Monday, May 15, 2017

Carson in Wuppertal

A few weekends ago, Carson traveled a few hours away to the town of Wuppertal for a car show. I didn't go with because A. I'm not that interested in cars B. He was supposed to be meeting a friend and C. We'd have to pay for a ticket for me. Due to some train issues and the fact that the friend didn't have service on their phone without the aid of wifi, Carson spent the day alone. 

He said that the car show itself wasn't the most impressive. Several of the cars, to his surprise, were not show cars but cars people drive often, and several of them weren't even that amazing. He still enjoyed walking around checking the cars out though!



After he'd seen all there was to see of the cars, Carson walked around a bit and took pictures of various things around town, before landing at a cafe to do a bit of studying.








After studying for several hours and determining that he probably wouldn't be able to reach our friend to meet up, he headed home. And to clarify, this is not the friend, but Skittles sound pretty tasty to me too.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Class of '07

Well, there won't exactly be a ten year reunion for me and my tiny high school graduating class, but if there were, it would be this year! So I thought it would be fun to post pictures from my graduation - a DECADE ago!

Our senior class photo shoot:
Human bowling? I don't know either.







My senior pictures: I look so uncomfortable and I still have and wear that jacket



Graduation Day:
We were the first graduating class to have our ceremony in the new larger sanctuary, and the smallest class in several years. Everyone gives a speech at the graduation, and I absolutely dreaded mine and I think I read it word for word from my notes. 






After graduation pictures:
My Lit class from 2004-2007: "The Writing Class Girls".


A few of my cousins... all of these people tower over me now
 

My family


After the graduation, there was a joint graduation party on Parris Island, and I went for an hour or two but then headed home for my separate graduation party at my parents' house. I can't remember why I wanted my own party, but probably something to do with it being a better place to hang out with family members who didn't know the rest of the graduates.

Everyone had a board like this with pictures






Friday, May 5, 2017

Glory Baby: The Story of #4

On February 17, I was shocked to discover that I was pregnant. You wouldn't think that it would be a surprise, but since it had been nearly 36 months since my last positive test, I think my heart stopped for a second. I was at once overjoyed and terrified. I'd waited until over a week after my missed period, pretty sure that something else had to be going on. For the fourth time, I was pregnant, yet I have no living babies. My eyes immediately welled up with tears as those two bright pink lines showed up right away. I called Carson (on his way to work) and he came home in a split second. We stared at the test and prayed about the life growing inside me.

For the next few weeks, I felt very on-edge. I had pregnancy symptoms that were getting stronger by the day. I had food aversion and exhaustion and insomnia and was so thirsty and went to the bathroom like fifteen times a night (it seemed). We had our long flight to Cleveland planned and I was terrified that somehow flying would rock the boat and cause me to miscarry again. I don't think I've ever prayed so much about anything in my entire life, but every breath I took, every little thing that felt off or wrong or scary, and I was praying for peace and a healthy pregnancy. I had spotting from about six weeks on, and I was in a constant panic.

I was so nervous about making it to the 8 week mark, because that's when I've miscarried pretty much every time - I've never made it to 8 weeks and 1 day. I was supposed to hit that milestone on the day of the wedding, and so I spent that entire day doing my best to sit and rest and not do anything that might hurt this fragile life inside me. I felt a great relief at getting past that point, even though I was still nervous. I was and still am jealous of people who somehow find out they're already thirteen weeks, having made it to that magical date.

On March 17, I had my first doctor's appointment. I wasn't sure what to expect, because I've also never made it to a doctor's appointment in time while pregnant, and because of course, I was in Germany. The doctor thankfully speaks English as well, and because of my history of miscarriage, she decided to do an ultrasound and a blood test.

Being well versed in google searches, I know what an 8 week fetus should look like on an ultrasound. I knew that the image on the screen did not look like the images I would have expected. The doctor guessed that I was just off on my calculations and that all was fine. But you know when you know something just isn't right? Looking at the long awaited image, I fought back tears. There was a baby, on the screen, but even though the doctor tried to reassure me that all was well, the size of the image told me that it was not. They took a blood sample to check out my hormone levels and sent us home.

That was a hard, weird weekend. Carson found things on the internet that suggested that sometimes the ultrasound is off and the baby just measures really small from the get-go and everything is fine. He was a major optimist, while in this, I was absolutely the realist. I felt like we were just sitting around waiting to miscarry the child that was no longer living inside me, but I didn't know for certain. We both struggled. Carson went on a late-night run to get out some of his frustrations, and I camped out in bed, hoping and praying for a miracle.

The following Tuesday, the doctor drew my blood again to compare, having called to say that my numbers from Friday looked really high and good. She planned another ultrasound for that Friday, just to check to see if the baby had grown. I slept most of the day after we got back from the doctor's office, feeling strangely weak and weird.

I didn't sleep at all that night and at 3am, I began to realize that I couldn't sleep because I was in pain. The pain increased and I realized quickly that my body was contracting. I remembered my previous miscarriages as being painful, but they were nothing like this. I was absolutely nauseated, in immense pain, doubled over on the bathroom floor actually moaning. At around 5 in the morning on March 22, at what would have been nine weeks and five days pregnant, exactly three years since my last miscarriage, I miscarried our fourth baby.

The feeling is like no other, laboring in a bathroom to deliver a baby that you will never know in this life. There was extreme pain and extreme sorrow, with absolutely no promise of the joy I hear comes from a live birth. For hours, I sat in that bathroom, at my absolute worst, going through the process of delivery. The last time I miscarried, I was at work, which is also horrible, but this time Carson was by my side, trying to be helpful and clearly wishing he could do something to ease the pain.

It was the strangest thing, and I don't know how to say it well, but once I had miscarried, it was the oddest mixture of sorrow and also great relief. For weeks, I'd prayed for the health of this baby. I prayed that my body could protect it while it lived inside me. I was consumed with doing what I was capable of doing to keep it safe - eating right, drinking lots of water, doing my best to rest and not do anything strenuous. When I lost the baby, I felt a strange peace at knowing that it was no longer in my hands at all. I could not physically do anything more for that baby, and though my body failed me once again in this task, I knew that God was more than capable of taking this little life in His hands. I feel like my body is my own a little more than I did before, and I think about how I wish that wasn't the case. I wanted the nausea and bloating and all that went along with it.

Life now feels oddly normal. It feels surreal to think that I was actually pregnant just a little over a month ago. This is going to sound very pity-party of me, but life now is familiar territory. The emptiness is a little bit routine. There were a few weeks where we got to live an unfamiliar life and to navigate the world of pregnancy, and now it's a little bit business as usual.

We buried the baby under a tree in the backyard here, and Carson fashioned a cross out of some sticks. Two weeks after we buried the baby, we came home to the most beautiful white flowers on the tree. It feels strange to walk past that spot on our way to the lake, knowing a part of our family will always be there. It will feel wrong to leave our baby in Germany when we go home. In October, we will do something on the day our baby was due to remember this loss, and to remind ourselves to keep pressing on in the Lord.

This journey is hard, harder than I expected it to be, and longer too, and we still pray that one day, in some way, we would be given the opportunity to raise children. We can't and won't forget the four that we've lost, or this chapter of our lives, and I pray that all of this will make us better parents and more committed followers of Christ. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Springtime

It's spring! And it is BEAUTIFUL here this time of year! I think because I grew up in a place where the seasons weren't distinct, I'm especially taken aback every time the seasons change and we get to experience the colors of the fall leaves or the blooms in the spring. The weather has been pretty fickle - beautiful and sunny one moment, gloomy and rainy the next - and it's been fairly windy even on the days where the sun is bright and shining. Still, it's nice to see the green returning, wonderful to experience the days get longer (the sun is setting FIVE hours later than it was in December and I am so thankful for longer days), and the slowly blooming trees and flowers are great to see too. I'm always so impatient for summer, with consistent warm days and sunshine, but spring reminds me of new life and it has a certain freshness too. I'm embracing it!



This is in our backyard. And I must say I'm living in that navy H&M puffy vest. It's my favorite thing ever.




The Promenade.

Carson grilling outside our window. It was a breezy day, and the bushes protected him from the wind.

It's the Easter bunny! There are SO MANY rabbits in M√ľnster! I'm sure whoever is in charge of public landscaping HATES them because there are bunny holes (burrows?) all over, and tons and tons of rabbits of all shapes and sizes. Since I don't have a lawn or vegetables and am not impacted by the rabbits at all, I just think they're cute.



Trying to enjoy a day without jackets in the sun, but the wind did its best to ruin that idea.
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