Monday, February 8, 2016

Tomorrow

A few years ago, I heard someone speak on the names of God. (Some of you may have heard this recently!) In the Old Testament, depending on their circumstance, people would give God a name. For example, Jehovah Jireh (provider), Jehovah Rapha (healer), etc. This speaker decided to give God a name for his circumstance, and his was Jehovah Frugal. His meaning was along the lines of "He does not waste my pain". I have decided to use this for my own life and know that no matter what I go through, my pain will not be wasted. I am sharing my pain in hopes that it will help another.

Dear Friend, my story is nothing; a waste of breath. It is a void if not shared with the intent of encouragement. Hope. Redemption. So please, share my story with those in similar struggles. Share it with those that feel hopeless and lost in any situation. God is faithful, just, and always right on time.

2015. What a year. I cannot believe all of those I have spoken to that have experienced the worst year of their lives. Nothing light- serious, serious matters. Life altering situations. I couldn't help but think, "What is going on?"

Our year started out exciting, new house and new projects. All quickly turned in to a difficult situation, which is another story in itself. The year started on a dim note.

Kyle and I had finally come to the decision, since we were in a bigger house and we were ready, to start the process of growing our family. In early June 2015, I was able to experience that unbelievable moment of seeing a positive pregnancy test. A few tears, a smile, and a giddy laugh made it a memorable evening. I had nausea before the positive test, a craving for pickles and pepperoni, and tired as could be. We were off to a great start.

I noticed my symptoms waning within a couple days of our news. I didn't think much of it, but knew that it was off. 6 days after finding out, I started to spot. I didn't think much of that either, since I had similar, yet different problems with my first. I had a call in to the doctor's office and let it be. I was told to come in the following day for blood work. Hours passed. A nurse finally called me, setting up a second draw 3 days later. My numbers were low, but still in an appropriate range. She gave me instruction in case I passed the baby over the weekend. I'll never forget how brash and matter-of-fact her words were. I hung up. Tears.

I have always been a believer in preventative prayer. "Please let us arrive safely", "Please keep us healthy", "Please don't let me get pregnant if it will end in a loss". Miscarrying was my biggest fear. There is not much else on this earth I wanted to experience less than that. The weirdest part is that I remember very specifically praying over my stomach- that everything would implant where it was supposed to go. I never thought one of those "side note" issues could become reality.

I was put on pelvic rest for the weekend. I didn't get out of bed much. I would have random bouts of hopelessness and tears, followed by confidence that everything was fine. I kept reminding myself that I was allowed to have a normal pregnancy. I had no more spotting, for the time being. I remember breaking down to my husband, weeping, saying " I don't want to lose this baby". His embrace comforted me for the moment, but I felt fear always creeping back in.

Monday came, and another blood test. What seemed like forever passed again before there were results. Your numbers should double with a healthy pregnancy, decline or barely increase with a loss, but mine was none of the above. I was up 1,000. Ultrasound. Empty sac. Mass in my ovary. I met with the doctor and she let us know of 3 possibilities. 1. Early pregnancy and cyst. Maybe my dates were off 2. Miscarriage 3. Abnormal pregnancy/ectopic. We set up another blood draw for later that week.

I went home and will never forget a life altering moment I experienced. A lesson I would never forget. I was taking a shower. Angry. I had tears streaming down my face. I felt betrayed. I felt abandoned. I yelled at God. I told Him how mean He was. I pounded my fists against that shower wall as if I was beating against His chest pleading my case. I said "you're mean" one last time, and my anger began to dissolve in defeat. My fists slid against the tile as I fell slowly to my knees. I uttered the words, "but I can't do this without you." I can't even describe to you the feeling that washed over me. Like peace; a flood of peace and calm. I had a strength I didn't know I could possess. This journey looked a lot different for me after that point. Not perfect, big guy and I were still fighting, but I had strength and peace to move forward. I knew that no matter how angry I was, He loved me through my pain. He was going to carry me and walk me through it, even though I kept Him an arms length away.

God has created us to feel a spectrum of emotion. He knows how you feel, what you think before it is thought or even spoken. Do you trust Him enough to speak it aloud? Can you bring those dark feelings into the light? He knows your inmost being. It is ok to yell. It's ok to tell Him how you feel. You can be angry. He can absolutely handle it. Just remember He didn't do it to you, and He's the only one that can truly bring you through it.

I was told to go to the emergency room if I had persistent pain on my right side. We ended up making a trip the next day as my pain increased. I was calm. I couldn't believe it. It was out of character. I was still in a lot of emotional pain. I laid in the hospital bed, being questioned and tested. The on-call OB arrived and confirmed the early suspicion of having an ectopic pregnancy. I was in no danger or in need of medical intervention immediately, so I was sent home. It was late at night, and we picked up Hudson at a friend's house. He was fast asleep. Our car climbed the last hill before we turned into our country home's driveway. We stepped out of the car  and there was something I had never seen before. The northern lights. An amazing array of dancing lights. A gift of beauty amongst our ashes. I was staring out in amazement as I decided to give my baby a name. Aurora. After Aurora Borealis, the northern lights. I needed my baby to have an identity. Even though we had a short time together, this child was mine. This child mattered to me. They were apart of me, and I needed to recognize that. I am grateful that peace was covering me in that moment. I celebrated a little life that night that would never come to be. Regardless, I dreamt about what could have been.

The next day more blood tests.This time we waited in the waiting room. Still Abnormal. Went up 1,000 again. We set one more round of blood work and would make our decision.

Friday came. Last set of tests. 1,000 again. I remember the doctor saying that something is happening in there. There is something growing. The pregnancy was not viable and needed to be taken care of. It became a medical concern before I could truly mourn my child. I am a researcher, so I looked, searched, and read. I understood about my ectopic pregnancy. I knew my options. I was also hoping for a ovarian ectopic, I read that generally those babies pass at around 4 weeks. That's when I had lost my symptoms. That means I wouldn't have to chose to end my child's life. They would have been taken naturally, but we just didn't know.

They gave us two options. Methotrexate, or surgery. Methotrexate is a chemo drug used to stop rapidly growing cells... like a baby. There would also be a chance it wouldn't work. However, my fertility would be saved. Surgery would be the most successful. She wasn't sure where the ectopic was- tubal or ovarian, so she wasn't sure what could be saved. My fertility would be lowered 15%. We asked for privacy to talk it over. We couldn't bear the thought of choosing to end a child's life, even though it would save mine. The doctor entered the room once again and we told her our fears. She tried to comfort us  in the fact that regardless, the "pregnancy" would never make it. That still didn't make our decision easier. As a parent, one of your most important jobs is to protect your children. I didn't have an option to protect this one, and I felt so helpless. Through tears, we decided on surgery. It was not going to be my fault to end this child's life. I would let her be the one to take care of it. I would go in for my surgery in the next two hours.

I prayed that this little one was no longer living; that nature had already taken its course. I prayed it with everything in me.

I was being prepped for surgery when one of the nurses brought over a folder full of "grieving materials" She was required to go over them with me, and I lost it. I could't handle it. It was the first time with medical staff that I felt like I had a sweet soul next to me understand my pain. Most of the medical staff would look at me, waiting for me to cry or react. She shed a few tears right along side of me. Bless her heart.

I can't remember how long the surgery lasted, but while I was in recovery the doctor came out to speak to Kyle. She proceeded to show Kyle the photos of my ovary and the difference between the two. My right ovary was 4 times the size of my left. She was unable to save any part of my ovary, and removed it in its entirety.

It was ovarian. A 1 in 3,000-7,000 chance.

I took a couple days to recover at home. My husband wasn't kidding when he vowed to me "in sickness and in health." He was there for my every need.

I was still numb from the events of the last couple weeks. The emotion of what I have experienced hadn't fully set in, but was beginning. We started watching Parenthood on Netflix to pass the time, and I'll never forget the moment Jasmine told Crosby they were expecting. I felt all of that emotion burst through. I am ashamed to say it, but it being a show with so much real emotion, I was waiting for her to lose the baby. I felt like I needed it. I needed to watch someone walk through that pain, because I was just so lost trying to navigate through what I was experiencing.

I had an amazing small group of friends come beside me during those couple days of recovery. Gifts, cards, and treats. I needed you. I needed that support. Thank you for being there for me. You were an amazing support and helped carry my burden. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Life is too hard without good friends.

We were able to head up north while I continued to physically heal. The second day we were there, I received a call from my doctor. "The tissue inside your ovary did not confirm pregnancy." What does that mean. "We may not have gotten everything, even though we searched your abdomen thoroughly." The nightmare wasn't over. They sent the tissue into a different lab in the cities and had me return for more blood work.

I had my blood drawn the following day. Another long wait for results. If my Hcg dropped, we were good to go, if not, Methotrexate it was. The nurse called us in and gave us the news. It dropped. I replied with, "That is the best, worst news I have ever received." I walked out smiling. It was over, and I could focus on my emotional healing.

The tissue report concluded that it was in fact pregnancy tissue. I believed God not only answered, but honored my prayer. My understanding in it was that the baby had passed, and my body had already begun the process of absorbing the tissue- therefore making it hard to determine what it was.

I had a couple of women pour into me. Thank you for your words, for your journey, for your victories, and your encouragement. Your walk through your difficulty helped me make it through mine. To one of you, I will never look at a pearl the same. Thank you all for your words. When you have gone through something in your life, please, please be there for those walking through the same circumstance. It means more than you can ever know.

Most importantly, to the small group that knew, thank you for your prayers. I don't want to know where I would be without prayer and the Hand of God covering me.

The emotional journey was different than I expected. I had a lot of unexpected tears. I couldn't look at other's babies. I had a tearful breakdown in Target looking for diapers for my son. Seeing those strollers really got me. This is a heartbreak I would never wish upon anyone. It's not fair, and I don't understand why it happens. I had to distract myself from what week I would be on. I couldn't let myself think about how maybe, just maybe, my baby was perfectly fine. My baby could have been born, but my body was the reason they would never know how much I would have loved them.

We were able to start the process all over again in September 2015. Google can be bad, really bad. Why do people like to comment on forums when they only have bad news? I found ONE person in all my research that was able to conceive after having one of their ovaries removed. ONE. I was trying to prepare myself that I might not be able to experience having another child. If I was ever able to again, it could potentially be a while. September came and went, no baby.

October came and it was almost time to find out. I was impatient; so I took a test early. I knew it would be negative. I laid the test down and stepped out of the bathroom; I had to grab something. I delayed going back to look, avoiding the inevitable, and did some dishes. I was preparing my heart to handle what I knew I was going back to see. However, I spoke against it. I kept repeating "Allow God to be bigger than my circumstance." Over. And over. I walked back to the bathroom. It was positive.

Three feet away from where I fell in defeat months before, I fell once again to my knees. I sobbed. Uncontrollably. "Thank you, thank you, thank you...thank you." I composed myself and left that room with confidence and an understanding that my God has never failed me, and He never will.

I was in shock how quickly He answered my cry. I hate that I went through this, but I wouldn't give up the lesson I learned. I must have been too hard-headed and God had to really get my attention.

If nothing in my story inspires you, please take something from this. During the valley of my struggle, the Lord taught me this:

No matter how hard I try to plan my life, and no matter how badly I want to be in control of everything that happens, I can't. I can't escape the hardships of life. He promised me He would carry me, and walk through any battle I face. He'll hold me when I feel like falling, He will strengthen me where I feel weak, and He will give me peace when everything else feels like its crumbling. He spoke to my biggest fears and helped me conquer them, while never leaving my side. 

This lesson wasn't just words that were spoken. They were an experience that I felt. My God is so good, He is so real, and He is continually faithful. These words weren't just meant for me; they should be a part of everyone's lives, and anyone should be able to <insert your story here>. Doesn't matter what the circumstance is, it just matters if you are letting God honor His promises to you.

I've been waiting to share my story. I needed to completely come out of my valley and find the redemptive qualities of my journey. I have finally arrived. I am able to smile when I think about my Aurora. I can't wait to meet you one day, my love. I will celebrate this journey as my due date of February 9, 2016 approaches.

At one of my initial prenatal appointments, I asked about my scars from my surgery. They are raised and still red. I wasn't sure they were healed enough, or even properly. The doctor explained that we could do a procedure to help them heal a little better, and I declined. They are the only evidence that I carried another. That I was a mommy to another. That I will forever love another. I will proudly wear them like I will any other mark from any other one of my children.

I've had two mothers tell me that if it wasn't for their loss, they wouldn't have the next child in line, and oh! How could they not imagine life with out their next child. I may not have had been able to meet that baby, but because I couldn't, I get to meet the one currently wiggling inside of me. My miracle. My promise. God's gift.

Also, my current due date is 9 days after my one year anniversary of my surgery. God's timing is always perfect.

Isaiah 43:1-3 "...'Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior..."

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Enchilada Bake

I just threw a "Casserole" of sorts together for lunch. My husband ran home quick to eat as well. When leaving, he said "Save some of that for later." This phrase shocked me on many levels.

First of all, I feel confident that he doesn't share my deep love for Mexican style foods. Second, he DOES NOT eat left overs. If I make a large quantity of something, I know I will be the one eating the leftover for a week. So with that statement, and the fact my 1 year-old just ate seconds of it, I had to share.

I use a lot of Trader Joe's products, so the majority of my ingredients are from there. This recipe is also should be tailored to whoever is eating it. Add olives if you like, add chili peppers, add whatever you fancy into the rice mixture!

You will need:
Tortilla chips (corn or flour)
2 c cooked rice (I used brown)
1.5 c Cooked chicken
1 c black beans (or pinto)
1/2c cooked corn
2 c cheddar cheese ( or colby, or pepperjack, or mexican blend)
1 jar enchilada sauce

1. mix together the cooked rice and rinsed, cooked beans, and the corn. Shred/cube the chicken. set aside.

2. Layer rice mixture on the bottom of the casserole dish. Continue to layer in this order: chicken, half enchilada sauce, cheese, crushed chips, rice mixture, chicken, enchilada sauce, cheese, chips, and top it off with any last drops of sauce and cheese.

3. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes.

4. Top with sour cream! Enjoy!


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Items! | Baby La Joie

These items were just added to the Baby La Joie shop! Click here if you would like a closer look!









Monday, January 27, 2014

Little Legs

I started creating my own designs of baby legwarmers a couple years ago. I love making them, but even more than that, how they look on. So darn cute!

I made these for a friend and just wanted to share!

I am hoping to have some of these in stock in sizes 0-6 month and 6-18 month soon! Until then, if you are interested, I can do custom orders! Just contact me at www.babylajoie.etsy.com

Stay warm friends!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Little Wins

The other day I had text my husband and said, "{H} just said, 'Thank you Mommy'". I was so excited because he hasn't put words together yet. My husband responded with "Little wins that can make our day!"

He has been using "little wins" for a few events that have happened lately. It has just struck me as really cool. Little wins.

How often do I get stuck in the routine of the day, where frustrations out number the good. My husband has reminded me of the little wins. H did something small, yet meaningful. We found a check that we have have lost. Win. H helped me unload the dishwasher. Win. I found a necklace I have been missing. Win. My hairstyle turned out. Win.

I am trying to have a paradigm shift towards what is good. Not live in a victim, or negative mentality. I don't want to focus on the problems that lead to stress, frustration, and defeat. I have seen too many people I love live under so much stress. I want people to look at me and see joy, excitement, and encouragement. And all of that starts internally as a choice.

Why not try to celebrate the little wins. Moments that you would normally let slip through your fingers. It's such an easy step to take to begin living and walking in gratitude and joy.

I had a moment yesterday that I decided to look at as a little win because of the humor I found in it.

Not lipstick, lip stain. Can't get it off. Have tried many things! And I have to take him out in public! Hurricane is at it again. Could have chosen anger and frustration, but I didn't. I am holding on to these moments because one day they will be gone.

Celebrating the little wins,

S

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Mommy Memoirs: Nap Time

My son, so perfectly nicknamed "Hurricane" brings so much joy and laughter. I know I am biased, but he is one of my favorite humans of all time. What's not so fun is disciplining him.

He isn't a mean-spirited little boy by any means. He is just very mischievous. Very "Dennis the Menace-esque" Half the time he is doing something he shouldn't, but I lose all credibility of a disciplinarian when I try to scold, due to the fact I can't fake a frown. I normally have to turn around because of what he is doing- it's usually hilarious, even though he shouldn't be doing it. Pure, uncontrollable laughter is the outcome.

Today, Hockey Day Minnesota (a holiday to my husband), we have quite the excitement filling the air. My son, of course, is all wound up.  My husband leaves to run somewhere, and I dutifully put H down for a nap. He is now in a big boy bed, and loves it. However, he likes to get up sometimes and open the door. He usually runs out waving, saying " Hi!". Today I thought the 3rd time was the charm of laying him down, so I jump in the shower.

A couple minutes in, I hear footsteps. I am sure I am not the only one that hears phantom noises in the shower when you are home alone. Turns out it was H. He is on the loose. Normally this isn't terrible, but today, he was in rare form.

I am just finishing up and shaving my legs. All of a sudden, a little head pokes in behind the curtain and down dives my phone. Some how he had pulled my phone off of the counter and thought it was the phone's turn to go swimming. I saved it just in time. Thankful for phone insurance for those moments!

I throw my phone on the rug, and rush to finish so I can run to it's aid. I get out of the shower and quickly dry off the water. I wrap myself in a towel and step out into the living room.

There's little H laying on the couch with a toothbrush and a travel size body wash, which he so conveniently jacked from the bathroom. I immediately yell, "what are you doing!". He gives me a big smirk and replies, " nigh-night!", followed by "teeth!" at least he is excited about brushing his teeth.

Ah, my little hurricane. Never a dull moment.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Baby La Joie | Imperfectly Beautiful

There is a new line in my Baby La Joie Etsy Shop! It is so decisively named Imperfectly Beautiful. Here is my reasoning:

Knitting is a beautiful art, and each piece is as unique as the one who wears it. There can be imperfections everywhere you look, but that's what makes it truly beautiful. This also rings true with life in general, especially the awe-inspiring life I have been blessed with. Out from my heart spills my life story, and my handmade pieces of art.

As the line grows, we will be offering boot cuffs, jewelry, home decor and next year a Christmas section! 

Being a work-from-home mom, which has been double a full time job, there hasn't been as many products available- which will be changing shortly. 

Last November, I had offered all of my profits to an organization called Speed the Light. Their project was to provide educational tools to people in India, allowing them to be trained and educated for 3 years. From there they would go out and plant churches around India. I had A LOT of orders! (Thank you!!!) Two months later, I am finishing my last project that was ordered during the month of November. During this time, and being the dreamer I am, lots of new products and designs have come about including Imperfectly Beautiful. Be looking out for them to hit the shop!

(yes these are all from my phone, sorry for the poor quality)




As of now, we have two tones, plain cables, and the textured pattern above!


As for Baby La Joie-

Baby La Joie is pronounced " baby la jwah". It's a mixture of English and French meaning "Baby Joy". The idea behind it, is that your little ones bring so much joy, and these hand-knitted items celebrate that. 

At this point we are rocking leg warmers, blankets and sweaters- hopefully we will be adding headbands and socks before two long!

Here are a couple examples of what you will see!
www.carissachristine.com phenomenal photographer and new mommy!











This is such a love and a passion. I can't wait to share more!