How to make baked potatoes

I don’t have an interesting introduction for the very simple, yet tasty baked potato so here it goes:

You will need:

  • Russet potatoes (I like to purchase a 5 or 10 lb bag of medium and large potatoes)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Rinse off potato well and use a vegetable scrubber to scrub the potato; pat dry.

3. Pour a small amount of olive oil over potato (about 1 teaspoon) and rub all over

4. Sprinkle with salt

5. Heat directly on oven rack or if that grosses you out place foil on the oven rack and put the potato on the foil (do not wrap the potato in foil!)

DSC04166

6. Heat in oven for 1 hour.  Remove and enjoy!

Serve your baked potatoes with my easy baked chicken thighs and baked carrots for a simple, frugal, and healthy meal.

Happy homemaking,

Amber

Tagged ,

Baked Carrots

My goodness, I love carrots.  And I really love carrots cooked in the oven – delish! This is a super easy side dish that you can pair with my easy chicken thighs and baked potato.

You will need:

  • Baby carrots – as many as you think you will need based on family size (I like to buy the large sack of carrots and shred and cut them into baby carrots to save a little bit of money)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Throw your baby carrots on a cookie sheet (you can line it with foil or just put it directly on the sheet)

3. Drizzle a tablespoon or two of olive oil over carrots and sprinkle salt and pepper all over carrots.

4. Mix carrots all around with your hands to coat evenly

5. Heat in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes and enjoy!

DSC04163

Happy homemaking,

Amber

Tagged , , ,

Easy Baked Chicken Thighs

This recipe for baked chicken thighs is beyond easy, frugal, and good for you. I would cook this a lot when I was working because it didn’t require a lot of effort and I enjoy cooking it now for my big family of 5 to help keep our grocery budget down.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken thighs/any amount (I use chicken thighs with the bones and save the bones to make chicken broth)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika

***I really enjoy the taste of paprika but you can definitely change this to your personal preference for spices.

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2. Set you chicken in a baking dish or cookie sheet and drizzle about 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil over each chicken thigh.  Rub the oil all over the chicken.

3. Sprinkle chicken with spices and rub the spices all over chicken.

4. Bake in oven for 1 hour and enjoy!

DSC04163

I told you it was easy.  Next check out my recipe for baked carrots and baked potatoes and you will be thrilled with the simplicity of this frugal and healthy meal (busy moms: I’m talking to you!)

Happy homemaking,

Amber

Linking up with Crystal at Serving Joyfully

Tagged , , , ,

Three Weeks Notice

Long time, no blogging.  I started this blog with the intention to write about 5 days a week and then life happened and the blog had to be put on the back burner for a season.  I started a job outside the home and there wasn’t much time left over in my schedule to work on my blog.

I’m happy to report that I’ve given three weeks notice as of last Saturday and have two weeks left of work before I can get back to doing what I love: homemaking.

It might sound silly, but the first two months of work I would come home at night angry and sad and I would spend a lot of time crying and wishing that I could quit.  It was hard having a schedule completely opposite from my husband and spending so much time alone.  I was also exhausted from trying to continue to do the same things I did as a homemaker while also working.

I would beg my husband to let me quit my job and he would say, “If you really want to but I don’t think it is a good idea.  We really need to pay off all of our debt first.”  I couldn’t change my husband’s mind and so I decided I would pray that God would change his mind and also that he would provide a way for me to stay home that enables us to pay off debt.

In November my husband changed his mind and told me that he missed me being at home and wanted me to quit as soon as I was able.  We both were unsure of how this would work out but shortly after God answered our prayers.

Jonathan is a police officer and the opportunity for off duty employment came in the form of living arrangements.  An apartment offered him the courtesy officer position and we would be able to live in a one bedroom apartment for free (utilities extra).  We both jumped for joy and praised God – this was the answer to our prayers.  I would be able to stay home and we could pay off debt at the same time.

At the end of December, however, Jonathan’s parents informed us that they were going to be moving to China for a year starting in August and they wanted us to watch their house and care for his Aunt Shirley who is mentally handicapped.  We were going to move into our apartment for 8 months and then move in to their house but Sharon invited us to live with them so that we could have a smoother transition for Shirley.

It might sound crazy, but I jumped on the chance to live with them.  The first reason being, we would have the entire upstairs to ourselves and have way more space then we do in an apartment.  The second, with Jonathan’s long work hours, I spend a lot of time alone and I am desperate to have someone to talk with and share a meal with.  I can’t even tell you how many time I don’t eat dinner just because the thought of eating alone at the dinner table is depressing.

We moved in last week and it has been amazing.  I love cooking for a big family and it is so enjoyable to have company at the dinner table.  Aunt Shirley comes in to watch me cook and I can tell she really loves me being there.  Everyone praises me after dinner and tells me what a great cook I am.  Cooking has become my passion and it makes me happy to hear when people enjoy my food.

Living in a house as opposed to an apartment is also nice for the added benefit of being able to sit in the backyard and soak in the sun.  Jonathan has started playing basketball again out front and that makes me so very happy as he was spending way too much time playing video games before.  We are planning on running together and taking his parents dogs for walks in the neighborhood.  I’m very excited for this season of this.

Also in December, Jonathan’s department started a new overtime opportunity called speed step.  Officers who signed up for the speed step can get up to 30 hours a month in overtime and they can pick their own hours.  This job will be lasting through September and will be even more helpful in becoming debt free in 2013.

God heard my cries and knew the desire in my heart to be at home and he answered in big ways.  Last Saturday, I resigned from my job and gave them 3 weeks notice to find someone else and offered to train my replacement.  These next two weeks can’t go by quickly enough🙂 I am thrilled that I will be a homemaker again soon.

Some of the plans that I have for myself when I get back to full-time homemaking:

  • Being creative with my meals
  • Paleo diet (I’m gluten-free now after being diagnosed with Celiac disease – more on that later!)
  • Meal ministry at church
  • Blogging
  • Exercise and taking better care of myself
  • Starting a garden
  • Having a daily cleaning/homemaking schedule
  • Studying God’s word and taking A LOT MORE TIME to pray and read
  • Getting my body as healthy as can be so that we can try to have a baby again
  • Learn to sew
  • I have a guitar that I need to learn how to play
  • Have fun making things – crafts, scrapbooks, decorations, soaps, lotions, etc.

Oh my goodness, there is just so much that I want to do and I can’t wait to get started.  I’m excited that this season of working is almost over with and most of all, I’m thankful that God cares for me and provided a way for me to do what I love doing.  Thank you Jesus!

There might not be many if any at all posts over the next two weeks as I’m going to be busy with work, cooking and cleaning and moving out of our apartment but I hope you’ll come back after that and join me as I start a new season of life.

Thanks for reading,

Amber

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heaven:

  • a time to be born and a time to die,
  • a time to plant and a time to uproot,
  • a time to kill and a time to heal,
  • a time to tear down and a time to build,
  • a time to weep and a time to laugh,
  • a time to mourn and a time to dance,
  • a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
  • a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
  • a time to search and a time to give up,
  • a time to keep and a time to throw away,
  • a time to tear and a time to mend,
  • a time to be silent and a time to speak,
  • a time to love and time to hate,
  • a time for war and time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

My Second Miscarriage Story: Part 6

Read part 1 here.

Read part 2 here.

Read part 3 here.

Read part 4 here.

Read part 5 here.

It felt good to be home and after a few days I started to feel a bit more safe and hopeful that I wouldn’t be going back to the hospital.

It was difficult to start the grieving process and I didn’t know how I was ever going to feel better again, but I clung to God and spent hours a day crying and praying for help. There were times when I would feel so horribly devastated that I would pray for God to end my life. I knew that it was a selfish prayer and I wanted to be strong for Jonathan and all of my family, but the pain felt like too much to stand and I didn’t know how I would ever feel happy again.

One day as I was sitting on my bed feeling sad, I started to feel overwhelmed by the details of the death of my rabbit Buttercup (remember how I said Buttercup died on September 4th? in the beginning of the story) and our Baby M.  Suddenly an image appeared in my head of a beautiful baby boy with blonde hair and the most precious smile. He was giggling and petting a very healthy looking Buttercup. I have never seen such a perfect image before in my life and I was taken aback by the glorious beauty of it. It felt like God was gifting me with a vision from Heaven of our baby and Buttercup, but I couldn’t help but doubt myself.  I started crying tears of happiness thinking of the happiness and joy of my precious baby.

A few days later, I was looking through old pictures and found a picture of me as a baby walking around with my mom’s swimsuit over my head. I was laughing and smiling and as I looked at the picture, I realized that the baby I had a vision of, had the same facial features and smile as me. I then realized that I did not make this up in my head, but that it was in fact a gift from God. A beautiful vision of our baby boy and precious Buttercup.

I cannot even begin to describe how much this image has comforted me.  To see such beauty and to know without a doubt that my child is happy makes every wound, every scar, and every hurt worth it all.

I of course shared the details with Jonathan and it brought him joy as well to know that Baby M is safe and happy with Jesus. We decided that we wanted to honor the babies that we lost and we started by giving them names. We named our first baby, who we felt was a girl, Abiygale, and we named our second Baby, Matthew.

We also felt led to sponsor a child through Compassion as a way to remember our babies. As I was looking through the profiles of children on the Compassion website, I couldn’t figure out how I was going to pick a child. How could I possibly pick one child when I wanted to pick all of them?

We decided that if we found a child with the name Abiygale or Matthew that would be our pick. Within a few minutes, we found precious Maria Abigail and made the decision to sponsor her.

During a time when I was feeling hopeless and completely lost, God brought us to the wonderful organization Compassion, and gave us the opportunity to be able to sponsor a child. Through Abigail, the memory of our babies’ lives on and it has been an amazing blessing to have her in our lives. We enjoy writing letters to her and especially receiving letters from her. We pray for her and her family every night and we are also honored to have them pray for us as well.

Although I will never know for sure why we lost our precious baby Matthew, I take comfort in the fact that God does not waste one ounce of our pain and suffering. He will use it all for good and he started with Abigail’s Compassion sponsorship.

Though I question God more times than I am ashamed to admit, I know that He has the power to make beautiful things out of the wreckage. During times in life when we lose someone we love, it can seem hopeless and you might even feel like giving up, but I want you to know that in those moments when you are alone, when you feel like you have nothing and no one, you have a Savior named Christ who is waiting with open arms to heal you. He loves you. He cares for you. He died for you. He forgives you. He wants a relationship with you. You can trust in Jesus and you can trust that He has the power to restore what was lost. He has the power to end evil and death and sadness.

Someday Christ will return and when He does, there will be no more sadness, no more tears, no more death or mourning. There will only be love and happiness.  Enduring the pain and suffering in this life is worth it because God has something better ahead for us.

If you have experienced the loss of a baby to miscarriage or even the loss of a loved one and you would like someone to talk with, you can email me at thefrugalwed@yahoo.com and I would love to be a source of comfort and support for you. This is a hard journey and you don’t have to go through it alone.

With love,

Amber

Tagged ,

My Second Miscarriage Story: Part 5

Read part 4 here.

I was relieved to finally be home but the relief didn’t last long. That night I started to have contractions. The next morning the contractions had stopped and I was hopeful that the worst of the pain was over. I sent my husband to go get lunch before he left for work, but within a few minutes, I had to call him back home.

I started to have heavy clots and bleeding and an intense amount of pain. I felt light headed and scared and told my husband to take the day off of work because we were headed back to the hospital.

We called labor and delivery like we were told to, but they apparently didn’t get the memo and told us that we would first have to go to the emergency room. Thankfully the emergency room wasn’t busy at all and I was taken right back.

They did blood tests to check on my platelet levels and then prepared me for a procedure that would look at my cervix and clean out some of the clots. I’m not one hundred percent sure of what they had to do, but I remember it vividly.

*****Warning: Graphic Description ahead. *****

They showed me a large (5 inch – I think) device that they were going to insert into me for the examination and my immediate reaction was panic. It looked huge and all I could think was, “Why didn’t you stay home and let yourself die, you big idiot!”

I tried to remain calm but it hurt so badly and I felt so very violated and horribly embarrassed. Blood was everywhere. It looked like a murder scene. My husband didn’t know what to say to me, but his face looked terrified. I can’t imagine what he was thinking in that moment.

After the doctor and nurse finished the examination, they left the room so that I could clean myself up. I looked all around at the mess of blood throughout the room. In the trash can. On the pad on the table. On me. It looked like death and I realized that it was death. It was the death of my baby M and he had died inside of me.

I sat back down on the bed and silent tears ran down my face. I felt like a victim.

The nurse was beyond compassionate and she went above and beyond to take good care of me.  She shared with me that she had also suffered a miscarriage and was deeply sorry for what I was going through. She was bright light in a dark period of time in my life and I will always remember her kindness.

My platelet levels came back at 40,000 which were just a little bit higher than they had been the previous day and the doctors were relieved that the miscarriage wasn’t causing my levels to drop. I was then sent to labor and delivery and they performed an ultrasound to see if the baby and tissue had passed.

As they pulled up the image and determined that everything had passed naturally, my husband Jonathan started to cry. I think he still held some kind of hope that maybe a miracle would happen and our baby’s heart would start to beat. I hated seeing him in pain and I wished so badly that I could give him that miracle. That I could somehow will all of this to stop happening and will our baby to keep living within me. But Baby M was gone and there was nothing anyone could do.

I was sent back home later that day but as we drove home I realized that I would never be the same again. This day changed me forever.

To be continued in the FINAL part 6

Tagged ,

My Second Miscarriage Story: Part 4

Read part 3 here.

About an hour after getting my blood taken, I received a phone call from my doctor. She explained to me that my platelet levels were low yesterday and they had dropped even lower today and that I needed to get over to the emergency room right away. She said that the hematology department would start work to see what was going on.

I got off the phone feeling extremely confused and spoke with Jonathan. We quickly packed a few things to take and headed out the door. I called my parents and tried my best to explain everything the doctor told me, but I really had no clue what to expect. I didn’t really know what platelets were, but the fact that I was heading to the emergency room because of blood levels scared me. I was thinking, “Do I have cancer or something horrible? Am I about to die?”

We got checked in quickly and the doctors and nurses got to work. I had to explain why I was there several times and I was trying to remain polite, but it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world retelling the ultrasound story that had just happened the day before.

The doctor explained to me that platelets were blood cells that help the blood to clot and stop blood loss. In a normal person, platelet levels will range from 150,000 to 450,000. My platelet levels on Monday were 30,000 and on Tuesday, they had dropped down to 14,000. Once platelet levels get below 10,000, you can have spontaneous internal bleeding.

Levels that low are dangerous by themselves, but the fact that I was also currently spotting and would be soon having a miscarriage, made it even more dangerous.

The doctors put me on a high dose treatment of 80 mg of prednisone (a steroid medication that has some crazy side effects!) and ran various tests to look for a cause for the low platelets. The prednisone medication had to be the worst part of being in the hospital. I was already feeling emotional from the grieving and pregnancy hormones, but the prednisone magnified everything and made me feel insane.

On the first day in the hospital the doctors ruled out a number of serious diseases that could be causing my low platelets but still hadn’t found a cause. Around midnight that first evening, I left the emergency room and was admitted into a room in the hospital. I was excited to finally be leaving the emergency room and looking forward to peace and quiet.

When I went into the room, I discovered that I was sharing a room. I tried to remain calm but as the night went on, I became furious over my entire situation. I was sharing a room with a 95 year old woman, and the nurses came in once every hour to do a stroke test. The patient wasn’t able to hear very well and they had to yell commands at her.

I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept very much in the previous two days as I had spent much of the time crying and then I spent that entire day being poked with needles.  I also had the great misfortune of having a pregnant nurse that made my heart ache every time her big belly passed. I laughed at one point to my husband and said, “It’s almost comical now. Everything that can go wrong is going wrong. It’s as if someone is out to get me.”

I wanted to call my mom and cry but I was afraid of disturbing my roommate so I opened my bible and read the book of Psalms. I heard that the book of Psalms can be very comforting because you find people crying out to God with every sort of emotion: happiness, joy, sadness, depression, anger, loneliness.  It shows that you can trust in God and share with Him any emotion that you are feeling. The important thing is that you go to Him because he wants to be there for you and help you through it.

I went to God with anger. There was definitely a big part of me that was angry over all that I was going through but at the same time, I knew that God had a reason for all of this, and I knew, just as he had done previously, He would get me through the death of our 2nd baby.

The next day I was determined to get in a private room and I told a student nurse what I was going through. I told her that I was sad and wanted to be alone so that I could grieve in private and she was kind enough to speak with someone who put my request through.

That morning, I was also delighted to hear that the medicine had worked in raising my platelet levels slightly but I would still not be able to go home anytime soon. The doctors would continue to do testing to look for a cause and I would continue to take the prednisone medication. I was nervous about having to do a blood transfusion if the medicine didn’t work and I was praising God that this medicine, although difficult to handle the side effects, was working and keeping me safe.

Later that day I was happy to move into a private room (yes, I realize I sound like a spoiled American right now – I was too sad to care about being spoiled during this time. I was going to enjoy the one good thing that was happening that week – my big private room!) The rest of the week was one big blur as nothing too exciting happened.

I did have some kind visitors from my church family – I even had two members visit me that I had never met before. I was amazed that people I didn’t know were compassionate and loving and came to comfort me even though I was a stranger to them. I was so thankful to God that we had found such a good church family to be a part of and it made me think of the verse, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Their kind acts made a huge difference in giving me hope and comfort and I pray that God will reward them for their generosity towards me.

There was a large part of me that wanted to feel bad for myself and wanted to be angry with God over my circumstances. But having a church family that supported me and loved me made me see just how blessed I am. True, I was suffering through the loss of our baby, but I was also comforted by God himself and He used his faithful servants to care for me.

On Thursday morning one of the doctors told me that I was most likely going home that day as my levels were continuing to rise. I started to pack my bags and was anxiously waiting to be released when another doctor informed me that they didn’t think it was safe enough to return home just yet.

They also found a diagnosis for my low platelets, a disease called ITP (Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura – yup, it’s a mouthful. I’ll refer to it as ITP from here on out). ITP is a bleeding disorder in which the immune system cells produce antibodies that destroy platelets. Again, platelets are normal for necessary blood clotting.

I’m usually a calm person, at least in front of other people, but my blood started pumping when I learned that I would not be able to go home yet and I had an epic meltdown. I argued with the doctors and they finally had to inform me of the importance of me staying in the hospital. The doctor said, “If you go home today you could start bleeding heavily and die. It’s not safe.” For whatever reason, I didn’t come to my senses quick enough and I demanded that they release me from the hospital. The doctors agreed and left the room.

Within the next few minutes, I realized what a fool I had made of myself and called the nurse to ask her to apologize to the doctors and inform them that I would stay put and cooperate from now on. To this day, I feel horrible about the way that I acted, but I hope that the doctors understood that I just wasn’t myself. I did later apologize in person and thank them for taking good care of me, but I sure wish I could go back in time and delete that embarrassing scene from my life.

On Friday, November 18, my levels were high enough to go home and I was released. I was so excited to go home and see my animals! I was also told to go to labor and delivery on Monday morning for a follow up ultrasound and to determine what we would do next if the miscarriage hadn’t started. And I would have an appointment with a hematologist the following Wednesday to learn more about my newly diagnosed disease, ITP, and to discuss our treatment options.

For the time being, I was kept on the prednisone medication, and told to go to labor and delivery if I started to have any sort of heavier bleeding.

To be continued in part 5.

Tagged ,

My Second Miscarriage Story: Part 3

Read part 2 here.

The next morning, Sunday, November 13, 2011, I woke up to get ready for church. I went to the bathroom, wiped, and screamed. Jonathan jolted out of bed and came to me as I started crying and screaming. I was bleeding.

It is hard for me to remember what exactly happened that morning or what I was thinking, but I know that Jonathan took control. He called his parents and asked his mom to teach Sunday school. And then he called the labor and delivery line at the hospital and told them what was happening. I described the amount of blood and they shrugged it off as spotting and said to call my doctor in the morning. I knew that something was wrong and that it was definitely not “just spotting”. I was so angry that they didn’t take me seriously and I wanted to call them back myself and give them a piece of my mind.

I remember that Jonathan had to work that day and I thought he was really strong to be able to do so. I sat at home the entire day crying and waiting. It was the longest day of my life. I just wanted to know what was wrong. I also started to worry that I was having an ectopic pregnancy, and I was nervous.

The next morning, I called the doctor’s office and they also tried to brush me off as “just spotting”. I told the woman on the phone that I was worried that I was having an ectopic pregnancy, and that seemed to do the trick, because she put me on hold, and then I had an appointment at 11 that morning.

On the car ride over, I cried and cried and cried. And prayed. And begged God to save our Baby M. Jonathan believed that everything was going to be fine, but I couldn’t stop crying with worry that our hearts were about to be broken.

When we got in the examination room, we met with the doctor who asked what was happening and told me she would do an ultrasound, even though spotting was perfectly normal around 10 weeks of pregnancy. She left the room so I could get undressed, and Jonathan and I said one last prayer.

Even though I was filled with worry, part of me was excited that everything might be okay, and we were about to see our baby. In that brief moment in time, I was hopeful and excited.

Jonathan was finally nervous, and he was starting to cry with worry. I think he knew that we were about to get bad news.

As she loaded the image onto the screen, we could see a tiny little baby. I was confused and I was thinking, “Why doesn’t she make the image look bigger so that I can see the baby?” but then she said, “Well there’s a baby here that’s measuring at 6 weeks pregnancy. It could just be that your dates are off.” That’s when I knew that this pregnancy journey had ended.

I explained to the doctor that we had taken a pregnancy test on September 28th and had not been intimate anytime following the positive pregnancy test. She agreed with me that my dates were not off and that it was likely that the baby had stopped growing a few weeks prior.

In one sense, I felt relief, because I was glad that it wasn’t an ectopic pregnancy, which is my biggest fear. But in another, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe that God had said, “No” to my prayers.

Jonathan was sobbing and I was just sitting there, speaking calmly with the doctor. She was very confused by my reaction, but Jonathan explained that I would react when I was alone.  I don’t like crying in front of other people, and can usually hold it together very well. When I’m alone, it’s a completely different story.

She told us how sorry she was for our loss and even shared her own miscarriage experience. She also said that because I had already had one loss, she wanted to run a few blood tests. She sent me to the lab to get the blood work done and then home to see if I would miscarry naturally within the week. We planned to meet back in one week for a follow up ultrasound and to determine what we would do next.

I went to the lab and had my blood taken and then we headed to the parking lot to leave. As soon as I stepped outside of the doctor’s office, I put on my sun glasses and started to sob as we walked to the truck. It hurt so much. When we got into the truck, I really let it out. I was screaming and crying and hopelessly asking, “Why?”

The rest of the day was pretty much a blur. I just remember feeling like I had a really painful hole in my chest and I spent much of the day crying. And then in the afternoon, my doctor called and told me that my platelet levels came back low and she wanted me to return in the morning for more blood work.  It didn’t sound very serious and I didn’t think it meant anything, so I didn’t think much of the conversation.

The next morning we went to get blood work, and then we came back home to go back to sleep and grieve.

To be continued in part 4.

Tagged ,

My Second Miscarriage Story: Part 2

Read part 1 here.

On September 28th, 2011 we found out that we were pregnant again. We were both excited, but it was much more reserved than the first pregnancy. We said a prayer and asked God to take our worry and fear away from us so that we could enjoy this time and we quoted the verse from Matthew 6:27 that says, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life.”

My excited journal entry from that morning:

“It’s 5 in the morning and I just confirmed with a pregnancy test that I am PREGNANT! What? This is insane! On Monday night I caved in and took a pregnancy test and I could see a second line, but when Jon couldn’t see the line, I thought maybe I was crazy and making it up in my head. I really started to feel pregnant with lots of symptoms, but there have been so many months where I could have sworn up and down that I was having pregnancy symptoms. But here I am today, pregnant, and praising God. My Father heard my cries and he had compassion on me. Lord, I just thank you so much for this child and I will leave my worry at the door and trust in your perfect will – that through all things – your glory will show. Lord, I just ask you to help me during this exciting time to keep my focus on you – and that in all things I do – you will be glorified. Praise you God! I did not deserve to be heard, but you listened anyways. You are my strong tower and comfort when I am weak – you are always strong. I love you Lord and I thank you for this gracious blessing you’ve given to our family.

I’m going to try to focus a lot of my prayers over Jonathan and giving him peace. I see now that the miscarriage in June affected him more than I understood, and I wish now that I had been more sensitive to his feelings. It is hard for him to express his emotions and I took his silence to mean that he didn’t care. What a fool I was. Lord, be with my husband.

Last week my worry was waiting to find out if I was pregnant, and now my worry is that something will go wrong. I need to make a box and in the box place my prayers of worry and concern and leave everything in God’s great hands.

For: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life.” Matthew 6:27

After we confirmed that I am indeed pregnant, we said a prayer of thanks and a prayer to keep me and the baby safe in God’s hands. I also quoted the verse on worrying. When I picked up my journal and read some of the verses I posted last week, I saw that and noticed that it is from Matthew chapter 6. For years now we’ve discussed wanting to name our son Matthew, but I also want to leave the name choice up to God. I’m wondering if this was God’s way of telling me he approves of Matthew? I guess we will find out. I’m definitely feeling like we are going to have a boy, but obviously I will just be happy to have a child. Ah! It is crazy that I will be a mother and Jon will be a father and we will be responsible for someone’s life. What an exciting adventure this will be.

Most parents go nuts planning for stuff they need for the baby, but after having a miscarriage, I know the most important planning will be in our spiritual walk with God. We need to prepare to be strong, Christian parents, soaking in the knowledge of His Holy Word. God holds us to a higher standard as parents and we must strive to be fully prepared to lead a child in the way of the Lord. Father, I just pray that your wisdom we will never forget, and your wisdom we will faithfully pass down in our generation – starting with our first born child. Oh Praise you Father for this wonderful life you are building within me. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love you so very much!”

As you can tell from my journal entry, I was ecstatic to be pregnant again. I was definitely nervous, but my faith was strong, and I was hopeful that this would be our take home baby.  Based on my last menstrual cycle from September 4 (also the day that Buttercup passed away) I calculated that I was due on June 10, 2012. June 10 was a special day for Jonathan and I, as it was the day that we found out in 2011 that we were pregnant for the first time. I thought that was really awesome, and couldn’t help but feel like this was such an amazing gift to be given after losing our first baby and losing Buttercup.

As each week passed and I progressed further along into the pregnancy, I became more and more relaxed and excited. Each week was one step closer to our dream coming true, and it was a very exciting time. Every Sunday, as we reached a new week of pregnancy, we took a picture of my growing belly. I held my belly all the time, sang to the baby, and read 3 chapters of the bible each morning to the little one. I couldn’t wait to meet my beautiful little baby, but I was enjoying every moment of having them in my belly with me. I was SO happy and in love!

A month after finding out that I was pregnant with our second baby, I found out that my brother and his wife Regina were expecting a little girl, Autumn Rose, who was due to arrive on May 1, about a month before our baby was due. When my dad told me on the phone, I couldn’t stop saying, “God is good!” Regina was told by doctors that she would probably never be able to have children, and this was a huge blessing for our family. I was also excited because I was also pregnant, and it was going to be so amazing to hold my niece with my growing baby in my belly, knowing that in one month, I would be giving birth to my own child. And I was excited that our children would be so close in age and I dreamed of all of the fun they would have together through the years.

In the back of my mind, I worried that it would be difficult if I was to lose the baby, but I tried not to let that fear control me, and just enjoy this exciting time. I also had other things to worry about right now.

In August when Jonathan’s employer changed insurance companies, I decided to go for a private insurance company that would save us more money. I did not realize that the insurance did not include maternity coverage, and when I became pregnant in September, that was a big problem. Thankfully we were able to cancel that insurance policy and sign on to the insurance through my husband’s work, but we had to wait quite a while for all of the paperwork to clear.

When the insurance finally kicked in, we immediately scheduled an appointment to see an ob, but were going to have to wait another two weeks. I was getting tired of waiting – I was ready to see my baby! I tried to remain patient and trust that the baby was doing well.

On Saturday, November 12, I was starting to really feel excited about this baby. I remember it well because I scrubbed the house clean and wasn’t nervous about hurting the baby, like I had been in weeks prior. When my husband came home from work that night, I yelled with excitement, “I’m 10 weeks today!” It was midnight and I was so happy to reach such a big milestone. I thought, “Just 30 more weeks until I get to meet you, my sweet Baby M!” Baby M was our nickname for the baby.  We chose that nickname because it is the first initial of our last name and because on the morning I found out I was pregnant, I was looking up at the stars and I saw 5 stars formed in the shape of an M.  We both really thought this was going to be a baby boy so we figured baby M would eventually turn into baby Matthew.

As I went to sleep that night, I rubbed my belly and had a few tears in my eyes as I thought of the weeks to come when I would feel sweet baby kicks. I was really in love with this baby and I was enjoying sharing my life with them.

To be continued in part 3.

Tagged ,

My Second Miscarriage Story: Part 1

To read about my first miscarriage go here.

After we lost our first baby to an early miscarriage at 4 weeks, I wanted to try again right away. We weren’t technically trying before the first pregnancy to get pregnant, but we were not preventing in anyway, and we were excited to see it happen in God’s timing. I was of course hopeful every month with excitement, but we both expected it to take quite a while, and we felt ready to begin something that could be a long journey of waiting. I never expected the journey to include so much heartbreak. It was definitely something I was not prepared for.

I would like to start off this story about a month before I found out I was pregnant for a second time. There is a part of this story that is important later in my journey.

After the first miscarriage, I was determined to remain faithful to God. I was trying very hard. Honestly, I think part of me hoped that my obedience to God would pay off in the form of another baby. Every time someone would ask me to do something, I would agree, not necessarily because I wanted to help, but because I didn’t want to give God a reason to think I didn’t deserve to have a baby. And then I started to get angry, and one night, after several months of pretending to be happy, I found myself crying in the car, driving around, and yelling at God. And God is so merciful. He is truly slow to anger because in that moment of my anger against Him, he gave me a peace and an understanding, and put it on my heart that it would be okay to say “no” sometimes. He made me see that I don’t have to be perfect – I just have to be willing and joyful. After that night of “talking” with God, I found myself truly happy again, and excited for the future.

And I was really excited and hopeful for the possibility of having a baby.  I decided to start a journal that I would write in every day with different struggles, letters to God, and hopes and prayers for having a baby. I’ll share a few of my entries throughout this story.

On September 4, 2011 I started teaching my first Sunday school class for 6th grade with my mother-in-law, Sharon. We had so much fun teaching together and the kids were well behaved and engaged in conversation with us. We went out to eat lunch with all of the family after church, and I wasn’t even disappointed to find that my period had started that day. I was just so pleased that we had started this fun journey of teaching such a wonderful group of kids.

And then disaster struck. Jonathan and I came home and found my beloved rabbit of seven years, Buttercup, dead. She passed away in her sleep. It was shocking and very difficult to accept. I struggled for days after burying her because I kept thinking that she was going to wake up. She would always look really still when she slept, and it was hard to accept that she was not going to wake up this time. It would be a few months before I found acceptance in peace in her passing. (Remember this part of the story for later).

On September 6, 2011, I wrote the following in my journal:

Dear Lord,

Today I come to you asking for your word to get me through. My heart is broken my Father, and I need you. I need your help. I need your love to guide me. Three months ago, I lost the baby and when I thought it would ruin me – you saved me. Sunday, I lost Buttercup, and her death is aching in a way that reminds me just how lost I am without you. You time things perfectly Father and you always lead me to your word – you never let me fall. It could be so easy for me to give up on you – to fall into sin’s trap. But you have a grip on me and Lord I praise you for it. When everything is going wrong in this life, you always find a way to show me and remind me how amazing your love for me is. Yesterday as I was walking Sweetpea, it was cool outside, leaves were falling on the ground, the sky was a perfect blue, and I saw your beauty all around me. Last night, the sky was clear enough to see the stars; it was breath-taking to witness such beauty when I took Sweetpea out this early morning. It was as if you put a star in every place I look up – like you put it shinning there – just for me. I know that you were showing me love by giving me these beautiful creations to look at. How could I not believe in you – when looking all around – creation shines with your beauty and love? And Lord, I hold on to the hope that there will be a day when I see you, the source of ultimate beauty. When my tears will be wiped away, by you, my Abba. I can’t wait for that day, but until then, I ask you to guide me in your word and help me through the times when it is hard to remember the beauty. Lord be with me. Amen.

To be continued in part 2.

Tagged ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.