This blog is small glimpses into my heart and soul - attempts to be transparent with friends, and sometimes, to myself. This is my safe place, where I can come and be purely Ness.

Family: If you found your way here, please do me a favor and don't poke through my closets, ok?

Friday, November 15, 2013

About Twitter, For Twitter

Twitter can be amazing. Twitter is amazing. There are times when Twitter has been my sanity  - almost literally. Twitter friends have talked me through anxiety attacks and depressive days. They've been an amazing resource for so many different topics, but especially with everything infertility and loss related, Twitter has been my go to for information, sympathy, support, and understanding. I was on Twitter before my life became consumed by these things, but when it did was when it really shone.

I haven't been on a lot over the past months. There's been a few different reasons behind that I think.
Some of my irl connections have been growing. I wouldn't say I have any "close" friends yet, but connections are growing, so I often don't feel quite as alone.
Depression hasn't been as close. I don't need the support there that I have in the past. Anxiety still happens from time to time, but overall I've been doing better.
I'm in a new stage of my life. This baby coming is amazing and I know my tweeps celebrate with me, but I always feel nervous about how much to say. I don't want to over share or overwhelm. I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable or sad with my tweets about pregnancy or baby, so I don't tweet so much.
And really, it's a bit of a chain reaction - I'm not on as much, so I feel less connected. I feel less connected, so I'm not on as much.

I joined Twitter originally as a place to share and vent about things I couldn't often voice in the rest of my life - a place to just be me, hence the username @justpureness. Well, it's not really pure Ness anymore. I've gradually found myself becoming quiet on this topic or that one, hesitating to retweet this piece of information or pass on that article. Most of the time, there was enough else going on that it didn't really matter. I was connecting in other places on other subjects with the friends I'd made, and the things we might disagree on didn't take up enough space to make a difference. I feel like as I become a "new parent" again, that it's going to change. I'm afraid the divide might grow, and the things that consume my time and thoughts will be a greater cause for conflict should I speak on them.

I don't want to lose the friends I've found, or the relationships I've built. They're important to me. You're important to me. I've gotten to know so many incredible people through Twitter and I care about you and what happens to you. I don't plan to abandon my account - now @infertileness - and I'll likely still check in about the same amount I am currently, doing my best to keep in touch and be a support to friends there, although I know I haven't been doing super great at that lately either. I'm sorry.
But, I think I need to start fresh. I need a new account where I can be me a bit more. Me, a person who thinks Jesus is important, and if I don't spend time with him in my day it's just not as good of a day. Me, too conservative for most, and too liberal for the rest. Too religious for some, but not "biblical" enough to please the other end. I'm pretty crunchy, using vinegar to clean, baking soda shampoo, cloth diapers, and even cloth kleenexes, but you can find disposable diapers, Mr. Clean erasers, and all kinds of non-organic products in my house. I'm a fan of Firefly, Nathan Fillion, Wil Wheaton, and The Bloggess, but am content to never watch Star Wars more than the once I have, or another episode of Dr. Who (much as I wanted to love it). I think people who say grains are bad for you are most likely right, and I agree that paleo is probably healthy, but I still eat bread every day. I think processed food is bad for you, and that real food counts more than calories, but we have a "snack cupboard" full of sugar and chips. I'm a non-vaxxer, but not anti-vax. I think cry it out is hard on everyone, and doesn't usually have high success rates, but I know one size doesn't fit all. I've yet to be convinced that spanking is a good tool, but I don't think parents who use it are abusive. I'm frugal, but I love new stuff. I love nature, but I'm not so great at getting out into it. I love to sing and read, but somehow don't do a lot of either one anymore. I'm planning a home birth, but if it scares you, I don't think you should do it yourself. I think "screen time" isn't great for kids, but struggle to keep it from being all my son does. I love accessories - necklaces and earrings, scarves and hats, but on an average day, you're much more likely to find me in a comfy shirt and jeans with my hair in a pony tail.

I'm pretty passionate about many of these topics, and a few even more controversial ones that I didn't mention, but I've leaned to not be so dogmatic in my approach to them. I make the choices I think are best for me and my family, but I don't think everyone has to agree with me. I do however want to be able to talk about them, even vent or rant about them occasionally, without living in fear that someone will be pissed off at me for it. So I'm starting a new account. I won't be surprised if I lost followers just from what I've written already, although I hate that that might be true, but if none of that phases you, even if you don't agree with it all, please come follow me at @therestofness. If any of it makes you uncomfortable or upset, I hope you'll stick with me at my original account where I won't talk about it any more than I do now. I hate conflict, and online debate is the worst of it for me, so I'm not looking to get into it with anyone, I just want to be able to share the truth of how I think without spending a lot of time worrying about how it will be received. Honestly, I'll probably still worry a bit about what people will think - I'm too much of a people pleaser - but to generally feel safe with these things and not disliked for them would be nice.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Love of God

A family on Twitter experienced a second devastating loss, the kind of loss that shouldn't ever happen, but it does. Far too often. And hearts are breaking around the world.
I see so many friends wondering where God is, and why he does nothing. Where are the miracles and the blessings for these faithful people? I want to make it better. I want to take all the hurting people, all my aching friends and wrap them in a hug, give them the answers and peace their hearts long for. But I don't know why God chose to not give life here, why he didn't stop this tragedy, or the million other great and small tragedies that happen every day; why he didn't prevent the grieving hearts that so many of my friends have from their own losses and from sharing in the losses of others. I don't why he didn't choose one of my six babies that went before. Why my heart broke so many, many times.
But, I feel this little one kick, and wiggle, and I know he's real. I know he still moves, he still does miracles, that his love is deep and great. I carry a miracle. An amazing, awesome miracle. A gift. Why me and not so many other mamas that would give anything for their little ones? I don't know. Why this one and not JJ, Anastasios, Sayuri, Tacey, Aliento, or Nima? I don't know. But I do know, that even in those losses, his love was just as real, just as deep. I know he sat with me, and cared for me, and cried with me as my heart felt ripped from my chest. I know he never abandoned me, or hid himself, even when it felt like I couldn't find him.
I know he's there, and I pray that every aching heart will be given a chance to see him clearly. That his love will surround the pain they carry, and the very center of their ache will know his comfort. I love you all and my soul calls to God to ask him to make it abundant in your lives, that somehow we would "grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ," even amidst the tragedies.

My husband recently gave a sermon about grief, and though I cried through the entirety of it, it was one of the best things I've heard. Maybe it will bring comfort to someone else, too.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Happy All the Time vs. The Reality

Twenty two weeks pregnant. Baby T is kicking more every day. I can feel him getting stronger in there, and I think he's far more active than D ever was.
So I should be on cloud nine, right? I should be. I wish I was. Instead I find that the hormone phases are dragging me down, and I'm struggling with depression. I'm finally here and I'm depressed. It took an extra measure of push to make myself get out of bed yesterday, and not just because I was tired. I haven't hit the "I'm not sure I can get up" stage thankfully, because that's a bad sign, but this is a little step further than I've been in a while.
It only adds to the problem to feel like this should be a time when I'm incredibly happy and I'm not. It feels like I'm not appreciating it or I'm somehow betraying all the others who would literally give an organ to be in my position. I'm sorry. I really am. I want to be incredibly happy, but I can't seem to get there most of the time. I'm finally "making it", and I'm not enjoying all the moments.
I hate to live feeling like this. When nothing feels worth looking forward to, when each day seems like another thing to get through, when my patience for my son is short and I, in turn, am short with him. When tears for how hard it is are often near the surface.
A reassures me that I felt like this with D, which may not sound reassuring, but it reminds me that this will most likely pass, it probably won't be long term, or the beginning of a spiral. I know also that my previous hormone "swings" in this pregnancy have come for several days and then moved on, so I'm hoping for the same for this one. In the meantime, I'm realizing that I need to be a bit more proactive in trying to fight it. Hence this blog post - one creative outlet to try to process and diffuse some of the feelings, plus the crayons that came out last night to put some of it down in color. Back to decent bedtimes and more effort to get daily walks. Appointment with my therapist this week. Keep reminding myself that the light is coming. It will come.

It's not exceptional art, but its purpose is expression.
My promise to keep him safe, both inside and out, from the depression and 
anxiety that threaten.

According to my midwife, depression during pregnancy is not uncommon. Which doesn't really surprise me, but isn't something I've heard much about. If you're feeling depressed or struggling while pregnant, talk to someone. You're not alone. You're not broken. Bring it up at your next appointment. Your care provider can help you, even if you just need some tips for managing. And there are others out there who know what it's like and can give understanding and support. Also, prenatal depression does not make you a bad mother, even if it's trying to tell you that.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Joy and Pain

Before you read this post, go check out this one on our family blog. You've likely already seen it, but just in case.


You saw it? You know this already? A boy. We're going to have a boy! Two little boys in our family. It's awesome and great, and it's going to be so much fun, me and my little gang of boys.

Aaron and I decided last year that we were going to try for one more baby, and then that would be it. The heartache of all our losses left its mark, and we felt we could handle maybe a couple more, but if we finally got to keep one, we would be done. We wouldn't put ourselves through that any more. After going through the early, anxious, on edge weeks of this pregnancy, that decision is only concreted.
I had to go through a grieving process after that realization. I had always imagined my family with four children, with hopefully a brother and sister for everyone so no one would miss out on those great experiences. To accept that two would be all was hard, but eventually it became the new "dream" and I settled into it.
Now there is a new grief. Because of this decision, I will never have a daughter.
There will never be a little "me" running around, never a little girl with my dark curls to charm her daddy, and capture her brother's heart. No frills and fairies and fluffy tutus. I don't have words to capture all of the idea that "little girl" entails that now leaves a hole in my heart.
When I was pregnant for the very first time, Aaron and I were in a store one day and passed by this adorable, melt-your-heart, soo pretty, baby girl's dress. We stopped for a moment to "aww" over it and dream together about being able to buy something like it for our baby girl when we had one, maybe this baby. We lost JJ shortly after, but that memory never left me and I always assumed that somewhere down the road would be my chance to buy that tiny piece of a dream for a daughter of my own.
But I won't. And my heart hurts. I'm crying over the baby girls I lost, and the one I will never have.

I know some won't understand this, and some might be critical of me for feeling this way. I should just be grateful to have a baby, shouldn't I? And I am grateful, but there is no "just" in this world. Feelings rarely come as singular entities. They bring their friends - companions from all the other experiences in your life that are tied to this one. I love every time I feel our little boy kick, and I'm so looking forward to when I get to meet him, to learning all about him and who he is, but I may forever miss the daughter I will never have. Joy and pain often go hand in hand.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Still Kicking

Just a very quick post to say, I'm here, I'm kicking, I'm alive. And so is Shiny I'm fairly certain. We're eighteen weeks now, and little flips, bubbles, and the very rare kick keep me going in my days, keep me smiling. It was a very anxious wait getting here. Once I hit fifteen weeks, I kept thinking like I should be feeling it, even though I knew it was pretty early, and every day that it seemed there had been nothing definite left me discouraged and a bit more wound up. The night after our church prayer group prayed over me that I would not be so anxious and that I would feel a definite kick - none of this flutter uncertainty nonsense - I was given a solid kick smack in the middle of my hand resting on my belly. What an amazing, incredible, joyful feeling. I'm so grateful for that kick, and for every movement I've felt since then.
Next week is our anatomy scan, and I'm anxious about that as well. Ultrasounds always make me nervous now. The movements help calm my fears that we'll see a still and gone babe in there, but I can always find something to worry about. What if Shiny has club feet like my nephews? What if something is out of place? What if out of all those measurements something is the wrong size? I'm trying to trust God with this babe he's given us, but that is still such a struggle for me.
In better news, we'll hopefully find out if Shiny is a boy or a girl! And, if you want to see a couple belly pics from sixteen weeks, hop over to our family picture blog, Monkey Shenanigans!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Steady On, One Day At a Time

I didn't realize just how long it had been since I wrote here. Certainly not one of my longest writing gaps, but in my current situation, it's a whole life time.
Just in case anyone is waiting in suspense - I'm still pregnant! I'm currently 9wk3d, and things look good. We've been having weekly ultrasounds and watching this baby grow has been amazing. There's been a few bumps in the road - Shiny (our nickname for this little one) was tucked in the edge making it hard to measure them, so there was a little while where we weren't one hundred percent confident that they were growing properly. But in the following weeks, Shiny has measured right on track, and has consistently shown a good, strong heartbeat.
There is also a small subchorionic hemorrhage, which means there is a bleed between the sac and the uterine wall. It's pretty common, but in the wrong place, or if increasing in size, it can cause miscarriage. That was a little unsettling to deal with, but it was never huge, and has gotten smaller since first found, so no one seems to be very concerned about it.

So Shiny seems to be doing fine and holding their own. I on the other hand have been up, down, and all in-between. I'm getting steadier, and I know I haven't been quite as terrified as I was with Sayuri, or even with D, I think. There are a lot of people praying peace into my life, and for the life of this baby, and I believe it's making a difference. I do believe the verses that say God knows how to give good gifts, and I'm trying to trust them, and trust in his goodness, to put to sleep my inclination to think that he plans to bring pain into my life "because he wants to teach me." I really don't believe that God chooses pain as his tool for teaching us, although life is not without pain, and there is much we learn through it. I just don't believe he intentionally brings it to us.
There have been many times in this pregnancy where unexpected kindnesses have come my way, like the stranger who asked why I was crying and gently reminded me to leave it in God's hands, and the never before received Easter card from my parents with crocuses on the front, a flower that will ever be tied to my babies; and times when tiny half-thought prayers have been answered, like when I knew 80 was my comfort level I wanted my hcg to be at and it came back at 81.6, and when after Shiny was not measuring properly and I hoped they'd measure 8wk1d at our eight week scan, just to know for sure they were doing ok in there, and that's exactly what Shiny measured. I have seen little touches of God throughout, and I am grateful for them and the reminders of his love that they bring.

This week is a bit of a hard one since this is the measurement Sayuri had when she stopped growing, so fear still comes and goes. We did request one more ultrasound because of this, even though the RE was going to stop with the last one. I know also that the disgusting nausea that I've been feeling could start to fade around this time too, so I'm trying to prepare myself for that and not freak out because of it. The nausea and exhaustion have certainly made my life difficult and my house dirty, but I'm so often grateful for it and the way it helps me to not worry as much. I don't remember feeling this sick ever before, so that in itself is encouraging (and makes me wonder if there's any truth to the idea that girls bring more nausea), although it leaves me not knowing what to expect since with D I had a "background" nausea through the whole pregnancy. Will I have this all the way through? Or will it give way at the end of the first trimester? I have no idea. Part of me wants it to hang around for the reassurance and part of me wants to feel better, especially since I know I'm not able to give D all he needs and deserves while I feel like this.

So we're all hanging in there so far. Shiny is still with us, A is staying steadily hopeful, D is excited about having a baby (girl, boys apparently not welcome), and I'm relatively sane. Most of the time.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Prayers I Breathe

Dear Jesus,
this is just me, trying to get through each day, desperate to hold your hand, to not give up on hope, to hold on to this life inside me. I'm praying and hoping and crying to let this baby live, to see a heartbeat, to make it through the first trimester with this little one still growing. It's different this time, and I'm just so hopeful, desperate for it to keep being different, to be able to hold this one, to cuddle them next to me, to see their eyes looking into mine, to watch for that first smile. I want this baby so badly, so very, very much. I believe you are doing a good thing, and I'm struggling with faith, with accepting that you do give good gifts, that your intention is never to bring great heartache into my life.
Save me from the fear that darkens my days, that works to draw my heart far away from all that is light and good. Show me how trustworthy you are, renew my faith in your love for me, your complete goodness. Oh, father, grant me peace, and this tiny, precious baby. Let this one be mine to keep. Heal some of the great wounds that have been left on my heart. Please, rework this idea that you bring pain in order to teach, because even though I don't really believe it, apparently I can't completely walk away from it, it's so branded in my spirit. But I truly believe you are more than that, greater than that, that you don't work that way. "Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?"
I want to have complete faith in your love so that I'm not rocked by troubles that this world holds. I want to be able to rest completely in your presence without worry of fear for the future. Show me how trustworthy you are. How able to bring about good things. How you are willing to bring miraculously good things to me, for me. So many things you have brought me to trust you with - our finances, our home, our future employment - brought me there by showing me time and again how you've taken care of them for us. Please show me that I can trust you in this area, too. That I can trust you with this baby, that every positive sign of this baby's health hasn't been just a tease, the lead up to even greater heartache than it would have been without those things. Hold my heart so tenderly and carefully. Teach me how safe it is with you, how deeply I can trust you. Heal the wounds that have been left by the loss of so many babies before. So many "no" answered prayers. Oh, God, how much I want to walk forward with you, to be free of all the burdens my heart carries. I know that just having a baby can't make everything perfect, but I believe this journey, this pregnancy, can do so much good, learning to trust you again with each new day that I'm still pregnant and still afraid, still trying to learn your voice, to lean into it.
Carry me, father, as I carry this one. Bring us both safely to the hoped for end. Oh, won't you please? Please, Jesus.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Up and Way Down

One moment I'm feeling hopeful, even a touch excited, the next I'm fearful, skeptical, afraid to let the hope rise. I can't believe I'm here. I can't believe that this isn't just like every other time. But so far, it's not.
I'm pregnant, you guys. Pregnant with a possible future. This one isn't going to end at five weeks like so many of them have, or at least it really doesn't look like it. We did the first hpt last Monday, eleven dpo (days past ovulation), and there it was - so very, very faint. Like so many times before, I wasn't expecting it to go anywhere, so when we tested the next day and the line had barely darkened, I wasn't surprised. I called my RE's office to let them know, and they, of course, told me to come in for blood work.
Wednesday morning, we got up and did another hpt before I went in, and this time, the line had noticeably darkened. It wasn't what you'd actually call "dark" though, and I was still pretty hesitant to think that this would be any different from the times before.
Home and anxiously waiting for the results, I tried to keep myself busy and distracted, but of course, also looked up average hcg levels, and what the range was for 13dpo. It seemed like even 40 or 50 would be good, but I knew that I would still be very on edge and hesitant if that's what it came back. I decided that if it was at least 80, I would feel hope that this time might be different.
My phone finally rang, and I'm sure my heart was in my throat. The perky little voice on the other end said, "It's good. It was positive - you're pregnant! Come again Friday and we'll do the repeat!" Um... that's it? I know I'm pregnant!! That's why I called you! I didn't actually say that part, but was I was certainly surprised that it seemed that was all she was going to tell me. "Do you have numbers for me?"
"Oh! Sure I can give those to you. Just give me a minute to get them."
Oh my word. Yes! I need the numbers! lol
When she came back on the phone, she let me know that my hcg was 81.6. Just into my safe zone. I'm pretty sure, I just about started bawling. I didn't have betas done with most of my pregnancies, but I think it's a safe guess to say that I only hit that level twice before, and one of those was of course, my Bug.
That number and the continually darker hpt's gave me hope that the repeat on Friday (15dpo) would be decent. It was. 237 - almost tripling.
11-15 & 17 dpo

This is hard. The positive signs carry me for a while before I slide down again into fear. I had to do another hpt this morning and see the line be darker again, to help my mind move away from thinking that when I do this one more time tomorrow that the numbers will have failed to rise appropriately. Although, that's slowly leaking away from me, too. Apparently, my RE usually only does two betas if they're both good - I had to request this third one. What am I going to do after that? I have three more weeks before getting an ultrasound. Three weeks of trying not to analyze symptoms, three weeks of wondering if there will be pink when I wipe, three weeks of fearing that the ultrasound won't be able to show a heartbeat.
I'm laughing at myself a little bit as I go over this post. It started out as a "hey, I'm pregnant! It's scary, but a little bit exciting," and has now dropped into, "oh my gosh, I'm so incredibly terrified! I can't handle this! I'm sobbing."
Welcome to the next two months or more of my life. Hopefully.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Walking Away From Spanking

When Bug was little, we started having a few situations where we needed to start teaching him discipline and set some boundaries. On the advice of someone I respect, we decided to "nip it in the bud" and started giving his hand a little smack when he would get into things he wasn't supposed to. As a time passed and he didn't seem to be changing his behavior at all, I became frustrated. The hand smacks were occasionally harder and more frequent. And it didn't take very long at all before Bug started hitting himself when he was frustrated.
This was the point when I said, "There has to be a better way."

I don't want to write a post full of facts, figures, and research, expect to say - there's tons of it out there. Do a quick google search and I'm sure you'll come across plenty of studies showing why it's harmful, papers on why it doesn't actually work, research on why it's not actually "biblical," and perhaps even the rarer information on how it can affect your child's sexuality. If you want to know, it's not hard to find.
Instead, this is just my story, sharing with you the reasons why we choose not to spank.

We started out on that journey, but as you can see, it didn't seem to go anywhere good. I didn't see it actually having any kind of positive effect on our son's behavior. It wasn't in any way guiding him to learn self-discipline. Now, yes, he was very young, but if you could teach impulse control at that age, why wasn't it working, and if you can't teach it, there certainly isn't any point to trying through physical punishment, is there?
On top of not seeing any positive effects, we saw two negative effects. Bug began hitting himself. As I looked into it, I learned that it wasn't unusual behavior in toddlers. But my mother heart knew that my hitting him was connected to this new act of hitting himself when he got frustrated, and it hurt my heart.
The second effect we saw was in me. Since it was now acceptable to hit my child for unwanted behavior, the whole "never spank when angry" line began to blur. I found myself more likely to smack his hand than choose a different tact when discipline was called for, and more likely to do it out of the frustration I felt in the moment. It's not hard to justify it then either, because when your child is two, you can't come back fifteen minutes later and try to explain why you are now smacking their hand for something they might not even remember doing.
I knew that my own self-discipline required me to say, "no smacking/spanking ever." It had to never be ok for me to hit my child, or the sometimes ok would become often ok. I am very ashamed to admit that even now there are rare moments when the end of my temper is reached, and in reaction to being hit repeatedly by him, I hit back. I don't like to share that, but I want you to know that I'm not perfect, and definitely don't think myself to be. I feel like a failure when I fall down that slope, but so far, Bug has always been forgiving when I tell him it was wrong of me and offer my apology.

Since that time, there has been a lot I've learned and considered about child development, relationships, and my view of God that sent me down a path of non-punitive, grace based parenting and that continues to keep me on this path. Now, there are a lot of reasons why we choose not to spank, but these were the first ones, and I'm grateful we learned them so early on.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Grace for the Mom of Many

So, I understand being pissed off at moms who don't seem to care about their kids, angry rants about mothers who always complain, annoyance at new pregnancy announcements, frustration about those who seem to just keep having babies no trouble whatsoever, and utter rage at those who mistreat, harm, or even kill the children they've been given. I get that.
I get how unfair it is to be going through the heartache of infertility and loss and to look around to see so many others having babies as though it's a walk in the park. I know it's difficult to strive so hard for something that others just seem to take for granted, or even don't have any appreciation for at all. I know this and I understand all related rants that I hear.
What I don't understand is the occasional hatred, venom, or insult directed at moms for just having multiple children. I know it can be hard to see when you wish you could just have one, but does it really make them worthy of insult? I don't think so. They are just women, moms, building their families with the freedom we all wish we had. Their ability to have children easily is not related to our inability to have children. The number of children they have does not decrease the number we can have. Their small, medium, large, extra large family is a freedom that has been taken away from us, but not by anything they've done.
We love babies. We think think babies are wonderful, and everyone who wants one and will love one should be able to have one. Don't we? Or is it just the women who don't already have babies who should be able to have one?
Most of these women are just moms, like we want to be. Loving their family, trying to be the best mom they can for them. They are women with emotions and feelings just like us. They are women who want and love all of their children. They are women of whom many have also experienced the loss of a child they were waiting to hold.
I know many mothers of large families and I can imagine how they would feel if they heard some of the comments I read about them, sometimes comments that I know they have heard in person. How do I know? Because I remember my mom, a mother of five, telling me about the "joking" words that were sent her way from people at out church when our family was growing larger, comments about "rabbits" and "do you know how that happens?" And I can still remember the pain on her face even though those comments were well over a decade old.
So rant about how it's unfair that they can and we can't, how it hurts to see others do it so easily, how you wish you could just have one and how much you would appreciate that one, but maybe we can skip the name calling and mean comments, eh?