Friday, February 28, 2014

Book Suggestions, Loquacious Lucia, & Better Links #7QT

Earlier this week, I asked on my Facebook page for some suggestions of chapter books to read to Lucia.  At 27 months, I'm not quite sure she's ready for chapter books, but I'd like to try it and have a few options around the house for when we are ready to start.  After getting some amazing ideas, I decided to order Winnie-the-Pooh and The Wind in the Willows.  On my list to buy next are:  Frog and Toad books, Charlotte's Web, and Little House in the Big Woods. Can you believe I haven't read any of those books before?  I'm excited to read them for the first time with my little girl!

I've read a few great posts this week.  May I share them with you?

Why miscarriage matters when you're pro-life at The Lewis Note
Small at Surviving Our Blessings
The naming of things also at Surviving Our Blessings
Felicity Marian: A Birth Story Part I at Catholic & Crunchy (I usually don't like reading birth stories, but this is a friend and her baby who I'll be meeting next week! It's also super encouraging for women who want as natural as possible births when they have to be induced.)

Can we go back to book suggestions? Any suggestions for a Lent/Stations of the Cross book for a little one?  I was looking at this one on Amazon.  Does anyone have any experience with it or another that you want to share?  I'm going to be reading Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit (got it last year after Lent and have been waiting, waiting, waiting, to read it) and Come Be My Light by Bl. Mother Teresa (I asked for ideas and that suggestion was already sitting on my bookshelf so it was the automatic winner).

Lucia loves to talk about Jesus after we turn the lights out at bedtime.  Usually it's something along the lines of, "Poor, Juju (Jesus) owies!" and she's often begs me to take the crucifix down to kiss the booboos on his hands and feet and side.  Last night, the conversation took a different turn:

"Juju has a thumb."

Well, actually, he has two.  Smart girl I've got, no?

Today, Lucia is spending the day with my friend, Kayla, and her daughter, Lucy.  When I woke her, I said, "You're going to play with Baby Lucy today."

Lucia: "No, Baby RABBIT!"

Not sure why she started calling Lucy "Lucy Rabbit" earlier this month but she did and it's pretty cute, so I don't discourage it.  She even found a rabbit stuffed animal to bring with her to play with "Baby Rabbit". 

Lucia has taken to drumming.  And yes, I know that she isn't ever wearing a shirt in the pictures or videos I share.  Probably because she rarely wears one.

Have you tried a Flexi yet? 

A friend of mine is hosting a Lilla Rose party as part of a fundraiser for Galilee House, a soon-to-open residence in our area for women experiencing crisis pregnancies.  In addition to her donating her hostess rewards, I'm donating 10% of sales to Galilee House. If you would like to try Lilla Rose products (or expand your current collection) while helping a really great cause, you can shop her party on my Lilla Rose website here

For more Quick Takes AND 7in7, visit blame Jen!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Nerd is Showing; or You don't know the first name of World Chess Champions too?

It's no secret that I've been doing a lot of sitting around recently.  I'm still too weak to do much of anything and I have a constant headache and am quite lightheaded when I stand or bend over or walk around or do much of anything.  This won't last long, I'm sure, and I really don't mind being made to rest other than 1) Lucia has been watching television all day long which I hate and 2) I don't know what to do with myself when all I can do with myself must be done sitting down.  

Yesterday, I remembered that I had a new copy of Smithsonian Magazine waiting to be read (and several old copies that hadn't been cracked either) and so, while my attempts to read books in the last few weeks have been highly unsuccessful, I thought that maybe a few short articles would be just what I needed.  And my goodness, I forgot how wonderful Smithsonian is.  I was a history major in college and am a history buff.  In addition to history, Smithsonian includes articles on popular culture and politics and anthropology and oh my, could any magazine be better paired with my interests?  (Well, perhaps if there were little sections on mothering and nail polish and Catholicism added in?) 

It's been a while since I've read an issue, but I'm absolutely certain that this month's Smithsonian was written expressly for me.  There was an article on Jeopardy! And another on Gary Kasparov!  Does it get more entertaining than that?  In fact, this issue wasn't made for me - wouldn't everyone find those articles fascinating?  No?  Wait, you haven't watched Jeopardy nearly every day for as long as you can remember?  And you don't hear the name Kasparov and think, "Oh, Gary! My favorite World Chess Champion!"  Oh, you don't know the first names of World Chess Champions?  And you don't have a favorite?  Never heard of Deep Blue?  Oops, my nerd is showing.  

My grandfather taught me chess when I was five or six.  I grew up competing in tournaments.  This wasn't a little side hobby.  I took lessons and knew the names of World Champions and famous grandmasters and studied many of their notable games.  I could show you dozens of openings (and knew them by name).  I knew chess terms like gambit and en passant and en prise.  As a freshman in high school, I won a (very pretty) trophy for being the "top female player" in the state championship for my age group.  (It's not as impressive as it sounds. As you can imagine, not many girls played chess.  I was never more than a very average player for my age.)  I played chess as much for the social aspect as for the actual game.  I know that may sound strange since chess players are expected to be anti-social oddballs (and there are some of those) but seriously, I had a lot of fun and made a lot of friends.  

Many people know that I was a cheerleader and that I played flute in the marching band, but it's not often that my love of chess and the huge role it played in my childhood comes up.  It's not intentional.   I'm not embarrassed.  In fact, I'm pretty darn proud.  Chess has been proven to enhance math skills and understanding of political strategies.  But more than that, chess taught me to ignore stereotypes and to be true to myself.  Through chess, I regularly interacted with people who would have been outside my social group at school.  And when there was an article in the city paper after my "top female" win, I was pleasantly surprised by the congratulations and high fives that met me in my high school hallways (many from the popular kids who I had no idea even knew my name).  I realized that if I allowed myself to choose my activities by my interests and not by their status, that I could shine and enjoy myself.

Unfortunately, my chances for playing chess are limited now, but I never turn down a casual game.  And I can't wait to teach Lucia.  I hope she'll want to compete in tournaments someday and she'll discover how amazing the weird little world of chess is, but if not, I'm pretty content that by teaching her chess, I'll be improving her mind and she'll hopefully get a pretty good party trick out of it too.  

4 of 7. More than halfway through with Jen.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

When you realize your underwear is on inside out at 2pm

A while back, I asked readers to throw out some post titles for me.  This was one of those titles.  I'm thinking I'll have to ask again in a bit because truly, it's pretty fun to write a post based on a random title (and sometimes also enlightening as one of my most popular posts ever, about the serious topic of nursing in church, came out of this exercise as well).  So if you do have a post title idea for me, feel free to leave it for me in the comments now and I shall do a more formal "call out" soon.  

Let's just say I have some experience with wearing my underwear inside out.  I'm going to guess that it probably happens to me much more often than the average joe.  I blame this on being the absolute opposite of a morning person.  If I have to get up before my biological clock wakes me up, wardrobe malfunctions are the least of my worries.  

I have been incredibly blessed (believe me, I do not take this for granted) with a child that regularly sleeps later than me.  I usually get up between 8 and 9.  She usually does not stir before 9 and it's not unusual for her to be still sleeping at 10.  So my mornings are fairly leisurely.  I get up, go downstairs and check my email, browse facebook, write a post or two.  Maybe I'll read or watch the news.  Sometimes I make breakfast or a cup of hot chocolate.  Morning time is my "me-time".

I have grand plans of this morning time becoming work out time or clean the house time, but that will have to wait until I'm fully recovered, and then I still doubt it will happen.  I need a bit of time to wake up slowly, so jumping out of bed and switching on "let's do this" seems like a laughable impossibility.  It seems that Lucia has inherited this from me, because if she's awoken before she's ready or is forced to do something right away before having her slow "wake up time" (and she often needs a full hour), she breaks down in inconsolable crying (which often lasts a full hour). 

So you can see just how jarring it is to me to have to wake up with an alarm clock.  And then wake up Lucia.  And get both of us ready and out the door.  So finding my underwear inside out later in the day is no biggie. In fact, it's often cause for relief.  Because without a fail, something is going to go wrong and if it's inside out underwear then it's probably not an inside out shirt or dress (it's happened, and yes, it's super embarrassing) and I probably didn't forget to put diapers in the diaper bag.

When you realize your underwear is on inside out at 2pm...
  • Remember it could be much, much worse.
  • Don't bother trying to turn it right side out. Just don't. Especially not in a public restroom.
  • Just laugh. (Although probably not out loud in a public restroom either.)

You can blame Jen for this post.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Moving forward. (Toward Christ.)

Friday was a frightening day for our family.  I'm not ready to share the whole story, but in short I woke up early in the morning soaked in blood and passed out.  We made a trip to the emergency room and after a few hours I went home and spent the rest of the day in bed.  I passed out again later in the day and suffered a few hours of excruciating pain, but just when we prepared to make our way back to the hospital, the bleeding stopped considerably and the pain completely ceased. 

The past few days have been difficult as I'm still suffering the effects of blood loss (headaches, lightheadedness, weakness, etc.), but it seems as if the miscarriage is over.  There is no guarantee, of course.  If not everything has been expelled, cramping and bleeding may pick up later, but I'm certainly hoping that these last few days have marked the beginning of the healing process.  I'm very much looking forward to having some time before me to heal physically and emotionally.  

Two miscarriages only four months apart have taken their toll.  I have been feeling poorly since I started feeling pregnancy symptoms in early September.  The physical and emotional strain of that pregnancy turned into the physical and emotional strain of miscarriage and that entire process was repeated only a few months later.  When I try to describe how I'm feeling, the only word that seems to fit is "tired".  Physically, emotionally, and spiritually tired.  

We'll soon enter the liturgical season of Lent.  Most years, I struggle to make my Lent meaningful, to have a personal investment in it.  This year, I'm running toward it as a safe refuge.  A quiet, contemplative, austere time in which I can unite my sufferings with Christ.  This Lent, I don't have to work on stripping my life down to the bare minimum; I am already there.  The reason we simplify our lives is to make room for God and right now I'm feeling like there is a great emptiness within me ready to be filled with Him, of only I let Him.  

Joining Jen. 2 of 7.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Baby Naming

I started writing this post last week but left it unfinished in the drafts because I didn't quite know if I was ready to share this.  And then, I saw this baby name link up at Team Whitaker and figured that was my sign to finish it up and press publish.

I was one of those girls who had notebooks full of baby names long before meeting my husband.  I think it's safe to say that none of those baby names will go to use (and for good reason - middle schoolers aren't very discerning when it comes to baby names), however, I still obsess over baby names.  And I honestly think that's a good thing.  Naming a child is a huge responsibility, perhaps one of the things we do as parents that affects them numerous times a day as they meet new people, fill out paperwork, answer phone calls, etc.  Like it or not, your child's name with give people first impressions of who they are even though their names say more about you than they might about them.  

Writing Lucia's name on the social security paperwork shortly after birth was probably the most surreal thing about the whole birth experience.  We were just adjusting to the idea that we had a daughter (we did not find out the sex before birth and I was convinced that we were having a son) and even though we had a name picked out months before, we just seemed inadequate for the task of naming her.  It's almost as if giving her a name was what made us parents.  After all, that is something that only a parent does.  (Not sure why I didn't quite feel that being pregnant or giving birth clearly marked me as "mom" but motherhood is complicated, ok?)  I think the naming process wouldn't have been so daunting if we had found out the sex and had referred to our child by that name in utero for months, instead of having mere hours before having to write it on paperwork, but we loved the surprise and we're planning to keep it the same every pregnancy forever.

Sometimes naming a child has much less far-reaching implications.  David and I have decided to name the two babies we lost to miscarriage.  Few people will ever use their names.  We'll never see them on name tags or write them on paperwork. But the names of all three of our children are important and they were all painstakingly chosen, so I've decided to include them all here.

Since we didn't find out whether Lucia was a boy or girl, we had to have two names at the ready.  The boys name was picked out before we were even pregnant (and in some ways before I even met my husband).  The girl's name was much harder to nail down since it seemed David and I had opposite taste in names.  My main choice for name inspiration was a book of women Saints that I owned.  I would thumb through the pages looking for names that I liked and only read the corresponding story if I felt the name was "in the running".  There were several names that were clearly not going to happen, like Hedwig and Hildegarde, but anything I half liked I ran by David and 99% he turned down on the spot.  Very early on, two front runners emerged: Alena and Lucia.  Alena was actually the favorite for quite some time and I can't remember why we decided on Lucia instead, but we did so somewhere between 20 and 30 weeks.  Lucia's name is equally in honor of St. Lucy and Sr. Lucia of Fatima as my husband has a great devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.  Her middle name, Rose, was decided from the very beginning.  It is my middle name and my aunt's middle name in honor of my great grandmother, Rosa. 

After my miscarriage in October, several people urged us to name the baby.  It took a week or so before we felt comfortable with doing so.  Naming a miscarried child seemed so different than naming a living one.  We had names picked out for our next baby before this one was even conceived, but it didn't feel right to use either one of them.  I know many parents feel comfortable giving the child a gender specific name based on their gut instincts, but I didn't feel one way or another with that baby and was wrong with my gut instinct that Lucia was a boy, so we decided to choose a gender neutral name.  Searching "gender neutral Saint names" don't come up with many results, but I immediately found one that I loved: Francis.  Although more commonly associated with boys, Frances is a common enough girl's name and St. Frances Cabrini is one of my favorite Saints.  The biggest decision we had to make was which spelling to use.  While researching the name, I found a source that said that until the last few centuries, both spellings were used interchangeably for boys and girls, so we simply went with the one that was most aesthetically appealing to me.  We chose the middle name Michael after the Archangel.  When I think of this baby, I think of the baby being either "my Frank or Frannie" and joyfully look forward to the day when I find out which nickname fits.

This may sound a bit strange, but I had already chosen the name of our recently miscarried baby before I got pregnant again.  It was a gender neutral name that would only be used for another lost baby.  Not that I necessarily expected to miscarry again (and I truly did not think I would miscarry twice in a row) but it was a name that I came across when I found the name Francis and tucked away as another favorite.  It feels a bit odd to give a child a specific name because he/she passed before birth while we would have given that same child a different name had he/she been born.  But at the same time, we feel blessed to be able to do the only thing we can do to parent this child other than conception: name him/her.  We chose the name Julian Gabriel.  Julian, while usually considered masculine, is the name of many Catholic Saints, including the female St. Julian of Norwich.  Gabriel, like the middle name we chose for Francis, is in honor of the Archangel. 

I'm attempting this madness at the behest of Jen:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It's not jealousy.

Before I got pregnant with Lucia, seeing pregnancy announcements or bump photos or babies was hard.  That was jealousy.  I wanted to have a baby and begrudged those who either were in the position to have a baby (married, out of school, stable job, whatever) when I wasn't or those who had babies even though their positions were less than desirable.  In fact, I can't say that I could even feel happy for those who were having babies while I was not.  All I could see was myself - my desires, my fears, my anger, my hurt, my jealousy.  I wanted what they had and if I couldn't have it, I didn't want them to have it either.  I don't feel good about admitting that.  Those feelings came from a less than charitable place.  That jealousy was sinful and soul-eating. 

After my miscarriages, it's often very, very hard to see pregnancy announcements or bump photos or babies.  But it's not jealousy.  In fact, my feelings have very little, if nothing, to do with the women who are making those announcements or in those pictures or holding those babies.  For them, I feel happiness.  I feel joy at the beauty of new life.  Having Lucia, I know the immense blessings of motherhood and I am so happy that other women get to experience it.  I truly wish motherhood was available to all who desired it; infertility breaks my heart and I cannot begin to imagine the pain carried by the women who suffer from it. 

The reason these things cause me pain is not because of jealousy.  No, I do not begrudge other women their babies.  And I don't want their babies for myself.  I want my babies.  The ones I lost.  The unique human beings that I carried in my womb.  They have their own souls, their own personalities.  Their own DNA.  They cannot be exchanged for another's child.  Those announcements and pictures and sweet little babies simply remind me of what I lost.  What I can never have.  Even if I get pregnant again and the child makes it to birth and I get to hold that baby in my arms and I get to hug and kiss and raise it, that baby will not replace the ones I've lost.  

And I imagine if the day does come when I get to birth another baby, that too will cause me pain.  That too will be a reminder of the moments that I'll never have with two of my children.  And it doesn't mean I'll love that child less or that that child herself will be the cause of my pain.  Again, the feeling will have little to do with her.  For her, I will feel joy and love and the million other complex emotions that come with motherhood.  But it will still be a reminder of what once was and what could have been.  

One of the most important things I've done for myself in this healing process has been to acknowledge that these feelings are not bad.  Unlike the jealousy I felt years ago, these feelings don't come from sin.  These feelings come from grief, loss, pain.  They are not cruel or angry or hurtful.  They simply are.  I know not all women who've had miscarriages struggle with pregnancy announcements or visiting new babies.  We all grieve in our own unique ways.  But I do struggle.  And that's ok.

Not all pregnancy announcements bother me, nor do all newborns.  I've had several friends announce pregnancies or have babies since my miscarriage in October and I was unaffected by the news.  The most difficult reminders have been the ones that are the most obvious reminders - those who have due dates similar to mine.  Watching their bellies grow throughout pregnancy is kind of like watching the ghost of my pregnancy.  What would have been.  What will never be.  I imagine as we near my due date and those babies are born, it will become even harder.  I often wonder if I'll see those children five, ten, fifteen years down the road and still feel sadness, still imagine what would have been, still try to imagine how my child would have been similar or different.  Only time will tell.

In addition to acknowledging that these feelings are ok, I've also allowed myself to block the reminders that have caused me pain, at least for a time.  I've unfollowed the blogs of women who are due within a month of my due date and hidden friends from my Facebook newsfeed for the same reason.  I've left groups where pregnancy talk was too difficult to bear.  At times, I've left Facebook and stopped reading blogs altogether for a period.  At first, I felt that I was allowing myself to be weak.  Or letting my weakness rule me.  Now I'm starting to realize that we need to honor our feelings and protect ourselves.  Maybe it is weak to not be able to see cute bump photos.  Weak or not, right now, that's what I need.  I know it won't be forever.  

I'm coming up on a difficult time - one of the pains of miscarrying so early in a pregnancy is that as a general rule, people don't announce pregnancies that early.  So in a few weeks, I'll start seeing announcements that correspond to my due date.  And not long after that, the due date of my first miscarriage will be here.  And if it ends up being too much, I'm not going to force myself to be strong.  I'm going to turn off my computer and let myself cry. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Lessons Learned through Pregnancy Loss

I was getting to a place where I could start to see some blessings from my miscarriage in October.  Not that a miscarriage in itself is a blessing, but even the most painful life events can bear fruit.  But with another loss so closely on its heels, I'm having a hard time seeing those blessings again.  For those of you who are suffering from loss, I hope that this guest post by Cat is as much a beacon of hope to you as it is to me.  I hope I'll one day be able to look back on our losses with the same optimism as she.

It has been 3 years since my miscarriage. It was my first pregnancy. The short story is that I found out at my first ultrasound that the baby (or "fetal pole" as the technical term was) had passed a few weeks earlier. A week later, I miscarried naturally, both in a bathroom at a drugstore and at home. Three days later, I went on a previously-scheduled road trip to New Orleans. You can read the story on my blog, written way back in February of 2011. 

I went on to have a normal pregnancy a few months later, and the result of that is our beautiful 2-year-old daughter, Cora. Over these past few years, I realize I learned a few things from my miscarriage. Most of them are good.  

1. That I Actually Am Fertile For most women that that struggle with infertility, getting the positive test is most of the battle. We had been charting for a year (but not for ttc purposes), but a pretty cycle doesn't always equal fertility.  I actually had no reservations that it would be our only positive test.  

2. What Pregnancy Feels Like . . . and Doesn't With my first pregnancy, I stopped having symptoms after a few short weeks. In retrospect, I realize it was probably around the time the baby passed.  Even though I only got a little taste of how my body feels when pregnant, I did feel it. In my second pregnancy, I was happy that the exhaustion and nausea remained through the whole first trimester, even though it wasn't very fun. This also helped me recently when I had a chemical pregnancy (very early miscarriage) with absolutely zero symptoms. I knew something was off and was much more mentally prepared for what did occur. I know pregnancy can look and feel different each time, but my own experience gave me the 'gut feelings' (good or bad) that has helped me later.  

3. What Labor Feels Like Since my miscarriage was my first pregnancy, that actually means it was also my first time in labor. It sucked. And I learned I should never be behind the wheel of a car stuck at every red light in town while it is happening. When I went into labor at 2 days past my due date with Cora, I knew exactly what was happening. I also knew not to rush around or even wake my husband for a while.  
4. That I Should Find a New Doctor Obviously this was a personal revelation, but I had never really wanted to be seen by the doctor that handled my miscarriage to begin with (it was a military hospital, which just operates differently). It then turned out that I loathed his 'bedside manner,' and I didn't feel like he respected certain religious beliefs of mine. I'm actually really glad I did not end up delivering a baby with him as my doctor. As soon as I got my subsequent positive test, I found a new doc. She was wonderful!  

5. To Be Cautious A Bit but To Be Thankful A Lot The truth any family who has suffered a miscarriage will tell you is that any subsequent pregnancies will be treated with anxious anticipation. I felt like I was holding my breath my entire first trimester with Cora. I never publicly announced either pregnancy super-early, but I did find the second time around that I confided my news to a few good friends and asked for prayers instead of just keeping the whole thing a secret. I also find now that when someone informs me of their own pregnancy, I say a prayer immediately. One thing I have been told to remember in regards to pregnancy is to cherish it and love it for every single moment, no matter how long or short that time may be. It is difficult to let go of that anxiety, especially when my very first go out of the gate was ill-fated, but I need to let hope triumph over fear. Even once children are born on Earth, there's no guarantee to how long we may have them with us. But I wouldn't guard my heart and not love them as much because I feared something might go wrong. That is my goal on how I will approach a new life within me as well. God is the ultimate creator, and He has given my husband and me a wonderful gift. I need to be thankful and praise Him, just as I do with all the other blessings in my life. 

Cat is a displaced Southern gal, currently making her first house a home in Indiana. She's a Catholic wife and momma, and she loves running when it's warm out, Zumba when it's not, and singing and baking during any type of weather. She somehow has a knack for winning giveaways, but never for cloth diapers. She blogs at Cartwheels & Windmills.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Not so quick takes on loss and snow and from the mouth of babes. #7QT

Thank you for all your kind prayers and condolences as we struggle with our second miscarriageThis feels much different from our first for many reasons. Not only does two make it scarily feel like a pattern (though it certainly could have just been random bad luck each time), this time, we had an inkling it was coming for quite some time and now that we know, it's somewhat of a relief.  It feels a bit awful to say that, but it's not a relief that we lost our child, just a relief that we finally know for sure and can now face the reality with certainty.  Also, back in October, I miscarried naturally with only a small sign that something might be wrong. As I sit now, I know for sure that there is not a live child within me and I am waiting for my body to catch up with that knowledge.  It's a bit unreal.  I never had much in the way of pregnancy symptoms this time, but I am continuing to have those few symptoms and it's strange to feel like you've somehow "bested" nature by having knowledge of the fact that I'm no longer truly pregnant while my body hasn't quite come to that realization yet. 

In a way, we've already been grieving for nearly a month since that first ultrasound showed a large discrepancy from my dates, and in a way, I feel like I can't actually start grieving until the physical miscarriage starts and stops.  Right now, my main emotion is incredible sadness that it will be at least a year before we can welcome another living member to our family (and only if everything goes right).  I'm sure I'll feel more sadness in the future about this particular child we lost, but I think that will take time as we have had a hard time connecting with him/her this entire pregnancy.  We have yet to pick out a name for this little one and though we haven't decided what we will do with certainty, this child will probably not have a burial and headstone like the last little one.  (No baby developed this time, so there is technically no body to bury.)

We have received a ton of love and support these last few weeks. In addition to the probable miscarriage, we've been dealing with illness here and it's been impossible for us to keep up with the housework or grocery shopping or dinner.  We've received meals from friends in the area and even pizza ordered and gift cards sent from friends elsewhere. David's brother and his family sent us an edible arrangement.  (If you have a family going through tough times, new baby, etc and they have little ones, that is seriously the best thing to send ever. Ready-to-eat fruit at a time when going to the grocery store, much less cutting up an apple [or a pineapple?], is a feat makes for very happy toddler and parents. I think that's the healthiest snack she's had in weeks.) 

AND a group of amazing #cathsorority women went in together to buy us a house cleaning.  I cannot express how amazing it was to come home after finding out that we are going to miscarry (and then spending four hours in the car in a snowstorm) and walking into a clean house.  Are shiny bathtubs and sinks going to take away my grief? No, but they certainly take away some of the stress of trying to "perform" as a parent and wife and housekeeper while I'm dealing with the grief.  David's been saying one phrase over and over and over again during this past week and a half: "Wow, you know some nice people." And I do.  And would you believe that most of them I don't even "know" in real life?  It's pretty unreal. 

Speaking of a four hour drive in snow (usually about a 50 minute drive in non-snow), the weather here is awful.  If you are from a generally snowy area, I'm sure you see us on the national news and laugh, but this much snow here is no laughing matter.  I will admit that I laugh about certain things about southerners in the snow. Like the fact that at least half the people on the road had their emergency flashers on while driving.  When we got home, there were several comments on the news about, "Please don't use your emergency lights while driving unless you have an actual emergency." Because contrary to popular opinion around here, driving in the snow is not an emergency in and of itself.  

The roads were horrible though. David said it was a formidable storm, even by Colorado standards and the roads were super icy. That just doesn't happen in Colorado. We get ice (sometimes) after dark after a snowstorm if the snow has melted a bit beforehand. We don't get ice as soon as it starts snowing.  And the hills here? There were some hills that no one was going up.  At all.  The traffic just stopped.  Tons of people abandoned their vehicles. Serious mayhem.  

But, due to the weather, David got to stay home with me today and yesterday (and he had next week off for winter break) so I'm actually pretty happy about it overall.  But prayers are really needed for the emergency personnel and those without electricity and the homeless and those that are elderly or housebound without people to look in on them.  Since this kind of storm is rare here (the second this year, but we experienced no snow-sticking-to-the-ground the entire previous winter we lived here), the infrastructure just isn't here to support them.

Last month, Lucia had two catch phrases:

'Licious ("Delicious") - used for more than just food, 
as in "Do you want to wear this shirt?" " 'Licious!"

Dat's bed-duh. ("That's better.")

This month, her two phrases are:

I did it!
Hippee! ("Yippee!")

Sticking to the rule of twos, she also sings exactly two songs:

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells....all away!"

"Rock a baby, rock a baby, rock a baby, rock a baby. TREE TOP!"

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lightning Never Strikes the Same Place Twice

I haven't posted in the last few weeks. Every time a (female) blogger (of childbearing age) takes an unannounced blogging break, I immediately suspect pregnancy. And I'm right about 90% of the time.  So if you suspected me, you were right. I was pregnant. 

Was. Past tense. Today we got confirmation that we will be miscarrying again. We suspected that might be the case for a while. I had three ultrasounds and each one showed only a gestational sac a couple weeks behind in growth. But today, I would have been 9.5 weeks pregnant (8.5 by my first ultrasound) and there was still an empty sac. No baby. No heartbeat. 

There were also other things that pointed to a miscarriage from the beginning - a relative lack of symptoms, getting a positive test on the late side - all sadly similar to my miscarriage in October.  But I hoped that I was just being paranoid and there was a little voice in the back of my mind reminding me that miscarrying back to back is rare and that surely, it wouldn't happen to me again, at least not now.  Maybe later, after we'd had another healthy pregnancy and child.  But not twice in a row.  After all, lightening never strikes the same place twice. 

Except it does. In fact, it hits the Empire State Building hundreds of times a year.  Lightening is attracted to certain things and whatever makes a place attract lightening once will continue to attract it over and over again. 

Going into our appointment today, we knew that we were most likely looking at a miscarriage so we are doing surprisingly well at the moment. I'm sure we'll have some hard times ahead of us, especially as I actually begin to bleed, so I ask that you keep our family in your prayers.  

It's hard to let go of not only this baby, but also the idea of adding a new (living) member of our family this year.  We had so desired Lucia to have a sibling close to her in age, but looking ahead, we know that she will be at least three before a new baby is born, if we are ever so blessed.  We continue to struggle with realizing that we do not have the ability to plan our family and fertility and that we are subject to forces beyond ourselves, both nature and our God.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Useful Resources for New Moms

Can I sing the praises of my friend, Kayla, for a minute? We've been having some major struggles with illness in our household so Kayla came over on Thursday with her insanely smiley six-month-old, Lucy, kept us company, folded my laundry, and put a whole chicken in our crock pot.  When she left, I felt a little disoriented, kind of a like a "Did this really happen?" feeling.  Because, man, I felt like I hit the friend jackpot.  And while you can't all benefit from Kayla's friendship, you can get a little taste of it with her guest post today where she's offering some advice to new moms. 

As a new mom, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It feels like there is at once too much information and yet not enough. Where can you go to get the answers to your questions? What resources are the best? I’ve been a mom for 6 months now and let me tell you, I’m still finding resources to add to my “favorites”! But there are some that I frequent more than others, and I’d love to share them with you here now.

The first three of my favorite resources are about breastfeeding. I’m fairly certain that for at least the first month or two all we did was breastfeed! And if it weren’t for these next resources, we might not have survived, at the very least, we wouldn’t still be breastfeeding 6 months later, with no intention of weaning anytime soon.

I think every mom who wants to breastfeed would greatly benefit from meeting with an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant – the crème de la crème). Lucy and I met with two LC’s in the hospital and then 2 more at the Women’s Health and Wellness Center before meeting with an IBCLC at her own home. The LC’s that I saw were very helpful but it was our IBCLC (whom I now consider a good friend) that was able to give us very personalized help. She has been so helpful to us over the past six months that I consider her invaluable. Lucky you, she does skype consults too!

It just so happens that I met our IBCLC at a local La Leche League meeting. Not only has the LLL been helpful in our breastfeeding, but it has also been great as a social tool to meet other moms. Every mother needs her tribe! Go to to find a group near you. As a bonus, La Leche League leaders will also come to your home (for free!) if you cannot make a meeting for any reason, or need help before the next meeting time. and the Kellymom breastfeeding facebook group. Kellymom seems to be the encyclopedia of breastfeeding. If you have a question about ANYTHING, Kellymom has the answer!

When I was pregnant, my mom gave me a copy of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care, and my friend Lyra gave me a copy of Dr. Sear’s Baby Book. Both books have been helpful whenever I’ve had a question about Lucy’s health. When should a rash be taken to a doctor? Is this behavior normal? What milestones can we look forward to this month? WHY ISN’T SHE SLEEPING??? I’m the type of person who likes to have multiple options so it has been nice to have both resources, especially as our parenting style has evolved. The Happiest Baby on the Block was possibly the best video resource I watched before Lucy was born. She’d be crying and so fussy and with Dr. Kemp’s advice we’d be able to calm her almost instantly. There is a book too which we have, but it was best to see the advice in action in the movie. 

A car seat is one of the most important and yet one of the most frustrating tools a parent has. How long are you supposed to rear face for? What’s the best way to secure a car seat?  I can’t even count how many times we’ve gotten Lucy in the seat only to find the straps completely twisted. We’d fight with them and fight with them, but then I learned a super simple trick that has eliminated our twisted strap frustration. The Car Seat Lady to the rescue! 

What are your favorite resources to recommend to new mothers?

Kayla is a professional procrastinator, semi-professional Googler, and amateur hippie. She thought that being the oldest of her mother’s 8 (going on 9!) children would have prepared her adequately for motherhood, until she burst into tears when she couldn’t remember what went in a diaper bag. She is very grateful that her daughter Lucy and husband Ryan are very, very patient. She blogs when she feels like it at