Month: September 2012

Song Lyrics

Songs mean a lot to me. I have songs that remind me of certain “eras” of my life, ones with lyrics that I attribute to people in my life and some that helped me through difficult times. I have songs I turn up loud and sing at the top of my longs while driving down the road or cleaning my house. I have songs that make me cry, and the tears flow within the first few seconds.

One song that I made my anthem during the darkest time of infertility was “Blessings” by Laura Story.

Verse 1:

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

I constantly needed reminded that my prayers were coming from my narrow vision of life. That God had bigger things promised for Oliver and me. I needed to remember that He wasn’t ignoring us, He wasn’t gone. He heard our prayers, every cry for a baby. Every time our hearts broke, He heard it and was standing right there beside us.

Chorus:

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

There were so many tears shed while we waited for this baby boy. There were moments when I cried inside, because there were too many people around to show my weakness. Sometimes it was silent tears, while I continued a phone conversation or went about my day alone at home. Other times there were cries from the pit of my stomach, cries I didn’t know existed inside of me. It could last minutes, hours or days. Late into the night sometimes, while Oliver and I  laid in bed and held on to each other for dear life. It was hard during those times to really understand how these could be “mercies”.

Verse 2:

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

We prayed a lot during that time. Sometimes we wanted to to hear what we wanted God to say. Other times we were truly honest about wanting His will in our lives. But as month after month passed with no baby, it was hard to hold on to the promise that He had a plan, that He was in control and the He always has only good for us. Now, we see how much He wanted us to have the faith to believe in His plan for our lives. That it truly was the best plan for us and those blessings would be worth it.

Verse 3:

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

We had people who stood by us during this trial, we had people who didn’t. We had friends say the perfect things, then others who hurt deeply with the words they said. There were days where darkness won and I couldn’t go to church, out with friends, or even to work. But it really taught my heart to have a “heaven” mindset instead of focusing too much on this world. If the words “this is my temporary home” meant something before this trial, it was nothing compared to what it means now.

Verse 4:

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Oliver and I both became so much MORE hungry for God’s strength and His promises during this time. We faced individual hurdles we had to overcome and hold each other accountable to, as well as joint hurdles. But it is true, that we began to thirst for Christ’s strength in our lives, rather than our own. We were able to look at our own weaknesses with that much more awareness and also see the gifts He had given us to help carry one another. We made it through the hardest nights, the loudest storms and the deepest aches. But please, never be mistaken to think we did it on our own. We couldn’t have done it without our God and knowing who He is. We know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that He is loving, merciful and just. But the most important lesson we had to depend on, was that He is truth. And when He promised us a child, we had to learn to stand on that truth and wait for His perfect timing.

This song became my prayer to God, my cry to my heavenly Father. So much so, that I bought a necklace to remind me every day of who I need to depend on when the storms rolled in. Most people would have seen it and not thought twice, which was my exact point. I wasn’t wearing it to broadcast my trial on my sleeve, but to strengthen my will to follow Christ every time I caught a glimpse of it or felt it again my skin. It was a tiny silver umbrella, with a “diamond”. The umbrella was to remind me of how Christ was my shelter in this storm. The top of the umbrella was shaped like angel wings, which reminded me that He caught every tear that fell and kept me protected with His angels. The “diamond” was my reminder of the lump of coal that had to endure untold pressure and squeezing to be made into a priceless gem…

A glimpse of my necklace…

 

<3 Tara

Down and out!

As many of you have read already, my back problems have been amplified by the squish. Physical therapy 3x a week is helping, but sleeping is still quite painful (whoever thought they would describe sleep that way, and so early in a pregnancy!). They have a pillow they put me on at PT that does wonders for the pain but at $400, its not going to be seen in my house anytime soon. So last night, while shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond, I decided to try and recreate the support through various other pillows.

image

Its quite the concoction we have going on! Four pillows under my head, a wedge pillow from under my arm to my hip for tummy/back support and a special pillow for between my knees. But I woke up with minimal back pain this morning, which is a nice change! I think it will take a few nights to get it right (my hand must have fallen asleep 4-5 times during the night!) but it is a step in the right direction! Soon I’ll be “down and out for the count” sleeping through the night pain free again! Baby seems somewhat confused by the change in my sleeping orientation. He is ALWAYS curled on in the bottom of the abdomen, kicking down low. I was startled when I woke up this morning to him kicking my diaphragm! Someone must have gotten turned around last night. *smile* We’re headed in the right direction! (Even if baby is feeling directionally challenged!) – Tara

22.5 Weeks

Yes yes,  I fell off the bandwagon and had to do a “half week” again. I can blame the trip to the ER for throwing off my week, right? Or the fact that I opened my private practice back up for the fall session this week? All quite valid excuse… er… reasons. Right? *smile*

 

22.5 week Papaya!

 

<3 Oliver and Tara

Happy for “Nothing”

Baby Boy kicks all day, usually quieting in the afternoon to take his “nap”. He kicks anything goes across my tummy, so it’s a good way to induce a kick if Oliver wants to feel him. Just yesterday morning I woke up to Oliver’s hand creeping under the blankets and over to my tummy. A short bit later baby kicked and Oliver sighed happily, “Ok, now I can begin my day!”. [I love that man!] It’s reassuring to feel baby and be able to predict him throughout my day. I know now when “quiet” is normal, and when “loud” is normal too. I know when he’s just playing (shortly after I eat) or frustrated (the seat belt is on). This predictability was extremely reassuring last night when we were sent to the ER.

I had my monthly check-up yesterday morning, but due to a problem with the front desk staff, it was rescheduled and messed up my schedule for the day (Tuesdays – Thursdays are a “tight ship” around here with those being days I am also seeing clients). Oliver wasn’t able to stay either, which was REALLY frustrating for me. The office was ALSO under construction. Long of the short – it was chaos. By the time I was into my appointment, I was completely disheveled  and had completely forgotten about my list of questions/concerns. I did get an apology from the clinic director about the front desks oops, which was nice. But it wasn’t till much later in the day when I realized I hadn’t had a chance to ask my doctors about some weird symptoms. And as the day went on, those symptoms got more intense. I’d been having some cramping/pain in my low abdomen and some electric “shocks”. The abdomen pain was getting more intense and the “zings” were happening one after another. A call to the nurseline came with the advice that we should go to the ER. Up to that point I had wanted to wait till this morning and then e-mail my doctor, but once that advice came I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep until I had (there may have been a good cry in there somewhere too…).

It’s amazing how quickly you move through the ER when the words “22 weeks pregnant’ come out of your mouth. We were sent immediately upstairs to labor and delivery because they wanted to check on Squishy first. That was both nerve wrecking AND reassuring. They quickly put us on a fetal heart monitor and uterine monitor. They found baby’s heart beat going strong which was reassuring. And then, as if to say “I’m ok mom!”, he began kicking the heart monitor (it was on a strap across my tummy – which he HATES!). Oliver could hear the kicks (a first) through the heart monitor, which they had broadcasting through speakers into the room. He just would NOT stop kicking it until they took it off. Once in a while he would get distracted by the umbilical cord, grab it, drop his heartrate, then let it go and begin kicking again. We were soon giggling despite the circumstances … I think he’s going to bring us many laughs in the years to come *smile*

When all was said and done, they are running some tests to see if I have an infection. The monitors picked up “irritability” in my uterus – which indicates something is up, but it wasn’t anything too serious. We were cleared to go home and rest, with the strict instructions for me to rest all day today until they get the results back and until the pain subsides.

We are so happy for “nothing” – God is good!

A Model in the Making

That’s right – Squishy is going to be a model! Now before you start setting high expectations that he’ll be the cutest babby EVER born (not that we are denying that…), let me explain.

Real Options is a local pregnancy clinic here in our area. Real Options offers pregnancy tests followed by an ultrasound, free of charge, to expectant moms without insurance (Planned Parenthood charges for pregnancy tests and rarely provides ultrasounds). They then provide the women with ALL of their options – birth, abortion, adoption or keeping their child. It is a Christian based organization, but their focus is to support the women and make sure they have all of the medical facts before making their final decision, and offer support no matter the decision. If the moms choose to give birth, Real Options provides them with the care they need through their pregnancy and afterwards. This includes prenatal vitamins, check-ups, referrals to doctors in the area, clinics, etc. If they choose abortion, they offer follow up counseling and support groups if they find they need that (though Real Options does not perform any abortions).

Every year, Real Options does a fundraiser for new equipment and funding for their facilities. To show the amazing impact of ultrasounds, they perform a live ultrasound on the big screens in the banquet hall. Well, our very own Squishy has been selected to be their “model” for the fundraiser. Well… if he’ll behave. You see, we have to go in every 2 weeks to take a quick ultrasound “peek” to see where he likes to “hang out” and if he’s in a good position for a view of his face. Apparently donors REALLY like to see the baby’s face. Our son it a little camera shy (did NOT get that from either of us!) – every time we have peeked at him, he is curled up, face down, butt up in the air. How he maneuvers such powerful kicks from that position is beyond me! The ultrasound tech tried to nudge him a little wiht the probe to see how cooperative he was to moving for us. He kicked the probe. *shakes head* Then they tried to get a view from another angle, to see if they could catch his face, and he threw his hands in front of his face and shook it away from the probe. I think he gets the stubborness from me … *sheepish grin*

So we have two more checks to see if he’ll cooperate, or if they will need to find a different baby… but we did get to keep a few shots!

Crossed ankles …

 

Knobby knees

 

Hands under his chin (just like how daddy sleeps)

 

His face!! (had to snap this one upside down… so you could see him right side up!)

 

<3 Tara and Oliver

Watching Soccer

Boy, oh boy, do we have a kicker on our hands! We’ve been blessed to feel this baby WAY earlier than expected. First flutters were at 14 weeks and kicks were at 19 weeks (for both me and O!). For first pregnancies it’s usually closer to 20 weeks for “quickenings” and 24 weeks for consistent solid movements. We’ve enjoyed this early “gift”. This week we noticed we are actually beginning to be able to SEE the baby’s movements from the outside. This has been quite amusing! Staring at my belly is becoming one of our favorite evening activities! Haha! We caught a little bit of it on video a few days ago. You can see it clearer without clothing, but I’m not comfortable with the whole “bare belly” thing. So you have to watch through the tank top. All the movements are in the upper left corner. Sorry it is a weird angle, I can’t lay flat on my back, so I’m partially propped on my side (giving everything a really weird perspective … I swear my belly isn’t THAT lopsided! Haha!).

I give a few verbal comments, but the time markers for the larger kicks are:

  • 5 second
  • 9 seconds
  • 23 seconds
  • 53 seconds
  • 1:30 seconds

 

 

Oliver will often bend down and talk to baby now, telling him to behave, eat well and do his homework *smile*  Tara sings all the time to him, and daily we pray over him. Just 4.5 months of this magical time.

<3 Oliver and Tara

Confessions of an Infertility Survivor

The picture I am about to show you is a “skeleton in my  closet”. The image is quite embarrassing really. Something almost no one knows about. If you have ever come over to our house, you would think I keep a relatively neat home. [We are actually last minute “shove it in the closet because someone is coming over” people -but that is a story for another time.] We are working to improve our ability to keep a clean home and a place where we can extend hospitality to friends and family. However, we never let people go upstairs. And when I mean never… I mean *NEVER*. There are only two rooms up there, ours and a spare room. We partially do this just because we like our privacy. But there is another reason…

 

This is the room across from our bedroom upstairs. It is actually connected to the master through the bathroom. From the moment we looked at this home, we knew this would make a perfect baby room. Many know we had lovely long-term house guests when we first moved into our house, so this was to be our temporary office while rooms downstairs were occupied. We moved in my grandfather’s old desk, crafting supplies, etc. But that’s where I hit a wall. I didn’t want this to be an office – I wanted it to be a nursery. As many of you know from reading our story, baby didn’t come as planned. I found myself at an impasse. I couldn’t unpack boxes and organize, because I didn’t want to put the effort into something that would change – hopefully quickly. I couldn’t empty the room, because I couldn’t stand to look at an empty “nursery-to-be”. That just hurt too much. So the room has stayed like this for almost 3 years.

Why am I telling you this? Because it’s another facet of infertility that we kept hidden from the outside world. Because it’s something that can show the debilitating pain of infertility and the way it directly impacts all aspects of your life. A whole room of our house, unused, because of the pain of waiting for our baby.

The good news is, God’s blessing is only 4.5 months away. And with that… this room is finally being emptied. Beginning today. Another milestone in our journey to becoming us + 1.

Praise the Lord *smile*

<3 Tara and Oliver

21 Weeks

Dear Baby Boy, Good golly you are getting big. This isn’t just showing via the bump – but also in strength! Just 21 weeks and already we can see your kicks and punches when we watch my belly! This week you are approximately 10 1/2 inches long. You love lemonade and you hate it when mommy gets hungry. You kick and kick until she eats. If the hunger lasts too long, you kick the diaphragm and give her hiccups! You also hate anything going across mommy’s tummy – seat belts, the waist of mom’s regular jeans, belts to hold up said jeans … you kick the restricting object adamantly until it is moved.  She’s been relegated to her maternity jeans and exercise pants for fear of internal bruising! *smile*

 

Carrot baby!

Labor Day Weekend

This holiday weekend has been a fantastic time for Oliver and I to focus on baby and have some fun date outings. We started on Friday night, when “Auntie Wendy and Uncle Bryan” gave us tickets to the Stanford football game. Ohemwow… we LOVE college football! So Baby Boy, your FIRST football game was Stanford versus San Jose State, and it was the evening of the last Blue Moon until 2015!

 

Mommy, Daddy and you – at the game!

 

Chelsea, Mommy and Daddy (being silly as always!)

Saturday morning we got up and headed out of town to the Highland Games – bagpipes, Scottish dancing competitions, caber tosses and delish food! We even found baby boy a small souvenir!

 

He’ll be so cute in this!

 

Sunday (after I slept and recouped most of the morning), we did some serious baby shopping. There are some serious holes in our baby registry that we needed to fill AND Diana (Oliver’s mom) was wanting to buy us a chair for the baby’s room. Chair shopping was my favorite, it involved a LOT of sitting! Haha! Oliver seemed to enjoy it as well..

 

I think he’ll have daddy’s sense of goofiness…
Daddy trying out the chair…

 

 

We decided on this beauty! It arrives in 8-10 weeks – reclines, glides and swivels *smile* Let’s just hope I don’t make myself motion sick on it!

 

Lots of loving will happen in this chair …

 

We ended the weekend having dinner with my parents and our friends Faith and Roger. They are in town for a VERY short visit this week from Rwanda – it was so wonderful to see them, get updates on all of the children, and hear about the latest news from Africa! I can’t believe it’s been a YEAR since I was there!

Hope you had a fantastic holiday weekend!

<3 Tara (and Oliver!)