Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Prayers Needed

I was sent this link by a girl on my board today. My heart just goes out to this couple and baby Kayleigh. Kayleigh was born weighing 1lb 1oz. The doctors have given them grim prognoses time and time again and each time God has intervened. Kayleigh is 5 months old and still in the NICU. She is in very critical condition right now and her parents are asking for prayers again.

They also need prayers for their finances as well. Both parents are real estate agents and we all know how that market is doing right now. They are facing huge obstacles, but nothing God can't overcome. Prayer does move the hand of God, I firmly believe that, so I ask you to join me in praying for this family.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The sound of a baby's heart

Love it! We heard it for the first time today...which means no ultrasound pictures, but it's good news nonetheless!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


To be honest...I completely forgot about posting the ultrasound pictures. Fatigue will do that to you. I'm assuming fatigue is a good thing, and I'm thankful for it! My back is better though. I actually heard it pop back into place. Yikes. But I'm just glad I was on my feet and moving again within a couple of days! At this point, I have my first doctors appointment with my OB on Friday. I'm hoping she'll do an ultrasound there and I'll post the pictures of that one--since the baby will have arms and legs at this point, rather than being a blob with a yolk sac. It amazes how quickly these babies grow. My transfer of a 4 and 6 cell embryo wasn't even 2 months ago, and I have a baby with arms and legs who is the size of a plum growing in me. It's amazing! So I'm hoping to get some pictures of that to post...We'll see.

Even with the excitement of the new baby, there are moments when times are hard and I miss the baby that would've, should've, could've been here this Christmas. I'm thankful we have the new baby. I think things would've been unbearable if we didn't. And I know that no matter how fun Christmas is here...Chase is having a far better time celebrating and dwelling with the Savior every single day. It's the only thing that gets me through.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Ultrasound

Well...after throwing my back out this morning, my joyous news is only hampered by the pain I have and the fact that I can't take any delicious painkillers to help me through...because...We had one healthy baby with a good heartbeat! I have been released to my regular OB, so she will begin my high-risk care. My first appointment with her is December 12. The baby was measuring 7 weeks and 2 days, which makes my estimated due date 7/8/09 :-). I'll try to post the ultrasound pics when my back is better and I'm moving again...based on the level of pain, it may be a week or two....Ouch!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Waiting for an ultrasound

That's right...I've been moved past the constant blood checks and into the queue for an ultrasound. November 21 we should be seeing the bean(s). My number yesterday was 780, that's a 155% increase. Yay! Now I can stop visiting the vampires every 3 days and just enjoy the pregnancy until the ultrasound. I'll keep you all updated.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Cautiously optimistic

My number today was 192. My RE says that he is cautiously optimistic, but wants me to do another blood draw on Monday. This is what the HCG calculator said about my rate:

The Two-Day hCG rise was 133 % and is considered adequate.

From what I've read they like to see a 60% rise...so I feel like I can be cautiously optimistic as well. Please keep praying. All of the kind e-mails and just knowing that so many of you are praying for us means the world to me.

Elsie and Baby Bean(s)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

HCG numbers

For those who aren't familiar with HCG numbers this is a good synopsis:


My number yesterday was 54. Apparently that's low, so I'll be going in Friday to make sure that my numbers are going up as they should. As you can see from the above article, numbers being low isn't a huge deal, but the nurse at the IVF clinic made it sound as though it was a sure sign of miscarriage. She even said "continue with the estrogen and progesterone for now" as though on Friday I would have to come off of it so that my body could get rid of the pregnancy. The following link has a guideline to HCG levels during pregnancy. I was 4weeks and 0 days on the day they took my blood.


As you can see from the chart, 54 isn't an awful number for a 3-4 week pregnancy. It's not as high as many first hcg tests, but that would make sense if the baby implanted late...and the baby implanting late makes sense when you consider that they were 6 and 4 cells. Most day 3 transfers are 7,8, and 9 cell babies. Mine were still shaking off the freezer burn.

So I'm trying hard to stay optimistic. God is in control, not the nurse. It was wrong of her to be so negative and make me feel negative about things, but thankfully God knew this would happen and has already given me the verse "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding"...from everything I've read about HCG levels, they don't mean much of anything unless they aren't rising. So I'm not going to lean on human understanding right now, but on the eternal God who knew this baby from the beginning of time and has a specific purpose for his/her life...no matter how long that life span is.

So I'm pregnant. Yay! I'll rejoice today and weep tomorrow if need be.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Rainbow Baby

On the loss boards that I lived on after Chase died, there was something called a rainbow baby. A rainbow baby is the baby that God gives you after you've lost your child. Just as the rainbow was the sign of the covenant between God and Noah that the storm was over and God would never flood the entire earth again, the rainbow is a symbol to those of us who have lost babies that God still loves us and He provides healing and restoration. On Saturday we were outside while Mike was smoking some yummy meat. It had been a rainy, yucky day. It was drizzling and we thought it was weird because the sky was cloudless right over us (although there were clouds surrounding us). While the sun wasn't out, I thought we might find a rainbow. In fact, I prayed for a rainbow just as a sign that everything would be o.k. And what a rainbow it was! I don't know how the story will end. Neither does anyone that God asks to walk by faith. It is frustrating, it is terrifying, it is good...because it is God's will that we learn to trust not on our own understanding, but on God's. I had none of the pregnancy signs I was looking for. I didn't think the cycle had worked. I told my husband our babies were with Chase. God has a different plan: Yes, it is tempting to be terrified of losing this baby after the loss I've endured. After all, I haven't seen a heartbeat, all I know is I have HCG in my pee. I'd love to see that line a little darker...to know for sure that my HCG levels were high and it is a healthy pregnancy, but God commands us to lean not on our own understanding, but in all our ways to acknowledge him and he will make our paths straight. My own understanding doesn't matter right now. I can analyze and try to remember if this line is lighter or darker than the one with Chase, but I would be overlooking the gift. The gift is a pregnancy. I'm thankful today. I'm happy to be pregnant today--no matter what tomorrow may bring.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise (PUPO).

Thank you for your prayers! God did provide 2 embryos out of the 4 we thawed. The other 2 didn't make it.

They were not as high quality as the embryos we put back when we conceived Chase, but I've learned that its not really about the quality. I've seen women with poor quality embryos get pregnant and women with high quality embryos end up without a baby. God will decide how my babies do.

So the babies. We'll call them 3m and 2p (they were rated a 3- and 2+ on a 5 point scale, last time we had a 3+ and 4-). 3m was a sloppy looking 6 cell...meaning that the bubbles/cells weren't perfectly rounded. Well, 3m's mama isn't very tidy either, so I say that one just takes after me...2p was perfectly round and beautiful, but since it was only a 4 cell (rather than an 8 or 9 cell), it got a lower score. My RE thought that that one may give us our best chance and may just turn out to be a slow grower.

I wish we had a scanner that worked, I'd post a picture of the babies...yep, they give you a picture to take home with you!

But that's what we're working with. For now I'm just thrilled to be PUPO!

Thank you, thank you, thank you all for your prayers!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Praying specifically

When I was in the hospital, and we were in limbo with regards to whether or not Chase would be able to stay in utero for a few more weeks, the nurse told me to pray specifically. So we did. And as the news got worse and worse we passed on specific prayers. God answered. Some of you may remember that my placenta was over my cervix. This is known as placenta previa. Normally, it would be cause for a C-section, but since I was so early in my pregnancy, a C-section was not a good option because of the type of cut they would have to do. It meant that if I ever got pregnant again I could never have even one contraction or my uterus could rupture--basically I wouldn't be advised to get pregnant again. The other option was a D&E. Pretty much an abortion.

At this point I became angry at God. It didn't seem fair that someone who had saved her purity for marriage and always been adamantly against abortion would have to undergo one for her very wanted baby. And in my anger I heard the whisper "pray". So we passed on to my college friends at least (the prayer warriors of my life), and I don't know if Mike passed it on to the church or not, to pray for a safe vaginal delivery.

As decisions rushed forward and we were transferred to another hospital that would be able to do the D&E I was hopeful. Despite everything the doctors said, I knew that God's hand could be moved by prayer and with other saints praying that He would act, He did. When we got to the new hospital they did one last ultrasound to see what they were dealing with. And surprise, surprise, they weren't dealing with placenta previa anymore. It had moved. At that point they went ahead and induced me for a normal vaginal delivery and 4 hours later, with no other incidents except for my fever rising, Chase was born.

God still works miracles. He answers prayers. And because I believe this, I'm asking that you pray for our embryos that will be thawed this week. We have 4. Last time we had 6 and we only got 2 good ones to put back. Of those 2, Chase was born. 4 seems like pretty low odds in light of that, but not in light of the God that we have. So please pray specifically that the embryos will thaw safely and develop as they should.

Our transfer is on Friday, at this point, I don't know what time. Please pray that God's will be done with the outcome. I know He is in control and He has a plan. If His answer is "no," I'm ready to accept that as well. My older son is running around playing with his truck. If that isn't testament to a faithful God, I don't know what is. So God's will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Brrr...Cold Babies

My Bible study has been studying Genesis. It has been so good for me to be reminded of God's hand in everything. Creation is amazing and it shows how God is a god of details. He is involved in everything. It is planned and has a purpose. Even when He created Adam and Eve and they sinned, he revealed his plan to save them from their sin through their son Seth. My aching heart has found healing in this reminder. God is a god of details. He has a detailed plan for my life too. One that was thought out before one of my days even came to be. One that was thought out when He spoke and there was light. God knows where this journey leads, and I am confident of that.

So in the midst of this lesson, I've been having some real-life testing. We went back last week to see if my cysts were gone and we could start a frozen embryo transfer (FET). They had shrunk, but they were still there. The RE told me to continue with the patches, and they took some blood to see what the cysts were doing. The results: The cysts didn't seem to be doing much of anything. My hormone levels were normal. That was good to hear. Even if I can't go through with the transfer this month, it looks as though my body is getting better instead of worse.

Today we went back again. The doctor could see a little more and 3 of the cysts appear to be outside of my ovary. Meaning that the doctor isn't worried about them one bit. The 4th cyst could be active and turn into an egg that is released. In this case, the cycle wouldn't work because my hormones would take over. That is the main concern right now.

So I go back on Friday to see if the cyst has gotten bigger. If it has, then we cancel the cycle and try again next month. If it hasn't, then it is inactive and we'll be free to do the FET next week.

Through all of these events, I've just has an overwhelming peace. Not a peace that we'll definitely be able to go through with the cycle this month, but a peace that whether we go through with it or not, God is in control. None of this is random. God has His perfect timing and whether that timing is this month, or some other time, I'm o.k. For the first time since we first suspected infertility problems, I'm really o.k. So now, instead of praying that everything will be fine to go through with the transfer, I'm just praying that God's will be done in the timing of our next baby. Because let's face it, he has a foreverview and I don't.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Perfect Job

I've done it. I've started working. It's perfect though because I can work as little or as much as I want...I've become a freelance writer! I just finished my first job and I've already landed a second one that may be more long-term if it works out well. It's perfect because I can take on as much or as little as fits my schedule and I can work when Aiden sleeps.

I have found, that since I've started working I'm depressed less during the day, but on two occasions now I have had nights where I dream that I am mourning Chase the entire night. I wake up crying. I suppose that's my body's way of grieving. And on Sunday I woke up to this crushing grief. I couldn't even go to church because church makes me cry anyway, and I didn't think I wanted to show up at the door already crying. So I stayed home. But the days, for the most part have gotten better. It is getting a little rougher as my estimated due date approaches (August 26), so I do covet your prayers for that.

And also, I want to mention my friend Sarah to you all. She reads here and has been a huge support to me during this loss (she has lost two little ones herself). Her little boy is trying to come early. I believe she is around 32 weeks right now, so just pray that he stays snug for a little while longer.

Alright my friends, thanks for checking in again. I know it's been awhile since I've posted, mainly because I've been trying to kick off this freelance business of mine and also because thankfully, the depression has eased so much for me during the waking hours. Love you all!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Just Chillin'

Thank you so much for your encouragement. The comments you leave remind me that I am not in this alone, I have some prayer warriors at my back! And it makes all of the difference when you are going through rough waters to know that others are there with you, holding you up with prayers.

So I'm trying to find ways to relieve my stress right now. It has been 2 1/2 years of nothing but stress so it's getting out of control. I tried out a yoga class at my gym yesterday. It was so relaxing...until I went to pick up A. from the Kidzone and he decided it'd be a good idea to do the opposite of everything I asked him to do. Oh well, whatcha gonna do? I loved it though, so I'll definitely go back.

I'm also trying to figure out what in the world I'm supposed to do right now with my life. A. is at the age where he should start preschool in the fall. I go back and forth on sending him. So what do I do with that time? Look for a job? I'm not sure if this is just supposed to be a time of peace and quiet and waiting or if I'm supposed to be going on with my life and doing something. I guess I'm entitled to a little peaceful waiting at this point, but I feel so unproductive with no infant to care for. A. needs so little from me these days that I wonder why I don't go get a "real" job. We'll see...

Friday, June 27, 2008

I give up

I can't do this anymore. I can't eat because birth control pills give me horrible canker sores on my tongue. I currently have two (after only 2 weeks), which means I'm on a liquid diet and slurring my speech. All of this for a drug that doesn't seem to be helping anyway. The thought of staying on the pill indefinitely while my sores get worse and worse is incomprehensible right now. So I give up. I called my RE's nurse today and asked if things would get worse if I went off of the pill and she kind of laughed and said, "it can't get any worse." Gee thanks...

So after talking to Mike we've decided that for both my physical and mental well being it was time for a break. We've got a beach vacation coming up with my family in September. I'd love to be svelte and thin by then. So I'm going to focus on my weight loss and let myself have a break from this. Too bad I can't just take a break from my grief. But really that is getting better. Yesterday was his 3 month anniversary, so it was a tough day, and today is tough, but overall things have been better.

Please when you remember us, just pray for a time of peace and rest in the coming months. It has been a long road, but we haven't had to travel it alone. God's goodness does not depend on my circumstances. He is good ALL of the time.


Well, my appointment didn't bring the good news I was praying for. Not only do I still have the cyst, but that ovary has produced about 5 more follicles, and it looks like I may have even ovulated (all of this while on birth control!). The IVF lab here closes from July 25-Aug 22. July 7 is the very latest that the cyst can be gone in order to get in by July 25. So I go back on the 7th. My RE told me "not to count on it" being gone. In fact, he wrote me a new prescription for birth control and included 2 refills, so that shows me what he really thinks about the chances of it being gone on the 7th.

So it's looking like it'll be the end of August before we can move forward with the FET (frozen embryo transfer). The good news is, they're having great success with the FET's lately. Last year they had a 50% success rate for my age group. So once we get that perfect environment for them, we do have good chances of success. That news lifted my spirits a bit.

It's always hard going to the RE's office. He works out of the hospital that Chase died in. The exam room yesterday smelled like Chase smelled when they handed him to me. It must be whatever they use to clean there...but it definitely is emotional every time I go there.

So I guess I'll just keep working on my weight loss...8 pounds to date...and I'll wait. I can't help thinking that it'd be pretty cool if I got pregnant while on birth control. Wouldn't that be the perfect end to the story? But then, that's my end, not necessarily God's end ;-)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Waiting patiently (again)...

Well, there will be no frozen embryo transfer in the near future. I went to the doctor on Friday only to find out that I have a huge cyst on my left ovary. I was a bit shocked by that. I've never had problems before and I haven't been on any fertility drugs for over 6 months. I can only attribute it (as I attribute everything else in my life) to God. For some reason, this is not yet the time. So I wait again. For the first time in 4 years I am on birth control pills. It seems counter-intuitive, but it's the best way to help the cyst dissolve.

I was really upset for the first 40 minutes or so after finding out the news. It is so hard to keep getting told that I have to wait even longer. But eventually I just felt peaceful about it. I don't know what's in store, but I'm tired of the process. I can't even get upset about it anymore because it is what it is. I can't change it. God is in control though, and I trust that this is the best thing for me at this time.

I'll keep you all posted. I have to go back in 2 weeks to check on the cyst. Once it's gone, we'll go ahead with things, but for now I'm waiting on God...again.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Starting Over

Now that I've been through two cycles post-miscarriage, I am able to move forward with fertility treatment. We weren't "not trying" the past couple of cycles. An "oops" would've been so welcome at this point. It just confirms for me that we need help in getting pregnant. It's hard, when you've been pregnant twice on your own, to think that you could really have a problem. But we do.

So we're going back in a few weeks to get our frozen embryos. It has been really frustrating to go through this again. All I could think as I was hounding the pharmacy for my drugs and trying to coordinate paperwork between my OB and RE was, "I shouldn't be doing this, I should be washing Aiden's newborn clothes and putting together a nursery."

I don't know that I have the heart to go through this for much longer. We're going to use up our frozen embryos. We only have 4, so I have a feeling that will only get us this one cycle (since 4 of my other 6 embryos failed to develop before). So this is it for us. As I look at the progesterone needles and cringe (those things are as long as my thumb and I still get phantom pains from my last IVF cycle where I had those shots) I remind myself that this is it.

I just can't do another round of IVF. Frankly, our insurance money is running out. You don't get a do-over if the baby dies, you still lose that money. And it's hard to think about draining our bank account for another round of what I just went through. I guess I'm just not brave enough.

So please keep us and our little babies in your prayers. It doesn't seem fair to lose Chase the way we did and not be given another baby to hold, but our God is just and sometimes that's not the same as fair. He sees a bigger picture than what I see. I trust that, but I've been asking Him a lot lately about how I'm supposed to go on now if I can't have another child to hold. I don't have an answer to that yet, but I know He hears my questions, and that's enough. He loves me. He's doing what's best for me. I just have to trust that.

In about 18 days (depending on how my body responds to the drugs), we'll be defrosting the babies and bringing them home in their mama. I'll be keeping you all posted because I really covet your prayers. There is a lot riding on this, though I'm trying not to think about that. For now, you can pray that my body does exactly what it needs to do to get ready to grow these babies.

Thank you, dear friends.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Good News!

Thank you all for your prayers. It has been so hard for me to get online long enough to post lately because I've been getting back to the gym each day...and for some reason that takes a chunk of time out of my day! But I wanted to let you know that the antibiotics did kick out my infection. Yay! Praise God! I was so worried when I found out that I still had an infection after all of those drugs in the hospital!

Thank you all for praying.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Praying and Waiting

I've been back to my OB for the test to see if the infection is gone. I should get the verdict in 1-2 weeks. So I find myself in a place of waiting again. I feel like it has been 3 years of waiting. I'm getting used to waiting.

The last time I was at my OB's office, she left the exam room to get me a prescription and didn't come back. I waited and waited. M. asked me if he should check and see if they forgot. I assured him that they wouldn't have forgotten me. They would need the room again, how could they forget? They were probably just busy. He finally had to go off to work for a meeting and still I waited. Finally, I thought I'd just step out and ask. So I did. And yes, they'd forgotten about me. The doctor had run off for a surgery. I had waited about an hour and a half for a prescription that I never got. That's how good I am at waiting these days.

So I wait and pray that the infection is gone. The verse "Be still and know that I am God" is with me constantly. I've been very still lately.

As far as surrendering goes, I'm getting there. Not by my own doing. I have found that I'm not able, but I find myself getting to a place of surrender despite my own inability to get myself there. It's not something I did or am doing. I prayed for it as you all suggested, and now it's as though I've woken up in a new place. My longing for a baby isn't gone, but as I see my sweet son A. each day I have moments that pass where I just feel content. Content, not in having one child, but in having 4 (that I know of). I believe that the other baby that we transferred to my womb along with Chase is also in heaven. So when I think of those babies that I will meet, and when I realize that each day brings me closer to holding them in my arms, I feel o.k. I birthed my baby straight into heaven. What a life he has! I am content here with A. and M. for now because I'll know my babies one day. Our meeting has just been postponed.

There are still hard moments. Times where I peek in on A. in his bed asleep, and as I'm returning to my room I pass the barren nursery and my heart aches. But the hard moments come with longer and longer spans of good moments in between.

I don't know if any of you have seen the news about Steven Curtis Chapman and his family. I heard on the radio yesterday that his 5 year-old daughter was struck when his son pulled into their driveway (or was backing out--I've heard two different versions). My heart broke for that family. I can't know what it's like to have a child taken from your life in such a way, but I do know what it's like to lose a child. So my heart breaks for the pain they're all feeling today. Please remember their family in your prayers. I know God will be glorified through this. I know the bittersweet moments of worship and communion they will have with their Father as a result of this tragedy.

It's not a path anyone ever wants to walk, but in walking it you do get to know the Savior in a way that you would never know Him without that loss. I think I was especially struck by the juxtaposition of grief and joy that I felt. Grief over the loss of my baby and never having the opportunity to know him, and joy that I have a Savior who conquered the grave. Joy knowing that Chase won't ever ache, joy for my son's gain, grief for my loss. It was such a strange mix of feelings. I have often wept and laughed simultaneously these past 2 months.

I will never be the same person I was...but that's a good thing. So I patiently pray that my infection is finally gone, and I wait for the answer. I wouldn't have done that before losing Chase, my Savior is molding me into an image of Him. I have a long way to go, but I know He's working.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I was talking to a well-meaning friend the other day. She told me that she thought maybe all I had needed during the past two years was to get pregnant to solve the question of my infertility. Now that I've been pregnant, maybe I'll be able to get pregnant again quickly. She even had a story of a friend who couldn't get pregnant and then got pregnant and was able to get pregnant again rather quickly despite the doctors grim prognosis that she would never have another child.

Trust me, there is nothing in the world I want more right now than to be pregnant quickly this time. But there's a problem with that. My desire should be to be able to say that there is nothing in the world that I want more right now than for God's will to be done. But I have a hard time saying that because it scares me. What if God's will is for me to have no more children?

My priorities are out of order and I want them back in line, but I just don't know how to let go of this desire to have another baby. My heart cries out for another baby. How do I get to a place where I can honestly say, God's will be done. Not that in my saying that I allow God to do His will. God's will will be done regardless of whether or not I "give permission".

But I want my life, my words, all that I am to glorify my God. If I can't let go of this desire, I fear that I won't be glorifying God. How do I come to a place of complete surrender?

I've come close. Every now and then I have peace and I begin to think that I'll be o.k. if our family is complete as it is. But then I walk into a store and see the baby aisle and the lump rises in my throat as the tears well in my eyes and the desire for another baby is back, mixed with the grief that I feel for the baby I buried. And once again, I'm reminded that there is something that I desperately want, and I no longer feel like I'll be o.k. without it. Surrender evades me once again as I clutch this dream back to my heart.

I'm going to be praying that I can come to a place where I can say, "not my will, but Yours be done" and mean it. In the meantime, I'm clinging to the promise of grace for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Infection...Part two

I'm in a bad place today.

Yesterday I found out that some swabs my OB did at my follow-up appointment came back showing that I have an infection. I don't know if I still have the same infection that caused my water to break, or if it's something new that grew once the antibiotics kicked out all of the bacteria in my body, good and bad. I've read that antibiotics can sometimes cause more harm by killing off even the good bacteria, which allows the bad guys to flourish if they get in there.

I'm heartbroken. I'm fearful. I just can't do any more bad news. It has been a long six weeks.

I thought we were going to be moving forward at this point. Now I don't know if we'll ever be able to have another baby again and I'm sick to my stomach over it.

The game plan is for me to be on antibiotics for 10 days. After the 10 days, I'll go back for another swab test. If it's negative for infection we'll move forward with a frozen embryo transfer next month. If it comes back positive, that transfer will obviously be on hold, but my bigger fear at that point is that this infection might be too big to get rid of. And I don't know what happens next if that's the case.

If you have time to pray, please lift me up. Please pray that God will remove the infection from my body and prevent recurrences. I just want to be healed. Losing Chase was bad enough, now I'm losing my health. What more can I lose without losing my sanity as well?

Like I said, I'm in a bad place right now.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I want control...or do I?

I keep asking myself what I did wrong. How could I get an infection? I take care of myself. I was exercising during this pregnancy and eating healthfully. I took my prenatals religiously. I don't do drugs, drink while pregnant, or sleep around...How is it that I got an infection?

Of course, I'll never know. The doctor doesn't even know. Only God knows. And it all comes back to this, that God is in control. I'm the typical oldest child, bossy, my-way-or-the-highway type of person. Ask my 3 year-old, he'll tell you! I want to think that there is something that I did to cause this, so that I can make sure that it doesn't happen again. And this is a trap. It sounds good though, doesn't it? I would love to find the answers so that I could protect myself from ever going through this again. But the truth of the matter is, that I should be glad that I'm not in control. How awful would it be to have to watch every move I made during the next pregnancy?

Then there's the issue of IVF (which was what we had to do after 2 years of infertility in order to conceive Chase). At first I really wrestled with this choice, wondering if I was taking things into my own hands. And then it dawned on me, that I could not create life. Who did I think I was? I could try the IVF treatment, but whether or not a baby was the result, was ultimately in God's hands. Did you know, they can inject a sperm straight into an egg and it still may not fertilize? God is in control...and that leaves me free to live! It leaves my husband and I free to pursue IVF treatment if we can't conceive on our own. It leaves me free to be pregnant again and not worry about anything that is out of my hands such as losing my next pregnancy in the same manner that I lost this one.

On my grief boards, I remember reading awhile ago that a girl was told by the "positive thinking" crowd, that if she'd thought positively while she was pregnant, her baby wouldn't have died. How ludicrous is that? But that statement gets at the crux of the problem with that philosophy. If my thinking can change a situation, then it's my fault when bad things happen to me. In my 2 years of infertility the most frustrating thing that people said to me to "help" was "you just need to relax and it'll happen". Because if I relax the sperm will swim in the right direction, right? Right. Wrong! I'm not in control! I could relax until I was a Zen master and I may not be as stressed about my situation, but the act of relaxing would not help me get pregnant. And it's freeing to me to know that my lack of relaxation techniques did not cause our infertility. What a burden that was to bear! To think that it was all my fault that we couldn't have another baby.

Thankfully, Jesus never told the blind man that if he'd just thought positively when he started losing his eyesight, he wouldn't have lost it. No. The man needed healing and Jesus knew that. Remember? It wasn't his fault, or his parents fault, but it was so that the Glory of God could be revealed. His blindness was not something he or his parents caused. None of them were in control.

This doesn't mean I'm going to flush my pre-natal vitamins down the toilet or anything. I'll take the precautions that I know to take, but in doing that, I may be left, even after doing everything right, without a baby. And that's a good thing, because it wasn't in my hands. If I could actually control the outcome of my life with my own actions, it would be a very scary place to be. And if tragedy occurred...How would I be able to move past the grief with all of the guilt I would feel knowing that I HAD been in control. Thank you Lord, for being sovereign. Thank you Lord, that I am not. Thank you Lord, that I can face a new day and maybe eventually another pregnancy knowing that it is in Your hands.

And that is why, I am working really hard at this point to move past the question of where I contracted that infection. Because it's not a good thing for us to be in control.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I haven't written much lately because I haven't had too much on my mind. Life has returned to "normal" for now.

I had my follow-up with my OB last Friday and learned pretty much what I already knew. I had an infection that caused my water to break. The good news is, these are rare to begin with and the odds that it would happen again are low. That's relatively comforting. I don't bet on the odds though after this experience. I just have faith that God is in control. It's the only way I can move forward.

So now I am back to the gym. Ow! It's amazing how out-of-shape you can get in just 4 weeks! And I'm back to my regular work around the house fixing dinner and caring for my 3 year-old. It's good to get back into a routine again.

I did find last night that the grief hit me pretty hard, and I've heard it can be like that at first because you don't have time to deal with the grieving process until everything is still and quiet, and that's when it hits you hard. Then I hear that one day you realize you didn't grieve at all that day. I'm still waiting for that step. This is a slow process.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Peace that Passes Understanding

So many people who go through something like this question God's goodness. Maybe I'll have that moment too, but so far it doesn't even make sense to me to question that. God is good. Chase is in heaven because God sent his own son to die. How could I possibly be angry about that?

God gave Chase to me for 18 weeks. It may not be as long as I wanted, or as long as it should be if sin hadn't entered the world, but it was still 18 weeks of having a child in my belly. After 2 long years of infertility, I enjoyed every minute of that. How can I be angry that the God who gave Chase to me decided to take him away? Jonah got mad at God for taking away a vine that God had provided for shade. God called him out on that..."Hey, Jonah! Who do you think caused the vine to grow? What right do you have to be angry about this?" And I find myself in the same situation. Who do I think gave me this child? What right would I have to be angry about this? I just don't find a place in my heart that thinks God is at fault.

God miraculously guarded my fertility. This is really important because we've been infertile for two years. We had to have IVF done in order to conceive Chase, and odds are, we'll have to go that route to become pregnant again. The fewer complications we have added to our list of current issues, the better. My Reproductive Endocrinologist was very pleased with the outcome of a very scary situation that didn't look like it had a good ending.

After being diagnosed with placenta previa, I had 2 options when my water broke and an infection set in. Have a c-section, which would make subsequent pregnancies extremely high risk due to the classical cut they'd have to do (since my uterus was so small at only 18 weeks), or have a D&E and risk scarring of my uterus, which makes it harder for a fertilized egg to implant. One doctor even threatened me with a hysterectomy if things went very downhill. Not one person brought up the possibility of a normal vaginal delivery. But we prayed for it, and we asked our friends and family to pray. God answered. The placenta completely moved within 24 hours and not only did I have a normal delivery, it was an uncomplicated 3 hour labor. How do I shake my fist when I was part of a miracle like that?

And above all else, my son is not dead. He's in heaven. I'll see him again. All because God provided a way. How do I get angry at God? I just can't figure out the logic on that one. God is good ALL of the time. Yes, even in this...God has been good. This is what the Bible means when it speaks of peace that passes all understanding. This is what is meant by building your house on a rock. The storm has come, but because my life is built on the rock of Jesus, I am able to have joy. This life is temporary and when I've been in heaven 10,000 years, this will all be a distant memory. That's why the storms can blow, but through God's grace (not my own works), my faith isn't shaken.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Unmarked graves

My baby doesn't get a headstone. This bothers me.

We went down to the graveyard today just to see Chase's grave site and grieve for a bit. We hadn't been back since we'd buried him. For those of you who don't know how it's done when you lose a baby this young, the babies who die before birth, or shortly thereafter are buried in one mass grave every six weeks. That's how it's done around here. They aren't given a headstone with their names. I don't understand why. I'd fork over the money for all of those babies to have their names known. The good thing is that the burial and everything is taken care of by benefactors, so it's all free. You don't have the financial burden of an unexpected funeral on top of the shock of losing a baby. But the literature from the funeral home said that they don't allow stone markers with the names of the babies on them.

I noticed today that some of the other babies grave sites had small monuments or stone markers with Bible verses on them. Mike and I are thinking of doing something like that for Chase's site. Maybe we'll work the word "chase" in there and accidentally capitalize it...I LOVE his name--we can be nice and sneaky with it.

But we get back to the issue at hand. Why can't we put their names on stone and memorialize it? Is it because abortion is still legal at 18 weeks, so he isn't really a person yet? He was born alive. He lived in this world for a few minutes. Why can't I put a stone up so people know that there was a Chase Lukens Hall on this earth? That's what makes this so hard. In a few months, no one else will remember my baby. It'll already be as if he were never here once they replace the turned up dirt with sod.

Maybe there is a valid reason for this. It said in the literature that we got that they don't do it so they can mow. But every other grave in this graveyard has an aboveground headstone. So that reason doesn't seem to fly. Maybe there's something I don't know about mowing graveyards. But it doesn't seem right to leave my very loved and much wanted baby buried in an unmarked grave.

The only way I get through this, is because I know that while his body is there, his soul is not. And I'm sure Chase is not one bit worried about not being known on earth, since he is now known in heaven. But his momma's heart sure breaks over that grave site.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


This used to be my favorite day of the week. Aiden and I would go to Bible study and afterwards we'd go out to eat with my friend and her two kids. Then we'd come home for late naps and soon after we woke up Daddy would be home. It was the best day of the week.

Now I hate Wednesdays. 3 weeks ago today we lost Chase. 2 weeks ago today we buried him. I'm beginning to realize that Wednesdays are bad days. I wake up weepy. I feel on the verge of crying all day long and I spend the day trying to function for Aiden's sake. It's a day when I just pray for the strength to make it from one minute to the next without weeping.

I didn't realize it would be like this. In fact, when I first was grieving I didn't even know what day it was and all of the hospital days ran together for me, so I had to really think about the order of things to figure out which day was which. But now that my mind isn't clouded with drugs, I have it all straight. Wednesday is not good to me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


It's really hard when something like this happens not to have guilt over it. I'm realizing though, that guilt is a sin. Guilt implies that I think I had control over Chase's death. Experiencing guilt means that I'm putting myself in the place of God because I think I could have actually changed the situation. Whoa! That's definitely not what I want to do.

There really is nothing to be guilty about. I called the doctor the day my cramping started. I called again when the cramping became a strong backache and I had some other strange stuff going on. I was told it was normal. I went to the ER the minute I saw blood. I was told I was fine and that I wasn't going into labor anytime soon. The next morning my water broke. So I did all I could to let the doctors know that something was off.

I was not in control of this. I'm never in control, even when I think I am. God is sovereign. I don't believe for one second that He wanted this to happen. I do believe He allowed it. I don't know the reasons. That's because I'm not in control. Being out of the control seat is a good place for me to be!

Monday, April 14, 2008


It's the quiet time of day for me. Aiden's naptime. It's the hard time of my day because I can sit and be still. No interruptions. This is when I relive the moments of Chase's life, and inevitably the circumstances around his death.

This is when I want my baby. I want to be sleep-deprived and struggling through the first weeks of nursing. Don't get me wrong, I would never blame a tired new mom for complaining about these things that I want. I've been there, and I know it's painful. It's just that this pain is so much worse. I'll be the meekest new mom you've ever seen when the time comes again. I hope I get another chance. After 2 years of infertility, it's hard to keep my chin up about that.

I've heard so many times how lucky I am to have Aiden. And I am thankful, I'm not denying that blessing for a minute. It's just that it feels like people try to minimize the pain that I feel over losing Chase, just because I have another child. It's not like you can swap them out. Chase would have had his own temperament, ambitions, and likes. I mourn the loss of who he was. Does that make sense?

Glory Baby and Held lyrics

I stumbled on the lyrics to Glory Baby a few weeks ago and made Mike buy the song for me. I wanted to include the lyrics here because it's been so healing to me to be reminded that A) it's o.k. to miss Chase and B) He is taken care of in heaven.

Glory Baby

Glory baby you slipped away as fast as we could say baby…baby..
You were growing, what happened dear?
You disappeared on us baby…baby..
Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe until we’re home with you…
Until we’re home with you…

Miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there’s a
day when we will hold you
We will hold you
You’ll kiss our tears away
When we’re home to stay
Can’t wait for the day when we will see you
We will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘till mom and dad can hold you…
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do

Sweet little babies, it’s hard to
understand it ‘cause we’re hurting
We are hurting
But there is healing
And we know we’re stronger people through the growing
And in knowing-
That all things work together for our good
And God works His purposes just like He said He would…
Just like He said He would…

I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies
and what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home
And it’s all you’ll ever know…all you’ll ever know…

I can't take credit for finding this one. My friend Melanie actually sang this song for Mike and I and sent it to us as an MP3. It was the first time I'd heard it. I wish I could get the one she did up here, but I'm not that technologically advanced. She changed the lyrics a bit to fit our situation. It was such a sweet gift to us.


Two months is too little
They let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling
Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
Were asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held
This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held
If hope if born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our savior
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held
[Repeat Chorus]

Both of these songs are on the playlist that I set up, so you can hear them for yourself if you'd like.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


When we chose Chase's name, we hadn't discussed too many names yet, but we suddenly found ourselves in a time crunch to choose quickly after my water had broken and I developed a fever. Chase was doomed from the minute my water broke because I had an infection, which is what caused my water to break in the first place. The risk of the infection causing my death went up the longer he remained in my body, so suddenly we had to deliver my sweet boy. And we wanted a name.

We wanted our little boy to have THE name. You know, the one we'd have given him if we'd carried him to term and delivered a healthy baby. Chase was our favorite, and so it was decided. It was only recently that I started thinking about the meaning of the word "chase". And now, I don't think we could have found anything more appropriate if we'd had months to think about it.

Chase-to pursue in order to seize, overtake, etc.

Chase...Isn't this life referred to as a race in the Bible?

1 Corinthians 9:23-25--I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

The analogy of this life being a race has stuck with me since I was a track athlete in high school. The race was a one time chance. There are no do-overs when it is finished. That is why you lay it all out there on the track and despite the pain, you push yourself to new heights of speed and endurance. So it is with life, and now we give chase to attain the heights that have been reached by those who have gone before us. And Chase is now one who has "gone before". What a time it will be when we finish the race and no longer have to chase the child who left us behind!