Friday, July 31, 2009


Earlier this week, we had a play date at an area My Gym Children’s Fitness Center.

Oh, my goodness.  SO.  MUCH.  FUN.

I was so impressed with the facility, the facilitators, the structure of the play hour – everything about this place gets rave reviews from me.

I could go on, but you know what they say a picture is worth…

dancing fool 1

dancing fool 2

dancing fool 3

dancing fool 4

dancing fool 5

my gym 009

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my gym 021

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And if that didn’t convince you:

Moms, if you’ve got a preschooler, I’d definitely recommend looking for a My Gym in your area.   It was a blast, and we’ll definitely be going back!

Thank you, My Gym, for a great day of memories, and thank you, Miss Kasey, for setting it up.  That little wrist twist of Seth’s?  That means “you rock!!!”

Thursday, July 30, 2009

It’s getting harder

I don’t even know how to start this post.

I was driving home from a play date, through one of the prettiest areas near our home, and a lump started to form in my throat.

It was a rainy day, drizzly and misty.  As I drove the winding road, Seth dozing in his carseat, I thought, “this is going to be so pretty in the fall.  We’ll have to take this drive a lot in the Mustang.”

summer drive

And just that quickly, I was so sad.  I had already pictured our family of four cruising the back roads of our neighboring farmland this fall, the top down on a sunny October day.  (And yes, I would have taken a two-month-old out in an open convertible.  That’s what blankets and hats and car seat covers are for.)

But….it will just be our family of three.  Apparently perfect to the casual observer, but in reality: fractured with a piece missing.

As the weeks count down to Duncan’s original due date, it is getting increasingly difficult to keep my chin up.  As tired as I’ve been, running around after my wild child, I’d still welcome the fatigue of the last month of pregnancy.  Four times I’ve conceived, and I have yet to experience that last month.  I was invited to a baby shower this weekend, and a huge part of me wants to go, and make some new friends, but I know better.  I know it’s a bad idea to surround myself with the very items I no longer have an immediate use for.

Lying in bed earlier this week, I felt a bonafide panic attack rising.  I couldn’t get the obstetrician’s voice out of my head – it was an unending loop: "I’m so sorry, there is no cardiac movement.  I’m so sorry…. I’m so sorry….. no movement…. I’m so sorry…. so sorry…. sorry…. sorry.”  In the stillness of the night, I could feel the anguished sob clawing its way out of my chest as  sure as it did that awful Saturday.  I had to get out of the bed and go into another room so that my shaking wouldn’t wake Jim.

I actually feel this grief anew in my body.  I am weaker, physically, than I have been in the last six weeks.  Lifting my arms overhead to condition my hair, bending to place Seth in his carseat, standing at the counter to prep veggies for dinner….it takes more out of me than I like to admit.  I am hoping that as September 5 comes and goes, it will take with it this lethargy and melancholy that has settled on me like a heavy cloak.

Can I use this opportunity to ask you for something, reader?  This has kind of been stuck in my craw for a couple days, and this seems like the right segue.

If you, over the course of the last months, told me “I’ll call you,” “I want to take Seth off your hands for an hour or two,” “I want to get together,” “I want to have you over for dinner” – if you told me any of that, and if you MEANT it, and if you haven’t yet done what you said…..I just want to let you know, I heard you.  And my heart is waiting.

(For the record, MB, this isn’t directed at you; I know we haven’t had our chicken conversation yet. ;) And Nestie readers, this isn’t directed at you, either.  Your love still abounds.)

I know that so often people just don’t know what to say.  I get that.  But let me tell you this: it’s better to say nothing at all that to offer a promise that you aren’t going to follow up on.  Because when those offers fall short and become hollow platitudes rather than loving support, it just compounds the hurt.  It confirms that the world indeed has moved on, when you haven’t yet gotten your feet back under you.  It reinforces the niggling fear that you may be taking “too long” to “get over” the loss.  It makes one question the sincerity of a friendship that may have appeared rock solid before the “AFTER” happened.

So, again, let me take the opportunity to let you know that if you still want to reach out – in any way, be it a call, a card, a babysitter, flowers, food – it will be welcome.  Too much time hasn’t passed.  It won’t be awkward.  You won’t be reopening a wound.   Believe me, it’s open.

I am a mommy whose son isn’t here.  One is; one isn’t.  And once in a while, I need others to recognize that and validate that and remind me that they haven’t forgotten, either.  Yes, it’s been 10 weeks; but there is still another 6 to go.  Maybe then, the healing with accelerate.  But for now…..I still need TLC in a big way.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

family 3

I miss my dad.  He’s on his summer vacation.  In Uzbekistan.

Yep.  The Uzbekistan that is in eastern Asia.

Because I have the kind of dad who spends his vacations in the middle of nowhere.

And, to steal a phrase from my dear MB, I love that.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tasmanian Angel

Oh.  My.  Goodness.

My child wore me out today.

Exhibit A:

devil child 005

I’m not sure what I was doing when this happened, but I promise you, I only had my back turned for two seconds.  (Pictures can be deceiving, so let me tell you, that pile of papers is about 3 inches deep.)  No need to comment on how behind we are with our filing.  Seth’s little “cleaning spree” brought that into quite clear focus, thank you very much.

Exhibit B:

cute, huh?   Let’s all say it together: “awwww!!!”

devil child 003

Yeah, right.  Cute until you see where those baubles came from while Mommy was cleaning up Exhibit A.

Exhibits C and D:

devil child 002 

devil child 001 

ALL – and I do mean ALL – of my jewelry was (not so) gently and carefully removed from my boxes and “inspected” by Master Seth.   (Take a deep breath, Kelly.  I only found one random glass bead that was somehow separated from its origin….but for the life of me, I can’t figure out just where that origin is….)

And these are only two examples of what he managed to get into today.  I wish I’d had the camera ready for the results of Seth “helping” me prepare for the local consignment sales by sorting through [read: dumping out] his Rubbermaid containers, or the aftermath of his Toilet Paper Toga party while I was fixing dinner.

(I don’t think Jim could fathom how I’d let the house get in “such a state” until he came upon the (entire roll of) unwound toilet paper himself.  Let’s just say Jim’s sympathy increased in tandem with Seth’s attendance in Time Out.

He’s definitely exerting his will well in advance of the Terrible Twos.  (Tell me, all you wise ones who’ve been there; is it really that bad?)  “No” is probably heard more than anything in our home right now – from both mommy and child – and  hate that, but I know we need to be consistent.  Our biggest battle right now is that Seth constantly and without regard continues to remove all the stuffing from the inside of Jim’s speaker subwoofer.  His little hand and wrist fit so perfectly into the opening…and the cotton (or whatever is in there) just fascinates him, no matter what consequences we dole out.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m glad that something so easily fixable is our biggest worry in child-rearing.  For now.

But I have to tell you, just because I’m not losing sleep over the peer pressure he is under, or staying up til the wee hours of the morning because he’s broken curfew, or traipsing all over creation to soccer/golf/band/track/whatever-he’ll-be-into matches doesn’t mean I’m not exhausted.

Even with the fatigue and feelings of failure, though, there is a silver lining.

I truly believe I birthed the most joyful child in the world.  We wandered the aisles of WalMart earlier today, and Seth waved and called out to every person he saw.  And without fail, his high-pitched “hi-yee” was returned with a smile and wave.

He finds laughter and happiness in simple things: ranch dressing, mommy’s necklaces, his reflection in the bathtub faucet, a ride in daddy’s convertible.

I could learn a lesson from this boy.

Make big messes.

Live life loud.

Put the top down and let the wind mess up my hair.

july 2009 072

Monday, July 27, 2009


When I came home from my MFM appointment on Friday, I noticed that my deck was an absolute mess.  The furniture was pushed helter-skelter and there was sawdust all over the deck, table, and chairs.

home improvements 010

Which, I guess would make sense, considering that sawdust is what you get when you do this:

home improvements 008home improvements 011 home improvements 009 home improvements 007

Welcome to our backyard, a little less shady than it was this time last week.

When we moved into our home, we knew one of the first big projects to tackle would be the removal of two (apparently) dead trees in our back yard.  While I was sad to see them go, you can tell that we have no shortage of foliage behind our property.  We received quotes ranging from $475 to $2,000 to down and remove the two trees.  It was a no-brainer who we chose to hire.

However, the $475 quote only covered cutting the trees down – not cutting them up and hauling them away.  Which Jim was fine with, because if gave him a reason to purchase a new chain saw.  (What’s that you say?  No, I’m not rolling my eyes.)

So, we’re the proud new owners of a state of the art chain saw and a heck of a lot of wood.  We’re working – oh wait, sorry, JIM is working – hard to remove all the branches and stumps from our yard, but it’s slow going.

So, if you find yourself bored this week, and want to come haul wood, just let me know.  I promise, there is plenty to go around!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I’m sorry I left you all hanging

As several of you have emailed me directly, I suppose it’s time to tell you: I chose to unpack Seth and Jim’s suitcases; I did not chose to make the bed, although I did straighten the sheets before climbing in that night. ;)

Seriously, though?  Who knew I’d get such a bevy of comments off a “filler” post of pure randomness?  It was fun learning which of you are a little OCD and which of you take a more laid back approach.  It’s funny – I’m a tad bit OCD-prone as a rule, but the bed making has never been my strong point (no fault of yours, Mom!).   However, I’m proud to say the bed has been made each day since that post.  And I love it.  It makes it so much easier to pile the laundry on top of!

Okay, moving on…..

I feel like there was something else I was supposed to tell you….

Oh, right.  That little doctor appointment on Friday.

I’m sorry for my glibness, as well as the delay.  I’m not really sure why I didn’t make time to post an update Friday or Saturday. Well, there were some other life events that got in the way of my blogging, but we’ll get to those.  Moreso, though, I think I just was weary of repeating the news.

I’d already talked to my parents, my girlfriends, my babysitter.  I’d sent an email to the people I KNEW were waiting for the results, and I’d jotted off a quick Facebook status update.  And by the time I was done with all that….I’m sorry to say there wasn’t much oomph left in me to write it all out again.

But today is a new day.  I’ve only had to deliver the story once today, so I’m prepped and ready to lay it all out one more time.

Dr. Graves was quick to assure Jim and me of all the tests that came back negative – I think it was an attempt at reverse psychology, so that when she got to the tests that came back positive (for disorder), we’d be feeling grateful for all that wasn’t wrong.  I have to admit, it kind of worked.

Because by the time she got to the two tests that did show a genetic mutation, I knew things could have turned out much worse, and what we are faced with having are some of the more common mutations, and are, in fact, treatable.

Okay.  Here it is.  I have MTHFR C677T and 4G PAI-1.  The first, a deficiency, is treated by taking a ridiculous amount of folic acid before becoming and while pregnant.  The latter, a clotting disorder, is treated with a daily baby aspirin.  Each of these mutations, in and of themselves, are not overly concerning.  Combined, they are more problematic.  However, the truly concerning component in my particular situation is these mutations in combination with my predisposition to hypertension and preeclampsia.  The blood pressure issue will always remain my biggest pregnancy threat, but Dr. Graves was quick to point out that doubling my current blood pressure medications, in addition to beginning the folic acid and aspirin regimen before even becoming pregnant again, would greatly increase my chances of getting another pregnancy off to the best start.  In addition, once a viable pregnancy would be established (most likely, via an ultrasound around 7 weeks gestation that showed a beating heart), we would weigh the risks and benefits of a drug such as heparin or Lovenox.

As I don’t plan to keep you all abreast of our plans with play-by-play updates on our sex life, I’ll leave you with this “statement,” and ask that you respect our privacy and our timetable in the matter of our future fertility:

We feel confident that our doctors have found the cause of my past pregnancy complications, and trust their diagnosis and proposed plan of treatment should we decide to become pregnant again.  We have been granted “permission” to begin trying to conceive as early as August; however, we have not decided when we will begin the process.  We are seeking wisdom and counsel as to when our family is both physically and emotionally ready to welcome the possibility of another pregnancy, the complications it could bring, and the ultimate responsibility of growing another life.  When and if we do decide to try to conceive another baby, that will remain between Jim and I.  If we are blessed to become pregnant, we will joyfully share our news.  In the meantime, we continue to thank you for your love and support as we have been walking this dark road.  We are healing, but we still need your prayers and encouragement.  Thank you for loving us, and for loving our sweet Duncan as well.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Laughter really IS the best medicine



Baby aspirin.

Folic acid.

All of these drugs have become a part of my everyday vocabulary since learning that I most likely have a clotting disorder that has wreaked havoc on my four pregnancies.

As we count down the hours until Friday’s appointment reveals what my final diagnosis is, I’m trying to stay busy, stay calm, stay focused on what is, not on what was, or on what might be, or on what may come.

And what is, is this:

(sorry for the poor quality of this video – I’m still figuring out my new camera features)

I really don’t think there is a sweeter sound than Seth’s laughter that fills my day – not even the blessed silence that us mommies so often crave.

As I wait for my “fate” (in quotations because I firmly believe that my future is in the hands of a loving, almighty God) – as I wait to learn what prescriptions the specialists are going to offer up – I will remind myself that no drug is as powerful as the laughter and love of the son I have been blessed to raise.

His own personal Everest

It's like he wakes up each day just waiting for the first opportunity he can find to break away from my sight and climb onto the counter in his bathroom.

From tile to toilet he goes, and then it's just a short stretch to get onto the counter.

Today is the first day that he has bothered the actual faucet. It was like I saw the light bulb go on -- that these handles were just like the ones on our garden tub. I know I should have immediately gotten him down.....but I was mesmerized by his darling reflection in the mirror, and I just grabbed the camera instead.

Can you blame me?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

bathroom fun 007

Apparently, both of my boys had a hard day of work.   I snapped this photo at 7:45.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

They say it’s never too late….

…but really:

At what point in the day is it really too late to bother making the bed?

I mean, do you have to make it before noon?  Before three o’clock?   Before your husband gets home from work?

Are you one of those neurotic people who makes their bed right before you get in it for the night if – heaved forbid – it didn’t get made the moment you got up?

As I type this, it’s 5:09 PM.  Jim is on his way home, dinner is ready, Seth is preoccupied with my toothbrush and a tube of training paste, and I’m debating if I should (a) unpack the suitcases from last week’s vacation, or (b) go make our bed.

Two questions, Interpeeps:

(1) which would YOU do?

(2) which am I going to do?



Being on vacation in Ohio this past week afforded me some much needed time to just sit and be still.

One afternoon, while sitting out in my inlaw’s driveway, I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful the skies were, so I snapped a picture.

This week, were back to the daily grind of our Tennessee home life, which more often than not translates to “crazed.”  I’m babysitting for some friends tomorrow, so we’ll see how Seth likes being the “little” brother for a day; playdate at the fountains with church friends on Thursday; MFM and pediatrician appointments on Friday; out-of-town business meeting for me Saturday morning…..

I need to print out this photo and carry it around with me this week as a reminder of the peace and tranquility I felt on vacation.  Of how healthy it felt just to let the world slow down for a while.  Of how rested I feel when I remember to just pause life every once in a while.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Two months

Oh, sweet boy, I miss you so.

I went back today and reread Stacy’s two-month post, just to see if my feelings were on target.  (And before anyone jumps forward to tell me that each person grieves differently and that I don’t need to look to Stacy or any one else to determine if the way that I am grieving is normal….I know this.  It just helps to look to a friend who has walked this road before me, m’kay?)

Saturday, we went to the zoo.  I went to the zoo the day before I was induced with Duncan, too, just to fill the hours.  I didn’t expect going back to the zoo of my childhood would be so bittersweet, but it was.  I couldn’t help but to keep thinking, “the last time I was here, I still had Duncan with me.  With me.”

Today, I have been so sad.  I’ve been so thankful that my mother-in-law has sensed this, and has let me just laze around.  I even went back to bed after I let her cook me scrambled eggs and blueberry pancakes.  But even after a few more hours of rest and a hot shower….I’m still in that quiet, sad place.

I just want it to be different.  I really wish Duncan’s story – his very life – hadn’t ended the way it did.  The closer we get to his due date – when he was supposed  to have been here – the harder it becomes that he isn’t here, and he isn’t going to ever be here.

On July 24, Jim and I will learn the results of my RPL testing.  We will be handed the information we need to make the decision about whether or not I will bear any more children.  And I can’t even get excited about the appointment because in my heart, I don’t want “another” baby – I want Duncan.

Mommy’s little Apple Jack,

I’m finally letting the world in on that little secret.  Before you were named Duncan, you were just “Itty Bitty” to the world, in the way that your big brother Seth was just “Sprout.”    But in secret, you were Apple Jack to only me.

Today, you would turn two months old.  How is that possible?  Didn’t I hold your newly born body just yesterday?

For the past few weeks, I’ve been working diligently to complete mommy and daddy’s master bedroom.  I’ve purchased new bedding, made curtains, and hung artwork.  The next step is to hang our engagement portrait over the bed.  I decided to flank either side with a picture of you and Seth.

I selected the picture of you that I want to frame, and then searched for a complimentary photo of Seth.  I chose one that Gramp-e took of him when he was just seven weeks old – just about the age you’d be today.  And as I Photoshopped the two pictures to black and white perfection, my heart grew heavy.

My sons – brothers – two boys who share a nose and a name….but nothing else.  Not a toybox or a wagon or a train set.  Seth will never teach you to jump with abandon from the ottoman to the couch; you’ll never have the opportunity to find your own hide-and-seek niches in our beautiful home.  And it’s just not fair.

Duncan, it took me so long to want you – to get used to the idea of you.  But always know that from the moment I suspected you existed, I loved you.  And I love you more today than I did yesterday, and I’m pretty sure that’s not as much as I’ll love you tomorrow.



Saturday, July 18, 2009

What happens in Vegas….

and so on and so forth.

I just have to say, I think that spending a night out with close girlfriends is just about the most heart-healthy thing a woman can indulge in, no matter how much spinach dip, Diet Coke, and candy is consumed.

Being in the presence of people that you can be completely and entirely yourself with is so liberating.  Being with people who know the best and the worst and love you in spite of it is freeing.  Being able to sit in a restaurant booth or movie theatre with people to whom you’d entrust everything from your favorite sweater to your child is a rare gift.

I have that gift.

Their names are Sara and Jessi.

We talked about everything under the sun, solved all of and none of the worlds problems, sighed over Baby Gap clothes, shared popcorn and Resse’s Pieces, and laughed until we (okay, just Sara) almost peed our pants.

I LOVE these girls.  I miss them like crazy when I’m in Tennessee and they are in Ohio.  I am SO bummed that our little ones aren’t growing up together.  But above all, I’m so blessed that I have friendships that supersede distance and time.

Girls, you are my wolf pack. ;)

Just another day in Paradise

I don’t know that I’ve lamented to the blogosphere that the Nashville suburb in which we live does not have a single ice cream shop.  You know, the little mom-and-pop joints that serve up ridiculously generous soft serve cones and calorie-overloaded sundaes for relatively cheap?  The kind of place that, back home in Ohio, have lines out the door for the first week that they are open.

Not a one in our little hamlet.  (For all of you NW Ohioans, this translates to NO Mr. Freeze, Mr. G’s Barn, Melocreme, Handel’s, Netty’s, not even a Coldstone.)

So each time we travel to Ohio to visit our parents, one of the first stops we make is Paradise Ice Cream (at the corner of Glenwood and Route 20, to you locals).  It is SO good.  We know the owner Mark a little too well, as Seth has a habit of removing the island-decor and signage from the store walls.  But for the most part, he lets us have our way because he knows we’ll be back.  A lot.

We keep trying to convince Mark that he needs to open a Paradise South in our Tennessee town.  I’ve promised to make it my mission in life to bring him customers if only he would bring me the joy of a weekly Reese’s Pieces sundae with chocolate soft serve.

Mark might try to say it’s not a binding agreement, but since Seth is sporting his first Paradise shirt, and, um, since that’s a handshake, folks, I’m gonna take this recent snapshot to mean Paradise’ll be breaking ground in north central Tennessee soon.

paradise partners

Right, Mark?

A note to you all, Interpeeps.  If you have easy access to a good soft serve, count your blessings.

(The calories will count themselves.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

I’m the little engine that couldn’t

I’m running out of steam, y’all.

I just realized that I have posted almost every day since Duncan was born, give or take one or two days in May when blogging fell by the wayside because there was either too little or too much to say.

That’s a lot of writing about a whole bunch of something, and a fair helping of nothing, too.

But as I sit here tonight, in my inlaw’s kitchen, listening to the sounds of Ohio summer filtering through the open window, I realize how dry I am, inside.

I’m feeling spent.   Empty.  There are times in the day when the emotions threaten to spill out, the words rise to my tongue in a torrent, and the thoughts escape from my mind in such rapid motion, you’d think I’d have an abundance of things to talk about.  To write about.

But I don’t.  Not really.

Maybe it’s in more of a “but Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” kind of way.  Maybe it’s the knowledge (or fear) that you all are as sick of hearing the thoughts bouncing around between my ears as I am.  Maybe it’s because I’m less than thrilled with the continuous chronicling or what seems so trivial and mundane, when in reality?  You’d fall off your chair in shock if you knew what was going on behind the scenes in my life right now.

I have so many things that are weighing on my heart that it feels uncomfortable to keep them to myself.  And yet I feel that this is exactly what I must do.  And if you know me, you know that this is very out of character for me.  I’ve always been an open book.  Maybe some would call me an over-sharer, but I think it just makes life so much easier if the people around me are on the same page as me and know where I’m coming from.

(on a completely random and totally stream-of-consciousness wavelength, I highly recommend Crunch ‘n Munch Chocolate and Caramel Popcorn with Peanuts.  God bless my mother-in-law for always having the best snacks stashed away.)


Seriously?  I’m making you read about caramel corn?  What has this blog come to?

I guess what triggered this post is that I’ve lost two “followers” this week.  “Followers” being people that I know “subscribed” to read my blog regularly.  I’m trying not to take it personally.  After all, I’ve done my share of un-following as I’ve made my way around the blogosphere.  But it has made me wonder – why?  Was I boring?  Too morose?  Too chipper?  To pointless?

I dunno.

All I can say is that I’ve never been anyone on this blog than just me.

And right now me feels a little quiet.

So, if you notice a pattern emerging, and you think, “hmm…I wonder if Monica is okay,” know that I am, for the most part, but that I’m just in a valley right now.

So, pray for me.  Stick with me – if only for the random post filled with Seth’s uber-cuteness.  Please don’t go (too far) away.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Walking with You – Naming Our Babies

I’ve mention Kelly and her ministry, Sufficient Grace, before.  Words can not adequately express the blessing that Kelly has been to me since losing Duncan.  Even before, really, but in such a profound way in the last 8 weeks.

She recently launched a weekly blog topic called Walking with You. You can read her thoughts behind this here.  The gist of it was that there would be a place for those of us who’d endured perinatal or infant loss to come together to share our stories.  There is a core group of us that Kelly asked for input on this topic, and after receiving feedback from us….well, you can see where it went.

You can read all of Kelly’s Walking with You entries here, and you’ll also be able to jump to the other stories MckLinkied to her, if you wish.

Anyways, I’ve not been participating, though I’ve been reading, the past several weeks.  I’ve just not been ready to put all the details out there for the blogging world to read.  It is still so very fresh and raw for our family, too, and possibly too soon to relive it all through my words.

But this week’s topic is how we all came to name our babies.  Since I’d already written that post the week Duncan was born, I thought I would participate.

So, even though I published this entry back in May, please allow me to share again why our son was named Duncan.

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind is a memory of Jim telling me that our last name had been "Americanized" several generations ago.  I thought this was so tragic -- I would have been proud to carry an "obviously" Scottish name!

I mentioned this to my mother-in-law at lunch on Thursday, and she looked surprised.  Hmm.  Maybe Jim had wrong information, or, being the dramatic romantic that I am, I'd made the whole thing up.

Either way, Irish- and Scottish-sounding names like Ian, Owen, Collin, Aidan and the like had long been on my list of beloved baby names.  Only recently did I add Duncan to a very short list that I had running for our second son; I'd not yet even mentioned the name to Jim.

Saturday May 16, just hours after learning that our baby’s heart was no longer beating, we thumbed through a baby name book loaned to us by the obstetrical staff.  I'm not sure why I thought we could concentrate, even under the looming deadline of needing to name him NOW.   So much information had just been thrown at us -- insurance, legal, medical care for me, cause and diagnosis for our unborn son.  Our heads were spinning.

One of the hardest pieces of news to receive was that although the baby’s heart had only recently stopped, he had been in fetal distress for sometime – most likely from about 20 weeks (mid-April), given his measurements and size.  Oh, how proud I was to be his mommy at that moment, knowing that he was so valiant to survive in the shadow of death!  As I unseeingly flipped through the alphabet of names, I thought to look up the meaning of Duncan.

As Jim looked over my shoulder, our eyes landed on the description "fighter."

And just that easily, he was named.

Even now, months later, it seems as fitting as the moment we named him.  My little boy was strong and mighty.  He fought for his life for a month, and although he eventually lost his battle, Jim and I are SO ridiculously proud to call him our son.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How is it already time for “back to school” displays?

To us, it feels like we are just getting started with our summer agenda!

Seriously, the only thing already checked off our to do list is a trip to Pennsylvania for Grammie’s annual picnic.

Still to come are:

  • trip to Ohio for a guys’ camping/golfing/fishing weekend
  • trip to Ohio for a zoo meetup with some of my Nesties
  • trip to Pensacola to visit friends
  • visit to Nashville from Alabama friends
  • trip to Ohio for the annual salmon fishing charter
  • visit to Nashville from Nonna
  • trip to West Virginia for cousin’s wedding
  • trip to Ohio for alumni band and Steelers game

That’s all in the next two months – and that’s just the big stuff!  There are still cookouts, trip to the pool, play dates, movie nights…..all the little things that make up summer fun.

So, really, all you retailers….I get it.  To you, it’s time to start planting thoughts of dorm room decor and shower caddies and boxes of Crayolas and bottles of Elmer’s Glue.  But to me, summer is just getting started.  Can you hold off just a little longer, please?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Seth’s updated vocabulary

Where is my baby going?

Newest words:
nomno = domino
ee go = here (you) go
eese, yeah = please (and the implication of “of course you will, Mom)
too too = choo choo = train
eez = keys
bibo = hippo = hippo-shaped footstool 
dooce = juice
mow = (lawn)mower
nana = banana
cacker = cracker
kiki = cookie
noonoo = noodle 
day go = there (they/you) go

He can recognize the following if you ask him:
mommy’s sunglasses
his lawnmower
Softie (blanket)
diaper bag
pool (inflatable baby pool)

New feats:
climbing on the table on the porch to ring the doorbell
climbing on the dining room table to retrieve candy
climbing on the bathroom sink to retrieve toothpaste
*anyone noticing a pattern here?
sitting contentedly at the piano to do more than bang
climbing through the tunnels at the McDonald’s playplace by himself
riding a tricycle
putting his Crocs on by himself

I realize that some of these things in and of themselves are not that impressive for a 19-month-old.  But as the mommy (an often forgetful one), it’s so nice to actually take notice when he learns a new thing, and to write them down.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I may finally be convinced that he really should be a model

A few months ago, one of the tellers at our bank contacted me about doing a photo shoot with Seth at my convenience.  She is starting up her photography business, and hoped I’d be willing to let her use some shots of Seth in her portfolio.

Um, of course!

We met up in our backyard on a cloudy Thursday afternoon, just two days before we learned we had lost Duncan.  I realize that detail isn’t really relevant, but looking back on it now….I’m glad I got to spend that day frolicking in the creek with BOTH of my boys.

Unfortunately, our photo scanner is down, so I can only post pictures of the pictures she just dropped off – but regardless, her talent shines through.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Seth is gorgeous.

I’d love to know which is your favorite – and if you’re family and want a copy, please let me know which one and what size.  (Mom, it’s a given I’ll get you one of each, and Dad, I think I’m finally going to submit that application to the talent agency with the last picture.)

So, here we go:

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in his Easter outfit

tamela pro pics May 09 009 Goodness, look at those lips!

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cute editing, huh?  Don’t you just wanna eat those toes!?

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could he be any cuter?

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I’m so glad that he enjoyed playing in the creek – we even found a frog!

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a last minute prop grabbed from his room

….and the piece de resistance……..

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Still being loved on

As you know from this post about my Nesties, Jim and I are being loved on from across the miles.

Well, one such friend went above and beyond her requisite “baked goods” duties – though the homemade s’mores granola bars and butterscotch chip bars were to die for.

My dear Brooke, who also gets the credit for the blog’s redesign last month, sent the sweetest card, and extra-special treats for each member of our family.  Not to mention that she intentionally timed the delivery to come immediately after our MFM appointment.

idaho lovin' A $25 Visa gift card for Jim, a $25 spa/salon gift card for me, and roller markers for Seth.  I couldn’t have been happier, especially with the Crayola’s for Seth, because I’ve been feeling a little lacking in the good-mommy-who-fosters-her-child’s-creativity department.

And look!  He’s already used them (and yes, I helped a little…)


But I swear, all I did was the red smile.  The rest is pure Seth genius.

I can’t tell you all how much Brooke means to me – not just because of her amazing generosity, but just because of the bond she and I share.  I encourage you to click over to her blog to read about the trial she and her husband faced just one year ago.  After our break-in in April, I sat in my bedroom and cried long-distance to Idaho as I asked Brooke how I was ever going to get past the sucker punch of such a trauma.  I told her, as I talked with her Friday, that I couldn’t believe I was sitting on the same spot on my bed, asking her the question again, on an entirely new level.  Sadly, she didn’t really have any answers for me, but I’m glad she’s holding my hand nonethelesss.

Not to be outdone by a west-coaster, my dear neighbor Christina invited Seth and I over for a playdate on Friday afternoon.  I wish I had pictures to share with you of Seth and his buddy Madeline – they are a hoot together.  Christina and I have a lot in common, the least of which is a love for a good espresso.  =)  She made me a decadent iced coffee while we visited and then sent me home with this:

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I’d heard of the famous Gigi, but had yet to sample.

Oh. My.

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Check those babies out.

I was afraid they’d be sickeningly sweet – after all that is about 4 inches of frosting, but surprisingly, they weren’t as decadent as I’d expected.  I still scooped about 2/3 of the frosting off (I had the strawberry one on the bottom right; Jim had a chocolate one), but the cupcake itself was delicious!

Seriously, you have to check out the Gigi’s lineup – and tell me which one (or ten) you’d choose to indulge in!  I’m thinking I’ll have to try the Red Raspberry Delight next.

But in all seriousness.  We are almost eight weeks out from saying goodbye to Duncan, but we are still in the midst of it, you know?  Well, maybe not.   But we do.  It’s still hard, to wake up daily and look at my (relatively) flat stomach; to be preparing tubs of infant clothing for consignment; to wonder if we will ever have another biological child.

So the love of friends from all over, those who continue to support us through this loss, is extraordinary and so very appreciated.

As Seth would say, “Muah!” (big, big kisses)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Oh, to “bee” a reader

bee a reader

How cute is this?!

It’s kind of pathetic, how excited I get about my smallest accomplishments. =)

Do you recognize anything from this picture?

The bee made his first appearance in this post:

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And the frame looks similar to this one featured in early January, does it not?

choose joy 

I took the bee necklace that Seth made during craft time at the library earlier this week, and I framed it in one of the other black frames I’d purchased in January (3 for $1 in the clearance aisle at Target – score!)

I figured keeping it next to the rocker in his room, where we so often read storybooks, would be a fitting reminder of Seth’s first (of many, I hope) trip to the library.

Friday, July 10, 2009

MFM Update

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My farmer’s tan really isn’t that bad.  It’s just the flash. ;)

That up there?  That’s really the only thing I took away from Friday’s MFM appt.

Overall, it went about as well as I expected.

The doctor had me review my pregnancy history as well as extensive family medical history.  We performed the RPL testing, which consisted of 12 vials of blood.  Results should take about 2 weeks.

The cause of Duncan's death, as we suspected, was a blood clot in his placenta.  More than likely, a clot was also the cause of Seth's abruption and IUGR; we were just blessed with Seth in that his placenta functioned well enough for as long as it did.  We just were not as fortunate with Duncan.

This blood issue is either caused by me, or a combination of me having a clotting disorder and ALSO passing the disorder on to my fetus -- in this case, Duncan.  So, there is a good chance that any subsequent pregnancies would also be threatened.  To what extent, we don't know.

I have an appt on 7/24 to go over the results of the RPL, and Jim and I will make a decision thereafter about our plans.  After today's appointment, I couldn’t even begin to tell you which way we are leaning.   There are just too many variables.

So, there it is.  More waiting, and not a lot of news.  I guess it was too much to hope that we’d walk in and they’d go, “Oh, Monica!  So glad you’re here.  This was all a big mistake – here’s your baby!”

Thursday, July 9, 2009

In lieu of the frenzy

As many of you know, Friday, Jim and I will meet with a Nashville maternal fetal medicine specialist.  This appointment is two-fold.

One, we will received the results of Duncan’s pathology report.  From what little I’ve already gathered from Dr. Morgan’s office, the results were conclusive, and we will be told the cause of death.

Second, we will discuss the plan for my recurrent pregnancy loss panel, and what we may need to know to weigh the decision of our future fertility.

Obviously, this appointment is weighing heavily on our hearts.  One hand, I’d rather things stay status quo, allowing us to just drift along with the days as they come.  On the other hand, I’m admittedly preoccupied with my fertility, and I know it is in our best interest to seek answers.

My mind this week has been moving at such a frenetic pace, all the writing I’ve attempted has come out jumbled and disjointed and not worthy of publication.  I have cleaned, cooked, redecorated, organized, and reorganized in a effort to channel that energy into something constructive.  Today, the master bedroom benefitted, and is now sporting some new furniture, bedding, and placement.  Whew!

But since I’ve worn myself out pushing heavy oak furniture around, I have no reserves to write anything of merit.  So, I opened this post in the intention of just sharing one of my favorite photos with you.

As you look at it today, please offer up a prayer for our family.  I want nothing more than to fill my arms with more beautiful children like this little guy…..and that dream is in the balance today.

kiss crop

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I think they missed the point

Maybe it’s because I only got three hours of sleep last night.

Maybe it’s because Seth is hell bent on breaking down his bedroom door when he should be sleeping.

Maybe it’s because I’m just so over the storylines on The Young and the Restless.

But I’m pretty certain that what what pushed me over the edge today was the third comment that a reader came back to leave on Sunday’s post.

Seriously. I get it.  You’re a fan.  Good for you.

But do you really think that it’s constructive or beneficial to take a post that I wrote about why You’re Not Shaken is speaking to me and continuously use it to shamelessly promote the artist?  The post was NOT ABOUT HIM.  It was about me, and my son, and where I’m at in my faith right now.

So, please.  Do not come back and leave any more links or comments or opinions about how great you think the artist in question is, okay?

I have always been able to survive – crazed toddler underfoot or not – on  just a couple hours of sleep, but for some reason, Seth’s middle-of-the-night playdate from Tuesday is kicking my butt today, and it has my brain so skewed that I’m in the midst of a pretty happenin’ pity party.

So bear with me, as I dump all the “woe is me feelings” into this blog post in an attempt to get them out of my system and not heap them all on top of Jim’s head when he walks through the door.  (After all, he’ll be carrying my Quizno’s salad, so I wouldn’t want to startle him or anything.)

Ready?  Let’s go.

1) the “p.han.”  I’ve already addressed that.

2) the midnight play date.  I can’t even begin to describe how frustrated this made me.  Now, I know for all my mommy friends who haven’t been blessed with a great sleeper like Seth, you’re thinking “oh, get over it.  It’s one night.”  And you’re right.  But you have to understand that when you have a child who has slept 12+ hours a night since they were an infant, on the rare nights when they DO wake – it’s horrendous trying to get them back to sleep because (a) they truly believe it’s time to get up, and (b) you as the parent don’t have practiced coping mechanism, so you’re totally at a loss as to what to do.

Even as I crawled back into bed after each trip into Seth’s room, I was plagued with thoughts of how the next day would be: if he is awake for three hours now, will he sleep in for three hours?  wake up at 8 am as usual, and then take multiple naps?  not nap at all, and wear his exhausted mommy into the ground?  (If you’re wondering, he’s going with option 3 – no nap and driving me to tears.)

3) Until Jim sent me the following text message, he was in the dog house with me (I’ll explain why in a minute).  But getting the offer of takeout for dinner in connection with this message helped:

RAWR  -- means “I love you” in dinosaur!  rawr, rawr, rawr, rawr

Good thing for him that was clever and cute, because I had decided I was mad at him.   I was frustrated that he seems to be able to sleep through Seth’s crying – even when Seth is specifically crying for Jim – in the night; I felt slighted that he either doesn’t like or hasn’t noticed the little additions I’ve made to our home in the last couple days (separate post and pictures to come); I couldn’t remember if he thanked me/commented on the fact that I’ve made homemade dinner (including baking bread) the last two nights, and since I couldn’t remember, it was easier to assume he hadn’t.

I know, not really fair, right?  I know.  But I’m human.  And probably hormonal.  And it probably didn’t help that (I’m pretty sure that) I forgot to take my blood pressure medication and my Prozac yesterday.  Oops.

4) Jim and I were going to take a last minute trip to Pensacola this weekend and into the beginning of next week to visit some friends and to get away while Jim is off work.  Unfortunately, that ended up not working out for our hostesses.  Which is fine, because they are coming up here to visit in mid-August.  Which would be great …. if we were going to be here that weekend.  But we’re not.  Because we’re going to be in Ohio for the annual salmon fishing trip.  The fishing trip that isn’t supposed to be in August, but rather, in September.  But we moved it up because I was supposed to be having a baby.

But now, I’m not having a baby; turns out, the fishing trip was moved up for no reason; and it now interrupts a visit I will desperately need; and what that all translates to is that it is all messed up and not the way I want it.

I want Duncan.  I want to still be healthily pregnant.   I want to be able to hang around my online chat room with my best girls without feeling horrible jealous because they are getting pregnant.  I want to be ANYWHERE else on Friday than the maternal fetal medicine specialist’s office getting Duncan’s pathology report.  I want the hydrocortisone cream I put on the bug bite on the back of my thigh to start working against the itch.  I want to have unlimited funds to jet off to Maryland, and Texas, and Oregon, and Ohio whenever I want just to hang out with my girlfriends.

I want a lot of things that seem really out of reach right now.

And I want to find a clever way to wrap up this post, but I’m too tired.


Wordless Wednesday

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Look who I found sitting on the dining room table raiding my dark chocolate M&Ms……

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Tuesday in the life of a preschooler

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Story time at the library.  I’m not so sure about this bumblebee necklace I have to wear.

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Hey, but this lady has freeze pops….I’ll leave the bee on.

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Playing and picnicking at the park is wearing me out.

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Hey everybody, let’s go feed the ducks.  I’ll lead the way.

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Eat your crackers, quack-quacks!

Monday, July 6, 2009


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Sundae cups full of Dum-dums

pasta salad prep

Fresh veggies to toss into homemade pasta salad

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Being so worn out from summer fun that we fall asleep eating lunch