Today Could Have Been So Very Different

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Last month, on the 15th, it was National Infant and Pregnancy Loss Day.  I thought about posting something that day, but didn't.  I barely marked the day at all, except for an Instagram post that evening.  I don't need a special day to remember the two pregnancies that I lost.  I carry them in my heart each and every single day, and I don't have any desire to bring attention to myself regarding this.  Today though...  Today is a little different.  By the time you read this, I would probably have been holding our newborn in my arms had things turned out differently last spring.

Technically my due date is a week from today, but I have scheduled cesareans, so today would most likely have been the day we met our little boy or girl face to face.  Life would be so altered just from what it was yesterday, but it's not now.  It's just not...

Almost all of the time, I am doing pretty great, but sometimes things do get to me.  The first time it really hit me that we were nearing when I would have been due was when the Pottery Barn Christmas  Catalog arrived.  I don't have to order a new personalized stocking to hang with the others on our mantle.  I have been lackadaisical in scheduling family pictures for Christmas cards.  We had already planned on doing combination birth announcement/ Christmas cards this year.  We don't often shop at Carters for Ladybug's clothes anymore, but most of her dresses still come from there.  The first time I walked in for her fall dresses, I almost ran right back out.  Oh, how I love those little onesies and sleepers with the pictures on the bottoms!

People all around me are having babies it seems, and I'm going to be honest about this.  It makes me feel great!  Seriously, I don't look at other babies with jealousy or get upset.  Each one is a blessing.  I know the joy of motherhood, and I honestly don't begrudge anyone that wonderful blessing.  I can be happy and share others' joy and still miss the two babies I never really got to know.

A few weeks ago, Ladybug was learning about Joseph and his brothers in preschool.  At dinner she mentioned how all of her friends at school have siblings, but she doesn't.  Seriously, that broke both my heart and Bart's.  It took a couple of months for her to stop asking about our baby all the time last spring, so we didn't choose that moment to reiterate to her that she has an older and younger sibling in Heaven.  Maybe we should have, but it kind of caught us off guard.  Instead we told her to that if she wanted a sibling that she should pray for one.  That's what we do.  We pray.

At this point in time, we're not in a place where we want to pursue fertility treatments or adoption.  We don't feel called to either.  Rather, we believe that if God wants us to have another child, we will in His perfect time.  Like I read in "Fight Back With Joy" by Margaret Feinberg this fall, we ask "What If God?"  However, we also surrender to, "But If Not."  IF we only have Ladybug, we have been blessed more than enough.  It has taken me a couple of years to get to a place to accept that, but here I am!  Here I am.  Somewhere in my mind though, I imagine my home with not only 3 and half year old Ladybug, but a five year old and a newborn, and my heart is full.  I wonder who they would have been here on earth.  I always wanted a houseful of children.  I may only have one at home, but I have a heart-full of sweet babies.
"... You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.
 Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place (Psalm 23 5b & 6 AMP)."
"For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11 HCSB)."

Two Months Later: A Progress Report Of Sorts

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Today it has been two months since we found out that we weren't having a baby in November.  We would be 20 weeks along - halfway there.  Wow.  Just wow.  I've tried to not keep up with how far along I would be...  It's hard to believe that we would be halfway through the pregnancy by now.  I should have been feeling all sorts of movement.  We would have known the gender much earlier, but we would be getting those scans - seeing a profile, little hands and feet, and so much more.

I'm getting to the point now where when I feel a gas bubble, I don't have to remind myself that it's just gas.  My Macbook's cookies no longer constantly bombard me with advertisements for all things baby, because I'm not wasting time planning to turn the playroom into a nursery.  Life and my body are pretty much back to normal.

I'm not a dweller.  I have never been one to spend time dwelling on the things in this that I've lost.  I grieve, but I continue to live.  As much as a realist that I often am, I'm also an optimist.  Okay, maybe I'm not exactly an optimist in general terms, but I am someone who is so filled with God's joy that even when life just sucks, I can't help but be grateful for the blessings in my life.   A friend of mine has posted a quote by Ann Voskamp a couple of times recently, and it fits where I am in my life.  "Being joyful isn't what makes you grateful.  Being grateful is what makes you joyful."

I long for this child I will never know here on earth.  My first miscarriage, I only had an idea of what I was missing.  Sometimes it was easier not knowing, especially given where I was in ever aspect of my life then.  This time, I know what it is to experience a healthy, perfect pregnancy and birth.  I know what it is to look down and find your child searching for and finding home in your face and touch.  I know exactly what I have lost, yet I'm so grateful for the blessings of God that I cannot help but be joyful.

I've been reading in the Psalms lately in my quiet time.  I realized that it's a part of the Bible that I've largely avoided in favor of other books, for some reason.  A week ago I was reading Chapter 27 and ran across verses 13 & 14.  They are very true for this point in my journey, showing that even in my most difficult times, God always has me.  He strengthens my heart.

Great Things

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Recently I had someone I'm not in any way close to tilt her head to the side the other day as I passed by her and  ask, "And how are you doing, Adrienne?"  L and I were trying to make to an elevator before it closed, so I just politely, quickly answered, "I'm doing ok."  I am, too.   I am ok.  I mean, I wasn't going to delve into the depths of my soul with her, but it's true.

Physically I'm pretty much back to normal.  I have probably just one more blood test to take just to make sure everything is good, but I feel pretty great physically.   I'm thankful for that, because even though I genuinely like my doctor and think she's awesome, I'll be ok not seeing her for a while.  It will be nice to not have my arms look like pin cushions too.

Emotionally and spiritually , I'm in a really good place.  I've not been without joy these last few weeks.  I'm not going to lie and say that I don' t have my moments, but as a whole I'm doing well.  I think a lot of people are expecting me to just...  I don't know... collapse?  The thing is,  though physically this miscarriage was worse than the first one we had, emotionally, spiritually is has been much easier.  My marriage is in a better place than it was five years ago, and I am in a better place in regards to my relationship with God.

That's the thing too.  I trust God's will and His plan.  The morning before that fateful appointment when we learned we weren't welcoming home a new family member in November, I was reading in Luke Chapter 8, starting at verse 16.  One portion of that selection is where Jesus healed the man who was possessed with the legion of demons.  Once the man was free, he begged to stay with Jesus (who wouldn't?).  Jesus, however, had other plans for him.  In verse 39 Jesus commanded the man to “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you (NKJV)."  I highlighted that verse, feeling knowing God would have something for me to say when I got home that day.  I just hoped it wouldn't be what it was.  Though, looking back I believe God was already preparing me for just that.

There's a great shroud of mystery in our society regarding miscarriage.  No one really talks about it.  In fact, we're encouraged to not announce pregnancies until after the first trimester, because so many end in miscarriage before that time.  I've been on that bandwagon.  It made sense and was supposed to be easier.  Heaven knows it's not easy telling people that you're not pregnant anymore.  It's one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do - in some ways more difficult than the actual miscarriage.  Of course one of the reasons it's so difficult is because people don't know how to react.  So, I feel that one of the reasons we've one through this trial is because God wants us to talk about it in order to help others heal.  He wants me to tell what great things He is still doing in my life.

That first week, before the actual miscarriage started, we were in shock and tried our best to do everything as normal.  Throughout everything, we've tried to keep everything as normal as possible, especially for Ladybug and ourselves.  The things that people did that meant the most to us were the kind texts and messages, the flowers from a friend on my birthday, the offer of a dinner cooked even though the scheduling didn't work out, friends taking L when we had to go to the ER and watching her during one my followup appointments with my own doctor, and a special care package from a friend miles away.  Most of all, your prayers have been felt and appreciated.

What I've learned so far in being so open is that some people have a lot of questions about miscarriage, because, again, it isn't discussed.  So, I've tried to answer them to the best of my abilities.  I want to tell everyone how God has carried me through this.  He is indeed good.  That same morning I read on in Luke 8 the account of the woman who bled for twelve years touching Jesus' cloak and being healed.  Jesus told her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace (NKJV)."   Though I grieve for my loss and what might have been, I have a peace about me like no other and am of extremely good cheer.

A Band of Sisters

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Last night I danced.  As L took her bath last night, I plugged my phone into the dock in her room, and a song that just makes me happy played.  So I danced around and sang with L as she splashed in the tub, and it felt refreshing.  Dancing it out always feels good, even if you only have the energy to do it just a little while.

Dancing it out might not seem like a big deal to most, but you must understand that Monday afternoon I was in so much pain that I had to have Bart take me to the ER.  I tried to wait it out, knowing full well just how painful miscarriages can be, but eventually it just got to the point where I couldn't.  Ironically, almost as soon as I made it into the ER, the pains stopped.  Thankfully, I haven't required any additional help medically with everything.   Though I won't go into all the gory details, Monday was a very difficult day and took a huge toll on me physically.  I was still exhausted when I went in for my follow up with my regular doctor yesterday afternoon.  Being able and wanting to dance to "Then He Kissed Me" by The Crystals like Elizabeth Shue in Adventures In Babysitting was just awesome.

I wanted to share this, because miscarriage and child loss of any type are still basically taboos in our society.  We don't talk about it.  We don't want to talk about it, but that often leaves those of us who have experienced it feeling very alone.  Often, as I've experience this time and during my first experience five years ago, people will privately share that they too have gone through the same.  I'm thankful when they do share, but I don't believe it is something that needs to be kept private.  There is no shame in pregnancy loss.  This isn't Ye Olden Days when it was assumed the woman did something wrong or committed some heinous sin.   You did nothing wrong.  It happens far more often than most of us are publicly aware.

Sister, you are not alone.  Did you understand that?  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  It sucks.  It hurts, physically and emotionally.  It's okay to grieve, to be sad, to be angry, and to just feel lost.  You might not know how you're going to survive this, but know that you aren't alone in this.  You needn't hide away in shame and pretend it didn't happen.  It happens to a great many of us.

Last night in bed, my background in Shakespeare came to mind.  I thought about the St Crispin's Day Speech from Henry V.  You know, the "Band of Brothers" one that gave way to the title of the book and miniseries about the 101st Airborne?  There's this one part:
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
Cut out the "happy few" part and change every "brother" to "sister" and "he" to "she," I think this works:
From this day to the ending of the world,But we in it shall be remembered-We few, we happy few, we band of sisters;For she to-day that sheds her blood with meShall be my sister; be she ne’er so vile,
After all, we are in a manner a Band of Sisters.  Let's be open, honest, and lift up each other in prayer and encouragement.  We'll all be healthier for it.  Then, maybe we can all dance it out, because  there is still so much to be thankful for and happy about.  With time and support, we can take the strike out of the "we happy few," because I can assure you that "Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5b)."

Neatly Wrapped Packages

Monday, May 4, 2015

As much as I like to think that I'm okay with the spontaneity of life, I'm a planner.  I like order to life.  I like schedules and structure.  I can roll with change fairly easily, but I prefer to not have to.  I like mentally ticking things off a timetable in my mind.  I like for life to be wrapped up in neat little packages, which is ironic since I am the worst gift wrapper known to man.

I turned 35 on Friday.  I wanted to be finished having children by the time I was 35, and I thought that I was going to get my wish, if delayed by six months.  I was going to have my last child at 35 and be done with it.  What's ridiculous was that I knew better.  Five years ago I had almost the same timetable.  I was going to have my first child not long after having turned 30.  Both instances ended with miscarriage of one sort or another.

Once again I have been reminded that you can't set God's plans to any specific time table.  His time and our time are completely different things.  You can't wrap His plans up neatly in a pretty package.  To do so, is to try and limit Him when all you are really doing is limiting how much He can do within you.  It's a lesson that I'm continually learning.

I don't know what the future has in store for us.  Will we have more children?  Will Ladybug be our only one?  I'm going to be honest and admit that quite honestly I'm fine with both.  I would love to have another child, but I'm very well aware of the blessing I have watching Mickey Mouse as I type this.

I have refrained from posting anything here until we got word, but the miscarriage wasn't our only tough spot last week.  Our packages got even messier than we had already assumed.  Wednesday I took Ladybug in for her 3-year checkup, and her pediatrician detected a heart arrhythmia.  He ordered an EKG, which he said looked okay, but they also faxed it on to Arkansas Children's Hospital for a cardiologist to look at it.  Finally this morning we got the results that all is well.  I can't begin to explain how overjoyed and thankful I am for this news.

So, today I'm focused on getting through the physical aspects of this loss that finally started over the weekend and focusing on the good things in life.  Bart and I have started to think about doing the things we were putting off or just not doing this summer and fall, and I'm ready to commit to doing things like working VBS this summer.

I'm in a good place.  I know a great many people don't understand how I can be at this moment, but I am.  I will be honest and admit that I've had my moments, any feeling person would.  However, as a whole, I'm choosing joy right now.  Life is messy.  It never goes the way we plan it, and if you think about it, do we really want everything wrapped up in neat, little packages?  The blessings and the lessons in life come in the mess.  Once everything is wrapped up neatly, then it's time to go Home to Heaven.

Choices To Be Made, Roads To Travel

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I awoke early yesterday morning with intense feelings of anger.  I wasn't angry at anyone or anything, I thought, but I was angry.  I was angry that I had prayed for so long for another child, only to have what is almost appearing to have been a false pregnancy or one that didn't take beyond the earliest weeks.  I was angry because it seemed like some sort of cruel tease.  I was angry, because we wanted this child.  I was angry because Ladybug would make the BEST big sister.  I was just angry, but again I didn't think that it was directed anywhere.  Then I realized exactly who I was angry with.  I was angry with God.

It just so happens that I was reading Luke 8 Monday morning before my appointment, and verse 39 stuck with me.
“Go back to your home, and tell all that God has done for you..."
It seems almost a sin to  admit it, but I'm trying to be very honest about what I'm going through right now, because I think this is what God is commanding me to do.  I was angry with God, and I told Him about it.  There's not point in trying to hide it, because He already knows.  Like a petulant child, I was telling the creator of all things that I was mad at Him.  Just as when Ladybug tells me that she's mad at me, but I still love her the same, God still loves me.  He loves me the same yesterday, today, and forever.  He can never love me any more or any less.

I prayed.  I read my Bible. I prayed some more.  Then I realized that there were two roads to take.  I could grab hold of my anger and let it lead me away from God.  I felt the temptation to do just that immensely.  I didn't want to do that though.  I have seen first hand what happens to people when they can't let go of this type of anger with God over the perceived unfairness of their situations.  It makes them small, miserable beings.

There was another choice though.  There was another road to take.  I could hand my anger over to God, beg forgiveness, and pray for strength and joy.  When we believe that God is being unfair to us, it's a very good time to take stock in all the ways He has blessed us.  That's what I did.  I spent a good part of the day cuddling, laughing, playing, and even rough housing some with Ladybug.  I snuggled with the dogs.  I felt joy.

I imagine there are many people who can't quite understand how I can experience joy right now, but I don't see how I can't.  Our time here on earth is too short to dwell on what we don't have or what has been taken away.  I'm still sad, but I'm also so filled with the joy of the Spirit that I know I'm going to make it.

I think it was very fortuitous that our Tuesday Morning Bible Study just finished a four-week study of Beth Moore's "He Is."  Every week spoke to me and is still speaking to me now.  One of the most important points I remember is that there is nothing that anyone, including me, is going through that hasn't been experienced or will be experienced by other Believers.
Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 1 Peter 5:9

Another thing we learned was that Psalm 118 is the song they sing after finishing the meal of the Passover.  Psalm 118:24  states,
This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Do you realize that Jesus said that and meant it as the Last Supper was finishing, just before he went to the garden to be betrayed, knowing full well the cross was in his immediate future?   To rejoice, knowing what was ahead of him...  Could you have done it?  Each and every day I write that verse in my prayer journal.  I wrote it Sunday.  I wrote it Monday.  After everything, I wrote it yesterday and today, because it is true, just as "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), because it still remains true.  This IS the day the Lord has made.  I WILL rejoice and be glad in it.

Why We Shared So Early

Monday, April 27, 2015

About a month ago, Bart and I shared a picture on Instagram and Facebook of Ladybug wearing a shirt that read, "This Is What An Awesome Sister Looks Like."  It was our announcement to the world that another Gilbreath was coming in November.  We were all thrilled, even Ladybug.  At first we weren't sure if we wanted to make it public, because it was so early, and we know from previous experience that things happen, especially in the first trimester.  We chose to announce it anyway though, for a grand number of reasons.  Even though we today we received news that there won't be a baby come November, after discussing it, we're still glad that we did it.

The first reason we shared that we were expecting was because Ladybug is a very perceptive and smart three-year-old.  There was no keeping the secret from her.  Any way you turn this thing around, she would have picked up on something.  Since we had to tell her, we had to tell everyone, because Ladybug is not a child who can keep a secret.  Seriously, don't take her Christmas shopping, she will tell the person you're buying for exactly what you've bought down to the tiniest details.

The second reason we chose to make it public is because we both believe that prayers are more important than privacy.  I still believe that.  I don't believe in the power of positive thinking, but I know just exactly how powerful prayer is.

Lastly, there is this common-held belief that you shouldn't say anything until at least the second trimester, just in case.  Then you can suffer your miscarriage alone in silence.  Sister, brother, I have experienced that in the past.  I don't know if there's anything more hurtful than having people assume that you don't want kids and say so to your face after a miscarriage that they weren't aware of.

Mostly though, we weren't made to weather our storms alone.  We were made to fellowship and minister to each other.  As I mentioned earlier, I believe in prayer - through the good and and bad.  Therefore, we must also open up and make ourselves available to be ministered to.

I will not say that I am not saddened by the news we received today, but I am so very grateful for a Savior who loves me and carries me when I can't walk, a husband who loves and supports me, a beautiful child who makes me laugh and smile through every tear, a doctor who is beyond supportive and compassionate, and friends and family who love us all.  Believe it or not, all is well with my soul.  Oh, and please, please, PLEASE don't stop sharing your baby news and pictures with me!  They don't hurt me a bit, because each is a blessing.  We have dear friends having a baby probably this week, we should get to meet our newest nephew finally this week, and friends from church have just had a baby.  I believe they are all blessings, and I don't begrudge one a bit.  Don't tip-toe around us.  God has us in His hands.  We won't break.

  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.
    • It is well with my soul,
      It is well, it is well with my soul.

To My Unnamed Child

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Dear Little One,
Today or a day very near this one, you would have been two years old. It's hard to imagine that we could have a toddler running about, that we could be trying to potty-train you, and that you would probably try to be helpful with your little sister.
I don't know if you are a boy or a girl. You went away from us too early to know. We hadn't even grown used to the idea of you yet, and then you were gone. You did exist though, I know it. On two different occasions I saw your little heart beating via ultrasound. I have pictures somewhere, filed away to prove it.
Some, at the point in which we lost you, would say that you weren't a person - just a clump of cells, but that isn't true. I saw your heart beating. I couldn't feel you move yet, but I was aware that you were there, and I just remember the horrible emptiness I felt once you were gone -how your dad and I really already knew you were gone before we saw that empty ultrasound.
Your dad and I talk about you more now that we have Firecracker. She didn't replace you, but her being here does make it easier. I've learned that talking about you is good. Even though over two years have passed since we lost you, I've started attending a grief share group with a friend, and even now it still helps to talk with others who have similar experiences.
We're taught to hide early pregnancy to make it easier if miscarriage happens. The problem with that is that when that happens, few people talk with you about your loss. I don't know how many times people didn't tell me things I wanted to know about, because they thought they were protecting me. People withholding their good news for fear of hurting me only hurt more in the long run.
Since we lost you, I had to make some changes in my life. I had to decide to go after what I wanted, which was and is a family with children, rather than just allow life to happen. I had to cut off unhealthy relationships, some very close, because I realized that I was never going to have my own family and really life I was too busy being sucked dry by others. I stopped taking (pardon my language) crap from anyone, especially those closest to me. I finished growing up when I lost you. I lost what was left of my innocence along with you that bitter, cold January.
I have had this dream since at least high school of a particular Christmas morning. I always loved Christmas as a kid. I loved the magical, warmness of Christmas. Then your grand-dad died when I was ten. Christmas suddenly became a holiday about wanting and trying and never obtaining. When I was younger, I thought possibly it was because I wanted certain gifts, didn't get them, and had to live with disappointment. As I grew older, I realized that I didn't want things, I wanted that warm, magical feeling of when my family was whole. Then the dream started.
There was this dream of Christmas morning with a happy husband and two tow-headed kids running down the stairs to see what was under the tree. Three years ago at Christmas, I thought that dream was coming true, because I had you. Then you were gone, and Christmas suddenly became that much harder. Even last year when your sister was on her way, it was still so difficult at times. I'll never be able to listen to "Silent Night" without thinking of you. This year will be easier and happier, because your sister is here, but knowing that dream could have come true this year.... Knowing that you're not with us will always be with me.
As your sister reaches milestones, I can't help but wonder how you would be the same and also different. Would you have blue eyes too? Would you also have reddish-blond hair that sticks up straight no matter how much we brush it? Would you be a squealer like your sister or maybe a chuckler? Would your first word have been, "Momma?" Your sister's is "Da Da." Would you like carrots and squash too? Would you spend your days chasing Lucy and Dory? Would Mickey Mouse Clubhouse be your favorite TV show also, or would you prefer something more like Jake and the Neverland Pirates?
By now, you would probably be talking nonstop, asking millions of questions daily, reciting stories from memory, and just being a crazy, crazy kid. I wish I could read you a story and sing silly songs with you. Time is both my friend and enemy in regard to missing you.  The pain hurts a little less with time, but every day, every week, month, season, year that passes since you were here with us carries us further apart the emptiness of your not being here is sometimes more evident.  It was difficult accepting that time could and would go on without you here.
I wish that I could hold you, hug you, kiss your sweet head, and let you hear how very much I love you - will always love you. I miss you, dear Little One, but I know you're in a wonderful place and will never know pain or sorrow. Someday, I'll meet you there. We'll know each other, and it will be like no time has passed at all. You will always be my first baby. You will always be in my heart - the child of my heart.

I love and miss you Little One,


The Waiting Game Part Two: The Mating Game

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Okay, so now that you've waited what seems like forever to find and marry the right person, it's time to think about starting a family, right?  Heaven knows that the moment you get married you can't so much as have a stomach bug without people asking you if you're pregnant, after all.  When, if any, is a good time to start a family?  Anyone can have kids, can't they?  At least anyone most of society would deem unfit seems to be able to pop them out in regular fashion.

B and I were married when he was twenty-one, and I was twenty-three.   B still had a year of college to finish, we were dirt poor, and that was obviously not the right time for us.  If it had happened, we would have stepped up to the challenge, but thankfully it didn't.  We weren't ready then, and we enjoyed just being together for quite a while.  We weren't in any hurry, and frankly I had the same idea many young women these days do and was fine waiting on kids until I was closer to thirty, though I didn't want to get started too late.

Five years after we married, B had finished his MSEE, we had a house, stable jobs, and were finally settling down a bit after having moved about once a year those first years.  We even had Lucy for year, and though she was/is a bit neurotic, we were pretty good dog parents.  I was twenty-eight, and B was twenty-six.  It seemed that if there was ever a good time to start trying for a baby, it was then.  As they say, all of our ducks were in a row - so we thought.

So I stopped taking the pill in either August or September of 2008.  We were partially afraid that we would be one of those couples who would get pregnant right away and also afraid that we might never get pregnant as well.  For us, it seemed that it would be the latter.

I vividly remember being a few days late that Thanksgiving and stopping in Russellville to buy a pregnancy test on our way home from spending the holiday with B's family in Little Rock.  We had taken a vacation in late October and hoped that we had gotten pregnant then.  That was honestly the first of many months of disappointment.  It's funny how much you want your period when you're not trying for a baby, and how much of a failure you feel like when it comes.  Clear Blue Easy made a mint off of me, what with pregnancy tests and ovulation tests.

Most of everything you read says to try for a year on your own before seeking fertility treatment.  So, we decided to wait a year until we would speak to my OB/GYN about the dreaded word of infertility.  I have to admit that was probably one of the most difficult years of my life.  I turned twenty-nine in May, had my former OB/GYN make the comment that I was no longer a spring chicken in reproductive terms a week after that at my yearly appointment, and it seemed that everyone around me was having babies.  To top things off, I had family causing me very unnecessary stress, and B was working ungodly hours and had even started teaching adjunct at a nearby private university.  That meant our free time together all but disappeared.  Whenever he was home, he was grading or sadistically planning tests that were far too difficult for his students.  Actually, it seemed that it was impossible for us to even be in the same state when I was ovulating.  I tried to keep a positive outlook, but frankly it was just Lucy and me more often than not during that time.  So, I focused on the dog; dog toys, dog food, dog forums on the internet,  dog blogs, dog walks, you name it.  I even talked B into adopting Dory that autumn.

My attitude was less than stellar then, I know that it was - at least at times.  I was depressed and in denial of it.  I think I remember even telling a very good friend at work once that I "hated my life."  I didn't hate my life, but I was certainly tired of basically feeling like I had no control over any aspect of it - tired of feeling like a failure.  Quite honestly I just felt tired.

Things didn't help when people would assume that since I was twenty-nine, had been married almost six years, had a house, and didn't have children that I didn't want children.  Some people even assumed that I didn't like children, which is the furthest thing from the truth.  I love children.  I've always loved children.  It was all I could do at times to not pick up a child I knew and get all Lennie from Of Mice and Men or Looney Tunes Abominable Snowman on them.  Seriously, I want to hug them, and squeeze them, and name them all "George."

So, we decided to see the doctor about our infertility after the New Year.  God had other plans though, and when I took a pregnancy test on our sixth wedding anniversary, it was positive.  It was positive, and I thought that I was going to need a paper bag to breathe into long before I woke B to tell him the good news.  We went to watch The Blind Side that night, and I felt all warm and mothery.  It was five days until Christmas, and all anyone could talk about was how they couldn't wait until the next year.  I had about a week and a half of pure bliss, but in the back of my mind I felt something was wrong.

Then I awoke on New Year's Eve, and noticed that I started to spot some while getting ready for work. I went in to work, called the women's clinic, and then left to take blood tests.  The blood tests showed that I was low on progesterone, so I started taking suppositories every night to get those levels higher.  Also, I was told to relax (ha!).Things seemed ok, for a little while.  Honestly, everything now seems muddled together and fuzzy, because I had an ultrasound the next week, and I almost forgot about it.

I guess it was around a week later that we had a crazy, busy day at work due to lots of snow and ice and I felt it.  I was full-on bleeding.  I went back to the doctor and had another ultrasound.  We saw our baby's heartbeat, and felt a little better.  However, the baby wasn't growing at the rate it should have been.  I was told to take it easy that day, but not put on bedrest.  I had an appointment for another ultrasound in a week and a half.  I probably should have gone in multiple times before then but didn't really know if my bleeding was heavier than a period and tried not to worry.  All I could do was worry though.  At my next ultrasound, there wasn't a baby any more.  I had lost the baby, though I'm not sure when.  At least I was spared having to go through a D and C.

After that, I tried to just carry on like normal, but something had changed in me.  I was sad, but I was no longer depressed.  I had decided to enjoy life again, and I did.  I also decided to stop allowing people, especially close family to stop treating me without respect and honestly causing a lot of the stress that probably contributed to both the infertility and my stress.  I stopped putting so much pressure on myself to get pregnant again, and just tried to enjoyed not trying not to get pregnant.

In the mean time, I didn't want to buy clothes, because I was always hoping to need to buy maternity clothes.  Well, honestly at first I didn't want to buy clothes, to cut my hair, or change much of anything, because I didn't want things to change from what they had been while I was pregnant.  To do so, seemed to take me further away from then.  I had to realize that life was going on anyway, and that I needed to be a part of it.  Still yet, I was always hesitant to buy clothes, for fear it would be wasted money.

I wanted to go on Clomid as soon as I could after the miscarriage, because I was afraid that I didn't ovulate regularly.  My thirtieth birthday was coming, and I was feeling the time ticking away in my biological clock.  However, my doctor advised against it since I did have a spontaneous pregnancy.  When, after another year had passed, we once again discussed seeking infertility treatments.  I just wanted to get being a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding over with first.  Somehow, I knew that I was going to get pregnant the next month, and I did.

I believe in prayer, and so many people prayed for us to have a healthy baby for so very, very long.  I will be eternally grateful for that.  I prayed for it as well - at times all alone in a room with my knees to the ground I cried out in prayer.  Like Hannah, weeping bitterly in the temple, I cried out for a child of my own.  Yes, I love children so much that I want to hug them, and squeeze them, and call them George, but all I really wanted was my own baby - whether biologically or even eventually by adoption.

Once I found out I was pregnant, one of the first people I told was my dear old friend, Melissa.  She shared with me a prayer that I prayed every day for Firecracker while I was pregnant.  "Dear Lord, please let my baby be healthy, happy, and whole."  She was.  She was worth the wait.  She doesn't replace baby #1. She can't, and I don't want her to.  She is her own, special little person  - quite the little person with so much to say at that.

The wait for her made me really grow up and take charge of the kind of life I want to live and who I want in it.  I think it has made me into a better and wiser person, and I hope that in reading this someone else who is waiting will know gain a little hope themselves.  Good things do come to those who wait, they really do.  However, the road is definitely not an easy one.  It has peaks and valleys, but the climb really is worth it.

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