Monday, December 23, 2013

Worth the wait

For some having babies is like snapping their fingers and bazinga they 're blessed with a bouncing bundle of joy. For others it takes years of tears, treatments, heartbreak and a roller coaster of emotions… and lot of crazy hormones. We fit the second group- due to a condition I have that makes it very hard to get pregnant ...but hey it makes for a very interesting story!

After a year of trying, last Fall we had an answer to our prayers…but it wan't meant to be and we ended up losing the baby around 11 weeks (two days before Thanksgiving). Needless to say it was the hardest thing we have experienced in our lives and Thanksgiving was not very fun. 

But as He does, God brought Joel and I closer than ever through the whole thing and helped us heal together. After a few more rounds of infertility meds, shots, hundreds of dollars and too many doctors appointments in the New Year I decided enough was enough; God can do anything…I don't need these stinkin' drugs! My Aunt Fran (who is my self appointed Godmother due to her southern tell it like it is faith-filled advice) was telling me for months she felt like I should go to a chiropractor because it had helped her coworker get pregnant after nothing worked… (Sounds nutty right?)

Long story short- God not only led me to amazing Christian chiropractors at Family First Chiropractic but paved the way for free treatments! After a few days of stressing of how I would pay for the care- I prayed for an answer and felt like I should ask them about a trade. They'd treat me and I'd help them with their marketing. Little did I know they were in major need of help. They said they felt like God had led me to them to help and they would be happy to do an even trade! They told me to expect a miracle because they did! The first appointment I had the song 'Healing Begins' came on when I was being treated. Woah!

Fast forward five months of chiropractic care, continual prayer with expectation and words of encouragement from God along the way. Ask me about all of the barren women of the Bible who eventually conceived- because He revealed all of their stories to me in those months! It really was getting ridiculous to read them one after another as my daily devotionals in a women in the Bible series.

And come September...I was pregnant! Exactly one year after I was pregnant before! God has pretty amazing timing and allowed us to experience some pretty amazing things in the past year. So we continued praying furiously and patiently waited for that 12 week appointment to hear the heartbeat we didn’t hear the first time before we told anyone. Ironically- it was the day before Thanksgiving- exactly one year after we found out we lost our first baby. You couldn't imagine the ants in our pants and anxiety we felt. Talk about déjà doctor even mentioned the timing! But this time was different. This time we heard a strong beautiful heartbeat! The most amazing sound we've ever heard! Woosh, woosh, woosh, woosh. Strong and healthy.

June 3rd can't get here soon enough for us to meet this little miracle baby! As a journalism grad I've always appreciated a good story and I really can't wait to tell this baby how their life is already pretty darn amazing…even before they were born.

Thank you to all of you who have been praying for us the last few years. God is so good and faithful. We are so blessed to have this testimony to share. We also realize some aren't as blessed as we are to be able to have children and my heartbreaks and yearns along with them. I pray that our story helps and encourages those with similar struggles along the way. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Food Blog 10: Super Easy 7 Can Chicken Tortilla Soup

This one goes out to Miss Ashley J. Webb who is a real peach. :) 

1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (10 ounce) can chunk chicken
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, drained
1 (4 ounce) can of diced green chilis
A few wedges worth of lime juice (or 2 Real Lime packets-love them!)
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Grated Cheese
Sour Cream

Fresh Tortilla strips: 
Brush flour tortillas with veggie oil, cut into strips, put onto cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes at 350.

(Original recipe makes 6 servings)

Open the cans of corn, chicken broth, chunk chicken, black beans, and diced tomatoes with green chilies. Pour everything into a large saucepan or stock pot. Simmer over medium heat until chicken is heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh avocado, sour cream, grated cheese and your yummy tortilla strips and enjoy! 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Food Blog 9: Shrimp Lemon Pepper Pappardelle with Belgium Brussel Sprouts

1 (8 ounce) package pasta (I like to use Trader Joes Pappardelle) 

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup white wine
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
salt to taste
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled (I LOVE Trader Joes Argentina Red Shrimp!!) 
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

(Original recipe makes 4 servings)

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 9 to 13 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and saute garlic about 1 minute. Mix in chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is reduced by about 1/2.

Mix shrimp, butter, parsley, and basil into the saucepan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until shrimp is opaque. Stir in the cooked linguine, and continue cooking 2 minutes, until well coated.

...And for the Brussel Sprouts!

 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and yellow leaves removed (I like Trader Joes frozen Belgium brussels sprouts)
 3 tablespoons olive oil
 1 teaspoon kosher salt
 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

(Original recipe makes 6 servings)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).

Place trimmed Brussels sprouts, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag or sealable bowl. Seal tightly, and shake to coat. Pour onto a baking sheet, and place on center oven rack.

Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning. Brussels sprouts should be darkest brown, almost black, when done. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt, if necessary. 

Serve immediately...I recommend with parmesan cheese! Want to kick it up a notch? Add some bacon or pancetta! It is oh so delish baked in the oven with the sprouts!

Bon appetit!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

hello... old friend

sorry i haven't blogged much in the last few years.
i have been busy with life, chasing disasters for a few years and now slowing down to the normal speed of life.
so now i will make an effort to blog on a regular basis again.
i missed the outlet of writing. as many of you know i went to college for journalism.
writing is therapeutic for me. its really helped me get out feelings that i sometimes cant talk about.
i have been blown away by the response to my last blog post that i shared on my social media networks.
its in my weakest moments that im reminded of the goodness of people.
check back soon for some happy blogs...i promise.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sometimes miracles only last 11 weeks

Fair warning: this was THE hardest blog I've ever written. At first I just wrote it for me- but decided to be brave and share it with hopes of helping someone in a similar situation someday. Here goes nothing. Grab some tissues. 

When I married the love of my life close to six years ago I never thought starting a family would be an issue. It wasn’t until we were finally ‘ready’ that I started noticing loved ones around us who were struggling to get pregnant. I have a few brave women in my life that shared their stories with me and helped me with questions about not being able to get pregnant after 12 months of trying.

After a few visits to a doctor and specialist I found out I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Basically my ovaries have issues. After a few sad days of research and spiraling down bunny holes of what if's, we can’t afford these treatments and what if we never have a baby- I decided I was going to hand it all over to God. I also decided a little help couldn’t hurt so I went on one round of meds to get my ovaries to kick into gear.

At the same time I prayed harder than I’ve ever prayed in my whole life. I prayed with expectation, boldness and urgency. One night when I was in deep prayer I heard God say, “The time is now” and “twins.” I couldn’t shake this. We had our pastor pray for us at church on my birthday. (Sidebar: this pastor was a miracle himself- he wasn’t suppose to be born- and has a gift of praying for couples who can’t conceive and most have gone on to have families.) We promised God then and there we would give testimony to his goodness for fulfilling our prayers.

That night I went home and my daily verse on my phone was Romans 8:22-29 (MSG). I could feel God speaking to me, telling me that the time was now:
22-25 All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
26-28 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Two weeks later, I felt nauseas and excited. I was afraid to take the pregnancy test after all of the disappointment of the others- but I prayed and took it. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Positive. It was really happening. Our miracle was happening. I could hardly wait to tell Joel.  

We spent the next few weeks telling our immediate families and a few of our closest friends.  We decided to wait until 12 weeks to tell the world. Our first ultrasound at six weeks went great. We saw the little bean of a baby and its fluttering heart. Things became more real and we became more excited.

Fast forward three months to week 11 (last week) we had decided on what room would be the nursery, had a list of names and planned how we would announce our miracle to the world on Thanksgiving. Just one last doctor’s appointment to make sure everything was ok first. 

Everything was going great until the doctor was having issues finding the heart beat with the Doppler machine. She said ‘don’t worry- it’s like finding a needle in haystack, sometimes you can’t with this machine so we will get a ultrasound.’ She pushed a red button on the wall and a nurse brought the ultrasound. She got it fired up and started pressing on my belly with the wand. She looked puzzled. I could tell something wasn’t right but tried not to panic. After a few minutes she said she needed to go get another doctor to see what she thought. This is when I went into shock I think.

I joked with Joel that the baby must be hiding. I felt like it was a bad dream staring down at my Chuck Taylors. When both the doctors returned they did an internal ultrasound and turned the screen towards them. This is when I knew it wasn’t good at all. All I could do was watch their faces as they pointed to things on the screen and shook their heads no. The only way I can describe it was: surreal.

After what seemed like eternity the second doctor shook her head and left the room. My doctor asked me to sit up and started talking about how it was nothing I did or didn’t do- but the baby didn’t make it. She kept talking and staring at me and I sat there in shock staring back at her long eyelashes and broken smile. I was in complete shock. I felt like the room was closing in on me and I couldn’t say a thing.

The doctor asked if we had any questions I said I didn’t even know where to begin. She asked if we needed a minute. I somehow squeaked out yes. She left. We hugged. He cried. I held it all in like I always do. See I hate crying in front of people. It’s something I’ve done for years. I remember saying something like, ‘this doesn’t even seem real’ as a floated off the exam table.

She came back in and told me that one in every five pregnancies end early and other stats and went over my options. She thought it happened a week or two ago but since my body wasn’t showing any signs bleeding, cramping, etc she didn’t know how long it would take to miscarry naturally. I also had the option of a pill that would make my uterus contract and remove the baby that way. This option came with lots of bleeding and pain and the question of how long it would take. The third option was a D & C surgery to go in and surgically remove the baby.

With Thanksgiving coming up in two days my options for surgery were the next day or wait until Monday. Somehow Joel managed to drive us home crying without crashing my car. I sat there numb. I didn’t know what to do besides put on sweatpants, take off my Tiffany’s and crawl into bed. We cried and hugged for what seemed like years. There was nothing we could say or do but cry. I have never seen him so broken like this before…it broke my heart even more.

I kept thinking God gave us this miracle so he would take care of us and he had to have a plan. The doctor told us miscarriages are a sign your body can get pregnant and most women go on to have healthy babies. I had faith God would provide for us. We had so badly wanted this baby for so long. There has to be a reason for this. God would use this for his good. Maybe I was supposed to have twins? A million questions ran through my head.  The first being- what should I do about this unborn child inside of me?

The hardest part came in verbally telling people what had happened. We called our parents first. Through sobbing and blubbering they somehow understood us and comforted us. My mom, who is a nurse, helped me process what I should do next. We decided the surgery was more controlled for the bleeding and the thought of waiting days with the pill for it to happen was tortuous to me.  

So the next morning I called the doctor and they squeezed me in for surgery at 5:30pm. I had to go all day without eating or drinking so I decided I would hibernate the day away to not think about being hungry or thirsty after 20 some hours without anything. I spent the day in bed crying, praying and sleeping. I felt God telling me to stop blaming myself and questioning everything. I tried to be at peace but my heart was broken.

That night I got checked in at the hospital, gowned up, IV in then they started paperwork. All expected until we got to the parental rights to the remains form. This hadn’t even crossed my mind. We have to choose what to do with the remains? It felt like a sucker-punch to the gut. I just stared at the form. The sweet nurse said we didn’t have to decide then- so we didn’t.

Joel prayed for me before they rolled me into surgery. The sweetest hardest prayer to pray but he did so with grace. A few hours later and I was on my way home with a fake rose and a booklet about loosing a child.

The next few days are a blur of body aches, cramping, crying, hugs, flowers, cards, food and encouraging words from those we love. We spent Thanksgiving together at home in sweatpants. My sister in law brought us over the best darn gladware Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings and four kinds of pie. Our families kept us well fed and taken care of over the weekend.

When I started sharing what had happened with the few friends we had told the more I heard that this had happened to them. I was shocked that so many of them had gone through not one- but multiple miscarriages and I had never known. I felt so bad as a friend that I didn’t know. Then I felt sad as a woman that this statistically happens to most women who have children- but people don’t talk about it. I’m pretty sure they don’t because it hurts. It really hurts to talk about. But the more I talk about it- it gets a little bit easier. The silver lining, all of them that had similar situations now have healthy children.

I lay in bed a few nights not able to sleep, going over the story in my head. Then it hit me- you need to quit narrating this sad story over and over again in your head and put it out there. I know it hurts- but I hope this encourages someone someday going through the same raw pain of a loss of something so small but feels larger than life.

What I have learned through all of this is:
  • I’m not good at being sad. I much prefer being the happy, optimistic girl. Crying takes too much energy and makes my face feel dry from all the salt. I'm not good at being the one being taken care of. I like to take care of other people when they are down. I like to be the one to comfort but learned that I have a lot of people who love me and I have to be ok with them taking care of me from time to time. Plus it’s nice to get a lot of premade meals and cookies. (Thank you guys!)
  •  I have THE best husband in the world. I have fallen even more in love with him thought this horrible experience then I ever thought was possible. He is so caring and sweet. His heart is bigger than his body. When there aren’t words there is love.
  • Sometimes miracles only last 11 weeks. I was lucky to get one in the first place and I promised God I would tell everyone of His miracle- so I will no matter how hard it is. I just pray next time our miracle will live a long healthy life to be very old and very wrinkly.  
The picture above is my phones daily verse from Tuesday. I still hear ya loud and clear God. :)

   Ok, you can stop crying now. You know I hate crying and it stresses me out. So next time you see me- just smile and wink at me or something. 

(for now)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Aurora: An All American City with All American Heart

This was a hard is a little bit of my heart. 

Friday morning, I woke up to the news report of the theatre shooting in Aurora, and my heart was immediately aching. When I got the call from the Red Cross to deploy to help in Aurora late Friday night I knew as that hard as it would be- I had to go. A few hours later I was on a plane to Denver.

I headed straight to the Red Cross Shelter at Aurora Central High School to lend my assistance. I arrived right after two city buses had just dropped off residents that were evacuated from the shooter’s apartment complex after their utilities were cut so authorities could disarm the bombs in his apartment.
They joined families who were given a moment’s on Friday to grab their belongings and get out of their apartments located close to the booby trapped apartment. Early Saturday morning, a dozen people who were also displaced by another disaster arrived at the shelter – a 24 unit apartment fire in Aurora left them immediately homeless. Here they could escape the 100 degree temps, have cool drinks and hot meals, a safe place to rest their heads and the shoulder of a Red Cross volunteer to cry on.
Saturday morning the shelter quickly turned into a community gathering place for those in need of comfort and care. In all, 100 people (55 adults and 45 children) called the shelter “home” at one point this weekend. The circumstances that brought these people to the shelter varied, but they all had one thing in common: they couldn’t return home.
As I talked to families I could tell they were shaken but not defeated. They told me that you don’t appreciate your home until you don’t have it anymore. I saw neighbors reconnecting, children playing and healing beginning. They voiced their gratefulness of the Red Cross and its caring, smiling, kind and friendly volunteers.
Parents had the difficult job of trying to put into words why they had to leave their home and why their neighbor had bombs in his apartment. Trained Red Cross Mental Health Volunteers offered families support and made sure they were taken care of emotionally.
I can say with confidence that Aurora and its people are on the right path to recovery after last nights all city prayer vigil. Thousands showed up with candles, signs, balloons, hugs, tears and support. Aurora Mayor Hogan said at the vigil, “While our hearts are broken our community is not…Aurora is still an All American City!”
I saw that personally as tears rolled down my face and strangers joined hands and hearts in unity. The prayer vigil ended with everyone signing ‘Amazing Grace’ as the survivors and families exited. There has been very few moments in my life when I’ve experienced that feeling of grief and unity at the same time.
People stayed well after the vigil was over and so did I. I joined hands with two young smiling faces and stood in a circle with hundreds as we prayed for peace and healing. After about 15 minutes someone yelled “group hug” and we ran to the middle and embraced each other with tears in our eyes.
I was proud to be there to support them. You will overcome this evil, Aurora. I have no doubt. Your people are strong and courageous and I will keep you in my heart as yours heals.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

sunday school shoes

if you haven't seen moonrise kingdom yet- do it.
wes anderson never disappoints.

i love these people...

even though she loves him more than she loves me.