Saturday, February 15, 2014


It was a hard day.  I was feeling very sad... missing my baby Blaise and wishing I could still have him.

I woke up this morning, feeling pretty good.  I felt rested, for the first time in... wow, two years or more.

My health is improving so rapidly.  It makes it almost more difficult... knowing it wouldn't have taken THAT much time or effort to be well, so I could have carried my baby safely.  I am up to 80% lung function already.  My wheezing has decreased by at least 50%.  I'm actually able to sleep without waking in scary coughing spells all night... I have much more energy.

Oh, how I wish I would have taken better care of myself and not let my lung issues/asthma get so far out of control over the last couple of years.  I would do anything to go back and fix this.  

I had the final confirmation from my OB... I am no longer producing HCG.  My pregnancy is truly, truly over.  I know how illogical and silly it is... but I was still hoping somehow with the most childish of fantasy thinking, that there would be some miracle and I would still have Blaise growing inside my womb.  I had it all envisioned so prettily... the doctor would say my levels were so high and I needed a second ultrasound... then, she would see my little baby growing and everything would be okay.

It is truly, truly over and done.  And my heart is broken all over again.

I may be a little unusual in my grief, though.  Seeing other babies doesn't make me sad.  I want to hold all of them, and I do every chance I get.  Being around other babies is healing to my heart and soul.  I don't feel jealous or angry... I feel happy that there are so many beautiful babies in my life.  

I just wish mine could be here this summer, too.

Friday, February 14, 2014

February 14th

My sweet, sick Alice made a Valentine card for the very first time for her therapist, Claire, on Wednesday.  I had to use this as my daily photo, for obvious reasons.  She did the coloring and stickers all by herself, and was so proud!  She shouted "Happy Vawentime!" to Miss Claire when she saw her.  My little big girl saw Lucy making Valentine's Day cards, and was not going to be left out.  :)

Our actual Valentine's Day involved more housekeeping, a little bit of schooling and a whole lot of playing.  Daddy came home early, and we exchanged some cards & treats, and had dinner at Red Robin.  Our kids had a grand, loud time.  ;)  After dinner, we had family movie night and just enjoyed each other.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 13th

Everything looks a little better through clean windows.  :)

Mama of Many Tip:  When a child asks to clean, let him clean.  It doesn't matter if it is perfectly done or conveniently timed.  Take advantage of the help while they are offering.  ;)  Make sure you tell them how much you appreciate the help.

We've been doing a lot of cleaning.  When I am feeling sad or angry (which I have had a lot of lately) I just get to work.  The house is looking better by the day.  

Since my parents are still here, Adam & I had the opportunity to sneak off for a pre-Valentine's Day date.  We always have a lot of fun together.  I'm really proud of how he is doing at work.  I know this new position means he has a lot more responsibility... it takes away some of his flexibility and involves much more frequent travel... but the raise is much-needed.  

It's nice to feel appreciated, no matter how old you are.  :)  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February 12th

My beautiful, giving Mama came over today while I had my first (of many) follow-up with the doctor.  I came home to a load of laundry washed, folded, put away and the breakfast dishes done.  The big kids were playing while Alice & Lucy were enjoying "The Little Mermaid."  

Have I told you lately how much I love my Mama?

My lung function is improving, slowly but steadily.  I am taking medications around the clock, waiting for the day I can laugh without coughing.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February 11th

Ben wanted to show me his sadness.  He wanted this baby so much.

Me too, buddy.

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10th

Image Copyright Lerin Photography 2014
This weekend, I was in respiratory distress several times.  The only reason I didn't go to the ER Sunday is because I couldn't afford it.  

I went to work today, but left at lunch because I'd gotten my Wednesday appointment moved to today.  When I got to the office, the doctor did a lung function test on me.  I am only at 63% lung function.  This is classified as a "moderate obstruction."  Compared to my October test, I have taken a drastic downward turn.  

She hooked me up to a pulse-oxygen meter, and I was hovering around 91%.  Normal readings are 96% and above.  They brought out another one, just to be sure that the first was working properly.  It gave the same reading.  The nurse hooked it on her finger, and hers was 99%.  The doctor listened to my lungs, and said I needed an oxygen tank right away.

They did tons of bloodwork... my immune system is gone.  I have no immunity to 8 of 14 strep variants.  I have no immunity to diphtheria despite a vaccination last December.  My immune system just isn't responding anymore.  It's tired as I am.

I sat in that office for almost four hours.  I got oxygen, then two nebulizer treatments.  I had lung tests and CT scans.  I got another big does of steroids in office.  After all of the breathing treatments, I was coughing up big plugs and it improved my oxygen reading to 93%.  I was sent home with just about every kind of breathing treatment, control inhaler, and rescue inhaler possible.  She said my next stop is hospitalization if we can't get this asthma/lung stuff under control.

I'm actually dying.  I can't carry my baby across the parking lot.  Going upstairs, I have to sit and rest.  I cough until I vomit.  My always-great blood pressure is sky high.  The steroids I've been on for the last six months have made me balloon up in weight.

For the first time, I understand how sick I am and how dire the situation is.

I've become so sick, that my doctor is only focused right now on improving my ability to breathe.  I am too sick for surgery now.  I am too sick for my allergy shots.  I'm so sick, that I had to have seven prescriptions written for me tonight and had to pick them up to the tune of $240.  On top of how many co-pays, ER visits, urgent care trips...

oh, and this cost me my baby too.  :(

I've never been more scared.  My doctor told me I have to make a decision.  Either I put my health first and get well... not just "better" but WELL... or I need to start making difficult decisions regarding who will care for my kids when I am gone.  That's how serious this is.

I would give anything to go back and take this seriously before I'd done so much damage to myself.  I'd do anything if I could have kept my baby Blaise safe.  I've lost over two years to being chronically ill with sinus infections, bronchitis, and now full blown asthma that isn't controlled at all.

Everything changes, today.  It has to.  I've lost too much.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

February 9th

Thank you to my sweet friend for sending me this song... a song that helped her through her losses and is now helping me through mine.  It exactly captures everything.

Blaise, I will carry you all of my life.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

February 8th

Image Copyright Lerin Photography, 2013

I love you, all of you... those I've met and those I haven't. Thank you for reaching out with kind words, sharing experiences, offering prayers, bringing food and even flowers. Holly, the beautiful plant you sent to us is such a bright spot on our dining room table and reminds us of your love.  I am so broken right now, and I have no idea how I would get through it without your loving, kind, genuine support in each way you've offered it.

So far, the most comforting thought that goes through my mind several times a day comes from a dear high school friend who also lost her baby at 36 weeks:

"May you find comfort in knowing that love was all Blaise ever knew."  

I think lack of sleep made me temporarily insane.  After a good night's rest, I am up.  I'm doing laundry and cleaning.  Today's project is to rearrange and organize the playroom.  I need to stay busy.  I've only cried twice this morning, which is a nice change.  

I am still deeply sad, but it has already shifted from a "can't sleep, can't eat, can't breathe, wailing and screaming whenever I open my mouth, want to crawl in a hole and die" sadness to a quiet, peaceful ache deep inside my heart.  I plan to go to Adoration today, to just be with Jesus in the quiet sadness.  I know He understands,  Sadly, I've learned that too many of my friends do as well.

Friday, February 7, 2014

February 7th

Image Copyright Lerin Photography, 2013.
We lost our sweet baby on Monday.  This was our sixth child.  I was still in my first trimester, and hadn't even broken the news yet since I was worried this would happen.  After being so sick for such a long time with all the respiratory stuff, I apparently had every reason to be concerned.  I only threw up a few times with this baby, which for me, is unusual too.  If I could do it over again, I would have told everyone the day I saw those two pink lines as I usually do.  It would make me feel less lonely, I think.  I want the world to know that, for however brief a time, we had a sixth child.

My heart is so, so broken.  I didn't know it was possible to be this sad.  I am just now at the point where I even have the strength to share this news.  I didn't understand before when my family & friends went through this, and wanted to be alone and not to talk for a few days.  Now I do.  The grief is so all-consuming, so big, so deep... there are just not words.  The way I've cried this week, Adam didn't even recognize the sound of my crying.  There is nothing in my life to compare to this.  Being with my other five babies is a blessing, but it also just reinforces exactly what we lost.

We both firmly believe that life begins at conception, so our little one deserves to be recognized as an eternal soul who is waiting for us in Heaven.  We named the baby Blaise Augustine.  Blaise after his "birth" day feast day, St. Blaise on Feb 3.  Augustine after Adam's grandpa Gussie, and another wonderful saint.

Adam is, as ever, so very compassionate.  He helped me through the physical trauma, now he is helping me through the emotional part.  I know he is hurting too, experiencing a wave of emotions like I am... sadness, guilt, regret.  It doesn't matter what you know "logically" when it comes to a parent's broken heart... your baby has died, and you find reasons to blame yourself.   

My doctor was wonderful, so kind.  She delivered four of our other five.  She asked about the older kids by name, and told me how sorry she was.  I needed compassion but also, professionalism and answers to my broken-hearted questions.  She was there for me.  I will never switch OB's, especially after this.  I know she sees this all of the time, but she treated me as if I was the only one and that our baby matters.

It looks like everything is happening on its own, so I will not need a d&c, God-willing.  That is my continued prayer.  I don't want to go through that procedure on top of everything else.  I will be tested again in about 10 days to make sure this is all over.  Part of me wants everything to be finished as fast as possible, and part of me wishes that there was some way to have a miracle and still have my baby.  I am sure that's just a way that I am coping.  

It isn't fair to have so much physical pain along with the broken heart.  I had no idea miscarrying was so painful.  It makes sense... after all, my body IS in labor.  Just too early for my baby to live.

I sent a mass email with this news to my parents and siblings yesterday.  That was so lame to send news like this by email but I hope they understand.  I can't bring myself to talk about this yet.  It is so, so raw.  I am still having a hard time not crying every 10 minutes.  

I blocked out the world for the last four days.  I can't eat, can't sleep... I am just so, so broken.  I have heard my phone ringing, and never pick up.  I have emails and messages, and don't answer.  I can't, yet.  I am expected at work Monday, and can't imagine how I will stand in front of a group of second grade darlings, when I can't even reliably be trusted not to start sobbing out of nowhere several times an hour.

Adam is back at work, but thankfully, the weekend begins tomorrow and I will have him here for two more days.  I don't want to see or talk to anyone but Adam and my kids right now.

I don't know how to do this.  Please pray for us.  This truly is the worst thing I've been through personally... even worse than my first marriage crumbling on a foundation of lies & abuse... the divorce and all that.  It doesn't even compare.  I could always imagine how devastated I would be and empathized with my sisters/friends on that foggy shadow of understanding. However, going through it myself... this is the most agonizing thing I have ever experienced. I have cried like I never cried before. It makes me feel like I never really was sad before... like comparing an elementary school breakup to a divorce.

I will do everything I can to get healthy, so this hopefully will not happen again.  The kids know.  Sophie sat stoically with a few tears silently down her face, then asked to be excused to her room.  Bella wailed and wailed, and layed in bed crying with me for 30 minutes.  Ben cried hardest, but then asked to play on my tablet about 15 minutes later.  Telling the kids that our baby was an angel instead was the worst. A REAL PERSON who we already LOVED has died, and we are devastated.

Also in the nicest way possible, I would ask that you not say any of the following to me right now:  "This too shall pass,"  "Everything happens for a reason,"  "God doesn't give you more than you can handle," God has a plan," "You can always try again," "At least it was early/at least you have other kids" etc.  I don't believe it is God's will for me to lose my baby.  The oft-quoted Jeremiah 29:11 about God's plan was speaking for Israel, not for each individual person on earth.  If God had meticulously planed our lives, every little detail, that means we don't have free will.  I reject that as a lie from Satan.  God is not a masochist.

I, from the depths of my soul, KNOW that He can and will bring good things to us even in the dark, but I don't think He planned to take my baby away.  And yes, I probably will have more children one day, but it won't change the fact that I will miss Blaise Augustine & wonder who he would have been for the rest of my life.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

February 6th

I think "Everything happens for a reason" is the dumbest thing you can say to someone who is going through a difficult time.  Some people even say that the BIBLE says everything happens for a reason... and they are wrong.  

I don't believe that everything happens for a reason.  Sometimes, really bad things happen to good people because we live in a fallen world.  But I do believe that God can bring good from any situation.  

Suffering CAN bring redemptive grace to those who love God and don't turn away from him when life hurts.  What it actually says in Romans 8:28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."  

I think sometimes people say stupid or trite things because they don't know what else to say, or because they don't realize that they are being hurtful.  I forgive them, because they are coming from a place of love.  They just don't know what to say, and feel they have to say something.  Sometimes, you just need to shut up and listen, or better yet... give a hug, offer a prayer, and just BE there.

I have a lot to say, but still need to collect my thoughts.  Writing (and since 2003, blogging) has been a great way for me to process and share things, and I need to do that now.  Thank you for listening.  

February 5th

I have the sweetest, most mature, faithful, tender-hearted children.
I am so, so grateful for the little family we've made.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February 4th

Sometimes, there just aren't words.

Monday, February 3, 2014

February 3rd

Today, we had standardized testing at school.

And I am enduring the worst test of my life.  Email me if you need details.  Otherwise, will you just be my friends and pray with me?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February 2nd

Doesn't everyone wear Christmas tees in February?  ;)

I've taken my life back.  This summer, I had a complete 180 turn on life's direction. It couldn't have been a better choice for us.  As sick as I have been, I am still able to homeschool, keep house, and do 1-2 photography assignments per month.  It is do-able, and it is even fun.

I wish it weren't so rainy and cold here, though.  I always get down when there is no sunshine!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

February 1st

It's kind of sad just how much time has gone by, and just how little has changed.  I'm sad to report that I am still very, very sick with chronic bronchitis.  Since October, I've been to urgent care and the hospital more times than I care to remember, just struggling to breathe.  I have some relief from an inhaler that treats COPD, but even with that every 4-6 hours, I still cough to the point of vomiting several times a day.  And I am so, so tired.  It scares me!

Over the next 30 days, I will have some things done that will hopefully get me on the road to normalcy.  I am cutting out gluten, dairy and alcohol completely, in effort to control allergic symptoms/asthma.  I will have the rapid immunotherapy treatment with my allergist... involving a whole day at the hospital with shots, monitoring me for shock.  Fun!  Finally, I will have a balloon sinus surgery, in effort to clear up the chronic sinus infections that are triggering my most serious asthma attacks.

I am not looking forward to all the pokes, pains, and recoveries but am at the point where I will do almost ANYTHING for some relief.  I need to be able to breathe, to function, to thrive.

On to more fun things... I got to photograph a three-month-old today in his home.  Such a beautiful baby!  

Next, I had some alone time at (of all places) Wal-Mart.  Funny how grocery shopping without five children becomes it's own staycation.  ;)  Thank you, Adam!

We ended the evening with finally watching the new Superman movie, Man of Steel.  I loved it!  But I still think Amy Adams is way too sweet to play Lois Lane.  I'd fire the casting director, for sure.  ;)