Friday, April 22, 2011

Good News...FINALLY!!

As far as the title goes, I should clear up a few, I'm not pregnant, no, I haven't lost 100 pounds, no, I haven't found a cure for people who say stupid things without thinking, and no, I haven't found a million dollars just lying around the house. (Hee-hee!)

I do have good news though.  First, I was nominated for this blogging award by one of the ladies who follows this blog.  That's just cool.  It makes me feel like an adult--(now if I could just be as tall as an adult...) I'll get back to it in a second.  But my BIG good news is this...I FINALLY GOT A FULL-TIME JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I would do a flip, but then I'd probably end up in the emergency room.  I'm still going to be a Paraprofessional--or teacher's aide, but at a larger school, and FULL-TIME.  I'll be working with Special Education students in the high school and helping them both with their academics and with job/life skills.  I went in for the interview and the lady told me that I was one popular woman, because she'd had a TON of phone calls and e-mails from people telling her how good I would be for the job. (Thanks people at church!)  I didn't tell anyone to contact her, but my church knew I was hoping to be considered for the position.  Anyway, I make it official on Monday after I talk to my current principal.  It's just sooooo nice to be offered a job after an interview.  I have some of my confidence back.

OK , back to this award thingy I got.  I'm supposed to link back to the person who nominated me (which I don't know how to do--help!), then list 10 facts about myself (okey-dokey), and then nominate other blogs that have touched my heart. (which I would do, but most of them have already gotten this award, and the others are private blogs--soo once again--help!)
Here goes:
1.  I am three inches taller than the mandatory "you should be in a booster seat". 
     Amazingly enough, I can still drive well and see over the hood of my car.
2.  My husband is a foot and a half taller than me--which points to God's sense of humor!
3.  We have a cute dog and two cats.
4.  I enjoy crocheting, knitting, needlework, reading, writing, gardening, basically any
     type of work that allows me to be creative.
5.  I'm one of the pianists/organists at my church, and I pray every week that the organ
     doesn't blow up while I'm playing it!
6.  I'm amazed by the love the FATHER has shown me these past few years.
7.  I find beauty in the small things--the wings of a sparrow, the sunset, the face of a child...
8.  I intensely dislike housework.
9.  I'm waiting impatiently for the yard to dry so that I can get started on the garden.
10.  I believe that children are one of God's biggest blessings...and continue
       to be surprised by those who take them for granted.

As far as the rest of the challenge---I'll do it as soon as I learn how.  But thanks very much for the honor.  And..........I'VE GOT A FULL-TIME JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Doing Difficult Things

I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to difficult things, I'm a waffler.  Some difficult things I see as a challenge and then do them just to prove someone wrong, while with others I just don't do them because it seems too hard.  I'm going though some difficult stuff right now and I'm having to work really hard on my motivation to put everything in category one instead of category two.  It's hard, especially when some of my hard stuff seems so easy to others.

Under category one, I have the ongoing issue of borrowing the tiller.  My grandma owns a Mantis tiller.  She is one inch taller than me, weighs 90 pounds dripping wet, and is 90.  I was able to borrow the tiller last year because I lied and told her that my husband would be running the tiller.  If I ask to borrow if, she says she'll just come over and do it because I'm "too little" to run the tiller.  I don't get it either, but I'm waiting for it to stop raining every other day to go over and ask to borrow it.  It's hard work to till the garden and the new flower beds, but I'm willing to do it because I want to honor the memory of my daughter and to be productive with a garden--it keeps me busy and helps me get out frustrations!

One of the difficult things in category two that I am in the process of overcoming is the church nursery.  I was all ready to help out two years ago when I was pregnant.  I signed up to be on the rotation, but the first Sunday I was supposed to help was the Sunday right after I miscarried.  No one noticed that I removed my name from the roster, and no one ever asked me to help again.  It's been two years, and I'm finally to the point that that room isn't too scary for me to be in it.  It helped that a couple in our church has started a marriage Bible study group, and no one volunteered to help them out with childcare.  I asked if they needed the help, and so Friday night I found myself alone in a room with an 8, 15, and 18 month old.  I try not to think about it too much, but the 18-month old is the same age mine would have been.  I did fine, I mean, I was a nanny in college, I'm a certified teacher with a certification for K-12, and I genuinely love kids.  It was just a hurdle to get past.  I'm going to be doing it again tonight, and I hope to have some more little ones to watch.  We'll see.

As for the things that are still bothering sister is due to deliver her second son in a little over a month, and I'm still not ready to deal with that.  I was OK when my brother and his wife had their little girl, and I didn't get too bad about holding her (partly because I didn't get to meet her until she was 3 months old, and partly because they weren't worried that I'd drop her).  But my sister is a different story.  When her first son was born, I got to hold him in the hospital, my heart melted, and my husband and I began talking about starting our family.  Then I got pregnant and miscarried.  During that time, when my nephew was about 3-4 months old, he got to spend his first night with grandma and grandpa.  My sister left three pages of instructions about his care, and right there in the top 20 instructions was the one that said I was not to hold him "because she might drop him".  I have balance issues.  When I'm tired.  It was like a slap across the face that she thought I would hold a baby when I was dizzy.  My mom had me hold him anyway, and my mom was the one that made me hold him after my m/c.  I know I'll fall in love with the new nephew too, but I don't think I can deal with "instructions" again.  I guess there is a part of me that's afraid that if I touch him, something will go wrong and I'll be blamed for it. 

So I've got a month and a half to work on my attitude regarding the new nephew.  I think my parents will be upset if I don't go see him in the hospital or within the first week of his life, but I don't know if it's a good idea to touch him until he's older.  Who ever heard of it being difficult to just hold a baby?  I mean, that's what women do, right?  Of course women are also supposed to be moms just like that and we all know where I am on that issue.  Ugh.  I'll get there, I'm just going to need to reallllllly lean on the Lord for this one.

 I also still need a job.  I'm to the point where I just want to walk into a superintendent's office and say--Just pay me that wages of a first-year teacher.  I don't have to be paid like a 10-year teacher.  Almost every job I applied for last year, they told me I was the best interviewee, but then they hired someone right out of school.  It stinks.  I haven't heard back from one school yet this year.  It's getting disheartening.  I know it will work out in the end, but this is year two of the job thing too, and I really need good news in that front, too.  God will provide, He will provide.  If I just say that long enough, it might sink in and help to relieve some of that stress.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Starting Over--Take 26

Just as I body was just messing with me.  My period arrived in all her glory on Saturday evening--only with a twist.  Because of my PCOS, I live in agony for the first 36 hours of my period--I always have.  If I catch the cramps early, I just feel like death warmed over.  If the cramps sneak up on me, say like in the middle of the night, no amount of Aleve can make me feel human.  And that's the prescription strength dosage!  The only time I haven't had killer cramps was when I was on birth control pills.  And birth control pills  (wonderful though they were for the months I was taking them) are generally NOT recommended when trying to have a baby.

Where was I?  Oh yes, this cycle.  This time, no cramps--well, I took a couple of Tylenol and that was it.  Anytime Tylenol can work, it's not real pain, at least for me.  So I decided that my body has totally revolted.  The few upsides to this journey include the following facts:  I now know EXACTLY how a woman's body is supposed to work, how mine isn't, and how taking your temperatures helps to pinpoint exactly when your period is supposed to come.  For some of you this may sound crazy, but when your period only comes every 4-8 weeks and never predictably, this is a wonderful invention!

This cycle I'm trying some new things.  First I ordered some soy isoflavones.  They are supposed to work similarly to Clomid, only MUCH more cheaply!!  Apparently here in my neck of the woods, soy is considered a specialty item, so I had to do the online thing.  I also ordered some PreSeed, just to see if it helps.  At this point my reasoning is to try the cheap stuff first so that when I'm able to go back to the doctor, I can tell her that I've tried x,y, and z, so that we can be more aggressive in TTC if we need to be.

So, here's to a new cycle, new things, and new chances.

Friday, April 8, 2011

New Day, New Thoughts

This week has been much better than last.  Spring is FINALLY here, and my hubby got me flowers today.  They were daffodils from Grandma's garden--and they smell AWESOME! 

Even though we're in a financially-induced break before starting medications, we're still trying to have a baby.  This month has been really hard to wait, partly because of everything else going on, and partly because my cycle has decided to be wonky again. Darn you, PCOS!  Anyway, every month since I started charting, I've had a ovulation dip--ONE Dip--then a fairly steady rise in temperature until three days before my period.  This month, 3 dips before ovulation, then a sharp drop seven days post- ovulation, followed by three days of rising temps.  Some women would view this as a hugely positive thing...I'm just annoyed with my body now.  I've spent entirely too many months of feeling pregnancy symptoms during the two-week wait, so having this kind of news just makes me want to say to my body, "No more April Fool's Pranks!"  Sheesh!

As for last week.  I know that we weren't forgotten in our sorrow, but it was hard not having anyone around.  I was really needing to hear from someone outside of my husband on that day, and was disappointed when it seemed that the rest of my family had forgotten.  I know most people tend to not say anything out of respect for sorrow, but I'm not most people.  I do better when others DO say things to me about remembering stuff.  Maybe it's because I'm little, but the fear of being forgotten is bigger than the sorrow of remembering.  I find that I'll get into a bigger funk about things if I think I"m being forgotten.

So this weekend?  Enjoy my flowers, enjoy a date night with the hubby tomorrow, watch some NASCAR, and wait for my yard to dry out enough to start working in the garden.  And one more thing:  REMEMBER that Easter is Coming!!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Anniversary No One Remembers

I have a confession to make.  I've actually stayed away from this blog so that I could re-focus my life and not spent too much time thinking about the unfairness of life in general.  But today I return, just to make sure that someone knows the importance of today, and so I can pour out my soul to someone besides God.

It's been two years.  Two. years. 24 months, 104 weeks, 25 cycles.  I could add up the hours, the minutes, and the seconds since the worst moment of my life, but suffice it to say that I'm not ever going to forget it.  What was it?  IT was the day I lost my baby.  The day when I saw all of my hopes and dreams disappear in a haze of tears and gut-wrenching sobs.  It was the day when I went from morning sickness to soul sickness, when I went from dreaming about holding my baby to actually holding everything that was inside of me with bloody hands, wishing desperately that I could just put it all back in.

Being pregnant was the most wonderful thing to me.  I was nauseus and bloated, but I loved it.  We had just gotten to see our baby on an ultrasound, and she was a sight.  She was bouncing around doing somersaults and kicking, even though I couldn't feel her yet.  The ultrasound tech even commented on how active she was, and it took a bit to measure her heartbeat because of her activity.  I was so relieved, because the doctor said that once you got a steady heartbeat, the chance of miscarriage dropped to 5%.  Two weeks later, I was sitting in my bathroom, bleeding and crying and knowing that that statistic was a lie for me.

I remember sitting in a stupor for three days, then having to go to the doctor because my bleeding wouldn't stop, nor would the cramps.  The power went out in the doctor's office, so I had to be taken to the hospital--an hour away.  We waited in the ER for 6 hours, just to be told that everything "looked normal" for a miscarriage.  My admitting doctor was 8 months pregnant--how's that for a kicker?  My friend the ultrasound tech had the unfortunate honor of confirming what we already knew, and he told me how sorry he was for my loss, and that he would pray for my healing.  Someone who didn't even know me had more compassion for me than some of the closest people in my life.

The kicker that night was that I was sent home with paperwork that said I had suffered a "spontaneous abortion".  One definition of that is "the body chooses to reject the fetus".  I for one DID NOT CHOOSE TO REJECT MY BABY!!!  It made it seem like it was all my fault, and a large part of me feels that it was.  I was responsible for the safety and welfare of my baby, and I therefore am the guilty party when it comes to her death.  Oh, I know, I have no way of knowing that for sure, but it's the dirty secret that keeps pounding through my body.  Abortion--a word I never wanted associated with my name.  They should have a different name for what happened to me, because I knew I had a baby, she wasn't a blob of tissue.  I would have died so that she could have lived, but I wasn't given that choice.  I don't care if she did have physical issues (although the ultrasound showed her as perfectly healthy), she was our baby and she was loved.

What did I hear from those around me?  My students just gave me hugs, and told me I could adopt them.  They were the sweetest kids ever.  Some of my co-workers prayed for me and hugged me, and most of my family made a wall of comfort around me.  My church family just surrounded me in love, which is what I most needed.  But that wasn't all I got.  I also had plenty of people who said, "Well, at least you know you can get pregnant." or "You need to just forget this ever happened." What?????? Forget I carried a life within me and that due to me she didn't get to breathe a breath of  air?  My personal favorite was "Did you find out what you did wrong?"  Because I wasn't feeling enough guilt about my role in the loss?  I was also told to "just get over it." I got told that a week after my loss.  How's that for a kick in the head?

So I "got over it". I picked myself up and my husband and I have weathered two rough years without her.  And we're the only ones who remember her.  I still dream about what she would have looked like.  I wake up in the night with aching arms because I dreamed I was holding her.  I look at every child that would have been her age and wonder about the life milestones we're missing.  My heart breaks anew each time I see my nephew and niece together, because ours would have been the middle stair-step between them. 

This year's anniversary has been so much worse than last year's.  Last year I was so busy working at school that I didn't have time to grieve.  Last year I had just been diagnosed with PCOS, and I was so hopeful that the diagnosis was the "magic pill" that would allow me another chance at motherhood.  Nope, wrong again.  It just seems like I can't catch a break.  I've even gotten to where I preface conversations with "since we can't have kids", so that no one else reminds me that I'm still childless.

I guess it's just the "aloneness" that a pre-term loss brings to a couple.  Everyone remembers when you lose a family member, and people will make kind comments when you say things like "It's been two years since we lost Grandpa," or even "two years since we lost Rover,"  but you say "it's been two years since we lost our baby," and people give you *the look* and say, "You're still thinking about that?  You should have moved past that by now.  Why don't you just have another one?"  Like having another one would erase the loss of the first. 

I'm putting in a new flower bed this year, and I'm putting it in in honor of my daughter.  I need something physical, not to remind me of her, but to validate her existence.  People will notice the flowers, and by acknowledging them, they will be acknowledging her.  They don't need to know that, I'd actually prefer that they not know.  Then that way I won't get any stupid comments that just make me mad.

So where am I in all of this?  Sad, bitter, hopeful, and longing.  Sad for my loss, bitter that it's been my only chance of being a mom, hopeful that each year this day will get easier, and longing for heaven more than ever, because it will be the first time I get to see my daughter alive.

I've learned extra compassion, understand the value of a hug and an "I am grieving with you in your loss", and know that parents take their children for granted entirely too much.  I know the value of kindness to a stranger, and the joy of a child's hug.  The words "I love you" from my two-year old nephew take my breath away, and the smile from my 6-month old niece melts my heart.  I know that if God wills it, I will be a good mom, but if it never happens on this earth, I have a beautiful daughter waiting for me in heaven.

I recently came across this quote from Laura Bush, and it speaks much more eloquently about the loss of a baby than I can:

"The English language lacks the words 'to mourn an absence.' For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful, some not. Still, we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only 'I am sorry for your loss.' But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent, ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?"