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Macaroni and Cheese, Please!

25 Nov

I’m sure you have all seen the posts on social media, “She was walking on the sidewalk, but wait until you see what happens next!” or, “This man just got the surprise of his life. You won’t believe it when you get to the end!” These days, we are all about the hype. It’s kind of annoying, actually. However, I must say, that “This Mama made Macaroni and Cheese, and the results were incredible! Wait until you see how easy it is!”

Since Mr. and I got married, when we have Macaroni and Cheese for dinner, it is homemade. I usually go through the time to boil the pasta, drain the pasta, make a rue, make Bechamel sauce, add in cheese, mix with pasta…. It becomes tedious, and now with little kids, it’s not very practical time wise. Who wants to spend 45 minutes making a side dish? Well, no more!! I have found, an incredible, one pot, 5 ingredients (plus spices) Macaroni and Cheese recipe. And, it takes less than 30 minutes!!

 

Macaroni & Cheese

One Pot Wonder Macaroni & Cheese

1 lb short cut pasta (macaroni, rotini, penne, bowtie)
2 cups heavy cream
4 cups chicken broth
4 Tbsp butter, cut into pads
2-3 tsp garlic powder
2-3 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper
3 cups cheddar cheese

Now, for the incredibly easy directions. Brace yourself… they are almost too good to be true.

Have you braced? Are you ready?

Put all the ingredients, except the cheese, into a 12 inch skillet on medium high heat. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat, but allow to simmer. Stir occasionally, for even noodle cooking. When the noodles are fully cooked (about 15 minutes), and the cream sauce has reduced down and thickened, turn off heat, and add in cheese, 1 handful at a time, stirring until fully melted. I added about 2 1/2 cups to the pasta, and sprinkled the remaining 1/2 cup on top. Done.

This macaroni and cheese is probably the most flavorful (because the seasoning is cooked into the pasta), creamiest (because it’s cooked in heavy cream, not water) macaroni and cheese you will ever eat. It’s also the easiest (because it’s boiling 4 ingredients together, then mixing in cheese) and cleanest (come on! It’s one pot!!) macaroni and cheese you’ll ever make. I can sense that you don’t believe me. Why don’t you go ahead and make it, and let me know what you think in the comments… You know you want to.

 

mac and cheese 2

This, too, shall pass.

17 Nov

Recently, I have had the joy and honor of helping some brand new Mama’s with their nursing experience. Now, “brand new Mama” does not imply at all that they are first time moms. Some of them were. But, some of these ladies were nursing their second, third or even fourth babies. “Brand new Mama” refers to the fact that they have a brand new baby. An absolutely stunning, precious, adorable, lovable, screaming, confusing, frustrating little bundle of upsetting bliss.

Now, I was once a “brand new Mama”. And in a few short weeks (eek!) I will enter that world again. But, truly, it doesn’t matter if you are nursing, or bottle feeding. If you have an “easy” baby or a “colicky” baby. And it doesn’t matter if you have just one precious bundle of joy, or if you are going through this for the 9th time. Nor, does it matter if you birthed them from your womb (biological) or from your heart (adoption). Or if you children are 2 hours old, or 20 years old. The truth of the matter is this: This, too, shall pass.

Shortly after I brought Little Miss home from the hospital, I was up in the middle of the night changing, feeding, burping, feeding, burping, changing, cuddling, feeding, holding her. Ever have a newborn? Then you know exactly what I mean. Right about the time when you think you might have gotten the hang of things, these adorable, tiny balls of human life go and mess it all up again. And it’s wonderful. And it’s frustrating. As I was sitting in my room at 3am, with a newborn, screaming in my face for what seemed like hours, I felt my resolve melt. I started crying with her. And the louder she cried, the louder I cried. I felt so helpless, and yet, so needed. I lifted her tiny body up in front of me, so I could see her face. And without even thinking, I wailed to her, “WHY?! WHY DO YOU HATE ME SO MUCH?!” At this point, Mister was very awake, and took her from me, and said, “She doesn’t hate you. She just doesn’t know….” He then took her to the living room, where apparently they slept (she is still Daddy’s girl, to this day), and I lay there in my bed. As I lay there in the quiet, something occurred to me: This, too, shall pass. 

This is my parenting motto: This, too, shall pass. 

It’s quite profound, if you think about it.

However awful and miserable things seem to be, it’s not going to last forever. You can survive this.  That little screaming baby, who has nursed you raw, will one day grow up. And you will miss those times of closeness, and bonding, that only you had. Never nursed? It still applies. So quickly, those itty-bitty newborn diapers are so quickly traded for the bigger “size 1”. And before you know it, your little baby will be potty training, and you will see a lone newborn sized diaper that fell behind the dresser 2 years ago, and you will think to yourself, “How in the world did this happen?” It happens, because, This, too, shall pass.

On the other hand, all the good things come to an end, as well. Cherish every single moment you can, because, This, too, shall pass. Those snuggly little babies turn into mobile toddlers who just want to go. Those little grins, just because they saw your face, soon turn to scowls of disgust at the food they loved yesterday, but hate today. Those first words, “mama” and “dada” are all to soon replaced with, “BUT, MOM!!!!!!!!” Little feet that go “pitter-patter” turn into stomping up the stairs and slamming doors. And climbing out of the crib is just a memory of the past when they start sneaking out at night. So, especially in those good times, remember, they will be gone before you know it, because, This, too, shall pass.

Being a parent is hard. But, the good, the bad, and even the ugly, all come to an end. Those precious baby coos turn into sassy little words. Those midnight screams turn into, “Please, Mama”s. These tiny little people, grow into bigger people. Who will, one day, have tiny little people of their own. And, somehow, those never-ending sleepless nights, seem like light-years away. And those days that seemed so far away, the first day of school, graduation, weddings, are all of the sudden happening tomorrow. How is that even possible? Because, in all things, wonderful or miserable, This, too, WILL pass.  And it will somehow not pass fast enough, but then again, it will pass all to quickly. So, survive it, and cherish it while you can, because in the not-so-distant future, you’ll be reassuring your baby, that no matter what your grandbaby might be doing right now, This, too, shall pass. And try as you might, you can never get those days back.

What are some struggles that you wish (or wished) would pass more quickly? What are some moments that you will strive harder to cherish, or wish you would have cherished more? Let me know in the comments!

Support the Cause

22 Aug

As I am sure we are all aware, there is a current craze taking over social media, known as “The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”. Never heard of it? I don’t believe you.

At first, there was some outrage that people were “dumping ice water on their heads” to “get out of donating to a worthy cause”. I have a few statements to make about this.

1. Knowledge of ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), or sometimes known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is important. Like all diseases, I think raising awareness is very important. I am in full support of dumping ice water on your head to make a scene and make people wonder what it’s all about.

2. I believe that donating money to a cause that you fully support is very noble, and I recommend it.

3. I believe that donating money to a cause you know nothing about is foolish.

With those three things said, let’s move on.

Anyone else remember the hype about Girl Scout cookies, and those who purchased them, because, if you bought cookies you supported abortion?

I find it odd that the same people who “couldn’t eat the cookies”, can dump the water on their heads.

Why, you ask?

Because what you are funding, by doing the ice bucket challenge is very clearly laid out on the ALSA website.

Stem cell research.

The same process that many couples are using to conceive children (IVF), is the exact same process used to find out more about ALS. The major difference? In IVF the hope is that the baby lives. In stem cell research, the goal is to kill the baby before it forms too far.

I am all for supporting the cause. I want to support research to rid the world of this disease. But, I do not support killing babies, no matter how small, to do it. If you are sacrificing one life for another, that doesn’t seem like a win to me.

 

So, I respectfully bow out of the Ice Bucket Challenge, and encourage you to be informed, and do the same.

 

25 Years

23 Jun

Today is my 25th birthday. A quarter of a century. Wow. I’m getting old.

The past 25 years have truly been amazing. Some of you know me from way back in the day (Hi, Mom!). Some of you I have just recently met, or have never met at all. So, I thought I would share some of my life with you! Here is a year-by-year list of major things that happened in my life for the past 25 years.

1989 – This is the year that the world gained one of the coolest people ever — Me. And also, Taylor Swift. But, who cares about her?

1990 – Learned to walk.

1991 – Moved in with my grandparents, and started my career as “Most Spoiled Child in America”. Although not good for society, I really liked that title.

1992 – Met my sister and one of my best friends, Brianna.

1993 -Acquired another, brattier sister, who was super fun to pick on, Veronica. (Love you!)

1994 – Started Kindergarten.

1995 – Learned about crimped hair, and insisted mine be crimped. I’ve always been fashion forward, you know.

1996 – Started wearing fake, stylin’ glasses. Again, Fashionista, here!

1997 – Started wearing real, hideous glasses.

1998 –  My dad got re-married, and I gained my arch-enemies, Chris and Emily. Lucky for us, it has worked out, and I like them now. It was rough going for a few years, there.

1999 – Aaron, the cutest little brother in the entire world was born. He is my buddy, and I love him!

2000 –  I survived Y2K.

2001 – I began public school. I wore hideous clothing, and got made fun of. Often. I almost cared.

2002 – Performed at my first ever Fine Arts for the Assemblies of God.

2003 –  Started High School. Truly some of the best years of my life.

2004 – Must have been a boring year for a teenager. I can’t think of anything good.

2005 – Went on the trip of a life time to Denver, CO. (AAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!) (Also, let’s pack up and move to Colorado…)

2006 – Traveled to Florida with Fine Arts and did a “tour” with the team. So much fun, so many memories.

2007 – Graduated High School. Moved to Minnesota.

2008 – Spent my year getting to know the best friend I’ve ever had.

2009 – Fell in love with my best friend and got married to him.

2010 – Little Miss was born, and totally changed my life. I learned so much about love, from a 7 pound, wrinkly bundle of joy.

2011 – Middle Little joined our family. The tiniest, cuddliest baby, won my heart instantly.

2012 – Buddy Boy made a fast entrance into my world, and shocked us by being a boy. He has kept me on my toes ever since, but makes up for it in slobbery kisses and cuteness.

2013 – Had some rough waters, and learned what it really means to cling to my husband and Jesus. Also, was able to attend the birth of my nephew – incredible.

2014 – God moved us from our comfy home church to a brand new baby church, where we are excited to grow with our new church family.

 

But, even more than the past 25 years, I am so excited about the next 25 years.

 

Here is my bucket list of 25 things I would like to accomplish in the next 25 years.

  1. Skydive.
  2. Travel to Paris.
  3. Get my Doula Certification.
  4. Build my dream home.
  5. Buy a new car, straight off the lot, never driven by anyone else.
  6. Write a book, and publish it.
  7. Meet Rascal Flatts.
  8. Officiate a wedding.
  9. Drive a School Bus.
  10. Stand in all 50 states of the United States (I have about 20 down. Airports don’t count.)
  11. Write a cookbook. (Different than writing a book.)
  12. Serve on Jury Duty.
  13. Actually, personally pray one on one with someone to receive Christ.
  14. Become a Foster Parent.
  15. Road trip and see all the MLB stadiums with my husband.
  16. Visit Ina May Gaskin’s farm.
  17. Run a 5K.
  18. Sew a quilt for my bed.
  19. Make Thanksgiving dinner, all by myself.
  20. Go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.
  21. Be at a taping of the Ellen Show.
  22. Renew my wedding vows.
  23. Write my obituary (I know, morbid, but I want it to be good!).
  24. Preach a sermon.
  25. Be a camp counselor. Preferably a teen camp, but we will see.

Some are really lofty goals, and some are easily obtainable. I hope that in 25 years, I can report back that I have accomplished everything on my list, and then some!

What are some of your bucket list items? Are any of yours the same as mine? Let me know in the comments!

Make It Your Mission

13 Jun

Recently I had the privilege of writing for a fantastic, and encouraging blog, Love Life Ministries.

I talked a bit about our mission in life, and how we treat the mission we have been given.

Here is an excerpt from my post:

“Some people are called to go to foreign countries. Some are called to work with homeless people. Some are called to the workplace. Others, like me, are called to be home.

What do all of these have in common? It is where they are called to be.

Whether serving in Africa, serving papers to your boss, or serving dinner at home, you are serving. You are doing your mission.”

Make sure to check it out!

It Is What It Is – (Part 5/5)

9 Jun

Thank you, Lord, for this desire you have placed in our hearts, and for the ways You are making this dream become a reality!

 

Sometimes, I think the Lord opens doors for you.

Sometimes, I think the Lord slams them in your face. BAM!

 

As quickly as we were prepared to start the fostering process, our desires quickly became halted.

Now, before you get all nervous this is going to be another “things aren’t working out” post, well, it is. But a good kind.

 

That very same week that we had decided to begin the fostering process, and to make permanent changes to Mr.’s anatomy, we got quite a shock.

As a joke, I decided to take a pregnancy test. Mr. and I “bet” on whether it would be positive or negative. We both said negative.

 

We were both wrong.

 

That’s right. The same week we decide not to have anymore (biological) children, I get a positive pregnancy test. Just in case, I decided to take the second in the box. I had to be sure, this wasn’t something to mess around with!

I took the second test.

Positive.

I went to the doctor the next week for a routine first trimester exam. After having the miscarriage, my doctor wanted to monitor my hormone levels through blood tests for the first few weeks of the pregnancy.

I had my blood drawn. I waited.

The doctor came in looking, ummmm, confused.

“Are you sure of your dates?” She asked me.

My heart sank. I couldn’t handle another loss. If my levels were low (which, it appeared they might be), I would most likely lose this baby, too.

“Yes. I am certain.” I answered.

“Then we need to do an ultrasound. Things aren’t quite adding up,” the doctor told me.

I went through the halls, back to the front desk. I had an ultrasound scheduled for an hour out. I waited.

When you are anxious, an hour seems like forever.

I prayed, “Lord, I wasn’t expecting to ever be pregnant again. This is a surprise to me, but I welcome it. Please prepare my heart for whatever is about to happen in there, because I can’t do this alone.”

I remember feeling a new kind of nervous. Not a “what-if-something-is-wrong” nervous, but a “well-it-is-what-it-is” nervous.

And that was my motto. I repeated to myself over the next hour, “It is what it is.”

“It is what it is.”

As I sat, I began to believe it. Truly, whatever was happening, was happening. I could do nothing to change it.

The nurse called my name.

I went into the room with the ultrasound equipment. The same technician who had been there through the entire miscarriage ordeal was there.

She remembered me. “Hi. How are you doing?” She seemed nervous for me.

“I’ll be better once I know what’s going on…” I answered.

She got to work. She could see nothing abdominally. She inserted the probe and after a second, a look of relief washed over her face.

“Okay, are you ready to see?” She asked.

I wasn’t sure if I was. And, looking back, no amount of time would have prepared me anymore.

“Well, your due date is in January,” she was dragging this out.

“That’s what I thought. They said my numbers were off, though?” I replied.

“No, they are right on track…. for twins.”

She turned the screen around, and there, in the center were two, perfect little black circles.

I just stared at her.

She laughed. I laughed.

“Wait until I tell my husband,” I chuckled.

“Here, you can show him this,” she laughed back, as she handed me this:

 

 

Twins

Yes, that is indeed my uterus. Yes, I Photoshopped those words onto the image. But, I promise. That image is genuine.

See the ** up there? That little white line indicates they are identical (or so they tell me).

We talked for a few more minutes as she measured a few more things for the doctor.

She finished the scans, and sent me in to get dressed.

When I came back out, she handed me the picture, and said, “I really am hoping for the best on this! Good luck!”

I thanked her and walked out.

As I drove home, I thought of how I would tell Mr. I thought of how we would tell our families and our friends.

I had this grand plan to tell Mr. It involved an elaborate dinner of “double” everything….

I walked in the door and he was sitting on a chair in the living room.

“How was your appointment?” he inquired.

“It was….. ummm…. here.” I said, handing him the picture. I couldn’t wait.

He looked down and instantly started laughing. And I started laughing with him.

We laughed for a while. Not because it is funny, but because we are happy. No, we are thrilled.

 

Even through trials and storms, God has an ultimate plan. A better plan that we could ever imagine. Had I carried Bethany to term, with her (more than likely) heart condition, we would have certainly had no more children. God saw that we needed 5 to be complete. He truly knows best.

While I don’t think that God “made me have a miscarriage”, or “forced me to go through pain”, I think that He truly wanted what was best for me and my family, and sometimes that includes things we don’t understand.

In a perfect world, Bethany would have been a healthy baby. In a perfect world, there would have been no miscarriage. In a perfect world, there would be no pain. But, this is not a perfect world. This is a fallen world, we are a fallen people.

I know that my pain is temporary, but my reward is eternal. Though I am still sad sometimes at the prospects of what-could-have-been, and while I still long to hold that sweet baby girl one day, I can rejoice in the blessings I have been given.

“Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…” ~Matthew 5:12a

***Since this post went live, we have found out that one of the babies didn’t make it past week 12 in gestation. We are still very thrilled to be blessed with one healthy baby, coming this winter.***

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus Loves the Little Children – (Part 4/5)

8 Jun

For the past few years, Mr. and I have been discussing Foster Care and Adoption as part of our plans.

It’s never quite lined up, though.

When I was ready, he wasn’t. When he was ready, I wasn’t.

 

About a month and a half ago, we were sitting and discussing our family. How the kids are perfectly separated in age. How they play like best friends.

Our family is perfect, just the way it is.

Mr. then brought up, “Well, what about fostering? Do you still want to do that?”

“Oh! Yeah! We should really look into that!” I said, feeling excited.

“Maybe we should look into me getting a certain procedure?” he said, hesitantly.

“Yeah. I feel really good about our family right now. I think fostering and maybe, someday adopting is how we should finish our family.” I was feeling really excited. I have wanted to foster for a really long time. One of my dreams was coming true!

We spent the next few days talking about timing for “the procedure”. We decided that we would wait until after our trip to PA in July, and then schedule it for August sometime.

I asked for the packets to start the licensing process for foster care.

We started discussing how many kids would we foster at once? Boys? Girls? Ages? So many decisions to make, but it was all so exciting.

 

A little side note about why I have always felt the desire to foster.

Have you ever heard the saying, “You may be the only “Jesus” they encounter”?

That. That saying is why I want to foster.

There are so many children who have such broken homes and families. They are tossed from foster family, to foster family, because they have issues. If you were taken from your family, you would most likely have issues, too. Just sayin’.

I desperately want to show them the love of Christ. Even if it’s only for a month. I don’t think I can replace their “real mom”. I don’t think Mr. can replace their “real dad”. But, I do think that by showing them Jesus, their eyes, and more importantly, their hearts, can be opened to “real love”.

I want to love children the way that Jesus does. That means not just my own, biological children. It means all of His children, wandering and alone, too.

I want to love all of the Foster Children that Jesus places in my home, just like He loves them.

Thank you, Lord, for this desire you have placed in our hearts, and for the ways You are making this dream become a reality!

Oh, Lazarus- (Part 3/5)

7 Jun

“Do you think we should name the baby?” he asked me.

“Yeah. I think we should.”

“What do you want to name it?”

“I’m not sure. But, when the right name comes, we will know.”

 

A few weeks later, I was reading an article about “The Lazarus Effect”. About how we pray for things, and God answers differently than we want, so we assume He didn’t answer at all.

For the next few days, the story of Lazarus spun in my head. I couldn’t help the thoughts.

Lord, you raised a man from the dead! Why couldn’t you fix my baby?! 

As the thoughts continued to come, so did the prompting: Read the story again.

But, God, I know the story. Lazarus was sick, Jesus didn’t make on time, Lazarus died,  and Jesus raised him.

Read the story again.

Fine. But I already know what happens.

I picked up my computer and went to the scripture.

I started to read.

John 11:1

Now a certain man named Lazarus was ill. He was of Bethany, the village where Mary and her sister Martha lived.

I kept reading. Lazarus’ sisters send a message to Jesus.

John 11:4

When Jesus received the message, He said,” This sickness is not to end in death; but  it is to honor God and to promote His glory, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Seriously, God. I think this is stupid. I’m not ready to read this yet. What is Your point?

Keep reading. 

I stumbled through some more text, feeling frustrated.

John 11:6

Therefore, even when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He still stayed two days longer in the same place where He was.

Hmmm. I’ve never noticed that before. Jesus didn’t run immediately to the sick and heal him, he finished what he was doing, where he was, first.

Read that again.

I did. And then I read it over, and over, and over. I couldn’t grasp what the relevance to me was.

I read on. Jesus and the disciples have a little chat about things. The disciples say, “Hey, we should probably go see Lazarus….”

Jesus responds to them.

John 11:14-15

So then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, And for your sake I am glad that I was not there; it will help you to trust Me.”

Knowing how the story ends, I could see Jesus’ point here. Because he was REALLY dead, there was no question if he was actually raised or not. There was no room to question the actuality of the miracle.

The disciples and Jesus discuss some travelling options. They arrive at Bethany to a grieving crowd. Mary collapses at Jesus feet, stricken with grief.

John 11:33-36

When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who came with her sobbing, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

And He said, Where have you laid him? They said to Him, Lord, come and see.

Jesus wept.

The Jews said, See how  He loved him!

I felt something odd in my spirit. Jesus knew that Lazarus would die. He also knew what was about to happen, that he would be raised from the dead. But, even still, his heart was sad for his friends. His heart was sad at the loss.

My heart is sad for your grief, for your loss.

Then why didn’t you just heal my baby?! Wouldn’t that have been easier?

Then what about the miracle?

What miracle?! My baby is still dead. There was no miraculous healing.

Keep reading.

I did.

John 11:37

But some of them said, “Could not He who opened a blind man’s eyes have prevented this man from dying?”

Exactly! Couldn’t you have just prevented all of this?!

Then what about the miracle?

LORD!? What miracle?! I know, I know. Lazarus was brought back to life. That didn’t happen for me. Is your point to just rub it in my face that you *could* but didn’t?!

No, child. I am able, but I couldn’t. Because if I had, there would have been no miracle.

Wait, so, You *couldn’t*?!  What about Lazarus? You raised him!

You are only hearing you. I said, I was *able*, but I couldn’t, because of the miracle.

I was so confused. I failed to see.

Keep reading.

John 11:40

Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?”

Did I not tell you that if you trust Me, you will see My glory?

I trust you, but I’m not seeing it, Lord. I see no glory. So, what? My baby still died. What kind of testimony is that?!

Keep reading.

John 11: 41-44

So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. Yes, I know You always hear and listen to Me, but I have said this for the benefit of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You did send Me.”

When He had said this, He shouted with a loud voice,” Lazarus, come out!”

And out walked the man who had been dead.

I still don’t get it.

Because you only want the answer you want. 

No, I just want to not have a dead baby. I prayed for healing. You didn’t heal. 

I didn’t heal the way you wanted Me to heal.

Or, you know, at all. 

Let Me perform the miracle I have for you, not the miracle you think you want.

What do you mean? It’s over! Are you magically going to un-miscarry the baby and heal it?

She is healed. She is whole. She is complete. She is perfect.

But she was mine, and you took her. 

She is Mine. And I allowed you to borrow her, for the sake of the miracle.

What?!

Name the baby. 

Fine. I’ll call him Lazarus. Oh, wait, that’s not fitting. Lazarus was raised… 

Name the baby, name the start of the miracle.

I spent the next few hours searching and praying. Arguing with God. Questioning Him. I read and re-read the story of Lazarus, searching for the name I was to name this baby.

Then, suddenly and abruptly, I had a revelation.

Bethany.

As I tossed the name around in my head, it became more and more clear.

Bethany is where the miracle begins.

It’s where Lazarus is. It’s where Jesus goes. It’s where Lazarus is raised.

Without the sickness and death, there would be no returning to life.

Bethany.

Without this tiny, little, broken-heart-made-whole-by-Jesus, only held in my womb – never in my arms, perfect baby’s death, there could never be a miracle.

Bethany.

Without the pain, there would be no reason to cling to Jesus.

 

Sitting in the stillness one night, I looked at my husband. He looked up at me.

“What do you think about the name, Bethany?” I asked Mr.

“Oh! I really like that! Where did you come up with that?”

“It’s a long story…”

“Well, let’s hear it!” He said.

 

We named her Bethany.

Bethany is Jesus’ baby, that He allowed me to borrow, even for 11 short weeks. 

Bethany is my perfect baby, who is waiting in perfect Heaven, who was spared this awful world.

Bethany is where my miracle begins.

 

Where is the start of your miracle?

Just Flush It – (Part 2/5)

6 Jun

*Please note that there is some graphic content within this post.*

 

The results popped up onto the bottom left hand corner of the screen.

0 BPM

That was it. It was over. The baby was gone.

“I’m so, so very sorry. I’m so sorry.” She whispered.

“It’s ok.” I answered. But, it wasn’t.

“I’m supposed to get the doctor, so you can talk to her. Are you up for that?” She asked, apologetically.

“Yes. That’s fine.” I was numb.

She walked out of the room. I got dressed.

She came back, “The doctor is in with a patient. Do you want to wait for her, or should I have her call you?”

“I can wait.” I answered. It didn’t seem real.

She took me to an exam room, so that I could wait for the doctor privately.

I checked Facebook, I played Candy Crush. I looked at the clock.

As I sat, it felt less and less real. More and more like a dream.

I waited. And I waited.

I sent a text to Mr., “I’m waiting to see the doctor. I’ll let you know when I am done.”

I waited some more.

All of the sudden, I wasn’t feeling well. I was tired. I was cold. My stomach ached.

I wanted to be in my bed. Forever.

I continued to sit there, waiting.

I adjusted in my seat, feeling uncomfortable. I felt an odd sensation, and not a good kind of odd. I looked at the clock again.

I had been waiting for 45 minutes.

Flashes of middle school horror came rushing back to me, as, I all of the sudden, realized I was bleeding.

I’m not prepared! I don’t have a pad on! I don’t have a change of clothes. I don’t even have a pad with me! I’m pregnant, what do I need pads for?! AHH!!!!

I decided to walk down the hall to the nurses station. At the very least, they had to have a newborn diaper or something they could give me, right? Then I could make it home and deal with things.

Let me back track for a few seconds, here.

My miscarriage last fall, was at 5-6 weeks. There was hardly any cramping. It was just like a period, really. *That* is what I was expecting.

I quickly and quietly explained to the nurse what was happening, “I am here because I am waiting to see my doctor. I think I’m having a miscarriage. I’m not prepared at all. Do you, maybe, have a pad, so that I can at least get home?”

The nurse nodded and said she would go see if she could find something. I responded, “Okay. I have to use the restroom. I’ll be right back.”

I walked into the tiny bathroom and took a deep breath. I sat down on the toilet. GUSH!

I was so confused. And scared. What in the world?!  I looked down. I had blood from my abdomen to my knees.

I glanced in the toilet. There was so much blood, I couldn’t even see to the bottom of the bowl. I was in shock.

I had to pull myself together and get home. Urgency set in. I knew this was the beginning of something incredibly awful.

I cleaned myself up the best I could. I cleaned up the toilet seat, and some spots of blood on the floor.

I flushed, washed my hands, took a deep breath and walked out of the bathroom.

The nurse was rounding the corner, “Here,” she says. “This is all I could find.” She hands me a pad no bigger than my hand.

“Ummm… thank you.” I answer her. I feel obligated to put it on, even though I know my problems are much too large for this tiny thing.

I walk back into the bathroom. I sit down and feel an odd pressure. I adjust a bit on the seat. Extreme cramping causes me to double over in pain. Seriously, Lord. Just let me die. I am in pain. I am embarrassed. I am miserable. I feel nauseous, so I sit up a bit, trying to locate the trash can. As I sit up, I feel something emerge from my body as my muscles involuntarily contract. I want to scream, but, I am in a doctor’s office bathroom, I can’t. I look, cautiously into the toilet to see what was there. There it was. A mass, about the size of my fist, dark, and oddly shaped. I knew in my heart what it was. It was my baby.

I quickly put the pad into my underwear, stood up, and opened the door.

The doctor was coming down the hall. I needed help. I needed to know what to do.

I nervously approach her, careful not to actually leave the door of the bathroom.

“I think I may have just, umm… passed… ummm…. you know…. the…. ummm….. baby.” I said to her, hushed and sad.

“Ok….” She said, clearly wanting more information.

“It’s in the toilet. What should I do?” I asked.

“Oh.” She said, nonchalantly, “Just flush it.” She made a downward waving motion with her hand, and turned and walked away. I stood there a minute. Halfway down the hall, she turned around and said, “Just go on home, I’ll give you a call later.”

I was in such a state of panic. My baby is in a toilet, and the crazy doctor lady wants me to flush it like a goldfish. Do I dare reach my hand in and get it? If I do, then what? Should I just flush it? It? When did my baby become, “it”? Focus. Flush? Don’t flush? I was getting frantic. As I stood in the door of the tiny bathroom, I glanced down into the toilet. All I could see was bloody, murky water. As I stood as close to being out the door as I could, I quickly reached out my foot and hit the handle of the toilet with my shoe. Woosh! The water disappeared, and with it, my baby. I didn’t stay long enough to even see the bowl of the toilet fill back up. I rushed out of the bathroom, down the hall, out the door, through the parking lot, to the safety of my car.

With shaking hands, I dialed Mr.’s number. As the phone rang, the tears started to flow.

“Hello?” he said.

I’M BLEEDING REALLY BAD! I JUST PASSED THE BABY IN THE TOILET! THE DOCTOR MADE ME FLUSH IT! I’M COMING HOME NOW!” All my words were frantic and running together. Coupled with my sobbing, I’m surprised he got anything out of it.

“Are you okay to drive?” he asked.

“I don’t know. But I am.” I answered.

“Okay. I love you. Be careful.” He said.

“Okay. I love you too.” And with that I hung up.

I turned on the car, and pulled out of the parking lot. I drove home in silence, hot tears constantly streaming down my face.

The next few hours blur together. I remember lying in the tub, limp, uncaring, not knowing what to do with all the blood. I remember thinking I was going to die. There was so much blood. I remember Mr. being there, looking worried and sad.

At one point, a friend called, and asked how I was. I told her I had lost the baby, and that I felt like I was bleeding a lot.

Within 20 minutes, she was at my door, telling me to go to the ER.

I went. They monitored me. The doctors and nurses there were so kind. They kept me in private areas, instead of public waiting rooms. The doctor’s words were so gentle, as though his own wife, at some point in his 50-something years, had once experienced this same loss. He apologized. Once I was stable, they did an ultrasound. Everything looked so different. There was nothing there. Just a big, grey screen.

I remember getting home, and crawling into bed. I remember staying there. I remember waking up in the morning and wanting, no, needing to see my kids.

As the days passed, and my heart ached, I thought things would get better. They didn’t. It felt so incomplete.

After about a week or so, after the kids had gone to bed, Mr. and I were sitting in the living room.

“Do you think we should name the baby?” he asked me.

“Yeah. I think we should.”

“What do you want to name it?”

“I’m not sure. But, when the right name comes, we will know.”

Broken Heart – (Part 1/5)

5 Jun

This past winter, Mr. and I experienced something incredibly heartbreaking.

You may remember, in March, I posted this.

While vague, and nondescript, it was perfect. Looking back, it was exactly what I needed. Just enough to not feel forgotten, but left alone enough to be able to forget.

Well, I’m done forgetting now. I’m ready to open up.

 

The week before Christmas, I took a pregnancy test. It was positive. I hated the world.

If you have been following a while, you probably read, “And Baby Makes...” and it’s continuation, “And Baby Makes (Part II)” at the beginning of September.

In short, I found out I was pregnant, and a week later, I basically got my period. I was only about 5 weeks along. Even so, it was incredibly devastating.

Which brings me back to Christmas.

I took a pregnancy test, and it was positive. I was so scared. I was reserved. I decided not to get attached, just in case. 

I called my doctor and explained that I had had  a miscarriage a few months before, and that I would feel better if I came in and got checked out. I went in on Christmas Eve. The doctor looked at my charts, and decided to do some blood work to see if my levels were all normal. They were. She told me that she wanted me to get an ultrasound done in 2 weeks, to see where my due date was.

Being the impatient person I am, I made an appointment at a (wonderful) free clinic in town, and made my appointment for the doctor’s office. The free clinic would see me the week after Christmas. And then I would have my appointment at the doctor’s office the week after that.

Mr. and I discussed who we would tell what, and when. We decided no one would be told anything. We wanted to have this secret for ourselves for a while.

Christmas came and went. The morning sickness came, and didn’t “went”. *Whew.* Things must be normal.

Soon, I found myself in an ultrasound room in the free clinic. I was 7 weeks pregnant, according to my last period (you’re welcome, men). The nurse squirted the warm gel on my belly.

“As is expected, we can’t see anything abdominally… you are too early,” she said.

As she inserted the probe for the internal ultrasound, I felt nervous. I remember I was laying there shaking. She searched around for a few seconds and then said, “Well, the good news is, there’s the baby. The other news is, I don’t think you are as far as you think you are, so we can’t see a heartbeat.”

My heart sank.

She quickly reassured me that everything looked normal, but “normal” for a 5 week pregnancy.

Ok, so my dates were 2 weeks off. I could handle that.

I lived life as normally as possible for the next week.

I went to the doctor’s office, for my other ultrasound. It was truly uneventful. The tech did the scans, verified that I was now 6 weeks along, showed me the heartbeat (yay!) and sent me on my way. Later that night, the doctor called.

“Hi, Elisabeth. This is Dr. So-and-so. I was just looking at your ultrasound from today, and it verifies that you are indeed 6 weeks pregnant.”

“Ok…. the ultrasound tech told me that…” I said back.

She continued hesitantly, “Well, while the baby’s heart is beating, it’s beating slower than we would like.”

I didn’t know what that meant. “Ok. So, what does that mean? What do we do?”

“Well, why don’t you come in next week, and we will do another ultrasound, just to check, and we can discuss options then.”

“Options?” I asked in shock.

The doctor replied, “Well, depending on what is going on, you still have the option to either carry or term….”

“NO!” I cut her off. “That’s not an option.”

“Alright, then I will see you next week, after your scans.”

I told Mr. the news. He tried to assure me things would be fine. I was doubtful. I needed a new doctor. Termination wasn’t an option.

One week went by, and the third week in January, I went back for what would be my 3rd ultrasound.

As I lay there, staring at the ceiling, the tech says, “I need to go grab the doctor. Stay here.”

Something was wrong. They only bring in the doctor when something is wrong.

The doctor walked in.

Her face was smiling, but her eyes were not. “Hi, there!” She said.

“What’s going on?” I answered, not caring if it was polite or not.

“Well,” she started, smile lessening, “It looks like there are some issues.”

“Like….?” I asked, getting annoyed, and feeling panicked.

The doctor no longer had a smile at all as she continued, “The gestational sac is measuring at 10 weeks, but the baby is only measuring at about 6 weeks.”

“And…?” I couldn’t utter more than a word at a time at this point. I knew what was coming.

“It appears there is something wrong with Baby’s heart. It doesn’t seem to be beating properly, and that is slowing down the growth.” She must have sensed my dire need for information, because she just kept going, “The baby may very well make it to term, or at least close, but if it does, we are looking at some major health issues. Also, I’ve never seen a baby with these issues make it past the first trimester. With all of that said, the heart is still beating, the baby is still growing. I want you in for weekly ultrasounds to keep a close eye on things. If you don’t have any questions, I will see you next week.”

I couldn’t decide if I should sigh a sigh of relief, or a sigh of despair. The baby could make it, but then what?

“Thank you.” I said. I didn’t have anything else to say.

We had decided that Mr. would stay home with the 3 kids. We hadn’t been expecting bad news. I had to keep it together so I could drive home.

It was a long drive, but I felt good. Health issues? I could handle that. It would change our life, but we could make it work. We had to make it work.

I got home and told Mr. the news. He seemed to be on the same page I was. We could do this. We would do this. I had already lost one baby, I couldn’t do it again.

A week passed, and I went in for another ultrasound.

There had been a few changes. The baby had grown, and was now measuring at 7 weeks 2 days, the heart was still beating, but had slowed down even more. The gestational sac was now measuring 11 weeks.

The doctor came in and spoke with me again. This time, there was no smile. “It looks like the baby is slowing down. It probably won’t make it much longer. I still want to see you next week, though. Just in case.”

I got in the car, once again, and drove home.

When I got home, Mr. and I had a very different conversation than we had the week before. We no longer felt hopeful. It was a waiting game at this point.

The next week, we discussed Mr. coming with me to the appointment, but I felt it wasn’t necessary. He wanted to come, but we had 3 other kids to worry about. We knew what was going to happen. I was prepared.

As the tech scanned around, she began to look puzzled.

I asked her what was wrong.

She flipped the TV monitor on. I was expecting the worst.

As the image became clear, and my eyes focused, I realized, I wasn’t so prepared after all. The baby’s heart was still beating. I looked at the measurements.

Gestational sac average: 12 weeks

Fetal age average: 9 weeks

WHAT?! The baby wasn’t supposed to make it. More so, the baby shouldn’t have grown by 2 weeks in 7 days. I was confused.

I stared blankly at the screen, unsure what to think.

Then, without a word, the tech aimed her little white arrow to the bottom left hand corner on the screen.

72 BPM

I’m not an expert, but I knew that was too slow. I glanced back up to the baby, and saw the little flicker, flicker, flicker….

She said, “I just want to double check that quick.”

She zoomed in to the heart of the baby. The computer went to work.

66 BPM

I quickly looked back and forth from the 66 to the baby. Back and forth. Back and forth. Desperately trying to will the little heart to pick up speed.

It didn’t.

“Please check it again…” I begged.

“I can, but it won’t change anything,” she replied, sorrow and compassion in her voice.

“Please. I need to see it,” I said quietly.

“Ok. But, please let me know if you need me to stop.” Her words were nothing special, but her eyes were so kind.

She scanned the heartbeat again.

I watched. I held my breath. I silently pleaded with God. Please, Lord.

The computer did it’s work.

42 BPM

PLEASE, GOD! DON’T DO THIS TO ME, AGAIN!

Please. Do it again.” I was desperate. I don’t know what I was expecting. I knew what was happening.

“I really shouldn’t….” she said hesitantly.

“I need to know for sure.” I answered.

“One more time,” she said slowly.

She scanned. She sighed. She scanned again.

The results popped up onto the bottom left hand corner of the screen.

0 BPM

That was it. It was over. The baby was gone.