Monday, November 24, 2014

remembering my miscarriage

[If you hadn't heard that I'd had a miscarriage, you can click here.]

I found out I was pregnant on September 15th. I was due May 24th. And I miscarried on Halloween.

I don't want to dwell on this forever.

I'll probably never stop thinking about it completely, but I also don't want to talk about it day in and day out.


There are a few things I'd like to remember.

Like this video of Tim finding out I was pregnant.  I told him that someone had left this box on our porch, and that I'd wanted to wait until he got home to open it.

It was a perfect moment in time.  I'm so grateful that I caught it on video.  He was so surprised and so happy.  And so was I.

Or the time Tim told his parents while we were all visiting his sister's house.  Tim was asked to say the prayer at the end of the night, and at the very end, he threw in, "And we're so grateful for the little baby growing in Katie's tummy."  They were all so excited.

Or the way I told my family.  I got a few M&M packets and attached this little note (with a few variations):

I sent some in the mail to my grandma, aunt, and uncle in California, and timed it so that they would receive the envelope the same day we arrived in Arizona to tell my family.  It was perfect.  Everyone was so happy.

Sometimes Ellie still points and my stomach and says, "Baby."  And it will be true again someday.

Whether I meet you in this life or the next, little one, you were loved.  You are loved.  And you won't ever be forgotten.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Halloween was the day that I miscarried.

I'd known it was going to happen for one week and one day.  It was on the 23rd of October that my doctor informed me that the ultrasound was showing no heartbeat.  I was supposed to be 9.5 weeks, but the baby was only measuring 7.5 weeks.

My baby hadn't been alive for two weeks.

I cried.

I cried every day.

But by the time I started miscarrying on October 31st, I'd accepted it.  I was almost relieved when the bleeding started because then at least I wouldn't have to wonder.

Tim decided to stay home that morning so he could take care of Ellie.  Knowing what I know now, I have a strong suspicion that he was being prompted to stay home, because I thought I would be fine.  I could take care of Ellie.  It wouldn't be a big deal.

And it wasn't a big deal.  That is, until I passed out in Tim's arms and then bled all over the floor.

"Katie, wake up.  Katie, should I call an ambulance?  Katie, wake up!"

I was annoyed by that voice.  Didn't the voice know that I just wanted to sleep?

By the time I was coherent enough to realize what had happened, Tim was already making preparations to take me to the hospital.  My friend, Brittney, was going to watch Ellie while Tim took me to the ER.  Ellie was already in the car.  Just before he took me to the car, Tim laid his hands on my head while I laid there on the kitchen floor.  He quickly and quietly promised me in the name of Jesus Christ that I would stay conscious until I got to the hospital.

And I did.

I was immediately taken to a room in the ER, where two nurses from labor and delivery took care of me until my OB arrived.  Right there in the ER, my doctor fixed, without anesthesia, what he called an "incomplete" miscarriage.  It was painful and awful, but it only lasted a couple of minutes.  Then the bleeding stopped.  I started to feel better.  Tim gathered my things as we prepared to go home.  I was happy at the prospect of not being in the hospital anymore.

Then came the nausea.  And then the warmth.  And, oh, I was so tired.  I just needed to sleep.  And I knew: it was happening all over again.  My vision blurred, and the next thing I knew a stern lady with long, curly hair was commanding me to wake up.

I heard Tim talking with the doctor and the nurses.  Was she in pain?  No, I don't think so.  Had she stood up?  No, she was just lying there.  I listened in shock as he told them I'd seized after passing out, and as they explained that it can be a normal reaction to such low blood pressure and a low heart rate.  The ER doctor left the room, saying he was going to call my OB again and ask what he wanted to do.

I was scared.  And I knew I'd scared Tim, too.  My eyes filled with tears when Tim walked in a few minutes later with Ellie in his arms.  I needed that.  I needed to see her.

Eventually, we were told that I would be admitted for the night for observation.  My OB came a couple of hours later.  I told him about how I'd passed out a few months earlier for the first time in my life, with all of the same symptoms.  The nausea.  The warmth.  The blurred vision.  He ordered a couple of tests with the promise that he'd come back and check on me in the morning.

Not long after my OB left, Tim's brother, Jeremy, and his wife, Alison, came to pick up Ellie for a few hours.  Before they left with my precious girl, Tim and Jeremy gave me another blessing.  I don't remember what it said, but I knew I'd be all right.

My eyes became misty with each picture Alison sent me.  I was so grateful that they'd found her a costume and taken her trick-or-treating with their family.  I knew she was in the best possible hands.

They even made mummies for dinner:

And oreo spiders:

Both of which were far more creative than anything I'd been planning.

Apparently Ellie and her cousin, Talon, were taking turns hugging each other and giggling.  Heart. Melted.

Alison said that Ellie didn't really understand trick-or-treating at first, but once she caught on, she was very enthusiastic, and would yell, "More candy!" after every house.

This next picture was taken after they knocked on a door and no one was home.  Ellie cried and kept asking for more candy.  Ha ha!  A girl after my own heart.

Ellie and Kenzie were best buds that night.

Alison said she went right to sleep as soon as she sat down after trick-or-treating.  All that fun can really wear a girl out!

Tim spent the night at our house with Ellie.  We knew I was in good hands, because I was literally the only patient in the labor and delivery ward.  Perks of being in a small hospital, I guess.  I had the nicest nurses ever, who kindly encouraged valium when I couldn't go back to sleep the second time I was woken up to take a pill.

Four hours later, I woke up and texted Tim that he and Ellie could drive over whenever they were ready.  Not fifteen minutes later, they showed up in my hospital room.  Contrary to my previous hospital experience, Ellie didn't want to touch me at all while I was hooked up to all those cords, but I was just happy to see her.

My OB came soon after and instructed me to see my GP (an internist by training) sometime in the next few days.  I hadn't actually lost enough blood to warrant passing out twice and the manner in which I'd done it.

I was tired.  I'm still tired.  It was an awful experience, and I still cry sometimes.  But I feel a little bit better every day.  And I can't help but be grateful in the midst of all of it.  I'm not grateful I had a miscarriage, but I'm grateful for the empathy I can have for others.  I'm grateful I had a week to deal with it emotionally before everything happened physically.  I'm grateful for modern medicine and the years of medical training housed within that hospital.  And I'm grateful Tim felt prompted to stay home to take care of Ellie for me that day, because I have no idea what would have happened without him.

I went to my GP yesterday.  I don't really understand everything that he said, but the fainting had something to do with my vagus nerve and needing to drink more water and eat more salt.  And hoping that it doesn't keep happening, because in that (hopefully very) unlikely event, my future could involve a pacemaker.  But even if it's something that continues to affect my life, at least it's not something life-threatening.

I worry that my pregnant friends will feel awkward around me now.  They shouldn't.  I might feel sad inside, but I am definitely not sad for them.  I am so happy for their opportunity.  And I know it will happen for me again, too.

I also worry that this will be seen as a cry for attention or sympathy.  It's not.  I am sad, but I know it's not the end of the world.  My world is beautiful, and it will always be beautiful because I have Tim and Ellie and the most wonderful friends and family.  I write this mainly because it's the only journal I have, and I want my daughters and granddaughters to be able to read it someday.

I want them to know that I know - no matter what - God is good.  He is, oh, so good.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

ellie update

It occurred to me recently that I haven't given many updates on my sweet Ellie as of late.

If I had to pick one adjective that described Ellie, it would overwhelmingly be the word "sweet."  She loves giving hugs and kisses, and she uses "hold me" and "hold you" interchangeably as pleas to be held [which happens a LOT throughout the day].  She loves cuddles, and asks for them often.  Within the last couple of weeks, she has started stringing together three word sentences.  Her favorites are currently:

"I did it!"
"I got it!"
"I sit dere!"
"Daddy at work."
"Mommy hold me."

The night before we went to her pediatrician a couple of weeks ago, Tim and I decided it would be fun to count how many words she knows, just off the top of our heads.  We came up with 180+, and she has learned many more since then.

She is still tiny, and at 19 pounds, 6 ounces, she is in less than the 3rd percentile, but luckily our doctor doesn't seem too concerned because "at least she keeps gaining weight on track."  She's 30 inches tall, which as I recall was in about the 20th percentile.

 At our church Halloween carnival.

[Tim is Facebook, in case you were wondering.] 

She has just recently started becoming possessive of her toys when other kids come over, and consequently has started throwing her first tantrums.  I'm almost scared to jinx it, because right now, "tantrums" consist of planking on the floor and burying her face into the carpet.  That's it.  No crying.  No screaming.  Just the silent treatment.

 At a pumpkin patch with my cousins and their kids.

All the kids waiting for the pig race.

Overall, Ellie is extremely easy-going wherever we happen to be - at home, at the store, at church, you name it.  She has her moments, of course, but by and large she is pretty content to just go with the flow.  And, in fact, she is in love with nursery, and asks to go the entire time we're in Sacrament.

She loves counting ["two, two, five, seven"] and singing the ABCs ["c, c, g, z"], and interjecting random words as we sing other songs.

The girl loves her stuffed animals and her blankies, but doesn't really have any particular attachment to any one - just a general love for all of them.

Ellie is my little buddy, my side-kick, my friend.  I get all teary-eyed when I think about how lucky I am to have her.  And I know Tim feels exactly the same way.

prescott trip

At the beginning of October, Tim had an ingredients expo in Las Vegas for work, which meant that it was the perfect time to drive the rest of the way down to Arizona to see my family.

At least, that's what it meant to me.

Tim, Ellie, and I drove down the weekend before his expo, and then Tim drove back up to Las Vegas on Monday morning.  At the end of the week, my dad drove me back to Vegas to meet up with Tim.  I have a nice dad.

Magically, the week of the expo was also my mom's fall break.  Ellie and I got to do all kinds of things with her that we wouldn't have been able to do on any other week.  It was fantastic.  We still got to go on walks and soda runs with my dad and brothers, but we got to spend all day with my mom.  Or "Gwamma," as she is affectionately known by Ellie.

As long as we're talking about names, let's go ahead and make a name key for my entire family:

Grandma - "Gwamma"
Grandpa - "Papa"
Jeff - "Eff"
Eric - "Ick"

[Side note: In the last couple of weeks, she has also taken to switching between names for Tim and me, as well.  Sometimes we are "Mommy" and "Daddy" and sometimes we are "Keedy" and "Teemy."]

Here's a three-generation picture:

Let's just talk about my mom for a second.  She has the energy of a toddler, but it's drastically more focused.  She gets more done in one hour than I usually get done in an entire day.  She's pretty incredible.  I'm 34 years younger than she is, and it takes a lot of work on my part to keep up with her at any given moment.  And she's one of my best friends.  Ergo, we got a lot done, and we had a lot of fun doing it.  [And I needed lots of naps.]

Towards the end of the trip, my mom, Ellie, and I went to the zoo.  Highlights of the trip for Ellie included: chickens, goats, and the park.  Go figure.  The three things widely available outside a zoo.

I love how serious my little biker chick looks in this next picture:

It was an amazing trip, and I may have cried a little when we finally headed back to Utah.

the end of september

The end of September brought a few more adventures.

My friend and I had decided to take our families on a joint camping trip in Idaho, but as the days progressed, the weather forecast continually predicted rain.  And truth be told, I am a fair weather camper.  I think you've all heard stories about me crying when it's too cold outside or about our tent ripping when it was too windy or leaving early because it was too hot outside.

Oh wait.  That last one has never happened because it has NEVER BEEN TOO HOT OUTSIDE.  My family only loves to camp when it's frigid.  Bring on the heat, I say.

But I digress.

I didn't really want to camp in the rain.  Tim and I ultimately decided to wait on camping and just go up for the day on Saturday.  My friend's family still went, and of course, it never actually rained.

But hiking on Saturday was awesome.  There's something about being out in the middle of nowhere that brings so much peace.  Breathing deeply somehow seems a little more possible.

And although it doesn't look like it from the picture, Ellie was a huge fan of sitting in that pack.  She kept sporadically yelling, "Hike!" every few minutes.

Later that week, we spent a great deal of time cleaning out our cars, resulting in a few forgotten treasures.  Behold this wig from our first Halloween together:

[Don't tell Tim, but it's probably safe to say that Ellie looks way cuter wearing it.]

The following weekend, we drove down to St. George for Swiss Days.  There were few things that could actually be considered "Swiss" except for a select group of children wearing clothes that looked vaguely Von Trapp Family Singers, but it was a lot of fun.  The best part, of course, was seeing Tim's sister's family and his parents.

My favorite part of the picture below is that our photobomber looks like he is practicing for his next modeling audition.

We spent a great weekend with them, and I especially loved having Tim's mom and sister to watch the LDS women's conference with.  Usually I just go by myself!  I am so beyond grateful that I married into such an amazing family.

bowling date

I can't believe it's November already.  Time just flies by...especially now that I'm not in school anymore.  I remember October taking forever in college.

Waaay back in September, Tim and I went on a date.  Actually, we go on dates all the time, but usually we take Ellie, so I don't know if that actually counts.  Sometimes it feels like it counts, and sometimes it doesn't.  Anyway, in September we went on a real date, sans Ellie.  [Don't worry, she was with a great babysitter and probably didn't even notice we were gone.]

Call us nerds, but both of us really enjoy bowling.  We're terrible, but we love it.

We were the only customers in the entire place.  On a Friday night.  You'd think in a small town, it'd be a hot spot, because WHERE ELSE.  But it was just us, which we loved.  Just when we thought a bowling alley couldn't be more romantic.

Tim was still recovering from knee surgery and consequently employed the skip-hop bowling technique, but he somehow managed to beat me [by quite a lot] [but I'm not bitter] anyway.

After the bowling alley, we headed over to Firehouse Pizza for some dessert.  It hasn't been open for very long, and it's one of the few restaurants in town.  And well, it has pizza cookies, so enough said.  New favorite place.

I always love that one-on-one conversation time with Tim.  And as an additional bonus, there was an entire table of teenagers behind us, which made for great people-watching.

After our date was over, we dropped by, picked Ellie up, and drove over to the temple.  It's one of our favorite places.

Lately, Ellie enthusiastically yells, "Cheeeese!" every time she thinks you are going to take a picture of her, and sometimes she even sticks out her belly, as pictured below:

Hilarity ensues every single time.

I love that Ellie really appreciates our romance...

"That's disgusting, Dad.  Stop right now."

It was a great evening.  And I'm already missing that perfect weather.  [Right now I'm inside wearing my sweatshirt with the hood on and my fingers are about to achieve frostbite.  But I suppose at least there are no more mosquitoes?]