Tuesday, November 5, 2013


This is a season. 

I heard the words quietly whispered to my heart. I was unsure where they came from, but as they washed over my soul in the way only words from the Holy Spirit can, I knew. With a heavy heart and no words to pray, I was wandering through my neighborhood with my poodle as my companion. Tears were in my eyes as I asked Jesus to intercede for me, as I was out of prayers.

It was the end of October, and I had not yet discovered the fall palette with which our Creator had begun to experiment on the trees. Coming around the corner toward our house, I saw it. I saw the colors, one yellow tree in particular. This season is striking - the golds and reds, just beginning to be brushed onto some trees, other trees already surrendering. It was then that I heard the hushed voice.

This is a season.

My heart became full as I began meditating on the seasons in that moment and in the days that followed. The leaves, the trees, the wind, the cold, the new growth. There are some trees that change at the first blast of cold air. They don't hesitate - they are happy to give a burst of color at the first sign of a new season, and the leaves are equally prepared to leap from the branches and fall to the ground in a swirl of color. These trees are proud to be the first- the first to change, the first to empty, the first to be ready for winter and new buds.

But there are some trees that are in no hurry. Stubborn trees. Only a few leaves change for what seems like forever. These trees are still a deep spring emerald with just the edges giving in to the change of fall. These trees compete to be the last - the last to change, the last to empty, the last to be ready for winter and new buds.

We sit and anticipate as the days go by. We expectantly keep a watchful eye, waiting to see the brilliant display of change and the new season. Sometimes it is weeks after the first trees have long been emptied before the reluctant trees surrender. The colors take our breath away. The wind conquers the last few leaves that were holding on to the nearly bare branches and they finally fall.

This is a season.

This simple phrase has been a balm to my heart. There are some trees in my life that are so stubborn. The leaves are hanging on with everything they can muster, not ready to change or let go. I sit while prayerfully and expectantly looking for signs of change. I know that even though they are determined, the season will change. The cold air will force the leaves to color, and they will not be able to withstand the wind.

Seasons in life do not adhere to the same time table as the trees. Life seasons can last months or years instead of days or weeks. But I am encouraged and confident to know that the seasons will change.

This fall, the trees seem to be putting on an exceptionally rich display. I am grateful that the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and for a moment lifted the veil, pointing out the beauty and mercy that is found in the seasons. It has been said that this year the trees are extra beautiful, and I know that part of the reason for this is because God is choosing to pour out his love into my life through His creation. Every day when I see the leaves and their various personalities, I am reminded of that whisper and thankful for a God that loves me so intimately. When you see those trees as I do, beloved, be reminded and encouraged in knowing that God cares about every detail in our lives, and this season will not hang around forever.

The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.  ~Psalm 145:9


Wednesday, October 16, 2013


You may or may not know that yesterday, October 15th, was National Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day. I had been looking forward to this day for a couple of months - since I found out that my support group (www.mend.org) would be doing a balloon release in memory of our babies on that day. Karlie came down from Shawnee with her boyfriend to participate in the event, and it was really beautiful.

They had lots of balloons ready to go when we got there!

We were given balloons so that we could write messages to send up to our babies. It was very sweet, and also very emotional. Mark started tearing up as soon as he started writing on the balloon.

After we finished writing on our balloons we took a couple pictures before going outside to release them.

When everyone had finished their balloons, we all went outside on the porch and got in a circle. The leader said a prayer of thanksgiving for our babies and then after the prayer ended we all released them. We watched them go up into the sky until we couldn't see them anymore. It was beautiful.

After the release we had our regular meeting, and it was nice to have so many couples with so many different stories. The cool thing about MEND is that it's remarkable to hear how people work through their grief in so many ways. You can see the healing, the redemption, and Jesus all in the midst of the pain. It's really incredible. You are also surrounded by people who understand how it feels to experience a pregnancy loss, and people are open in sharing. It's people loving other people who are experiencing the same walk in life. I can't say enough good things about it! (-:

After our meeting, we went around and looked at the tables. People brought memorabilia for their babies and it was really special to see what everyone brought. I chose one of my ultrasound pictures, a little lamb, and a card saying that a Bible was donated in memory of our baby.

All in all, it was a perfect evening. (-:


Wednesday, October 9, 2013


My therapist shoved a box of tissues at me and encouraged me to cry it out as I confided, "I know in the grand scheme of things that these things are not that big of a deal, but for my life it's a lot."

That particular session I was telling her about a ten day span during which I caused a car wreck ($800), contracted food poisoning, mourned the passing of my aunt (while attempting to comfort my grieving mother), and received a surprise bill in the mail for my D&C to the tune of $1000.

I accepted the kleenexes.

Truth be told, earlier this year I was just coming out of a challenging season for me with some non-family relationships. That, in addition to the everyday challenge of full-time work, full-time grad school, and full-time life, and I was ready for change. I was looking forward to a new chapter in my life when we found out that we were expecting Baby Johnson. All that to say, I was just finishing up licking my wounds when April happened and we lost the baby. It was just too much. Sure, I functioned - I continued with work and school, but I was not doing well at life in general.

I would be a liar if I said everything that has happened over the last seven months has been no big deal. It has been a big deal. Emotionally, I have been wrecked. In May, my anxiety began to spiral. Maybe you have experienced a similar spiral - I think it's somewhat common - and this has been a problem for me throughout my life. Anyway, I knew I needed help. So, I contacted a counselor that I found who specialized in pregnancy loss and seemed to be great fit for me. The weekend after I contacted her, we were robbed. Because, of course. Icing on the cake.

And so for the past few months, I have been sitting on a couch, nervous because of the unfortunate stigma of counseling, but leaving each session feeling empowered because I am dealing with my "stuff" and confident that things can and will change.

I have been learning to validate my feelings. It's normal that I have feelings of sadness when I see babies. It's normal to be frustrated each month when there is only one line on the stick. It's okay that when I hear a strange noise in the dark that my initial reaction is to want to start sobbing and running away. I don't have to have it all together all the time.

I don't have to have it all together all the time.

And you know what? It's so freeing. It is so freeing to know what when I have a less than stellar internal response to yet another pregnancy announcement, I can validate my own loss and why I am feeling that way, and work on being happy and joyful with that person. It's freeing that if I need a minute to be sad and re-goup, I can do that. It's freeing to know that my exaggerated responses of fear when I am around a person or situation that makes me uneasy are completely normal for someone who has been a victim of an armed robbery. I don't have to pretend like I have it together all the time.

I am also learning to take a step back and see this season of my life as a book on my shelf. That way, I see it for what it is. I can take the story of this last season down off the shelf temporarily and look at it, but then I can put it back. It's still there, but I'm not in it. The next book in our shelf may not be a light read, but I pray that is is.

Melodrama is not my goal here. Please don't misunderstand me. I appreciate that horrible things happen every day, and I am so beyond blessed. I don't want to lose that perspective. But I want to be honest -and writing this out is healing for me. And honestly, the fact that I'm to the point of writing about all this is really encouraging to me.

So, what now? Well, I certainly don't plan on wallowing in my circumstances. Do I still grieve for our baby? Absolutely. Am I still nervous to go to a gas station? You betcha. Do I still battle fear and anxiety? Certainly.

However, I am feeling the winds of change. No, I don't know the future, but I know that within my own atmosphere, I am on the cusp. I can feel new life budding. I feel tentative hopefulness. I feel renewed excitement for what is next. I feel like I am being healed. And I feel nervous.

I am wrapping up graduate school this week. I am closing that chapter of our book. Mark received a financial blessing at work this week that covers my hospital bill. The season is changing; I feel as though the fog is lifting. And for that I am so very, very thankful.

I think if I had to pick one particular song that summed up this season, it would be this one. I have sang this song countless times in my car. I have cried tears with this song. It has been a balm to my soul in the midst of my pain and uncertainty to know that God is constant. None of my circumstances change the fact that God is good - I can only control my response.  I have learned that my responses need work, which is very humbling.

And now, I just blogged. I can't promise that I'm completely back yet, but I felt like writing. And that's a good thing.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Well, Hello September!

This month is significant for a couple of reasons. I can now officially say that NEXT MONTH I will be done with grad school. Um, wow. That is incredible. I can also say that I have less than 40 days until I am done (38 actually, but who's counting?). I have really been thinking about what I want to do when I am done with school, and what I don't want to. I am keenly aware of the amount of time I will have when I am finished, and I want to be intentional with it. I've been working on a list, and I think I may start blogging about my list, as a sort of countdown to the end. (-:

Also, on September 5, there will be a hearing regarding our robbery. I believe this will help determine whether or not the criminals will take a plea deal or if it will go to a jury. Eek! And, potentially, we can get back some of what we lost - it's all the hands of a judge. I had to write a letter about what happened to us because of the crime, and I think I pulled at some heartstrings, but we'll see.

I cannot tell you how excited I am about graduating. It's like surreal. I can't even believe it's happening. I'm starting to have a hint of excitement but I don't want to get too excited in case I fail my last two classes. But you better believe that I'm starting to freak out.

That's about all I have to say for now.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

One Last Post about Hannah's Hope

I know it's probably getting obnoxious, but I want to share our article that was placed in our church newsletter regarding Hannah's Hope. From now on, I may talk about it a bit, but my blog isn't going to be solely devoted to it. However, you can bet there will still be talk about pregnancy loss.

First of all, I got this pendant that I love and I want to share. I wear it with my opal (October birthstone) charm that I have.

Now on to the main production. Check out our article in the August issue of Insight!


Enjoy! (-:


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hannah's Hope

We have our Hannah's Hope website up and running. Check it out here.

I am including some additional information about it for you guys to read as well. (-:

Name: In 1 Samuel, Hannah prayed and hoped for a baby. Many women who have lost babies did the same, and continue to do so after a loss. Women who lose babies are not only grieving the life lost, but they are grieving the loss of hope and plans. Through Hannah’s Hope, we want to help grieving women by taking some of the burden of their grief and replacing it with the hope of Christ. 

Ministry Need: While statistics vary, approximately 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. In 2012, FBC had 44 new babies, which would mean there were likely 10-15 miscarried babies as well. We would like to provide 20 Hope Boxes a year.

Purpose: To give families who have experienced pregnancy loss a place to find comfort, prayer, support, and community. To validate the lives of lost babies by affirming to their families that they are valuable and meaningful.

Check out the website and let me know your thoughts! (-:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I Need Your Opinion!!!

Okay, everyone! Previously I mentioned the ministry I am starting at my church for women who have experienced pregnancy loss. We have a graphic going for the ministry, and I want your honest opinion. If you love it and cried tears of joy when you saw it,  tell me! If you thought it was heinous, tell me! (Okay actually don't, because this style is what we are going with - we are talking about making changes to this basic idea.) If something is distracted or off, let me know! Please! Thank you so much. I am so excited to finally get this piece of the ministry, and I can't wait to reveal more of it soon.

And here it is with a border for something more specific we are going to do:


Thursday, July 11, 2013

We Got Robbed

So, people have been asking about what happened to us recently. Here's the deal: me, Mark, my brother (Harrison) and my sister-in-law (Tiffany) were victims of an armed robbery. It was completely ridiculous. Like, I'm the person who has nightmares about people chasing me with guns - fairly often. And it happened to me. I can't even believe it.

It's a long story, but I will try to keep it short. We were heading to my friend's wedding in Colorado, and left very early in the morning, as we were going to be driving straight through to the rehearsal that night. We left around 3:30am, and stopped at an extremely well lit gas station to fix a headlight, check the oil, and top off the gas tank. Mark and Harrison got out of the car and popped the hood to get things going, and Tiffany and I were sitting in the back seat. A thug came up to Mark and pretty quickly started asking Mark for money. Mark told him he didn't have any money (which he didn't) and then the thug proceeded to say that he wanted everyone else's money. Mark told him we didn't have any money, either (which we didn't). So then the told Mark he wanted his wallet and things got serious. He had a gun in his right pocket, and he pulled the gun up to show it to Mark, so that Mark knew he was serious. Of course, Mark gave him his wallet.

While this was going on, Harrison, who had a gun on him (he has his concealed carry license), realized what was going down and shut the front door of the car, took the keys out of the ignition, and locked Tiffany and I in the back seat. Harrison went back by the trunk of the car and took his gun out of his sweatpants pockets so that the thug wouldn't see it. The thug had two other guys with him, and they were at their SUV, keeping watch on the other side of the pump. I saw the thug show Mark his gun and realized what was happening. Tiffany started hyperventilating. All I could muster was an "Oh. my. gosh." The thug mentioned something about going to an ATM to get money.

Time stopped.

It was like I was living in my nightmare.

I just wanted it to be over, but it wasn't.

Thug came over to my window and told me to open the door. I shook my head no, because okay, DUH, I did NOT want to open the door. He then proceeded to show me his gun, told me he wasn't messing around, and so I opened the door. He used some choice words, and took my purse. I had my iPhone in my lap, as I had dialed 911, and he saw it and took it as well. He then reached in and got Tiffany's wallet from her. Next, he walked around to the back of the car and asked Harrison for his wallet, and Harrison told him he didn't have it. The thug told him he would "f him up" and so Harrison obviously gave the guy his wallet. (In case you're wondering, that's four wallets, a purse, and an iPhone. And out of that, they didn't get a single cash dollar, and only got one transaction off of one card.)

And then he left. And we were in complete shock. I mean, did that SERIOUSLY just happen? Were we really just robbed? Did we really almost get shot? I mean... is this real life? Hello?!

Harrison, being the smart person he is, had already dialed 911 and put his phone in his pocket during the whole ordeal, so as soon as the thieves left, Harrison just picked his phone up and was already on the phone with 911. As he talked to the police, we drove back to Harrison's house and started calling our banks to get all of our cards shut down.

The police showed up, took our reports and statements, and we took care of turning everything off. They only got one purchase made on my credit card, at a gas station close to the one we had just left.

After the police left, we kind of sat in stunned shock in the living room, scared, reeling, and waiting for the sun to come up. Once the sun came up we started calling our families, and making plans for what to do with the day. We had decided that going to the wedding wasn't really realistic. Harrison had one card from a different bank account that hadn't been taken, so we were able to go to breakfast. At breakfast, we started getting calls from our detective. They had already pulled surveillance footage and had questions about what happened. We probably got three calls before 10:00am.

After breakfast we went to the DMV and Mark and Harrison got driver's licenses so they could be legal. Tiffany and I looked a little rugged, as we HAD BEEN ROBBED, and had on no make-up etc. Certainly not driver's license material, so we opted to wait. After that we started making rounds at the banks and trying to fix everything. They had gotten one of my check books so we had to get a completely new bank account.

While we were at the bank, we got a call from an electronics store saying they had recovered my iPhone - the thugs had tried to sell it there, a guy got suspicious, guessed it was stolen, and spooked the thugs into leaving. Remarkable. We recovered my iPhone 5 within probably 9 hours of it being stolen.

After this whirl wind of activity, we went back to Harrison's house and rested a bit until our detective called Mark and asked if we could do a line-up. So, within 12 hours of the robbery, the four of us were at police headquarters for a photo line-up. I mean, it was like an episode of 24, or NCIS. INSANE.

After that, things slowed down a bit and we tried to relax a little and had a nice dinner together to decompress. Until the sun went down. Then things went crazy. And by things, I mean specifically, Tiffany and I. Panic attack mode started setting in. We knew those guys had our IDs and they live like a mile and half from the "scene of the crime." So, we freaked a bit. A lot. We ended up staying the night at my sister's house.

Since then, they have identified two of the four people involved (the girlfriend of one of the guys tried to sell my phone, so there were four people) and charged them. They have identified those two, but have not identified the drive or the gunman. Our detective is still actively working on our case and we are optimistically hoping for an arrest. Armed robbery is not exactly a misdemeanor.

The guys were gang members, and we realized how God really truly protected us in the midst of something very terrible. We all remained calm, God gave us discernment and quick thinking, and we were all preserved. Our detective told us that those guys shoot to kill and that they don't have a problem shooting anyone. At that point it sunk in about how truly truly protected we were. Had we not cooperated, or had it escalated at all, we could have easily been killed. The local news did a story on it, and Harrison was interviewed, to try to get pictures out of the gunman so he could be identified.

So, it's been about four weeks - almost exactly - eek! And I'm doing okay. I think I'm over the shock now and settling in to the reality and I'm really going to have to work through it better. I'm very afraid in parking lots and going to and from establishments if I'm by myself. I'm afraid to walk through our neighborhood at night. I am currently the world's worst at profiling people. I am pretty PTSD. I need to continually remind myself of God's protection.

You could certainly say we have had a rough few months. I am so ready for God to turn this around, to see what good he has for us, because I know he works all things together for the good according to his purpose. And I know that he has plan for me - for a hope and a future. And I know that he will finish the work that he started in me. In the meantime, I am waiting. I am licking my wounds, trying to grasp all the thoughts swirling in my head, and trying to give myself some grace. Some time to heal. Trying to come down from the initial shock of it all and readjust my expectations and my plans. I am hopeful that God is using this for something wonderful, that beauty will come from these ashes, and that he will redeem all of these crummy situations. And that I would find peace and purpose in the midst of it all.

So. That's it. We survived one of my worst nightmares without a single physical mark. God is our protector. I am thankful.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Baby #1: Part Four

Mark and I were greatly ministered to during and after our loss. Honestly, people still minister to us. Last week I got a card in the mail and a care package, and friends still ask how we are doing. I am doing okay. I'm not really going to sugar coat it - I'm really sad. Some days are better than others. Right now I'm trying to really allow myself to grieve and not push it away. We've had a lot going on lately, obviously the baby, then we were victims of armed robbery last month, and I just feel very overwhelmed. I know that God is working to finish in me the work that he started (Phil. 1:6), and I am working to be strong and wait on the Lord. (Ps. 27:2). All that to say, if you think of us, we appreciate every prayer, and they are needed. I just feel like we have been under attack lately.

So, after our appointment that Thursday, I sent out a group text to friends and family to let everyone know. Within a couple of hours, our pastor's wife showed up on our doorstop with a bag from Braum's full of ingredients to make ice cream sundaes. While I wasn't ready to talk to anyone, Mark answered the door, and she encouraged Mark, shared about her own loss, and gave us the ice cream. After that, my brother had the idea for him and my sister to come down over the weekend from OKC to hang out with us during the day on Saturday just to be supportive. We felt very loved. 

After our appointment on Thursday evening, I knew I wanted something to have in memory of the baby. My due date was October 28th, and the October birthstone is an opal. So, I decided that I wanted an opal ring, and we went to a few different stores in the mall before I settled on this one:

I love it, and I wear it every day. 

Family, friends, and even Mark's work sent us beautiful flowers, which was a bright spot in the midst of our sadness. We had friends that brought up dinner a couple of times, and one friend brought a plate of chocolate chip cookies. These people were the hands and feet of Christ as they ministered to us.

So many beautiful flowers. (-: 

My friend gave me a pair of cute pajama pants and cute socks, both of which I wore on the day of my surgery:

So, we felt so very loved. Not that the timing for these things is ever good, but it happened in April, right when our church was doing a sermon series on death, and right before Mother's Day, Memorial Day, and Father's Day. Kind of like a one-two punch to the stomach. 

I received some sweet cards and sweet words on mother's day:

So, that's the story. We are hanging in there, and appreciate your prayers. A week and a half ago, God laid an idea on my heart for a way to minister to women who have gone through a pregnancy loss. It's still in the works, but has received approval from the "powers that be" (-: so I want to do a separate post about that soon. 


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Baby #1: Part Three

So, I've been procrastinating on this post, because this is the tough one.  This won't be the last one, because I do want to end on a more uplifting note and we received so much love and support afterward. This post is going to be pretty much just facts about what happened.

We went to our ten week OB appointment, and I was about ten weeks, two days. When we got there we met with a nurse for a while and she took all kinds of information from us. After that we went to the exam room. Our doctor came in and asked how I was feeling. I told her I hadn't really been having any morning sickness, and she asked if that concerned me, and I said that I did. I was surprised that her response was intuitive enough to ask how the lack of that symptom made me feel. She turned on the ultrasound machine, and she could see the baby, but couldn't get a very good view. Eventually she decided she needed me to drink more water to get a better picture. I drank the water, and she came back in, and we could see the baby, but the baby wasn't moving. We didn't see a heartbeat, and the baby looked much smaller than what we should have seen. I had been having zero symptoms of a miscarriage.

Then my doctor starting using words like D&C. I was kind of in shock. Our doctor wanted to have confirmation from a more advanced ultrasound machine, and so they went to bat for us on a late Thursday afternoon to make sure someone could squeeze us in that day to confirm. I was so thankful we would have a definite answer that day, and so thankful for the compassion of my doctor and staff. The hospital agreed to fit us in, and it was there that my emotions took over. I am so glad they sent us to have a second ultrasound, so I had two machines and no doubt that there was no heartbeat. The hospital was measuring our baby at about eight weeks, two days, which was about two weeks smaller than what should have been.

We went back from the hospital to our doctor's office, and our nurse was so compassionate. She hugged me, answered all my questions, and set up our procedure for that Monday - which was just shy of the eleven week mark. Mark and I were going to St. Louis that weekend with friends, but they told me I needed to stay close over the weekend, and we had to cancel our trip. We went home and told our family and friends that knew, and I got in the shower an bawled my eyes out.

I went in to my pre-op on Friday, which was much more awful than I was expecting. I thought I would be okay to go by myself, but in hindsight, I should have had someone stay with me. I met with the lab, anesthesiology, and at least one other person before it was all said and done. It was just a little too much.

The procedure on Monday went as well as could be expected, and thankfully, I didn't have any complications. Physically I healed pretty quickly and didn't have much pain overall. Afterward I had pretty much zero control over my emotions, as I'm sure my hormones were on some kind of elaborate roller coaster. I tried to go back to work too soon on Wednesday for a partial day, and had a major meltdown and went back home a few hours later. Hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it?

I did go back to work for real, had my post op appointment a couple weeks later, and am in good shape. However, it has taken me three months to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. This week was the first week I hit it. I am very glad for that.

So, those are nuts and bolts. However, we were showered with love, prayer, and support, and I want to highlight that on my next post.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Baby #1: Part Two

After we got our good HCG level, we were cautiously optimistic. I even bought a few maternity items, a baby name book, and some lotion for stretch marks. You can never start fighting those too early. (-: We were tightening up the budget and planning for October 28th, 2013.

Time ticked by super slowly until the day of our first ultrasound. I figured that the baby should be around 7 weeks, 2 days, and I looked online the night before to get a good idea of what our ultrasound should look like. I wanted to be as educated as I could and know what to expect. I had heard some stories where the ultrasound technicians didn't tell people much at all, and so I wanted to be able to pick the heartbeat out myself.

The morning of the ultrasound, we got to the imaging center very early. They make you drink a bunch of water so they can see clearly, so I drank water and we waited. We finally got into the room and all I wanted to do was see a heartbeat. I laid on the table and he put the probe on my tummy. I stared at the screen, waiting expectantly. First they had to take measurements of my uterus - couldn't that have waited till later? (-; And finally, he started looking for our baby. And sure enough, there was our little bean nugget. I immediately started looking for a heartbeat. I stared at the little blob and then I saw it: a little flicker. I said, "That's a heartbeat, isn't it?" and the technician said, "It sure is." Tears trickled down my face and my eyes just stared at the monitor and that sweet little heart, which I later found out was beating at 149 bpm. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let me stay all day and stare at the computer screen, but they did print off some photos for us to keep.

We left the ultrasound center with our photos and a lot of relief. We told my parents that evening and told Mark's family that weekend. We had originally planned on waiting, but some things happened that made us decide to tell them sooner. 

At this point, I believe I was already feeling bloated and looking pregnant - at least to me! (-: I wasn't really experiencing any morning sickness, but I tried not to focus on that. I had read that a small percentage of women don't experience morning sickness, but that your chances of miscarriage are much higher if you don't. I struggle with fear, but I didn't want to focus on a symptom I wasn't having, so I was hopeful that I was in that small percentage of women who didn't have morning sickness but still had a healthy pregnancy. 

The Chris Tomlin song, "God of Angel Armies" was a big radio song at the time, and I claimed that song over me and the baby. In hindsight, I realize God is always by my side, even though it might not always be in the same way I hope.

A friend of mine knew about the pregnancy and told me I was "glowing" and took this hilarious picture of me during church one Sunday and drew a "glow" around me. It was pretty awesome so I wanted to include it:

Ha. Oh, and I bought a pregnancy pillow. Dude, pregnant or not, this thing is AWESOME. It's called a Snoogle:

I started taking weekly pictures at week 7. 

These next pictures are pretty ridiculous. Like I don't think I even really need to go into an explanation of why normally I wouldn't put photos like this on the internet. LOL. However, I feel like this gives a pretty good photo of how big my belly was getting. I believe this was right before ten weeks. 

Oh, and one other thing. (I know this is already a novel). I sang in a concert around this time and wore a black dress and it was pretty darn uncomfortable and I was hoping my belly wouldn't be noticed in it. Here's a photo of my with my mom and dad after the concert. I was going to tell my dad that night, but ended up deciding to wait:

So, that pretty much brings us to right before our first full OB appointment, which was scheduled for about ten weeks, two days. I will write about that in the next post.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Baby #1: Part One

First of all, I want to say thank you to so many women who reached out to me after last post - whether it was through email, comments, or on Facebook. I appreciated each encouragement I received. You guys are really great.

I've been trying to decide what I want to share. I've decided that even though our baby is no longer with us, I still want to be able to to remember this part of our life and the happy things that went with it. Among other things, I see my blog as a journal. I love going back and being reminded of what we have experienced. And I certainly don't want to forget our little one, even though he or she is no longer with us. I want to write the story, but I also understand if you choose not to read it.

This brings us to February. I had been obsessively using pregnancy tests for a while - squinting at the white space, looking for that second line. There are incredibly cheap test strips online for less than $0.40 a pop, so I didn't feel guilty using them often. Anyway, on a Tuesday night I did a double take on a strip because I had thought I had maybe seen a hint of a shadow of something, but then I ruled it out. The next morning, however, I saw this:

I know, I know. You may or may not even see the super faint second line. However, I had been peeing on enough of those sticks for long enough that I knew this was something new. So, I went on to work with several more tests to use throughout the day. A test at work showed a little clearer (but yes, still very faint):

So, I did what most normal people do: I uploaded this picture into my trying to conceive online community so that people could vote to convince me whether or not this was something. I just checked, and this photo received 61 positive votes, and 2 negative votes. As the day went on and people kept voting yes, I started thinking, maybe this is for real. I knew ANY second line was a positive. So I knew it was for real, but, I wasn't quite completely convinced. 

The next morning was Valentine's Day, and I went to the store on my way to work and picked up the fool-proof digital test. These tests should pick up a little higher level of HCG, and would be more convincing. Sometimes we can tell ourselves the two lines mean nothing, and we need an actual word to prove it. So, I went into the women's bathroom at work and peed on the stick. I sat there and stared at the little digital screen, showing some sort of timer as it calculated my hormone levels. And then, it was there, clear as day:

That was when I started kind of freaking out. And it was Valentine's Day! What a great day and a perfect time to tell my love. A little Valentine's Day baby!

My excitement was rather short lived, however, as later that day I was talking to my friend and I started having some cramping. I was talking to her but just kept thinking, "As long as it's just cramping it's normal, as long as it's just cramping it's normal." When I went to the bathroom I noticed a little bit of blood, and I pretty much put a halt on all things celebratory. When I told Mark that night it was somewhat of a mix of "I have good news and bad news." Not exactly what I was going for.

The next morning (Friday), I had my blood HCG levels drawn, and then scheduled to go back in on Monday to have a redraw. In the meantime, I had a pretty miserable existence - I was experiencing one sided pain, and so I was trying to not completely freak out. We went to a basketball game with my aunt, and it was a nice distraction. I remember really experiencing pregnancy emotions at that game. After the game was over, the two teams lined up and proceeded to shake each other's hands and offer the proverbial "good game." However, my sweet cousin (a high school sophomore) hugged a lot of the opposing team's players - above and beyond the hand shake. I remember feeling very emotional at him hugging the players and thinking something to the effect of, "He is so sweet and kind hearted." And I realized I needed to pull myself together because this was an over reaction. (-:

On Monday morning I found out my first number was 30, which is very low. However, I knew I was very early in my pregnancy (3 weeks and maybe 3 days), and one number doesn't really mean much. It's all about what the numbers are doing. Later that afternoon I found out that my second number was 58. Still very low, but higher. The doctor's office was kind but not very optimistic, and the next day my doctor decided to wait a full week before testing again, to give the numbers time to stew a little. 

In that week of waiting, I decided that even if I was only mommy to that little baby for a short amount of time, I wanted to be a good steward. I had already been taking folic acid while trying to conceive, but I went to my nutritionist and loaded up on all kinds of pre-natals, and asked people to be praying for our little baby.

The weekend before my next draw, I led worship with a dear friend of mine at a women's retreat. It was a very sweet time of worship, and helped me to focus my mind on something else.

Monday came and I went in for my draw (Sidenote: This is my third draw in ten days, and I HATE having my blood drawn). Later that day they called and told me that my number had risen from 58 to 1100! Now that was some serious growth. I was thrilled. They wouldn't give me the all clear, and said we weren't out of the woods yet, but decided to schedule me for an early ultrasound after seven weeks so that they could get a better look at things. 

A week and a half into this (felt like so much longer!), and it had already been quite the roller coaster. This put me somewhere around here with our little sweet pea:

I think that's all for this post. That's a lot of info, and there's more to come, so I will leave it at that.

I hope you guys have a happy weekend - thanks for letting me share! (-:


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Happy Medium: A Confession

I've gone back and forth. Mostly settled on "not now," "I'm not ready," and "I'll share when X happens." I think I've settled on a happy medium.

I was walking through our neighborhood with Mark the other day, on a routine leisurely stroll. We passed a couple. The husband was running and his clearly pregnant wife was riding a bicycle next to him - the thing you think about in a picturesque pre-natal walk. Mark and I held hands. He said to me, "I'm sorry." Mark was sorry because she was pregnant, and I am no longer. I mentioned to him that I don't understand why everyone else's babies are okay and healthy and ours wasn't (no exaggeration in our communication, clearly). And Mark responded that there are lots of babies like ours. We just don't see them.

His words resonated with me, probably because they are filled with truth. Losing a baby can be a private struggle. And when it happens, we look around for someone else to help us. Someone to reassure us that what we are feeling is normal. Someone to validate the life lost and the hope and plans that went with it. Someone to say, "It's okay to be sad" and "It's okay to be sad for a while." A friend to say, "We remember your baby," and a friend to say, "It's okay to move forward."

But sometimes, when we see ultrasound pictures on Facebook, EPT digitals with that unmistakeable "pregnant" in our newsfeeds, strollers everywhere, gender reveal parties, pictures of a pregnant person due the same month as us, and that ever present pregnant woman riding a bike through the neighborhood, we can feel very alone. Ugly thoughts of jealousy and bitterness swell as a result of our sin nature. There is genuine joy for those we love who are expecting, and sorrow for our loss. At times, it's a bit overwhelming.

While many women aren't comfortable sharing their losses publicly, for me, I took great comfort in talking with friends who had walked the same debris-filled road I am on. Yet, with it being so private, sometimes it may be hard for a person to know who to talk to.

This bring me back to my debate. Should I share? I think the body of Christ can do amazing things when we encourage each other and share. Maybe something I write will give hope or encouragement to another mommy whose heart or womb feels a little too empty. Perhaps someone will feel comfortable sharing her story with me because I shared mine. Maybe we can all walk this crummy road together, helping each other up when we trip along the way. My emotions are still raw, and maybe, just maybe, they can help someone else. And maybe they will be a help in my own healing.

So, I'm sharing. I had a miscarriage. We lost our baby in April, and I had a D&C just shy of 11 weeks into my pregnancy. I am looking forward to the day when Jesus wins the battle and things are made right. I am hoping to see how this can be made into something that glorifies God. And I am praying that he heals the broken-hearted and binds up our wounds.

This is my first step in sharing. I don't know when the next step will come or what it will be. But I'm taking the first leap.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!"                                                                                        ~Revelation 24:4-5

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


As you are all aware, our state got hit pretty hard recently by tornadoes. Thankfully, my brother and sister in Oklahoma City were unscathed. Karlie was safe in a nearby town as well. Mark's cousins lost their house, as did others that we know. Our friends and family are are all alive and well, and the storms didn't hit our town.

Just wanted to let everyone know we are okay. We are mourning with those in our state and those we love, but thankfully, we are safe.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Bedroom Redo

Many of you probably know I'm basically the cheapest person the planet. But dangit, we are about $5200 away from paying off that last pesky student loan, so I generally try to put as much money toward that each month as possible. However, this last month, I decided that my room really needed a little pick-me-up. It needed to be a little happier. It needed some TLC. So I said, "Why the heck not?". (Okay, that's actually not exactly what I said, because I can assure you, I shopped around and got some pretty stinkin' good deals, and bought lots of sale items. So for a cheapskate, that is the closest thing to what I said, and I still experienced pain with each purchase.) But the bottom line is, I spent some cash and threw caution to the wind. (-;

I haven't really taken pics of everything, so I'm gonna do what I can.

I purchased this awesome lamp from TJ Maxx - with the above artwork of Boo done by none other than Karlie:

So yes. I love the lamp. I still need something for Mark's side, but they only had one, so I am still looking for something similar.

Next, I decided that as much as I LOVED my old Anthro bedspread, it was time for something new. Since our walls are a very calm light grey/blue, I decided to brighten things up a bit. After searching, I found the perfect match at Target, and also got lots of throw pillows on major sale. I was pretty stoked about all of this:

So - everything on the bed that you see is from Target (minus the stuffed animal) - the comforter, bedskirt, grey pillow cases, and throw pillows. I did buy some new white sheets off of amazon, which are heavenly soft. I also got that little yellow picture frame on the right night stand from Target. I think this all makes the room look really cheery.

I also went to my favorite website, Etsy.com, and found come cute prints for not much, and framed them with frames from Target. (-: (You'd think I was working for them!)

This one hasn't come in yet, but it will look similar but with a heart in my hometown. (-:

I am overall really happy with everything. I didn't break the bank, but my room looks very different, and is a happier and more cheery place to hang out. (-: Plus who doesn't love new sheets?

Last month was also my birthday, so I thought I would throw in a couple of pics from me and my sister's joint birthday party.  We each got our own cake, and sometimes we might try to blow our each other's candles first. (-:

Fun times were had by all. And to sign off, here I am with a necklace my sister got me for my birthday. (-:

Happy Monday, Everyone!


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