Friday, January 31, 2020

Getting Back on Track (after our third miscarriage)

Before the holidays, and our recent miscarriage, I was super excited to be at my lowest weight in the history of my weight-loss journey. For reference, my highest weight was 270 lbs and, this past Fall I was able to get down to 222 lbs. I felt so much healthier physically and, I want to get that feeling back!

Between the holidays and surviving our third miscarriage, I am back up to 230 lbs. I'd like to make a goal for February, to get back down to my lowest weight and, then some. I'm going to shoot for a 10 lb. loss in February!

In order to reach that goal, I am going to have a set of mini-goals that I'll be focusing on.
  1. Schedule a self-care activity weekly
  2. Drink 80 - 120 oz. of water each day
  3. Begin blogging 3 times each week again, for accountability
  4. Go to the gym or spend 30 minutes being active 2 - 3 times each week
  5. Stick within my personalized nutritional ranges 6 out of 7 days each week
If you'll notice, in my mini goals, I have given myself some area of grace. I've been trying not to be too strict with myself because lately I have felt that "all or nothing" mentality starting to creep back in. I am really needing to remind myself of the basics of living a healthy lifestyle.

My back-to-basic reminders for living a healthy lifestyle include:
  1. Consistency, not perfection
  2. Moderation, not deprivation
  3. Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps

February, I'm ready for you!

Monday, January 27, 2020

With Grief and Gratitude

It's Monday! I am very excited for a fresh new week because, to be honest, last week was a rough one.

It kind of breaks my heart to say that last week was rough because, last week we celebrated Piper's 5th birthday! I wish I could come out of that week saying it was the best.week.ever, however; the week was filled with some intense highs and intense lows. 

I guess that might be expected considering I'm still recovering from my third miscarriage, which coincided with my daughter's milestone birthday. I have so much to be grateful for, while having so much to grieve. I think my most recent Instagram share says it best.

Grief and gratitude are often clenched in the same fist. 

The deep truth of that sentence brings some fresh hot tears to my eyes.

Okay. Deep breath. Back to where I started going with this post. 

I am excited for the fresh new week ahead! I am excited to have a week planned out with normal, routine things to do. I am also a little anxious about where the waves of grief might take me, despite my plans.

If I've learned anything from my past seasons of grief, I've learned that the weeks months after a trauma such as this feels a lot like floating in water.  Last week, there was an entire day when I was drowning in the waves of grief. I literally woke up crying, and didn't stop crying for hours. Have you ever cried for hours before? I don't believe I have cried for such a length of time. I ended up needing to wear a hot compress on my face by the end of the day because of the pain from squeezing my eyes shut for so long as I wept. 

The day before, I was fine. That's why I use the analogy of floating in water when navigating grief. The water was calm, and then, all of a sudden, it wasn't. When I tried to get out of bed that morning, I was unexpectedly swept off my feet, drowning in the dark abyss of grief for an entire day and night. Once the waves finally calmed, it took a while to catch my breath. 

Today, I feel like I am floating in calm waters again, but I'm well aware that the waves of grief could come back at any minute. So, I am going to enjoy these calm waters while they are here, and I'm going to go about this week, with grief and gratitude.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Piper Grace is Five Years Old

Yesterday, Piper turned 5 years old. It has been an incredible privilege to watch her grow. It has been an incredible privilege to be her mother.

At 5 years old, Piper is a little caretaker. She loves to help people. She loves to take care of her family and friends. She cares about the right things. She cares about making others feel included. She mentors others, teaches others, and fights for what's right and just.

Piper has a thirst for knowledge and I believe she has an understanding of things far beyond her years. Piper loves Jesus, and knows that He died on the cross for our sins. She knows that our Heavenly Father wants us to care for others, in the way He cares for us.

Piper loves to be around people. She is always asking us, "where are we going today"? She wants to be out, with others. She wants adventure. She loves to play, dream, and imagine. Piper loves all things "squishy". She has a container filled with squishy toys. She also has a container filled with various erasers.

Piper loves to go swimming. She loves to jump at the trampoline park. When the weather is nicer, she also likes to be outside for hours. Piper loves to make new friends at the park. She likes to venture in the woods at her Nina and Poppa's. She likes to run down hills and, explore in the creek. 

Piper is foodie. She tried seaweed snacks the other day, and loved them. She likes avocado toast and berries for breakfast. She's known to eat a pint of blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries in one sitting. She also loves chocolate cake and ice cream.

There is so much more I could share about Piper. We are so blessed to have her as our child. I am so proud of this little girl. The love we have for her is as close of an example here on Earth of how I imagine God loves us. Unconditionally, and forever.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Our Third Miscarriage

I don't remember this being so hard to write about, before. The last time this happened, the words came pouring out of me, just as fast as the tears ran down my face. This time is different. Every time is different.

We found out I was pregnant on my husband's birthday (12/30/19). I took three tests, just to be sure, before wrapping a positive test in tissue paper for his gift that evening. We were so happy to have another chance. Because, as we are well aware, that's all a positive pregnancy test is to us. A positive pregnancy test is not a certainty that we will be holding a precious baby in nine months, but it's a chance.

I hate that I couldn't immediately fall in love with the life growing inside of me, as I'd done three times before. As soon as I saw the positive test, a guard went up. All of these months since my last miscarriage I thought I was waiting for a positive test but, in that moment I found I was still going to have to wait. 

First, I had to wait to get bloodwork done the next morning (12/31). 

Then, I had to wait for the results, which would take an additional day because of the holiday (1/1/20). 

My pregnancy was confirmed with bloodwork but, I had to wait for more (1/2). 

My guard was coming down, I was able to talk about September (due date month), and how we'd be receiving a new baby while our first (living) baby would be starting kindergarten. I allowed myself to dream; to fall in love a little.

We got the results on a Friday that the HCG was increasing but, not doubling. My guard went back up. More waiting in the abyss of uncertainty. Each day felt like a month.

On Monday, another round of bloodwork (1/6). This time, the results came back in the same day. They came in through an email at 7:30pm while my doctor's office was closed. I couldn't check the number, myself. I handed it over to Nick. We were looking for a certain range of numbers. I couldn't even be near him while he checked. I stood across the room, studying his face for a clue of what the next moments, and remainder of our lifetime would bring.

I wish I could stop writing this story, now. I wish there was an alternative ending; an ending where Piper will become a big sister this year. But, no.

No, no, no. 

The HCG level dropped but was hanging around the same number. I wanted to scream and cry but, I had to wait. Piper was still awake. As soon as she fell asleep, I sat on the couch next to Nick and mourned it all in an instant. I cried a deep, gut wrenching cry. With my eyes squeezed shut, I gritted my teeth, balled my hands into fists and groaned from the depth of my being. If grief had a sound, I imagine it would sound similar to that deep groan of anger and sadness from that night. I remember catching my breath enough through the sobbing to growl the words "she's going to be 6" like an animal, while mourning Piper's loss. Because, as a mother who is miscarrying, we don't only mourn our loss. We mourn our husband's loss. We mourn our living child's loss. We mourn it all.

The next morning (1/7) we found out that since my HCG numbers were not falling or rising in the correct increments, it could mean that I was carrying an ectopic pregnancy. So, we were presented with the fact that not only were we losing another baby, but this loss could result in an emergency surgery and possible tube removal. But, we had to wait to find out what kind of loss this would end up being exactly. They wanted me to wait an entire week before doing another round of bloodwork. I sat with all of this information for a day. The longest day.

As soon as the doctor's office opened in the morning (1/8), I asked for more bloodwork to be done. I couldn't wait. I felt normal. Physically, I didn't feel like I was going to be miscarrying this pregnancy at all, but I had this acute awareness that it was coming to an end. I didn't know when, or how, and I've learned to stopped asking "why" a long time ago.

I finally found out "when" and "how", later that afternoon. As soon as I got in to my house from being out that morning, the familiar cramping and bleeding began. I don't feel guilty for saying that it felt like a relief for the wait to be over. 

The doctor's office called within the hour. The HCG had dropped significantly, indicating we no longer had to worry about the possibility of this pregnancy being ectopic. I was relieved to be experiencing "just a standard miscarriage", all things considered.

Now that some days have passed, I am so thankful that physically this has been the "easiest" miscarriage out of our three losses. Mentally and emotionally, however, I am wrecked all the same. Again. Of course.

Despite my fear, I know that God is good. I know that my hope is in Him, and He has also been gracious to give me undeserved hope for our future.

In my experience with grief, I know the days, weeks and months ahead will be all over the place. Some days, I will be so grateful to be feeling normal again. Other days, that same normalcy will feel like a slap in the face. Some days I will just want to sleep, all day, and maybe the day after that, as well. Some days, I will want to talk about it. Some days, I will not. There will be days where everything will be going fine and then, something will trigger a feeling like a gut-punch that makes me lose my breath, and makes it all crash down around me, and inside of me, again.

Today, I needed to write about it so I could move on, but maybe not in the way that you're thinking. Because I know that we don't move on from it, we move on with it. Loss becomes a part of us; it transforms us into something new.

God, please make this into something new.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Be Still and Wait

Full disclosure. I am writing this blog post on Tuesday afternoon at 12pm. I wanted to share that because there is something in my life that will be rapidly changing sometime soon, but I do not know when. It may have already changed by the time this post has gone live or, I may still be waiting for it to happen. I can't go into full detail yet but, I can say that my patience is being tested in ways like never before. I am in the thick of waiting, like never before. Waiting for an ending that is inevitable but, isn't quite finished yet.

With that being said, it has been hard to write. It's hard to write from a place of such uncertainty. There is no planning to be done, because I have to wait. All I can do right now is, be still, and wait.


Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

I can tell you that in this waiting, God is doing a new thing in my heart. My hope has been in Him more in this circumstance than while in the thick of anything quite like it before. To be in such a position, to have such awareness of complete lack of control, is so incredibly humbling. It's only in this position have I felt my faith grow in ways unexplainable. It has been a prayer of mine, that my hope would be in Him alone. It's the goal of all goals, and in this waiting, it's become a reality. My hope is in Him alone. Not in my circumstance, not my worldly securities - but in Him, alone.

Please pray for peace for our family in this time of uncertainty. We already have some friends and family doing this for us, and it's working. He is good.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year 2020

Happy New Year!! I had the best of intentions to blog more during Christmas break but, something came up that I'll be able to talk more about soon.

I do still hope to make blogging more of a priority this year. In order to do that, I think I need to build in a better rhythm for it. I use to try to wake up before Piper in the mornings to write. That might be the rhythm I need to reincorporate, so I have more dedicated time to process my thoughts.

This year, I am not making any big bold resolutions. If anything, I am just hoping to stay more in the moment this year. God gave me the words "Be Still" last summer, which is a hard practice for me. I am going to continue working on this in 2020. Monthly, if not weekly, retreats where I spend hours alone in the presence of God will be a big priority for this year.

I learned a lot about myself in 2019 and I would like to continue to build on my self-awareness in 2020. I began going to therapy after my miscarriage last summer, and I plan to continue therapy this year. I also took the enneagram test toward the end of 2019, revealing that I am a Type 6 - Loyalist. All of this self-awareness has helped me to better understand the way that I process things and has helped me to be more healthy-minded.

I am looking forward to starting 2020 on a healthy note. Contrary to the title of my blog, I don't only have a goal of losing weight while living life. I have a goal of being healthy so I can live my best life for God's glory, for myself, for my family and friends.

So, cheers to the new year! It's going to be a great one!