01 July 2015

Glory to God

In my last post, I talked about the challenging pregnancy we were having. Our 6th pregnancy was not going as expected, and we had been told that it would not end well. The official diagnosis was a blighted ovum, which means that the baby was conceived but passed away only a week or two after conception. We were praying for a miracle and just hoping that God would create life where the doctors said there was none.

A few weeks ago, I went to church for our believers' service on a Wednesday night. God was doing some really big things that night, but I just wanted Him to heal my baby. I went to the front of the church and asked a woman that I didn't know, but to whom I felt drawn, to pray for me and for my baby. As she prayed, she began to prophesy that this baby would show the Glory of God.

I heard that, and I began to believe and accept that our baby would survive and that we would have our fourth child here on earth in our arms in just a few months. I believed that God would perform a miracle, and I knew that He could show Himself to be the "good, good Father" that I sang about that night with tears streaming down my cheeks.

Unfortunately, we did not get our miracle in the way we had hoped.

Only a few days later, I had another ultrasound that again showed no growth of the gestational sac, no embryo, no yolk sac. That was the day that I really began to understand that our baby was already in heaven with Jesus and his/her two siblings, Angel and Gabriel.

And my heart broke into a million pieces. 


We had a terrible storm that afternoon... as if God were crying with me. There was lots of rain and thunder and lightning.

My husband had plans to go out that night with some men from our church. And so he helped me get the kids to bed early so I could have some time to myself that night. And when I got alone, I prayed and cried out to God: "How could any glory possibly come from this?!?"

I was kind of stuck. I just kept crying and asking God the same thing over and over. He had promised that He would show his glory with this baby, but how could He since the baby was gone?

As I was crying and praying, I noticed that there was a bright yellow light showing through the windows, and I walked outside to see what was making that beautiful light.

What I saw was the most beautiful sunset. It was yellow and brown with the grey storm clouds breaking up and making the most gorgeous colors. And as I stood outside still asking God how he could bring glory out of the death of my child, I realized... God was showing me how he could show His glory through the aftermath of a terrible storm.

And he can bring glory from the loss of this life that He had created in my body, and whom God chose not to heal.

So I grabbed my phone and snapped some photos for my hubby:





And as I was pulling the pictures up to text to him, I saw it.

I saw the cross in the clouds, and I knew that this was no coincident, and God was really communicating with me through the beauty in the sky.

And then I felt peace ......I still also felt hurt and disappointment and anger, but that moment, I was overwhelmed by peace that God will somehow show His Glory.  I have no idea how or when, but that is up to God after all.

And in the meantime, I am mourning, and I am sad, and I don't understand God's plan.

.......

A few days after the beautiful sunset, I started spotting. And 8 days of spotting later, I developed a low-grade fever. After another ultrasound I decided with my doctor to have a D&C to prevent an infection.

So on June 30, 2015, I said a final goodbye to our baby, even though I know he/she was already in heaven.

We decided to name our baby Glory. And so Glory went to be with our Lord in heaven, and we will see him/her again when we meet there at the end of our lives on earth.

"Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to people who enjoy his favor!"  - Luke 2:14 (ISV)


21 June 2015

Joy and Mourning

Tuesday morning, May 19, I woke up and remembered that I had bought some pregnancy tests a few days before. Why? Because I just felt like my body was changing shape ...and quite honestly, I take a lot of pregnancy tests. The only time I don't keep Dollar Tree tests on hand is when I am pregnant. I know, it's silly, but I believe God has healed me, and so I believe it is always possible.

But on that Tuesday, I felt like it was possible because I had only stopped nursing Maggie about 6 weeks before, and I was just ready for another baby. Did I really think I was pregnant? No ...not really. But I still remembered to grab a test before I went to the bathroom at 0- dark-30 while hubby was getting ready for work. And I took the test.... But ...I was just. so. tired! So without a word, I plopped the test on the counter without a word in front of hubby as if to say, "Check this when you get out of the shower because I will be sleeping..." and I went back to sleep.

So when I woke up to Maggie talking to me instead of Stan waking me to show me a pregnancy test, I just assumed it must have been negative. I got Maggie dressed and went back into the bathroom to get myself ready for the day. And much to my surprise, there was a "+" on the pregnancy test.

A "+" ...what?

So my rational side thought, "Surely it's a drying line. I took that thing more that 45 minutes ago. And that is SUCH a faint line." So I called Stan, who confirmed that he saw it too, within a few minutes of me taking it! Still, I didn't let myself get excited.

I went about my day, got my kids dressed, took Naomi to gymnastics, lunch together in the car, and grabbed a couple of extra pregnancy tests along the way. I bought a digital and a name brand just to keep it all legit and trustworthy. We landed that afternoon at Abigail's OT appointment, where I took the two tests as soon as Abi went back for her appointment.

Turns out, that first test was actually correct!

And so began pregnancy 6. Joyfully and with life!

---------------------------------------------------

Because I have had an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, my doctors are always careful to check my HCG and progesterone levels early in pregnancy. My first two labs were good, but indicated I was very early in my pregnancy. So we did one more test, a week later. There was no reason to be concerned, and I almost forgot go have that last lab done. I was just not worried. So when they didn't call me with results, I just assumed all was well.

The following Monday, 5/25, was a holiday, and I started having some pretty intense pains on the same side I had the ectopic on. When I called the on-call doctor, they directed me to the ER, where I learned that the 3rd lab was not good and indicated a drop in progesterone and a slow increase in my HCG, which usually indicates that the pregnancy may be in trouble.

They did an ultrasound, which showed a very small gestational sac, and ran labs, which actually showed a good increase in HCG. So the ER sent be back home to follow up with my OB. She scheduled another ultrasound and round of labs for the following Monday with my first appointment to follow on Tuesday. What followed was a series of weekly ultrasounds that ALL showed a sac that was about the right size for a 6 week pregnancy but with nothing inside the sac. Very little growth. No yolk sac. No embryo.

You know how you can tell that things are not going well during an ultrasound? When they finish without giving you any printed pictures. I guess they assume no one wants to remember a baby they may never give birth to.

Who would want to see a picture of emptiness, a picture of death?

I will tell you who ...me. I know there WAS life in my womb. I know there WAS a baby conceived.

And so now, as I am supposed to be 10 weeks pregnant, I am here, waiting. Waiting for God to work a miracle. Waiting for my womb to cleanse itself. Waiting for something. I don't know which to expect, and I don't know what to feel.

Did I mention that I already look 6 months pregnant? That is totally not helping. My body is just continuing on as if everything is fine with this pregnancy. It's like a cruel joke.

How do I answer the question: "How far along are you now?"
or: "When is your due date?"
then: "What do you mean you don't know? How do you not know when the baby is due?"
and: "You ARE pregnant right?"

My answers have been: "I just don't know." "We have no idea." "It's really complicated."

If I took a pregnancy test right now, it would be positive. So I guess I am still pregnant.

My OB offered a D&C if I felt like I needed it, but I declined. Part of me is still hoping they're wrong and the baby is fine. And the other part of me just wants to do this naturally if the baby is indeed already in heaven.

The story of Lazarus tells me it is ok to mourn even if there is going to be a miracle. Jesus himself wept, knowing he would perform a miracle and raise Lazarus from the dead. So I guess I am mourning, and at the same time hoping for a miracle.

07 April 2015

From 4 to 5 ...and Other Developments

2 Years

It's been 2 years since I have posted here.

A lot has happened.

First, let me explain why it has been so long...
In the last few posts, we made the announcement that we would be adopting from Africa. The same week that we got our approved home study, we also received the news that we were pregnant with our 5th pregnancy ...and we also started to notice some very challenging behavior from our then 3-year-old. We made the decision to slow down the adoption process while we were pregnant and trying to rule out any major issues with our oldest.

I can't believe that was 2 years ago ...and wow...it has been a very full 2 years.

First, let's talk about the joyful addition :) Maggie is a delight! I had a very smooth pregnancy with her, and she was born on December 20, 2013, just 2 days before her due date :) We had been praying for a full-term pregnancy and that I would go into labor on my own. I was a couple of centimeters dilated for the last two months of pregnancy, and well ... I was also HUGE!!!! #hugebellymessyhouse

On the day we welcomed Maggie to the world, my water broke at 12:19 AM. I rushed Stan out to the car because my contractions were only a couple of minutes apart and very intense. We checked into the hospital at 1:05AM, and she was out at 1:29AM, only seconds after the doctor walked in. It was incredible! And horribly painful ...and I am pretty sure I yelled at every human being in the maternity ward before she came out and then sweetly apologized after she came out. The doctor's first words about her were, "Wow! She's a chunky baby." 8lb 13 oz chunky! But she was perfect :) She was pretty intense, but a good baby.

She had some pretty significant growth issues from the start and lost about a pound before we left the hospital. She landed back in the hospital at 8 weeks for failure to thrive (like her sisters) at 8 weeks. She had some abnormal liver enzymes, but we only stayed in the hospital for a few days, and her issues self-resolved after a couple of months.

Maggie started walking at the ripe old age of 9 months (Lord help us!), and she was my heaviest 1 year old, weighing in at 20 lb at her 1 year check up.

Now, onto our other developments ...

Abigail, our now 5-year-old, has been in Occupational therapy and speech now for about 9 months for some developmental delays. While she is the smartest kid I have ever met, some of her physical and social development has not been ideal. Her behavior is also a pretty difficult challenge, as behavior tends to be with gifted kids. I have now been to 2 neurologists, a psychologist, and her pediatrician several times to determine what is going on with our sweet little girl. We have some answers, but we are seeking a 3rd opinion before declaring those answers accurate. That 3rd opinion will come from the best developmental pediatrician in our area ...who has a 12 month waiting list for an appointment.

Life has been filled with major adjustments over the past 2 years during this discovery process of the special needs we have in our family. We are quite honestly lost in a muddle of opinions and ideas about what should and shouldn't be done. And my husband and I are not sure what to do next. So those of you who pray, please remember us! :)

Another very bright spot has made it's way into our life this year! Last April, I started a Mary Kay business, and I have fallen in love with the company and what I do. I get to sit knee to knee with women and get to know them and teach them about skin care and also get to know them as real as real can be! It makes my heart happy to get a chance to make another woman feel special and to help enrich her life. And my business is going well! Very well! I am 1 month into the qualification process for my first free car!!! A Red Chevy Cruze! This has been such a positive, confidence-building experience in my life this year, and I can't believe I have the ability to do what I do.


10 May 2013

Support on Mother's Day for Moms-Yet-to-Conceive and Moms Who Have Lost Children

When I was diagnosed with multiple fertility issues at the age of 27, before I even met my husband, I was devastated. For the next several years, especially while we were actively trying to conceive and after we lost our first pregnancy, I dreaded Mother's Day. 

The whole day seemed like one big reminder of how I wasn't yet a mom. When a pastor at church asked all of the Moms to stand, I was ashamed to be in my late 20s and 20s and still sitting with all of the teenagers and men. 


Then, after we lost our first, I started standing anyway because I WAS a mom. My baby was just in heaven. 


So for those dealing with with complete infertility and those who support them, here is blurb from a website called RESOLVE The National Infertility Association


"With all of the activity on Mother's Day, people tend to forget about women who cannot become mothers. Mother's Day is an incredibly painful time for infertile women. You cannot get away from it-There are ads on the TV, posters at the stores, church sermons devoted to celebrating motherhood, and all of the plans for celebrating with your own mother and mother-in-law.

Mother's Day is an important celebration and one that I relish now that I am a mother. However, it was very painful while I was waiting for my baby. Remember your infertile friends on Mother's Day, and send them a card to let them know you are thinking of them. They will appreciate knowing that you haven't "forgotten" them."

For those trying to conceive and those supporting them, go buy yourself something special!  Trying to conceive is easy for some, and definitely not so easy for others. When you are in the middle of it, though, it is emotionally and sometimes physically exhausting. You deserve something special!

And women who have lost a child whether before or after birth or adoption, we mourn with you. We recognize that you are a mother, and you truly deserve to be honored. 

For those who support these special women, here are some tips:
Recognize their motherhood: Offer a hug and a "Happy Mother's Day". Send a card to let them know you remember they are a mother even though their child is not with them physically.

Acknowledge they have had a loss: Express the message, "I know this might be a difficult day for you. I want you to know that I am thinking about you.”

If their child was named, use their child's name in conversation.

Plant a living memorial: A tree or rose bush, like memories, will grow in beauty as the years pass.

Visit the grave site if there is one: Many mothers felt that it was "extremely thoughtful" when others visited their child's grave site and left flowers or a small pebble near the headstone.

Share a memory or pictures of the child: Give the gift of a memory. 

Send a gift of remembrance: Many mothers felt a small gift would be comforting. Suggestions included: an angel statue, jewelry, a picture frame, a library book or toy donation in the child’s name or anything personalized.

Don't try to minimize the loss: Avoid using any clich├ęs that attempt to explain the loss of a child. ("God needed another angel.") Secondly, don't try to find anything positive about the loss ("You still have two healthy children").

Encourage Self-Care: Encourage a grieving mother to take care of herself. Give her a gift certificate to a day spa or any place where she can be pampered

30 April 2013

Miracles

Sometimes God does something very cool in our lives that we weren't expecting.

For those of you who are new to our story, I will give you a brief synopsis: Before I met Stan, I was given some diagnoses that meant that I was infertile. My doctor at the time said that I could never have children on my own, even with a fertility specialist's help. Stan and I decided to try and pray for a miracle. After 3.5 years of disappointment every month, and using fertility medicine, we got pregnant. Now, in the past 4 years, I have been pregnant 4 times, all with help from fertility medicine, I have had 3 surgeries on my uterus and fallopian tubes, and we have given birth to two little girls. Our infertility and pregnancy losses were the most difficult thing I have dealt with in my life, and my two little miracles are a constant reminder of God's faithfulness and love for me.

OK! So now that we are all caught up ...

A few weeks ago, I announced that Stan and I will be adopting internationally! We are so excited about this endeavor, and we believe that it is a God-inspired effort. Part of the decision to adopt has been based on my desire to stop focusing energy on fertility medicine for now while still growing our family.

Well, here is where things get interesting!

A few days after I made that announcement, I noticed that I had a low back ache and that I was a few days late for my cycle. This is all fairly normal for me, but I picked up a pregnancy test anyway. I was pretty sure I wasn't pregnant, considering our fertility challenges, so taking the test was not a priority at all. I finally got around to taking it on a Monday morning a couple of weeks ago before the girls woke up. I took it, went back to sleep, and woke up to a crying baby and a 3-year-old

who needed to go potty NOW.

When I finally got around to checking it, there was a very thin, faint line where the test line would be if I were pregnant. Of course, this was about 15-30 minutes after I took the test, and it was a Dollar Tree test, AND it was not even possible that I was pregnant considering I don't ovulate and I was nursing an 11-month-old. SO I mentioned it to Stan, and went about my day of running Abigail to gymnastics and going to the grocery store. But I did pick up an EPT from the store while I was there.

To my shock and surprise, the 2nd, 3rd ....and yes 4th test were all positive as well.

SO yes! Me, a woman who was once told I would never be able to get pregnant, is now pregnant for the 5th time in 4 years. And this time, no fertility doctor can take pride in helping me. And God did this as a total miracle in the most unlikely time. AND WE ARE ELATED!!!

Details: We are 6 weeks pregnant, with a due date of December 22. Our baby has a very strong heartbeat. YES, we want a boy, but we will be pleased with any baby God has decided to bless us with :) I am still considered high risk for this pregnancy because 1. I am now of "advanced maternal age", and 2. we had preterm labor with both of our girls. However, we won't have to go to see the high risk doctor nearly as many times because our last pregnancy was pretty uneventful in comparison to our previous 3.

Please keep us and our pregnancy in prayer!

As for the adoption, we are still pursuing adoption, but we are praying for God's perfect timing. More to come on this ...when we know!

More than anything, this miraculous pregnancy has filled me with a realization that God is giving me another beautiful gift, and the method by which he is giving me this one is simply amazing :)


07 April 2013

Adopting from Africa


So for those of you who have been wondering what we have been up to, here it is:


We are adopting from 
AFRICA!!!


I was reluctant to announce this until we were sure it was going to happen. So I have been holding back since November when we started this process!!

Adoption is something I have always felt called to, and so when Stan decided he was ready to adopt, we got started! We have been praying, researching and preparing for this since November of last year. We have chosen a country and an adoption agency, and we are almost finished with our Home Study. We will be adopting 1 or 2 children under the age of 3.

I am outlining some FAQs that we are anticipating:

Q: Why adopt now instead of fertility treatments again?
A: Right now, we feel like adoption is the right path for our family. We may pursue pregnancy again in the future, and we may use fertility methods to achieve pregnancy. But right now, we are adopting.

Q: When will your child or children be coming home?
A:  Long story short, it may be about 12 months until we travel and bring our kids home! I am going to post the timeline as a separate blog.

Q: Why international adoption? Why Africa? Why not adopt from the U.S?
A: The country from which we have decided to adopt from has a mortality rate of almost 17% for children younger than 5, which means 1 in 5 or 6 children die before they reach 5 years of age. There are also approximately 5 million orphans in the country, which is equivalent to the entire population of Scotland!

Q: What does Abigail think of this? How are you helping prepare her and Naomi for more siblings?
A: Abigail is very excited about having more siblings! We have shown her several videos of other families bringing home children from Africa and she has asked me when I can go get her a brother or sister. Naomi is young enough still that she will never remember life without her new siblings.

Q: Wouldn’t it be better for the kids to be adopted by people in their own country?
A: There will likely always be more kids in need of a forever family than there are families, all over the world. It would be fabulous if more people in the local African community had the means and ability to adopt. Until there is less war and conflict, more access to clean water, more education and development, the situation in the country we are adopting from will not improve significantly enough to help the orphans and really change their lives or give them a forever family.

There are no unwanted children, there are just unfound families.

Q: Doesn't adopting internationally cost a lot of money?
A: YES!!!
This adoption will cost approximately $35,000-47,500 depending on the number of children and the length of the time it takes to get these children home with us.
Here is the approximate fee breakdown:
Agency fees:                                          $6500
Home Study and Post Placement Visits: $3300
US Immigration:                                     $1200
Travel and Translations:                       $8000
Country fees:                                      $16000
2nd Child's fees:                                 $12500

Q:Where will the money come from?
A: We are trusting God to help us come up with the money for this adoption!!! We have a little bit saved up, and we will be doing some fundraising, and applying for some grants.
I will be posting more about fund raisers and such on my Facebook page and here.

Q: Why aren't you telling us what country you are adopting from?
A: Since this blog is public, we will be keeping some of the details about our adoption private in order to protect our adoption from any one out there who has a negative opinion of international adoption. We don't want anyone to twist any of the information about our adoption into something it is not. We will also not be posting any full photos of our children that would allow them to be identified. We will be happy to share photos with close friends or family.

Lastly, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me: kyrnapuc@gmail.com

24 October 2012

How NOT to be the Perfect Mom

A few weeks ago, I started looking comparing each area of my life to other mommies. And guess, what I found? I found that I was failing at everything! My house was a mess. My 2-year-old was disobedient and still throwing wild temper tantrums in public. I wasn't cooking every night, and  I wasn't being as loving a wife as my husband needs. I was falling down in my responsibilities as a volunteer leader in MOPS, and I wasn't blogging as regularly as I wanted to. And most importantly, I wasn't spending as much time with God as I should be.

Of course, after realizing how much of a failure I was, I started really getting down. With so many people who are desperately trying to have a baby, why did God trust me with children when I was just letting everyone down, especially myself.  I was so low, and I really didn't know how to recover. I started thinking about my "Super-mom" friends who seemed to have it all together, and I wondered why they were so capable of doing what I was incapable of doing.

Fortunately though, God reminded me of His grace by sending me the right messages through friends, speakers, articles, and Bible study. 

Here's the thing I realized: my friends aren't perfect either. No one is perfect!  And it is especially difficult to be perfect when you are adjusting to the constant changes of growing children.

So if none of us is perfect, why do we all pretend to be? Why do I feel like my house needs to be polished before someone comes over? Or why do I try to put my children in their cutest (or just matching) clothes before we get together with other mommies? Why do I feel like I have to make Naomi's baby food, and cook a full meal from scratch every day, all while still making time for a full house cleaning every day? 

AND WHO started this competition to be the most competent "Super-mom" around ANYWAY?!? 

If one mommy pretends to be perfect, her friends feel like they have to be perfect, and what we end up with is a bunch of imperfect mommy's pretending to have it all together and never completely opening up to each other. Some of us are drowning in our own chaos and afraid to let anyone know because we don't want to drop the facade of "Super-mom". That would mean admitting we aren't perfect...

Well here it is: I. AM. NOT. PERFECT!!! And I am going to stop pretending to be Super-mom.

So what if my toddler isn't potty-trained yet! She knows she is loved unconditionally, and she will get there. So what if my baby isn't getting her tummy time every day! She is adored and she is reaching her milestones despite my imperfect schedule. And So what if my home looks like a dirty toy box. It is filled with love.

Maybe this will help me open up more to my friends, and maybe it will turn some people off. And maybe, just maybe, it will help another mommy feel like she can let go of the "Super-mom" facade as well. But I know that it will give God an opportunity to show His strength through my weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 is such a beautiful reminder.

As it turns out, God's grace is big enough to cover my failures.