Category Archives: Pain

Our Ongoing Home Reno & Other Updates

Hey there!

Here’s a little update on life for us these days.

House

We moved to our new fixer upper home almost 7 months ago. I joke with hubby that we ought to just dig a big hole in the backyard and start throwing money into it, because it has been one giant money pit! A mold report that came back showing high levels of (non toxic) mold less than a month after we bought the house really pushed us to replace the areas were there had been water exposure (floors, under kitchen sink) much faster than we had originally planned. ¬†And then the snowball just started rolling as one thing led to another. That’s home renovation for you, I suppose!

Here’s a list of some of the things we’ve redone since we moved in:

Tear out back deck (was structurally unsafe).

Deck (removed).

New carpet in family room and bedrooms:

I didn’t really have any “carpet” pictures, but you can kind of see it here.

Removed wall between dining room and kitchen:

Before. (This wall drove me nuts because I couldn’t keep track of the kids!)

After. I love it!

Laminate in kitchen, fireplace room, hallway and master closet:

Closet doors (two sets), screen door, side garage door:

Tile floors in laundry room and kids’ bathroom:

I tried to pick tile that matched the laminate.

Replaced Kitchen counter tops, sink (chipping), faucet & garbage disposal (leaked whenever running):

Before. This wasn’t too long after we moved in.

Before.

After. My inner clean freak is very happy with having quartz counter tops now!

Tile back splash in kitchen (which we had to add because there was a big gap between the counter tops and the wall):

Pulled out melamine desk/cabinets and put in smaller desk area with upper shelving:

Replaced furnace and A/C (yes we wanted to cry when we learned we needed to replace BOTH):

New A/C.

Dishwasher (which died right after the furnace and A/C – more crying, hehe). New dishwasher will be here in two weeks.

Replaced fridge (died on moving day), stove and microwave.

Painted bathroom vanities and kitchen cabinets:

Painted ENTIRE house (including ceilings).

Replaced almost all light fixtures and 2 out of 3 fans (we saved the only one that worked).

Whew! That wasn’t even a comprehensive list. And what’s sadder is that the “to do” list is still a mile long! The bottom line, however, is that we LOVE living here. We love the space (1/2 acre), the neighborhood, the proximity to hubby’s work, and also the fact that we live super close to my in laws! (And as a side note, both my parents and my hubby’s Dad were instrumental in helping us get a lot of the above list completed!)

Kids

Josh & Rachel are doing fine. Josh is just over 3 and Rachel is 20 months. I sure do love them and enjoy my days with them. I know everyone else has adorable/smart/funny kids, but some days I seriously wonder which state penitentiary my kids will end up at–because they can be quite devious! Some days Josh and I really do battle it out. I’m no marshmellow Mom in any sense of the word, so I often have to remember to look for ways that I can answer “yes” instead of “no.” Rachel is very determined and doesn’t give up easily either, but she does have much shorter tantrums, which I am thankful for!

I like to remember the following so please tune out if this is crazy boring (I imagine it would be to most):

Josh wears 3T clothing and wears a an 8/9 shoe. He weighs 31.6# (No joke, he’s weighed exactly 31.6# the last several times he’s asked to hop on the scale!) and a few months ago he was just over 3 feet tall. We took away his paci back in April and it wasn’t a big deal at all (we were shocked! And thankful…).

Rachel wears 18-24 months clothing and is somewhere between a size 5 or 6 shoe. She is only a few inches shorter than Josh. She still doesn’t have to many words, but she’s working on it every day. She’s been in a size 5 diaper for a while. I use Pampers diapers and water only wipes or else she tends to be prone to really bad diaper rash.

Don’t be fooled. They’re wanna-be felons, I tell you! ūüôā

Weight Loss

I wrote a while back about experiencing unintended weight loss. I’m happy to report that out of the 16# I lost, I gained 7-8# of it back and that seems to be where things have settled. I’m not unhappy about it, but I do wish I had a better appetite most days so that cooking would feel less like a chore.

Endometriosis

I don’t really want to go on and on when it comes to this topic. The synopsis is: The endo does seem to be back. Some months are bad and some are okay. I cut out caffeine back in February which seemed to really help with pain levels. I still seem quite unable to get pregnant without intervention (IVF), so that’s a drag. At the same time, I have little to no desire to go through IVF again (not that we could afford it right now after all these home repairs!). I’ve been thinking about my options for when things DO get consistently bad, pain-wise. One option is to see a specialist who would excise all endo (cutting it out, rather than burning it off) and see how far that gets me. Another option would be to do a hysterectomy and also have current endo excised. This may still not alleviate pain (endo grows back easily and hides, so that it can be tricky even for specialists to find) and I still may require further surgeries. In all honesty, I’m hoping avoid any surgeries at all, because the frequent pain I get from adhesions and scar tissue following surgeries is off the charts.

Well I think that covers some of the basics! Thanks for sticking it through the post!

 

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Filed under Baby, DIY, Endometriosis, Finances, Infertility, IVF, Motherhood, Pain, Parenting, Toddler

Facing the Giant {Again}

This morning as I was reading my Bible I came across these verses:

“Look carefully then how you will walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

This is the prayer of my heart right now as I juggle raising two toddlers with my husband, managing our home, getting projects done around the house (hello new fixer home) and working part time. I want to be a light (Eph. 5:8)– not only to my children but also the community around me.

After eleven wonderful months, all signs point toward the endometriosis coming back with a vengeance. I’m so bummed. I actually thought I would have a bit more time. My periods have been barely making a blip on the radar with one, maybe two, days of mild cramping. And then this month happened. I actually believed I was possibly pregnant because I had cramping and nausea for seven straight days (around the clock) before my period started. I thought that maybe it was implantation cramping. However, my period started up 3 days late and once it started, the cramping was horrible with ibuprofen barely touching the pain. I had to rest a lot of else the nausea from the pain would become too great. It was a real drag, and lasted longer than I thought it would! All in all, this cycle affected me so that I was unable to function at full capacity for about 9 days. I’m not happy about that.

I semi-joined this endometriosis support group on facebook (meaning I occasionally read comments, but that I’m not very committed to it) and if there’s anything I’ve learned from it — it’s that so many women have much more HORRIBLE endometriosis than¬†to me. We’re talking debilitating daily pain that causes endless surgeries, nerve blocker pumps being placed, years of requiring menopause-inducing medications, loss of employment¬†and other daily activities because the pain is too great. And let’s not forget to mention that the scope of infertility affecting these women is vast. So, I have a healthy fear of endo – not only from what these women have shared, but from my own personal experience with it prior to IVF and having children. Crippling pain for two to three weeks out of the month was my thing back then, and it stunk.

I have enjoyed not living in pain and I want to keep it that way, if I have any power to do so. I don’t want this disease to try to take over my life, like I have seen it do to many other women. So I am prayerfully considering what the best “next step” will be. I want to be wise, so that I will be able to teach my son preschool, take my kids to the park and on walks, and be able to work on our house. I want to have energy to help and bless others when there is a need.

On another note, not being pregnant when I had so much hope that I actually might be (despite that <1% chance of a natural pregnancy that I had, ha) was hard– I shed a few tears over that one! But I’m glad it happened, because it revealed to me that I really do want more children. There was not a hint of “How will we afford another child?” “Where will they sleep?” or “How will we manage?” There was just sheer excitement. So this will be something I will need to hold onto loosely, because I don’t know God’s plans for our family! All I know is that His plans are BEST, and I trust Him for our future. I just have to look at Josh and Rachel to be reminded of that.

Thanks for praying for me, if you think of it. I’m going to start by getting an HSG this Friday (hysterosalpingogram). This will tell me if my remaining fallopian tube is even patent (open). If it’s not, or if there’s water blocked in the tube (hydrosalpinx) then there’s really no point in taking the time to try to conceive naturally (you know…because a 1% chance is still greater than a 0% chance…). My hubby and I will have to prayerfully consider where to go from there, depending on the HSG results.

In the meantime, here are some pictures from last December depicting God’s blessings on us through our marriage and children. How blessed we are! Pictures are by my friend Katherine Owens.

 

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Filed under Endometriosis, Motherhood, Pain

Unwanted Weight Loss

I really hope and pray this post is not self-serving. I know many who feel sick most of the time, for reasons still unknown. As someone who has dealt with years of progressing endometriosis pain and now years of food intolerance and allergies, I get it. I have learned that I must be¬†mindful to not allow pain, illness or the drive to find a cure to consume me. So I ¬†write this post timidly, because although I’m confused and a little bewildered, in the grand scheme of things it’s really quite inconsequential.

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Unwanted weight loss. Now that’s not a title I ever expected to type! I’m quickly approaching my mid 30’s, and being post-baby #2, I really thought the baby weight would be more stubborn.

Although I have been the same weight for my ENTIRE adult life (excluding pregnancies, obviously), I have now dropped 16 pounds below that. I’ve been losing anywhere from 1-4 pounds a month while TRYING to gain weight.

I was sick for several months with joint pain, heartburn, constant belly pain, no appetite, and very low energy. This started in February, after I had a brief stomach flu. ¬†I also was having cramping pretty often throughout the month, and was afraid the Endometriosis was rearing it’s ugly head again. I went to my GP twice and had multiple workups done. By the second GP visit I was down 9 pounds from my baseline weight. I was worked up for gall bladder disease (labs and an ultrasound), Lyme’s disease, Rheumatoid arthritis (which runs in my family), Lupus, and thyroid issues (and probably some others that I forgot). And praise God- all the labs came back within normal limits.

But I was at my wit’s end with feeling terrible, and out of desperation I decided to try cutting out all gluten and dairy again (this is my third stint over the years) on August 1st. After all, my Dad can’t tolerate gluten and my sister can’t tolerate gluten or dairy. I decided it was time to accept the fact that I might as well be in the same predicament. So I cut gluten and dairy out and I felt really terrible for another 3 weeks¬†and then BAM! I felt normal again, and the joint pain went away.

I also weaned Rachel around this time and expected my metabolism to slow down a bit.

I was wrong. My weight loss really started to skyrocket. Complicated diets make eating… well, complicated. I’m thankful for the easy solution to feeling better, but man, coming up with stuff to eat (when you lack a good appetite and don’t love to cook) is difficult for me.

Last week, I made a concerted effort to eat as much as possible. One day, I remember eating 1/2 ¬†bag of potato chips in addition to meals and other snacks. And let’s not forget that it was Thanksgiving last week and that I polished off more than 1/2 of a gluten & dairy free apple pie (thanks to my Mom for making it!). So I was pretty perplexed when I hopped on the scale Sunday to see that I had lost another 2 pounds in a single week.

I’m ok with being thin, and I know there are many people who would love to have my problem. But I’m just not sure where this weight loss thing will end, and that scares me. ¬†I imagine it’s got to be just as maddening for someone to work out and eat carefully, only to hop on the scale and realize that they’re only gaining weight. It feels like your body is making a huge mistake!

So please forgive my whiny post about wasting away for no good reason (that I can come up with, at least!). I’ll leave you¬†a few pics of the kiddos and the park nearby.

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Filed under Endometriosis, Food Intolerance, Pain

15 Months {and 22 weeks along}

Life is just truckin’ along. Josh finally got his two molars in that had been plaguing us all for 6 weeks (well, they’re almost all the way in) and he is a much happier camper now! He is back to sleeping through the night and is far less whiny. I’m enjoying the respite before the next set of molars come in. Hopefully we’ll catch a little break!

"Mom, I know I can't swim yet, but I really love to plunge myself head first into the water!"

“Mom, I know I can’t swim yet, but I really love to plunge myself head first into the water!” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† – The stuff parent panic attacks are made from

Josh is almost 15 months now and that kid seems to grow and change daily. It is such a delight to watch him learn and discover new things.

(Sorry if I’ve been typing that repeatedly on every blog post since he was born.)

The latest activities he’s been enjoying¬†have been “swimming” in the baby pool¬†(i.e. splashing crazily until both mommy and daddy are completely soaked and/or flinging himself head first from one side of the little pool to the other) we set up in the backyard (not to mention Grandma and Grandpa’s big pool when we visit).

He’s also been enjoying playing in his new his new toddler room (which was the office/guest room) which¬†will be his new room when the baby comes this October. Since his current room is perfectly set up for a newborn, and also pretty gender neutral, I figured we might as well leave it alone. I went on a marathon shopping trip to Ikea with my mom and used up my entire allowed budget to get him a new crib and mattress (he won’t be ready for a toddler bed for a while since he’s not even walking yet), a new dresser, darkening curtains, some nice toy bins, a picture for the wall, a toy holder and a castle tent to play in. He loves it, and so do I! Little by little we’ll be transferring over his clothes, diapers, wipes and books and get him transitioned to¬†his new room.

Josh's new toddler room. We have fun playing in there!

Josh’s new toddler room. We have fun playing in there! (On a side note, to save money, I bought one of the cheaper dressers at Ikea but had my hubby drill holes and apply knobs to spruce it up.)

In the meantime, we’ve been clearing out the closet in his toddler room (which had our printer, office and wrapping supplies, as well as vacuum, broom, etc) and somehow it has led to a major reorganization of every storage area in our entire house. I’ve been discovering things like FOUR sets of curtains in my linen cabinet that will never work for this house, extra fabric, clothes and shoes we never wear and just lots of things we need to get rid of. So it’s been a good process but also an exhausting one. Additionally, hubby decided that the one drawer he got in our dresser wasn’t working for him (can’t imagine why? I had the other five drawers — ridiculous, I know!) so we are in the process of selling the beloved dresser (that I worked so hard to paint and fix up back in January) and plan to get a bigger one… you know, so that hubby can have more than his one token drawer.

Goodbye, beloved dresser. I'm going to miss you.

Goodbye, beloved dresser. I’m going to miss you.

As for pregnancy, I’m 22 weeks and starting to feel huge. I mean it this time. I looked back on my blog and saw that I look the same as I did when I was 30 weeks with Josh. Not taking any pictures because I keep thinking it’s some sort of fluke and that tomorrow I’ll look like a normal 22-week-pregnant person (I had hoped for that this morning, but sadly it didn’t happen). My hubby said, “Well, at least we know our baby will be healthy!” (Code for ‘big’ in husband-speak.) I had to laugh. Josh was 6 pounds 13 ounces, and after all, I did tell him that I ¬†had hoped to have a bigger baby this time around. I like to have some wiggle room weight-wise with newborns, especially during those few days that I’m waiting for my milk to come in.

I lied. I took a picture after all. For all the fuss I just made, I promise I look bigger than this in person. 22 weeks.

I lied. I took a picture after all. For all the fuss I just made, I promise I look bigger than this in person. 22 weeks 3 days.

So for now, other than trying to hide the fact that I am only 22 weeks along to unsuspecting people, we are in a good place! And– up to today, I have only had FOUR days of pain this entire pregnancy. It’s astounding to me! By this point last time I was having a lot of trouble moving or crossing my legs and rolling over without significant pain. And I remembered that by 27 weeks I was already making trips to L&D for intense stabbing pain! (I had to read back on my blog for that info also.) This time around I feel great. I do have some heartburn in the evenings, but if I treat it prophylactically with Zantac it isn’t much at all and doesn’t disturb my sleep. Also, avoiding greasy foods really seems to help, as well as eating smaller dinners. I also gave up coffee completely several weeks ago after experiencing two days of crushing chest pain following a large decaf coffee drink. I think being coffee-free has helped tremendously on cutting back the heartburn. To help myself stay remain resolved, I lent my amazing Keurig espresso maker/milk frother to my sister. She is happily enjoying it, and gets to keep it until the baby comes. After that I definitely will be wanting it back! Helloooo long, sleepless nights! (While getting to snuggle with an adorable baby, of course.) ūüôā

This is a lousy picture but I love the expression on Josh's face. :)

I’ll leave you with this one last picture. Lousy quality, but I love the expression on Josh’s face as he’s on his way to pretend-tackle his mommy. ūüėČ

 

 

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Filed under Pain, Pregnancy, Toddler

Toddlerhood and 16 Weeks

There’s not a lot happening these days. So far, this pregnancy has been a breeze (minus the subchorionic hematoma) compared to my pregnancy with Josh. I’ll be 16 weeks tomorrow, and I can’t believe how fast it’s going by. I read back on my blog and was shocked to see that I was already starting to have chronic pain by 12 weeks last time. No pain this time around!

Here's my almost 16 week belly. This was a morning shot; it looks a lot bigger by the evening!

Here’s my almost 16 week belly. This was a morning shot; it looks a lot bigger by the evening!

Chasing after Josh has been good for my body in that my back/upper body ¬†is much stronger now. I’m grateful that I can vacuum, move furniture, and carry Josh around with no pain.

I have no idea if things are okay with baby #2, but I think I’ve been feeling flutters and also I have an OB appt tomorrow, so it will be a relief to hear the baby’s heartbeat. My belly’s been growing bigger, so I guess that’s another sign that things are alright. I’ll be glad when I can feel the baby kicking on a regular basis!

Things with Josh have taken a huge turn. My easy going baby has become a defiant and opinionated toddler. He screams when he doesn’t get his way and will occasionally throw himself on the floor in glorious tantrum fashion. There have been some long, trying days– days where anything I do provokes him to a screeching rage. But there are lots of good and fun times with him as well. He’s become a bit more unpredictable as well and sometimes he’ll have a huge meltdown over something that I can’t for the life of me figure the cause. It’s exhausting, fun, wearing and entertaining all at once. There was a day this week I cried tears of frustration when dealing with his 30th tantrum by 6pm, and yet much laughter and joy at seeing him delight in discovering new things.

Wouldn't you believe this adorable little boy had just thrown a tantrum over being put in his car seat? ;)

Would you believe this adorable little boy had just thrown a tantrum over being put in his car seat? (Mommy has learned that snacks go a long way.) ūüėČ

He’s crawling and cruising around everywhere, and just waiting for me to turn my head so that he can get into something that he’s not supposed to be. He’s rather skilled in that area!

I find myself desperate for wisdom and patience these days, and asking God for it often. So many times I have thought about how motherhood has not only taught me a lot about God, but propelled¬†me towards Him like a speeding bullet. I see my desperate need for a Savior in just my flawed parenting alone. So many times I have prayed out loud “Lord, help me… please give me patience for this little boy that I love so much.” What’s so neat is that I see the Lord deliver those fruits of the Spirit that I ask Him for. He has given me patience at times when I was crazy sleep deprived and should have been an impatient grump. But somehow the Spirit enabled me to be otherwise.

So it’s not much, but that’s the news around here. Each phase of life seems to have it’s way of bringing me to my knees.¬†Thankfully I serve this kind of God:

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

Isaiah 40:11, ESV

 

 

 

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Filed under Baby, Pain, Pregnancy, Toddler

Unexpected

Seriously. I didn’t expect birth control to throw me for such a loop! I wasn’t planning on being sick with nausea and migraines for the past 2 weeks, that’s for sure. And I still have 2 weeks left to go before I can stop the birth control and start meds for the FET.
Waking up in the middle of the night with a migraine is just plain not fun!
Overall, I’m just feeling frustrated that my body so often seems to lean toward the “unwell” direction more than the “well” direction. Or at least that’s how it seems right now. Maybe that’s a short-sighted view from me (probably most of what I’m saying right now is short-sighted!) but I’ve never been this sick from birth control, ever.
I’m praying this isn’t another long season of being in pain. In the meantime I’m icing my head and wondering if I need to get on migraine medication to make it through these next two weeks. My stomach can only handle so much Advil!

On the plus side, Josh is doing great. Sleeping 12-14 hours every night. Laughing and playing and putting his arms around mommy’s neck at bedtime when he’s tired. Kicking up a storm in the bathtub. Eating like a champ. Obsessed with every little silky tag he can get his hands (or should I say mouth?) on. And just last week, the two cutest little bottom teeth popped through his gums. He is such a joy and a treasure to us, and helps me to laugh and giggle throughout the day when I’m struggling with migraines.

Ahem. Headaches and nausea aside, I guess I don’t have to look very hard when I’m looking for God’s mercy in my life!

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Moving Forward

It’s taken me a while to muster up the courage to write this blog post. For a while I’ve been thinking that maybe I just wanted to have a more private life, and that I didn’t really want to broadcast on this blog the latest, the greatest, the saddest or¬†the baddest happening in my life. Maybe I should stop blogging altogether, I thought.

Looking back, I didn’t blog much (okay, actually not at all) before, during and after we went through IVF. At the time, I felt that I couldn’t. I was realized that this was mostly due to the crippling fear I had that it wouldn’t work.

But then the Lord gave us Josh. A blessing greater than I could have ever surmised.

Since I find¬†myself wanting to retreat from this blog again, you might have guessed why: We’re headed towards a frozen embryo transfer (FET) soon.

It seems a little soon,” you might say. And as Josh is a handful of¬†days¬†away from¬†turning 6 months old, you would be quite correct. It is early. We had hoped to wait longer, so that my body could have more time to recover and so that I could keep nursing Josh for at least a year. But things didn’t turn out as planned (when do they ever?). If you read my blog much, you might remember my post about never ending PMS symptoms. At the time I felt pregnant. For a month I had nausea, heartburn, fatigue, bloating, cramping, spotting… which finally resulted in my first postpartum period, 30 days later. I felt relieved, as it meant my month of PMS torture was finally over. But at the same time, my heart sank. I knew that it meant my (aggressive) endometriosis would be able rear it’s ugly head again, and conceivably soon. In the past, I’ve gotten endometriomas (chocolate cysts) in just two months. That’s right– in just two cycles I had been diagnosed with two endometriomas and scheduled¬†for surgery. And since I’ve had surgery three times, I’m not into waiting it out ¬†to see how it goes. I’ve got 4 other embryos to think about, and I don’t want to risk having to have a hysterectomy or having multiple surgeries that might impair their ability to implant and grow. Our IVF doctor, taking the aggressive nature of my endometriosis into consideration, thinks it’s a wise plan of action to do the FET soon.

The biggest downside to doing the embryo transfer soon is that I had to wean Josh. I found it quite an easy thing to talk about and a much harder thing to actually do. Now, before I go on, I must say¬†that nursing Josh has not been an easy feat. I didn’t write about it on this blog, but I dealt with Josh’s tongue-tie, multiple block ducts, never ending milk blisters, a mastitis scare (basically fever, chills and body aches that self resolved), low milk supply, and lots and lots of Josh crying with frustration while nursing. Often times, I would cry too. Despite all of the hardships that came along with nursing, I found it unbelievably hard to give up. I planned to make it as non-traumatic as possible–starting with one bottle a day with something like 3/4 breast milk and 1/4 formula, while slowly adjusting the ratio over time so that it was only formula, and slowly substituting nursing with bottle feedings over the course of a month. But¬†Josh would have none of it. By the third day of my “plan” (remember, my plans don’t work out very often) Josh was completely refusing the bottle, even if it was solely¬†breast milk. So, I had to force the issue and had to wait it out until he was thirsty enough to A) take the bottle, and B) take the formula all by itself. I felt awful during this process and cried buckets of tears. It was also a hit to my body to go from nursing 6-7 times a day to not at all. Talk about dropping prolactin levels! I prayed and asked God to not let Josh go 3 days or something horrible like refusing the bottle and without fluids. And to my great relief, he didn’t! He actually didn’t go any great length of time at all. I nursed him Friday night (his last time nursing) and when he woke up crying at 4 am, I gave him a bottle with formula and he took 2-3 oz. He sucked it down and sat happily in my lap while doing so. Now he is really cuddly and even cries sometimes if I don’t get the bottle in his mouth fast enough, taking anywhere from 4-5 oz at a time. So, although things didn’t go according to my plan, they still went remarkably well and sped up the process much faster than I could have imagined. And for all my attempts over the past 6 months to give Josh a bottle here and there, and to give him formula occasionally — well, let’s just say that it was pretty much pointless in the end.

I’m not sure when the embryo transfer will be (probably in the next month or two?) but I covet your prayers. I’m surrounded by fears again — such as: What if I don’t get pregnant? Or if I do get pregnant: What if I have another incredibly painful pregnancy, this time with a toddler to care for also? What if it’s twins and I deliver prematurely? What if it’s twins and one of them dies? And on and on the worries can build. But it’s just another opportunity to seek the Lord, to ask for another child, to rest and to not spin these worries out of control. I have to look around me and see all that He has done, and how greatly I have been blessed!

And now that I have gotten over my initial fear by letting people know about our plans to do an embryo transfer soon, I will do my best to keep you updated. The hardest part about this is not getting pregnant and then having someone ask you about it. But conversely, there is the great joy in also telling an inquiring person that it worked and that you’re pregnant! We just don’t know what the Lord has in store for us. Either way, I’m counting on Him to carry us through it.

Thanks for praying!

And why not end with some happy pictures of our little guy? (The first two taken by my talented friend Katherine while I was over at her house.)

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Filed under Baby, Endometriosis, Infertility, IVF, Pain, Pregnancy

Suffering & Fear

It’s late and I’m overtired. We drove to several towns today and saw a lot of people. We got home late. It was a busy, full day.

I can’t sleep, though.

You know that horrible, horrible¬†thought that sometimes crosses your mind when you ponder for a second what life would be like without someone you love very much? How that person would be constantly missed — how their absence would jolt every facet of your life? How the sorrow and grief would take a long, long time to lift– if it ever did lift?

I do my best to avoid this mental space if at all possible, but I am wrestling with these thoughts tonight. Because a very dear person to my heart is sicker and more frail than I want to admit. I see this person suffering and I can barely stand it. I’m not one of those tough “suck it up” people. Not at all. I hate to see people suffer, most of all people I love dearly.

The best thing I can do in a situation like this is to get on my knees and pray. So I did. I begged God for the healing of this person. I will ask God again tomorrow, and the day after that. I will keep asking until something changes. I don’t know what the outcome will be. I admit I’m really scared to think of life without this person. But the bottom line is that I can trust God with this person and with my fears.

Tonight I will take my fears and place them in the hands of the Almighty. I will dwell on these verses:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His steadfast love.” (Psalm 33:18)

And even now, in the dark night when fears threaten to shout and overwhelm, there is a HOPE in Jesus that silences them all. There is a HOPE in Jesus that allows me to face the future with calm because He is good and He is sovereign.

Lord, please bring new mercies in the morning.

 

 

 

 

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Life Without Pain

“You think we should put the tree here?” I asked my mom.¬†“Sure, that looks like a good spot,” she replied.

I wasted no time and jumped on the shovel to dig a hole. A hole was quickly dug and we dropped the beautiful Scarlet Laceleaf Japanese maple tree into the ground. On our hands and knees, we filled in the empty spaces around the roots with a combination of potting soil and dirt. We finished and as I jumped up suddenly a thought occurred to me: The last time I had used a shovel I was 15 weeks pregnant and ended up going on bed rest that evening because I started to have cramping from too much exertion while working in the yard. I shuddered at the thought. How scared I had been because I thought we might lose Joshua, all because I had wanted to dig out some weeds.

My mom and I walked over to some potted plants I had in another area of¬†the front yard. “Remember this plant you bought me, mom? It was towards the end of my pregnancy, as I recall.” “Oh yes, I remember that!” she exclaimed. “We walked into the store¬†just to buy you a few plants, and you were in excruciating pain the whole rest of the day because of it– if I recall correctly.” As she was talking, I suddenly remembered wincing in pain with each bump in the road on the trip home from the store that day. I then remember not being able to help my mom put any of those plants in a pot or in the ground. She had had to do it all.

But these were not singular memories. Most days of my pregnancy were pain-filled. Most days I was begging others for prayer and begging the Lord to help me get through it. During that time, I had forgotten what it was like to not be in pain. I learned a lot about myself and chronic pain during that time. But even greater, I learned about the Lord’s abundant grace. I don’t reflect on those days with fear or bitterness, because of how God carried me through it. I will always be grateful for the experience. There are some things you can’t learn about the Lord by simply having head-knowledge.

For the first time¬†in a really long season, I am experiencing life without pain! I haven’t felt this healthy for at least 7 years, which was when I first started to experience symptoms of endometriosis. I see now how extremely good pregnancy has been for my body. I am enjoying being able to do pretty much whatever I would like without pain of any kind. It is marvelous! I am thankful for each day I have that I get to be pain-free. I don’t know¬†how long it will last.¬†Either way, I feel so blessed to be able to take care of Joshua in the absence of pain. It is a gift!

And so this Scarlet Laceleaf Japanese maple tree– which my mom bought in honor of Joshua’s birth– will always serve as a reminder to me of God’s grace– whether it be for the birth of our son or for carrying me through the hard days prior to his birth. I will recall the ease with which I was able to put this tree into the ground and thank God for these days in which I am living without pain.

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ER Visits, Back Blows & God’s Mercy

Way back in the day, when my 28 year old disabled sister was just a newborn, my parents gave her the prescribed daily dose of liquid multivitamins using a dropper. She ended up choking on the vitamins– so severely that she turned purple and my dad started CPR while¬†my mom called an ambulance. She remained purple until the paramedics arrived and they were able to successfully resuscitate her (they actually defibrillated her– something rarely done on newborns nowadays) . Even though she had graduated from the NICU recently, she earned herself a readmission to the NICU that day. Talk about a traumatizing event. I don’t remember it happening (I was only 3) but just hearing my mom talk about it has always made me very sober.

So if you can imagine, I heeded my mom’s advice when she saw me give Joshua his vitamin D supplement through a dropper the other day. She gently reminded me of what had happened with my sister. I remained very cautious with the dropper, but Joshua seemed to do really great with it. I’d put one drop in the side of his mouth, and he’d immediately start sucking it down. It was a breeze. After a couple of weeks, I decided that perhaps the difference was that Joshua was a healthy newborn, whereas my sister had been in the NICU and had always had issues with choking.

It turned out that I was wrong. Sunday afternoon, my husband was holding Joshua upright and I decided that it was the perfect time to administer his vitamin D because my hands were free. Joshua was crying, but in the past he always stopped and immediately assessed the presence of something new in his mouth by starting to suck. I slipped the dropper in his mouth and put in (what I thought) was a drop. Instead of sucking, Joshua immediately started making attempts to gasp but couldn’t. He was unable to make any noise at all. He started to turn pale and his eyes widened as hubby and I both patted his back (with more and more intensity) hoping he would cough up the inhaled vitamins. I didn’t panic at first, because babies choke all the time. When it became clear to me that he still wasn’t able to breathe (and when I realized that almost the entire dosage of vitamins had gone into his mouth), infant CPR class kicked in and I instinctively snatched him up, put him head-down and started back blows. Not what I wanted to be doing to my not-even-four-weeks-old newborn. Not at all.¬†After a couple of back blows I finally heard him cough weakly and saw some color return to his face. I put him upright and continued to pat his back. Bubbles started to come out of his mouth as he slowly coughed up the liquid he had inhaled. He sounded wheezy and “wet” — like there was still a lot of liquid in his trachea that needed to come up.

After Joshua recovered from the back blows, I sat there in the rocking chair, holding him upright on my chest while patting his back and rocking him back and forth. He looked exhausted from choking and coughing so much. As I sat there, thinking about my mom’s warning about the droppers and how pathetic Joshua now looked and sounded,¬†I started to weep. I felt like the worst mom in the world. I prayed over Joshua that he wouldn’t get sick from aspirating the vitamins and emailed my older sister and asked her to pray too. But I still felt horrible. I sat there miserable and worried, rocking my exhausted little 8 pound baby. The tears kept coming.

Over the next few hours we kept a closer eye on Joshua. He sounded raspy when he cried and coughed up more liquid as the evening wore on, but by night time he sounded and looked fine. I was so relieved! I’ll never use one of those droppers ever again.

That was Sunday.

On Monday, I was hanging out with my mom in our living room when I noticed that I had some pretty sharp localized pain in my left lower abdomen. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but I had just been telling my mom how great it was to be pain-free these days. I got up to take Joshua back to the nursery so that I could nurse him, and found that it was sort of hard to walk on that side. While I nursed Joshua, the pain got worse and so I tried to stretch out my body and lean back as much as I could to see if it would help the pain. It didn’t help. When Joshua was done nursing, I got up and asked my mom if she’d be willing to burp Joshua so that I could use the restroom, thinking it might help with the pain. I hobbled into the restroom. The pain got worse from there, so much so that I was practically in tears. I exited our bedroom and announced lamely to my mom, “Uh… I’m in a lot of pain… ” I hobbled out to the living room, and before I knew it the pain was out of control. “I don’t know what’s wrong!” I said to my mom, doubled over, barely able to move. The tears started to come. “Maybe it’s an ovarian cyst rupturing?” I tried to think of what could possibly going on. I knew it probably wasn’t appendicitis since it was on my left side and not my right side.

After about five minutes of sheer agony, mom said she wanted to call an ambulance. I suggested she drive me to the ER instead. “What if I get there and they tell me it’s just gas pain or something silly like that?” I said to my mom. I really didn’t want to look like an idiot. But the pain soon made even forget about looking like a fool… all I knew was that something was very wrong. At that point, my mom kicked it into high gear and swiftly got Joshua into his car seat and loaded in our car. She packed the diaper bag, helped me get in the car, and off we went. I managed to quickly call hubby and told him to meet us at the ER.

At the ER, I was called right back. I had my mom take Joshua home and away from all the germs in the ER waiting room. From there we waited in a room for what seemed like an eternity while I lay there in agony. I felt like I was in labor all over again. A doctor came in and I told him I suspected a rupturing cyst. He agreed and ordered an IV, pain meds, labs, and an ultrasound. I turned down the pain meds because they told me I would have to pump and dump if I took them (at that point I thought I might be home in time to nurse Joshua again). Plus, even though I was still in a lot of pain, it was a little better laying down than it had been standing (sitting was impossible though). From there, we waited four hours for the ultrasound. And as I lay there on the ER bed, I cried over the silliest stuff– I cried because of pain, I cried because Joshua was going to get his first bottle (since his first week of life) at home without me. I probably cried because I just wanted to be home taking care of my baby. It sounds ridiculous to me now. I guess I was a mess! I also really needed to pump but I couldn’t lean forward at all and I was stressed out trying to figure out what to do with my milk situation when I couldn’t nurse and I couldn’t pump.

Finally, after five hours in the ER, I started to feel better. I then finally got my ultrasound. It was negative. However, my urine sample came back looking positive for a UTI. So they decided that I must have a UTI (somehow just localized in one spot–on the left side). I started on antibitoics that evening but was already feeling 50% better before I even started it.

So I am being told I have a UTI, but my theory is that I had an ovarian cyst that burst before my ultrasound was done. That would explain why the pain subsided before I had the ultrasound and also before I started on antibiotics. And it would also explain why I’ve had some improving residual pain (only with sitting) the past few days in the same location. Also, the intensity and duration of pain felt pretty similar to a previous time when I had an ovarian cyst burst (this was back in 2010).

ER visit and horrible pain aside, God’s mercy on me through this whole event was that my mom was visiting when it happened. My mom’s not one of those people that needs a lot of instruction. She just jumps in there and gets the job done. I really needed that because I was totally unable to care for Joshua when the pain struck. In fact, I was barely able to call my husband and let him know what was going on. I don’t think I could have waited until my he had¬†made the 40 minute drive home from work to get to the ER. I probably would have called an ambulance and then what would have happened with Joshua? I’m sure it would have worked out, but I’m just so relieved that I could leave Joshua in my mom’s capable hands. And it was nice for my hubby to be able ¬†to stay with me while I was in the ER.

So that was Sunday and Monday. We all survived, and there were blessings to be found.

But if I never have to do back blows or go to the ER again, I really wouldn’t mind.

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Filed under Baby, Endometriosis, Pain