Monday, October 15, 2012

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Today is a day set aside for all the mothers who've ever suffered the loss of a baby, whether it be during by miscarriage, still birth, or after birth.  No woman ever hopes to be a part of this day.

You can read about how the day was set aside by President Reagan here.  I've always liked Reagan & learning he was the one that made it an official day to remember just adds a whole lot more points.

Thing is, any mother can tell you that she doesn't need to have a day set aside to remember her loss(es) because she remembers  Or at least I do.

I don't cry about it everyday.  It's not the very first thought in my head each morning or the last thought when I go to bed.  But I can pretty confidently say that at some point & in some way every day I am reminded of what I've been through from losing 6 babies.

Miscarriage, to me, is a kind of journey.  There are good days & bad days.  And then there are really bad days.  I can look back & see when I was in some really bad days.

I don't see my journey being over just because I've been blessed with 2 precious girls.  I could still face another miscarriage in the future.  The odds aren't really in my favor.  But as I've said before, I'm so glad that those odds mean nothing to God.

I'm at a place now where I don't stress over how to explain how many babies I have.  I don't stress about where they are.  I choose to believe that they are in Heaven but really I have no proof of that (and I don't say that to upset anyone or start a debate; it's just what I believe).  I don't stress over who they are.  Which were boys & which were girls?  What are their names?  Some recommend to give names to miscarried babies.  I don't think my situation would work well with that.  Had I actually known the sex of any of those babies then we probably would have named them.  But not naming them doesn't mean they mean any less to me.

I've never done some sort of charm or ornament or anything that's meant to be in remembrance of each baby.  And I have no issue with anyone who's done that.  I would have a necklace or bracelet with 6 charms on it.  And sadly I know that I would possibly have to add more to it.  And I just can't stomach the thought of adding to it.  And again, I don't need something like that to remember them.  I've thought of someday, when we know we're done having babies, getting something that is some sort of "memorial".  Or really it would be for remembering that period of my life that God brought me through.

I think really what I would rather do is get a charm with the date June 5, 2009 inscribed on it.  That was the day that we got our first blood results back after learning we were pregnant for the 7th time & had incredibly high numbers.  That moment was one of the best moments because I had hope again.  So maybe that's what I'll do someday.  I'll have a charm made with that date & the word "hope" inscribed on it.

At 7:00 tonight everyone is supposed to light a candle in remembrance of babies lost.  Will I be doing that?  Probably not.  Call me a rebel I guess for not wanting to do something because I'm being told to do it.  I'm just going to focus on the precious blessings God has given me & continue to thank Him for those miracles & the hope that He gave me.  But again, this is just where I am on my journey.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Duggars' Loss

I realize this is old news regarding the Duggars miscarriage of what would have been their 20th born child but I just watched the episode of their show 19 Kids & Counting that focused on that loss.  And I'm just overcome with so many emotions about this family but particularly on this mother, Michelle Duggar, & I just have to write about it.

The Duggars are a Christian family that have 19 kids.  Having that many kids is just unheard of these days & has brought them a lot of criticism.  People say their irresponsible, that they're to blame for the earth's over-population (really?!), that they are more focused on having as many babies as possible than on the children God has already given them.

I'll admit that sometimes I've judged them.  Well, really, I say we are all guilty of judging people whether we admit to it or not.  It's just human nature.  But anyway, I'll admit that I've thought they must be crazy to still be having kids.  Michelle is 45, had pre-eclampsia in the last pregnancy resulting in baby Josie being born at 24 weeks (she's now a thriving 2 year old), & I believe has been pregnant now 19 times, with 2 of those pregnancies being twins.  That's a lot on her body.  And her uterus!

But watching this episode has made me look at her differently.  This is a woman that deeply loves her children.  ALL her children.  Each one is precious to her.

When I had miscarriages I felt like it was harder for me because I didn't have a baby yet.  I just felt that if I at least had one it wouldn't be as hard.  It's not to say that another mother who has children already doesn't grieve.  But it's all I've known.  I'm so blessed that God hasn't allowed us to go through another miscarriage yet & has given us two healthy girls in a row.

Watching the emotion that Michelle showed on camera showed me that she truly loved this baby.  It's weird because it's not like I really thought she didn't love baby Jubilee.  But seeing that much emotion was amazing to me.  How dare anyone criticize this family!

I also commend the Duggars for being brave to show this to the world.  Infertility & miscarriage is still seen as something to keep quiet about.  So when I hear of "celebrities" that are dealing with infertility I'm sad for them but also happy that they are open about it.

What also got to me was when Jim Bob & Michelle came home to tell their kids that the baby had died.  Should I get pregnant again Shaylin will be even older so she's going to understand a little bit better & I hate the thought of having to tell her that we lost a baby.

Lastly I could see their faith in God.  They grieved as anyone should expect but they showed no shame in their trust that God was in control.  Right after Michelle was told that there was no heartbeat she said "The Lord giveth & the Lord taketh away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord".  And then they prayed together.  I'm ashamed to say that was never my immediate reaction.  They also leave their fertility future to the Lord.  I think they make it clear they don't necessarily "try" for another baby.  They just live their lives & if it happens, it happens.  They don't let their age or money or the number of children they already have get in their way.  They know that God will work it all out.  And here I'm 32 & worry if I can handle having anymore babies.

So after watching this episode I'm inspired.  I'm inspired to be a better mother.  She's got 19 kids.  My 2 aren't that much of a handful.  I'm inspired to be a better Christian & to rely more on God than I currently do.  And I'm inspired to be less judgmental of the choices other moms make.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Running Goals

And now for my running goals, because I didn't want this in the last post.

Unless I find a real cheap race any sooner, my first post-partum race will be the Run 4 Justice 5k on October 27.  I ran it back in 2011 but it was in February that year.  This will give me over 2 months to work on my pace so I can finally achieve my goal of running a 5k under 30 minutes.  On the treadmill I'm already very close to it.  If it wasn't for our ridiculous heat I'd give it a try outside.  But I'm going to wait at least another month before I attempt an outside run.

I would like to find a 10k after that.  I've actually never run an official 10k race.  Weird considering I've done a half & full marathon.  So I'd just like to find one just so I can say I did it.  And hopefully if it's after my sub-30 5k then I can do the 10k under an hour.

The big race I'm going to be working towards is a half marathon in January.  I have a friend who's also planning to run it & he lives very close to the course & says it's hilly.  So not only do I need to work my way up to 13.1 miles in 5 months but I've gotta get stronger for hills.  I'm really not worried about the distance.  That I know I can do, although I would like to run it at a 9:30 pace if possible.  Official training for it would probably have to begin in November so I still have some time.  But by November I need to be at a minimal of 7 miles for long runs.  That's 4 miles I have to add to what I did today & with 3 months to do it that shouldn't be a problem.

There's one more goal further down the road & that's to run the same full marathon that I did almost 2 years ago.  It would mean summertime training but I still feel like I need to redeem myself for that race & greatly improve my time.  That training wouldn't begin till June of next year so I have lots of time to get myself in condition for it.

So those are my goals now that I'm done with Couch to 5k.  Goals give me motivation to get on the treadmill 3 times a week.  As much as I love to run I really to struggle some days to do it.  So if you want to run I would encourage you to find a race & work towards it.

My Review of Couch to 5k

Just about 10 minutes ago I finished the Couch to 5k program.  I'm exhausted & need a shower but I'm gonna write my review first so I can cool off.  Because I know you're just dying to read my review!

Overall it's a great program & perfect for someone wanting to run a 5k.  The first few weeks are a good slow progression.  The first week has the running time at only 1 minute each time.  That was really easy for me.  But eventually it builds.

At first I thought it was building too fast.  I mean, at the end of the 5th week I had to run a solid 20 minutes!  And that after only doing a couple 8 minute runs earlier in the week.

But I figured out why it was so difficult.

I was going too fast.  The program says to not worry about pace but I kinda ignored that.  But those 1 minute runs at a 10:00 pace seemed so easy.  So that's when I eventually bumped it as fast as a 9:13 pace.  That felt great until I got to the longer runs & suddenly I was burning out really fast.  I tried slowing to a 9:31 pace but it was still too fast.  Eventually I was back to the 10:00 pace again, which was still faster than I was pre-pregnancy.  It just wasn't as fast as I had wanted to be.

I've wanted to get down to a 9:30 pace for a long time.  It would guarantee a 5k under 30 minutes, a half marathon just over 2 hours, & a likely 4 hour 30 minute full marathon!

But I'm just going to have to be patient & slowly work my way to it.

So would I still suggest a newbie to do Couch to 5k?  Absolutely!  I would just suggest finding a pace right away that isn't too easy but one that isn't leaving you huffing & puffing.  The ultimate goal is to run a 5k without stopping.  So finish the program & then work on the pace.

Monday, July 30, 2012

4 Months

Jillian is 4 months old today.  She is such a sweet & precious baby.

  • She smiles at us all the time & "talks" & coos a lot.  
  • She's learned to roll over from her tummy to her back.
  • When she's on her tummy there's a lot less fussing because she's holding herself so well now.  You can tell she likes it because she's able to look around or if I give her a toy she can play with it.
  • She's learning to reach out for things.  When she lays on her activity mat she grabs hold of some of the toys hanging down.
  • Tomorrow is her 4 month well visit so I don't know her stats yet.  I do know that she's over 12 pounds though.  And so long!  She's been wearing 6 month clothes for a while now & already seems to be outgrowing the sleepers.  When she stretches her legs the sleeper isn't tight but definitely running out of room.  But other clothes like onsies are really lose.  So I think her length is all in her legs.  This she did not get from her momma!
  • She's still sleeping in our room but will be moving to her room very soon.  We've had a busy month & I'd like to get us back in our old routine before I make the big switch.  She's been sleeping through the night for a while now so I know she's ready.  I don't think I am though.  I cried the first night we moved Shaylin out & I'm sure I'll do the same with Jillian.
  • Although I don't intend to introduce solid foods to her for another 2 months, I'm going to start researching how I want to go about it.  I'm strongly considering skipping all the cereals altogether, or at least skip rice cereal.
With Jillian turning 4 months today it also makes me reflect on her birth, or more specifically my birth experience.  In some ways I feel like I shouldn't be too amazed that I did it all natural seeing how that's how it was done for hundreds of years.  But I am amazed!  I accomplished a goal that was very important to me. And it really has made me feel like a stronger person since coming out of it.  It's also given me such a passion for natural birth.  I read so many articles posted from some Facebook groups that I follow & just eat it up.  I don't know if God may someday have me to work in the birthing field but my interest in definitely peaked.

Monday, July 9, 2012

My Cleaning Schedule

Apparently my last post was my 100th post.  Woo hoo!

Going from 0 to 1 kid was tough.  Going from 1 to 2 is way harder.  It's taken me a long time to find a routine.  And really I'm still working on it.  Some mornings both girls wake up before 7.  Other mornings like today they both sleep till 8:30.  A lot of mornings Shaylin wakes up long before Jillian.  So that alone makes it difficult to find a good routine for us.

Sadly the more days we just stay home the better we seem to function.  Or maybe that's just me.  It's not easy when one child needs 2 naps a day & the other only 1.

I've been able to keep up with my running pretty well.  Hopefully Jillian can become more predictable soon so I can wake up, pump, run for 30 min. & shower all before she wakes.  Until then I'm squeezing it in when I can.  Today I had to wait till both girls were down for naps.  Not my favorite time to run but it's just how the day went.

Most important to me was finding a cleaning routine again.

Is it obvious yet that I thrive on routine?

I've always had a laundry routine & after Shaylin was born I slowly added a cleaning routine.  I thought I was going to be able to keep up with it during this last pregnancy but that goal quickly failed.  Oh well.  It's hard work growing a person!

It's been over 3 months since Jillian was born & at this point I pretty much got a good cleaning & laundry schedule.  Throw in running or working out & I have a full week.  Here's how my weeks typically look:

- grocery shopping
- girls' laundry
- run

- wash towels
- workout
- dust & vacuum

- change sheets on all beds & wash dirty ones
- run

- sweep & mop kitchen & bathroom floors
- clean bathroom sinks, toilets, & showers
- workout

- mine & Jeremy's laundry
- clean mirrors & sliding glass door
- dust & vacuum

On top of this, every morning I empty the dishwasher, after the girls go to bed I clean up the kitchen, make Jeremy's lunch for the next day, & every other day I wash Shaylin's cloth diapers.  I'm trying to actually vacuum more than twice a week since I have a constantly shedding dog.  And I'm trying to find one day a week where I do "projects" that I've been meaning to do, like file medical bills.

Sometimes on Saturdays I'm still working on laundry but usually it's just a matter of putting it away & doesn't take very long.  And of course I run on Saturdays, too.  But what I love about my cleaning schedule is it keeps me from having to do any of this stuff on Saturday or especially Sunday since that's the Lord's Day, not mine.

What's also great about keeping up this schedule is most activities don't take me that long because I do it every week.  I just never want to have a day where I'm doing load after load of laundry.

This certainly can't work for everyone.  And I don't always stick perfectly to it.  The crazy problem I have is if I miss a day, let's say Thursday's cleaning stuff, I won't do it the next day.  I'll wait a whole week so they will still be done on a Thursday.  Yes, I really am that crazy!

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2

If I want to post a new status update on Facebook, before clicking on the box it asks "What's on your mind?".  Rather than posting it as a status, I'm writing a blog post.  

Today is July 2.  It has significance to me.  It's a due date of one of the precious babies we lost.

But the problem is that I can't remember which baby the due date belongs to.

And that bothers me.  A lot.

I really haven't retained all 6 due dates.  Or the dates that we lost each baby.  That's just a lot of information to keep in my head.  There are certain ones that I will never forget, like the day we learned we lost our first baby (May 2, 2007) or that baby's due date (December 21, 2007) or baby #3's due date (December 3, 2008) or baby #6's due date (September 9, 2009).  But the rest I have a rough idea.  And I've been ok with that.  So why am I so bothered that I can't for the life of me figure out if July 2 was baby #2's or baby #5's due date?!

I'm not beating myself about this & in the end I'll be ok.  I know I'm still a good mother & I'm only human.  It's just another reminder that no matter how many years go by or how many of my babies are born, the painful sting of miscarriage will always be there.