Monday, December 31, 2012

"Beautiful Heartbreak"

Well I posted my loss story here yesterday and I also sent it off to the people who run this site The Amethyst Network. And today they wrote me back, thanked me for my submission and let me know that they had added my story to their site.I posted the story here figuring that someone out there like me might be cruising the Internet looking for some comfort, or just to know that there was someone out there who felt a similar pain as them. I'm hoping that in the new year my posts will be happier. In fact I'm working on a pretty happy one in my head right now. Maybe you'll see it soon.

I've been told that my story is Heartbreakingly Beautiful AND that reminded me of this song- which I feel in love with this last spring when I sang in a choir for musical performance during BYU's Women's Conference with Hillary Weeks - It's called "Beautiful Heartbreak"

And Wow- it's amazing how much this song expresses exactly what I feel and want and hope to someday feel. I still feel like I'm in the middle of it- but someday I will see the amazing view that the Lord wants to show me, I just have to keep moving down this road that he has placed me on.

Well, It's the last day of 2012. I wish you and yours an Amazing and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sharing is Caring

Earlier this month I decided to attend a meeting of Share, a pregnancy and infant loss support group. I just felt like I needed to talk, or maybe more that I needed to cry around people who understood why I was crying. It was a great experience. Prior to finding that local support group I had looked for some kind of support or understanding online. In my online searches I found several blogs and websites filled with stories. I decided to write my own story- in the hopes that it would be a cathartic experience. I submitted it to a site that was looking for women to share their experiences with early loss and first trimester miscarriage. I've only shared it with Ken so far but I've felt like I should share it here too. So here goes.

Waiting to hold my Angels

In March of 2012 I became very baby hungry. At the time our boys were 4 years and 19 months old. I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with our second son and the doctors had advised me to let my body and pancreas rest for 2 years before getting pregnant again. I had also been advised to lose some weight and get a little healthier and I was very proud that I had. Over the 18 months since I was given the okay to exercise I had discovered a love of running and I had lost 33 pounds.  My husband and I discussed my desire for another baby and we decided that I would have my IUD removed a little early and we would see what happened. It had taken us a little over a year to become pregnant with our oldest boy. I felt a little like maybe this urge to have a baby was helping me get a jump start on “the wait” to get pregnant.

I went in on May 2nd to have my IUD removed and long story short- it wasn’t easy. My doctor pulled on the strings and they broke.  He tried to pull the IUD out with forceps but he finally decided that it was embedded and that he wouldn’t be able, in his family practice office, to get it out. He gave me a referral to an OB whom he had complete confidence in……skip forward 30 days, 2 more doctors,  2 surgeries and one overnight stay in the hospital and I was IUD free! (It had been located via x-ray and later CT scan, in my pelvis). As I was talking to my new OB when he was discharging me from the hospital after that second MIRACLE surgery, I asked him when I could start trying for a baby, and he told me that my husband and I could start immediately. This made me very happy.

Two cycles later I knew I was pregnant and a Dollar store pregnancy test confirmed it. It was a light pink line, but it was there. That was Wednesday, July 25th.  I showed my husband the test and he was quite surprised, but he is always surprised when I tell him I’m pregnant.  I wasn’t expecting my period for 2 more days and my FP had encouraged me to come into his office for a free pregnancy test if needed and I felt the need for some reassurance so I went into his office on Friday the 27th and I was told that the positive result on their test was very strong. I was over the moon.  I was due the first week of April and if this pregnancy was anything like my last there was a good chance this baby would be born during the same week in March that my husband, my oldest son and I all celebrated our birthdays. I was excited at the possibility of our 3 birthdays in 4 days turning into 4 birthdays in 4 days.

I told my Mom. But, unlike my first two pregnancies when we pretty much told the world about our pregnancy as soon as the first test was positive, I decided I would wait until after the first trimester to announce this pregnancy. That weekend we had a family reunion and I kept my special little secret to myself- I wanted to tell everyone, just like I had at that same reunion, 5 years earlier, with my first pregnancy, but I didn’t. I kept my secret in my very happy little heart.

The next Monday I noticed some pink staining on the toilet paper as I used bathroom. I had had some bleeding at about 7 weeks while I was pregnant with my first son, I remember then praying, begging for a miracle, begging to keep my baby. I was given that miracle then and so I prayed for that same miracle this time too. On Tuesday I just felt off and then, exactly one week after finding out I was pregnant, I started to bleed. It happened in the middle of the night. There was way too much blood, I knew that I had miscarried and I was crushed. I cleaned myself up as best I could and went back to bed and cried myself to sleep in my husband’s arms.  I’d never experienced anything like that before and I was heartbroken. The next day I called my OB’s office and they had me come in for some blood work that confirmed the miscarriage. Because it was so early, just a day or so shy of 5 weeks; they told me that I didn’t need to wait to keep trying. I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to try to get pregnant again. Could my heart take another loss like this? I never wanted to hurt this way again. But that urge to have another baby was still there and so we kept trying. I told people who asked how I was doing that I now knew I could get pregnant, much more easily than I had expected too, and so now my focus was on staying pregnant.

I was a week late the next month and I was once again over the moon. We had a family vacation planned for the week of my period (amazing timing! I know) and so I brought lots of supplies for that plus a pregnancy test- this time I decided that I would wait a full week before testing.  So on the 7th day of waiting with absolutely no signs of my period starting, I took the test. It was negative. I was so mad! I once again went back to bed and cried myself to sleep, (it was about midnight when I took the test) the next morning the cramps started. I was quite surprised the next day when my husband wasn’t as upset as I was, he told me that he really hadn’t expected us to get pregnant before September. I didn’t feel that way I wasn’t really sure how to feel, I really didn’t understand what was happening. I had been so regular for months, why had my body played this awful trick on me; you would think my body would like me. I had a few really awful down days and I didn’t know how to explain why I felt the way I did other than to say that I felt like God had dropped me in the middle of the desert and the only map I had was the one I had made for myself, for the life I had planned have over the next year or so and that desert was nowhere on my map. I was lost and I felt so alone.

I decided to keep trying and I was rewarded when the very next month a dollar store pregnancy test once again confirmed what my heart had already been telling me. I was pregnant. This time I called the OB and asked for a Quantitative HCG. I was scared a little when the nurse called after the first test, she said the results were good, I had an HCG level of 50 (I thought she said) lower than expected but that probably just meant that I wasn’t as far along as I thought I was. Considering that I had had a positive pregnancy test at 3 weeks 3 days with my second pregnancy- knowing early wasn’t new to me. So I went back in for the second blood test and waited. My doctor was the one who called with the results this time. My heart sank when I heard his voice. I steadied myself for what I knew was coming, he would tell me that the numbers had dropped. But no! He said that they had more than doubled, more than tripled really. He said my first result was 150 and the second result was 850, then he asked if there were any multiples in my family. The answer to that is no. Knowing that I had recently had an early miscarriage he invited me to make an appointment the next week, we could do an ultrasound and make sure that it wasn’t an ectopic pregnancy and maybe even check to see if there was more than one egg sac visible. It was the best day I’d had all year! I told my Mom, but once again we felt like we should keep this pregnancy to ourselves a little longer.
I went in that next week and saw one sweet little bubble on the ultrasound screen. My husband and I started to refer to our baby as bubbles. The doctor told me I could come back two weeks later for another ultrasound, I did and at 7 weeks I saw the most beautiful little heartbeat ever.  I told my sisters; sisters ought to know, at least that is how I felt. My doctor told me I could come back again at 9 weeks for one more ultrasound before I started my regular- only go to the doctor ever 4 weeks- prenatal visits.

And so on Election Day I was back in his office, I was proud to announce that I had a pretty good case of morning sickness and I quickly became even more sick when he couldn’t find a heartbeat. He told me that the particular machine he was using had been giving him problems and then he ran down the hall to their ultrasound room where the ultrasounds were done later in pregnancy. The tech there had just finished up with a patient and had a few minutes before the next and so I was hurried into the room. Her machine was much bigger and it certainly had a better picture- there was my baby, head, arms and legs, but no beating heart.  Size wise it measured slightly larger than my dates. The doctor told me this was normal that after the baby died the tissues tended to swell up a bit and then they would shrink. He walked me down to his office and we talked, my baby had died and eventually, sometime in the next few days, I would miscarry and physically lose my baby. I remember he cried, he knew how much I wanted a baby. I was in shock; I didn’t start crying until I was trying to make a follow up appointment for the next week.  The doctor had given me a prescription for some Misoprostol, instructing me to take it once I started bleeding to help speed up the process. I woke up at 3 AM the next morning with horrible abdominal cramps. I actually felt a little relieved that I knew it was coming. It felt like a tender mercy from the Lord- if I hadn’t been expecting to miscarry I think I would have been out of my mind that morning. Instead I got myself a heating pad and waited to lose my baby. The cramps eventually went away and nothing ever happened. My husband and I returned to the doctor a little over a week after that last ultrasound, Thanksgiving was just over a week away and emotionally I was a wreck. Never knowing when I would physically lose my baby was hard on me. I had been going through the stages of grief and I felt like I was stuck. Waiting.

We decided to schedule a D&C for the next afternoon and then try to get things going naturally that night in the hopes that we wouldn’t need to have the procedure. When my husband and I got home from the doctors the hospital had already called to say I scheduled for late the next morning and that they were very sorry for our loss. I don’t know if surgeries are ever happy but I’m guessing D&C’s are probably pretty high on the list of procedures nurses wish women never had have. Anyway, at dinner time I took 4 of the Misoprostol pills and I texted back and forth with the doctor that night about how things were progressing. I started to have some pretty strong cramping; I took more pills before bed that night. I woke up at about 2 AM and I had some light bleeding, I took some more of the pills. But by the next morning nothing more had really happened and the cramping and bleeding had pretty much stopped. I let the doctor know and he texted back that he would meet us at the hospital.

And so we dropped our boys off with a neighbor and headed back to the hospital for my 4th surgery of the year.  With my other surgeries I tried to look nice, but I don’t even remember brushing my hair that morning, I wore my pajamas, I probably looked exactly like the mess I felt.  It was a pretty normal check in process and eventually I found myself alone, lying on a gurney, outside a surgical suite.  My nurse came out and talked to me, and then the anesthesiologist came to talk with me. I remember he told me that it was perfectly acceptable for me to cry and that I shouldn’t be embarrassed. I was crying. I had been the whole time I was waiting there. I knew my baby was gone, but this was the end of my pregnancy and it was by no means the end I ever wanted to have.  I kept crying, and it was okay. Before I knew it I was in the surgical suite talking with the doctors and nurses and then I was waking up in the post anesthesia area. I think for the next few hours I was just numb. I didn’t have to wonder when it was going to happen anymore, when I would start to bleed, whether or not it would be painful or if I would hemorrhage.  I felt relieved. Sad, but relieved.
As I went to bed that night I prayed and I found that all I could pray about was how grateful I was for what I had. I was grateful for my sweet husband and for my precious boys. I was grateful that I hadn’t gone crazy during the past week and a half. I was grateful to be alive. I was sad, but I was grateful.  I couldn’t sleep, which was completely annoying to me because other than my anesthesia induced nap that day I had pretty much been awake for 2 days.  I went to watch TV but I couldn’t really paying attention; instead I was crying but they were joyful tears this time. I was sitting in my dark basement and thoughts kept popping into my head about how much I loved my husband, how amazing he had been over the past year, how he had taken time off work to care for me after each surgery and after that first early miscarriage. I felt so strongly the feeling that God had blessed me with Ken as my husband because he knew how much love and care I would need during this time of my life and Ken was just the man for the job. It was an amazing, wonderful feeling, even more so knowing just how low I had felt in the hours and days before.  I woke Ken up and told him all about it.

It’s been 6 weeks since my D&C.  I’ve had bad days and good day. I’ve had times when all I’ve wanted to do was erase the past and be normal. I’ve discovered that way more friends and neighbors than I ever knew had experienced the loss of miscarriage. I’ve felt empty and broken and I’ve had times when I felt like I was healing.  I dreaded Christmas coming. If I hadn’t had that early miscarriage I wouldn’t have been 26 weeks pregnant, but that wasn’t meant to be. If I hadn’t lost that second pregnancy I would have been 17 weeks pregnant.  I would have been feeling my sweet baby’s movements.  But I knew I wouldn’t. It made me sad; I didn’t want to be sad at Christmas. 

I’ve wondered a lot over the past few weeks about what I lost. I had miscarriages, I lost pregnancies. I love being pregnant, I love that I get to take part in creating a body for my child. I believe that our spirits exist before we are born, I even believe that out there, waiting for me are the spirits of some wonderful people who have chosen my husband and I to be their parents. So what did I lose, did I just lose the tiny body that I was helping to create or did I lose the chance to be a mother to that spirit, that child? I’ve wondered, I’ve prayed and eventually I really feel like I got an answer. I don’t feel like I’ve lost the blessing of mothering this child, or these children. I don’t know when I will meet them, but whether I meet them as a small baby in this life or as a beautiful glorious being in heaven, I have not truly lost them. In my heart I hope that I get to meet them in baby form.

I had thought that buying a couple of angel ornaments would help me to honor these lost babies, but as the month when on, and as I came to feel in my heart that I hadn’t truly lost them, my search for an ornament kind of changed too. I eventually found one that showed a little angle holding a heart- it said that it was for those who love and who are loved (it’s the Willow Tree “Angel of the Heart” ornament) and it spoke to me. I love my children, those who I can hold in my arms and I also love the ones who I’ve only been able to cradle in my womb for a short time, but who I will always hold him my heart.

And that’s where I am now.  We hope to be able to start trying to get pregnant in February. I have a lot of fear still, I’m sure that if and when I am able to get pregnant again I will continue to worry but I have had miracles before and I still believe in miracles. I know that someday I will have all of my children with me; I just hope that day is sooner than later.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas! It's a wonderful time of year. We tried to teach the boys about why we celebrate Christmas and why we get presents. They are good parrots and so when we asked why we have Christmas they will say "Because Jesus was born!". I got a few different answers when I asked why we get presents "Because we are GOOD!" "Because you love me" for example. These are all good answers, I told the boys that we give each other presents because the Three Wise Men brought gifts to Jesus, but I am thinking that I truly give them presents just because I love them. 

Hopefully over the next few years of their lives we can bring the Savior more and more into the center of our children's Christmas celebrations. For now though, they are pretty amazingly focused on presents- which for a 2 and 4 year old is probably pretty normal. They also seem to enjoy the extra family time we have at Christmas- so that is good.

At the beginning of December J and I went to our church Christmas party- it was an evening in Bethlehem. Dressing up was optional but since I was part of the musical program that night I decided that I would wear a costume I had leftover from a show about the parable of the ten virgins that I was in a few years ago. J wanted to dress up too, so dressed him as a shepherd, in a short yellow robe of mine and a head scarf. It was a fantastic night.

I don't know if it was something that Ken and I should have discussed before we had kids, but we really hadn't decided how we were going to handle Santa. But Santa is everywhere and J really got excited about Santa this year. He got really worried about the fact that our house doesn't have a fireplace, and as such we don't have a chimney! I cannot count how many times I was asked how Santa was going to get into our house. A friend of mine told me about the Santa key that her family has. It's a magic key and when Santa (and only Santa) uses it, it will let him into our house. So I found some old looking keys at Hobby Lobby and made our family a Santa Key- On the morning of Christmas Eve, J put the key out on the door. It worked, on Christmas morning the boys discovered that Santa had left the key right next to the plate of cookies we had left out for him- he even ate a few of the cookies!
Later that day we gathered with the Turner family to participate in the traditional Turner family Christmas Eve dinner- Fried Chicken, Panettone and hot cocoa. The food was great and the company was fabulous. We let the boys open one gift a piece on Christmas Eve night. Pajama's of course! The next morning the boys were awake dark and early- it was 6, maybe 6:30. J sneaked downstairs and discovered that lots of presents had magically appeared overnight! He was very excited. 
 My dad, Grandpa Turner made each of the boys a beautiful wooden toy- B got a truck and J received exactly what he asked for "A Train with Wings"
 Here is B with his new Giraffe "Tufty" I saw this stuffed animal and I HAD to get it for my little boy who once had a little tuft of hair right on top of his head. I know he has more hair now, but he will always be that sweet almost hairless boy to his mommy.
On the day after Christmas the boys cousin A came to stay with us for a few days. The boys had tons of fun with her, J didn't get to say goodbye when she left a little earlier today and he cried when he found out she was gone. I hope that they always love their cousins as much as they do right now when they are small
So, That is Christmas 2012- I was a little worried about Christmas this year. I wasn't sure I had it in me to make it special for my boys. My heart still hurt a little. If all had gone well with our first pregnancy this year I would be about 26 weeks pregnant.  If the second pregnancy had been viable I would have been 16 weeks along at Christmas time, that's right about the time I start to feel my babies movements. But that wasn't meant to be. I've had some very tender moments over the past few weeks and I am feeling a little better about those lost pregnancies. I feel more at peace and all in all I had a wonderful Christmas. I know why I celebrate Christmas- I want to celebrate my Savior Jesus Christ. He was born! He came into this world as a baby and he grew and learned and served and suffered and eventually died then rose again! He did all that for me and for you. I am grateful that this year at Christmas I was blessed to experience the healing power of his atonement at work in my life, in my heart. I love my Savior.

A New Family Tradition

A few years ago I bought some shatter proof ornaments- they served us well all through J's toddler-hood. Little B on the other hand is much more destructive. And so I decided to start a new tradition- since our ornaments were dwindling in number, we would just buy a few more each year, that way by the time all the old were gone we would have a whole tree full of ornaments that have special meaning to us!

So I took the boys shopping, J picked out this train- with a happy little engineer who LOVES ice cream- I think that this ornament perfectly depicts the life J dreams of having some day.

 A story to go along with this ornament- J bought this ornament with his own money, he paid for it and was asked if he wanted it wrapped in paper or if he just wanted to hold it, he chose the second option. Within seconds he had dropped it and the two front wheels and the ice cream cone broke off. It was the only one of it's kind at hobby lobby and he couldn't find another ornament he wanted so we decided to keep it and I was able to super glue it back together. I'm glad that we chose to keep this ornament. Hopefully it will help us remember that sometimes we break but with love and patience we can be put back together.

I wouldn't let B out of the cart at the store, I was planning on pushing him along the aisle so he could see the ornaments but while I was looking for one for myself J picked out this beautiful cow ornament for his brother.

 I was about to put the ornament back when J showed it to B and his reaction proved to me that it was the perfect ornament for my little 2 year old- "COW!" he screamed. And here is the reason why. The boys have been telling knock knock jokes- J almost understands that there needs to be a punchline- most of his punchlines have something to do with dirty diapers. B on the other hand just seems to shout out random words, BUT he has come up with one knock knock joke that he tells quite frequently- probably because the very first time he told it Ken and I laughed pretty heartily. "Knock, Knock. Who's there? Cow. Cow who? DINNER!" We thought it was amazing. So this ornament will forever commemorate B's knock knock joke.

My sister Jenette is starting an ornament tradition as well, she plans to give her nieces and nephews an ornament each year for Christmas. These next two are the boys from this year- Penguins are big favorites for our little family.

This first one is J's.

This one is little B's. Jenette said that she chose this for B because of the little tuft of penguin hair that stuck out on top.......

....oddly enough I bought this little giraffe for B because of the little tuft of hair on top of it's head......

.....I wonder why tufts of hair remind us of B? Well, to be completely honest, I don't have to wonder- This is B at about 10 months old. I love this picture- I call him my little "Tufty"

Now, onto my ornament. I wanted an angel. At first I was looking for two little angels- to remember the two pregnancies I lost this year BUT as I pondered it, I don't truly feel like I have lost any babies, I've just had a postponement of the time when I will be able to carry those little babies and eventually meet them. And so when I found this ornament I knew it was for me.

It's called "Angel of the Heart" and it has the little post script of  "For those who love and are loved".  This ornament reminds me of my little angels who have yet to be held in my arms but who I always hold in my heart.

Ken hasn't found his ornament yet BUT I am 99.9% sure it will look something like this.
image from
And I haven't told him yet but I'm okay if he wants to get an ornament to commemorate the Giants 2010 World Series Championship as well.

So that is our new ornament tradition. I hope that it turns out to be a fun tradition for our little family. Maybe when our kids grow up and have homes and families of their own I will give them their ornaments complete with the stories that go along with the.

I love Christmas. More about Christmas will come in another post soon!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Strong Hearts

Today at Church we discussed "Righteous Living in Perilous Times"  (the last chapter/lesson from the Teaching of the Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith manual). It was a wonderful lesson, and very timely considering the recent tragedy in Connecticut, the hearts and minds of everyone in the class had been focused on the pain and heartache associated with the horrible things that happen at times in this world.

I found myself struck with a thought, two thoughts really- These are the times that try men's hearts, these are the times when men's hearts will fail them. (I know that I am combining two thoughts from two different sources AND that the actual quote is "Soul" instead of heart in the first part, but my mind said heart and it goes very well with the rest of my thoughts- so bear with me) SO- I'm listening and it keeps playing over and over in my head -These are the times that try men's hearts, these are the times when men's hearts will fail them, and then another thought popped in my mind. When I was in the hospital last summer, after my 3rd surgery of the year, my nurses (as good nurses always do) checked my vitals regularly. But this time was different from other times I've been in the hospital, this time my nurses were concerned about my heart rate and my blood pressure. They would take my blood pressure and then talk to each other and take it again. They felt that both readings were too low. I asked the doctor if I should worry about that, he quickly said that he wasn't worried because I had the heart of a runner. I had a strong heart. Strong hearts pump well, and so they don't have to pump as much (thus the lower heart rate.....I have no idea about lower blood pressure though, but we won't worry about that too much right now....back to the story).

So, I have a strong heart. Why? Because I have been trying my best to exercise. I run 3 times a week and I try to do some kind of cross training twice a week. It worked really well a in 2011, for the first 6 months of this year not so much, but anyway you look at it, that exercise has been good to my heart. Why am I talking about exercise? Because these are the times that try our hearts, these are the times when our hearts might fail us. When I thought that I wasn't thinking about our physical hearts, I was thinking about our spiritual hearts, our souls. How can we strengthen our hearts so that, not only can we survive these times, but thrive in these perilous times. The answer, I believe, is that we must exercise our faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. We need to exercise our trust in him and his ability to lead us on a safe path. Life will not be easy. This world is not going to get any better. Horrible things will happen. We will feel pain and anguish, BUT if we have exercised our faith and trust and followed our Savior, when the hard times hit, our hearts will not fail us and we will be able to help those around us.

So those were my thoughts today, I thought I'd share.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmastime is here again!

Okay, so this first picture doesn't show anything Christmas-y, but it does show my favorite things about Christmas- The Wheeler Boys.
 We set up our tree today, and for the first time ever we let the boys decorate the tree. 
 Ken helped them put the ornaments up high.
 We set out 4 different nativities- our little Willow Tree (below), our snowman nativity, our Fisher Price and B has a little plush stuffed animal nativity that I bought when I was pregnant with J. I love the nativities.
 And since our tree is down in our basement, we put up our alpine trees in the front window, with a snowman friend for some extra fun. My Dad helped me make a two legged table today that extended the windowsill just enough for this display- it's perfect. Thanks Dad! 
May your holiday season be merry and bright! We love the Lord, Jesus Christ. We are so thankful to be able to celebrate his birth as a family.