Thursday, December 29, 2011

Taking a day off

Today, I'm taking the day off. As in, it's almost 5 and I'm still in my PJs. And I didn't get out of bed until *gasp* noon.

I'm trying to give myself permission to just be, and feel what I need to feel, and do what I need to do, without worrying about whether I'm being productive or am helping my family or meeting goals.

This is such a change of pace from my normal life. And it won't be this way for forever. But I've spent the day playing with Maddy, watching Finding Nemo snuggled up next to her, and reading pregnancy loss forums and articles.

Tonight, we'll have cake for Maddy's birthday. And who knows what else I'll do. Probably cry some. Maybe journal for a bit. (Going through the recent surgery definitely brought up anxiety and fears that surrounded Madelyn's birth. And it was just compounded by Maddy's birthday. So more I need to work through.)

This morning I woke up with a feeling of peace for the first time in weeks. Perhaps it's because last night my hubby and I were able to resolve some conflict. It seems that losing a baby raises a lot more issues than just the baby passing (which is horrible enough on it's own.) I have to deal with physically recuperating, dealing with grief and loss of hopes and dreams, fear over my body, questioning whether we'll ever get pregnant again, dealing with Madelyn's fits (as she knows something is up) . . . as well as concern for the financial side of things as we start to get hospital bills. All that adds stress to a marriage -- making just one more (very important) thing that needs to be sorted out.

Seriously, if I know my hubby and I are on the same page, life is just so much better.  If we are supporting each other in what we need -- it makes all the difference in the world. Sometimes, that's not easy though.

Ok, that's just an update on my day . . . giving myself permission to do nothing except what I want to do, and to let everything else take care of itself -- at least until tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Insomnia

So it's 3 am .... And im blogging in bed from my phone. (please forgive me for spelling issues or incorrect punctuation.)

I guess insomnia is going to be part of the new me. At least for a while. As soon as we found out something wasn't right with our pregnancy, sleep has alluded me till the wee hours of the morning. Even when my body is exhausted, my mind isn't ready to give in.

I've been around people for quite a bit today. Maybe i just need more time to process something.

One thing that's been on my brain is the sanctity of life issue. I'm pro-life. And i did not have to choose to abort my baby. But if there was one instance where i can understand it completely, it's in the area of ectopic pregnancy.

I've quasi-joined a forum for people that have had EPs (ectopic pregnancies). Many of them chose to end the pregnancy before rupture. And i can't fault a single one of them.

Tonight i read 2 blogs that felt very strongly that ending a baby's life is murder no matter what. (both were on the subject of whether it was morally ok to end a baby's life in ectopic pregnancy). They trivialize the risk (i felt) of rupture and maternal death.

Maybe because i seem to find myself in the small percent whose tube actually ruptured, i feel different about the risk. i am not a number ... Im not a statistic ... Im a person. A real live girl who has a hubby and a daughter to take care of.

I am more confused than ever about the issue. But my gut cannot feel anything but that women who have ectopics are both victims of a very, very unfortunate circumstance ... the kind that we all pray we never have to be in. In my mind, i just cannot see these women as murderers, (even as my brain tends to agree with the blogs' argument).
They all grieve very deeply for their loss.

And I'd also like to point out that women with a diagnosed ectopic are not given the choice to save their baby's life. It's always ... "Do you want the shot (if it's early enough) or surgery?" Not... "do you want to wAit this out to see if you naturally miscarry before your tube ruptures?"

On a different note, i started a journal for baby O. I haven't written in it (or on here)as i had intended, but its been very busy with Christmas, family and maddy's bday.

A few milestones i hit this week .... Saturday was the first day i woke up and my first thought was something other than "my baby is dead." i haven't cried as often ... But i think that's in part to All the distractions. My crazy, all-consuming emotional turmoil has been replaced by a dead, numb feeling of being in a really bad mood for no reason. My family has been amazing at taking me for whatever mood im in and loving me through it ... Even as my personality has been all over the place, many times in ways that are really not normal to me.

I've craved solitude, quiet and peace without much noise or clutter. Anything that i feel distracts me from thinking about my baby when i feel the need to makes me irritated and upset. I need to learn to listen to my heart more and excuse myself if i need to.

Physically, i am better. This whole thing has thrown my body for a loop with still having pregnancy hormones in me. Today's been the first day the nausea wasnt for more than an hour .... Yesterday, it was pretty miserable. My abdomen is still quite swollen, so most of my clothes dont fit. On christmas eve i was forced to wear maternity pants. Its salt in the wound to look and feel more pregnant now that I've lost the baby, than before when I actually WAS pregnant.

I am getting back to a more normal pace of life .... But still not anywhere near what i was used to doing. Today my body reminded me that i was still recovering when it insisted on a mid afternoon nap.

One last thing .... Im getting past the initial shock of not being pregnant anymore. The day after i "miscarried" (i thought i had passed the baby friday night , only to discover on tuesday that it was ectopic and i needed emergency surgery due to a ruptured tube) .... Anywway, the day after i miscarried, i was at panera and got coffee because i could. I broke down at the coffee table bc i could drink coffee now that i didn't have to take care of a baby in me. It sounds dumb... But getting through the firsts of not being pregnant has been hard.

I think taking down the tree will be hard. I was pregnant and full of life, joy and expectation as i hung the ornaments with maddy. That tree is the last visible reminder of my pregnancy ... Assuming that is, tha my body's swelling has gone down by then. At any rate, it just seems so final.

I guess that's it for now.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chronicles of the grieving mom

Just so you know, this post might not be for you.

It's not going to be fun. Or fit altogether in this nice, neat little package that makes you feel good inside.

Because right now, nothing in my life feels nice or neat. I either feel totally numb and empty -- or so full of raw emotion that I want to breakdown and cry, or throw something and hurt something, or hurt myself.

I lost my little baby. My sweet, sweet baby that just wanted a place inside of me that was safe to grow. Just a safe and cozy place where she could burrrow down and develop into this amazing little miracle of a person.  Instead of burrowing in my uterus, that was ready and waiting for her, she got cozy in my fallopian tube. 

How I wish I could have willed her little body forward, down into the special place God created her to be for 9 long months!  Instead, we got just a few weeks.

At times today, I wondered if I was the lucky one?  So many people lose their babies -- and no one knows.  I had the emergency surgery. I had family have to take Maddy because I couldn't take care of her.  I got the bedrest, the time to myself, the time to grieve.  I got the flowers, and the dinners at home. I am thankful -- but I also feel like I don't deserve it. So many other moms don't get any extra help, no dinners, no flowers. Few people may even know that they suffered a loss.

On Saturday, the day after I believed I had miscarried, I was so full of grief. I was tired of being around people, so I took an almost 2-hour-long shower at our hotel. All I could think of was, if I'm going through this, other people are too.  How can we break the silence?

I don't normally like to put myself out there like this. To be honest about how much this hurts. To admit that I'm so not in control. But if it could help one other woman . . . I think it's worth it. If I share my grief, and just one more person had help working through her grief, then maybe my baby's short life could make a difference.

To my sweet baby girl, I love you and miss you with all of my heart.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My journey to a decision to adopt from foster care

Ryan and I have recently started classes to adopt from foster care.  For me at least, this journey has been long in coming.

I never had an epiphany, or this one singular moment where I just knew this was the right decision for me and for my family.  Instead, it's been a LONG series of moments, of experiences, of stories that have edged me closer to this decision to adopt.

The first moment that opened my eyes was as an older child. I don't remember how old I was, or even the title of the book, but I remember reading a novel based on a true story of child abuse. I read how this little girl was tied up to a pole outside, kept for hours without food or drink. If she went to the bathroom on herself, she was beaten mercilessly -- but she was never taken in to use the restroom.  The story was told from her perspective -- a sad, demoralized little girl who loved her parents and could never understand why they hurt her so much.

Images from her story have stuck with me ever since.

I remember thinking, even as a child, that I wanted to adopt. I guess in my mind, it has always been a part of my "someday" plan.

Then, in May of last year, I learned about sex trafficking.  Here's how God helped open my eyes . . .

It all started with TLC (Yes, I'm talking about the TV channel!)  I was watching a show on the 2005 tsunami with my husband.  It was one of those things where you wanted to turn it off, and pretend that something this atrocious would never, ever happen.  Yet there's that part of me that just had to watch. As though I owed it to the victims to hear their stories, to validate their painful experiences.  And so I watched . . .

Their was very little dramatization -- just real-life videos and personal testimonies from victims.  One couple from Europe was vacationing in Sri Lanka for Christmas with their 5-year-old daughter.  The wave came in to their hotel room, filling it up.  The woman was holding her daughter, belly-to-belly, with the girl's arms and legs wrapped around her torso.  She held on for everything that she could. But in just one moment, her beloved daughter slipped from her arms, and vanished from the room.  Three days later, they found her body on the beach.

I sobbed as I heard her story. And as the stories progressed, I became angrier at God for allowing such suffering.  Days later, I was still not emotionally recovered from the experience.  At church, I tried to worship God, but my heart held back.  I watched a mother nearby pick up her 5-year-old, belly-to-belly, with the little girl's arms and legs wrapped around her torso. In that moment, my heart screamed to God, "Lord, why would you do this?  Why would you let thousands of children die a horrible death? Why would you rob families of their children?  These children are innocent ... why didn't you DO SOMETHING?!!!  I cannot worship a God who kills children!"

I'll never forget how calm His voice was, even in the midst of my visceral rage.  He spoke quietly, yet pointedly to my heart . . . "Thousands of children are dying every day. They are hurting. And they need someone to help them.  Do not ask my what I am doing, until YOU are doing something, too."

It was as if someone had splashed cold water on my face. (I don't even want to know what someone might have been thinking if they had been watching me during this particular service!)  I was shocked to hear His answer . . . and all I could think of next was, "WHAT?"  What is causing suffering to thousands of children?  What is killing them?  And what could I do?

Within weeks, my brother returned home from Southeast Asia.  He told me about about how houses in regular neighborhoods had little red lights on their doors.  Children would be playing outside . . . young girls ages 8-12, dressed in tee shirts and jeans. If the red light was on, that meant the child outside was for sale.  That was the first in a series of answers to "WHAT?"


I found out about sex-trafficking in the U.S. I found out that children who have already been sexually abused were at high risk for being exploited -- many of whom are from foster care.

I hosted a sex-trafficking awareness night.  But that wasn't enough. I committed a certain percentage of my Arbonne sales, but even still, that doesn't feel like enough.  I lend out the book, "Renting Lacy."  I am HOPING against HOPE to be able to speak at Arbonne's Global Training Conference to thousands of women about sex-trafficking.  I have picked up pictures of prostitutes from the Las Vegas strip, cutting out their faces only and praying over them.  Still, not enough.

Now we are starting foster care with hopes of adoption. I have no idea where this journey will lead us.  I don't know how our children's lives will be changed, and how our lives will be changed.  It isn't as if I'm on this endless search to be able to do "enough."  But when I do have the conversation face-to-face with God one day, I want to be able to say, "I did my part. I tried my best to help. I couldn't help them all.  But I helped at least one."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

28-day detox -- more than just a diet

For those of you who don't know, Ryan and I went on a 28-day detox through Arbonne this month. I have been itching to blog about our experience for quite some time.  (After all, it's only been about 5 months since my last post -- time to update!)

So, in case you're wondering how we were detoxing, this is what we did . . .

We cut out all potentially allegenic food, and food that's just plain bad for you, including:

-refined sugar
-Medium- and high-glycemic fruits (we only ate green apples and berries)
-caffeine (other than Arbonne's fizzy tab)
-coffee (AHH!)
-gluten
-wheat
-vinegar
-dairy
-processed foods
-peanuts
-pork (or any pig meat products)
-white rice, or any non-complex carb

We tried to only eat organic fruits, vegies and meats.  In addition, I only purchased organic, hormone-free, free-range and grass-fed meats.

We cut our portion sizes on our plates.  A fist-sized portion of protein, a fist-sized portion of grain, and then we could fill our plates with vegies, salads and leafy greens.

We did Arbonne protein shakes for breakfast and lunch, had an energy fizz tab (natural energy drink), and the get fit chews (yummy choc. chews).  In addition, we did one whole foods snack a day. (my fav was fresh avocado with cilantro, lime juice, tomatoes and salt.)


So why the heck did I even start this crazy diet anyway?

Well, for starters, I wasn't happy with how my body felt.  I know, I know . . . I'm not a huge person.  BUT, I don't think it matters what size you are -- I knew I wasn't healthy, my clothes didn't fit right, and I didn't feel CONFIDENT in my body anymore.  Besides, who wants to feel like they are squeezing into their clothes every day, or feel self-concious?

I wondered if it might help cullulite (big confession there.)  I knew I was addicted to coffee and sugar (and bread). 

Plus, I knew it would be good for our whole family.

Last, but not least . . . you really can't sell a product you don't try.  So many people were loving the products and the system, that I knew I would miss out unless I tried it.  I'm so thankful to my hubby who joined me (sometimes begrudgingly, but he joined me nonetheless) on this journey.  I couldn't have done it without him!

Here are some of the results from our detox journey:

1.  We lost weight.  (I know, big surprise!)  Ryan has lost 12 lbs so far, and I've lost 3. My clothes fit way better, I feel renewed confidence in my body, and I even got new skinny jeans to commemorate my new body.  (I love rocking those jeans!)

2.  I lost my reflux.  With the exception of a few times, I haven't had any reflux in 3 weeks.  (The times I did have it were the times I ate past 7 -- or had a cup of coffee -- things that we're not supposed to do on the diet.)  Before the detox, I was feeling nauseated most days and lots of gross burping at night (sorry, I know that's icky) . . . but I really hated that feeling.  The interested thing is that I lost the reflux naturally by changing my diet.  When I talked to my Dr, he just prescribed medicine and never mentioned changing my diet. 

3.  My stomach shrunk. For some reason, before the detox, I had gotten in the habit of taking seconds -- something we weren't allowed to do on the diet.  Looking back, I never needed the extra food -- it's just that it tasted good.  I think I stretched out my stomach so that I "needed" those seconds to actually feel full.  Now, post-detox, I rarely feel the need to have seconds.  In fact, I've even had a hard time finishing my plate full of veggies sometimes.

4.  I sleep better at night.  Maybe it was all the coffee I was pouring into my system.  (I was a 2-cup-a-day kinda girl.)  But I am actually READY to go to sleep at night now the way I used to be.  The only downside?  I now regularly fall asleep during our late night movie fests.

5.  I SAVOR the flavor of food more.  In the past, fruit was a chore.  I liked eating veggies, but I always ate them with dip, or something fattening.  Given the choice, I wanted bread or sugar, not healthy food.  Now, I am LOVING the flavor of apples, tomatoes, broccoli, you name it.  I hardly crave things like pretzels or potato chips . . . just give me a carton of grape tomatoes or strawberries!  (Confession:  I even like the flavor now of unsweetened chocolate.  Weird . . . I know).  But I still have a craving for chocolate cake . . .

Here's what I learned from my experience:

1.  I WASN'T choosing healthy foods before, even though I thought I was.  The first grocery trip for our diet was quite revealing.  My cart looked totally different than before.  And I spent the majority of my time in the different sections of the grocery store.  I always breezed past the natural and organic section.  But I plan to spend much more time their in the future.  This time, my cart really reflected just a few things:  healthy and organic grains, organic produce and "healthy" meat (which I could really only get at Central).  Oh, and almond milk for me and Ryan (and organic whole milk for Maddy.)

2.  I eat from emotions WAY more than I thought I did.  I've always considered coffee to be a comfort food.  When I'm stressed, coffee makes it better.  When I have to do something I don't want to do, coffee makes it better.  When I'm with a friend or family, coffee makes it better.  If I'm stressed out with Maddy, coffee makes it better.  You get the idea . . .

So, what the heck was I to do when I couldn't have coffee for 4 weeks!?!?  First, I have to say that I did not end up with caffeine withdrawal, thanks to the fizzy tabs.  But emotionally?  That was another matter.  Every day, I wanted a cup of coffee.  Some days more than others.  But not having that as an instant-soother made me kinda confront my emotions in a different way. 

I think that from now on, I'll view coffee as a treat (and always decaf).  But I'll start my day with an energy fizz tab, because I don't get coffee breath with those, they don't give me the jitters, I'm less hungry through the day, and it gives me the energy I need.  So coffee will be an afternoon treat sometimes, and not every day (esp. cause I know now it gives me reflux.)

3.  It matters what I eat.  It matters to my health, to the way I feel, the way I look, and my attitude.

4.  I'm stronger than I gave myself credit for.  Sure, we messed up our diet a few times.  But I've learned to overcome cravings I didn't think I could.  To stick with something, even when other people weren't looking.  I have a new respect for myself.

5.  Because I was giving up things (like vinegar, and non-organic meats), it made me curious WHY I was doing those things.  What's wrong with them anyway?  This lead me on a path to research our foods, and how they are made here in America .(Insert the documentary, Food Inc., which has forever altered the way I think about food.)  Knowledge is power.


Tomorrow is the last day of the diet.  But I truly feel that the way I eat, and treat my body, has really changed for good.  And yes, I'm really looking forward to having a piece of chocolate cake with a cup of (decaf) coffee here soon.
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