Wednesday, December 22, 2010

One step at a time

As promised here is the Hematologist report. They did not find anything another blood clotting issues. In fact the test results are pretty much the same as last time. Test are conclusive that I do have an elevated level of anticardiolipin. The level is in the middle range (although on the lower side of the range). Because of this, I am at a higher risk for miscarriages. This level can also elevate during pregnancy so it can change. We asked several questions regarding pregnancy. Because this is outside of her scope of practice, she said numerous times "You need to see a High Risk OB." This is encouraging because we know what our next step is. God continues to tell us to wait on Him and trust him through this day by day.

I find it funny that there were days before we knew these terms. They have become so much apart of this new life. We have a very different ministry to those who have experienced the pain of miscarriages and the struggles of infertility. Never in a billion years would we have thought we'd be here. I still wish I could forget this year and go back to how it was before all of this happened. Another dear friend reminded me that we cannot go back to that "before". It's impossible. And she is right. To go back would be to miss out on some very important and key things that the Lord has taught us and it would be to deny Him His glory. We aren't always sure exactly what God is doing, but we are learning to rest in His arms and His sovereignty.

Isaiah 33:2
O LORD, be gracious to us; we wait for you.
   Be our arm every morning,
   our salvation in the time of trouble.

So, our next step... To glorify the Lord to the best of our ability this holiday season. We thank God for all of you. I know that some of you who have read this have walked a similar path before us and there are others who have not. We appreciate all of you and covet your prayers.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A long overdue update

It has been awhile since our last update. A part of me hates writing this blog because it serves as a reminder of a year that in my flesh I'd rather forget. Only last night I realized that there will always be reminders of this year. Daily it is a fight between what I feel/think with the eyes of my flesh vs. the spirit who sees the faithfulness and greatness of God through this year. Looking back I can see how much God has been my anchor through these months. There was a point where there was no hope, no joy, no peace, just the shell of the woman I once was and death seemed to be the only thing to look forward to.  Everything my hope was in was slowly and painfully stripped away until there was nothing left... except God. He has remained faithful, merciful, amazing despite my lack of trust, faith, hope.

So, with that... There was a good update from the new OB (although I will be transferring to another Dr. come the new year). He said that as long as my test results continue to come back clear, we only have to wait 10-11 months to try again (although we may just wait the full 12 months). If there are any complications from my pregnancy with Eve they would have manifested by that point. He also came up with a game plan for my next pregnancy. It is a three fold approach. As soon as I get pregnant I need to start a progesterone treatment, take folate (which is a huge amount of folic acid as my body doesn't absorb it like it should), and depending on what the Hematologist says tomorrow I will either be on Heparin or baby aspirin. Tomorrow we find out the extent of the results of the blood clotting problem. I also will start taking a B complex vitamin as it will help my body to absorb the folic acid. I didn't want to post this because it is hard to think that a healthy pregnancy or even having children will ever be possible. Tomorrow I will post the Hematologist report.

A dear friend of mine recommended that I listen to this song by Sara Groves "Less Like Scars". This is exactly how I feel especially the line "It's less like a casket, more like a womb".

It's been a hard year
But I'm climbing out of the rubble
These lessons are hard
Healing changes are subtle
But every day it's

Less like tearing, more like building
Less like captive, more like willing
Less like breakdown, more like surrender
Less like haunting, more like remember

And I feel you here
And you're picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation
But you are able
And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars and more like Character

Less like a prison, more like my room
It's less like a casket, more like a womb
Less like dying, more like transcending
Less like fear, less like an ending

And I feel you here
And you're picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation
But you are able
And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars

Just a little while ago
I couldn't feel the power or the hope
I couldn't cope, I couldn't feel a thing
Just a little while back
I was desperate, broken, laid out, hoping
You would come

And I need you
And I want you here
And I feel you

And I know you're here
And you're picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad, bad situation
But you are able

And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars

And more like Character

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The blessings of thorns

A friend of mine recommended me to another blog of a woman who lost her newborn daughter Ella to anencephaly ( The new quote at the right comes from this site. I need it as a constant reminder. All that to say, this story really moved me. There are a lot of emotions that this story address that I have struggled with. What a great reminder of the God whom we serve.


Sandra felt as low as the heels of her shoes as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor  automobile accident stole her ease.During this Thanksgiving week she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren't enough, her husband's company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose annual holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What's worse, Sandra's friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer. "She has no idea what I'm feeling," thought Sandra with a shudder. "Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?" she wondered aloud. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?

"Good afternoon, can I help you?" The shop clerk's approach startled her. "I....I need an arrangement, "stammered Sandra. "For Thanksgiving? Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the Thanksgiving Special?" asked the shop clerk. "I'm convinced that flowers tell stories," she continued. "Are you looking for something that conveys 'gratitude' this Thanksgiving? "Not exactly!" Sandra blurted out. "In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. " Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the shop clerk said, "I have the perfect arrangement for you."

Then the door's small bell rang, and the shop clerk said, "Hi Barbara...let me get your order." She politely excused herself and walked toward a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped...there were no flowers. "Want this in a box?" asked the clerk. Sandra watched for the customer's response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers!?! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed. "Yes, please," Barbara replied with an appreciative smile.

"You'd think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again," she said as she gently tapped her chest. "Uhh," stammered Sandra, "that lady just left with, uhh... she just left with no flowers!" "Right...I cut off the flowers. That's the Special... I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet. "Oh, come on, you can't tell me someone is willing to pay for that?" exclaimed Sandra. "Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling very much like you feel today," explained the clerk. "She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she was facing major surgery." "That same year I had lost my husband, "continued the clerk," and for the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel. "So what did you do?" asked Sandra. "I learned to be thankful for thorns," answered the clerk quietly. "I've always thanked God for good things in life and never thought to ask Him why those good things happened to me, but when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time for me to learn that dark times are important. I always enjoyed the 'flowers' of life, but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God's comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we're afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others. "Sandra sucked in her breath as she thought about the very thing her friend had tried to tell her. "I guess the truth is I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and I'm angry with God." Just then someone else walked in the shop.

"Hey, Phil!" shouted the clerk to the balding, rotund man. "My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement ....twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!" laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator. "Those are for your wife?" asked Sandra doubtingly. "Do you mind me asking why she wants something that looks like that? "No...I'm glad you asked," Phil replied. "Four years ago my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord's grace and guidance, we slogged through problem after problem. He rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she learned from "thorny" times, and that was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific "problem" and give thanks to Him for what that problem taught us." As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special!"

"I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life." Sandra said to the clerk. "It's all too... fresh." "Well," the clerk replied carefully, "my experience has shown me that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God's providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don't resent the thorns." Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on resentment. "I'll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please," she managed to choke out. "I hoped you would," said the clerk gently. "I'll have them ready in a minute." "Thank you. What do I owe you?" asked Sandra. "Nothing." said the clerk. "Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year's arrangement is always on me. "The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. "I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you'd like to read it first."

It read:
"Dear God, I have never thanked you for my thorns. I have thanked you a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to you along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of your rainbow look much more brilliant."

The moral of this story: Thank God for your thorns.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Hematologist

To start off this blog post I must share something I thought was rather funny. I had a student yesterday comment to me that "Your life is fine. You have a job, you know what you will be doing tomorrow... etc...". This student on the other hand was upset because he didn't know what his future held, what career he would have, whom he would marry. To him my life appeared to be fine because I am in my 30's, married, and have a job.

The truth of the matter is that we are all waiting on something... Our journey is no different. We went to the Hematologist today, who is amazing. She was very kind and answered all of our questions. Here are some of the highlights:

1) This is a genetic issue.

2) She said that my body cannot properly absorb folic acid. This is crucial for developing babies and prevents things such as Spina Bifida. She wants me to start taking a B complex vitamin to help my body absorb the extra Folic Acid. 

3) They took 7 vials of blood to help pinpoint my blood clotting factor as well as reveal if there are other blood clotting issues. This will help us know exactly what we are dealing with (in regards to my blood) as well as what step to take next.

4) They don't know if the MTHFR mutation caused the miscarriages. We are in the early stages of the testing. When I asked her if we could ever have a healthy pregnancy she said "There are a lot of things we don't know yet. It could be another issue... I only deal with blood."

A single mutation of the MTHFR gene is very common. There is no conclusive data as to whether or not it causes miscarriages. Some believe yes, others say no.

What does this mean? Well, it means more waiting, more testing, and then more waiting.... Our next appointment is December 22nd. We are praying fervently that the Lord will guard our hearts since this is so close to Christmas. May we learn to have hearts of gratitude for all the blessings the Lord has given us. 

EDIT: The reason I asked about the healthy pregnancy is the Nurse Practioner at the OB's office said that all it would take to have a viable pregnancy is some medication. I was hoping to have that affirmation from the Hematologist. There is hope, but I realized that we won't have cut and dry answer for a while. We are hopeful that the next set of blood test will reveal more answers.