Monday, March 25, 2013

Letter from dad

So although we I have had this blog for quite some time now, this is the first guest post from the husband. It's a sweet letter that he wrote from the waiting room while I was in surgery on March 4. He said this was the first time he really felt strongly about whether it was a boy or a girl.

While I (Dustin) sat in the waiting room listening to music on that Monday morning just a few short weeks ago, I pulled up the notes section on my phone and began writing a letter to our baby we were saying bye to, for now.  As David says in 2 Samuel 12 when he lost a child, "he will not return to me, I will go to him." Amidst an overwhelming rush of emotions, thoughts, prayers, and exhaustion - it's cool to reflect back on this 30 minutes or so and see how the Lord prompted me to do this.  I showed this note to Steph as we were at Hilton Head 2 weeks ago.  For me it has turned out to be one of the more therapeutic and soul healing exercises I have ever done.

Dear son,

Today is a special day, I'll get to that in a sec, but wanted to share with you how much you are loved by your Mom and I, the joy that you have brought us, the tears, but most importantly the true and comforting assurance that every parent wants to be able to rest in...that God has you.

My heart leaped when your Mom told me she was pregnant with you. We began praying for you immediately. Even in the night when you were pushing on Mommy's bladder and she got up to tinkle, we prayed.

In just a short life of 8 weeks you got to do some pretty cool things. Disney! Your two siblings that you'll be meeting and prob already have are gonna be way jealous. Your Mommy loves Disney, not as much as we love you but so much that she was content just being there walking around the parks with me and you, excited, knowing that even if she was suppose to sit out some of the rides that you were there with her. That was enough. Not many people get to go to Disney World and eat a Mickey ice cream, even better that it was on K-Life's first ever Mystery Trip. Again, sorry about how loud those teenagers were on the bus, your mom had to ask them to chill out a few times. She can be protective, but you already know that.

I'm learning that many parents, like us, try to keep their children from getting hurt, not that its a bad thing, just normal. But its inevitable. And sometimes parents measure themselves based on the lack of pain their kids have had to endure bc they've done a good job of dodging those "bullets". I guess since you'll never have to endure this that perspective we are probably the best parents ever, right!? I'll assume you are nodding your head, "yes".

This world is so broken and messed up, its impossible to not encounter tough stuff, so you not ever having to endure this painful, diseased stricken, sinful world is pretty cool. You are pain free - chilling in Heaven with your two siblings and our Savior.

Although as the Bible says, that you (our child) are like arrows in the hands of a warrior (Psalm 127) I always pictured that coming to fruition and lived out when you were much older than 8 weeks. But you have brought a deeper meaning to those verses to us and our family in such a short time. Even though you are not here on Earth, you have become an "arrow" that we will continue to share with others and draw strength from through our God as we tell others about you. There's so many promises that I would love to be able to tell you and have come true in your life as you grow in our family, while that won't happen here on Earth - I know that as I type are with the best promise ever, for eternity. And He, God, will get nothing but glory from your life and ours. We promise to fight for that. That's a promise we CAN make.

While I would have loved to rock you to sleep at 3am, see your first steps, be the stud on the soccer team and the star in the school play, see you go on your first date, graduate from Clemson (Tigers!) and see who you marry and spend the rest of your life with...I know you would experience pain & hurt from just being in this as much as it hurts to not be able to see and experience the joys from all of that, I'm more thrilled and a bit jealous that you get to be with our Heavenly Father. As a parent it gives me so much joy knowing that you are right where you're suppose to be. Give your siblings a big hug from the two of us.

I told you today is a special day. Happy Birthday buddy, for your new life.

Love you always,


Friday, March 22, 2013

Miss you, friend

Earlier this week, we said good-bye to Bentley. He has been a member of our family since I was 15 and lived a long happy life. He will be missed so very much, but we are thankful for the many years of love and laughter he brought us. We will miss you, dear friend.
"Once someone has had the good fortune to share a true love affair with a Golden Retriever, one's life and one's outlook is never quite the same." 
–Betty White

Bentley King

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Foam Run and Friends

Last weekend, it started to officially feel like Spring outside. Saturday morning started out with the husband and I driving down to Atlanta Motor Speedway so he could participate in the Foam Run. This was basically a 5K obstacle course with all sorts of yuck in between. This was something he was originally going to do with some KLife guys, but after they cancelled, he ran it solo while I cheered from the sideline. It's also worth mentioning that he came in second in his round.
After we made it home and he got cleaned up, we met up with some friends at one of our favorite spots in Atlanta called Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee House. I posted about it almost a year ago here. We spent some time soaking up the sun along the river and then went back to the McGuires to celebrate my friend Andrea's birthday.
 This is standard anytime we get together...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

To be continued

I strongly dislike those three words. In movies, TV shows, books..... it always means the same thing. You have to wait. Until the sequel comes out, until the next season begins or until the next book is written. When I see those three words, I feel stuck. Powerless in my ability to move forward and continue the story.

Recently, this is also how we've felt in our real life. Our friends and family already know this, but we found out on Feb. 28 that I'd had another miscarriage at 8 weeks. I haven't written about this topic in quite a while on here, mainly because there hasn't been much to write about. But here is how we got to this point.

After my second miscarriage in January 2012, we began to see a reproductive endocrinologist. She ran a panel of blood tests, testing for the most common causes of recurrent miscarriage. The results were pretty inconclusive. I did test positive for MTHFR, but I also tested negative for all of the clotting issues that usually come with that. Basically, 40% of women will test positive for MTHFR and never know it, because it typically will not cause any problems. Because of this, my doctor really does not believe this is the cause of the miscarriages. She started me on an extra 4mg of folic acid daily and as a precaution, she wanted me on blood thinners for any future pregnancies. So last Spring, with mostly good results, we were hopeful of what was to come.

After a couple months, I ended up with a positive pregnancy test in July 2012, but this ended up being a chemical pregnancy. Meaning, I went in for a blood test on a Monday and by Wednesday, my hcg level was already falling. This basically means I was about 4.5 weeks pregnant. Most women would not even realize they were pregnant and just chalk it up to a late period; but medically, it counts as a very early miscarriage. Because of this, my doctor wanted to be sure my body was producing enough hormones from the beginning of my cycle to sustain future pregnancies. The next time we began trying, Clomid would be added into the mix. Clomid is typically used to induce ovulation, but it also tricks your body into thinking your hormone levels are low so that it overcompensates by producing extra hormones- namely progesterone.

After July, we decided to take a break through the end of the year. I started Clomid in January 2013 and found out I was pregnant on January 29. At that point, my doctor started me on daily baby aspirin, progesterone and lovenox injections (self-administered) in addition to my normal prenatal vitamins and extra dose of folic acid. All of this was still basically precautionary, as my previous test results were negative. I had ultrasounds at 6wks and 7 wks. At both of which, we were able to hear and see a fairly strong heartbeat. Combine that with the fact that I felt different this time and I was on an army of meds, we were very hopeful. Over the past four weeks, I took care of myself, sat out the big rides in Disney World and anxiously began counting down to October 5th. It was at my 8 wk ultrasound on Feb. 28, that we learned our little one had joined his or her siblings in Heaven and I had my second D&C on March 4.

While the last couple of weeks have been hard, we have felt overwhelmingly loved by sweet friends and family in the form of texts, emails, meals delivered and our house cleaned while we were at the beach. We managed to escape to Hilton Head for four nights shortly after my surgery for some much-needed R&R.  Our immediate next steps are to wait on the results from the genetic testing of this pregnancy and then Dustin and I will have genetic testing done on ourselves. We hadn't done this before, because it will more than likely not find anything; but we're at that point now. Once we get those results, we'll need to start making decisions about how we want to proceed. If genetic test results are all negative, my doctor will most likely tell us that we can try again with the same combination of drugs, because pregnancy is really a numbers game and the numbers tell us that even most women who have had 4+ miscarriages for unknown reasons still have a 70% chance of carrying a healthy pregnancy in the future (which is about the same as someone who has never had a miscarriage). There are also some much more medically involved options that I will get into later if we start looking into them.

So here we are... with our story still to be continued. While it could be very easy for me to be angry with God and throw myself a never ending pity party, we are still choosing hope. Right now, neither of us has a strong desire for me to be pregnant anytime soon. We are praying about our next steps and ultimately still hopeful about what God has in store for our family. We know that He is so much bigger than we imagine Him to be and loves us immensely more than we realize. This breaks His heart as well and He has lavishly poured out His comfort and grace. We know that our babies are being cared for by their Heavenly Father and we will get to meet them one day. Until then, we are choosing to be faithful to this life He's called us to live and taking each step as it comes.