Sunday, October 31, 2010

how's this for muchness?

For Halloween this year, we went with the Alice in Wonderland theme - Tim Burton style - obviously.

For those who have yet to see it (or for those of you who never will), here's what the real characters look like...

Ruby was dying to be The White Queen, and requested that I go as her sister, The Red Queen. John, we knew right away, would have to be the Mad Hatter; and we all thought it would be funny to have Asher and Dix dress as the two Tweedles - Dee and Dum (most would agree, they were a hysterical little doublet). The ironic thing about our whole ensemble, is that we didn't even have an Alice. I then had an idea to order a little Alice figurine and secure it to John's, er excuse me, the Hatter's hat...rather fitting, we thought since she rides a great deal on his hat in the movie. Just trying to stay true to the storyline...I mean, what's Wonderland without the Alice?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

happy halloween

Here's a little sneak peek...

I have a bazillion more photos to post, but I'm tired exhausted...
so I think I'll wait until tomorrow to unveil the rest.
Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 29, 2010


It's 91 degrees out.
The kids and I just returned from the pool.
It was Ruby's suggestion, and I thought it sounded like a perfect idea.
Wow, perfection it was.
Because the pool isn't heated, it was a bit cool for my liking, but the hot tub was perfect...not too hot (which is how I like it).
After soaking in the bubbles a while, and getting ourselves wet, we pulled up some lounge chairs and relaxed in the sun.
The sun was pretty bright and intense, and I started to worry because none of us had any sunscreen on.
So we moved our chairs into a nice shady area on the south side of the jacuzzi, and just lounged.
It was absolutely perfect.
The air was not hot, nor cold, just...
perfectly perfect.
Of course Asher couldn't lie still for long, but I enjoyed watching him from my lounge chair as he rode his tricycle around the pool again, and again, and again. The birds were chirping and the delicate leaves from the lush green trees (remember we don't have autumn here in yes, the trees are still very green) were rustling from the gentleness of the breeze.
The sky was blue. Very blue.
The water was still and perfectly clear.
As I lay there in the solitude, I couldn't help but ponder and reflect upon the exquisiteness of my surroundings.
How anyone can live on this beautiful planet, and still deny the existence of God, is beyond me.
For just as the prophet Alma from the Book of Mormon, testified to Korihor, the antichrist, all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.
As I lay there enjoying the perfection all around me, I said a silent prayer.
I thanked my Father for my surrounding beauties, which included, of course, my two babies.
I thanked Him for the gift of peace, which in all reality, is the gift of His Holy Spirit.
It's a beautiful thing, in such a troubled world, to be able to feel complete and absolute peace.
I could have stayed in that moment forever, and would have, if I didn't have to fight my eyelids from closing.
Can you imagine how horrible that could have been?
A day of perfection ending in tragedy because mom fell asleep at the pool.
I knew when I started to drift that it was time to call it a day.
The kids hopped on the tricycle (Ruby always drives and Asher rides on the back. It is the cutest sight in the world. I'll have to dig up a picture...I know I have one somewhere.) And I followed in their wake, dragging my bare feet through the recently watered lawn; and then turning around to see my trail of wet footprints marking the clean white pavement.
Taking time out from busy lives and simply stop, and listen, and enjoy, and appreciate - to smell the roses, so to speak - is nothing short of perfection.
Try it sometime.
You will love it.

And then eat lunch on your kitchen floor. That's what we did.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

hApPy haLLoWeEn wEeK

The kids are absolutely ecstatic about their new matching Halloween pajamas.

Oh wait, now that's better...

One week until Halloween!

Monday, October 18, 2010

it's not over...until it's over

Our ultrasound last Friday didn't go at all how we had hoped.
Still no baby to be found.
At 9 weeks and 1 day, according to the doctor, there is no doubt the baby would be seen.
This is a miscarriage she told us over and over again.
What about my gestational sac? What was it measuring? We asked.
Oh the gestational sac is big. She said.
What about her hormone levels? John asked.
Oh hormone levels are high...But there is no baby. This is a miscarriage.
I didn't matter how many times she repeated it, I just couldn't believe her.
I didn't want to believe her.
And I didn't believe her.

She then wanted to go over my pregnancy history. I obliged.

So you lost your first baby at 23 weeks?
Was this due to cervical insufficiency?
And your second pregnancy? Looks like you made it full-term with a cerclage?
Yes, but not without complications.
And your 3rd pregnancy? You had an ectopic?
Did they have to remove your tube?
Okay, and now this is your 4th pregnancy?
You have had nothing easy.
No. And
(I pause because the tears are clouding my vision and impairing my speech) And it took us three years to get this one.
Three years? Wow. And it's a miscarriage. I'm sorry. It's a miscarriage.

I still didn't believe her.

She then presented me with three options.
1) We could schedule a D&C.
2) She could prescribe a pill that would induce the miscarriage.
3) I could wait for it to happen on it's own.

I couldn't make a decision. I didn't want to have to make a decision. I just sat there.
And then I felt something. Something that told me to just wait.
The doctor, I could tell, didn't agree with my decision. She told me that she's had patients wait up to 6 weeks for their miscarriage, and that the emotional pain of just waiting for it to happen would be awful.
She also went on to explain that the further along you are in the pregnancy, the more terrible the miscarriage, and therefore, the physical pain is awful as well.
I didn't care anymore what she had to say.
All I knew is that it was not time to end this pregnancy. And the only thing that made any sense to me,
was the inner feeling I had....
to just wait.

Now I realize that all signs point to the fact that I'm losing this baby, this pregnancy...but I won't believe it until it actually happens.
I'm still holding out for a miracle.
I know that the Lord can do it if it's His will.
He knows the desires of my heart.
I have Faith in Him.
I trust in Him.
And I'm completely devoted to Him. No matter what.
I submit fully to His will,
and I know that whatever happens,
He has great things in store for me and for my family.
When doors close in our lives, when we're faced with sorrow, heartbreak, failure, disappointment, and adversity, I think one of the best things we can do, besides clinging to our faith, is to be grateful. To have an attitude of gratitude. To recognize all the things with which the Lord has blessed us. It's so humbling; and surprisingly, helps put everything into proper perspective.
I tell you, after receiving the news on Friday, all I wanted to do was to run and grab my two babies and hold them and never let them go. I felt so grateful to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with them, my two angels. And for John. He is my soul mate, and my best friend...and the most perfect spouse I could ever dream of.
My heart is full of thanks...I have so much to be grateful for.

Somehow I'm at peace with my situation.
I don't sit and worry and wait and wonder when the miscarriage is going to happen...
instead, I wonder if it even will.
I cling to my faith, I cling to my Savior, I cling to my family, and I focus on my blessings.
I am at peace.

It's not over...until it's over.

Pray for us some more. Please.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

sunday morning

I woke up this morning to the sweetest sound on the monitor.
My children talking amongst themselves.
Ruby was being cute and motherly...and Asher, well, we're still trying to make sense of the things that come from his mouth.
Ruby seems to understand him better than anyone.
Since John had already left for his Sunday morning meetings, I figured it was pointless to lie there in our great big bed...all alone.
So I decided to go and snuggle up to my kids in their room.
I opened the door to one of the most tender sights my eyes have ever beheld.
My two babies.
Snuggled in bed together.
Holding hands under the covers.

Life doesn't get much better than this.

Friday, October 8, 2010

waiting on the Lord...

I was really nervous for my ultrasound today. I've been really nervous this entire pregnancy. The whole thing has felt almost too good to be true. You know the feeling, I'm sure. You've waited for something for so long, you've begged for it, you've pleaded. You've dreampt about it, and daydreamed about it, and then done everything within your own power and ability to make it happen...and then, when you it finally does, you almost don't believe it. It feels like a dream. You wonder what you did to finally deserve it, and you're worried you might do something to ruin're worried about waking up from this dream that feels, well...too good to be true.
We took the kids with us for the appointment. Normally that wouldn't be a good idea, but because John was coming along, and because it was just an ultrasound, and should have been quick, I figured it wouldn't hurt to bring them along.
The appointment was almost a half hour away, so on the drive, I pulled out my Bible and began reading aloud. John and I are taking part in an Old Testament challenge this year (issued by my brother, Matt); and sadly, we've fallen a bit behind. In order to get back on track, we decided we better just take the thing with us wherever we go. So as I was reading aloud from the Book of Psalms, I came across a particular verse, and something strange happened. It was as if the Spirit told me to remember the scripture - that I'd need to refer back to it at a later date. Without even questioning the counsel I was given, I took a mental picture of where that particular verse was located on the page, and then continued reading.
Shortly afterward, we arrived to the medical center. The kids fought over the elevator buttons, but somehow we still managed to make it to the 5th floor. My heart was racing. It didn't help that we had to wait awhile before they called us back. I was nervous and just wanted to get it over with. Really all I wanted, was to see that little heartbeat. They finally called us back, and almost immediately after the technician began the ultrasound, I knew something was wrong. We all stared intently at the monitor, but instead of seeing a tiny bean shaped being with a little beating heart, we saw nothing. Blackness. An empty gestational sac. No matter how many times the technician went over the area, it didn't change the fact that there was nothing. And what made matters worse, was hearing my little Ruby repeat, (what seemed 1,000 times) Mom, where's the baby? I don't see the baby. Mom, where's our baby? I can't see anything at all. My eyes began to sting. My heart began to burn. And there was nothing I could do to stop the flood gates. I cried and hard that my face was contorted, and I couldn't speak when I opened my mouth to say something. Just sobs. And gasps.
They sent us out to the waiting room until the doctor came to get us. John got me a handful of tissue. I did my best to compose myself.
The doctor explained to us that it was really too early to know what was happening, but that right now, we were looking at three different possibilities.

1) I was in the process of miscarrying.
2) I have what is called a blighted ovum. It's when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus, but never continues developing after the 6th week, and is then absorbed into the uterus. What's sad is that you continue showing signs and experiencing all the symptoms of a normal, healthy pregnancy.
3) I'm still pregnant. Just not as far along as we figured. I was supposed to be at 8 weeks and 1 day, but the gestational sac was measuring at 6 weeks and 6 days. I know the first day of my last menstrual cycle was August 12th, but is it possible I could have ovulated a week and 2 days late?

Of course, we were hoping for the 3rd scenario, but It was hard to remain optimistic when the other two seemed to be staring me in the face...and so much more likely.

I cried some more. I cried a lot. I cried the whole way home from the Dr. office. I cried so hard when I called my dad, that it's a wonder he even made sense of what I was saying. I cried on the way to the lab where I was sent to get a beta hcg quantitative (and where I will also go on Monday and Wednesday for the same test - a test which will determine if my hcg hormone levels are doubling every 48 hours like they're supposed to). In fact, I had been crying so hard on the way to the lab, that once we got there, I opted to not remove my sunglasses. Even when we saw our good friends, Ruby and George, at the same lab, I still couldn't remove my glasses. I knew that if they asked me what was wrong, I would cry even harder. My friends, Amber and Diana, both sent texts while I was at the lab, wondering how the appointment went. Not knowing what to say to either of them, or how to respond...made me cry.
Poor John, I know he needed to get back to work, but seeing me in that condition, well, I don't think he felt it would be right to leave my side. He asked me if it would be okay if he sent out an email to our family members, requesting that they all rally their faith, and participate in a special fast on our behalf. I believe that there is power in numbers, and especially when a group of people fast and pray for a common purpose. So naturally, I consented.
I lay on the bed and cried while John composed the email. When he was through, he asked me if I'd like a blessing. I couldn't believe that I hadn't thought of asking him on my own. I'll admit, I had been lacking a certain amount of faith.
As John laid his hands on my head, the power of the Lord's Spirit was immediate. I was reminded of how much I love the Priesthood, and how grateful I was that my John was worthy enough to exercise the Power he had been endowed with - the power to bless, the power to comfort, the power to heal - the Lord's power. As he began to speak, it felt as if his words came directly from the Heavens - I know that they did.
Among other things, he blessed me with peace and comfort. I was actually promised certain blessings, contingent upon my faith. I was told to then have faith, and to exercise that faith. I was counseled to develop a deeper relationship with my Savior, to really come to know Him. I was told to have hope, and to trust in His power. I was even blessed to be able to sleep at night, which was huge because ever since I found out I was pregnant, I have struggled to have a full and peaceful night's rest.
I wish I could recall every word of the blessing, it was so beautiful and powerful. Maybe it's not really necessary that I remember it all. The parts that do stick out in my mind, I believe, are the things that Heavenly Father really wanted me to hear, to know, and to remember.
When John finished, I was crying so hard. I was hugging him so tight and crying so hard that I couldn't breathe. This time it wasn't a cry of despair though, it was a cry of joy...tears of gratitude. Gratitude to my Savior for comforting me and blessing me with the peace that comes only through Him and because of His atoning sacrifice - He suffered so that I wouldn't have to.
After the blessing I felt refreshed and renewed. I was excited to start working on my personal relationship with my Savior, and to begin exercising my faith as my blessing admonished. I opened my scriptures, and upon doing so, I immediately thought of the verse in Psalms which we had read that morning on the way to our appointment. I couldn't recall what the scripture had said, but I knew exactly where to find it. I flipped through the pages until I got to the 27th Psalm.

"Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord." -Psalms 27:14

Wow...if I didn't ever need that exact scripture in that exact moment. I felt like it was written specifically for me. As I studied the scripture in depth and began to cross reference it, I was even more blown away at how it pertained to me and to my situation. To me, the term "wait on the Lord" implies having patience in Him, to trust in His timing. Although this is true, I learned, as I studied, that it actually means so much more. To wait means to have Faith. I was told in my blessing to have Faith, and to exercise that faith. Definitely not a coincidence. I then cross-referenced a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants which gave me an even deeper understanding of the term "wait on the Lord".

"Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks;
2 Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted.
3 Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord." -D&C 98:1-3

This scripture made me realize, and actually know without a doubt, that the Lord has heard my cries and that He will grant my desires unto me. That all my afflictions shall work together for my good, and to the glory of the Lord.

Almost never before in my life have I felt like particular verses of scripture were written just for me. I was in tears (I cry a lot), but once again, these were happy tears. Hopeful tears.

We'll go in for another ultrasound next Friday. I've determined, in the meantime, to remain optimistic. I know that my God is a God of miracles. The Lord caused the blind to see, the deaf to hear...and even raised the dead. Surely He has the power to further this pregnancy if it's His will to do so. I have faith and hope that this is part of His design for us.

Please keep us in your prayers.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

my bitty bean...

Dear Baby Mine,

I was a little disappointed this week. I had a doctor's appointment that I had been really looking forward to and rather anxious about...mainly because I wanted to make sure you were growing and developing properly.
I really wanted to hear that heartbeat of yours.
They had me take a pregnancy test while I was there. I know it's just common procedure, but after taking three of them on my own at home, I was pretty sure we hadn't been mistaken about your inception.
They also informed me of my due date. Of course, I already knew that too...haven't I practically been counting down the days to your birth?
After finally performing a yearly exam, the doctor pretty much sent us on our way...but not before your daddy could ask,

Wait, don't we get to hear the heartbeart?

Not today, she said, we don't like to even try before 8 weeks.

She told us that it can be tricky to find that early on, and it's just not worth getting everyone all worked up over.
I could see her point...but I still walked out of there feeling pretty disheartened. The good news is that we get to go back tomorrow for an ultrasound. They say you're about the size of a kidney bean right now; and that's exactly what I imagine you'll look like when we see you. An itty bitty bean...
with a heartbeat no less.
Happy 8 weeks, baby.

I love you so.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

my bitsy blueberry

Dear Baby Mine,

This week just flew by.
If my whole pregnancy could go by this fast, I'd be one happy mommy.
I am just so excited to meet you, and having to wait until May...
well, that seems like an eternity away.
You've been busy growing, little one. In fact, you've doubled in size since last week. Right now you're about the size of a blueberry. Your hands and feet are starting to develop. You also have little eyelid folds, and the tip of your tiny nose is beginning to take form. I just imagine myself kissing that cute little nose of yours...and those tiny fingers and toes. It almost seems too good to be true.
I'll be seeing the doctor on Tuesday. I'm anxious. I just want everything to be perfect, you know? Being able to hear your little heartbeat will be everything.
Heaven, I tell ya.
Happy 7 weeks, baby.

I love you so.