Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lisa Leonard Designs

lisa leonard necklace 003

Fabulous, isn’t it?

I betcha want to know where I got it. Well, it was a gift, and I’ll tell you more about the who’s and how’s and why’s of that soon enough. But for now, I just want you to meet the creator of this fabulous necklace.

Lisa Leonard, of Lisa Leonard Designs.

Go ahead. Click on the link. I’ll wait. I know you’ll be gone awhile.

Alrighty, then. Welcome back. Did you find about ten different kinds of fabulousness that are now on your wish list? I thought so.

I’ve had to opportunity to meet Lisa, and let me tell you, she is as sweet and generous as she is talented. Don’t believe me? Check out her personal blog in addition to her online store, and you’ll see for yourself.

I fell in love with the style of Lisa’s jewelry a few months ago, but didn’t allow myself to purchase anything because, ahem, well, you know I sell jewelry, and 98% of the time I wear the jewelry that I sell, so….you see my dilemma.

But then I went to BlissDom ‘09, and my friend Hillary and I got to have lunch with Lisa and her sister Chrissie (equally sweet and uber-talented creator of Flipflops and Applesauce), and I realized that, jewelry-talent notwithstanding, Lisa was one special lady.

She has mastered her craft, and I’m proud to wear one of her beautiful creations. But even moreso, I’m glad I had the opportunity to get to know such a completely gifted and gracious woman, if only for an afternoon. I’m more than happy to send you her way.

I’d love for you to take a look around her design shop, and come back and tell me what you like best. You never know….maybe I’ll host a Lisa Leonard giveaway in the near future….!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Windows Live Writer

In preparation for last week's blog makeover, I'd moved some of the sites I’d linked in my former sidebar off the blog and into my Favorites folder on my laptop. How sad that the sites that I’d listed under “Sites I Love to Surf” hadn’t been visited (by me; of course they get huge traffic) in a sweet forever.

So I’ve been spending some time refamiliarizing myself with them, and I found this gem over at Today’s Creative Blog: Windows Live (which is free to download, and which I already had on my computer) has a feature called Writer.

It is SO cool!

I’m only scratching the surface of what it can do, but so far, I’m loving that I can now blog on what acts like a Word screen – I can change fonts, use quote blocking….I tell you, for this writer, it’s like coming home. =)

And check out this photo:

Come and get me!

I cropped it, sharpened it, used something called color pop, framed it, tilted it, and watermarked it! I, so far, like this as much as, if not more than, Picasa and Piknic.

The only detrimental thing so far is that ever since I started using WLW, my scheduled posts are not publishing automatically like they are supposed to. Anyone have a solution or suggestion to offer on that?

Anyway. I know this is about the geekiest post I’ve made y’all endure, well, pretty much ever, but I just thought I’d share. Maybe all you fellow bloggers will enjoy playing with this as much as I am.

(Like was all needed another way to waste time on the computer ~ hah!)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

When Support Gets Sidetracked

When we learned that Duncan was no longer alive, Jim and I decided to keep our news relatively quiet until the dust settled, so to speak. Rather than face hoards of questions we didn't have answers to, we chose to ask only those who were closest to us to walk through the dark valley between Saturday and Wednesday.

I knew that I would not get through the anticipation and reality of Duncan's birth without the support of my closest girlfriends, all but one of whom were at least 200 miles away from me. The phone calls to these girls were some of the hardest of my life, for I knew that I would be handing them a heartache almost as deep as my own.

Words and actions and even the moments in silence with these women held me up through some of the darkest days of my life, before, during, and after Duncan's birth.

But as the weeks passed, five of the seven girlfriends were, not of their own choosing, drawn into their own set of drama-filled and unforeseen circumstances that have taken their attention away from me -- and rightfully so, I want to be sure to clarify.

*Point in case:

Erin - stay at home mom to two little ones, husband unexpectedly laid off, facing a cross-country move (to her inlaws home, no less) and leaving a house she has poured her heart and soul into

Jodi - stay at home mom to two little ones, husband accepted new job position resulting in a cross-country move (to her mom's house, no less) while they wait for their house to sell

Kendall - full time career woman who is starting on a very unclear portion of an infertility journey; also, a time zone difference and limited Internet access on her part makes it a challenge for us to get quality communication time

Leigh - stay at home mom to a not-even-one-year-old who became pregnant - SURPRISE! - who is going, essentially, AWOL for a month on a cross-country vacation

Diane - stay at home mom to a two-year old; pregnant and due only 3 days before I was; the pregnancy has become complicated; she has a history of kidney stones and premature labor

Roxy - full time teacher, and wife to a teacher, so you can only imagine what her schedule has been like; she knows the path I'm on only too well, and is feeling the weight of making the decision to try again for a healthy pregnancy and baby

I can't emphasize enough that I'm NOT saying that these women haven't been there for me. That couldn't be further from the truth! I'm merely recognizing that I think God is telling me that I need to let go, to an extent, of my dependence on my girlfriends, and to put more of my dependence back on Him to get through this valley.

I'm also not saying that God gave these circumstance to my girlfriends to teach me a lesson. I know He has a separate plan and intent for each of them, too.

I don't know exactly where I'm going with this post. I guess this entry is really more for those five women.

You each know who you are; you each know (I hope) what you mean to me; I want you to know that whatever time and attention and love you can spare, when you can spare it -- it's enough; I want you to know that even if I'm not "there for you" in your current struggle in the way that I want to be, that I love you, pray for you, think of you daily, and only want God's best for your life.

I'm so thankful that you are my friend, and the sister of my heart. I wish we were geographically closer. I wish that, for most of you, our friendship hadn't been forged in the fire of pregnancy loss. But I'd go through that heartache again if it meant gaining you.

So, hmm.

I guess this turned into more of a personal letter, didn't it? Oh well. It's my blog; I can write what I want to. ;)

*names were changed for privacy

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Money back in my pocket. Sorta.

Before I went to Florida with Seth at the beginning of May, I figured I should bite the bullet and buy a maternity swim suit. Of the three bathing suits I had, the two one-pieces no longer stretched over Duncan's bump, and I wasn't sure how comfortable I would be parading him around in my moving-towards-threadbare two-piece.

So, on a trip to Opry Mills with Jen and our brood, I found this suit at Motherhood Maternity. I didn't love it, but it was one of the better choices, and Jen said it looked cute, so, into the cart it went, and I was $50 poorer, just like that.


When I got to Florida the following week, I realized the suit didn't fit all that great, and that I looked pretty decent in my two-piece. So I put the maternity suit, tags and liners and all, back in my suitcase, and enjoyed my time poolside.

Fast forward a week. Obviously, y'all know what happened.

What you may not know is that the Motherhood Maternity return policy is worse than Target's. Really. When you check out, they make you sign a separate receipt that indicates you are aware that all sales are final, blah, blah, blah.

Well, great.

So, here I am, six weeks later, with no baby, and a $50 swim suit that I not only didn't really like, but didn't even need. Re-enter Jen into the scene.

(sidebar: I'm planning on telling y'all more about her soon. She is a gem, and I have been SO blessed to have her by my side, literally, the last four months.)

Recently, Jen came to my rescue and braved the manager at Motherhood Maternity to ask for a full refund on my swimsuit. And, although the manager was insensitive enough to ask Jen for proof of Duncan's death, she eventually agreed to take the unworn suit back. Just like that, I had $50 back in my pocket. Or on the Visa, as it were. I was absolutely prepared for them NOT to take the suit back; after all, I'd signed the disclaimer receipt. But I can't tell you how much this small victory (and the kind of friend who would win it for me) meant in the middle of a rough week. Yea for little blessings like this!

Friday, June 26, 2009

A sunny spot

We received some beautiful flower arrangements in the weeks following Duncan’s birth, and I just wanted to share their beauty with you all today.

wilson arrangementFrom the Wilsons

duncan's love 006From our church

wilkerson flowersFrom the Wilkersons

duncan's love 012From friends at The Hylant Group

duncan's love 013From the Danners

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why "The Writer Chic"?

Hi, y'all.

Welcome to my blog. Or, welcome back, as the case may be.

In case you've stumbled across this site by accident, I figured I'd tell you a little bit about why this is called The Writer Chic. Maybe I can persuade you to stay around a while, or at the very least, stop in from time to time to see what is going on in my little corner of the world.

Someone once said, "Our lives, with all their miracles and wonders are merely a discontinuous string of incidents, until we create the narrative that gives them meaning ." Someone else also said, "Use your imagination. Trust me, your life is not interesting. Don't write it down."

I tend to agree with the former.

As it is told by my parents, when I was little, they had a hard time disciplining me for lying. It wasn't that I wasn't telling the truth. I was just telling them my version of it. And trust me, even at three, my version was much more interesting.

I've always been a storyteller, of both fiction and reality. From my first "book" about Sara Scarf being captured by Ratfink Rollerskate (best-seller material, lemme tell you) to handwritten letters, I've spent my lifetime crafting words.

Despite heading off to college with visions of medical school dancing in my head, I graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and journalism. That granted me access to my first job as a writer/editor for the advertising and publications department of a private liberal arts college. That led to pursuing a master of arts degree in Literature, which led to a profession as an insurance agent. (I know, that doesn't really fit, but that's the truth, and a story for another day.)

The point is, I write.

I write about my past. I write about my future. I write about my family, my home, my friends. I write about my feelings, my fears, my dreams.

I (try to) write without reservation, yet with consideration for my audience. I hope that I come across as sincere and genuine. I hope you come here and take away something that makes you think, makes you smile, makes you a better you.

Mostly, though, I write for me. I write as an act of optimism; I wouldn't bother to do it if I felt it didn't matter. But it does. Every story matters.

Lucky for me, I enjoy the telling of. I hope you enjoy the telling to.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Insomnia

heart moon

Isn’t that a neat picture? I wanted a photo to accompany this post, so I googled “moon photos” and found this one. I just thought that the way the clouds formed to reveal only this portion of moonlight was haunting and romantic and beautiful all at the same time.

I’m actually writing this post at 10 pm on Tuesday. Jim is asleep across the room from me, and The Deadliest Catch is on in the background.

I know that it is time to go to bed, but I don’t want to.

Oh, I’m tired enough. Today was a full day of running and mommying and shopping for new master bedroom bedding and cooking and emailing and blogging and cleaning and laundering and all the other –ings that I have fill up my days.

But in the past several days, going to bed has brought little, if any, rest.

It seems that as soon as I settle in, the silence becomes deafening. Well, maybe silence isn’t quite the right word. Jim’s even breathing, the whir of the ceiling fan, the tick tock from the bathroom clock – all familiar and even soothing sounds.

Yet.

It is only when I attempt to pillow my head that my being slows enough – calms enough – for me to hear myself think. And inevitably, I do, and almost without fail, my thoughts turn to Duncan.

His sweet face, red and wrinkled, materializes before my mind’s eye. I sigh. I don’t want to think about him – about what happened. It hurts so. But in the pseudo-silence, I can’t help but let my mind replay the events of a month ago.

Some nights, I re-walk Saturday’s steps: to Dr. Rohr’s office, where Joel tried to find Duncan’s heartbeat; to the Labor & Delivery ward at Toledo Hospital; to my parents to deliver the news; back to my in-laws, where I finally and completely fell apart in my mother-in-laws arms.

Some nights, it’s Monday that I replay: haggling with the insurance company on the phone; lunch at Bravo! with Jim (“can I get some pinot, please?”); the laminaria insertion crisis; talking to Kendra for hours that night – long enough to stave off the benefits of my Ambien.

But no matter the chapter read, without fail, this is how I spend my late night hours. And I’m growing weary of it.

Not the thinking of Duncan, or even of the circumstances of his life.

But the insomnia. It is severe and it is complete. I don’t even know the last night I spent in my own bed, for after an hour or two of tossing and turning and fearing that I’ll wake Jim, I move to the guest room to toss and turn in private. Eventually, I drift into a fitful sleep, and wake, anything but refreshed, to –ing all over again.

So, tonight, I decided to take these some twenty-odd minutes to write about the plight, in hopes that I’ll get it out of my system.

Tonight, I hope that once I hit publish, that I’ll be able to enjoy a restful night, on my beautiful new sheets, next to my wonderful husband.

I toss my sleep-preventing thoughts to you tonight, Interpeeps. Do with them what you will.

***UPDATE***

12:02 AM: I’m still awake; eating Quaker Caramel Drizzle Rice Cakes, watching Jimmy Fallon, wondering when sleep will come.

1:33 AM: Still here. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Make new friends and keep the old; one is silver, the other is ....

Doug and Sara.

One of the worst things about leaving Ohio was leaving some of our best friends. One of the best things about moving to Nashville is that we give those friends a great place to visit.

We did a lot of this this past weekend:


Laughing, eating, just hanging out with the people we love most -- the ones who know everything about you and love you anyway, the ones who you share the best stories with, the ones who've been there through it all.

Jim had to go out of town at the last minute on business, so Doug and Sara actually drove to Nashville sooner than Jim could fly home. Which ended up being a great thing, because Doug was able to clean and prep the grill to his satisfaction on Friday night. It was done in an attempt to get it ready for Jim the minute he pulled in the driveway, but Jim's flight ended up being so late that Doug did the majority of the cooking, too. We had bourbon peppercorn chicken, lemon garlic chicken, steak fillets, garlic cheddar mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, and honey-glazed carrots. Oh, so yummy, and the perfect way to kick start our weekend.

Saturday, we ditched the original plan of visited the famed Pancake Pantry in hopes of sleeping in. No such luck on the sleeping in, but we still enjoyed a lazy morning. With dreams of the incomparable Jack's barbecue dancing in our heads, we headed off to Opry Mills for a little quality time at Bass Pro....wait. That was just Doug's fantasy.

We did head to Opry Mills, but some quick thinking on my part and some eyelash-batting from both Sara and I resulted in some ALONE girl time to shop (score, Old Navy tanks for $2!!!) and a relaxing lunch at Chili's, while the boys plus Seth went to Bass Pro, and then to lunch. As we parted ways in the parking lot, Sara instructed, "Now don't you two old married men with the baby stroller be getting yourselves hit on by any hot chics!" (We laughed, but the joke ended up being on us girls.)

Tragically, Jack's was too crowded, so the boys ended up at Hooters. Yep, that Hooters, with the orange shorts and white tanks.... Anyway, apparently, our hubbys are uber-charming, and with the added bonus of Seth...let's just say, when we got home later that afternoon, we found a treat hidden away in Seth's diaper bag: pecan pie! Who knew we both got such irresistible guys?

We parted ways again while the boys headed to Best Buy to haggle with the world's worst manager (hats off to you, Darius. Now you're stuck with the dented fridge), and Sara and I headed to Target to camera shop.

(sidebar: our camera bit the dust for good on Thursday, so photos will be on hiatus until it is replaced. I did find one at Target I liked, but they are out of stock, so, on to looking for it elsewhere.)

Now, for the best part of the weekend! DATE NIGHT.

Jim and I arranged for our first babysitter since we've been in Tennessee, and who knows when the last time Doug and Sara got to enjoy a night on the town. So we (females) got all dolled up -- Doug, you too, I guess. You looked quite fetching in your Tigers ball cap -- and headed into downtown Music City, USA.

After strolling down Second Avenue (and by stroll, I of course mean stepping in horse poop - see evidence below), we decided on dinner at Big River Grille and Brewery. I was the only one who didn't opt for a pizza, and paid for it. My dinner was less than marginal, but the pizza's got a thumbs up. Dine at your own risk, I guess, and avoid the smoked chicken enchiladas.


After dinner, we headed to The Big Bang.

Oh. My. Heavens.

I don't care who you are, what your taste in music is, or whether you drink (alcohol) or not. If you are ever in Nashville (or anywhere with a Big Bang, I'd venture to guess), you HAVE to check out this dueling piano bar. It was phenomenal.

We got there early enough (about 8:30?) that we didn't have to pay the cover charge and that we got great seats. We stayed for almost two hours, and were thoroughly entertained, by not only the uber-talented musicians, but by the horribly intoxicated coeds who were trying oh-so-hard to look cool and pick up any and every bachelorette-party attendee in the house. Again, evidence -- the parade of prepsters:

After a great (?) breakfast at our traditional Cracker Barrel (holla, Uncle Herschel!!!), we packed up Doug and Sara with a cooler of salmon and Jack's bbq pork, and sent them on their way back to the great state of Ohio and their three little ones.

Doug, Sara -- we already miss you! And don't forget -- this trip is now an annual event!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The madness that was May

When we came home from our most recent trip to Ohio on June 6, Seth immediately ran up the stairs and into his room.

He squealed, "my bed!," and climbed up and buried his grinning face in the matress. He proceeded to take a four-hour nap. Four. Hour. It might have been longer if I'd let him sleep, but it was after 6 pm, and I figured he needed to eat.

I couldn't believe he'd slept so soundly, so solidly, for an afternoon nap. Poor little guy, I thought.
Then, the next day, I went to remove our May calendar off the dry erase board in our kitchen, and on a whim, I counted up the number of days we were home and in our own beds during the month of May.

Out of 31 days in May (plus the first 5 in June)....


...we were home for only 10.

Between Florida, Ohio, back to Tennessee, back to Ohio, hospitals, grandparents, etc... No wonder he was happy to see his own bed.

Now that we've been home for a solid two weeks, I have to say, Dorothy had it pretty figured out: there is no place like home.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

They're not THAT toxic

We keep our family calendar on a dry erase board in the kitchen. I have a 10 pack of markers that I use on it. This is what those markers look like:

Except for the red one.
The red one looks like this:


That's because Seth ate the tip off it.

Ahem. Let me just hand back my "Mother of the Year" award.

I didn't even know he knew what they were. Oops.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Splish splashin'

One of the first things I did upon moving to Nashville was to explore the mommy groups at meetup.com. I found one that I thought would fit Seth and I, and only a few weeks after settling into our new home, I met three other moms-of-boys at Opry Mills for lunch and shopping.


I have only averaged about one meetup a month -- play dates, picnics, and the like. I'm super glad that I made a point to attend a recent event, though.


One of the outdoor malls in our area has public sprinkler fountains -- a literal godsend on the 90+ degree days we've been having. And after indulging in some yummy double dark chocolate ice cream with fresh raspberries from Marble Slab Creamery, the fountains were next on our agenda.


Seth LOVED them. I don't know that I've ever seen him more exuberant. The video doesn't quite do him justice. Just take the joy you see, and multiply it by a hundred. That might come close.

video


Here are some more still photos from our fun afternoon.









Friday, June 19, 2009

Milestone - One

Today really isn't our "first" milestone.

We've already passed the saying goodbye, the funeral home, the first week, returning to TN, ordering the urn, postpartum visits with my doctors, returning newborn clothing, etc.

But today marks one month since we welcomed Duncan in our arms.

One month since I was given the gift of a vaginal delivery, something I was told I'd never experience. One month since I truly saw the depths of my husband's faith. One month since I looked at the never-to-open eyes of my second son and felt absolute recognition. One month.

I would have been 29 weeks pregnant tomorrow. It hurts so much that I'm not.

Duncan,

You have known nothing but the joy of heaven, and for that I am grateful. But Mommy is selfish. I want you here.

You have the coolest big brother ever; I wish with all my heart that you would be toddling along after him. And if you think Seth is cool...oh, you would just adore your daddy. Seth gets all his coolness from him.

And me? Well, I don't know how cool I am, but I think I do pretty well in the loving department. You would be -- you ARE -- so loved, little fighter. I would have loved to have had more than 12 hours to rock you, hold you, sing to you. If it would have kept you close to me, I'd have gladly stayed 6 months pregnant forever.

As each day passes, you become more real to me. Your absence is felt more profoundly. You are missing from our home. You are missing from my arms.

You are gone, but you are anything but forgotten.

Happy one month birthday, baby boy.

I love you so.

Mommy

PS: One of the ministries we have been personally blessed by is Sufficient Grace Ministries for Women. Yesterday, I learned of a blogger who is donating $1 to this worthy ministry for every comment left on her blog. Please, go here and leave a comment. So many we'll never meet will benefit from the funds raised to support Kelly and her team at Sufficient Grace. Thank you!

And it just keeps growing

Remember the "pregnant list" post from last week?

Well, since I published that, the list has morphed a little. Two of the ladies on the list delivered healthy baby boys in the last week.

So, yea! The list went down to 18.

But then, on Monday, I received back-to-back emails from very close girlfriends, letting me know that they are expecting their second babies this winter.

Wednesday, two more girlfriends announced their pregnancies. One is her second, after multiple losses; the other is her third, after a recent loss. Honestly, their losses make it a little easier to stomach. How sick is that? That miscarriage and stillbirth and infant loss has taken my psyche to a place where I think those who have suffered loss are somehow more entitled to a healthy baby. I'm sorry. But if I'm being honest, it's how I feel.

Anyway.

On a different note, but kind of related is my "disclaimer" for this post.

Recently, someone questioned how I knew to write the "warning: random posts ahead" post last Sunday. I had to admit that I'd already written six posts for this week. She was surprised. She also blogs and said, "I just write about whatever is current [in my life]."

Well, yeah. That makes sense. And it's what I do, too. Normally.

But I had to confess that I was afraid to write what was "current" with me, because chances would strongly lean toward posts all about Duncan, or how I was feeling about Duncan, or how much I miss Duncan, or how I'd give anything to still be pregnant with Duncan...

And while nothing increases blog traffic like a tragic event (I nearly doubled my followers when Duncan was born), I would think nothing would deter readers faster than hearing, over and over, about my melancholy.

So....I've just been posting non-emotional, random fodder. But I think that's about run its course, so I hope y'all can put up with some heavier posts in the coming weeks. Because I need to be real with you, and right now, real isn't very pretty.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Overdue Pampering

No, we aren't a wedding party.

Andrea and Kasey
Nope, none of us are related.

Renee, Ginger, and Carrie

No, really, we're not celebrating anything in particular.

Me and Beth
We're just a bunch of mommies who needed a little "me" time.
My toes - ooh la la

"Me" time, and some carbs at a yummy Italian restaurant.

Ladies Night at Carraba's
You know, the kind of restaurant where someone else brings food to the table, carries away the dishes, and doesn't call you Mommy.
The pedicurist could have been a little more chipper, and I certainly could have eaten less, but the company was superb and I can't wait to do it again!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Million dollar smile

In my family, the phrase "million dollar smile" gets tossed around a lot. I've always been a "teeth showing smile" kind of girl. (If I had our photo scanner hooked up, I could show you childhood proof, too.)

For example, this picture is a pretty fair representation:



(Don't mind the Rudloph nose; this picture was taken at a Christmas party a lifetime ago.)

Anyway, I digress.

The "million dollar" title has been mine, pretty much exclusively, for as long as I can remember.

But you tell me, and be honest.

Think I have some competition?

I love these boys. ***sigh***

Monday, June 15, 2009

Father's Day is THIS Sunday!

In honor of Father's Day, I need you all to help me choose which of the following pictures is your favorite. There is a reason I need your votes, so I'm making it easy. There is a poll on the sidebar, so simply select a photo, 1 through 6.

Voting is only open until midnight CST on Thursday!

(1) about 1 week old

(2) first visit to the Pacific Ocean

(3) Father's Day 2008

(4) asleep after lunch

(5) Thanksgiving 2008

(6) killing time during a thunderstorm

Thanks in advance for your help, and of course, feel free to leave a comment telling me how adorable my boys are! ;)

I've got my game face on

With all of my recent trips to various hospitals and to numerous doctor's offices, you'd think I'd have already seen my obgyn, Dr. Morgan, in the last month. But between her vacation, our second trip to Ohio, and conflicting schedules, we actually hadn't seen each other since before Seth and I went to Florida.

However, Jim and I were finally able to sit down with her and discuss what is going on with my body right now, and what will be going on with it in the coming months.

While we wait for her to receive the results of the placental testing from Promedica (in Ohio), we will be set up with a Maternal Fetal Medicine group here in Nashville. This group of specialists will be overseeing my Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) panel (a series of blood work tests) and any subsequent pregnancy/ies that I may have here in Nashville.

These tests are structured to look for any abnormality or disorder that I have that is interfering with my pregnancies. I know some of you may be thinking, "why haven't they done this testing already?," and it's a legitimate question. Most doctors will not even think about this series of tests until a patient has had two, and more often three, miscarriages. We were planning on having RPL testing done once we'd moved to Tennessee, but became pregnant with Duncan too quickly.

Because these tests need to be run when a patient is not pregnant, we will be waiting several more weeks to make entirely sure that all my hormone levels have returned to normal. Once the testing is done, we should receive the results within a few weeks.

Dr. Morgan is confident that we will get our answer. I think she is leaning toward me having an autoimmune blood clotting disorder. This is one of the better case scenarios, as most clotting disorders can be treated in such a way to increase the odds of a successful, full-term pregnancy into the 90th percentile.

Here's where my blood pressure starts to rise, as my brain spins around all the possible ways this testing could go.

~ the testing could show a specific wrong that is treatable. Then we would have to decide whether the risk is worth trying another pregnancy.
~ the testing could show a specific wrong that is NOT treatable. Then we would have to decide what form of permanent sterility is best for Jim and I.
~ the testing could be inconclusive. We'd then be back to deciding if the risk to my health could be too great to attempt another pregnancy.
~ the testing could show a treatable wrong, and only one of us would want to pursue another pregnancy, while the other thinks the risk is to great.

And those are only the questions that pertain to another biological pregnancy.

Overall, though, both Jim and I were encouraged after our appointment with Dr. Morgan. We feel like we have a game plan, even though the next step is still a few weeks off. Most likely, we will have all the information needed to make our next decision by the end of the summer.

Please keep this situation -- specifically the RPL -- in your prayers. We have made it very clear to our doctors that this is the only testing we plan to pursue, so we are, in a manner, putting all our eggs in this one basket, as far as getting any answers go.

It's an unsettling place to be in. We want to do what is best for our family, and best for my health, and at times, we just don't know what direction to go. This is something you don't plan for. You plan for your children's college fund; you plan for retirement. But just the having of a baby? It's supposed to be simpler than this.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Be prepared....

Next weeks posts are totally random.

Totally.

But I think I threw in enough cute pictures of Seth to make up for the lack of decent written content. ;)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Is it just me, or is this in poor taste?


This came on Monday from the funeral home. Actually, this envelope contained Duncan's cremation certificate (what we will need to present to the cemetary if we ever decide to have him buried.)
Is it me, or is the Homer Simpson stamp a little inappropriate?
I mean, really? Homer Simpson?
As my dear Kendra said when I told her, "don't these places pay people to think about this sort of thing?"

Thursday, June 11, 2009

All aboard!

video

Meet Seth, the boy who loves and turns anything he can lift, push, or climb into, a choo-choo train.

Oh, how I love this little man!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Anybody else wanna fess up?

Jamie - boy
Rebecca - girl
Melanie - boy
Melissa - tbd
Heather - boy
Britanni - boy
Jill - tbd
Rhonda -tbd
Marlo - girl
Jo - girl
Rebekah - boy
Melissa - tbd
Emily - tbd
Amanda - tbd
Beth - girl
Brooke - tbd
Stephanie - girl
Wendy - boy
Kelly - boy
Laura - girl

All my girlfriends, of varying degrees of closeness. Some are gal pals from college, some are coworkers, one is one of my best friends.

And they are all pregnant, due between July and November.

I'm not really upset about this. I seem to be taking bigger "issue" with the random, anonymous pregnant women across the waiting room at the obgyn's office. But the sheer volume of the list makes me a little dizzy. I mean, I know it's the "stage of life" that I and my contemporaries are in, but.....

There are twenty names in that list. Twenty.

And I'm fearful that it's a group I'll never be part of again.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Redemption

Even as I type this, the comments are still rolling in on this post from Monday. And that's fine; keep 'em coming. It's nice to hear you all rally around me. (Yep, I'll admit to being shallow enough to love y'all telling me you'd beat people up for me.)

I have read that post over multiple times, and I have to say, I'm happy with the wording. I meant everything I said, and I feel that I said it well. I also thought that I'd keep the post vague and anonymous enough....but I guess I didn't realize anyone who actually attends my church reads my blog.

But some do. Who knew?

And in light of that fact, I felt the need to share excerpts from an email I received on Monday.

But before I do, let me explain why I am going to share it.

I'm a Christian. I know that means different things to different people. To me, being a Christian means that I believe that I am a sinner, and the only way for me to live in that reality is to put my faith and trust in Christ. I believe He is the Son of God, and that He came to earth, lived a sinless life, died a cruel death on a cross to pay the eternal penalty for my sin, and rose from the grave three days later. I believe He will return to earth one day to reign, and that because I have placed my trust completely in Him, that once I die, I will spend eternity in heaven. In the meantime, I try daily to live for Him in a way that pleases Him. I fail, a lot. But He is gracious and forgiving, and I get to try again the next day to point people toward Him.

I'm not overly religion-minded or God-focused or however you'd like to say it on this blog. I feel that this is a place for me to just be the "writer" me, hence the blog address. I'm not hiding my Christianity; it's intrinsic to my writing and what I choose to share with you and how I decide to say it.

But with Monday's post about our Sunday experience, I was putting pretty much front and center the only picture I've ever given to my blog readers of my church, either in Ohio or in Tennessee. Others who read this blog who share my faith or attend a similar church may have been able to excuse away the "unChristianlike behavior" I posted about. Sadly, Christians are also human. We screw up. We screw up in church. Isn't it a good thing we have a forgiving God?

But I'm sure I have other readers who aren't "church people," and who may have been absolutely appalled and completely turned off to the whole "church thing" when they read about my experience on Sunday.

And I realized that I didn't want the ignorance and insensitivity of one person be the only thing I ever say about "Christians" on my blog.

Which is why I'm going to share with you parts of an email I received Monday. The author attends my church. She also, as it turns out, reads my blog. And after she read Monday's post, this is what she had to say:

I sit here, reading your blog, in humility.
I am appalled at the lack of compassion and love. I am disgraced at my ignorance. I am deeply sorry that you felt that way at what I think should be a refuge and safe place. I am sorry that people are so insensitive. I am sorry that those insensitive people have voices and no orthodox about themselves.
I am extremely sorry for my not saying anything to you. I saw you from afar in service. But I did not seek you out as I should have and I deeply apologize. I saw Jim picking up your so adorable Seth from nursery and yet still did not seek you out or even speak to him of the happenstance.
I do not like to hear excuses or make them for myself but I would like to think of it as insight. I have to let you know why I subconsciously did not seek you out. I was every bit of scared. I was terrified that you might need some sort of words from me. I have no words for you. I have never been through your circumstances. I would have nothing of any substance to tell you. I could not offer you any words of wisdom or any scripture to ease your pain. I could do nothing, therefore; I left you be.
I realize now after reading your words that you do not need me to tell you anything. But you could have used my arms around you. I am sorry for not being there for you. I am sorry! Please know that even though I did not offer a hand of comfort to you on Sunday my prayers have been for you and your family. I cannot do anything for you but I know God can and is and will continue. I know He is wrapping his arms around you. You are so amazingly strong! If you need anything please call me or email me. I love you guys and will continue to pray for you. And please accept my apology.

Her words were a healing balm. I let her know immediately that her (in my opinion unnecessary) apology was accepted, and that I really, truly get it when people say nothing. I even get it when they say the wrong thing.

But I thought her words were so sincere, so perfectly chosen, and so truly representative of the kind of love that we receive from our church family on a weekly basis. That is what Christian love looks like. That is what I want you, reader, to know about my church family.

None of us are perfect. I'm guessing you are flawed, too. But there is such sweetness in walking through life's joys and trials together. I'll gladly endure "Sunday's" people when they're a package deal with "Monday's" people.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sunday's church update: epic fail

I wish I were kidding with the title. Buckle up; it's a long, bumpy post.

Church was an unexpected heartache this past weekend, and even as I type this, I'm still trying to process those two hours.

If you read this post, you know that I was anxious about attending services on Sunday. Even as we drove the few miles to church, I could feel the tears pricking the back of my eyes. I tried to explain to Jim why I was nervous, and all I could come up with was telling him I felt raw and that I wasn't sure what to expect.

Sunday School was pretty sparsely attended; there were only two guys and three gals in addition to Jim and I. I knew that they had all been informed about Duncan two weeks ago, and I can't tell you what I expected or what I would have scripted to have happen, but I can tell you that I did not expect for everyone to act like nothing had happened to us, you know?

One person in particular surprised me in her lack of attention, only because she has experienced the pain of pregnancy loss as well. Two miscarriages, not a stillbirth, but still -- our shared miscarriages were something we'd talked at length about, and I guess I thought of all people in the room, she'd understand how fragile I felt walking back into class, all puffy-eyed and flat-stomached.

Nevertheless, I survived Sunday School, and we found seats towards the back for worship. And as we sat there, I felt the loneliness and grief and exhaustion rise up in my throat to choke me. I felt very much like I did in this post that I wrote after we visited our first Tennessee church in January; I felt like not one of the 300+ people in the room had even noticed we'd been gone for a month, no one noticed a rounded belly now flat, no one bothered to question the tears streaking my cheeks.

The opening song of the service was Blessed Be Your Name.

Of course it was.

How fitting that it be the song that was playing on the radio the moment I got in the car to drive to the hospital on May 16, between the doctor office visit that couldn't find the heartbeat and the ultrasound to confirm what I already knew. I drove through the rain that day to the sound of my wiper blades beating time to "You give and take away, You give and take away..."

And that refrain welcomed me back to church this morning, and opened the floodgates of my heart. I stood at my seat and sobbed, first only into Jim's shoulder and then, finally, one person rushed to my side and held me as I wept. A friend from our small group. Whether she sought me out or whether God sent her to my side, I don't know, but had she not shown up, I very much doubt I would have stayed for the service.

With Jim on my left and Deanna on my right, I felt bolstered enough that the sobs became silent tears, and I sat through the worship and the message in relative peace. I wasn't completely tuned into the service; at times I detoured into my own little conversation with God, especially during the chorus "Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that You're my God..." I lifted my eyes to the ceiling, mouthed the words, and told Him, "Okay, 'here I am'...now fix me."

I felt stable as the service ended, until.....

Oh, until.

As I began to chat with Deanna about all I was feeling, the tears returned, as one would expect. But then, over my shoulder, stood the lady from Sunday School that I'd expected to approach me earlier, and she says,

"I'm sorry....I guess I didn't realize you'd still be hurting."

And with those eleven words, I felt cut off at the knees.

She had managed to underscore ALL my insecurities that have formed in the last 22 days, primarily that there is a "how to" book out there that is being withheld from me. I'm so fearful that I'm doing "this" wrong -- that I'm grieving wrong, that I'm responding to Jim wrong, that I'm not moving on fast enough, that I'm moving on too fast, that we should have had a funeral, that we should have had maternity pictures taken, that we should have done something we didn't or that we shouldn't have done something we did.....

I KNOW she was wrong in her assumption. I KNOW that to not be hurting still would be unnatural. I KNOW this. But it still hurt in an unimaginable way to have someone imply that "this" -- that Duncan's birth, his death, his very existence -- was not a big deal. And sadly, she was not the first to insinuate this. But she was the first person to say something so ignorant to me. (The other comments were made by men to Jim.)

And now that I've written that all out, I'm even more exhausted than I thought possible when I started writing the post. I'm also rethinking the post title, because "epic fail" = drama much? But also because it wasn't so much church that was the problem, it was the love and sensitivity and compassion that was lacking that left me empty.

We will go back to church next week. And the next. And I would imagine that in the near future, we'll even become members. And I'll most likely keep crying through services for a while. So, if you go to my church and know who I am, and if you see the tears fall, please just come hug me, and maybe not say anything at all?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Torn

I read a blog post yesterday written by a woman who delivered a stillborn son last September.

When people voiced that they were surprised to see her in church the weekend after her son's birth, she merely replied, "Where would I rather be?"

Oh, how I wish I felt that way this morning. I'm dressed and coiffed. I look like I'm ready for church, but I'm anything but.

I haven't been able to attend Sunday School or worship since Duncan's birth. And now that I can, I'm fearful of how I'll respond to the experience.

I'm not mad at God right now. I know Duncan's death isn't His "fault." He doesn't make mistakes. But I'm definitely feeling some distance in my relationship with my Heavenly Father, moreso on my part (well, I guess it's always on our part, isn't it?). I just have so many questions that I'm not getting answered, and knowing that I may never get answers just leaves me.....well, with not so much to say to Him.

So.

It's 9:05. Time to head out. I'll let y'all know how it goes....

Saturday, June 6, 2009

So it's not quite organic...

Try not to focus on the mac 'n cheese and french fries, and just applaud how well he is doing with a grown-up fork. ;)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ah, summertime

Ah, to be a toddler and have your life revolve around choosing a flavor of freezer pop. Hope you are enjoying the arrival of June as much as we are!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

We remember

I debated whether or not to say anything...

The week of posts has kind of been up and down the emotional spectrum...

I decided to keep yesterday's post on track with Wordless Wednesday; I hope you liked all the pictures from May!

But today, I woke up, and knew I wanted to acknowledge that yesterday, Wednesday, June 3rd, was the day that our twins would have been due.

Can y'all believe that? How much life living Jim and I (and you, dear reader, and I!) have done in the last seven months? The move, the holidays, vacation, Duncan's conception, life in Tennessee, our break-in, Florida, Duncan's birth....

I can say with some sadness but pure honesty that it's like the twins never happened. As long-time Writer Chic readers know, we suspected, but hadn't confirmed, that we were pregnant, so when I lost the babies in October....well, it was all over before it really had a chance to begin.

But nevertheless, Jim and I did conceive in August, and these babies were our third and fourth children, and though we were never blessed to have them join our family here on earth, we know that their lives, however brief, mattered, and that we will see them again someday.

II Samuel 12:23
"...I will go to him, but he will not return to me."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I don't have "time" to drift....

I wish I had the energy to expound on my title, but this is more just a cry for help right now.

Has anyone out there who is reading Writer Chic experienced a loss like ours -- and infant death or stillbirth -- that was not their first child?

I'm finding that what I'm experiencing is a different "flavor" of the same grief some of my girlfriends have experienced. But everyone who I've connected to who has walked this road has lost their first child. And it's different, to process the grief and all that comes along with this, when you have a little one underfoot.

I feel like I'm just marking time right now. The days are passing, and I'm just drifting along, not really seeing, not really feeling. While I know that this is "okay," "normal," and even "healthy" according to all the doctors I've spoken with and all the grief material I've read, it doesn't do me any favors in the mommy department, where I don't want to miss even a moment with Seth....

Okay, ramble much?

If anyone has any experience or can direct me somewhere for some tips, I'd appreciate it.

Wordless Wednesday

Favorites from May




Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A fortnight and a friend

Seriously, two weeks?

Where has the time gone?

If I stop to think about it, I feel like I'm suffocating. So, I'm going to try not to think about it -- or, at least, not to dwell on it, and today, I'm going to stay busy with Seth and with friends and enjoy the beautiful summer day.

But since I "coppped out" on a one-week memorial post for Duncan on the 26th, I thought writing something today would be appropriate.

So, here is something sweet for my Duncan today.

A week ago, on the Tuesday following Duncan's birth, I received a package from my dear friend Kelly. You will be hearing more about her in the coming weeks as I share with you just how blessed I am to be part of a incredible online community of amazing women.

Kelly and I have never met in person. She lives in Iowa with her husband and darling son Oliver. She and I are the unofficial "den mothers" of the group of ladies I told you about in this post back in the fall of 2007. This is the same group of ladies that gave me my Daina and Stacy.

Inside the package was the sweetest card, a bag of dark Dove chocolate, and this Willow Tree figurine titled Angels Embrace.

Kelly wrote this in her card to me:

"I went to get you a card, saw this, and burst into tears. I hope you see it as a reminder of the angels welcoming Duncan into heaven, and also as a mother's hug, always there no matter what."

I was so touched, and knew exactly what I wanted to do with the figurine.

For the longest time, I had pictures of my brothers, Adam and Andrew, in matching frames. But since the pictures were about 10 years old, and because now I have pictures of them each with his respective wife and fiancee, the frames have stood empty.

I knew that I wanted to fill them with pictures of Seth and his brother, so I've had Duncan and Seth's ultrasound pictures in them, on top of our piano.

The Willow Tree figurine A Child's Touch was a gift from my mom after Seth was born; it stands in front of Seth's picture. And Kelly's gift was the perfect companion for Duncan's picture. The tribute to our sons is completed with the ornament our nurses prepared for us with Duncan's footprints.

I know all too soon, Duncan's urn will arrive, and that the sight of that box may bring some sadness. And I'm okay with that, and ready for that.

Because I know that all I'll have to do is look across the room and smile...

Duncan's 19w u/s and footprints

Seth, left, and Duncan, right

And one more thing...

In the spirit of on-line friendships, I need you all to keep my dear blog friend Kendra in your prayers today. This young woman has become SO precious to me, and I can't wait to share with you to role God allowed her to have in helping me through Duncan's birth. But today, I ask that you just lift her up. Sorry I can't be more specific, but I'm sure y'all understand. Thank you!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Update on the cuteness-devouring appliance

Remember this post? About the washing machine and this oh-so-cute Gymboree shirt?


Ahem.

Ladies and gentleman, I offer you proof that it is your washing machine (aka cheese grater) that should be held responsible for your laundry mishaps.

I mean, I suppose it's still wearable, if you're going for the "I belong to a toddler gang" look.

Oh, my. I felt badly for the repair man who had to service our Cabrio. For the record, this wasn't the only thing our washer had eaten in the last 4 months. Granted, it was the only casualty (figures, right?), but several other of Seth's things, a couple pair of my underwear, and a (get this!) matched pair of Jim's dress socks were also recovered on Tuesday.

I'm now erring way on the side of caution in how full I load the washing machine, and speaking in soft, soothing tones when I power 'er up. We'll see if that keeps her happy.