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Baby H Maternity Photos

January 27, 2015

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I knew from the start that we wanted to have newborn photos taken professionally in our home after Baby H arrives (in just about 5 weeks!) but I was a little unsure about taking maternity photos. I’ve seen so many maternity photos that make me uncomfortable (bare bellies really aren’t my thing!) and sometimes they feel so forced. But when I booked Gina to take our newborn photos and she offered to do a small mini maternity session of about 45 minutes in length at her studio, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

If you live in Minneapolis, you just have to take a look at Gina’s work and jump at the first opportunity to have her take your photos. She was so incredibly wonderful to work with and her relaxed way of shooting put both me and my husband at ease. I’ll admit that I’m usually pretty comfortable in front of the camera, but being pregnant in front of the camera had me a little nervous. Thank you, Gina, for making the process so much fun!

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Infertility and Miscarriage

Praise Be to God

July 10, 2014

Photo on 7-9-14 at 7.49 PM #2
Last night was  a restless night of sleep. As much as I wanted to go into a deep sleep, I kept waking up, tossing and turning, wondering what the next morning would hold. Would we see our little baby on the ultrasound, healthy and heart beating? Or would I be sent to surgery immediately after and spending the rest of the day recovering on the couch, piecing together a broken heart?

I want to be clear that whatever the outcome was going to be today, that it doesn’t change the fact that our God is a good god who loves us and knows what is best for us, even when it’s scary, hard and confusing. This isn’t just, “God gave me what I wanted, so I’m going to give Him the praise.” No matter the outcome, we would be praising Him all the same. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t desperately praying for a miracle that went against every bit of medical advice we were given just a week ago.

It was one of the most beautiful moments I’ve experienced in my life, to hear the ultrasound tech tell us, “I see a baby,” followed by, “Oh, my gosh, I see a heartbeat, too!” Our little baby was there, heartbeat flickering on the ultrasound, measuring 6 weeks 3 days, exactly on track with my calculations. See that little zig-zag on the bottom of the ultrasound picture? That’s the heartbeat!

We have a long way to go, and if I think about it too hard the next 5 1/2 weeks seem incredibly scary. We’ve heard a healthy heartbeat before, only to have that good news followed by heartbreak weeks later. The next few weeks we will continue to be monitored closely. I think this baby is going to have more pictures by 12 weeks than most full-term babies! And although the road seems long and paved with uncertainty, I am trusting in God’s plan. And I would appreciate more than anything your continued prayers as we go into uncharted waters in the weeks to come.

But for now, praise be to God! Know that if you lifted up a prayer for us in the last week, I believe with every fiber of my being that you had a hand in helping this baby get this far. God heard us, and He answered our prayers today! I know it doesn’t always work out that way, but Joe and I are both rejoicing. Thank you for your support, your prayers, emails, comments, texts and general love. We’ve felt so supported and surrounded, knowing that when we are too weak or weary to pray, others are praying on our behalf.



Infertility and Miscarriage, Uncategorized

When We’re Weary

July 3, 2014

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First, thank you all so much for your prayers and support. Although things don’t look good, knowing we are being lifted up in prayer by so many people, including friends we’ve never met in person, absolutely humbles me. Sometimes thinking about it brings me to tears and I feel so undeserving of those prayers. Would I respond in kind if I were on the other side? I hope that I do when given the opportunity.

My tendency is to tie things up in a neat little package, to use the right words and put our pain in a box that’s easy to explain and talk about. But infertility and recurrent miscarriage don’t fit into a neat little box; those type of things exhaust you physically and mentally and you find yourself hit like a ton a bricks during everyday moments when you least expect it. I’m weary and absolutely exhausted. I’ve been pregnant three times in the last 12 months, meaning I’ve been pregnant for over 24 weeks total with nothing to show other than pain, exhaustion, a lot of tears and pretty regular medical bills.

I’ve spent a lot of time talking to God, asking Him lots of questions I didn’t really expect Him to answer. There has been yelling and wrestling with Him, wanting an explanation as to why in the world this would be part of His plan for our lives. Sometimes, if I’m being totally honest, it’s made me feel abandoned and unloved and questioned whether I’ve done something to anger God unlike all those women with healthy babies.

Of course, in my moments of greater clarity I realize that this isn’t about punishment but about refinement and growth, that we all go through trials at one point or another, and that it’s God’s way of growing us in the deepest of ways. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that it’s okay to question God and ask Him hard questions; it’s okay to be real with our heavenly father.

Although I’m weary, I think it’s so important not to lose perspective or make having children some type of idol in my life. Infertility can so easily become an obsession, an all-consuming game of temperature taking and ovulation strips and two week waiting periods and fear-filled first trimesters. Joe and I have so much. Truly. And sometimes those blessings get overlooked in search of the “next great thing” which, in this case, happens to be a baby.

Is God enough for me? If Joe and I never get the babies that we so desire is God enough? Are His promises and His word still true to me? The answer needs to be yes.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in the last few days two people have brought to mind Lamentations 3, yet again. It was the verse I read time and time again after our second miscarriage, and what I have been meditating on this time around, too. So for those of you who are weary like me, who feel exhausted and drained in the deepest of ways, take heart! The Lord our God is a compassionate and loving father and these trials we are going through are not in vain:

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.

*Know that if you’re going through something similar and need prayer, please don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail. I’ve found over the past year that it helps when I take the focus away from myself and pray for the needs of others. 

Infertility and Miscarriage, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

Let’s Talk About Miscarriage (Round 3)

July 1, 2014

photo(1)I’m posting a picture of me with my cute puppy because, hey, It’s more uplifting than a picture of my hospital bracelet. :)

Those of you who follow me on Instagram have probably already seen my update that it appears I am miscarrying yet another baby. This time, I was tempted to keep our sad news close and quiet, but I’ve been so blessed to share this journey with you all, and it seems wrong to stop sharing now. If I feel certain about one thing, it’s that God has called me to share our journey publicly so others might know they aren’t alone. Today I’m sharing more of the nuts-and-bolts details than the deeper spiritual and emotional side because I know that sometimes during this journey that’s the type of information I’ve sought.

I’ve been silent regarding our journey to baby over the past few months. While I was quiet online, things were moving along behind the scenes. We received all our blood work back and information back regarding the tissue analysis from our baby. Everything came back very normal. Our baby had normal chromosomes, my hormones checked out nicely, I came back negative for any clotting disorders. And while that’s all good news, it’s also incredibly frustrating to feel as if you aren’t any closer to getting answers than you were before all this started.

To be on the safe side, my doctor prescribed me a daily baby aspirin to possibly negate any minor clotting issues that didn’t show up on the tests we ran and gave me progesterone in the second half of every cycle to aid pregnancy. I had been going to weekly acupuncture appointments that helped lower my stress level and seemed to truly help my body recover much quicker this time around. I was back to having normal cycles within six weeks of my surgery, which is amazing! I felt good, healthy, and back to my normal self when I found out we were pregnant our second cycle after my D&C.

This time around, I felt an incredible sense of peace and well-being. I have no idea what to attribute that to, but I had a good feeling about this pregnancy and believed that things would be different. I went to the doctor and had my hormone levels check about a week after getting my first positive pregnancy test. Things looked good and my numbers were looking great, which made my doctor very encouraged and lifted my spirits, too.

But on Sunday afternoon I started to spot, which wasn’t something I had experienced with my other two pregnancies. The doctor on call suggested I go to the ER to check things out, since Joe had a crazy work week and wasn’t going to be able to get away to go with me during the week and we were preparing to leave town for the holiday weekend. After three hours and rounds of tests, the doctors told me that the gestational sac was irregularly shaped and there were a couple other odd-shaped spots they couldn’t identify on the ultrasound. They tossed around words like “potentially not-viable” and “possibility of a molar pregnancy”. Scary, overwhelming words when all we wanted this time around was good news.

At some point, the news was almost so absurd it was laughable. Fewer than 1% of couples experience 3 consecutive miscarriages. I’ve always been a believer in stats and numbers, but now that we’ve managed to fall into that “less than one percent” I’m starting to believe in stats a whole lot less. Or at least that they don’t apply in our case.

We went for a follow-up yesterday morning with our OBGYN and they confirmed the same inconclusive results we were given in the ER. It’s too early to say with 100% certainty that this pregnancy isn’t viable, but it doesn’t look very good. Although my hormones are rising appropriately (making them less inclined to believe it’s a molar pregnancy) there just isn’t enough information to know if there is a chance one way or another.

We were given the choice to have the D&C today or to wait a week and have a follow-up scan next week to see if things progress. Although my logical side wanted to have the surgery today, move forward and put this behind me, a voice kept telling me to let this play out and give it one more week. I’m probably just being overly optimistic, but a few months ago our pastor talked about leaving room in our lives for God to perform miracles. Not that He will do so every time, of course, but that if we get wrapped up in science and numbers all the time, we don’t ever create space or an opportunity for God to do miraculous things.

So we’re waiting, until next Wednesday, and praying for a miracle while also preparing our hearts and minds for the likely outcome, which is surgery Wednesday after our scan. And because I believe in the power of prayer, would you join me in praying? For a miracle, if that be God’s will, or that He would give us a sense of peace and allow us to remain hopeful about our family’s future even if that doesn’t mean that we get to start that family any time soon.



Easy Rhubarb Crisp

May 23, 2014

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Sometimes when I have a recipe to share it’s almost like going through the motions; I know exactly what I want to say about the recipe, how the flavors are balanced and the recipe’s ingredients shine and the like. But this morning when I sat down to write it was life, more than anything, that felt right to be writing about.

A few people over the last couple weeks have asked how we are doing, a very loaded, complicated and thoughtful question to ask 6 weeks after the fact. It’s a question for which I don’t really have a good answer. We’re moving forward, thinking about the future in all of its uncertainty. There are some days that the sadness and uncertainty hit me like a ton of bricks and just when I think I’m doing really well, I find myself crying on the kitchen floor out of nowhere. We’re celebrating milestones of our yet-to-be-born nephew and niece. And, quite honestly, it’s strange and difficult and hard to navigate juggling feelings of loss and sadness that co-mingle with happiness and anticipation for those around us.

On vacation I re-read Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist and it spoke to me even more than when I read it the first time. If you’ve never read it, I would urge you to run to the bookstore or the e-store and buy/download it today. I’ve been coming back to this quite time and time again:

“…sometimes the happiest ending isn’t the one you keep longing for, but something you absolutely cannot see from where you are.” 

It’s hard for someone like me, who is all about answers and research and knowing the next steps, to do blood test after blood test only to get absolutely zero conclusive answers. Hearing you are absolutely healthy as can be is both a relief and a frustration. Um, have you read my medical record? It doesn’t seem like it to me.

I realize now more than ever that this experience has changed me in the best and deepest of ways. I’ve become more empathetic and noticed people hurting that I never would have noticed before. Instead of feeling like “those are your problems,” my heart genuinely hurts for others in a way I didn’t think possible before. I like this new side of me, even if the journey has not been what I had imagined thus far.

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And now I’ve totally gotten away from the point, haven’t I? Well, our neighbors are the kindest older couple we could have asked for and they regularly bring us little treats, like maple syrup from their trees up north at their cabin and rhubarb from their garden. I’ve never really had a taste for rhubarb personally, but my husband loves rhubarb more than anyone I’ve ever met.

He was so excited when a bag of rhubarb was waiting for us after work one day that I couldn’t resist throwing it into a crisp that very evening. This recipe is inspired by a recipe from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook**still a favorite in my house and has been one of my go-to books since childhood. The crisp is perfect in all sorts of ways, sweet and tart at once and just the right amount of crunchiness. Joe raved about this dessert when he sat down with a giant bowl of it this week, and I have a feeling if you love rhubarb you’ll feel the same.

Easy Rhubarb Crisp
Recipe type: Dessert
This rhubarb crisp is easy to throw together at a moment's notice and tastes delicious when served with vanilla ice cream.
  • 6 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Topping
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the rhubarb, 1 cup granulated sugar and the corn starch. Toss to coat evenly. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate or an 8x8-inch square baking pan.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir until well-combined. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a fine meal. Sprinkle over the rhubarb mixture.
  4. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool 1 hour before serving.

**I noticed you can buy it for less than $1 online. You guys! Go and do so immediately. I promise you won’t regret it! It can be found HERE.

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