Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Our Answer to Prayer! (and a little blogging break)

After 4 years of ups & downs, a few tears of joy & hope but many more of sadness, frustration, & even anger, our roller coaster of a ride feels like it's finally coming to an end.......or maybe I should say the ride is just beginning.

You see, it all began about 4 years ago when my hubby & I decided we wanted to have a baby.  We had just moved into our newly built house & it seemed like the perfect time.........but our timing isn't always God's timing.   Already knowing that I struggled with polycystic ovaries, I knew that it would be a bit of a struggle.  But I don't think you can ever really prepare for this roller coaster.

In August of 2009, a little over two years after this journey began, I went to the doctor after not feeling so well.  The diagnosis: an infection & pregnancy!  I'll never forget when the PA came in & told me.  After two years of negative testing, I was in shock.  Immediately calling my husband & family, I had to repeat myself several times because they couldn't understand me through the heavy tears of joy!  Like I said, that moment of joy & hope will forever be etched in my memory.  But unfortunately, the tears of joy were quickly exchanged for tears of sorrow, as I began to have complications, & slowly miscarried over about a 4 week period, the whole time praying & clinging to hope that it would somehow be okay.

I didn't understand.  How could God answer our prayer, only to allow us to lose that baby?  My hubby, trying to be encouraging, reminded me that maybe God had allowed the pregnancy to give us the hope that it was possible for us to have a baby.  While I understood that, I still struggled with understanding why I couldn't have that baby.  And, to add to it, the baby's due date was my birthday, which also happened to be Mother's Day that next year.  (What a difficult day that was!)  Over the course of the next few months, I struggled with grief......sadness, disappointment, & even anger.......it's amazing how much you can love & grieve for someone you've never even met.  Yeah, I understand, there could have been something wrong with the baby, it might not have been God's will or timing, & God knows best.....I get all of those things.....but I think there will always be a part of me that struggles with understanding. 

But besides the little glimmer of hope, another good came out of it.  Up 'til then, I hadn't told anyone about our struggle with infertility.  I was embarrassed, ashamed, felt like it was my fault.......but one thing that the pregnancy & subsequent miscarriage did was to help me to finally open up.   In fact, I found that the more I told my story, the more it helped me to heal.......and I found more & more people along the way that had also struggled with infertility or the loss of a baby.  (Unfortunately, it is so often a grief that is overlooked or minimized in our society).

So another year & a half went by.  I guess since I had gotten pregnant on my own once before, I kept expecting that it would just happen again eventually.  But as time went on, I began to lose hope, as well as feel a little pressured by the fact that we weren't getting any younger.  So in February of this year, I finally decided to see a specialist in OKC.......who just happens to be one of the top fertility specialists in the nation.  During our initial consult with the doctor, he explained that he felt we were a pretty straight forward case......so much so that he didn't even do any testing.  In fact, when I asked about more testing, his response was that he'd rather us save that money to use for our baby!  My hope was beginning to return. 

He explained that because I had gotten pregnant before, he felt like it wouldn't take much, & that I just needed a little push.  So I began the rounds of Clomid.  The first dose of 50mg did nothing for me.  Discouraged when I returned to the doctor the next month, he simply told me not to worry that they're just trying to find the lowest dose that works, & often 50 isn't enough.  So, the next time around, he upped it to 100mg.  Good & bad news: it did it's job, but I wasn't pregant.  While he didn't have an explanation for me, he encouraged me to not be discouraged & said we'd give it 2 or 3 more months.  So we began round 3.

On Saturday, June 4, I was at home alone as my husband was working.  I had told him that I wouldn't test for at least a few more days.  You see, this medicine had made me sick in the previous months, much like pregnancy symptoms.  Once again, I was having the same symptoms, but I didn't want to read too much into it.  I was tired of getting my hopes up, only to be disappointed when the "Not Pregnant" came up on my test.  The only difference this time is that I had one more symptom: I was so tired!  But I thought it could just be the sudden heat wave we'd been experiencing.

So back to that Saturday, as I was at home, blogging no less, I suddenly felt really sick.  "Okay," I thought, "I should just go take the test & get it over with, & get one more month of wondering behind me."  Besides, I'd much rather have my "crying spell" when I was by myself & not during the work week just before work, as I had done so many times before.  Now you have to understand, after 4 years, I had yet to actually see a positive test.  (When I was pregnant before, if you remember, I found out at the doctor, & never took a home test.)  So a little before 1pm, on what turned out to be one of the best days of my life, I took the test, by this time fully expecting the big "Not Pregnant."  But something magical happened.  After only a few seconds of flashing, the most beautiful word in the world popped up, "PREGNANT." 

I began shaking & crying with excitement, thanking God for answering our prayer!  I couldn't believe it!  Was this really happening?  When I finally pulled myself together, I began to come up with a plan of how to tell my husband.  I wrapped up the test & decided to wait until he got home.  Unfortunately, what I thought was going to be a 5 hour wait turned into a 8 hour wait, as he had to work a little later that night.  I was so anxious, trying to pass the time by doing things around the house, but I often found myself pacing & repeatedly looking out the front window to see if he was pulling up.

When he finally got home, I could hardly wait for him to get in the house before giving him my "gift".  He was so excited as well, but like me, a little nervous & cautious, because of the previous miscarriage.  We told family & a few friends but decided to wait to "announce" it until after our first ultrasound.  Throughout the next 3 weeks, I had multiple blood tests done, all of which came back great.  I could hardly wait for the Monday, the 27th to get here.......that would be the day we'd first see a glimpse of our little miracle.

We anxiously drove together to the dr.'s office on that Monday morning, super excited, but still a little nervous.  And what we saw & heard was the most beautiful, miraculous thing I have ever seen or heard.  Our baby, now 7 weeks along, had a strong heartbeat of 152 bpm.  The dr. said it looked great!  I don't think I'll ever forget those few seconds, watching that little heartbeat flicker & listening to it!  What a miracle God has given us......He has answered our prayer!

While I normally don't get too personal in my blog, I decided to share this for a couple reasons.  For one, I can't help but give God the glory for this little life inside of me.  And two, my desire is that it brings hope to someone out there who reads it.  Infertility & miscarriage are so common, but unfortunately those who go through it, often feel all alone.  I want God to use my story to bring hope & encouragement to others.

Having said all of that, I also wanted to share that the last couple of weeks I've greatly struggled with my blogging.  Normally my problem is that I have a ton of ideas but not enough time to do them all, but now, my problem is that I don't have the energy!!  Between the nausea & fatique (but I'm not complaining :) ), I find myself coming home from work & pretty much going straight to bed.  So what little energy & time I do have is spent on the bare necessities.  So I ask that you bear with me as I take a little blogging break.  I may still have a post here & there over the next few weeks (in fact, I have one or two ready to go at some point), but it definitely won't be my normal 4-5/week.  But I promise at some point I'll be back in full-force.  I have too  many ideas not to!  And of course, I'll have to eventually share the transformation of my craft room into a baby nursery!

Thank you to all of you for support.  I've been blogging just short of 5 months now, & was ecstatic last week when I reached & surpassed 100 followers.  I am truly honored to have so many interested in my blog, & treasure each & every one of you. 

I ask that you keep me & the baby in your prayers, & I promise, as soon as I have a little more energy (hopefully in the next month or two), you'll see me again.  God bless!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tablescape Thursday: All American Dads

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 
Psalm 103:13
This past Sunday, Father's Day, Mr. Dishaholic & I spent some time with the family.  My parents, who were hosting the get-together, decided on an All-American menu of hamburgers, hotdogs, homemade french fries, & all the fixings (as we say around these parts).  Hot fudge sundaes were a perfect ending to the meal.   It was delicious!

Being the tablescape-aholic that I am, I offered to help set the table to coordinate with the "All-American" theme.  Well, what could be more all-American than baseball & red, white, & blue?

While we had originally hoped to enjoy the outdoors, the record-breaking 100+ temperatures forced us to move the gathering indoors to the dining room. 

A red & white checked tablecloth serves as the backdrop for this very casual table, while a variety of red, white, & blue dishes & accessories continue the theme.

The centerpiece included a jar filled with old baseball & softballs (purchased at an antique booth) & a couple of flags.  You can't have all-American without the American flag!

A baseball glove, borrowed from my husband, holds another baseball, while a second jar is filled with red, white, blue, & silver candy (which included Baby Ruths, of course).

A couple of popcorn containers & cracker jacks finish off this all-American centerpiece, giving us the guests a little something to snack on while the meal was prepared.

Each place setting began with a simple blue plate, & was topped with a red basket, perfect for hamburgers & fries!  A red & white checked liner, along with red & blue flatware, rests casually in the basket.

Alongside the basket, hotdog holders, alternating in red & blue, are ready to be filled with a yummy hotdog......well, just as soon as the red, white, & blue napkin is removed.  To continue the theme, the napkins are wrapped in ribbon with a "Take Me Out to The Ball Game" design.

A Coca-Cola glass, containing a blue & white striped straw, sits nearby.

A small metal pail hold peanuts for each guest, while a "baseball pennant" place card peeks out.

It was a fun family get-together & a time to tell our dads just how much we love & appreciate them!

Checked Tablecloth - Garden Ridge
Coca Cola Glasses/Popcorn Containers - Dollar Tree
Food Baskets - Walmart
Hotdog Holders - Target
Colorful Flatware - Kohls
{To see other tablescapes using the same item(s), click on the link(s) above.}

Thanks for stopping by.  I'm joining with Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wildcard Wednesday: Signs of Spring......in Review {Part 1}

Can you believe that spring is coming to an end & summer is here?  I sure can't!  Where does the time go?

But since it is, I thought it might be fun to do a little recap of all of the "Signs of Spring" from my home.  {Next week I'll review our garden.}

In the entry {click here for full post}, a few nests & eggs, & a little greenery added a little spring......

.......while in the living room {click here for full post}, some nests & a few pops of turquoise brightened things up.


The kitchen got a little spring decor, too. {Click here & here for full posts.)


Even the bathroom & hallway got in on the action. {Click here for full post.}

And of course, you can't have spring without a few fresh blooms scattered here & there {click here for full post}.

So I brought a little of the outdoors in {click here for full post}.........

And of course, there were lots of spring tablescapes, too.
{Click here to see the full posts! Be sure to keep scrolling & click "older posts" if you want to see them all.}

Thanks for stopping by.  Join me again next week for a review of the many signs of spring in the garden.

I'll be joining these parties:
Mosaic Monday @ Little Red House
Open House Party @ No Minimalist Here
Home Sweet Home @ The Charm of Home
Seasonal Sundays @ The Tablescaper

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: Easy Dry Erase Board

You might remember back in March, when I included this "Menu Board" on my "All About the Effiel Tablescape"?

Did you think that I wrote the menu on a piece of paper & then inserted it? 
Well, actually, I wrote right on the glass, using a dry erase marker!

And it gave me an idea!

If you're like me, you're always jotting down little notes, reminders, & ideas.  So instead of all those little pieces of paper, why not make a fun, decorative dry erase board to capture some of those thoughts?

All you need is a picture frame of your choice, some scrapbook paper (or fabric), & any other embellishments you might want to add.

Simply cut the paper to fit the frame.  (If you want to use fabric, cut a piece of cardboard, tightly wrap the fabric around the cardboard, & hot glue the edges to the back.)

You could add ribbon or other embellishments to the frame, as well.

I used a 8X10 picture frame I had in my craft room for these examples, but obviously if you wanted a hanging dry erase board, you could use a much larger frame.  And it could double as a piece of art!

One of the fun things about these "dry erase boards" is that they are so versatile & only limited by your imagination.

Set one in the kitchen to jot down grocery items, a recipe, or a weekly menu.

Simply change the paper, & use it for a party or other special occasion.

A quick change of paper can take you from season to season, too!

In fact, you could even have a photo as the background!

The possibilities are endless!  About $.50 & a minute is all it takes to give it a whole other look!

Be sure to use dry-erase markers on the glass. A quick swipe with a damp paper towel & you're ready for a new message.

Have fun!

I'll be joining the following parties:
Amaze Me Monday @ Dittle Dattle
Blue Monday @ Smiling Sally
Craft-O-Maniac Monday @ Craftomaniac
Market Yourself Monday @ Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Masterpiece Monday @ Boogie Board Cottage
Organizing Mission Monday @ Organize with Sandy
Hoo’s Got Talent @ Night Owl Crafting
Whatever Goes Wednesday @ Someday Crafts
What I Made Wednesday @ Sweet Peas & Bumblebees
Thrilling Thursday @ Paisley Passions