Friday, June 1, 2018

Friday Favorites: Hair and Beauty

I know I've shared about this line of hair products before but I seriously LOVE it.  I rarely use anything else but on the rare occasion that I do I can tell a difference.  I always have more little flyaway hairs when I don't use my Monat products.  Though it's not pictured their dry shampoo is by far the best dry shampoo I've ever used.

I have a drawer full of lipsticks and lip glosses but the one I always fall back on the very first tube of lipstick I ever bought.  It is Bamboo Pink by Clinique.  I love how it gives my lips some color and shimmer without being too bright.

I have dry skin year round, but this winter my face has been insanely dry.  I've had such a hard time with my make up this winter because of it.  I love a good face sheet mask and will do those on a pretty regular basis but I needed something I could use daily.  This moisturizer from Lush is IT!  I put this on my face every night before I go to bed and will sometimes use it as a primer in the morning before I put my makeup on.  It doesn't take a lot of it so this little tub will last me such a long time.

Once every couple of weeks I do a sheet mask in addition to the Lush moisturizer.  I've only tried two different kinds: Sephora's brand and this Tonymony from Ulta.  I love both of them so I haven't ventured out to try other brands.  I recently discovered a face mask subscription club so I might do that as a way to try others.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Turning Three and Mother's Day

Yesterday my favorite twins turned THREE!!

We had lunch at Las Playitas so of course there were sombreros.  One loved them while the other was not a big fan of them.

We also celebrated Mother's Day.  These three women are some of my favorite Mommas.

After lunch we stopped by the lot where Andrew used to live.  Their house burned down and no one has ever built there.   He walked me through where everything was located.  

Once we got home we enjoyed a Sunday afternoon nap before going to our second Mother's Day celebration.

Yesterday was my first Mother's Day.  It didn't look like I've always dreamt about, but it was still a sweet day.  I started my day with the Lord thanking him for our sweet Jayden.  

The messages from friends and family began hitting my inbox Saturday evening.  I have to be honest I felt a little frustrated as I read message after message saying people were thinking about me and praying for me.  At one point I looked at Andrew and said, "I wish everyone would leave me alone.  I'm fine!"

This journey is a bizarre pull between wanting people to acknowledge, encourage, and pray and just wanting them to act like it's not an issue and to talk about anything else but infertility and loss.

But yesterday morning my devotional focused on Colossians 4:12 which says, "Epaphras, a member of your own fellowship and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings.  He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God."

As I read that verse God reminded me that maybe, just maybe, the reason I was feeling okay about the day was because of all the people who had been praying for me. I vowed then to be thankful for the prayers instead of feeling pitied.  

It's not that I don't want the prayers and encouragement.  I just wish there was no infertility for people to pray for.  

To all of you who sent me a message telling me you were thinking of me and wishing me a Happy Mother's Day.  Thank you. 

Thank you for acknowledging that I am a mother even though there is no baby in my arms.  
Thank you for going to the Father on my behalf.
Thank you for thinking of me.
Thank you for being my Ephaphras.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Weekend Recap

We had a very busy weekend.

But it was such a good weekend.

Friday evening Andrew grilled for us and then I pretty much went straight to bed.  We had testing Thursday and Friday which his exhausting for teachers and students and all involved.

Our oldest nephew married his beautiful bride Saturday night.

Sunday was a slow start after all the wedding fun, but was a very productive day.

We got a lot of things done in Heber Springs including meeting with an agent and signing papers to sell our house.

We also snapped a few pictures of The Liberty Belle is preparation for letting go of her as well.

I cannot even talk about selling our house or our boat.  It breaks my heart!  But I know it is the right decision.  

Adulting is hard!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Light Shines in the Darkness

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
John 1:5

I am not going to sit here and claim to be 100% healed emotionally after our loss.  I feel I'm still too close to it to say that and maybe I'll never be 100% healed.  I don't know.

But I will say I'm in a healthy place with it all.  I'm able to get out of bed, smile, and live my life.

All because of the truth of John 1:5.

Losing our baby after waiting for that precious child for almost 7 years is the darkest place I've ever been in.

It's not fair.

It's cruel.

It's hard.

But the Light has shone through.

I want to share about our loss.  I want other people to have a better understanding of what we've been through.  I've talked to several women who have experienced the loss of a baby, but I've yet to find someone who has had an experience similar to our own.

I want to share our story in hopes that it might someday be of comfort to someone walking through such a deep and dark loss.

I want to share our story in hopes of finding women with a similar experience who might be an encouragement to me.

You will notice I don't use the word miscarriage.  I don't like that word. It feels like it simply refers to the loss of a pregnancy.  I lost more than the joy of being pregnant.

I lost my baby.

 It doesn't seem like a big enough word to describe the experience, the pain.

I will warn you now.  I'm going to share a lot of details that will not be fun to read for some people. Feel free to stop reading if you don't want to read the disgusting details.  I totally understand.

But if you care to know, here is the story of our loss...

On Monday February 5 I noticed the tiniest bit of blood when I wiped after using the bathroom that morning.  I didn't worry about it but just went on with my day.  I did eventually text Andrew and tell him.  That's how little blood it was.  I told my husband nonchalantly through a text message.

I didn't have any more bleeding that day so I figured it was nothing.

Tuesday evening came and I had the same thing that evening but with a tiny bit more blood.  This time I couldn't control the worry.  I began to cry as I told Andrew.  He, as calm as he could be, said "Let's use the doppler."

He grabbed the doppler my sweet sister in law loaned us and began searching for a heartbeat.  Neither one of us had a clue what we were doing.  We played around with it for probably half and hour or more and thought we found the heartbeat.  But again we didn't know what we were doing.  I got to the point where I was emotionally exhausted and just wanted to go to sleep.

On Wednesday when I had blood again my fears grew a little stronger.  That evening I decided to call the after hours number.  It happened to be my doctor on call.  I described to him what was going on.  Because it was such a small amount of blood once a day and I wasn't having cramps or back pain he felt like I would be okay until Tuesday when I would see him for my 12 week appointment.

On Thursday there was more blood.  I felt like each day there was a little more.  I was at jury duty on this day so during one of our breaks I called Andrew.  I needed him to calm me down and tell me everything would be okay.  He encouraged me to tell the women in our family what was going on to see if any of them had experienced it.  So at that point I sent a text to my mom, mother-in-law, and all my sister-in-laws.  Several of them told me they experienced bleeding during pregnancy or had a friend who did and everything was fine.  That helped get me through the day.

Friday was more of the same.  More blood but just one time each day.  We headed to Fayetteville that evening.  We had plans to stay with Cary & Sara and then go to a basketball with my parents Saturday night.

Friday evening was a sweet time with Cary & Sara.  We stayed up too late talking and laughing about names for our sweet baby.

Saturday morning we woke up and started getting ready for our day.  There was more blood and this time it was significantly more.  It was enough that I felt the need to wear a pad.  I was starting to really panic but I was determined to have a great day.

We spent the morning walking around Crystal Bridges.  It was a neat place but I was panicking internally and couldn't really enjoy it  For the first half I was anxiously waiting until we came across a bathroom.  I felt like there would be more blood and I just needed to know.  When we finally got to a bathroom my thoughts were confirmed.  I stepped out and told Andrew there was a significant amount of blood.

My lower back was also hurting at this point.  It had started hurting a little the day before but I put it off as being a side effect of sitting in a hard jury chair for two days straight.  On Saturday though I knew it was more than that.

From that point on I was checked out.  I no longer wanted to be around people.  I didn't want to fake a smile and pretend like everything was okay, but I also didn't want to be that overly concerned pregnant woman that freaks out over every little thing.

We left Crystal Bridges and went to lunch.  The restaurant was crazy busy so Cary, Sara, and the kids headed back to their house for lunch.  Andrew and I weren't starving and knew we were supposed to have dinner with my parents in just a few short hours so we decided to drive around and see our old apartment, dorm room, and all the fun things

As soon as we approached a gas station I asked Andrew to stop so I could  use the bathroom.  He pulled over at a grocery store.   At this point the little bleeding had become a lot of bleeding.  I was bleeding like I was on my period and I was starting to cramp.

All I wanted was to go the ER, but I couldn't seem to voice that to Andrew.  It was a combination of not wanting to be the pregnant woman that freaks out over everything, not wanting to pay an ER bill for nothing, and a fear that if we went to the ER they would tell me I'd lost the baby and it would all be over.

I called a few urgent care centers but none could do an ultrasound on a Saturday so we ended up at the ER.  I knew I couldn't function until I had an answer.

During all of this I started several text messages to my parents but never sent any of them.  I wanted them to know what was going on but I just kept hoping everything would be fine and there wouldn't be anything to tell them.

The nurse called me back pretty quickly once we had signed into the ER.  At least it felt quick.  Once we arrived at the ER I lost all sense of time.  It all just felt like a bad dream.

When they got us in a room the tears I had been holding back finally started to fall.  I found the courage to say aloud that I was scared and also felt ridiculous for being at the ER.

I snapped this picture with the hope of being able to later post it and say everything was okay.

A nurse came in and put an IV in to draw blood for several different tests.  The doctor came in and told us they would run test and get us back for an ultrasound.

A guy came in to take me for the ultrasound.  I don't think he was a nurse, maybe just a people mover.  Anyway he tried to tell Andrew that he wasn't allowed to go with me because it was against the rules.  Something about people sometimes getting violent.  Andrew was very calm and respectful but pretty much told the guy he wasn't stopping him from going with me.  I told Andrew I would be fine not because I was brave or thought I'd really be fine but because I was trying to fake hopefulness that everything would be okay.  The guy said he would ask the ultrasound tech if Andrew could come back with me.

The ultrasound tech acted like the idea of Andrew not being with me was crazy.  I was only by myself a few minutes before Andrew joined me again.

The ultrasound tech was so sweet and kind.  I laid there staring at one spot on the ceiling waiting for her to tell me what I knew deep down was happening.  She didn't say a whole lot during the ultrasound.  It wasn't long before she said she wasn't getting a good picture and needed to change to a vaginal ultrasound.  I knew then she wasn't going to be telling us everything was okay.

Andrew was watching the screen the whole time and also realized then what was happening.  He could see her measurements and knew the baby hadn't grown since our 8 week ultrasound.

I laid there as she did a vaginal ultrasound just waiting on her to say there was no heartbeat.  It seemed like it was taking her forever.  I just wanted her to hurry up and say the words that would bring my world to a crashing hault.

She finally stopped the ultrasound and said, "I'm not a doctor but I don't see a heartbeat."

I've heard those words a thousand times in my head since that afternoon.  And it hurts each time I hear them just as much as it did in that moment.

Andrew was by side and holding me instantly.  I don't know how long we sat there holding one another, crying.

Up until that point it seemed like the ER staff was moving pretty quickly.  Once we knew the truth about our baby we both just wanted to get out of there and go home.  I don't know how long it took us to be discharged but it felt like an eternity.

I laid in the hospital bed with my eyes fixated on the floor trying to tune the world out.  I didn't look at anything or anyone.  I felt like it was the one thing I could do to keep from falling apart. I told Andrew to turn my phone off.  He dug it out of my purse and said it was on vibrate.  I told him I wanted it off.  I didn't even want to hear it buzzing in my purse.

Andrew stayed by my side, only leaving to make phone calls or try to speed the doctors up in my release.  He called my parents first since we were supposed to meet them for dinner and a basketball game soon and then his parents.  I cannot even imagine how hard it was for him to have to tell my daddy and then his momma that our sweet baby's heart was no longer beating.  He called Cary to arrange for our bags to be packed.  Cary & Sara packed our bags and brought them to the hospital so we could just go home.  Andrew's oldest brother, Chris, went and picked up our dogs from the kennel and dropped them off at our house.  This may see like a small thing and I remember wondering why Andrew was arranging that when I heard him on the phone with the kennel.  It didn't seem important at the time.  But sometimes Andrew knows me better than I know myself.  He knew I would need the normalcy and the comfort of having those two dogs there when I got home.  I also think he simply felt like it was something he could do.  Chris also removed all signs of pregnancy from our home.  He took down our countdown to baby sign, our ultrasound pictures, and put away my pregnancy pillow.  He turned my electric blanket on and had everything all ready for me to just go to bed.

Andrew did his best to hurry the doctor and nurses along so we could be discharged and go home.  They were waiting to hear back from my doctor in Little Rock.  They needed an answer from my doctor on whether or not they should give me a drug to help speed the process along or if they should preform or schedule a D&C.  The on call doctor in Little Rock finally responded with a no to all those options.  We were released with what later felt like very little information about what we were about to experience. In that moment I had zero questions for them and I didn't care one bit about what they were saying.  I just wanted to get the heck out of there.

As soon as we were officially released, I got dressed, we gathered our things, and got in our car as fast as we could.  Doing this, I realized I had not eaten since breakfast.  Because of that and all the blood that had been drawn I felt very weak and on the verge of passing out.  Andrew made a quick stop at Sonic so we could eat because we both needed to eat even if neither one of us really felt up to it.  Then we began the long drive home in the dark with roads starting to ice over.

Driving home we would take turns crying.  Our hearts were broken.  At one point Andrew said he didn't think the lows of all the years of infertility were anything compared to the low we were walking through right then or would walk through in the coming days.  I told him that may be true but we had also never experienced such highs.  Those 12 weeks of being pregnant, of carrying our sweet baby were the best 12 weeks of my life.  I am so incredibly thankful for those 12 weeks.

As we got closer to home I began to think about the countdown to baby sign and the ultrasound pictures on the fridge.  I didn't know Andrew had already taken care of it by having Chris take them down.  I began to try and prepare myself to see those things.

When we walked in the house and I saw the ultrasound pictures gone it hurt almost as much as hearing there was no heartbeat.  I felt like my baby had been taken away from me again.  I didn't necessarily need to see the pictures right then but I needed to know where they were, that they weren't gone forever.  I don't know how loud I really was but I felt like I screamed at Andrew while sobbing, "I want my pictures back."  He grabbed me and held me tight, apologizing, telling me he didn't know if I would want to see them.

After that little melt down I crawled into bed and immediately fell asleep hoping tomorrow would be better.

Tomorrow was not better.

We barely left our bed.  We cried on and off all day.

I remember screaming at Andrew that I didn't want another baby I wanted my baby.

At some point during the day we managed to pull ourselves out of the house long enough to pick up some lunch and my medicine.

Andrew went into Wal-Greens to drop off my prescription.  The pharmacy was not able to fill my pain meds because the prescription was for too many pills.  Andrew, with double stuffed oreos and giant maxi pads in hand, had to explain to the sweet woman behind the counter why we needed those meds.  She promised to see what she could do to get it filled.

I don't really remember much of Sunday other than laying in bed and crying.  Andrew thought it would be good for us to get out of the house so we discussed going to see a movie.  I knew I didn't want to see anything emotional so we ended up just staying home.

I turned my phone back on for a brief time Sunday.  I read the text messages and facebook comments but didn't respond to any of them.  My phone wasn't on for long before I turned it off again.

Monday was a new day.  There was less crying on Monday but it was physically the hardest day yet.  I felt ready to get out of the house and wanted some new pajamas or  sweat pants to wear so we headed out for lunch and a little shopping.  While we were eating lunch I started having some cramping.  It wasn't too bad at that point but when we got to the mall and started walking around they increased.  Looking back I know it wasn't just cramps, but tiny little contractions.  I could still walk and talk through them but I had ZERO desire to be in Dillards shopping for Andrew some shoes.  I hung out in Dillards long enough to have a phone conversation with my mom.  It was the first time I had talked to her or anyone other than Andrew since we learned that we had lost the baby.

We quickly got back to the car and I laid the seat back while we drove to Academy.  Laying back helped slow the contractions, but as soon as I started walking around again they returned.  We bought my sweatpants (that I wear every day I'm not at work) and headed back home.

Earlier that morning the pharmacy let me know they were able to get my pain meds filled so I took one of those and laid down for a nap.  The pain meds made me feel extremely dizzy, nauseous, and totally out of it.  I told Andrew I WAS NOT taking any more.  The pain was not that bad.

That night Andrew's parents stopped by.  It was the first time I had seen anyone other than Andrew and strangers.  I mostly just listened to the three of them.  As we were visiting I began having contractions again.  Andrew was watching me from across the living room and could tell what was going on.  I'm not sure his parents knew. The contractions weren't too bad so I could carry on as I had been.

When they left that night we headed to bed and the contractions really picked up.  I could fill them all through my body.  There was no position I could get in to get comfortable.  Andrew kept offering me pain meds and I kept saying no.  About the time he got settled into bed I decided I wanted the meds.  I suddenly felt like I needed to pass something so I took off for the bathroom.  I passed a pretty good size clot, but it was not the baby.

This is gross but it is such a picture of love.  Every time I would pass something of significant size I would tell Andrew.  He would put on his surgical gloves and go into bathroom, and investigate what I had left behind in the toilet.

I knew it was not the baby because I was still in some serious pain.  I was holding onto the sink just trying to breathe and not throw up.  As soon as Andrew declared that it wasn't the baby I told him to get out of the way I needed to sit back down.

He left the bathroom and I proceeded to go through what can only be described as a mini labor.

I sat on the toilet moaning with pain.  I was going back and forth between being angry that Andrew was not in the bathroom with me and being glad he wasn't in the bathroom with me.  There was nothing he could have done and I just needed to do my thing.  Afterward he told me he was going through the same thing, debating whether he should just let me be or come into the bathroom.

 The pain made me nauseous.  I  wanted to throw up because the idea of that sounded better than the pain I was in.  It was the lesser of two evils.  Eventually I did throw up in the trash can which distracted me from the pain for a few seconds.  After that the pain seemed to subside a little. At that point I was hot and shaking and had pretty much stripped all of my clothes off.  I got dressed, pushed the two bath mats together, and laid on the bathroom floor in the fetal position for a couple of minutes.  Suddenly I felt a little pressure.

Around 1AM on Tuesday, February 13 I delivered our sweet baby still in the sac.

I stepped out in the hallway and nodded to Andrew.

He came in, put his gloves on, and lifted our baby out of the toilet.

He very gently washed our baby in the sink the best he could and then we placed the baby in a ziploc bag.  Andrew didn't feel comfortable leaving the baby exposed like that so he went searching for a box.  A shoe box was obviously way too big so he used the only other thing he could think of.

He put our precious baby in a golf ball box.

This makes me laugh.  It's just so Andrew Weaver and I love that it shows his heart in wanting to protect our baby.

According to Andrew it was about thirty minutes from the time I got out of bed and went to the bathroom to when I delivered our baby.

None of what we had just experienced was what I expected.  Women talk about period like cramps and bleeding, but I had never heard someone say they experienced a mini labor.  I was thankful that the week before I had a very detailed conversation about labor with my sister in law.  Mentally I knew what my body was going through and that really helped me.

Andrew said I was like a new woman when I came out of that bathroom.  The pain was gone and I felt a peace about everything, a peace that can only come from God.   I got to deliver my baby at home.  I was able to see my husband hold our precious baby which is something I've dreamt about for years.

God was with me and allowed this to happen in a way that has been crucial to my healing.

Though I'm not always successful and there have been plenty of moments of anger toward God, I try my best to be thankful.

Thankful for the joy that came with announcing our pregnancy.

Thankful for hearing the most perfect little heartbeat at 8 weeks.

Thankful for twelve weeks of carrying my baby.

Thankful for a conversation with my sister-in-law that mentally prepared me for a mini labor and delivery.

Thankful to experience mini labor and delivery.

Thankful to have our sweet baby's body for a proper burial.

Thankful to see my husband hold our baby.

Thankful for all the family and friends who have carried us through some very dark days.

Thankful for the light in the dark.

After our baby had been delivered and safely placed in a golf ball box we crawled back into bed.   Andrew had been so strong for me and had been through so much taking care of me.  His dam finally broke and my big strong husband sobbed like a baby.  He said, "I've never held him before".  In so many ways our baby became very real to him in those moments.

The  next few days all run together for me.

Tuesday afternoon was my 12 week appointment.  We assumed the on call doctor had filled my doctor in on what had happened and that we would be making sure I was physically okay at this appointment.  When we arrived at the appointment, I suddenly had a feeling that my doctor's office was never informed of our loss and I told Andrew what I was thinking.  The nurse called me back and checked my blood pressure and weight.  She could tell something was wrong and asked if I was okay.  I just nodded.

When my doctor walked into the room with a doppler in hand I just stared at him.  He shook my hand and asked if I was okay.  Andrew told him what happened.  I looked at Andrew and said, "I told you he didn't have a clue."  The on call doctor never bothered to let my doctor's office know about my trip to the ER.

From there he told us what he had to tell us.  All the crap about how common a miscarriage is and at least we got pregnant on our own.  I resisted the urge to scream at him or slap him.  It was a short and pointless appointment.

We left feeling frustrated.

Looking back I am thankful that my doctor didn't know what was going on.  It may not have made a difference but he could have easily suggested that we perform a D&C or something other than the way it went.

Tuesday morning I took the lid off that golf ball box and held my baby.  I was able to just talk to my baby and tell him how much I love him and wish I could keep him on Earth.  I told our baby all about his daddy, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  I told our baby there was family in Heaven who would be with him until I can get there.

I needed that moment, that conversation.

I'm thankful I was able to have it

Jill and Alex made arrangements to bury our sweet baby.  I'm thankful they were willing and able to take care of this for us.

We went to Hobby Lobby looking for something a little nicer than a golf ball box.

Leaving our baby at the funeral home on Tuesday was harder than I imagined.  The sweet lady we spoke with was doing her job and trying to comfort us, but I didn't want to talk to anyone.  I just wanted to take my baby and go home.

The burial was planned for Thursday morning.  Andrew and I decided we didn't want a service, just a moment for the two of us to say goodbye.  Andrew took the shovel from the guy and covered our baby as we said one last goodbye.

Somewhere between learning we had lost the baby and delivering the baby, I told Andrew I needed to name the baby.

I wanted a gender neutral name since we don't know if Baby is a boy or a girl and I wanted it to have a beautiful meaning.

One evening several years ago before we moved to Heber Springs, we were sitting in our living room  talking about baby names.   Andrew had a book that contained every name in the Bible.  He would randomly flip to a page and say a name.  Most of them were very Bible like names...Jehoshaphat, Aholibamah...   Then he flipped to Jadon.  We both liked it and for a long time it was a top contender if we ever had a son.

On Tuesday evening as I was looking at names with different meanings I came across Jayden.

Spelling it Jayden instead of Jadon does a few things.  It makes it gender neutral, it makes it a family name, and it has the perfect meaning.

Jayden means thankful.

And we are so thankful that God was present in every moment for the short time we were given with our Jayden.

Andrew wanted our baby to have a middle name.

Our precious baby is

Jayden Ball Weaver.