Seven More Days

A blog…is like a pet.
You feed it (with words), you groom it (changing themes), you take it for walks and let people ooh and ahh over it and make smoochie noises (comments). You even have to clean up after it sometimes (filtering spam).
Time comes in the life of every pet, and blog, where it must end.
My time is July 7. I chose this date because it will mark four years I’ve been at this thing, and it is time to call it quits.
I’ve had so much fun sharing in our huge internet community, and am glad I have this much of my writing and stories in one place that can be saved and stored. For the past year, I haven’t had as much to say, and I don’t want to have one of those blogs that just sit there with a post on the front page from 2007. (No offense intended if you really liked that year and want to stay parked.)
So, I’ve got one more week to enlighten and encourage (smirk). Here’s your last chance to copy a recipe for dinner (Monkey Brains, anyone?), dessert (Black Bean Brownies, anyone?) or for anytime (Oatmeal Rhubarb Cookies- for all that diced rhubarb you have in your freezer. Oh, you don’t have any rhubarb in your freezer? Must just be me in the Rhuby Fan Club- got some from last year’s harvest in there, too). Also, if you start here to visit any of the links I have, copy those somewhere else, too. Luke is going to save all my stuff and shut this down sometime in the next month. ‘Consider It Done’ will again be an available blog name. So will ‘Monastic Casket’.
And because I like to go out with a boom, I would covet your comments telling me what you liked about the blog. I need six more comments to make 1000 comments on here in four years. That would be awesome to achieve. (Of course, most of them have come from one person- thanks, Angela! :)) There have been over 630 posts, which average 160 posts a year. Hmmm- so that is what I was doing when dinner was late.
Thanks so much for reading. I still owe you a fab finish to the twins’ birth story, and I couldn’t leave without talking about food somehow, so you aren’t rid of me yet.
Now turn off your computer, and go outside and enjoy this weather we are having!

Birth Story, Part 3

It was during this hard time in the pregnancy that we decided to name the twins. The active dancer we called Micah, and our little wallflower we named Micaiah. Both names mean “Who is like God?” Even though we had opted for a surgical procedure to try to save the twins’ lives, we knew that their futures really were in Someone’s hands Who has no equal.
I was to remain on bedrest for at least two weeks, then go back to OSU for a checkup. Midway through the first week, however, I had a routine OB visit already scheduled, and was told to go ahead with it. It was there that we had an ultrasound and discovered that Micaiah didn’t make it. It was a real shock to me; I had been praying for them so hard and really believed that the LORD was going to restore Micaiah’s health. This was a milestone for me- a time I will always look back upon with joy, beyond the obvious sadness of the moment. Here was a time I had so much faith, more faith than usual, in a certain outcome, and was so sure of that outcome that I was in total disbelief at the different outcome. I’m so glad the LORD put me in a situation where, for the most part, I think I responded correctly, in faith. But, oh, it was so hard laying there, watching the doctor hover over her still body, looking for that flutter that would indicate a heartbeat. It seemed to take hours. Then, the doctor called in the other OB, to verify, and time continued to crawl.
I’m not usually on this end of sorrow. The two doctors shared their condolences, the first of many such sentiments I would hear over the next few months. I almost feel worse for the person who has to say they are sorry to hear my news, than I feel for myself, because I know what it is like to be in their shoes, trying to think of something to say. It’s a necessary part of life, to experience both sides of loss.
The pregnancy from here progressed by the book, since there no longer were two babies needing nourishment. I loved seeing Micah grow bigger at each scan, but it was painful to see how much bigger than Micaiah she would grow. I hoped that Micaiah’s body wouldn’t be damaged by Micah’s increasing size; I wanted to see her when she was delivered, intact. Maybe we could even get footprints. The doctors all warned me not to expect anything of the sort, that since she would be in there a while after she died, that many changes could take place. But all along during ultrasounds, I could recognize her, still in that little hammock taking a long nap. Even though it would be hard, I looked forward to the day I would see both of my girls.
We decided to have Micaiah’s body cremated, and to bury her on our property. In my last month of pregnancy, I contacted a local funeral home to ask about cost and what to expect as far as procedure. To my surprise, they didn’t charge at all for the cremation, considering it a service they do for the community. They were very kind in explaining how things would go in the hospital and after my release. I also spoke with the head nurse of labor and delivery in that last month, to make sure they were aware of my circumstances before I got there. My doctors had said that Micaiah was technically considered a miscarriage, since she died so young. I worried then that her body might be misplaced or discarded against my wishes in the aftermath of delivery, and wanted to be certain that wouldn’t happen to her. The head nurse assured me that every deceased baby, no matter the gestation, in this kind of situation, would be handled respectfully and according to my plans for their care.
That was such a relief to me, and I looked forward to D-day even more, knowing that I had good people looking out for me at the hospital and funeral home.

MD- Day 22

I’ve reached the halfway point. There hasn’t been much to blog about, since my menus are pretty normal and I usually eat the same as the family. Some foods I am supposed to avoid are: milk, cheese, breads, grains, pasta, and potatoes. It will be sad when I discover what of these items are the hardest on my system. Any of them would be missed. I figure I’ll stick to the rules for the rest of these forty days, then slowly introduce each one separately, to see what I can and can’t tolerate.
Eating this way has helped me to lose some baby weight, which is good. This has made me feel pretty good, with energy that lasts through the day. I’ve been noticing that I don’t need so big a portion of food at any given time, and try to only eat until I feel full. I used to not pay attention while I ate, and would often feel overfull before I stopped.
I think Phase Three is supposed to be the guide for a lifestyle of eating this way. It will be interesting to see how closely I can stick to that long term.

Birth Story, Part 2

Early the morning of my level 2 ultrasound, I was sitting in the light of our Christmas tree, checking for movement. We now knew both babies were girls, but didn’t yet know they were identical. Once I was able to feel the twins’ kicks, and even distinguish one baby’s from another’s, I wasn’t as uncertain going into doctor visits anymore. But that morning I was unsettled. There was movement, but from only one place.
During the scan, the tech went through her measurements of Baby A, and we all noticed how active she was. Then, when she looked at Baby B, I noticed how this baby’s head looked a little squashed, and she was lying on her side like someone napping in a hammock. The tech had trouble taking some of her measurements, but during all of this initial stuff, I still didn’t realize anything was wrong.
After a really long wait, 3 medical personnel came in and shared with us that our girls were suffering from a disease called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Basically, the placenta was giving Baby A too much, while not giving Baby B enough. There was an incredible amount of fluid in Baby A’s sac (making me incredibly huge and uncomfortable), and next to nothing in Baby B’s. The sickness was severe; if we did nothing, they both could die. If we wanted to try to help them, there were a few different options, but we would have to do something right away. They wanted me to be admitted that evening to the hospital. I remember the shock I felt after they all stopped talking. Luke and I looked at each other- What now? After they left us alone, we embraced and prayed about the situation. We knew we could not just do nothing, but we weren’t sure what to do, either. The nurse who worked with the OB on our case there at OSU talked with us further about the situation, and we decided that we would go home for the night and pray about what to do the next day. There were two different procedures on the table: one was to just drain off some of Baby A’s fluid, and hope that Baby B would recover once that extra weight was off her. The other was to go in with a laser and try to cut off some of the blood vessels in the placenta that were feeding into Baby A, so that both babies could get a more equal share. We talked about it, called friends and family to pray about it, and asked my OB his take on it, and decided the next morning we’d go in for the laser procedure.
I had to have an epidural for this laparascopic surgery, my third one. Everyone was so nice in the operating room; they understood what an upsetting thing this was, to have the twins be in danger. Plus, this procedure was rather new, so it was like I was contributing to their research, which made me feel good. When they set me back on the table, though, my blood pressure dropped really quick, and I felt like I was dying. The doctor and the nurses were all gathering around my head, rubbing my arms and talking to me. It was awful. I kept saying Psalm 103 to myself to try to stay awake (and I think people who enter Heaven quoting Scripture might get something special…kidding!), until finally I started to feel more normal. At least as normal as one can with no feeling from the ribs down.
I was awake the whole time, only a little sedated, so I could hear them talking while they worked. “This one? Where’s its origin?” or “Look at that bunch there…” Kinda weird.
Before and after the procedure, I was visited by my paster and one of the elders. After the procedure, my pastor read Psalm 103 aloud, and I cried.
I was taken to a room where I would be kept overnight, and then in the morning the doctors would check on the babies to see how they tolerated the surgery. It was a double room that I shared with a girl who was having preterm labor. It seemed like every hour she had to wear a fetal monitor for a few minutes, so I kept hearing that galloping sound throughout my stay. It didn’t bother me, though- I don’t think hearing a healthy baby’s heartbeat ever could.
Morning came, and I was hopeful. I’d been feeling movement all night, so I was reasonably certain things were fine with the twins. My hopes were confirmed when both babies showed strong heartbeats via ultrasound. We were so happy.

Birth Story, Part 1

There are those items in every home that, if in the event of a fire, will be grabbed up. They are our valuables, our papers, our can’t-be-withouts. For us, the children come first, of course, and I often try to think things through so that just in case the unthinkable happens, we get everyone out of the house. It is important to plan who gets who: I could probably take two of the littles at a time, so could Luke, and the rest would probably be old enough to walk out on their own.
As of May 3, we have another prized possession that will accompany us out of the house, alongside Luke’s safe and our external hard drive.
This is her story.
I knew right away when I was pregnant this time, and wanted to be more careful about eating right. Even my best efforts seemed not to work, though, because by mid-September I was having horrible heartburn after every meal. This was not typical morning sickness for me. It got so bad that one night we went to the emergency room, thinking it might be my gall bladder causing all the trouble. I can’t stand being in the hospital, so once we found out I wouldn’t be able to have surgery while pregnant even if it was my gall bladder, I remember asking Luke if we could leave. He said no, that we should stay and let them run any tests they were going to.
The doctor ordered an ultrasound, to look at my organs and see if there was anything wrong. While the tech was doing that, she said, “Let’s go ahead and look at the baby, shhh, don’t tell.” As soon as she was hovering over my uterus and I saw more than one little cloud floating against the blackness, I knew. The tech looked at us a little funny, and said, “Do you see that?” I think Luke guessed it, too- twins!
I loved them instantly. What a discovery in an emergency room cubby. It was so early, but unmistakeably two of them. I think the LORD told us then and there for certain reasons- maybe so I would continue to eat well, maybe so I would be more careful to slow down. Definitely so we would be lifting up their little lives to Him, their Creator and Sustainer.
The next few months passed with exciting OB visits. It is common in the first trimester to lose one twin without the mother even noticing, so I would try to prepare myself in the event that there might be only one baby there to see. Much to my joy, then, were the times I would first get to see two beating hearts, then two wiggling peanuts, then two bobbing heads and two sets of squirming arms and legs.
To Be Continued

MD- Day 12

Breakfast- fried eggs, blackberries
Blackberries are 50 cents at Meijer this week. Yeah, it is a pretty small container, but I like them a lot.
Lunch- fried chicken, baked beans, potato salad, fruit, ice cream cone
Oh, those aren’t listed in the MD-allowed foods? My mistake. We were at a picnic celebrating my brother-in-law’s graduation, and I think I did pretty well, considering all the choices laid out there.
Dinner- to be determined
Better get back on the straight and narrow…

MD- Day 10

Breakfast- scrambled eggs, asparagus
That two pounds’ worth took forever to eat up!
Lunch- leftover hamburger, baked carrots
Dinner- roasted chicken, salad

I’m looking forward to phase two, and more, phase three, when I can eat more beans and stuff. This first phase is so limited, but I appreciate the results of it that I can already see.

MD- Day 9

Breakfast- fried eggs, asparagus
Lunch- leftover spaghetti squash with sauce
Dinner- hamburger, salad

I had some kids with a fever yesterday, and didn’t get around to blogging. The breakfast was noteworthy- an onion, pepper and goat cheese omelet. The goat cheese I found at Meijer is interesting- it doesn’t melt very well, and has a distinct flavor.
Next Tuesday will begin Phase Two, when I can add some things back to the menu. I am curious which things (cow dairy or grains, for example) cause which reactions in my body (excess phlegm, cotton mouth, for example), and will be watching for clues as I start back on them.

In other news, Luke let me get the whole Little Britches series of books for my birthday. What fun, since I was in a holding pattern, waiting for my library to find the fourth book through interlibrary loan. Now, no waiting, and I should have them all read by this weekend. (Kidding- that would only happen if I had nothing else to do. I do have a couple other things to do, so maybe by Monday.)

MD- Day 7

Breakfast: fried eggs

Lunch: steak with sauteed mushrooms and onions, roasted asparagus
Yeah, I was going to take a picture, but didn’t want you drooling on your keyboard.:)

Dinner: tomato sauce over spaghetti squash

I’m feeling better. This has been an unexpectedly long stomach bug. My best guess as to what I got: Listeria. My best guesses as to what might have caused it: the goat’s milk yogurt I made, the halibut. [By the way- anyone local want a piece of fish that may or may not make you ill for four days? I’ve got three left, and would just hate to waste that kind of money.:)] I thought about quitting the diet completely and getting back to it in a few months, but since the two questionable foods could easily be dropped from the menus, I say full speed ahead.