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Clover Joy


Boy, it’s been a while. Almost half a year. About enough time to break the silence, I suppose.

When I wrote my last blog post, we had already done an IUI and I was on all sorts of fertility drugs to help ensure and maintain a pregnancy.  I’d been seeing a chiropractor for months and was doing acupuncture.

And of course I repeated the pineapple trick to help soften up my lining for optimal implantation if there was a baby.

Toward the end of our endless two-week-wait to find out if the IUI was successful, I ran across this photo in my Facebook memories and shared it for Saint Patrick’s day.

I found these beautiful four-leaf clovers when I was newly pregnant with Joshua, after a lifetime of searching for them, and trying to conceive him. I mentioned on my share and that I was waiting again to find out if I was pregnant, and a friend said I should go see if I could find another. So I did, and my heart was beating wildly the entire time. Like this was the pregnancy test or something, LOL! And I did find one. The awe and joy I felt, you would have really thought I was looking at a positive pregnancy test.

I was astounded and overjoyed when I got my first positive test soon after finding that little clover. So excited! I tested early on a dollar store cheapie test, and the line was so light I practically sprained my eyes trying to see it, but it was there, and a line is a line!

I dressed Joshua up and took pictures and made cards to tell Dennis and our close families about the baby. I surprised him the next day with this card on the fridge, with a darker positive test inside.  He was just as astounded as I was. Because while we were taking actions to achieve this pregnancy, having been disappointed so many times, it’s hard to really believe it’s true when it actually works.

I was in bliss for about a week. Until the day before Easter, and I started cramping and spotting just a teeny tiny bit.  But a bit is still blood and it was scary.  I didn’t feel well.  We were travelling for the holiday and I was so upset, thinking that I might miscarry while we were at my in-law’s home. I was scared but still hopeful, as I remembered cramping a lot with Joshua in the first weeks of pregnancy.

When I woke up the next day, I felt much better, I wasn’t cramping any more and while spotting a little more, it was really very little. Like a dime-size amount at the end of the day. Not enough to spell disaster, or so I hoped.  We had a very nice Easter with Den’s family.  We came back home that evening and the next morning, I went in to get my second beta to see if my numbers were doubling properly. My first beta number was a lot lower than with Joshua so I had already been scared before the cramping and spotting.  I was on pins and needles to know what was going on.

Before we left, Joshua touched my stomach and said “baby.” We hadn’t breathed a word to him about the pregnancy and it caught me by surprise. I now feel like it was a special moment between siblings, where he recognized the child at the end of its life. He hasn’t mentioned a baby since.

After my beta, then the more than just spotting happened. I bled more than a normal period, but since there was hardly any cramping, I still managed to hold out hope that all was well.  I got a call with the beta results, and the number had increased, but had not quite doubled.  Depending on the standard being followed, it still fell into a normal range, but they wanted to see it completely doubled. So I had to return in two days.

I was in complete denial at this point and was convinced that the bleeding did not mean a miscarriage, and that our baby was still hanging on for dear life.  I couldn’t imagine or accept that the thing we’d wanted so much and had done everything we could to get, could be gone after only having it a few weeks.  But it was.  At my next beta, my HCG had dropped from 234 to 40. And that’s when I knew, I really had lost the baby on Monday. And I still had to go back to get another beta because they monitor the number back to zero.  Going in just to watch the number go back to zero, the number I’ve been at most of my life, was really hard.

Losing that baby, despite only being just shy of 6 weeks pregnant, was really hard.  It wasn’t only losing something I really loved and wanted, that was hard enough. It was also losing something that we put SO much into. Our hopes, dreams, energy, prayers, and money.  Money that we’d worked months to raise, along with a lot of our own money.  We weren’t the only ones invested in this dream, our friends and family now knew so much about our journey and our struggle, and they were following the journey, praying for us, and had donated money to help us.

It was also knowing it was our last shot that made it difficult. Saying goodbye to the only chance we had for a sibling for our son.  We put so much extra into this single attempt, things like a $500 prescription for Crinone that I barely touched, that by the end, we had nothing left for another try.  While my brain frantically raced to figure out a way to try just one more time, feeling that I could bury the pain of loss with another pregnancy, we both knew we were done pouring money into the attempt, that we had to stop.

In the depths of my grief, I cried to Dennis, “I wish we’d never tried.  Why did we have to go through all this just to lose a baby?  If we hadn’t tried, this never would have happened, and we could have done something practical with the money, like get new carpet. ”

Dennis replied, “But if we had given up years ago, we never would have had Joshua.”

So true.  So true.

We decided to name the baby, as friends who’ve suffered miscarriages advised that it helped the healing process.  Of course, we can’t know the sex of our baby, but we felt it was a girl. I’ve wanted a girl since I was a little girl myself, and losing this chance makes the loss all the more difficult.  I lost my dream.  The one I’ve had almost my entire life. Gone.  I’m fairly dogged about achieving my dreams, so this is possibly the hardest part of losing our daughter.  That we were so close, and I was grasping the dream, until it turned into smoke in my hands and disappeared.

While we probably wouldn’t have given the name to a living child, the name Clover Joy came to mind immediately.  For the tiny little tattered four-leaf clover I found that felt like a whisper from God, before I even knew I was pregnant. And Joy for for Dennis’s Grandma, and also because of the Joy she brought us for a short time.

A group of dear friends pooled their money together and bought me this necklace, which rests against my chest while I type now. It’s so special to me to have this reminder of the baby that I never got to meet. To have this necklace close to my heart, when I can’t have her. A physical thing that says she existed. And she mattered.

Our beloved church family gave us a pink rose bush to remember her by which is just as special to me. I don’t know that many would even consider losing a baby at five weeks a real loss, but they never questioned my grief. They empathized and validated my feelings, and I’m thankful for that.  To have this rose bush grow year after year when I can’t watch my daughter grow, it’s a comfort.  It’s not a replacement, but it’s a comfort. Validating her life is a huge comfort as well. She was real, and she mattered.

My sweet mother-in-law, who I can’t say enough good things about, brought me these wind chimes to remember our angel baby by.

I don’t know why we got to have her only to lose her so quickly. I don’t know why. But her brief existence has helped me find a peace with having an only child that I couldn’t find before.  Her life brought a sense of finality to our journey.  Without her, I would have felt unbearable unrest for the rest of my life. I would have always wondered, “what if?” if we hadn’t tried. And felt uneasy that we didn’t give it our all. But we did. I wish down to my down marrow that I could have kept her and held her and watched her grow up, but her life was not in vain. And she will not be forgotten.

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Iron-Woman Ginger Cake


I don’t usually post on Saturdays, but I’ve had the honor of being a guest contributor for whattoexpect.com, a site I go to every week to see my baby’s progress!  I really hope you will visit to check out my recipe for Iron Woman Ginger Cake.  It’s so nice to have healthier options (especially ones that taste good) during the holidays, and this cake definitely fits the bill!

XOXO,

Veronica

37 weeks: he mooned us!


Joshua mooned us last Monday!

How cute is that tooshie?! :)  He’s weighing in at 6 lbs 12 oz (an estimation based on the sonogram), which is in the 80th percentile for his gestation, but otherwise measuring right on schedule.  My doctor was happy with how normal everything is, as he was expecting a larger baby (can they really get larger than this at 36 weeks? Yipes!) with more fluid because of my diabetes but everything pretty much looks like it would if I wasn’t diabetic, though he  might not be as large. He’s not pushing me to induce early, at least not yet.  I really would prefer to let this baby come in his own time if possible (I think God knew what he was doing when he gave women a 40 week pregnancy-lol), so I’m OK with that, but the good news is that I’m finally feeling (almost) ready for him if something happens or I have to be induced.

Speaking of my diabetes, I had another A1C test (a test that determines your average blood sugar for the past 3 months) and it was 5.6, which translates to an average blood sugar of about 111 (90-100 is normal) and last time it was 5.5, so I’m still rockin’ it!  Before pregnancy, my lowest A1C was 6 but usually closer to 7, so I’ve really stepped it up for baby’s sake.  I really didn’t think I could lower my A1C like I have because I hate the low blood sugars that come with trying to keep them at a normal level, so I’m pretty proud of myself! It hasn’t been easy, though, because you need so much more insulin when pregnant and I have to adjust it and increase it almost constantly.  I know this won’t mean much to non-diabetics, but if you’re familiar with insulin, it might shock you to know I have gone from 48 units (long and short acting combined) to 140 units a day now.  Yipes!

After last Monday’s post about my worries, this week has been a balm to my soul.  Not only because of your comments and my Mother-in-law’s reassurance (bless her!), but mostly because of Joshua himself.  It’s hard to explain, I just feel like I’ve bonded even more with him the last week (I think it really helped to see a brief glimpse of his face during the sonogram – it was so fat and sweet I just can’t wait to kiss those fat cheeks now!), to the point that I’m looking forward to meeting him more than I want to keep him inside.  Not that I’m eager for labor and delivery, just more ready for it.

And a cute thing I have to tell you about Jessie!  This girl hasn’t wanted to let me out of her sight the last couple weeks.  Remember the way she was looking at me in my week 36 photo? I think she knows it’s getting close to the end.  She will not let Daddy take her on a walk without Mama now, although she used to without a problem.  She doesn’t want to leave me at home alone!  Too bad she doesn’t realize that when I try to stay home, it’s because I really need to rest.  And I can’t go on a full hour-long walk any more (too painful in the hips/pelvis and back), but if I try to go turn around without her noticing, about five minutes later she’ll catch up, pulling her Daddy behind her.  And then yesterday she sniffed all over my belly, which she has never done before, and I looked at Dennis and said, “She better not be sensing impending labor.  You’re not allowed to sense that for at least another week, Jessie.” I haven’t packed my hospital bag yet!  #1 on my to-do list for this week.

The nursery has been modified a bit with some of the wonderful gifts we’ve received from my showers.  We hung the Joshua letters that Andrea painted, along with two picture frames we got from Jill through Joan’s Aunt Shower.  Do you love it?  Oh and the thing on the crib is a sound machine (lullabies, ocean, heartbeat, etc.) that also projects images onto the ceiling that go round in a circle for the baby to watch – it’s so rad.

Momma D had to come over to help me situate all the decals after Dennis and I removed them to make room for the letters.  I just couldn’t do it – I knew it would just be all wrong if I did because they were so perfect before! So she came and saved the day.  And brought something else with her…

Check out the red rug on the floor! Really helps tie the room together to have the splash of red down there.  I’d been planning to buy one myself, so that’s one less thing. Wahoo!

You can see more changes in this corner, with the second picture frame (the frames were gifts from the Aunt Shower from Joan’s friend, Jill), a diaper cake also from the aunt shower (I can’t bear to take it apart, but do plan to use the diapers–check out the aunt shower post to get a better look at it in all its glory), cloth baskets to organize the changing table from Phyllis, my MIL, a toy bag we’ve already filled (though some of them are my toys-lol), and a block box (also filled with toys & teethers).  You might recognize the truffula trees on the bookshelf from my Dr. Seuss shower!

Having the nursery almost completely finished helps me feel a lot more ready for Joshua.  I didn’t realize it, but knowing there was so much to be done in there was actually stressful and it wasn’t until the decals were up again that I felt relief.  Dennis still needs to fix the bookshelves and we have one more picture to hang, but it’s at a point where it feels done enough that I won’t freak out about it if I have to put a baby in the room with only those things left to do.  The room being ready helps me feel ready too.

Now to get the rest of the house ready.  As my friend Stephanie said she felt about her own home when she brought her new baby into it, it suddenly feels like a baby death trap! LOL!  It’s actually not too bad, just as long as we confront it we can have it ready in a week.  But there’s so much to do!  I gotta mail my cookie swap cookies, make friendship fruit cakes (my fruit was ready yesterday after the month-long process, but I didn’t have the time or ingredients yet) and freeze them so I have some Christmas goodies even if I don’t have time to bake after Joshua comes, update my pregnancy journal (because I know I won’t have time once Joshua’s here and I don’t want to forget my pregnancy before I have the chance to record everything for him…and me), make cupcakes for an order I have this week (I don’t talk about my cupcaking any more, but I’ve been doing it all along), and let’s not forget that all important hospital bag.  Plus I want make these and have them in the freezer for when I get home from the hospital, and I don’t even have aloe vera or witch hazel yet.  Or even groceries – I gotta go grocery shopping. And get gas.  Oh yeah, and work 40 hours and go to two doctor appointments.

OK, not feeling quite so ready now!! LOL!  I’ll be fine, but please pray for me. :D

30 weeks: earning my stripes


30 weeks as of yesterday!  And I made it all this time without stretch marks.  Until yesterday.

I’ve been using Palmer’s products (this oil from 3-5 months, and this massage cream to the present) in hopes they would help my skin stretch and I could avoid the stretch marks that run in my family (both my Mom and sister got them really bad with their pregnancies).  All the books and websites I’ve seen say there’s no avoiding them if they’re in your genetics, but I was hoping to prove those mean old books and websites wrong.

About a month ago, I noticed the old stretch marks on my hips were turning red at the tips (they are vertical lines that extend upward toward my stomach) and I knew that these weak points were starting to stretch further as my tummy grew. I started putting extra lotion on those and they haven’t really done anything but stay red at the tips.  But yesterday I noticed several red spots on my lower tummy that don’t look like stretch marks yet, but I can tell they’re the tiny beginnings of them.  So it’s happening.  I still have 10 weeks to go so it could get really bad, especially considering how big I am already, and that Joshua is going to be doubling his weight during this time, and I’m trying to be OK with that.

A cousin shared this on Facebook before I got pregnant, and this is what I think of every time I think about the stretch marks coming my way.  I can’t forget how much I would have given at that time to have a baby that caused these marks, or “badges of honor,” as I’ve started to think of them.  Having known the pain of infertility and the fear that I would die without children, I should wear these marks with a happy heart, because not every woman who wants a baby gets one.  These marks are just another proof of the blessing, even if they’re not as appealing as the baby itself.  :)

It’s this thought, that Joshua is worth these “flaws,” that helps me most.  He really is worth it, and so much more.

You know it.

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