Wednesday, November 26, 2008

To be thankful

It is always so easy to be thankful for the obvious things; your family, friends, home, health, job, religion, etc. I am thankful for all of those things. I have an amazing family. My husband is the love of my life and I don't know what I would do without him. I am so thankful to have a job and a nice warm home. I am thankful for the gospel, for its teachings and the blessings that come with it. I am so thankful for my daughter, for the things that her life taught me and for the love I still feel, and will forever feel, for her. I could go on and on.

I have to say that this year I am especially thankful for an anonymous person that gave us an amazing gift. One I would never have asked for and would never expect and I hope that person knows how much it means to me. I will never forget that act of kindness, and I hope that something truly miraculous comes of it.

For all the things I am thankful for there are some things that, no matter how hard I try, I just can't find a reason to be thankful for. In church last Sunday a speaker told a story about being thankful for our thorns. Of course it is easy to be thankful for the roses, the good times and the wonderful things we have and experience. But what about the thorns? The things in our life that hurt us but at the same time teach us something or help us to grow into a stronger, better person? Today I don't have the strength to be thankful for my thorns. Today I found out that yet another fertility treatment failed. This time it was an IUI, which we have never tried before. I thought that it had worked. I had convinced myself that our luck had finally changed, even my doctor seemed pretty confident that I would soon be announcing my pregnancy. But today I was told otherwise. It didn't work, there will be no announcement, there will be no August baby.

I know that God has a reason to put Skeet and I through all of this pain, I just wish I could know it now so that it wouldn't hurt so bad. As the time passes the aching of empty arms just gets worse. The absence of a baby's cry or giggle is so excruciatingly noticeable in our home. The hope that we will ever have another child of our own is fading away and despair is taking it's place. I am still working on finding a way to be thankful for these things. I will be the first to admit that I am the most imperfect person I know, but I do try. Sometimes trying just isn't enough. I know it's only been a year since we buried our daughter but it seems like an eternity since I held my daughter in my arms. When do you say, I just can't take any more disappointment? What is worse, the pain of a lifetime of empty arms or the pain of disappointment time and time again?

I know that we should start looking into adoption, but the cost of adoption is high and there is a high risk of disappointment in that as well. How do I know it won't be just as bad? We still have years before the IVF procedure is paid off and cannot even think about adoption until the debt is paid. So adoption is still a few years off. How do I cope until then?

I feel so lost, and so ungrateful. I feel like I am letting my Heavenly Father down because I am not thankful enough for EVERYTHING. I know He loves me and has a plan for me. I just need to figure out how to be thankful for my thorns.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I miss my sister!

My sister wrote the following story for her ward's Chicken Soup for the Soul in Philly. I am so blessed to have a sister like her. I look up to her so much and can only hope that I am as good of a mom as she has been to my little buddy, Ayden. (Who I get to see in less than 3 weeks! YIPEE!) Thank you Charise, you are the best!

The Perfect Mother

Growing up I always dreamed of being a mother. I would picture myself as a young vibrant woman with at least three kids. I envisioned my children all dressed perfectly, my home as immaculate, and I was in the best shape of my life while always dressed with style and flair.

We now fast forward to me at 32. I’m giving birth to my first child which in fact didn’t fit with my vision or plan. In my plan I should have had my first child nine years ago.

The day that my baby boy was born was amazing as it is with all mothers. But that night my son decided that he was not going to go to sleep unless his mommy held him and I finally had to beg the nurses to take him so I could catch at least four hours of sleep. At that moment I knew that my life has changed drastically.

Since that day my world has been filled with self doubt and disappointment. I found myself more sleep deprived then I thought was humanly possible. I had either spit up or snot in my washed three days ago hair. I was not dressed in style or with any flair. In fact I was lucky to get out of the sweats that I had become fond of wearing. And I definitely did not have a perfectly clean home all of the time. I started to wonder every day if I really was meant to be a mother. I loved my son with all of my heart but I kept comparing my real life to the one that I had pictured when I was young and naive. It felt like I was in a competition with my expectations of what I should be… a perfect mother and it was obvious that I was loosing.

A year after my son was born something happened that changed my outlook on being a mother. My younger sister got pregnant after trying for two and a half years and finally investing in the In Vitro procedure. This procedure took all of her savings plus some but we all felt that it was well worth it. We were all thrilled!
She had the most difficult pregnancy that I have ever seen.. She was sick and uncomfortable most of the time but she didn’t complain.

The day that she was to find out the sex of the baby brought the worst news ever. Her baby girl had a lethal disorder that would end her life as soon as she was born. With this news they gave my sister the option to abort the pregnancy. She would not even think of doing such a thing to her daughter because of her faith and knowledge of the gospel. I found so much strength and respect for her because of her choice.

She pushed through the sickness and fatigue and the day that her daughter decided she was ready to be born two months early, my sister tried everything to keep her from coming. The medication they gave her to stop the labor made her have dangerously high blood pressure and swelling which kept her immobile but my sister would suffer to the fullest just to give her daughter a fighting chance to live… even if it was for only a few moments.

Despite trying to stop the labor, she soon gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl that I have ever seen. Being there with her while she gave birth and experiencing the sadness and loss that was felt when that baby’s lifeless body was handed to my sister overwhelmed me. I was in awe as I watched my sister talk to her daughter about how brave she is, how beautiful she is, and that she is so proud of her for fighting like she did. She told her that she would see her soon in heaven. The room that was filled with sadness and loss before was now filled with the spirit and we all felt peace and hope.

At that moment I realized that it doesn’t really matter how perfect my home is or how my clothes or my hair looks. It doesn’t matter if were always right on schedule or if we look good to others. What really matters is that I was blessed beyond measure to have a healthy child to hold and to love. What matters is that I never take my son for granted and love him with Christ like love. My sisters love for her daughter lives on everyday and it is an example to me of what being a “perfect mother” is.

This is dedicated to Candice and to our angel Avery.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I remember...

There are a few things that I can still remember, that I never want to forget so I am typing them up in my little blog "journal".

The day I found out I was pregnant with Avery. I was waiting for a call from my Dr. in Las Vegas so when Dr. Sanders called me I was a little surprised. This is how the conversation went:
Candi "Hello"
Dr. Sanders " Hi Candice, it's Dr. Sanders"
Candi " Oh Hi!"
Dr. Sanders " I was wondering how everything went with the embryo transfer?"
Candi "It went great, I think, I am actually waiting to get the pregnancy test results today"
Dr. Sanders "Well it was positive"
Candi "It was?" (In tears)
Dr. Sanders "Yes, Congratulations, you're pregnant".

The conversation continued but that part is what I want to stay with me forever. We have been through so much with Dr. Sanders and to have him be the one to tell me that I was expecting was exactly how I would have wanted it.

Then, there was the first time I heard my baby's heartbeat. I was around 6 weeks along and we saw it up on the ultrasound screen, then we heard it... it was music to my ears. It goes hand in hand with the last time I heard her heartbeat. Luckily I can hear it anytime I want- we recorded it just before she passed away.

The next would be the day I found out about Avery's condition. Skeet and I went into our ultrasound thinking we would see our baby and find out the sex. Instead our life came crashing down around us. It was one of the worst days of my life but I still want to remember it because it was a very significant day for me. That is the day that I decided I loved my baby no matter what and as long as it's heart was beating I would do whatever I could to give it every chance to live while it was inside of me.

On to the day we found out our baby was an Avery. We were seeing the peri for another ultrasound and to discuss our amniocentesis results. I asked the tech if she could tell us what the baby was. She looked on the screen quickly and said, it's a girl. I didn't believe her... not even one bit, and I knew that the Dr. would be coming in to tell us that the amnio showed it was a boy in just a few minutes. When he came in and told us it was a girl it was such a bitter sweet moment for me. We were going to have a daughter... a sweet little girl, but we would have to say goodbye too soon. I had been keeping the name Avery in the back of my mind... just in case, so when we were driving home from our appointment and Skeet asked what her name should be, I told him Avery and he agreed. I wanted her middle name to be Grace, but neither of our families do middle names for girls so we decided against it.

Then the first time I felt Avery kick. It wasn't very hard and it took a couple of days before I felt it again but it was the most amazing feeling in the world.

The day Avery was born would have to come next. Another bitter-sweet day that I have shared with you before. It will never fall under the worst category. The day my daughter was born is one of the best days of my life for many reasons. I was lucky enough to hold her and see her beautiful face. I was fortunate enough to see my husband holding his first child. Also, the rest of my family and most of Skeet's were able to hold her and witness one of God's special miracles.

The worst day of my life, that I will never forget, is the day we buried our daughter. That is something no mother should ever have to do.

Avery's first birthday. My parents, grandparents, my sister-in-law, Syd, Skeet and I all went to the cemetery to honor my sweet girl. My mom had picked up a dozen balloons for me since I had to work all day and had not had the opportunity to get away to do so. They were multicolored but there were two pink balloons. My dad said a few words and I released the balloons. It was a cold, but clear day and we were able to watch them for a long time. When I released the balloons they were all tangled but as they floated away the two pink balloons somehow unwound from the rest of the group and floated off by themselves and the rest stayed tangled up in each other. It was almost as Avery had picked her two favorites and separated them. I know she was there with us that day, it is a day I hope to never forget.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dana Point Vacation

I am finally posting about our vacation almost a month ago. I didn't take very many pictures because I hate our camera. The one day I did get the camera out it was overcast so the pictures make it look cold outside but it was still pretty warm.
We started our vacation out right at the Caesar's Palace in Vegas. When we checked in they upgraded us to a studio suite.

We even had one of those tushy cleaners! This was one of two toilet rooms, yes we had 2... I repeat 2.... bathrooms.
We also had a walk through shower and a jetted tub but the pics didn't turn out.!

Here is Skeet trying to decide what to eat for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.

AAAHHH that's scary! (me not him)

He got a great shot of me putting my very uncomfortable shoes on.

I wonder how much it would cost to live there?

Skeet on the beach

This is a view from the park just above the beach. It was so beautiful there.

So that's pretty much it. We really do need to start taking more pictures. We didn't do much, just a lot of relaxing and of course eating good food. We ate at The Cheesecake Factory twice and a few other places on the pier. It was a much needed break and we didn't want to come back but we had too much waiting for us. I couldn't miss more than a day of class so we only spent 5 days there. I wish I would have gotten pics of the beach house we stayed in... I guess I will make sure to do that next time.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Skinny Me

I was going through some old photos yesterday and came across some that were taken when I lived in Dallas. I was so skinny back then. I know I will never look like that again, having babies and living with men will take their toll on a woman, but I would like to get as close as I can. Why does food that is bad for you have to taste so good?

I still have this outfit. I would never wear it now for many reasons, but the main reason is that I wouldn't be able to fit those pants past my knees and my spare tire would hang below the bottom of the shirt. I have to remind myself that when I looked like this I was a smoker, I worked out twice a day and went out dancing at least 2 or 3 nights a week. I ate mostly salads for lunch and skipped breakfast. My lifestyle was so very different than what it is now. However, I can't help but wish that my body still looked this way. I don't want that lifestyle back... I am way too old for that... but I want to be able to look at myself in a swim suit or even a figure hugging outfit and not be disgusted with what I see. I wish I could just love myself the way I am but when I look at photos of what I used to be, it makes it impossible.
My diet failed. It was too hard and messed with my ability to think or function properly. My school work was suffering and I was always upset that I couldn't eat normal food. I did lose 5 pounds however so I am still trying to eat good and be as active as I have time for. I think the that it is the best I can do right now.

Most of all I want my body to be as healthy as possible so that when/if we ever get pregnant again I will be healthy and I will be able to keep my child healthy (as much as is within my control).

For fun I am sharing some other photos from my days in Dallas. Most of the friends in these photos are friends from Utah. I must have only taken pictures when I had people visit me!

Kate, Shalon and me getting ready to go out on the town

Visiting my work place, I love the light effect in this pic

My sis, Me and Kate ready to go to the Yahoo Year End Party
My sis and I dressed up for Halloween ( I was a hula girl with a BIG butt)
Shalon, Kate, DJ (my little bro), me and my sis