Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Patience.

Just over 4 weeks ago we were officially diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy. Initially, I had hoped for a rapid resolution and wanted nothing more than to put this all behind me. I am continually learning, though, that what I think I want or need and God's best plan for me do not always correspond to one another. I apparently am still in need of more patience.

Here we are, a month later, and I would still "fail" (pass?) a pregnancy test. Sigh. Things continue to move in the right direction and my hormone levels are still falling, but I was really hoping that this would be the last time I had to get my blood drawn. I had another check up with my doctor, and learned that the average time to dissolve these things is actually 35 days. And there have been reports of persistent hormone levels for 105 (!!) days. I am really hoping not to set any records, but have just decided that it will take as long as it takes and that is fine. I continue to be thankful that we avoided all the complications related to ectopics and that I continue to be pain-free.

I have pondered the last few weeks what I think God has been trying to tell me in this trial. What does this mean? Maybe God is saying we shouldn't have more children. Maybe he's saying we shouldn't pursue continued attempts to have children. Maybe he's saying that we should. What should we do next? When should we do it?

It's sort of exhausting, this attempt at reading the tea leaves of my life's experiences. But Jeff was so quick to remind me that God has spoken to us already - he first of all sent his Son, The Word, and then he gave us the Bible. We don't have to wait for some divine ESP to know his will. I guess I struggle because when it seems like we are going through a tough time, I automatically want to assume that I need to change course. But Jeff reminded me that we cannot look at trials that way. We cannot think that just because there is sadness or tragedy or frustration that we are doing something wrong or making a wrong choice. Even though Paul was shipwrecked, arrested, beaten, and imprisoned, he didn't change course. Personally, I think if my boat shipwrecked on the way somewhere, I would definitely take that as a sign that I should pick another destination.

But I believe that we are headed somewhere - and that somewhere is where God wants us to go. So we wait. And continue to learn that the God we serve is one who makes the broken whole, the crooked straight, and the ugly beautiful.

Monday, January 30, 2012

This week from the pinterest files.

I have decided that since I'm making lots of recipes from pinterest these days, I should do a semi-regular post about what I've done. Here's what I made this week:

1. crescent pepperoni roll ups - We host a men's bible study at our house on Sundays and each week I try to make something edible. The men actually prefer something savory (making them very different from women) so I've been having fun looking for finger foods. These were super quick and delicious. I used shredded cheese and also did some made with italian sausage. Yum.

2. Nutella Cheesecake Bars. I don't think I really need to say much about them. Nutella + cheesecake + oreo crust = extra delicious.

3. Quinoa cakes with poaches eggs. Although I LOVED the poached egg on top, the quinoa cake didn't really do anything for me.  To be fair, I modified the recipe and added shredded carrot, but I think I'd prefer my quinoa served like normal. I really love the blog these came from, so be sure to check out the rest of her stuff.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Next to me.

Jeff and I went to a wedding this weekend. It was wonderful. My dear friend was, of course, beautiful and radiant, and her groom had a big smile on his face as she walked down the aisle to meet him. They both love Jesus and their wedding was a celebration of his love for us as well as their love for each other.

As I was listening to the vows, I was suddenly overcome with thankfulness for the man God has blessed me with. I thought about all we've been through lately and realized that I could not have managed alone. I love being married when we get to do things that are fun - taking trips, fun dates, sharing the joy of having a baby - this is "for better." I realize that when I really love being married is during the "for worse" - when I am discouraged, grieving, questioning, and sad. Knowing that there is someone else who believes that my struggle is his struggle, my grief is his grief, and who always wants what is best for me makes those "for worse" kind of days so much better.


So thank you, Jeff, for being the one who sits next to me.

Monday, January 23, 2012

New Record

I set a new personal record today - I saw - either rounded on or completed a history and physical on 28 (or was it 29??) patients today. Even though I had the good day on Friday where I discharged 8, the patients just. keep. coming. in. We had 48 (!!!) patients on our list this morning, (which is divided between 2 physicians) and because my partner got at least 9 admissions I was helping her finish a few. I'm not sure what is going on, but our hospital has been crazy busy these last few weeks. I'm hoping it's going to slow down soon because being this busy is not sustainable.

All that to say that I'm hoping to get back to more regular blogging soon, but not this week.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Reasons to be Happy

1. I just got back from walking the dog in the rain. Anytime I walk/run in the rain/snow, it automatically puts me in a better mood. Yay for foul weather.

2. My repeat hormone level this week was WAY down, and all signs point to this whole thing being over very, very soon. I'm thankful we can finally start moving on. I have also continued to be amazed at how well this has gone physically. There are so many things that could have made this much, much worse.

3. I discharged eight patients from my list today and only admitted 3. Since I started the day with TWENTY patients, I'm hoping tomorrow will be better.

4. I had delicious dinner tonight of spicy thai noodles and cabbage salad with peanut dressing. This was leftover from last night, which makes it even better because it was a delicious dinner that I didn't even have to cook.

5. I feel like a good wife because in addition to making the above mentioned dinner yesterday, I also made a double batch of bird's nest egg cups for Jeff to eat for his breakfast this week AND some lemon blueberry quinoa muffins that I can take to work and eat.

6. If you've been following me on pinterest, you have seen that my love for all things nutella runs deep. On Monday I was in a baking mood and made banana cupcakes with - you guessed it - nutella frosting. So. Dang. Delicious. I got to take these to have dinner earlier this week with some good friends, another fun activity.

7. A dear friend is getting married next weekend and I get to watch. I'm sure most of us have single friends who are so fantastic that we can't understand why they are single. I actually have several. But finally this dear one is getting married and I couldn't be more excited.

8. My dear, dear sweet boy is just getting sweeter. He is getting to such a fun playful age and loves to try to copy everything and repeat what I'm saying or doing. I LOVE it. For instance, he saw Jeff using air quotes recently and then spent the rest of that lunch trying to do air quotes himself. Hah! He loves to giggle and be tickled and is happy most of the time. He has been such an encouragement to me these last few weeks. We had a fun time tonight when I would build a little stack of blocks and he would knock it over with his airplane over and over. Good times. Then I blew a zerbert on his belly and he dissolved into a puddle of giggles. He gives the best hugs and loves to give kisses and I can't get enough of either.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pinterest.

I decided I was ready for a little less serious on this blog, so thought I'd post some reviews of things I've made recently from pinterest.

1. Bird nest necklace DIY - I thought the one I made for my mom turned out really great, even though I didn't do it exactly right. I will definitely be making one of these for myself sometime.

2. I loved the idea of a chocolate cobbler. I did not really love the actual cobbler. In my opinion, not as good as brownies and definitely not as nice as the chocolate souffle I made this week.

3. I could not get enough of these spicy thai noodles. I will add that her recipe calls for using 1 T. of pepper flakes in the oil, but I used a little less than that and still found it a little too spicy. I think next time I'll just use maybe 1.5 tsp. I also served it hot and sauteed some mushrooms to add to the noodles. This will definitely be going into our regular rotation.

4. Taquitos - I think this was not the recipe I glanced at since I didn't remember seeing anything about lime juice or cumin, but even without those things, these were delicious and completely consumed when I served them for the men's bible study we host on Sunday nights. But they were a snap to make using leftover chicken and super delicious. I can only imagine that with the added spices they would be even better.

Any one else find something on pinterest they loved this week?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Here.

I wish I could say that this week has been a breeze and that I am doing great with everything that has happened. I wish I could say that my attitude has been good and that I can already clearly see God's purpose in it all.

But that would be a lie. The truth is that I feel like I've been thrown for a loop. I feel like I have days where I can trust God's goodness, followed by other days where all I want to do is feel sorry for myself and be sad. In my head I know that this is part of God's perfect plan, but my heart is still sad for this baby I will not get to meet in August.

As I was up in the middle of the night last night, rocking a screaming toddler (still not sure what that was about), I did give his sweet head an extra sniff and thank the Lord for the gift he gave us in Judah. He may have been even more of a miracle that I realized.

I never used to understand why a woman would have an invasive medical procedure like a D & C after having a miscarriage since most of the time your body will naturally take care of it. But almost two weeks into undergoing medical treatment for this ectopic, I can understand why you'd want to. It's hard to move on and put this all behind me when I still have several more weeks of waiting ahead of me. I know taking the medicine was the right decision, but I am so ready for this to be over. In spite of all the God has tried to teach me about patience, I still am not good at waiting....

So please keep praying. I think reflecting on this latest disappointment has made me struggle even more with some of the other disappointments we've been through lately. I find myself angry and upset, yet again, that Jeff was turned down for licensure. I am questioning all over why it has taken Jeff so long to find a job. And I don't want to do that.

But I am ready to finally hear some good news.....

Monday, January 09, 2012

Thankful.

Until a week or so ago, I could not imagine ever being thankful for an HCG level that is declining. But today I am. My level went down by 27%, just eking past the required 25% decline necessary to avoid surgery. We'll have to keep following it, of course, to make sure it continues to fall, but for now we seem to have avoided all the most serious complications that can accompany ectopic pregnancy.

We deeply, deeply appreciate all the love prayers that have come our way. The facebook messages, emails, and texts have reminded us how blessed we are to be surrounded by so many who love us. This has  obviously been a heartbreaking week, but we have certainly felt sustained by the one who has redeemed us.

I'm not sure I'll ever understand why this happened. Why we would be given such an unexpected blessing at the end of a tough year, only to lose it a few weeks later.

And yet - I realize it could have been so much worse. Ectopic pregnancy is a potentially life-threatening condition. I could have hemorrhaged. I could have been left permanently without one of my fallopian tubes or lost an ovary. I could have died.  But I didn't. And I am thankful for this.

In Sunday school yesterday we were studying the story of Joseph, which seemed to me quite providential. He never got angry or doubted God's goodness in spite of being sold into slavery, wrongfully imprisoned, or forgotten. When he was called to Pharoah and saw the chief baker there, the one who had forgotten him, he didn't yell at him. He just continued to do what God had called him to do. Joyfully.  That is where I want to be.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Reflections. by Jeff.

Its hard to know how to blog well about the last month of our lives.  The Christmas pictures don't really tell the story of what has been going on.  It started with joy in the beginning of December because Aubrey was pregnant.  And this week is filled with crying because she's not pregnant anymore.

It all started a month ago when I was sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast and Aubrey came in and plopped a positive pregnancy test in front of me.  We were thrilled.  It made us so happy.  For the last four years words like infertility, miscarriage, and fertility treatments had become a regular part of our vocabulary.  And then, out of nowhere, Aubrey got pregnant when we weren't even trying.  This must be how it happens for other people, getting pregnant without stressing about it for a year!  It was great, at the end of a year that had had its share of difficulties and stresses, God dropped an unexpected blessing right in our laps.  Of course, we know things can go wrong, and so our optimism was cautious and guarded.  But there's a type of pregnancy joy and anticipation that just refuses to be guarded, even when you think you know better. 

As part of her job, Aubrey has become somewhat of an ultrasound expert, and she can't help but do ultrasounds on herself.  During December she did a couple ultrasounds on herself to peak at our peanut, and she wasn't quite sure things looked right.  But all her hormone levels looked good.  So we chalked it up to not knowing the exact timing of her progress and the awkwardness of ultrasounding your own uterus, and we kept praying for health and safety.  Meanwhile we alternated between dreaming about introducing Judah to a baby sibling, and worrying about worst case scenarios.

This week, the worry was continuing, so Aubrey went to her OB on Monday, and we found out that the pregnancy is ectopic.  Its like a miscarriage, but worse.  So this week has been filled with sadness, grief, and trying to figure out how to tell those we love about what we're going through.  In fact, we're still trying to figure out how to get our own heads around what we're going through.  There's a lot of loss, and we're still processing.  I learned last time that we had a miscarriage that its much worse for the wife (this might be obvious to some, but I had to go through it to learn it).  In addition to everything else, they have physical issues to deal with that are a constant reminder of the pain.  In fact, the medicine that Aubrey is taking now is making her feel even worse that the regular first trimester nausea.  And we won't know until next week if the medicine is doing its job, and the remaining issues have been sufficiently dealt with.

At the same time this week, I started a new Bible reading plan as part of a psuedo-New Years resolution.  The plan, which I did not design, had me begin reading the book of Job this week.  After his own loss, Job declares, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord."  There's so much about that statement that I find inscrutable.  Most of the time when I read it it is impossible because it seems trite, as though it couldn't possibly be true to the depth of emotional pain that Job must have been feeling.  But this week it seems enigmatic not because its trite, but because there is a depth to the mystery of God's love for us, and his unfathomable providence that defies easy explanation.  God is good to us, and his love and care for us is most clear to us when we see Jesus on the cross.  We lost a child, and our God knows exactly how we feel, because he freely gave his own son for us, to show how much he loves us.  Everything he does is for our good, to conform us to the image of his son.  Beyond this, we don't have all the pieces put together, but we still share Job's sentiment.