Monday, September 30, 2013

2 Years!

Today is our 2nd Wedding Anniversary! This time two years ago we were in Augusta, Georgia, surrounded by our friends and family, getting ready to be married. We were so excited that day, so happy, and couldn't wait to begin our lives together! It was such a perfect day, and these last two years have brought us so much more than we ever could have expected.

I knew when I married him that Ray would be a wonderful husband. I knew he'd always take care of me, that he'd be strong and constant and loving. But I didn't know how much I would need him, how much I would lean on him. I knew he'd make an amazing father. But I couldn't have imagined how my heart would swell over and over each day as I watch him play with Emmett and take care of him. I knew Ray was a good man, but I didn't know how good. I am so blessed to have him, truly my better half, and I love him more and more each day.

Our wedding day was magic! And these last two years have been even better. I love you so much, Ray. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life trying to be as good to you as you are to me.












Dancing to a song sung by my best friend, written by a friend of his. Magic.
All photos by the wonderful and amazing Tim Willoughby of TimWill Photography

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Some Days Are Hard

I'm having a hard day.

We lost our baby less than two weeks ago. Since then, I've been flooded with peace and even joy. I focused on the positive- my little family, the people I love most. I appreciate them now more than I ever have, and feel overwhelmed with love for them. I even appreciate the last few weeks, the pain and sadness and loss, because I know it's made me stronger, and made my family stronger. And I feel blessed to have been given those few short weeks with my baby. I cherish that time I got to spend with him, the time I was given to love him while he was here with me.

Things have been good. And then last night, I lay on the couch before bed just looking around our home. I saw the photos on our wall, beautiful photos of Emmett as a baby and all of the love and joy we've experienced over the last 14 months with him. All of a sudden the sadness washed over me. I thought of all of the things I was looking forward to during this pregnancy. The first time I'd see his little face, the first kisses, smiles, cuddles. All of the things I am going to miss came flooding into my head and hit me like a ton of bricks. So far it happens like that. I'm okay- I'm moving along and playing with Emmett and life is good, and then bam! Everything hurts and I have trouble focusing and it's like a sudden fog has rolled in and I can't see my way out.

I know I'm not alone in this. I read Corinna's post today about her struggles after losing her sweet Celeste, and I know that she has really hard days too. Probably a lot more and a lot worse than mine. It's probably like this for everyone who's lost someone. Sometimes it's just hard, and it hurts. There's nothing to do except let it come. Let the pain wash over me, feel it and then wait till it passes. It will pass, and I'll be okay.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy Days

Things have been pretty bleak on the blog this Summer, but life is good and happy and free these days so I want to share a little bit about that with y'all today.

First of all, the weather in AZ has started to cool. Don't go crazy, it's still in the 90's during the day but the low 90's is so so so much better than anything over 100, so I'm ecstatic. Like, really happy. We've eaten dinner outside a few times the last few days and in the afternoons I can let Emmett outside to play on the patio while I do dishes or sweep the floors. Oh my gosh he loves to be outside! It's such a relief to finally be able to let him play outside. He comes in and out through the doggy door, which he thinks is hilarious and I think is pretty strange and maybe awful now that I'm telling you about it. But that way I don't have to lose our precious AC and can keep the flies out, but he's free to come and go as he pleases.

It's win-win, since I can actually get things done, and he's happy and tantrum free. Oh glorious weather! It won't actually feel like Fall here until after Halloween, but any drop in degrees makes me a happy happy camper.

Our new schedule is wonderful so far. I can't tell you how much I love spending my afternoons at home with Emmett. I leave work at noon, pick Emmett up from "school", and we eat a quick lunch together. Then we cuddle before his nap. While he sleeps I read or clean or nap, and then we cuddle again while he wakes up. All this cuddling is just what we both need. It warms my heart and I can tell he's more peaceful and secure after spending that time together. This is what I've been missing the last year!

Things are so much more peaceful now. I am able to be truly present to him, for hours each day. I feel peaceful. Like I'm finally right where I'm supposed to be. It feels so good to give so much more of myself to my baby boy. This is the motherhood I've been missing, craving, needing. I am so grateful.

Things have been hard lately, really hard. But it's starting to turn around. I can already feel the positives that have come from the tough things our little family has had to endure. We're stronger, closer, more in love than we were. We know now that no matter what this life throws at us, we'll get through it together and come out okay. I appreciate my husband and my little Emmett more than ever, and feel so so blessed to have them.

So things are good. Beautiful, peaceful, sunny and warm (not hot). I am blessed, and so happy.







P.S. I'm trying these out for a little snack before dinner tonight. I'll let you know how they turn out!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Our Child is a Terrorist

Don't freak out everyone, he's not really a terrorist. Unless you're his mom, or his dad. Then he's definitely a terrorist.

This last week, Emmett started throwing tantrums. Insane, loud, ugly, mean, nasty, day-long tantrums. We have no idea where they came from, but they are here y'all, and they are crazy! When he wants me to pick him up, tantrum. When he wants me to put him down half a second later, tantrum. He used to sign "please" or "more" or "all done", but no more. Now it's just screams and screeches and flailing and more screams.

Since he started daycare last week, he's been super attached to me. "Mamamamama" all day, always wanting to be held, pulling on my shirt begging to be nursed (we're working so hard to wean him, but he's not having it). He wakes up 13 times a night just screaming/screeching and calling for me, then falls asleep again, so tired. Separation anxiety is the worst!

We spent the weekend trying to head off tantrums, taking him to a birthday party, to the park, to the splash pad, to the bookstore, just doing anything we could to keep him busy and distracted so he wouldn't yell at us. We're afraid of our own son! Okay that's a major exaggeration, but not really. He's terrifying right now.

I know he's just getting used to a new schedule, new people, new places. I took a lot of time off the last few weeks, so he's become used to me being home most of the time. He freaks out when I leave him, and even follows me into the bathroom. If I leave him at all, it's big fat tears and screams and flailing. It's so sad! He's just playing me though- as soon as I'm gone he's happy, playing with his toys or his friends until he sees me again. Then it's more screams and tears, just enough to punish me.

He's mostly really sweet and fun, but those tantrums are killing us! We've had a rough few weeks, and it's easy to forget that everything going on in our lives affects Emmett too. Poor little thing is just trying to figure it all out and get used to his new schedule. So am I, so I can't blame him!

Balloon obsessed at a friend's birthday party.

Warming up in the sun after running through the sprinkler.

Shivering at the splash pad!

Baby boy loves to be upside down these days. Whatever it takes!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

One Foot In Front Of The Other

The contractions started on Friday night. They weren't strong, and only lasted for a couple of hours. The next day they were worse, but still only lasted for a couple of hours at a time and then stopped. Sunday morning there was nothing, just the bleeding that's become my normal. Then Sunday afternoon as Emmett napped, I lay on the couch with Ray timing contractions until they seemed like one big contraction, never slowing or easing for more than a few seconds at a time. I felt the urge to push, so I went upstairs. Still, when it happened I was shocked. Maybe in shock is more accurate. I couldn't believe it was happening, and I couldn't believe the pain I felt in that moment.

The physical pain was bad, but not as bad as I expected it would be. But the pain in my heart was like nothing I've ever experienced before. It surprised me too, scared me and tore me apart and then left me feeling numb. While it happened I cried ugly, loud, awful cries- sounds I'd never made before and I'm sure my husband had never heard before. He sat outside the bathroom until I called for him. There was fear and worry in his voice when he asked if I was okay. I'm not sure if I answered but I wasn't okay. I was just pain and hurt and more pain, nothing else. A mama without her baby.

Then it was over, and I was so tired. I'm still so tired. I told a friend yesterday that I don't think I've processed it all yet. I don't think it's hit me. I feel peaceful, a little numb, but the pain is gone. It comes back for a few moments, out of the blue, and my eyes fill with tears and I choke on the sobs welling in my throat. But mostly I'm just moving forward, minute by minute and day by day, one foot in front of the other.

There is so much to say, but I can't say it yet. I can't even think about it too much yet. I need to heal, to process, to keep moving forward. We feel broken, but at the same time we feel more whole than before. Closer together and stronger than we were. We're doing okay.

Thank you for your prayers, for your kind words and advice. You helped me through some of the hardest days and weeks of my life so far, and for that I am tremendously grateful. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quick Post: Firsts!


Little Emmett has had a few firsts this week! I'm so proud of him- he's such a little boy now and growing up all the time!

First first- He started preschool (daycare, at a local preschool) on Monday! He LOVES it loves it. We walk in the door and he runs around the room from toy to toy, excited about every one, and loves all of the other kids. It's so much fun. I've cried each day when I leave but so far he hasn't even noticed that we're gone. He just plays all morning. I pick him up at noon and he's just sitting in a tiny chair at a tiny little lunch table pointing at all of the other kids and finishing his lunch. It's the cutest thing I've ever seen! 

I haven't taken any great pics yet but I did manage one outside the school that includes him and his little lunchbox, which he's just kicked over in the dirt:


Second first- Tonight, Lucia gave Emmett his first hair cut! He has almost no hair on top, but he's got a thick ring going around the back. We call it a cul-de-sac. The hairs in the back have grown super long, which makes for really adorable bed-head and don't even get me started on how they look blowing in the wind. It's crazy cute. We really wanted Lucia to give him his first haircut, and since she leaves for Georgia on Friday, tonight we decided it was time. We gave him a sink bath, and Ray went outside to make faces in the window to distract Emmett and keep him still while Cia cut his little hairs. Oh my gosh it was cute!




All of these firsts are great- I'm so proud of him and everything he's doing is so cute and fun! But oh my gosh it's hard at the same time. I wish he'd just stay a tiny baby boy forever. Oh, the life of a mama is so full of ups and downs! Pride and joy and sadness and pain, all mixed together spells parenting. I wouldn't change it for the world. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hope

Today was a good day. I woke up early, spent a few minutes in prayer before everyone else woke up. I had a beautiful and uplifting text from my brother Micah waiting for me, as well as emails and messages from family and friends letting me know they were praying for us. That set the tone for our morning- we were peaceful and happy and calm. I expected to be a mess but instead I felt happy. I think all of your prayers gave that to me, so thank you.

The ultrasound was hard. The waiting room was full of beautiful pregnant women, some with older children, some there to find out the sex of their babies and there were lots of smiling faces. That made the waiting easier. We told the ultrasound tech everything that we've been experiencing the last few weeks and he was kind and understanding. While he did the ultrasound he and the nurse didn't say anything, and that was hard. We weren't sure what we were seeing, but we knew there was no heartbeat.

Straight away after the ultrasound they took us in to another exam room and said the doctor wanted to see us. We were still thinking this was molar, still expecting the worst and braced for it. I broke down and cried for a few minutes, and Ray held me and comforted me, and then we were strong together. After a few minutes the doctor came in with our beloved nurse, and said the magic words: "We see a baby."

There was no heartbeat, but the doctor said the baby is barely measuring at 6 weeks, and is just on the cusp of when we normally begin to see a heartbeat. We didn't have my chart available to say for sure when we conceived, and I was in shock so I didn't think to try to remember the dates myself. I didn't think to ask a lot of the questions I wish I'd asked- I had prepared for worse news than this so I didn't think of questions for this scenario beforehand. He told us what to expect in case we do miscarry, but he said he's not sure that we will. He said there is hope, but prepared me for a miscarriage as well.

They took blood to check my hormone levels again. If my progesterone has plummeted we'll know to expect a miscarriage, but we won't get the labs back until Monday. The doctor told me he's seen women with much heavier bleeding than I'm experiencing go on to have healthy pregnancies and carry their babies to full term. The nurse was full of similar stories.

I am so relieved that we have a baby. A little soul to love and hold on to, either here with us or in heaven. I know there's a good chance we will miscarry, and the next few days and weeks could be very hard. I'm preparing myself for that. But we also have hope. Beautiful, merciful, incredible hope. So I'm choosing to hold on to hope, to pray for this little baby in my belly, for a miracle. I'm choosing to hope, even though it may mean more let down and more pain in the end. I'm choosing hope, because I want this baby and I love this baby and I know that God loves me, even more than my mama heart can imagine. He'll take care of me, and my tiny little angel baby, and He's holding us tight tonight.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tomorrow We'll Know

Thoughts, as I try to prepare for our ultrasound tomorrow:

We had blood work done on Monday, and for the first time, my HCG levels didn't double the way they should have. They were still in the "normal" range, but lower than they should be. My doctor noticed that my thyroid is enlarged last week, so she also checked my thyroid levels this time. They showed that my thyroid is over-active, which is the opposite of what the doc expected to see.

When she called me on Tuesday to tell me the results, she said that my hormone levels were all normal, but that the slightly lower than ideal HCG level was making her worry. She said that it seems like something "weird" is happening with this pregnancy, and mentioned something called a "molar pregnancy". She explained what that means but I couldn't really take it in on the phone.

A molar pregnancy is when an egg is fertilized and tissue grows, but instead of becoming a baby, it becomes an abnormal mass. Your body believes it is pregnant, so you experience all of the symptoms of early pregnancy. Until eventually you start to see other symptoms that aren't normal- spotting/bleeding, intense nausea, hyperthyroidism. Check, check, check.

We don't know for sure that's what's happening with me yet, but all of the pieces fit. So, tomorrow's ultrasound will show us one of three things: a healthy baby with a beating heart, a baby with no heartbeat, or a mass of tissue that never was a baby at all.

I haven't told anyone about this yet, except our parents. I can't bring myself to say the words out loud or even in a text message. Somehow telling people makes it real and the horror in my head becomes reality. I'm not sure why writing about it here is easier for me, it just is.

I'm trying to hope for the best and brace for the worst, but to be honest I'm just expecting the worst. I can't get past those words- abnormal mass of tissue. Benign tumor. Not a baby. How am I supposed to wrap my head around this?

How am I supposed to trust my body after this? How can this possibly be part of God's plan for me, for my family? How am I supposed to face my family and friends who are excited and praying for our little baby? What if there never even was a baby?

These last few weeks feel like a cruel, evil joke. Trouble at work causing us to completely rethink our lifestyle, on top of intense fear and anxiety and sadness over possibly losing our little angel, and now this. I just want to run and hide and never have to face that exam room tomorrow. I don't know if I can handle what I think we're going to see on that tv screen. We'll be in the same room where we first saw Emmett's little heart beating. Where we first knew for sure he would be a little boy. I'm terrified.

Part of me is still hoping for a miracle. I want so badly to see a heartbeat, a little fighter working hard to keep growing despite everything my body is telling me. But most of me knows it'll be bad news. So keep us in your prayers tomorrow. We're gonna need them, no matter what we see on that screen.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

5 Favorites

Yesterday for the first time my labs came back with less than ideal results. We aren't sure what it means yet and the doctor threw out a strange possible answer to everything that's been going on but it's too strange and too hard to think about so I am numb. We've all got a cold and I can hardly bring myself to get out of bed, so in an effort to pull myself out of this black hole and focus on the positive things in our life, I thought I would join Grace to share my current Five Favorites.

1: This kid, on the beach last week:





I plan on writing a whole post about our trip later, but memories of Emmett so happy and sandy on the beach are bright spots in my mind right now, so I wanted to share a few photos.

2: Lucia. This deserves a whole post also, but I want to give her  a little shout out here. My sister left everything behind and moved in with us in February, pretty much at the drop of a hat, to help with Emmett when our child care situation changed suddenly and we needed help. She has saved us all kinds of money, all kinds of heartache, and has blessed us so much these last 8 months. It's been wonderful knowing each day that Emmett is taken care of, and that he's with his aunt who loves him so much. Yesterday when Ci realized I was feeling really sick with a cold, she jumped into action making my mom's potato soup- my favorite when I'm sick or it's cold or just when I'm feeling homesick.

Cia leaves next week to go back home to Georgia, and my gosh, we are going to miss her. Thanks for everything you do for us Ci. We love you!

3: Ray, you dear dear man. The last few weeks have been especially hard on me, and my dear sweet husband has been such a rock. He manages to make me laugh, make me forget about what ails me, and has jumped right in to help take over Emmett duties when I just need rest. Most days that means a long day at work, then home to help with Emmett's dinner, bath, and bedtime routine, then making dinner, doing dishes, and then homework. He never complains, never balks, just tells me to go relax and takes care of everything. I'm a lucky girl, and I really don't know what I'd do without him.

Baby boy waiting for Daddy to come home.


4 & 5: I'm blanking, sinking back into numbness, but I want to hold on just long enough to wish my dad a happy belated birthday. My dad is my hero, and my direct link to God. I know his prayers get answered, and I know he's praying for me now. This is reassuring- Things may not turn out the way I want them to, but I know that whatever the outcome, my dad's prayers for me will be answered and everything will be okay, eventually.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Working Mom Gets Her Wish

Linking up with Corinna, keeping it real as real gets.

I've complained enough about work on this blog for ya'll to know that I've struggled a lot with work this Summer. This year, really. I struggle every day with leaving Emmett at home with someone else for most of his day, and most days it's been really hard.

Ray and I have talked and talked about what to do, if anything. We needed my income, so I had to work, but I've been desperate for some other way to make it work. Some way to be able to spend more time with Emmett while still helping to provide for my family. We thought and prayed and struggled through each day, but no solution presented itself.

Then a couple of weeks ago I started spotting, and thought I was losing my baby. I called in to work and let my boss know, and he told me to take a few days off to rest, they would all pitch in and take care of my work for me. I took three days off, and then headed to Georgia for Labor Day weekend. When I came back to work last week, my boss called me in to a meeting to tell me they were cutting my hours back from 40+ to 20 hours a week. They said they needed to save money, and I guess they realized while I was gone that they could survive without me. After the shock wore off, I found myself feeling totally relieved. I felt the stress and pressure I'd been dealing with all Summer just lift off my shoulders, and I relaxed, for the first time in months. This was an answer to prayer.

I told Ray and he and his family jumped in to action. They looked at our house and the comps in the neighborhood and realized that we can sell it, after years of being under water, for what my husband paid for it. My in-laws offered to let us move in with them to save money until we decide what to do next. Not ideal, but definitely do-able for a time. We felt peaceful by the end of the day, and I still felt relieved.

Things still seem to be pretty weird at work and there is a lot to work out, but I hope in the end this all ends up being a blessing in disguise. Already I've loved spending my afternoons at home with Emmett, and I've been able to rest and take care of myself while we try to figure out if baby number 2 is going to be okay.

I've been going to the doctor for blood work every couple of days, and so far my HCG levels continue to rise, so little baby seems to be doing okay. We have an ultrasound on Friday, and I'm desperately looking forward to seeing that tiny little heartbeat. My spotting turned to full-on bleeding over the weekend so it's been hard not to panic and worry and stress, but I feel peaceful too. I have faith that God gave me this little baby for a reason, and I know He's taking care of us.

The thing is, as I sit here tonight, very obviously coming down with a cold, pregnant and bleeding and half as employed as I was last week, I feel peace. I should feel discouraged, under attack, and anxious. There is fear, and worry, and hurt and so much still to be determined, but mostly there is peace.

I know everything will turn out as it's supposed to, and I know I would do anything for my family, and for this little tiny baby struggling to grow inside me. I am a wife, and a mother, and that's all I ever wanted to be.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Will I Get To Keep You?

A letter to my littlest love, when I was most afraid of losing him (or her):

Wednesday, August 28th.

Dear sweet tiny tiny baby, growing inside my belly,

Today we are waiting to find out if you are growing, becoming strong and healthy. I am spotting, and I am so scared. We saw the doctor yesterday, and had an ultra sound, but you were too small to see. So small and fragile, I'm trying so hard to provide a perfect environment for you to grow. They drew my blood to test my hormone levels, and my HCG was right where it should be. I'm holding on to that with a vice grip, hoping and praying with all my might that you are growing and thriving in there. My Progesterone levels are really low though, which could mean..

Sweet little angel, I want you so badly. I want to hold you one day, to kiss your tiny cheeks and look into your tiny litte eyes and memorize every tiny little detail of your perfect, strong little body. I love you little one, please keep growing for your mama.

I'm trying not to lose heart. I'm trying so hard to believe that you are going to be okay, that you're going to grow up, big and strong, to fill my little mama's heart up to bursting, like your big brother has done.

I wanted to write to you the day I found out you were growing inside me. I wanted to but I didn't because I thought, I'll have this little baby forever, there's no hurry. I was so happy that day. So scared, because I knew I had a huge responsibility to take care of you and build a life for you and I wanted so badly to make everything perfect before you came out into the world. But I was so thrilled, so excited. When I told your daddy he was so happy. Another baby! he said. Another baby. Another baby.

We love you little one. Keep growing for us. Keep growing. We promise to love you so much, forever. Please be okay sweet angel.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A New Little

The last few weeks have been crazy y'all. So much has happened, and I haven't shared any of it here because I didn't think I should, and then I didn't know how, and then I thought it was just too soon. I'm terrible at secrets though, and I don't like keeping them, so here goes!

A few weeks ago, Ray and I found out we are pregnant! We decided when Emmett was 9 months old that we were open to having another baby, but I was (am) still breastfeeding, so I didn't get my cycle back until July, one year after Emmett was born. When we found out I was excited and so happy, but the joy I felt was tinged with fear and anxiety. I was worried about the baby, wanting so badly to provide a perfect environment for him (or her.. but probably him) to grow and thrive and be healthy. And I was worried about our future, about how we're going to afford another baby and about how everything will work out.

Then last Monday night just before bed, I noticed a tiny bit of spotting. I didn't think much of it at the time, but mentioned it to Ray and he told me I should call the doctor in the morning. I wasn't too worried, and went right to sleep that night. I saw more spotting in the morning, so I called the doctor first thing. They asked me to come in right away, so Ray and I called into work and hurried to the doctor's office. I was scared, but still not too worried. A friend of ours works as a PA at our OB's office, and we were lucky that she happened to have an opening that morning. She did an exam and found that my cervix was closed and they couldn't see any bleeding. We did an ultrasound, but couldn't see very much. I forgot to bring my NFP chart with me, so I gave them the date of my last period (my first since before conceiving Emmett), and they estimated that I was about 6 weeks along. I could tell they were worried that we weren't seeing much on the ultrasound, but they tried to reassure me that it is just too early. They drew blood and sent us home. I called in to work and asked for a personal day. I had to take care of a few urgent things from home, but I was in a sort of daze and just needed to be home with Emmett.

The next day I woke up to more spotting, heavier than before. I called the doctor and they told me to come in. I was so afraid that day. I thought I was losing this baby, and felt so fragile and lonely. I called my boss to let him know what was going on, and Ray and I headed to the doctor. My boss was really great about it. He told me to take a few days off and not to worry about work. They would all pitch in and take care of my accounts while I was out. When we arrived they had my labs back. My HCG levels looked good, but my progesterone was really low. They called in a prescription for progesterone and I started to take that right away. The progesterone made me really groggy and totally zapped my energy, but I wanted to do anything I could to keep this baby and to help my body do what it needed to do. They scheduled another ultrasound for Friday and sent us home.

The next day, Thursday, I woke up to more spotting. I called the doc and they told me to come in for another blood test. Ray was already at work so I went on my own. When I got there I sat down to have my blood drawn. My friend the PA, who happens to be about 36 weeks pregnant, knew that I was there, so she came out to see how I was doing. She was kind and gentle and I was so afraid. I broke down in that chair and she squatted down next to me, big belly and all, and rubbed my back while I cried. She told me that I would be okay, and that they were all praying for me. I looked up to see the nurses and the girls at the front desk watching me and I knew that they were praying for me then. I could see that they felt my pain and that they really, truly cared, and I felt reassured. We decided to order my labs to come back that afternoon. That way if the baby had stopped growing, I wouldn't have to go through the ultrasound the next day. As I left, the sweet nurse held my hand and told me not to be afraid, but to have faith. It felt like a lightbulb went off when she said that. "Oh yeah," I thought, "I'm supposed to have faith." I wasn't supposed to be afraid, I was supposed to believe that God had a plan for me, and for my baby, and I needed to have faith that He would take care of us, no matter what happened.

I went home and tried to rest and stay calm. I felt like I had been in a black hole all week, lost in the darkness and fear and closed off to the world. I wouldn't let anyone in, hardly even Ray, because I felt so vulnerable and fragile. I was afraid that one wrong word from anyone would break me. That afternoon I felt a little stronger, but I was still so afraid. The PA called late that afternoon to let me know that my hormone levels had risen since the last test, which meant baby was still growing. She also told me that she got a look at my NFP chart and realized that I ovulated pretty late in my cycle, and we conceived much later than I had previously thought, so she didn't think I was as far along as we had thought. Oh NFP, you are wonderful! After seeing that, she said she felt so much better about the ultrasound, and about my low progesterone. We expected to see more because we thought I was close to 6 weeks, but it turns out we were barely even to 5 weeks. If I hadn't been charting, we never would have known that I ovulated late, and would have been so much more worried.

The next morning Ray and I went in for our second ultrasound. I felt good that morning, less afraid, and even a little bit optimistic. My friend the PA wasn't in that day, so we saw the doctor. He is gentle and kind and positive, so he was a blessing to us that day. The ultrasound was positive. We saw some growth, although we still couldn't see a heartbeat. We repeated my blood work and left feeling uplifted.

That night Emmett and I took the red-eye to Georgia to spend the long weekend with my family at the beach. The flight was AWFUL (more on that later!), but the trip was wonderful. I was able to relax and rest and had so much fun with my family. I miss them so much!! Emmett loved the beach and loved my dad and everyone. It was such a great weekend.

The spotting never stopped, but Monday and Tuesday it slowed down a whole lot and I felt pretty great. The nurse called me Tuesday to let me know that my labs from Friday looked great, everything was going up, and I could stop taking the progesterone. We left the beach on Monday and spent a couple of days in my hometown seeing family and friends, and then flew home yesterday. I noticed yesterday that my spotting seemed to be heavier and more steady, and then this morning it was even heavier. I called the doctor first thing and they asked me to come in. I saw my friend again for an exam and more blood work. She told me my labs have all been really great, so the baby seems to be healthy, but the spotting is definitely something to worry about. She noticed that my thyroid is enlarged on one side, so I will have an ultrasound of my thyroid done next week and they ordered a test of my thyroid levels along with the HCG and progesterone. They got my hormone labs back this afternoon- my HCG is still going up, but my progesterone was low again so I am back on that once a day. We'll find out about my thyroid levels next week.

I feel so much better now, just knowing the baby is still growing, and having a possible answer for the spotting in my thyroid. Through all of this I learned that in times of fear and stress and hopelessness, I need to cling to faith, to hope, and to the knowledge that God will hold me and protect me and keep me safe, no matter what.

I know most people don't share news like this until much later on in the pregnancy, but like I said, I'm terrible at secrets. It feels good to let it go, to not be clutching my fear to my chest like a security blanket anymore. I'm letting go of the worry and the stress and letting God take care of us, as He always does.

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