Thursday, December 21, 2006

A few shout outs

I've got a few shout outs of thanks to give to some MOF's who have really helped me out lately.

First of all, to Emily and her dh. Our computer at home crashed a few weeks ago, taking all of my pictures with it. To give you an idea of how bad this is, ALL of Camden's pictures over the past 20 months were on it and NONE of them were backed up to a disk. We had hard copies of some we printed out and I had some at school, but I thought we were going to loss over half our pictures. I was distraught and pretty much crying on our bulletin board when Em stepped in. She told me her dh was a computer genius and could probably help us save our pictures as long as the hard drive wasn't fried. She sent us a disk to help recover the pictures, Mark called her dh, her dh stepped Mark through, and we were able to recover ALL our pictures. I cannot tell you how relieved I am that we were able to get them all. I cried tears of joy seeing the pictures again. I learned to ALWAYS back up your pictures.

Second to Alissa who did our Christmas cards for us this year. She did an AWESOME job! I love them and couldn't be any more pleased with them. I love all her Christmas card designs as well as her photography. I only wish she lived close enough to take some pictures of our family for us.

Last of all, to the anonymous person who left this comment:
"(I'm debated whether to sign as anon or not...I'm a regular reader of your blog but I didn't think you'd want to read mine right now. I think of you often. Take care!)"
Please don't be afraid to sign my blog! I'm assuming you left this comment because you are pregnant and you think it may be too painful for me to read your blog because it discusses pregnancy at times. I really appreciate you thinking of me and having that sensitivity (not a lot of people have that same compassion), but I can assure you I am OK with pregnancy and pregnant people. Each of us have our trials in life. I know I will probably always struggle get and stay pregnant, but that's part of my trials and part of having a mortal body. I have come to accept this and am OK with it. I'm glad you don't have to go through the same thing and I mean that. I still love all my MOF's who are pregnant or who may become pregnant while I struggle with getting so. My trials may not be your trials and your trials may not be mine. One thing I love about MOF's and the blogosphere is the variety of people and their struggles they may post about. I learn from each one of you as I read your blogs. Please don't be afraid to comment just because you may be pregnant!! I really am OK with it.
Merry Christmas to all of you! I don't know if I will post again until after Christmas because we have a busy schedule the next few days. I hope it is a good holiday for each of you.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Shameless bragging post about my son

At least I warned you up front.

Camden has had a language explosion in the past few weeks. It thrills me to no end to hear him trying out new words and sounds. Not only has he had a speaking explosion, but a signing explosion as well.

We've been using the videos from Signing Time to teach him sign language. We really wanted him to be able to communicate with us in more than one way and to be able to sign words he can't yet say. Since his spoken vocabulary is only about 20 words total, signing has been great for us.

In the last week, he has had a HUGE signing explosion! This past week, he did 14 new signs. He even signed his first sentence by signing "candy" and then "please". After I gave him a piece of candy, he signed "thank you." He's now using sign to tell us what he wants instead of just whining and throwing a tantrum when he can't say the word and we can't understand him.

For a long time, I wondered if teaching him sign was paying off. The videos entertained him, but didn't seem to be sinking in. He would do a sign here and there, but nothing with much consistency (except dog). But now I see the sign explosion and it thrills me to no end. I love watching him learn and I love that he can communicate with us better.

So there you have it - my shameless bragging post about Camden. I've been wanting to tell the world about his signing explosion because it thrills me so much. What would you like to brag about with your kids this week? Tell me in your comments!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sometimes you really need a drink of water

The problem with a child being raised with a dog as his only sibling so far is that sometimes that child thinks he is a dog.

I love that you can actually see his tongue sticking out in that last picture. Mmmm, dog water!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mourn with those that mourn

Sometimes it doesn't take much to put our trials in perspective. It's been easy to get caught up in my loss and feel sorry for myself at times. I haven't done it much, but it's happened. Then something happened this weekend that changed my outlook completely.

One of my best friends, M., was pregnant and due at the end of December. She's been like a sister to me over the years. This was her first child. The day after my D&C, she came over and let me talk as much as I needed to about my loss. Although she was big pregnant and worried about making me uncomfortable, she was there for me in a big way - one of my only in-real-life friends who was there for me.

Saturday morning I was out shopping when I received a phone call from M. She told me she had her baby that morning, a little girl. I congratulated her and then she went on to say her little girl had only lived an hour and then died. I cannot even begin to describe what those words did to me. I started sobbing then and there, my heart breaking for a friend so dear to me.

There was no indication anything was wrong with her baby until she was born. Although almost full term (born at 37 weeks) she weighed barely 3 pounds and was only 12 inches long. She also had several physical defects that many ultrasounds had not picked up. Because my friend was not able to find out the gender of her baby at the first ultrasound, several had been done to try to figure out what she was having and not one of them detected a problem. M. was in no way prepared for what happened. To top it off, the baby was breech so M. had to have a c-section. When they started the surgery, she had felt the pain of them cutting her open, so they had to put her completely under. When she awoke, she planned on being handed a perfect little baby. Instead she was being told there were problems and shortly after, her precious baby passed away.

As I sat with M. this weekend and cried with her, for the first time I was grateful I wasn't pregnant anymore. How hard it would have been to sit with her while carrying a new life. For the first time, my pain seemed so insignificant and I realized how much worse it could be. Any loss hurts and I won't diminish the pain of any loss - from early to late - for any of my readers, but I gained perspective this weekend. I am actually grateful for how my situation turned out. I realized that for me, I would have much rather gone through what I did than what M. is going through now, or what my good friend K. went through just a few brief months ago.

K. went through infertility with me. We had baby boys two weeks apart after trying together for years. She got pregnant again and in August, developed a massive uterine infection. Her baby boy was born at 19 weeks and only lived a few brief minutes.

The last several months have been filled with loss. First K., then my loss, and now M.'s. Although different in so many ways, each of us has felt the pain of losing a baby so wanted, so loved, so longed for. I realize comparing the different losses is like comparing apples to oranges, but each of these losses has touched me so deeply.

I'm at a weird point spiritually with all this. Rationally, I understand the purpose of trials. I know they are given to us to grow and to learn. And in my own trial, I have not questioned why at all. But as I watch dear friends of mine lose their children, I wonder why they have to go through this. What are they meant to learn from it? And can't they learn it in some less painful way? It breaks my heart to watch them suffer.

Life is so fragile. Bearing life is such a fragile thing. I've learned never to take for granted the birth of a healthy baby, of a successful pregnancy. I always thought that once you heard a heartbeat, you were safe in a pregnancy. And I always trusted ultrasounds to tell you when there was a problem. I realize any of it can be taken away in an instant. I have been stripped of my innocence. Never again will I feel safe in any pregnancy. Never again will I take the gift of life and of bearing life for granted. If you are one of those fortunate people who have never had a loss of this sort, count yourself lucky. If you know of anybody who has gone through such a loss, especially this time of year, give them an extra hug. I know I will be counting my blessings a little more. I will be reaching out to those who hurt a little more. As I sit with M. tomorrow as she buries her precious daughter, I will be praying for the comfort of the Lord to be upon her, upon K., and upon all who are mourning a loss.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Happy Blogoversary to me!

I just realized I've had my blog for just over a year now. My first post was written December 5, 2005. In honor of that first post, I bring it back to you again, with new added commentary at the end!

We decorated our Christmas tree the other day. It was a beautiful, poignant moment as the memories of the past several Christmases flooded my mind. This year as we put the tree up, my adorable, almost 8 month old son played among the lights, clad only in a diaper. As I looked in wonderment at my little miracle, I couldn't help but remember the empty arms and accompanying pain of past years and the hope this year represents.

My husband and I married in July of 2000. By that first Christmas together, we felt strongly it was time to have a child, so we started trying. That first Christmas was full of hope and the promise of things to come. The following Christmas, 2001, we were almost a year into our trying to conceive a child and had suffered a miscarriage at Thanksgiving time. The doctor told me it was just a chemical pregnancy, but to me it was more. To top it off, we had found out we had fertility problems and who knew if we would get lucky again. That Christmas was sad, but I was sure that by next Christmas we would either be holding a new baby or at least be pregnant.

Christmas 2002 found me in the darkest place I have ever been. There was only blackness, hopelessness, and despair. We were now almost 2 years into our journey of trying to get pregnant. We had done seven, yes seven, unsuccessful rounds of fertility medications. We had been told our chances were slim that we would ever get pregnant on our own. Anguish overwhelmed me. All I wanted was a child, somebody to wake us early and then run down the stairs in excitement. Instead, we could sleep in as long as we wanted. There were no real surprises under the tree. And I was Scrooge. Not a speck of holiday cheer could be found in my soul. I teetered on the brink of losing my testimony, feeling lost, alone, and abandoned by my Heavenly Father. I understood the true meaning of Christmas, but it was lost on me as I wallowed in despair.

Changes occurred by Christmas 2003. We were still not pregnant, but I had found hope. We’d taken some time off from trying to get pregnant, started seeing a different specialist, and were feeling optimistic all around. It was still not an easy season, but I had hope, and after the previous year, that was a good thing.

Finally, Christmas 2004, I was 23 weeks pregnant and we had just found out it was a little boy. Mark would ask me what I wanted for Christmas and I would tell him nothing – I had already been given the greatest gift and he was growing safely inside me. And now we come this year, Christmas 2005.

My son, my miracle Camden, sits playing among the lights as Mark and I decorate the tree. In the background, we have Christmas music playing. We’ve put on the lights and our themed decorations and are now pulling out our special ones. We started a tradition that each year we buy an ornament or two which reflects the events of the past year. We unpack them and begin hanging them on the tree. The Vernal temple representing the year we got married. A dog representing the adoption of our puppy. A teacher ornament a student gave me. The meaningless balls of 2001 and 2002 that we bought quickly to carry on the tradition. And this year’s special ornament reading “Baby’s First Christmas 2005.”

As we hang these on the tree, Camden starts to fuss. He’s had a cold and I’m amazed he’s been good this long. I pick him up and begin to dance around the room, holding him tight. As I do, tears roll down my face. I remember the pain of Christmases past. And I see the hope of Christmases to come. No longer will our house be silent on Christmas morning. Camden won’t know what it means this year to get presents. He won’t really care. But in a few years, he’ll run eagerly down the stairs to see what Santa brought him. There will be no more sleeping in on Christmas morning and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think of the pain of the past and then the hope this little boy represents. And I send a prayer of thanks heavenward. He’s my miracle, my evidence of Heavenly Father’s love for me. I hope I can teach him the true meaning of Christmas. I hope I can raise him right. I hope I can be a good mom. Most of all, I hope Camden never doubts how much he is loved and how much he was wanted.

As we decorated the tree this year, 2006, many of the same feelings came back to me. We added this year's special ornament - to remember the angel we lost. As we do, I send a prayer heavenward - that Camden will have a sibling and know that joy. After our recent loss, I am even more grateful to have Camden. This year he's 19 months old. And instead of watching calmly while decorating the tree, he's in the middle examining each ornament (and pulling them off the tree). Again, we danced around as we listened to Christmas music. And I delight in his belly laughs as we spin in circles. He looks at me with a face full of adoration and love. With that, the Christmas spirit enters our house.