through His word, he will show us where to take our next step; only one step at a time, but the right step. For us to refrain from lifting the lantern and trying to see too far or figure out, on our own, which way to go requires faith, trust, and the ability to surrender control of our futures. That is what I am struggling with right now. As I have said before, I had a picture in my mind of my life and so far nothing that I pictured has happened how I pictured it and that is because GOD is in control, I’m not. Realizing and understanding that God is in control is not the problem, accepting that fact and relinquishing the facade of control is the problem. Fear of the unknown.

So even though I don’t know what will happen or what we will find out, I know that I can talk to God and that he will hear me and take away my fears (Psalm 34:4). I also know that God has opened this door for a reason and that if I wasn’t supposed to see Dr. M then Dr. R wouldn’t have referred me to her. I choose to hold my lamp low and follow His path one step at a time.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Have a blessed Day!
April

Thursday, July 30, 2009

An easy way to toss the chemicals and go green...

If you have read my profile on the sidebar, you know that I was inspired to take the leap and start blogging by Dana at Thoughts on Life and Dirty Diapers. Dana is an awesome person whom I am lucky enough to be related to (she’s my husband’s cousin), but since visiting with her and her family in June, I have really grown to admire and love her.

Since then, I have also been inspired to rid my home of as many chemicals as possible and go green. PLEASE don’t turn up your nose at the Go Green movement, I’m not a fanatic and neither is Dana. She tries to use as many chemical free products as possible while still being frugal and realistic. She is very down to earth…pardon the pun.

She has fought endometriosis for most of her life and those effects and symptoms have been largely alleviated through removing the chemicals from her home. Aside from that, who doesn’t want a healthy and clean home for their kids; and after reading an article on what kind of effects chemicals have on our children that can be found here, I was sold. Plus most of the natural and homemade products cost sooo much less than their chemical counterparts. If you have been teetering on this decision please read the following entries to her blog here and here.

So, go check out Thoughts on Life and Dirty Diapers, where Dana just happens to be holding a giveaway that might just kick start your chemical free home.

Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Call To Prayer...A Mom in Need

Have you ever felt like your world is going down an endless downward spiral?? I have, and for the past few days another mom blogger has been on my mind and in my heart. Her name is Emily and she is over at Mumblings from Troy Ohio.

I'm not sure how Emily found my blog, but she left a comment on my Why Ask Why post. From her comment I linked to her blog and started reading. What I found both touched and shocked me. See Emily had lost her baby girl, Leila, at 20 weeks and she was already blogging about what she was going through. It took me a year and a half to take that step. Emily has a husband and a little boy, Andrew, who are also dealing with the grief of loosing little Leila.

My call to you is to pray for her, send her a kind or encouraging word, let her know that she is not alone.

When I first "met" Emily, she was walking close to Jesus, leaning on Him for strength and there were glimpses of light in the darkness. But over the past weeks of following Emily, I am reminded of the many emotions that I went through right after Jacob's death and the fears of facing people. Of people looking at me and whispering to the person next to them, "hey, there's that lady who's baby died." I know too well how easy it is to let the darkness and despair come over you. The emotions are sometimes so overwhelming and it is so easy to just let the sadness overtake you and put you in a place where nothing else matters. She and her family need our prayers.

Emily, if you are reading this; here is my prayer for you...

Dear Lord, PLEASE hear my prayer for a friend that I have never met. I know that you are there with her and that you share her pain.

Please Lord, put your protective arms around Emily and infuse her with the strength that she needs. Whisper to her heart that you are there and that you hold her perfect Leila in your arms just as you are holding her.

Please Lord take her pain away and replace it with the knowledge that she will see her little girl again and with the hope that in time she will understand your ways. Let her know that she is loved and feel that she is needed.

Please Lord, lay it on other's heart to pray for her, to reach out to her and her family. Send her a person who will help her to laugh again as you sent those to me. Give that person the strength to pull her up by her bootstraps and show her how to walk again.

Please Lord, help her to overcome the fear and sadness that threaten to overcome her. Help her to open her eyes and look into the eyes of her family and know that they need her.

Please Lord, call her close to you that she may feel peace in a raging storm.

Amen
Psalms 34:4: "I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears."

Have a Blessed Day...