Monday, December 30, 2013

Remembering Our Angel Baby.

Today is a special, tender day for us. 
Today is the day we were supposed to have our first baby. 

I knew I couldn't forget it, but I never would've guessed just how…ok, everything would feel.


Since our miscarriage in May, Joey and I tried to think of a nice way to honor and remember the baby that we lost. We were never given an ultrasound picture; all we have of our babe is the pregnancy test that now sits at the bottom of a little drawer in our bedroom. We wanted a simple reminder that he is still part of our family, especially now that we are pregnant again with our rainbow baby.

I thought about making some sort of print to frame or something, but I knew I wanted a memento that would really be part of our family, not just something that would hang on the wall, separate and alone from us. So when we went to Myrtle Beach at the beginning of December, we headed to Build-A-Bear to make a special bear to celebrate our baby.
Before placing the tiny, red, satin heart in our little bear we wrote his name on it. He may not have been with us for very long, but that was still our baby, and 'officially' giving him his name brought us a lot of peace. 

I suppose I underestimated my ability (or inability, rather) to remain cool and composed, because while we waited for our turn to stuff our bear, the tears just started flowing. I looked at Joey and was comforted knowing he was crying too. The woman who helped us make our bear noticed we were quite emotional and after hearing our story, was very sweet, kind, and sympathetic to our tender hearts.
Our little bear is now sitting quietly with the rest of the baby things we have slowly started to collect for our future arrival. I don't know if/when/how we would tell our baby about their angel sibling, but for now, our little one will cuddle this bear and will always have their big brother with them. 


Early this morning I sat at our dining table while Joey finished his breakfast before leaving for work, and I thought about how in the previous months, I assumed today would be a painful, sad day. I assumed it would be a day that I would want to avoid completely. But as I sat there I realized that, more than anything, I feel peace. I feel peace knowing that because Joey and I were sealed, our baby is sealed to us too. He is and will always be part of our family. I feel peace knowing that no matter what anyone else thinks or what they think is or isn't a child, to us he will always be our child, and that he's safe, he's not alone, and he's ok. 

That everything is ok. 

Our second baby is due exactly five months from now. And while it doesn't make us forget the pain that we have felt and the loss we have gone through (and even though being pregnant after miscarrying is a nerve-racking, sometimes scary experience), this rainbow baby brings us so much happiness and even more peace. 

When this baby is born, we will be a family of four, and I love that. 

Our Merry Little Christmas.

A little late, but I wanted to share a bit of our Christmas---
Joey worked Christmas Eve to Christmas day, so things were a bit thrown off, but overall we actually had a very nice, quiet Christmas at home, just the two of us. Different, but nice. We had Christmas dinner with some friends and relaxed with some classic holiday movies, and on Boxing day we had a fun date day with lunch out, a trip to see Saving Mr. Banks (after introducing Mary Poppins to Joey on Christmas Eve first), and a surprise from Joey: the Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island! I had wanted to see Christmas lights last year but we didn't make it with his work schedule, so sweet Joey totally surprised me with a free ticket to see them this year.
 We took Remy along--and it was even chilly enough to dress her up in her awesome sweater!
 Not only were there lights, but there was also a place to roast marshmallows and drink hot cocoa, plus other fun activities for little ones.
 After a little barking, Remy got the hang of it and was strutting her stuff as every person under the age of 17 freaked out about the tiny dog in a sweater that just walked by them.
Thanks Joey for taking me to see Christmas lights!

We hope everyone had a lovely, wonderful, happy Christmas holiday!

Now lets bring on 2014!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

121 Days Down: Baby Update.

Confession: We haven't taken a single, deliberate 'baby bump' photo this entire time. I just didn't want everything to be documented with subpar iPhone photos of my reflection in a fluorescent lit, dusty bathroom mirror (as if most of us don't already feel un-photogenic as it is, am I right?), so for the past four months I've told myself 'oh, this Sunday I'll have Joey take one' or, 'I'll just snag Joey for a photo when he gets off his 12 hour shift at 8:30 in the morning'. Oh, me and my silly dreams. And then, all of a sudden, I was at 17 weeks and didn't have a single progress shot. 

But Friday morning I realized, 'Hey dummy, you have a tripod in the closet, ya know'. So, feeling like a complete and total goober, I stood out on the porch with a tripod and spent forever and a day trying to produce a couple moderately photogenic photos to document how things are looking with this little carrot.

So, uhhh, here we are!

Here are some of the highlights from the past few months:

First trimester wasn't so horrible. I only threw up twice, but had nausea and food aversions out the wazoo. I was definitely tired all the time--did you know your body is producing up to 50% more blood and your poor little heart is having to try to pump it all still? No wonder you get tired!

I'm not as much of an emotional wreck as I was the first trimester, but the hormonal crying has still continued. Some of our favorite reasons that I've cried:
- Remy trying to sit on my lap when I didn't want her to
- Remy sticking her head in my water glass
- The last episode of season 3 of Downton Abbey (begging Joey, 'don't ever leave me!' while sobbing for 30 minutes)
- A gum commercial
- A pet food commercial
- Watching Mulan
- Crossing the Virginia state line
- My shirt was bunching up in my underarms
- A crockpot meal I made that I thought looked yucky (another 30 minute sobbing fest)
- Having to put Remy in her crate so we could go to the ER (I apologized profusely to her, crying, 'I'm so sorry!')
- My feet were hot

Food has been a bit tricky. At the beginning I started craving stuff I would never, ever normally eat, like pb&j uncrustables, bologna and cheese sandwiches (Joey wouldn't give in to that one), and one day I even almost turned around for Arby's. Arby's, people! I haven't eaten there since at least middle school. Luckily that phase is over. I also started having major aversions. Arugula and other leafy greens would make me gag, and even now, I still can't eat a dang salad without feeling like I'm eating dirt. Fresh fruits and veggies, as well as roasted veggies (all of which I used to love) are also no longer appealing, so I've been trying to drink more vegetable juice and smoothies with beets, greens, and cucumbers in them. Its been very frustrating sometimes, not having an appetite for much of anything, but I'm trying to do the best I can. The most recent food fixation: toasted english muffins with cream cheese, tons of tomato slices, and salt + pepper. I've already had it for two meals today….and could still eat more of them.

I've had to learn that you really can't compare baby bump sizes. I have friends who are weeks ahead of me who are still practically flat as a board, and other friends who are due after me that look farther along than I do. I feel self conscious sometimes being in public or at church because I wonder if people comment about my size, but honestly and truly, every body is different. Number of previous pregnancies, position of the uterus, and lots of other things change how you look, and there's no right or wrong way, really, to look while pregnant. My doctor says the little carrot is growing just fine and I'm measuring exactly where I should, so we're all good. I've also come to accept that I'm just plain short, so the baby has to go somewhere!

I've been getting better, but I've also had to learn that shifting from infertility to pregnancy can be a hard transition. I could write a whole other post about this (I've been meaning to actually), but the bottom line is, pregnancy doesn't magically make all of the emotional parts of infertility go away. For instance, in the first couple months of being pregnant I couldn't even go to baby stores or Motherhood Maternity without feeling major anxiety and sadness. It was like my irrational side imagined everyone around me saying, 'Oh look, there's Megan. She's the infertile one, and now she thinks she belongs here with us'. Completely bananas? Yes. But it happens. Like I said, luckily I'm getting better at it, with much thanks to Joey and other similar women I've been able to talk to about pregnancy after infertility. 

Since I hit 12 weeks I've been getting migraines. I guess it just happens sometimes if you've had a previous history of them (this guy over here). So for more than five weeks now, I get migraines about 4-5 days a week, and there's not much to do about it. Tylenol, Coca-Cola, Sudafed, essential oil, massages, every conceivable old wives tale remedy---nothing's working. My doctor has also prescribed me a couple meds to try (including lortab even), and they're not helping either. Its very frustrating not being able to really function when they start up, but I wouldn't trade it for the world if this is what I've gotta do to grow a baby. Here's to hoping they end with this trimester!

Lest this post lead you to think that this has been a negative experience, we really are feeling glass-half-full about everything! I'm sleeping better than I did the first trimester, and while its tricky working around the migraines, I've got more energy to get things done. The nausea is pretty much gone too, which is such a welcome relief! Its been very fun slowly collecting baby items--Black Friday shopping consisted of getting some of our cloth diaper stash and a couple carriers ( and then testing out the carriers with our dog who is conveniently newborn size...), and Joey has just been the cutest about researching baby things, keeping track of the baby's progress with different iPhone apps, and getting so excited about being a daddy. He likes to kneel down by my stomach, give it a little tap, and say, 'Baby? Hi baby! I sure do love you'. Mushy? You bet. But I love that he cares so much! I've also finally found a prenatal yoga video that I really like, which may not seem like a big deal, but man it feels good! It really helps physically but also helps me stay focused on the big picture and the hopes we have for this experience and our growing family. And today's big 'awww' moment: I felt the babe moving around for the first time today! We were sitting in church and that little carrot just started movin' and groovin'! I guess baby Fleshman really likes them Christmas hymns. 

Well once again I have managed to write a novel. It shouldn't by now, but my long winded writing takes me by surprise every time--and leaves me feeling slightly embarrassed. But hey! My blog, right? Thanks for letting me share. Like I mentioned in our announcement post, I don't want to flood you with baby stuff, but I'm grateful to take a few moments every now and then to celebrate our rainbow baby and let the people we care about know how things are going over in our neck of the woods. 

Have a great Sunday--and yay! Its Christmas week!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Late Night Thoughts on Trials, Pain, Christmas, and Hope.

I don't exactly know where to start, so I'm just going to write, because I know I need to say it. I don't often talk about my faith or beliefs, mostly because I just wasn't really raised in my family to talk about them with others, so its not something I'm naturally inclined to do. But tonight there are some things I'd just really like to say----

Tonight I'm so grateful for that hand to hold as we go through the trials we face.

For the past few weeks I have been overwhelmed with the trials we are facing, our family and friends are facing, and people around the world are facing, and today it has all come to an emotional, almost paralyzing head. 

Prototype has been more challenging for Joey than we expected. I am facing physical trials during this pregnancy for which there's not really a cure that is safe while I carry this baby. We are reminded of the loss of our first babe as his December due date gets closer and closer. Today we are mourning the loss of a close friend to suicide. Our friends are struggling with trials of their own, from cancer to miscarriage and everything in between. And every day there are stories around the internet of suffering and tragedy, the pain of which is only magnified by the holiday season and the desire for peace, love, happiness, and family. There are problems in the world that there just aren't solutions for. And I find it all utterly heartbreaking. 

When I was struggling heavily with depression and anxiety, I would read about these kinds of problems and I would feel immense, personal sorrow and guilt. Sorrow that such terrible things could happen in the world, and guilt that I couldn't fix them. I distinctly remember a time during my freshman year of college when I sat at my desk, sobbing, because I had read an article about animals that were becoming extinct, and I felt like it was my fault because their was nothing I could do about it. 

And today, I have felt similar sorrow and an urge so great to fix those pains for people that my legs and arms physically ache, wishing there was something I could do to make everything better or to at the very least ease in any way the suffering, pain, and sadness.

Yes, in my story from college I needed to learn that I needed professional help to combat and eventually overcome my depression and anxiety and the feelings that came with it. But more importantly, and most significantly to how I'm experiencing things today, I needed to learn that I can't be the savior for everyone. I can't take away people's pain. I can't make people make certain choices that would bring them more relief and happiness. I can't fix the world. 

And today, as I think about all of the trials facing our family, those we care about, and man kind in general, I have to force myself to remember that lesson--and further, that there is a savior that can heal these pains. 

I know i don't always handle trials gracefully. I've had my fair share of moments during which I've been angry, hurt, and confused. I, like every other human being at some point during their existence have asked 'why me?'. But for some reason, the last few weeks it has really clicked, and I cling to the knowledge that eventually, everything will be made right. I cling to the knowledge that Christ really is a Savior for the world and that He will come again, and when He does, every injustice, every pain, every tragedy, every loss, every sorrow we've ever experienced will be remedied, and we will find such great relief and peace. I cling to the knowledge that in the meantime, the Atonement can also bring us peace and help us get through trials and give us perspective until that time when everything is made perfect and whole again. I cling to what Joseph B. Wirthlin calls the principle of compensation--- that "The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which has been taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude". 

I've always felt that Christmas is multifaceted. There is a Christ part, and there is a Santa/presents/silly traditions part, and both are valuable. I think its ok that Christmas has both religious and secular components. I don't think the holiday should be solely one or the other (not that there's anything wrong with that if that's how you choose to celebrate Christmas), but this year I've never been so glad to focus more on the Christ part of Christmas. I find myself so overwhelmed with simultaneous sadness for the pains of the world and joy in my faith in Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation, and it just brings me back to how desperately I need Christ in my life and in our family, because we simply can't get through it all on our own. I cannot wait until that day when every trial is righted and our tears of sorrow are replaced with tears of joy. Sometimes I think that truth is the only way I can get through all of that hurt every single one of us goes through. I can get through things (though it may take some time) because of a hope for perfect and complete relief.

Thank you for letting me share this with you. My heart is full of many emotions tonight and I can barely contain it. My thoughts are with friends, family, and strangers alike who are struggling in their own ways, and I hope so desperately that you can find the relief and peace that we all greatly desire. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Weekend in Myrtle Beach.


Last week Joey had his four day weekend for the month so we did an overnight in Myrtle Beach! And the main purpose for the visit: the aquarium. I've said it before and I'll say it again--I love aquariums! Like, you know how filthy rich celebrities have random stuff in their house like bowling alleys, theaters, mini zoos, and roller coasters? Well if I was swimming in dough I'd have my own little aquarium, complete with a petting pool with sharks and stingrays that I can play with. 

But for now, I settle for fun trips to nearby aquariums and sweet dates with my hunky husband. 

Can you believe these are real animals?! I can't wait to find out what the inspiration was for these guys.
 Look who we found! I think they put those two fish together on purpose, just so kids (and maybe a 25 year old woman) can get excited that Nemo and Dory are hanging out.
Once again, I was the only adult that spent far too long at the petting area, playing with the horse shoe crabs and little bamboo sharks. But I don't care!
 Joey got some 'hugs' from the horse shoe crab too.
 And we loved watching the diver feed the sharks and stingrays. And yes, I also pet all of the stingrays. 
 While going through our photos I realized that we seem to have this habit of eating seafood the same day we go to the aquarium---sorry little fish friends. But our big ol' pot of crab legs did not fail to satisfy our several month long craving for them!
 The next morning we woke up early to catch the sunrise from our balcony---best part of going to the beach in the winter? The sunrise is later in the day so you don't have to wake up super early!
 Yup. He's mine. 
 After some delish sweet potato pancakes with maple walnut butter for breakfast, we hit the beach for a little walk and some shell collecting. Ya know, I never even know what to do with the shells, but I just feel this compulsion to pick them up when I'm at the beach. So that's what I do. 
 Pelicans! We also got to see some dolphins too. So yeah, pretty awesome. 
After some time at the beach, we headed out for a little lunch and shopping for the most perfect holiday balsam candle (these are a big deal, people), which is glowing beautifully on the side table next to me right now. Talk about Christmas in a jar.

Our overnight to Myrtle Beach was just what we needed to give us a little refreshment and prepare us for another month of rotating shift work. The demands of Prototype have been pretty rough on Joey, so we're grateful for any break we can get to help him get through these last couple months. And of course, I'm just happy to have some quality time with my Joey.

I hope you have a great Friday and a fun weekend!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...