Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30 Days of What I'm Thankful For

Since it's November, Thanksgiving month, I jumped on the Facebook bandwagon of posting "30 Days of What I'm Thankful For." I have to admit - you wouldn't think being thankful for 30 things would be a difficult task, but especially right now, where there are some days I feel like everything in my life is going wrong, it's been somewhat difficult. But then I remember that I have SO many things to be thankful for. Jesus has blessed me far beyond what I deserve and I want to make sure that I am thankful for His blessings. So, here it goes!

Day 1 - My wonderful husband. Without him, I don't know that I would have survived this year, and honestly, I may not have wanted to.

Day 2 - Although our family may not fully understand what Greg and I have faced this year (& the 5yrs of infertility before), they have always been very supportive of us and are always there for us. I have realized that many people aren't nearly as fortunate.

Day 3 - Cooler weather! It actually feels like Fall today, and it is wonderful!

Day 4 - Today I am thankful for Greg's job at UPS. He may work 12-14hrs/day and we both get frustrated with it, but it is stable and it allows us to survive and pay our bills, as well as give us health insurance. Plus, it allows me the luxury of not having to have a real job...and hopefully one day, the luxury of getting to stay home with our children.

Day 5 - Today I am thankful for weekends - getting time to spend with Greg, catching up on errands, leisurely doing nothing, or having an exciting, full weekend. I love just having time to spend together.

Day 6 - Ladies Night Out (with some of my M.E.N.D. friends)

Day 7 - For days like today, when I am feeling defeated and doubtful, I am thankful for the Truth. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)"

Day 8 - Rainy days, movies and chocolate chip cookies! :)

Day 9 - Having lunch with my hubby! :)

Day 10 - Today I'm so thankful for the time I had being a Mommy. Chase was only with us a short 118 days, but that was enough time for him to capture my heart and teach me an entirely new kind of love I've never felt before or even known was possible. Those 118 days may be the only days I ever get on this Earth to be a Mommy, so I will cherish those each and every day. Until Heaven, sweet boy...<3

Day 11 - Today (& every day) I am thankful for all the men and women in the past, present or future who put their lives on the line to protect us and our freedoms. We should be thankful for them every day, not just today.

Day 12 - My niece and nephews: Christian, Mason and Lexi. I love them all so much and they light up my life so much. <3

Day 13 - The free movie we got to rent from our dvr! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2 :)

Day 14 - The Internet. Without it I wouldn't have met my wonderful husband or an amazing group of women who have also lost their babies. We support each other, grieve with each other and remember our babies together. They are all so special to me and have been such an integral part of my healing. Thanks ladies!

Day 15 - Today I am thankful that 6 years ago, I said "I do" to Greg. This past year has been both the best and worst year all wrapped up into one, but I know I wouldn't have survived it without him. I love you more each day, honey...I am blessed to be your wife and Chase is blessed to have you for his Daddy.

Day 16 - Greg getting out of work at a NORMAL time!!! :) We can do normal things like grocery shop and cook dinner!

Day 17 - My wonderful support group, M.E.N.D. (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death). I am so blessed by this group and all the wonderful women in it. I am so thankful for our meeting tonight! :)

Day 18 - Date night with my hubby! :)

Day 19 - Getting to watch my niece and nephew to give my sister and brother-in-law a "date night."

Day 20 - Getting my hair cut!!

Day 21 - Seven months ago, I was given the greatest blessing in my life, Chase Austin Miller. After 5 long years of infertility, Chase made me a Mommy and Greg a Daddy. We miss him more than words can describe...there is a piece of both of our hearts that are missing because they are with him. We will never be the same people we were before him and we will miss him each second we are here on this Earth. But we know that Chase is waiting on us in Heaven - and we can't wait to join him!

Day 22 - All the things we take for granted - food, (running) water, clothing, shelter, cars, cable, Internet...the list could go on and on.

Day 23 - Answered prayer!!! (in reference to Kim's ultrasound showing a baby - unknown at the time that it would be 3! :) )

Day 24 - I am thankful for my family and friends, Greg and our sweet Chase, who reminds us of all of our blessings the Lord has given us and that this world is not our home. ♥  Happy Thanksgiving!

Day 25 - Today I am thankful to be celebrating my brother and his fiancée's engagement and future together! :)

Day 26 - Realizing today that we still have 2 days left in the weekend! :)

Day 27 - Greg put up our Christmas tree and was even able to fix the section of lights that was out on it! :)

Day 28 - I got to babysit for our friends boys today! I had a fun time with my "nephews!" :)

Day 29 - I'm thankful for being able to hang out with my sister and niece and nephew so easily these days, now that they moved close to us! :)

Day 30 - I am thankful for my Savior and I'm reminded as we embark on this Christmas season that it is all about Him. My sweet Chase is getting ready to celebrate Christmas with Jesus! Why should I be sad for him? I should be sad for myself and all the rest of us who don't get to experience that (yet) as well! I am sad that I am missing out on having him here with us, but I know Chase has it far better in Heaven. ♥

Thursday, October 20, 2011


It's been a while since I wrote, and honestly, it's been an emotional roller-coaster lately. For obvious reasons, September was a hard month for me (Chase's due date was September 17th), but for some reason, October has been equally as hard. I think part of it may be because by now, Chase should have definitely been here. I should be snuggling and feeding my sweet boy, be sleep-deprived, yet happy. Instead I'm getting full nights' sleep - more than that even, simply because on days where I have nothing happening, what's the point of getting out of bed?

It's so hard seeing others who were pregnant near me having their babies and showing off their pictures and even complaining about the woes of motherhood, when all I want is to hold my sweet boy - even if just for one minute. I keep feeling that question sneak up on me again - why??? Why did this have to happen to us? Why, after 5 years, when we finally thought it was our turn to be parents was our sweet baby taken from us? Why do I feel like the people who are getting pregnant and bringing home babies aren't as deserving as we are? Why do people get accidentally get pregnant every day and have healthy babies and we can't even have 1 baby almost 6 years later? Why do people who abuse or neglect their children get pregnant every day, only to mistreat their children, or kill them? I thought I had gotten over this question of "why," but it seems to be resurfacing lately. I guess the truth is I will wonder why for the rest of my life. I can make assumptions or try and understand, but I will never truly know "why" until I meet Jesus face to face and ask Him why???

In the meantime, all that I can do is try and figure out a way to honor Chase and to remember him and to try and figure out what I can do to bring glory to God through this situation. I feel like there is something I should be doing to honor his life and help other parents who are also walking this road, but I have no idea what that is. I know God didn't do this for nothing - some good must come out of it. My sweet Chase wasn't for nothing. But I have to stop feeling so defeated and learn to just accept what happened and make light of it the best I can. Easier said than done!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Month

Well, the first month of "trying to get pregnant" wasn't successful. I am sad, obviously, but I guess I never really expected this first month to pan out anyways. Last year, when I was in the medical study, I had 5 cycles in the study to attempt to get pregnant. The first cycle I was disappointed, but I knew we still had 4 left. After the second cycle was also negative, I started getting a little antsy. I never expected the third cycle to be successful for us - I'm not sure why. I guess I finally was able to relax that month and not think about it ALL THE TIME, so I just assumed we had relaxed a little too much. Plus, I didn't feel any "symptoms" before going to my appointment on January 11th. I can tell you, no one was more shocked than I was when the nurse popped her head in the door and said "it's positive!" Greg and I looked at each other and back at the nurse and we asked "really?" Then we sat in silence for a solid minute or two. Finally, the nurse said "this is why you're here, right?" Of course it was! We were just so shocked!

I still didn't truly believe that positive for another 2 days because they did some blood work that day and were supposed to call me back the next day, and instead, it took them 3 days to call me back! Finally, that Thursday night, I couldn't take it any longer and I took a home pregnancy test and lo and behold, it was positive! I called Greg and told him and he was like "well - they told us it was positive on Tuesday." Yes, I knew that, but I didn't believe it! I've had a positive pregnancy test before, only to start bleeding the very next day, so I guess you could say I was skeptical. I took a picture of that positive test on my phone that night and I was so scared, yet happy. Finally, on Friday afternoon, the nurse called and confirmed that I was indeed "very pregnant!"

I was so hoping to get to experience that excitement again a few days ago, but I guess it isn't our time yet. I know that God will allow me to get pregnant only when it is His will and according to His plan, so until then, I'm trying to remain patient. I'm going to be honest's hard. I wish I didn't feel the need to be in control of things so badly, because in reality, I'm not in control at all! For several months now, I've been feeling like September was going to be the month I get pregnant again. I'm not sure if it's because Chase's due date is this month, or if it's because while it will be our 2nd medicated cycle trying to get pregnant, it will be our 3rd overall. It took us 3 cycles to get pregnant before, so I guess I have it in my head that it will take the same amount of time this time. I know, that really means nothing. But I can hope! Until then, I'm just going to keep praying for patience and that God will allow us to have more children.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What Happened to Chase?

I realized that many of you probably don't know the details about what happened with Chase, other than I had him too early for him to survive. While this is true, I would like to share the details so you can all know what really happened.

On April 19th, Greg and I went to have our big ultrasound - the anatomy scan where we found out we would be having a sweet little boy! That evening, I had some spotting, so I put my feet up and parked it on the couch for the entire evening while Greg made us dinner, etc. I wasn't too concerned because I was going back to the doctor in the morning for a regular check up.

The next morning, I had some more spotting, so I told Greg and we decided I should mention it to my doctor. I did while I was there and she decided to check to see if I had an infection called bacterial vaginosis. This is when she stopped and looked at me and said "Don't freak out (I immediately start freaking out), but you're dilated and I can feel your bag of water right here." She then went on to tell me she was calling an ambulance to take me to the hospital for an emergency cerclage (a cervical stitch to close my cervix and hopefully prevent me from going into labor). From that moment on, I wasn't even allowed to sit back up to redress myself - I had to lay on my back.

We made phone calls to our families while waiting on the ambulance, then I was on my way to the hospital. I found out from the EMT in the ambulance that I was 4cm dilated - then I really started freaking out. How could I NOT know that I'm 4cm dilated?? A few hours after being at the hospital, I had surgery to have my cerclage placed and my doctor was successfully able to place it and we hoped for the best.

However, as soon as I woke up from surgery, I had contractions. I was on Magnesium Sulfate to help stop my contractions and it also had the great side effect of making me extremely hot and really sleepy. I could barely keep my eyes open for more than a few minutes over the next 30 hours or so. But since we still hadn't announced if we were having a boy/girl, we did it at the hospital that evening. I made Easter eggs (Easter was that coming weekend) and there were pink/purple ones and blue/green ones that everyone was supposed to pick a boy/girl color based on their prediction and open it to find out if they were right or wrong. Somehow, I had put all the 'correct' ones in the pink/purple eggs and the 'wrong' ones in the green/blue eggs. There was a moment of confusion when everyone opened them and started saying "it's a girl!" and finally I was like "no it's not - it's a boy!!" There's that wonderful "baby brain" for ya!

Most of the next day, I hardly remember any of until that evening when my contractions really started picking up and I kept thinking I was peeing on myself, but I had a catheter, so that wasn't possible. My amniotic fluid was leaking. I told the nurse this repeatedly and for some reason, she either didn't seem too concerned or didn't believe me. Finally after my contractions were coming about every 10 minutes, then every 5, did the nurse finally call my doctor and they confirmed my amniotic fluid was indeed leaking.

They moved me to another room - what I didn't know at that moment was that it was a delivery room. I asked Greg to tell our families what was happening. I think he understood much more than I did what was about to happen because he sent them a 911 text telling them to come ASAP, even though they had all just left the hospital a little over an hour before. The next thing I remember was waking up and my doctor telling me there was nothing else we could do, she was going to start "reversing what we had been doing," and she asked if I wanted an epidural. My heart broke right then and there. I asked her if there was nothing else we could do and she told me unfortunately, no.

I'll spare you the details, but she removed my cerclage and they induced labor and my sweet Chase was born only about an hour or so later. I remember him being born, then passing back out and the next time I woke up, he was in my arms. I had no idea how long it had been (1-2hrs since he was born), our entire family was standing around us and I looked down at my sweet little boy. I asked if he was cold and when no one answered, I touched his sweet little hand and fingers. He was cold, but he was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen and I was surprised at how much he already looked like a little person. He looked so much like Greg - his jaw, mouth, his knees and legs. The only thing I know for sure he got from me was my nose. I wish I had more time to study and look at him, but I asked Greg if he'd held him and I passed him off to Greg and quickly passed out again. The next time I woke up, he was gone and I didn't get the chance to see him again until the day we had his funeral. I had insisted we have some time before his funeral for us to see him and take some pictures of him, since the only ones we took at the hospital were on a cell phone. Unfortunately, no one had a camera that night. I wish so much I had better pictures of him, but I know I will never forget his sweet face and his will be the first face I look for in Heaven after I meet my Savior.

The condition that I have that led to my cervix dilating prematurely is called Cervical Insufficiency or Incompetent Cervix. In all future pregnancies, I will have a cerclage placed around 12-14 weeks during pregnancy to hopefully hold my cervix closed until I'm full-term. This is not a perfect fix and sometimes, the cerclage can fail and you can dilate anyways or your membranes will rupture. Please be keeping Greg and I in your prayers as we continue to grieve and as we start thinking about trying again. It took us 5 yrs to conceive our sweet little Chase, and it's so hard knowing that we should be becoming parents next month. Instead we have to start all over again.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

You know you're emotional when...

...your therapist asks if you are taking hormones! She didn't mean it in a bad way and I didn't take offense to it, because honestly, I was surprised by how emotional I was yesterday during our therapy session. Yes, Greg and I have been seeing a therapist. No, I'm not ashamed of it. It has been a good way for both of us to express ourselves and how we're feeling because otherwise, we may not have said a lot of our feelings out loud to each other. I didn't want to become shut off from the world and unable to cope after losing Chase. It has obviously been the hardest thing I have ever gone through, but I wanted to be able to "recover" from it and not find myself stuck in a deep depression or suppressing my feelings and not dealing with them. I wanted to be able to feel the hurt and pain...and to deal with them. I think both Greg and I have done a good job at this. Men especially can be emotionally hard to read after something like this, but Greg has been great. He has cried with me, held me, talked to me, listened to me...he hasn't minimized our loss as a way to move on at all. He misses Chase as much as I do and he was crushed just as badly as I was by losing him.

In regards to my being so emotional - I'm guessing it has to do with a few things. One of which is that we just started my first cycle of "officially trying to conceive" again. I am on my 2nd day of the medicine, so we are just barely starting, but it still brings up a lot of emotions. We should be becoming parents next month, not just trying to get pregnant. We should be bringing our sweet Chase home from the hospital and be sleep-deprived, but happy. Instead, we may be starting our next round next month or possibly getting a positive pregnancy test. Exciting, but I so wish we were going to be bringing Chase home instead.

Also, there are a few people I knew who were also pregnant and close to me, one was my cousin who was about 5-6 weeks ahead of me and the other was a co-worker of my Mom and sister's who's about 5-6 weeks behind me. Well, my cousin just had her baby boy a few days ago and it hurts so much to know they're at home now with their little boy and I'll never get to have that with my sweet Chase. My Mom and sister's co-worker posted a picture of her pregnant belly on Facebook a few weeks ago and I nearly lost it. I haven't seen her since before she got pregnant, so it was so hard seeing her big belly and knowing mine would be like that too by now. I never really got to the point where I looked "pregnant." My family and friends could probably tell my stomach had gotten larger, but to most people, I'm sure I just looked fat (still). Another reason I'm extra emotional is probably because I'm on my period right now, so I'm sure that's making me extra emotional and hormonal.

The thing about grief is that it can be so unexpected. There have been certain things that I thought were going to be really hard for me and they turned out not to be and other times, I'm completely caught off-guard by the sadness. I have felt guilty for feeling too "ok" sometimes, so sometimes it's nice to feel the pain again. The pain is a reminder to me of how much I love and miss my sweet Chase and that his loss was real...that he was real.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Some days, like today, I find myself in a 'funk' and I don't feel like doing anything other than staying at home and confining myself to my little bubble. To be completely honest, I would really like to stay in bed all day, but at some point I normally force myself to get out of bed. It's days like today that are the hardest for me. I always think about Chase all day, each and every day. But on days like these, I allow myself to wonder what my day would be like instead, if I were still pregnant with him.

I would be 33 weeks pregnant right now and I can't help but thinking what that would be like. I'm sure by now, I'd be complaining about the horrible heat here in Houston, how it is even worse since being huge and pregnant. I'm sure I'd be feeling body aches and I'd be having trouble sleeping, most likely heartburn as well. But I would also be feeling my sweet little Chase kicking, punching, hiccuping, squirming and moving around inside of me. I got to feel his little kicks and movements for 2 glorious days before he was born. I remember feeling him kick for the last time right after they moved me into my delivery room. After that, I think I was too drugged and unconscious to recall if I felt him after that.

I would give anything to feel those sweet movements inside of me again. I can perfectly recall what they felt like and I miss them so much. It makes me sad that Greg never got to feel Chase kick from the outside - he was just too small. But I know by now, Greg would be able to feel him kick and probably see my stomach moving while he did it! I am so sad that there are a lifetime of memories we will miss out on with our sweet Chase. We will never see him as a full-term baby, cut his first tooth, takes his first steps, go to kindergarten, play sports/a musical instrument, get in a fight with his best friend, go out on his first date, experience his first heartache, graduate high school/college, get a job, get married, have his own children...the list could go on exponentially.

A couple weekends ago, my brother proposed to his long-time girlfriend. I am so happy for them that they are finally at this point and they can start planning their lives together. But at the same time, it is sad for me, because I realize that everyone else's lives are still continuing on, as if nothing ever happened, meanwhile I feel like my life is at a stand-still. I don't expect everyone to quit moving on and remain focused solely on us losing Chase, but Greg and I are still at that point.

We are going to start trying to get pregnant again this coming month, and while I'm very excited and nervous, I'm not able to plan anything yet. Even once I am able to (God-willing) get pregnant again, I'm not sure how long it will take me before I'm able to dream and plan for our future again. I am so scared of planning for another baby and envisioning our future together, just for it to be cut short, as it was with Chase. I want to trust in God and know that everything will be alright, but the truth is, I don't know what he has planned for us. Just because we already experienced infertility and lost Chase doesn't exclude us from having another heartache. We don't know what God's plan is for us and what His ultimate purpose is for us, Chase, and our future children. This is what scares me the most. I do know, however, that I will have to rely solely on God to get me through another pregnancy.

"The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD."  - Job 1:21

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Who knew painting my toenails could be so emotional?

So earlier today, I was talking with a friend about pedicures. It reminded me of the last pedicure I got - the weekend before Chase was born. My brother-in-law was getting married, so I went with my mother-in-law and two of her friends to get pedicures before the big day. I got a very light pink color on my fingernails and toenails. Little did I know this color would become significant to me. Five days after my brother and sister-in-laws' wedding, I gave birth to Chase. Chase was born on April 21 and I didn't remove (what was left of) my light pink nail polish on my toenails until last Friday, July 22 - almost 3 months to the day. My fingernail polish has long since been removed because it was chipping, so I took it off probably a week or two later. I kept looking at my toenails thinking "Euuw...I really need to re-paint those" but then I would remember that I got that nail polish when Chase was with me. He was with me that day, at my brother-in-law's wedding and for five more days after that. I wore that light pink nail polish when I was in labor with him, and after, when I held his beautiful, lifeless body. I don't know why, but it was so hard for me to remove that nail polish. It was sad for me after I took it off of my fingernails, and maybe that's why I held off taking it off of my toenails? I'm not sure...but now that I have, I feel like it was a big step for me, however stupid it may sound. I will never forget my sweet little Chase, but at some point, I have to start moving on with my life. I won't be moving on by myself though - I have Greg by my side all the time, the Lord who is my strength, and I'll be carrying my sweet Chase in my heart.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Trying again...

Initially after losing Chase, the thought of getting pregnant again at all in the near future was daunting to me. It scared me to think about possibly losing another child and it scared me even more to think that if I did, Chase would be us, our families, friends and just people in general. It scared me so much that at my 2 week postpartum visit to my doctor, I asked for birth control! I have never taken birth control before, but I was willing to at this point to prevent a pregnancy. I have always heard of women being extremely fertile after having a baby and now I've heard, after having a loss as well. I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), so avoiding pregnancy was never really a problem. My body does that naturally. However, it seems that in some women with PCOS, this after birth/loss fertility boost was real. Some women will go on to get pregnant again and never have another problem conceiving, or just go on to having normal cycles again.

After taking the birth control for a month, I had time to calm down and quit freaking out about getting pregnant again. In that time, I started realizing that while I was still devastated from losing Chase, I DID want to be pregnant again. I came so close to finally having a child and being a Mommy. Don't get me wrong - Chase IS my child and I AM his Mommy, but we never get to spend time together here on Earth (besides my pregnancy). Our time will be in Heaven and I look forward to eternity with him so much! But now the dilemma is if I do get pregnant again, will he be forgotten? Will I be able to handle another pregnancy without going insane from the fears?

I have met with a MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine - High risk) ob and she told me I would get a preventative cerclage placed around 14 weeks. On first thought, it sounds great, but then I start thinking...that's only 4 weeks before I started experiencing my symptoms from Incompetent Cervix when I was pregnant with Chase. Will that be soon enough? Will my water break anyways? What if I get an infection and my baby dies or my water breaks again and I have to deliver early again? These are just some of the questions and fears that I have rotating around in my head. But despite all the fear, Greg and I both feel like we are ready to move on and start the process of trying to get pregnant again. I'm sure it will be hard and even harder when I'm pregnant, because of all the memories I have of being pregnant with Chase, but this is what we have to do in order to have kids.

Initially, I had set Chase's due date (September 17) as the date we had to reach before trying again. But, now I don't feel like we need to get there first. That will still be a very hard and significant day for me, but it's not a necessity that we get there before trying to make Chase a big brother! I'm so excited, yet nervous to start this whole process. We have waited almost 6 years to become parents and even if we get pregnant soon, it will be at least 6 1/2 yrs before we bring a baby home! I hope I can relax and give my fears to God so I won't be a basketcase throughout this entire process! Easier said than done, though!

Monday, July 25, 2011

To my sweet little boy

Dear Chase,

I miss you so much, my sweet little boy. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me - being pregnant with you, and getting to be your Mommy. I wish so much that you were still here with us, safe inside of me. But you are with Jesus, and in all honesty, I know that you are in better hands there than you would be here. It is the selfish part of me that wants you here with me. I wanted to be able to hold you, rock you, nurse you, cuddle you, tickle you, teach you. I wanted to see who you would have looked like, what personality you would have had, what your interests would have been. We were lucky enough to get to see and hold you after you were born. You were so much more beautiful than I could have even imagined. You look a lot like your Daddy. You have his legs, knees, jawline, mouth and possibly eyes. You do have one thing of Mommy's though - you have my nose. I'm not sure what color hair you would have had, if it would have been straight like mine or curly like your Dad's. I'm also not sure what color eyes you would have had, but I know they would have melted my heart. I think about you every moment of every day. I may be able to have conversations with people and watch tv, but part of my thoughts are always on you. I honestly hope that never changes - it makes me feel connected to you. I used to be scared to die and go to Heaven, but now I would be happy to go to Heaven so I could join you. Please save a place for me and Daddy, sweet boy. We will join you as soon as we can. Until then, enjoy singing with the angels and playing in paradise.

All of my love,

Officially joining the "blogosphere"

For years, I have enjoyed reading blogs. Daily, I would go to my favorite blogs and read the updates and feel like I really got to know these people and their lives. I contemplated starting a blog, but who would want to read about my life - it is boring and honestly, I don't think anybody would care to read about it, including me! But now, after losing Chase, I have attempted to start keeping a journal to write my thoughts in, but it is so much easier to type than write! I have given myself a hand cramp every time I've written in my journal! So, for now, this is the easier option. I can write down what I'm thinking quickly and easily. I have been thinking about writing letters to Chase...maybe that can be my next entry.