Saturday, December 5, 2015

Unexpected News

My reaction was far better than I expected. For months and months after Isaiah was born I would question myself, "If I found out I was pregnant today, would I be scared of what people thought about me?" For a long time that answer was yes. So, when I found out, on our 3rd anniversary of all days, that I was pregnant, I was pleasantly surprised by the happy tears running down my cheeks as I somehow found the words to tell my husband the news I found out less than 5 minutes prior. 
That feeling of utter joy stuck around, until my propensity for fear of the unknown and what people think about me slowly crept in. Would I be talked and laughed about by Facebook friends and random people who "can't believe that she would have another kid so soon. Geez, doesn't she know about birth control?!" Would I be sneered at by random strangers as they saw a mother of 2 under 2 walk by them at the store? That fear turned into embarrassment and giving into a commonly held lie that says that the sacrifice one has to make for the good of a child is not worth it. I began feeling frustrated that I may have to postpone certain dreams for the good of my family and I began worrying CONSTANTLY about how we could possibly afford to take care of another precious life. At no point did I regret choosing life, but there were many times when I certainly questioned the timing of this pregnancy. As I began to see Isaiah adopt the "big brother" role at day care and Josh and I talked about plans of the ultimate nursery/play room for our two babies, I began remembering the joy I had since taken for granted. When we finally told all of our family and I saw the joy and excitement on their faces, I knew that whatever sacrifice had to be made was worth making for the opportunity to bring a child into this world. 
Earlier this week, I had to call my doctor about some irregular symptoms regarding the pregnancy. After a few phone calls back and forth, I was told to leave work to rest and they would schedule me an ultrasound in the morning to check on everything. I rested up as best as one with an 11 month old who hates being told no can, and I waited to hear from the doctor as to when my appointment would be. After receiving the time the next morning and getting more rest, I went to meet Josh to get a sonogram. I was nervous, but having a propensity to worry, I gave it up and said a Hail Mary while waiting to go in. The news was immediate and it was jarring. I knew what I was looking at before she said that she didn't see a heartbeat. I had seen it before. I'm not sure how I managed to get through the rest of the ultrasound that felt like it lasted a lifetime, but the next thing I knew we were in Josh's car going to get something to eat before we had to see the doctor. The rest of the day was spent with enough distraction to ease my tears and only allowed some brief moments of true grief spent clinging to Dutch and mourning our child. 
Yesterday morning, I went in to the hospital to have a D&C. We were able to keep some of our son's remains so that we can bury him in a Catholic cemetery and bless his short life. The procedure went well and I have been feeling well physically. After the medications and anesthesia wore off, the emotional pain was intense. But, having experienced this grief before, having an amazing support system, and knowing that we will be able to gain closure from a ceremony honoring his life is enough to help me endure the pain for now.
Above all, I am eternally grateful for these things:
- A doctor who not only knew me, but also cared for me enough that he felt far more comfortable giving me an operation to minimize the risk of infection vs. sending me home to miscarry on my own with no other option.
- His staff who all hugged me and told me how sweet I am and how much they did not want this news to be mine.
- The miracle of having a nurse that knows us very well taking care of me after the surgery.
- Family and friends who are willing to pray for me and visit us to help take care of Isaiah. 
- Our priest who was willing to pray with us and go over what we could do to honor our son's life. 
- A husband who continues to love me and our children no matter what comes our way. 
- A beautiful baby boy here on Earth who eases my pain with his sweet smiles and big hugs.
- To have, yet again, been blessed to be a mother to a baby who's life was far too short. 
- A faith that encourages me to love, even when that love results in tremendous and intense pain and suffering. 

There is a lot of numbness over what has occurred in the past 3 days, and there will continue to be random spurts of grief and pain. I thank you all for the prayers that you have and will offer for me, Josh, Isaiah, and our 2 babies in heaven. We are blessed by the gift of your friendship and we love you all.

Sophia Dutchover - 3/9/2013
Isaac Dutchover - 12/4/2015

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Year Ago Yesterday

It has been one year since my last blog post, which is so strange considering it feels like it was only a few months ago since I stopped. My last post was about my miscarriage, and as it turns out, this first one back is also about that. For awhile, I wasn't sure that I would blog again at all, not that it would be that heartbreaking for you all, but it was a difficult task at the time, considering the reason for my absence. I stopped blogging because of the miscarriage. It was too hard to blog when all I really felt was anger, guilt, and a lot of confusion. And even when those subsided, I found myself thinking that whatever I had to say on any given topic that had been circling my mind for a few weeks was not worth anyone's time or energy to read. And, while that may actually be the case, I do find peace in the fact that this medium not only brings me joy, but it makes me feel stronger, like I have something worth sharing and that others might even be influenced by what I say. In the end, it's not so much that I need to be heard or understood or accepted, but that, if someone else can feel that way by what I write, I know that I have done some good. And I would like to keep doing that. 

A year ago yesterday, we found out that we had lost our baby girl. It hurt then, and it hurts now. Last night, I cried as hard as I did the days following the news and I found myself coming face to face with the same thoughts that I had then. "Why her? Why me?," "I never even got to see her.," and " Why is she not here with us?," were a never-ending chorus in my head as Josh stroked my hair and was strong when I could not be. Sometimes I look at other babies and I see her. I hear her laugh, I see her hair, and I see the sparkle in her eyes and I think, "Is that what she's like?" And while I'm saddened that I won't know that answer now, I can rest in the hope that those little things that I think about her: that she is quiet, that she is gentle, that she is confident; I can trust that those are all true, even though I never got to meet her. 
The thing about miscarriage is, the only thing you have to hold onto is this strange feeling; a feeling that is so unshakeable and unrelenting, that you simply know it must be true. I can't explain how I know that my baby is a girl named Sophia, or that I know that her hair is a sandy brown color, or that her temperament is almost identical to her father's, save for her few individual quirks. I don't know how I know that she would have made us better people, or that she would have been the most patient big sister, or that she would have taught us all lessons that would have changed us completely. And maybe I don't know these things. Maybe they all are just projections from a poor, broken woman who lost her child. But, whatever they are, I know that I lost a dear, dear thing a year ago yesterday. I know that I have hurt in a way that I have never hurt before and I know that I have loved in a way that I have never loved before. And I know that the person I am today is a result of not only the news I got on March 9, 2013, but also because of the news I got 12 weeks before that. I was changed because of a little life that never came to be. I was changed by the power of love. I was changed by the blessing of hope. I was changed by the blessing of hope. I was changed by the blessing of hope. I was changed by the blessing of an awe-inspiring, undeserving, yet overwhelming hope. Not a blind optimism, not a wishful thought, not an action-less prayer, but hope. A hope in the resurrection of a merciful and loving Lord. A hope in the power and grace of a God who cares. A hope that my beautiful girl is a saint. That she is in Heaven, face to face with Our Lord, being held in the mantle of our beautiful Mother Mary, and that she is interceding always for Josh and me. A hope that I will one day be reunited with her, all the saints and angels, and that I too will look upon the glorious face of my Creator and that I will be home. 
So, while right now I am still healing from a wound that is deep, I know that my consolation is not here, but it is in Heaven, with my sweet saint and my merciful Lord. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

You Were Beautiful

Saturday was just like any other weekend day: Josh and I cleaned the apartment, went out to eat for dinner, and came back home for a quiet night. Josh was in the living room playing guitar and I was watching TV and playing games on my phone. Earlier in the week, I had noticed some irregular spotting that shouldn't really occur during pregnancy. I had called the doctor about it twice and they reassured me that it wasn't a big deal and that it didn't always mean something bad. They told me that if it got worse, not better, then I should call back. So, on Friday, when everything seemed okay, I didn't think I had anything to worry about. But, that Saturday night, I noticed that there was more than just the little bit of spotting that had occurred earlier. There was blood. Not a lot, but enough to be worried. I came out of the bathroom crying and told Josh what had happened. He tried to reassure me, but I was practically inconsolable because I knew that whatever the problem was, it wasn't good. I decided that we needed to call someone, but with it being 9:00 at night and having never actually met our OB, it was a difficult process trying to figure out who we should call and even more difficult trying to figure out what number worked. It was so frustrating and we were feeling defeated, angry, and scared. Finally, I got ahold of someone who gave me a number to a nurses hotline. I called and told them my symptoms and explained that I was pregnant and I was starting to feel a lot calmer knowing that someone was listening to me and that I was getting help. And once I was explaining everything, I felt a lot less worrisome. My symptoms didn't seem THAT bad from what I had read and I was feeling pretty good. Until the nurse on the line told me that I needed to go to the Emergency Room. I told Josh what the nurse said, and without any thought, he started getting ready to go. I was a little weary, but he knew what to do and was doing it. That is just a good example of what kind of man I married: he does what needs to be done without a second thought. We got to the ER at about 9:30 and I was happily surprised to see that it was actually a pretty nice place and we didn't have to wait long at all to be helped. We got into a room within 10 minutes of getting to the ER and right after that I had a nurse come in, then the doctor checking me out and telling me what he thought was going on (that the baby was trying to miscarry), and then a lab tech taking my blood sample. They told us it would be about an hour or so until we got the results back from the blood and urine samples and that after that, they would be back in. So, we settled in for about an hour and watched TV, talked about stuff we saw on Facebook, and just tried to keep our minds off of where we were and why we were there. At about 11:15 an ultrasound tech came in and told us what she was going to do. She explained that she was going to look at my uterus and my ovaries and then we could check out the baby. At this point, I was a little worried. See, my first prenatal appointment was a month after I found out I was pregnant and the next appointment was set for March 20. I had yet to get my results back from the lab the last time I was at the hospital and I hadn't gotten an ultrasound or heard a heartbeat, so I was kind of starting to think that I made the whole thing up and was seriously starting to doubt whether there was even a baby in there or not! She started looking at everything and explained what she was doing each time, "I'm going to listen for the blood flow in your ovaries now," and "This is your uterus," and things like that. Then, she got to my baby. I was elated. Seriously, guys, I know this sounds cliche and silly, but I have honestly never seen anything so beautiful in my life. I swear, I just knew that it was a girl. And she was beautiful. I was smiling so big just knowing she was in there and I felt so peaceful! The ultrasound tech started doing a doppler thing that looked for blood flow (though she didn't explain that at the time) and everything around the baby was a different color an was moving, but the baby stayed black and white. She then started looking for the heartbeat and the only thing that came on the screen was a line. There was no noise. Nothing. I knew, even when she kept looking for it, that it wasn't there. My heart sank. She told us that she couldn't find a heartbeat and that she didn't see any blood flow. She said that even though I was already supposed to be at 12 weeks, the baby and my uterus only looked to be at 9 weeks. She was so nice when she told us and she promised to give us pictures from the ultrasound. She told me that she wished she could just wrap me in her arms and take me with her. She was so sweet. I tried to keep calm while she finished up paperwork and got everything ready. When she left, I couldn't keep it in anymore and I just cried. We both did. We were trying so hard to be hopeful that everything was okay, that when we finally heard the news, we were heartbroken. We talked about God's love and about how beautiful she was. We cried and held hands and hugged and waited for the doctor. He told us doctor things and reassured us that everything was going to be okay. And while we were in the hospital, I believed him. It was when we were going home that I felt a change. I didn't want to cry, I was mad. I didn't feel anything. I didn't know what to do and all I could do was just sit. I could cry, but I couldn't comprehend what had just happened. We tried to get some sleep. But, when I woke up to go to the bathroom that night, I remembered what had happened the last time I was in that bathroom and I couldn't take it. I sat there and I just cried until Josh came in and cried with me. The next morning we finally got the courage to get ready for Mass, and as I looked at myself in the mirror and saw the bags under my swollen eyes, I decided I didn't care. I didn't care what I looked like, I didn't care what people said to me, I didn't care about worshipping God, I was tired and I was sad and I was just going to go through the motions until it stopped hurting. Needless to say, God's grace, the love and support of our parents, and the love of each other got to me and by Sunday night, I was feeling okay again. 

It's hard to sum up the emotions and the pain that Josh and I have experienced over the past few days. We are so sad for our loss and we are so sad that our baby is no longer with us. We are grateful to have had her for the little time that we did, but we are also so heartbroken that we don't get to know her.  But, beyond that pain, we have experienced so much love and support from the family and friends we have told. We are so humbled and blessed to know that we have family that will come and see us and help us through this time. We are so grateful to have friends that will make us dinner and bring it to us at the perfect time, when we need it most. We are so sad that we lost this beautiful life, but are also so excited for when we will be parents. We know that God is with us in our suffering and that He is with us always. We are so blessed to have a God who loves us, a family that supports us, and each other to lean on.

During this time, I think the thing I want people to know the most is that I don't want anyone who is pregnant or who just had a baby to think that I don't want to hear about their pregnancies/babies. I want to know everything. I want to be there for you and help you with anything I can. I am not happy that this happened to us, but I am happy that it didn't happen to anyone else I know that is pregnant. I want all the babies that are due to be healthy, happy, and, if I were being truthful, super fat so I have more of them to love. 

Josh and I know that things are not going to be easy. We know that we still have some grief to get through and that some days are going to be harder than others. But, we are so blessed to have amazing people in our lives who are here for us. We love you. Thank you so much for your love, support, and prayers!

You were the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. I saw your arms, your legs and I knew you were my baby girl. The most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my entire life. I was smiling ear to ear as I was able to finally see the miracle growing inside of me. And then, the ultrasound tech starting checking for blood flow and when I didn't see any of the colors from the Doppler around you, I tried not to worry and reminded myself that I am not a professional and I don't know anything about sonograms. Then she went to find your heartbeat and when that straight line ran across the screen, my heart sank and I knew the truth. She tried a few more times before she told us what we already knew: you were gone. We had lost you. That moment was hard, baby girl. I've wanted you for so long and, for no explainable reason, you were gone. I hadn't even been able to see you alive and now you were gone. I was supposed to love you, take care of you, hold you tight when you cried, hugged you when you laughed. I was supposed to talk you through your boy problems and help you with your English homework. I was supposed to help you play dress up and attend your tea parties. Your daddy was supposed to teach you about football, help you with your Math homework, and tell you how a boy is suppose to treat you. He was going to spoil you and love you and never tell you no (until you started dating). You were going to have him wrapped around your beautiful, perfect, little finger. We're sad we don't get to meet you, my sweet angel. We're sad we won't get to know who you looked like more or whose personality you resembled most. But, we are so blessed to have made you, to have seen you, to have helped you grow for the little time you did. You will never leave my thoughts and your brothers and sisters that are to come will always know that you are watching over and waiting for them. They will always know your love and will always know who you are. You will always be my first baby and I will love you forever. Watch over us up there, sweet baby.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

First Pregnancy Post!

Okay, so, since this blog was not really intended to be a pregnancy blog, I'm going to limit the amount of these posts that I do. I will still probably do one a week (we'll see...), but if I do that, then I will be sure to also write a blog that week about something meaningful and not pregnancy related. So, here is my first pregnancy post! I hope you like it!

How far along? I am 10 weeks along yesterday!

Total weight gain/loss? Since my last doctor's appointment, I've gained about 2 pounds. But, overall since I've known I was pregnant, I think I've gained about 4 or 5 pounds.

Maternity clothes? I wish! No bump yet. I went shopping with my Mother-in-law yesterday and was telling her about how I want to buy maternity clothes, but I'm nervous because I don't know how anything will fit. Plus, since I don't look pregnant, I feel like nobody believes me when I tell them!

Stretch marks? Since my baby bump is pretty much non-existent except to me, I won't expect there will be any of these for awhile!

Best moment of this week? Eating. All the time! I just want to eat! We just finished eating lunch about an hour or 2 ago and even though I still feel full, I'm hungry again!!

Miss anything? This is going to make me sound like a terrible person, but alcohol. It was National Margarita Day sometime this week and I couldn't participate!

Movement? I know my little jelly bean is moving up a storm, but I can't feel a thing.

Food cravings? In general, all food just sounds amazing. But, it's mainly just whatever I feel like having at the moment. The other night I wanted spinach leaves and baby carrots (delicious), but, like normal, most of the time what I'm craving is sweet and bad for me!

Anything making you queasy or sick? I have only been sick twice so far and both instances it was because I was tired and didn't eat well (and one time also because of motion sickness and nerves), but, for the most part, nothing has made me feel sick or queasy. Early on, I could not eat or even think of chicken, and even still I would prefer not to eat it, but it has never really made me sick.

Have you started to show yet? I think I have, but since the definition of "show" implies that someone else can see it, maybe not. I know that I've gotten bigger, but nobody else can see it (though last night Josh did admit that he thought I looked bigger! I was thrilled!!).

Gender prediction? I really want a boy for some reason, but Josh thinks it will be a girl.

Belly button in or out? Since I'm not showing, I basically look the same! Just a little rounder in my tummy area!

Wedding rings on or off? On. And I predict I will be able to wear them throughout the entire pregnancy. My rings are a little big anyway, so maybe they'll actually fit!

Happy or moody most of the time? I tell Josh all the time that I feel grumpy and moody. At first he would say that he didn't see it, but after snapping at him a few times when I've been hungry and literally just telling him that it didn't matter what he did he was annoying (not my proudest moment. I still feel like a horrible person!), I feel like he's understanding that I'm a little more irritable than normal.

Looking forward to? Having a baby bump! I just want the world to see how chubby and pregnant I am!!!

Anything else? My next doctor's appointment is March 20th and I'll get the results of my blood work and urine sample, plus they will also have to check to see if I am showing possible signs of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. So, we would really appreciate prayers for that time and in the mean time!! Thank you!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Into the Desert

Happy Ash Wednesday, everybody! So, I know that these past few months I have been pretty much non-existent in my blogging. I'm terribly sorry about that, especially for all of those people who continuously told me to keep blogging! I kind of feel like I let you down.
The really hard part about blogging, and blogging well, I think, is that it's really hard to come up with substantial topics that my brain can work through enough to write about EVERY WEEK. But, as part of my Lenten challenge, I am going to blog every week. I can't promise that every post will be inspirational, uplifting, or even that it will make sense, but, I feel like I should not be so scared that I will write something ridiculous that I just don't even write anything at all. So, here goes the first of many more blog posts to come, my friends!

You will find that this succinct, truthful little phrase will basically be the summary of today's blog post, but, just in case you fancy a long read about my opinions and thoughts, I've decided to write anyway!

Let me start my giving you a head's up about every Lent I've ever tried participating in EVER. (Literally, every.single.year.)
One of two things will happen: a) I will have about 10 REALLY AMAZING ideas for what to do for Lent, and starting Ash Wednesday, I'll be super pumped about what those things are and I will start cutting out sugar, or meat, or sugar and meat and I'll promise to pray the rosary every day and to also start volunteering more, and I'll also decide that my attitude is way too pessimistic and so I'll promise to smile at every single person I encounter and to never act angry to anyone, ever and I'll be the perfect version of myself that is in my head that I'm always striving to be. OR b) I will think of at least 10 OKAY ideas for what to do for Lent, and then on Ash Wednesday I will decide that none of them are good enough and I'll just tell myself not to worry about it because, obviously, I'll think of a really good one that day to start. 
The moral of this ridiculous [real life] story is that, either way, I always fail BIG TIME. If I think of a million awesome things to do, it always becomes overwhelming and I end up handing in the towel within the first week of Lent, and if I think my ideas aren't good enough, I end up never being able to find one that is "just right" and I end up never even giving anything up!

I feel like the main reason that I never do Lent right is not necessarily because I've looked at it as a "diet", but instead, and this is what I feel the heart of the matter is with this statement, I've looked at Lent as a New Year's resolution, a personal goal that is aimed at making ME better. Every Lent, even if I thought my heart was in the right place, my real intent was to better myself for my own selfish reasons.

Now, I'm not saying that giving up sodas or junk food or promising to work-out every week is a BAD idea for Lent. Certainly, it is an awesome thing to do for your personal well-being. But, remember WHY you are giving those things up. It is not so that you can lose weight, it is not so you can have a hot bod. You should be giving those things up because they are DISTRACTIONS that are shifting your focus from God to worldly things. If we look at Lent as a re-do for our New Year's resolutions, than we are not even getting close to the potential that Lent could have for us. Instead of getting closer to God, we will just be feeding those distractions that take us away from God more.

I don't know about you, but I want to get this Lent right. I want to take these 40 days to truly wander into the desert with my Lord and I want Him to show me the things that have been distracting me from Him. I want Him to show me how to be a better servant for Him. The crazy (and kind of amazing thing) is that He is showing me all of that stuff EVERY DAY. It's just now that I am truly trying to get rid of those distractions and see it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

An apology, an update, and a mouse.

I'm sorry it's been so long since my last post. I would say that things have been crazy, but the truth is, my mind has been fluctuating from "I have absolutely nothing to talk about" to "I want to talk about everything but can't form coherent sentences." It's rough being me. 

Anyway, since my last post, I have indeed starting working at my part-time day care gig. It's been a rough couple of weeks, but slowly I'm getting the hang of it. Wrangling 8 two-year-olds ain't all it's cracked up to be, you know... even as cute as they are.

But, even as I am slowly learning how to manage 8 little ones at one time, I'm still wondering what exactly it is I am called to be doing at this point in my life. I think that's really where I'm stuck right now. What do I do right now? I mean, I don't have my Master's or Doctorate degrees yet, so my dream job is still just a dream. So, what is it that God is calling me to do?

For right now, I guess that is going to stay a mystery. I'm trying to be patient and to just pray that the job I'm doing now is leading me to holiness in it's own way. But, some days are harder than others. And it just seems that today was one of those days.

I know that I'm the kind of person that, when I find someone to listen, I don't mind complaining and possibly exaggerating the woes of my day (and since you all are helpless readers who can't yell at me to suck it up, you get to "listen"), but I feel like I can say that I knew it was going to be hard day even before I woke up (that's right friends... I had a premonition! magic!). 

Josh left early this morning to go to a youth conference in San Angelo, so even as I woke up (to the bathroom light he left on -- WHYYYYY?) I knew that whatever day I was going to face, I was going to have to face it with him being hundreds of miles away. And, as a newly married gal, I think that just sucks. So, that kind of set the mood for the rest of the day.

And it turns out the day I had to face consisted of: 8 kids hyped up on cupcakes for 4 hours, cleaning for 45 minutes almost solely with bleach water, cold soup (okay, it was my fault for being too lazy to go reheat it again..), not having a husband hug waiting for me at home, and a MOUSE in my apartment. I feel like I don't need to tell you why today was just one of those days.

Anyway, I know that tomorrow is a new day (free of adorable 2 year olds and hopefully one less mouse) and even with my amazing husband away at Region X, I know that I can face whatever comes my way! (But, Lord, please don't let it be any more mice!)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

the perks of being a housewife/bum

Currently, I am super unemployed. {that's right. SUPER unemployed.} Right now it doesn't feel so bad because I just got married and I have an awesome husband who is patient and wonderful, but in about a week or so I predict a big breakdown involving mascara stains on my husband's shirt from my overdramatic sobs and a whole lot of self-loathing.

 Oh, that doesn't sound fun to you? Weird.

But, I suppose there are a few good things about being unemployed:

  • I get to stay in my pajamas until my husband comes home for lunch {and then I change because I feel really guilty that I'm in my pajamas and still haven't finished the to-do list I started on Monday...}.
  • I get to write this {hopefully} fabulous blog about my {not-so} fabulous life. 
  • I get to bask in the joys of being newly married without having a stressful job cramp my style {that's pre-supposing that I have style to cramp, of course}.
  • Sometimes I get to not even know what the weather is like all day because I've stayed inside all day {that's not really a good thing. I'm really trying hard to make it sound good so I can have more positives..}.
Okay, who am I kidding? Not having a job is dumb. But, hopefully, it will all change soon! Though it isn't anything substantial and definitely not a "big girl" job, I did get a call back from a day care that might {hopefully!} hire me part time! Hopefully it will be the best of both worlds: I'll get to sleep in, be able to write my blog, AND get to feel what the weather outside is like! {SCORE!}

Anyway, I would definitely appreciate some prayers and kind thoughts! 

And in return for sending good thoughts and prayers my way, I'll leave you with this picture of a gang of happy llamas that will brighten your day!

{They're pretty pleased that you're being so nice to me}

Thanks for the love!