In April learning link up miscarriage monthly learning Things I Learned

Conference Hosting, VeggieTales Birthday, and Researching Babies (April Learning)

It's time to talk about what all I learning in April, while linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky!

1.) I do enjoy that whole "facilitating a conference" aspect of my job.
Except for "that guy." Every conference that I've ever done has that one guy who just can't get over himself and clearly still believes that men are the superior gender. I kind of despise him.
Otherwise, I enjoy my give out name badges, direct people to the correct room, make sure the fort is held down role!

2.) Kid's birthday parties are superior to all others.
Jace's 3rd birthday party was just at the local park with some pizza, homemade cupcakes and watermelon. He picked his own theme (Veggietales), helped decorate, and mostly just loved playing with his friends. It was an adorable day, and watching the kids laugh and run and chase each other with squirt guns was probably the highlight of my month.

3.) Adoption is only for those with money.
Let's face it, raising a kid is expensive. Didn't an article go around earlier this month saying something about how raising a kid costs about $250,000 over their life? Totally worth it of course, I'll spend whatever I need to for Jace. But since I had a second miscarriage in a row, and was told the odds of it happening again are 30%, I thought I'd just do a little research. The agencies that I found in Kentucky list a basic "fee chart." Between the home studies, applications fees, expenses paid to the birth parent etc, you need somewhere around $25,000 for a domestic adoption. To do international it's even more with higher and stricter rules.
For some countries you (and your spouse) have to be at least 30 years old, or have a net worth of $80,000, or "prove that you're a good Christian" to be considered by that countries adoption agency. Can I just ask how I'm supposed to PROVE my Christianity? And who gets to decide that?
In a nutshell, the research that I did just killed me a little more: it's taking the fragile self-worth of someone who has lost two babies and saying "Hey, let me decide your worthiness as a parent based on some things that you have no control over, like your age and the fact that your job only pays you X amount of dollars each year."

4.) I am not a reptile person, but Walter is pretty awesome.
Nathan has wanted a ball python for probably forever. Every time we go near a pet store he's all about the reptiles. I'm, well, just not. However, of all the reptiles, the bearded dragon looked least offensive. So when his sister asked if she could get him a little dragon as a birthday present, I halfheartedly said yes.
Well the little bugger has grown on me, and I'm actually pretty attached. He's fun, and even if he bites it doesn't hurt (thank you toothless reptile).

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In loss miscarriage

Being Okay with not Being Okay

Twice.

Twice now I've gone to an appointment, walked in believing I was full of life and full of promise, only to leave with the knowledge that instead of being full of life, I was a human morgue.

I know every woman responds to miscarriage in her own way, and my description probably only suits me, but that is the best way I've found to describe it.
My body has twice refused to accept that the human that was growing stopped. Twice my body has held on to the lifeless embryo that was supposed to be my bouncing baby. And so in the meantime, when I wait between the news and the D&C, my body is a morgue.

My body is empty now, it is my own again, and it feels very hollow. No amount of cookie dough makes a dent (confession, I've always always been an emotional eater).

And I, despite answering what feels like a million times a day, am not okay. I say okay because I don't know what other word to use and because I'm not okay with the fact that I'm not okay.

There's no rule book for how to grieve a miscarriage. When a relative dies, the whole family gets together, brings meals, remembers fondly all the great memories, plans the funeral, and is expected to do some crying, but also some laughing.

When a baby no one ever met passes on? There's no funeral to plan for, no fond memories to talk about. Thanks to a hush-hush miscarriage culture, no one knows what to say. It's isolating knowing that no matter how good your friends intentions are, they can't quite latch on to what you're feeling.

And talking about feelings, let's go there for just a quick moment. When the D&C was performed, I was 11 weeks and 2 days along. That's 11 weeks of pregnancy hormones coursing through me, meaning that my emotions are about as stable as my toddler walking in my highest heels. In a moment, I can be calm, then furious at the world. I can weep so deeply that my cries sound more like an animal, and then stand up and walk to a task that needs done with efficiency and poise.

I'm afraid that if I laugh, if I actually enjoy myself, that I'm not mourning properly. That I'm doing something wrong. But if I stay in my grief I worry that I'm making too much of the loss. After all, there are women that miscarry and never tell anyone, who am I to go on and on when other's suffer worse?

But that's the problem, I can't compare my experience to someone else because they are not me. And for me, in this moment, I am not okay. I'm not all right. And I am finding a way to let myself be okay with not being at all okay.

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In advice baby update miscarriage

What Not to Say to An Expecting Mom (After a Miscarriage)

This pregnancy is a blessing. An unexpected, sometimes terrifying, wonderful and amazing gift. But it's much much different for me than when I carried Jace. The pregnancy in between changed a lot.

When I got a positive pregnancy test in October, I was overjoyed. We had been trying for a baby, and I was thrilled. When March 3 came and I took a test, the positive line confused me. I didn't feel that carefree joy, I felt fear. I wondered if I could possibly do this again, if I could risk that pain another time. Part of me even thought it was false, so I took another test the following morning.

In October I went in for my first doctor's appointment confidently, hoping they'd do an ultrasound so I could see the little heartbeat and then announce to the world that we were expecting. This time I went in timidly. Despite trying not to, still detached from it. Hoping for an ultrasound for reassurance, but also afraid that they would because what if I saw no heartbeat again?

I know that this whole pregnancy, this entire experience, will be framed with the loss. But at the same time, I'm trying very hard to not let fear steal my joy, I'm working to be connected to and content in this pregnancy and with God (harder than it sounds for a control freak like me).

However, there are some moments that don't make it easier for me, and I know they aren't said to be mean, they're said because since miscarriage is such a hush-hush topic, no one knows what to say the next time around.

For me, personally, these are the things that get to me. And yes, they've been said to me.

1.) How's baby #2?
I know this is never said in a way meant to be hurtful, but in my mind and heart, I am not carrying baby #2. I'm carrying baby #3, while baby #2 resides in heaven. I was careful in all my announcement pictures, in everything, to never number this baby, because I no longer really know how to count. My pain, grief and love assure me that the one in heaven is and will forever be my baby #2. But to the world? Well if they never saw it, not even a bump, then to everyone else, it never really existed.

2.) So this one's legit? You're for real pregnant?
I was for real pregnant last time too. That baby just stopped developing too soon for me to even have ultrasound pictures. Having a miscarriage wasn't me crying wolf, it was me going through a tragedy.

3.) Again? Already?
Is there ever a "good" time to have a baby? A perfect or a right time? I don't believe there is, and I definitely don't think there's a perfect time to try for another baby after losing one. In fact, if I'm being very honest, I was actively not trying to get pregnant out of fear and uncertainty. That's where I firmly believe God stepped in because the plan for this baby, for its' whole life, does not lie in my hands.

4.) Do you think this one will be okay?
I have no idea. I fervently pray daily for baby Kouris' health and growth, but I prayed for the last one too. The bottom line is that whether this baby arrives perfectly healthy or not at all does not lie in my hands, no matter how religiously I take my prenatal vitamins and drink 64 oz. of water daily. Reminding me of that does nothing to help.

Otherwise I'm happy to talk about this baby: its' fruit comparison for the week, the strange cravings (pasta at 9:00am), and to image rocking her in my arms or nursing him to sleep. As I said before, I'm battling fear, but determined to win over it. I just wanted to point out some of the less helpful things that have been said to me because if I don't make it known that they bother me, how would anyone ever know?

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In April Fools Day miscarriage not funny

Before You Post that April Fools Joke

I distinctly remember my first real, true heartbreak. It was in high school, I was 16, and he ended it, completely blindsiding me, at a football game. I cried myself to sleep that night, but when I woke up in the morning, for about 30 seconds I felt normal. Then my thoughts caught up with me and I remembered the embarrassment, the hurt, the humiliation, and shocking pain. It all hit at once, temporarily crippling me.

I'm sure not everyone is that dramatic at 16, but when I was young I felt emotions in a much stronger way. Now that I'm older, I'm more used to them and don't feel nearly as strongly. Except one emotional punch that repeated for weeks last November.

In October, completely unexpectedly, I lost a baby. It shattered me in many ways, but nothing was worse in the weeks after than seeing the ultrasound pictures of Facebook. No matter how happy I would have normally been for the couple now expecting, each image now felt like a sharp punch to the gut, each one crippled me momentarily. Every image was an undeniable reminder of what my ultrasound had not shown. For weeks afterward, nothing felt worse.

Except when those ultrasound pictures weren't real. When they were something like this:



Yes, it's a turkey, but when you're scrolling social media on your phone you don't first see the turkey, you see the setup for the ultrasound, and the punch settles in. Then when you see it's a joke, something laughable to everyone else, the fury begins.

I don't have the right words to describe what it feels like to lose a baby. I don't care if you call it a "failed pregnancy", a "spontaneous abortion," or a "miscarriage," if you lose someone that you wanted and that you prayed for, it is a hurt that you cannot understand unless you experience it.

So with April Fools Day here today, think about what you're planning as a joke. I implore you not to be that person that cripples a friend because you don't know she's just miscarried or that she can't conceive. Every year I see it, and every year I've hated it, Not everyone is as open about their pregnancy issues as I have been, so even if my opinion means nothing to you, remember that 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, and out of the hundreds of friends who may see your April Fools joke, that means dozens of them could be hurt by it on a very personal level.

There are literally thousands of brilliants pranks out there, just search Pinterest and I bet you'll find dozens to do, but telling a lie and making pregnancy a joke is not an April Fools prank. 

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