Ectopic-ness: Day 2

The Greek origin of the word ectopic means “out of place”.

This is part of my story of the ectopic pregnancy I had a year ago.  If you want to learn more about ectopic or tubal pregnancies, I find this website, Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, to be most helpful.  If there’s any possibility that you may be pregnant and you start experiencing pain in your lower abdomen that gets worse, see a doctor immediately as it could be life-threatening.  And it’s preferable that you don’t drive yourself like I did since many women feel light-headed and some even faint! You can read the beginning of my story here.

April 10, 2013

After the initial shock, I start thinking about resolving the problem. I wad up some toilet paper to stuff in my underwear while I wait. I feel like an unprepared high schooler again. I wash the blood off my hands and a cute and very energetic girl comes in with her mom and grandma. I smile at them too.

I definitely have an ectopic pregnancy. And I hope the lady nurse is at the desk.

I use my nice voice. “Is there some pads that I can use somewhere?”

The nurse looks unconcerned. “Did you just start your period?”

“No, I had that last week. I think this is associated with the pain.”

The nurse looks temporarily horrified. Finally, a real reaction to what’s happening to me as a guest. “I’ll find you some.”

It takes a while but she finally gets another nurse to come with an assortment of products. This nurse asks how heavy the flow is but it’s hard to tell. It’s not like I wear a measuring cup. I say it’s moderate.

I get what I need and go back into the dirty stall. As I come out of the bathroom, there is yet another nurse ready to take me back to where there are actual doctors who can tell me what’s wrong.

So I have to be bleeding and in pain to get any service. Noted for the future.

We go down and turn and turn and walk and walk and finally get to a place where there’s actual activity and I’m set in a room with those tents you’re supposed to wrap yourself in they call a robe. I see yet another nurse. She’s nice and concerned at all the right places in our short conversation. I wait for the doctor. The doctor seems fine too. After a now familiar round of questions and checking, he tells me nothing about what’s wrong. He ordered a pregnancy test and we need to wait for the results.

You do a lot of waiting to know if you’re dying or not. I already know that the test will come back positive and I’ll have an ultrasound to see if it’s ectopic. And that’s exactly what happened.

I do get a little freaked because the doctor started mentioning surgery. As soon as everyone leaves again, I call my husband. Twice, because he doesn’t pick up the first time. At least someone got to sleep a few hours.

I wait more. Cause that’s what people in mysterious awful pain like to do. The friendly nurse comes in a couple times for paperwork and payment. Yes, I hand over my card while I’m still lying in the hospital bed bleeding, in pain and clothed in a tent thing. It’s wonderful.

My husband arrives and we discuss what’s happened so far, what his mom had to say having to babysit at 1am on a weekday night and what might be happening soon.

Please no surgery! I don’t want surgery.

Finally the nurse is ready to wheel me in for a sonogram. I was surprised at how old the tech was. Was there even sonogram machines when he was college age? Was this a second or third career for him? How many times has he done this? Does he really know what he’s doing?

I’m usually not so age-ist but I give myself some leniency on account of my long pain and suffering with no sleep. The tech won me over with his honest sweetness. With him and the nurse, I joked around while he searched my abdomen for any signs of horrible-ness. We talked about my boys, how I must be a teacher because of my great bladder control (news to me), how well I’m taking the whole situation because they’ve usually seen very distraught women in similar situations. The whole time I had my eye on the sonogram like I could pinpoint my issue if we came across it. But the tech had me roll over away from the machine. It got pretty quiet and I felt a familiar dark pit in my stomach. He found it. I’m sure of it. We finish up and he leaves the room. For a long time. To pass the time, I relieve myself even though I have great bladder control.

Again, I’m waiting.

He comes back and says now we get to do a vaginal ultrasound. They want to get a better look. Fantastic. Luckily, it doesn’t take as long as the first ultrasound. In fact, it’s pretty quick. And now guess what I get to do? Wait again. At least this time I’m with my hubby. I try to rest as we wait for someone to interpret my sonograms and discuss the results with the OBGYN that’s on call. I can’t sleep. This is too nerve-wrecking!

I can tell it’s morning now. There are more sounds outside my room. Somehow there’s sunlight creeping in from somewhere. I think how I would be getting my boys ready for school instead of waiting for how bad the news was going to be. I would rather be at a real resort where I was a real guest.

After a million years, a buslting OBGYN comes in. She has a slightly concerned demeanor as she introduces herself as Dr. LeMon. I didn’t realize until one of my follow up visits how funny her name was. It’s spelled like lemon but the capital M suddenly changes it to a more sophisticated sounding name. I wonder if she made that change herself.

And this is where everything starts to get fuzzy in my mind, right when the situations gets very real. This doctor talks a lot but it takes even more talking to actually process the information she’s giving us. More than likely the pregnancy is ectopic. The sonogram revealed what they think might be the pregnancy in the left part of my abdominal cavity. It is so small though that they can’t say for certain. They don’t know how far along I might be because ectopic pregnancies grow abnormally though they would assume about 4-5 weeks given my last period. Since the pregnancy is so small and I’m not in danger of rupturing (aka dying), we have some options. They could shoot me up with methotrexate right now which will dissolve the pregnancy, we could wait 2 days and do more bloodwork to see what my hcg levels are or we can schedule surgery.

Doctors are supposed to be pragmatic thinking individuals, right? But now with intense concerns of being sued and/ or hospital policies, healthcare seems to be muddled. I was confused at why surgery would be an option if they weren’t even sure they’ve located the problem. I bring this up to Dr LeMon and more talking ensues. That would be the “most aggressive” action we could take, she says. Since even in my sleep deprived state I’m keen to nuances, I realize she doesn’t recommend it, though for some reason with all this talking she can’t seem to say those exact words. I feel bad for stupid people. They wouldn’t get it. Just say what you need to say so people can make well informed decisions!

We finally let the doctor go and more chatting between me and my husband happen. It seemed like the decision was in the middle of a gnarly knotted piece of string we had to untie. Surgery doesn’t make sense if they don’t know what they’re trying to remove so that gets untied quickly. But why would there be an option to wait and see what my hcg levels are? Is there a chance that this wasn’t an ectopic pregnancy? Would we be killing an opportunity to have a baby if I just agree to the shot now? Would we be killing me if we wait? Those are some heavy what-ifs. We asked the doctor back to grill her with some common sense questions now that we’ve processed everything.

How likely was this an ectopic pregnancy? How likely was this not? We couldn’t get any definitive answers from this lady! Everything was “possible” and “I really can’t guess to a percentage of likelihood”. I know I was frustrated. Isn’t the doctor supposed to diagnosis you? But here she is, making me guess what’s going on and make a decision based on that. In my heart, I was pretty sure my pregnancy was ectopic but this doctor was giving me a lot of room for doubt.

What would happen if we wait? That question actually had answers. If my hcg levels were abnormal, we would need to proceed with the methotrexate. If they were normal, we could continue the pregnancy with more monitoring.

After sending the doctor away again, it seemed like we finally unraveled the mess. If there was a chance that this was a viable pregnancy, we needed to hold off on the methotrexate. If we wait and are able to get more concrete information about what’s going on, then we would feel better about whatever the outcome may be. We told the doctor we wanted to wait to test my levels again. She seemed relieved that we made a decision and told us if I feel any more bad pain like I did this night, then I need to come to the ER again. I had no restrictions or special guidelines to follow. I would come to her office on Friday for lab work.

Ahhhh, now I can leave this place and hopefully sleep!

Well, not really. The supervising ER doctor had a few words with us before we got discharged. He looked like a good man, but he had nothing good to say.

“Where do all live?”

“In the city of Battlefield.”

He scrunches up his face in thought mumbling about what district we’re in and replies, “Let’s say you start having pain again and you call 911. It’s going to take them about 10-15 minutes for paramedics to come get you. Then you have about a 15 minute plus ride to the ER. In that time, you’re coming here dead and there’s nothing that we can do.”

Um, now I’m dying? But the OBGYN said…

“Don’t call 911. Don’t wait for a babysitter,” he looks seriously at my husband, ” you just get her here as fast as you can. Ok? Any other questions?”

Now I have a twisted knot as a stomach.

If that morning was a blur, then definitely the two days waiting for almost certain death was. I got home. I gave my 2 yr old a hug. I listened to my husband talk to his mom for a while about what happened. I excused myself to take a nap. Thankfully, I was able to sleep but it was a troubled sleep. Any twitch of pain from my abdomen real or imagined brought up the fear that I made a choice where I could actually die. When I awoke, I emailed my family to let them know what was going on and request prayers. I prayed. A lot.

I prayed that I would not have the bad pain again. I prayed that if I did, I would be able to get to the hospital quickly and that my children would be taken care of. I prayed that I would know what to do to not aggravate my situation. Most of all, I prayed for strength to get through these next couple of days.

1 in every 80 pregnancies are ectopic.

Symptoms can vary from person to person just like in a regular pregnancy.  Click here for some common ectopic pregnancy symptoms.  My only common ectopic symptom was one sided abdominal pain that did not subside though I did start bleeding in the ER.

Diagnosing an ectopic pregnancy can be difficult because the symptoms can relate to other health issues, blood tests need a baseline and are not measured again until after 48 hours, plus the pregnancy can be in such early stages that it can’t be positively verified even with a detailed sonogram.

80% of ectopic pregnancies occur in the upper part of the fallopian tube which are more prone to rupturing. If the micromass the sonogram found was the pregnancy, then mine was a more rare abdominal case which occurs in 1.2% of ectopic pregnancies and are not likely to rupture.

Prayer to my Heavenly Father communicates my needs to Him and gives me an opportunity to ask for blessings like emotional strength and comfort.


Ectopic-ness: Day 1

The Greek origin of the word ectopic means “out of place”.

This is part of my story of the ectopic pregnancy I had a year ago.  If you want to learn more about ectopic or tubal pregnancies, I find this website, Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, to be most helpful.  If there’s any possibility that you may be pregnant and you start experiencing pain in your lower abdomen that gets worse, see a doctor immediately as it could be life-threatening.  And it’s preferable that you don’t drive yourself like I did since many women feel light-headed and some even faint!

April 9, 2013

Another regular afternoon and I bend over to pick up another seemingly endless toy from the floor.


The left side of my lower abdomen pierced with a sudden pain.

That’s weird.

I walk back to the bedroom to put away the toy and didn’t feel any pain. So what do I do? I test the pain to see if it’s only when I crouch down.

Yep, that hurts!

I bend over at the waist.

That kinda hurts too.

I repeat all sorts of similar movements, twisting, bending and squeezing. Just add that to my other pains today! My breasts were already super tender since the day before. The thought quickly passed through my mind if the pain was associated to my impending ovulation. Pregnancy had already been ruled out as impossible. But other than this quick thought, I didn’t give it any more attention. The boys need me to play with them and make their lunch and I was trying to gather enough motivation to finish my household chores, prepare dinner and get ready for grocery shopping without having a nervous breakdown.  The rest of the day included a nap to escape reality (or have I really worn myself out already?), a literal cry for help to my understanding hubby, and a 2 hour grocery shopping trip. I finally came home a bit before the boys’ bedtime, exhausted but determined to finish out the day “properly”.

With the boys tucked into their cozy beds for the night and the end of a day fast approaching, I now had a few quiet moments to notice that something’s wrong. That pain came back. Or was it always there since this afternoon, hushed away by the busy-ness? I do my awkward dance again to investigate the source of my pain. The pain is more intense when I move certain ways but not others but it is constant, unfriendly pain even without any weird poses. The pain is inconsistent and now I’m confused and worried. I’m good at worrying.

There is something definitely wrong with me!

I head to the computer and start the symptom checker on the Mayo Clinic’s website. It’s my favorite “what’s wrong with me?” place.

I start with, Abdominal Pain.

The computer asks, Pain is?  Possible answers include, Acute, or began suddenly; Cramping; Progressive, or worsens over time; Sharp; Steady.

I really just want to check yes to all of the choices because the pain seems to be all of them at some point.

The computer asks, Pain Located in?  I answer, Lower abdomen.

The rest I leave blank because it didn’t seem to fit so I get tons of results of possible horrible conditions that may be causing my pain. In my anxiety and pain, I try to quickly go over the summary of each one but none of them seem to identify my situation which intensifies my frustration. I go to webMD to see if I get something else that may explain what’s happening to my body. I get a ton more conditions to go through and though I normally like research, I’m getting more antsy about finishing to get rid of the worsening pain. In my mind, I settle that I might have a digestive problem. I do have family medical history to back me up on that but I wasn’t convinced. Ectopic pregnancy seems to fit but I kept pushing it out of my mind because that would mean I’m pregnant.

I can’t be pregnant! I just had a period last week! But my breasts have been aching too…

I do some more googling. How common is it to be pregnant and still have a period? Not very common at all. How common is it to get breast tenderness before ovulation? Somewhat common. How common is getting breast tenderness before ovulation when you haven’t had it before? No solid answers.

I keep shooting questions to Google about my pain but in the back of my mind, the ectopic pregnancy consideration is there. In the midst of my speed typing and reading, I realize I have an unused pregnancy test from when my period was late a while back. I quickly Google my next question. How many weeks pregnant do you realize you have an ectopic pregnancy? The consensus is 6. That’s enough time for a test to work.  I was very doubtful that I was pregnant but it kept nagging at me so I needed to get rid of it.

If the test comes back negative, I’m not having an ectopic.

I try to be real careful about doing the pregnancy test right. When I tested while pregnant with my second child, I thought the test was negative but later that day, I realized there was a very faint second line meaning a positive. I didn’t want to make that mistake again.

The pregnancy test was definitely negative.  So what’s wrong with me?  Now, the pain has worsened and I’m starting to consider going to the ER.

I can’t afford more bills!

I decided to call the after hours nurse. I’m pretty sure they can figure out what’s wrong with me.  But which doctor should I call? The OBGYN or the primary doctor?  I decide on my primary doctor since I’m definitely not pregnant. After several questions, where I try to be as cordial as I can though I’ve been bending doubled over in pain a few times, the nurse sounds as confused as I am. Now I’m getting a bit angry. Aren’t these people supposed to know what’s going on? She finally decided to give me some general pain advice. Take a hot bath. Raise your feet. Try to rest. Take some ibuprofen. If the pain is constant for the next 2 hours, call back.

I follow her advice. I fill up the tub with only the hot water on. I turn down the lights to set a relaxing ambiance. I get all of my regular bath stuff ready and I’m shaking.

It must be nerves. I’ll feel better if I can only get myself to relax.

I get in but can’t seem to get comfortable. I’m trying really hard to relax and though the pain has lessened, it’s still there. Now my water is cold. I ramble to myself how I hate the hot water situation in the house. Never is hot enough when I need it. Never lasts long when it is. And when my husband asks how my bath was, I complain the water was cold.

“Well, you have been in there for an hour,” he replies.


I can’t believe how quickly the time passed! My pain is still there though not as sharp as it was earlier and I think that I might be getting better. I decide to get into pajamas and try to go to sleep. It is almost 10pm.

If I still have the pain when I wake up, I’ll go to the doctor.

But I can’t fall asleep. The pain is keeping me up and too soon, it’s getting worse. I get out of my blanket and start getting ready. I’m not going to take the time to call that stupid nurse again, she’ll just tell me to go to the ER anyway. I had to stop a few times to try to deal with the pain. I’m thinking my husband might have to drive me there. I take some deep breaths and the pain becomes more manageable.

I can do hard things. I can drive myself. No need to wake up my mother-in-law or wake up the kids at this time of night.

My husband suddenly gets concerned when he realizes I’m leaving.

“You’re going to the ER?” he asks.

“Yep. I’m still having some bad pain and that nurse will just tell me to go.”

“Well if you end up having surgery or something you should go to Cox since our insurance pays more there,” he states nonchalantly.

Surgery? Yikes! 

“How will I find you? What if something happens there and I can’t get a hold of you?” he’s sounding a little more concerned.

“You know where I’m going. I’ll just make sure to tell my nurse to call you if something does happen and I can’t call you,” I say confidently.

“OK. Be careful.”

As I drive in the still darkness, I have peace come over me. I’m nervous about what’s wrong or the really bad pain coming back while I’m driving but I have the sense that things will be ok. I’m doing the right thing.

I’ve never been to Cox before. I am a very healthy person. The only time I’ve needed to come to the hospital for myself is to deliver my 3 sons. Things like this never happen to me. I’m still nervous as I cautiously park the car, making sure I’m in the right lot. I’m nervous about going through the right doors. Why do hospitals have a million entrances? Beside the slightly unnatural nervousness, I feel safe and at peace knowing I’ll get help soon.

When I walk through the doors and to the desk that I assume I need to check in at (though the sign says Guest Services like I’m going to a resort not a hospital), I decide to be as pleasant as possible. I’m normally pleasant but with my current condition, I had to make a decision to be such. I have learned over the years that you get better service if you’re easy to help. I smile and exchange niceties with the registration lady. I do the same with the nurse and he takes some quick vital signs. I rate my pain at a 6. I get a few wrist accessories and told at some point I need to give a urine sample. Let him know if my pain worsens.

Now I wait. I’m hopeful that my wait won’t be too long since the waiting room doesn’t have many “guests”. I try to settle in. Check my email. Check my blog reader. Check facebook. My phone is almost dead. I look around for plugs but the only one I find is being used by another guest.

That’s ok. I brought Harry with me.

I’m in the middle of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I try to read but now my pain is getting worse. I fidget in my seat. It all feels wrong. The big group beside me talking loudly is grating my nerves. I can’t wait for them to leave. I’m sure they feel the same. The pain gets even worse. I get up and walk around. I try to distract myself by paying close attention to the other guests. There’s an old man in a wheelchair. He’s by himself. He looks like he’s always alone. His gray beard hangs over his chin and looks unbrushed. Wisps of thin hair fly out of his black baseball hat. He looks like he came in his pajamas too. But he’s been wearing those sweatpants longer than I have been wearing mine, if the stains and dirt tell the story. He tries to move by pushing on one foot. He makes a few loud unintelligible noises. I feel sorry for him.

The walking isn’t helping. I go back to my seat and kneel on the floor with my forehead pressed on the vinyl bench. I decide I don’t care how I look to the other guests. I’m in pain. I’m trying to make it better. And we are in the ER. I’m sure there’s been worse things than a grown woman kneeling on the tile floor in pain. I try to focus on breathing, on the voices around me, on praying that I’ll be seen soon. I wish someone would see me while I’m in this much pain. If I wait longer, I may not have any pain at all and the doctors will say there’s nothing wrong and send me home with nothing but anger and a bill.

There’s something wrong!  I go through the conditions I looked up earlier in my mind.

Ectopic pregnancy fits the best but I’m not pregnant!

I feel like I might throw up soon in front of all these guests and I’ll still have to wait. I force myself through the pain to walk to guest services. A different nurse is there. I notice large cups.

“Are those cups for throwing up in?” I smile.

“Yes,” as he hands me one.

“The other nurse told me to tell him if my pain goes up. Can you jump me up to a 9 please?” I’m still smiling.


He doesn’t write anything or ask my name. I hesitate a moment about to ask if he’s going to do these things but I decide I would rather vomit at my seat.  If I pass out from pain, I’ll know who to blame when I wake up.

If I wake up.

I’m shaking again. 

Am I going to throw up or not? I hate this.

My shaking finally stopped. I never threw up. More good news! The couple using the only plug is gone and I move to their spot. My pain has gone down a lot too but I’m not going to take the time to tell guest services that. I continue reading my book and the only time I look up is to watch that lonely old man make the best fuss he can, only to be talked sternly from the guest services staff. I bet he doesn’t feel like a guest either.  I’m starting to think I should get up and leave my urine sample.

I’ll go after I finish a chapter. 

I go back to Harry. A different younger nurse calls my name. She takes a blood sample and asks me if I left a urine sample yet.

“I’m planning on doing that right now,” I say.

After earning another bracelet, I stop by guest services for urine sample instructions. I go into the bathroom and it looks nice and new but it stinks. There are only 3 stalls. I look in the first one and it’s dirty and full of toilet paper.


The second has a sign posted on the door saying it’s out of service. The third looks fine but when I try to close the door behind me, it won’t lock.

Seriously? Isn’t this building brand new? And they don’t even have clean working bathrooms! What have they been doing with all the money they scam off sick people?

I sullenly go back to the first dirty stall. Yeah, there’s paper all over but I don’t see anything worse than that so I’m a bit relieved. I pull down my pants and now I’m scared. There’s bright red blood.

1 in every 80 pregnancies are ectopic.

Symptoms can vary from person to person just like in a regular pregnancy.  Click here for some common ectopic pregnancy symptoms.  My only common ectopic symptom was one sided abdominal pain though I did start bleeding in the ER.

My shaking and nausea was from the intensity of the pain I was experiencing which can happen with other types of pain not associated with ectopic pregnancies.

At home pregnancy test results are unreliable due to the fluctuation of the HCG hormone (which is what the tests detect) in ectopic occurrences.

The sense of peace I had from making the right decision while driving to the hospital is one way the Holy Ghost comforts and helps us.

A Tragiversary

Tragiversary.  You probably haven’t heard the word before.  It is the anniversary of a tragic event.  Today is a personal one of mine.  It’s been exactly a year since I experienced an ectopic pregnancy (or some may be more familiar with the term, tubal pregnancy).

Honestly, I don’t feel bad life experiences need to be turned into this big make you bawl or gasp fest or something that needs a big… party(?) to shout to everyone I know a bad thing happened to me.  It happened.  I experienced it.  I learned and grew from it.  Now, I feel ready to share some of my story to help others that may be going through something similar or already had gone through it.  I know when I was in the midst of my hardship, I devoured any information I could about what really happens.  And later, I will share some of the details I was looking for when ectopic pregnancy was new to me.  But today, I want to share a bit of hope.

When I was doubled over with pain and finally realized I needed to get myself to the ER, I didn’t know what was wrong.  I didn’t know I was pregnant.  I wasn’t planning on being pregnant.  My husband and I were going back and forth on if we did want to have more children.  I only suspected it because nothing else that could cause the pain made sense to me.  I think I surprised a lot of healthcare workers with my happy attitude throughout the whole process.  I wasn’t happy to be going through something awful, but I was ok about the pregnancy not working out.  It was scary but I found it very interesting because the average population of women (including myself at the time) do not know much about it.  I was learning so much.

Then, we had to wait.  The whole process to become un-pregnant took 6 weeks.  After that, we had to wait at least 2 months before trying to get pregnant again.  All that waiting and all that awfulness changed my husband’s and my perspective and we agreed that we would like to bring another baby in our family.  We tried a few times without success so when I finally found out I was pregnant in mid-November of last year, I was ecstatic!  I immediately started documenting the pregnancy and refreshing myself on pregnancy do’s and don’ts and dreaming about a possibility of a little girl.

5 days after my positive pregnancy test, I miscarried.  Though the physical pain was like a 1, the emotional pain was like a 9.  It was a very different experience than my ectopic pregnancy.  I had been looking forward to having a baby for several months and a few hours destroyed that hope and excitement.  I felt completely broken.  I really thought there was a good chance I would never have another baby because I wasn’t physically able to anymore.  I had 3 very boring yet perfect pregnancies and babies and now twice in a row, my pregnancies were failures.  I didn’t even want to try again for fear that something bad would happen again.

Then very slowly, my emotions leveled and I started to rise out of the fog.  I had to ask myself if I really did want another child.  Was God’s plan for me include another child?  Did my husband still want another child?  I felt like the answers to all those questions were yes but I was still hesitant.  Hubby and I had a serious, to the point conversation where he said he did want to try again but we would wait until I was ready.   We talked about what scared us (really me) and his responses calmed me.  I felt a big relief and peace come over me and I knew I could do it.  I would try again, but only one more time.  I didn’t feel like I could keep trying if a third pregnancy turned out with no baby.

About 2 weeks later, I had another positive pregnancy test.  I wasn’t excited as I was the last time, it was more like anxious.  Every twitch of uncomfortableness came with a thought of another miscarriage.  Hubby was reserved too.  We didn’t know what would happen this time.  But I was still pregnant week after week.  Finally, when I was 7 weeks pregnant, I called my doctor’s office to set up my first appointment.  A week later I was in his office and he showed me the most precious thing in the world to me in that moment, my baby alive with a beating heart.  I was excited.


I still can’t help myself but smile when I look at that picture or even think of it!  I really am pregnant and my baby is ok!  I was so excited that I showed off the picture to my boys to tell them the news.  Soon, I started having doubts again.  I have known too many people who lost their babies.  Some were late miscarriages, some were stillborns, all could happen to me.  I reserved my excitement.

My second doctor appointment I was pretty anxious.  This would be the first time to hear the baby’s heartbeat, if there was one.  I asked my husband to go with me.  I would want him there if the baby had died.  I may have let him think I thought it would be exciting for him to experience hearing this baby’s heartbeat for the first time.

Another miracle occurred though!  The doctor quickly found the baby’s heartbeat and could even hear the baby moving already.  Another wave of relief and excitement came over me.  This baby is still ok!  I’m finally ready to tell everyone that I’m definitely pregnant and the baby is doing great.


Our next appointment will be the sonogram where we will find out the gender… and if there is anything wrong.  I do have some worry about it, but I’m much more hopeful that the baby will be found healthy and thriving.  Today may be my tragiversary which started a journey of failed pregnancies, but it’s also the beginning of the renewed hope of bringing a baby into this world.

I know there are many couples out there who are wanting a child.  Their journeys may be much longer or more difficult than mine.  I completely sympathize.  I just want to share that most of those people can have hope that not every pregnancy will end in terrible sadness.  It’s ok to hope.  Once you are emotionally ready to try again, try.  Life is full of events that are not planned or wanted but these trials make us stronger, more capable.  We can be happy in the process.  Remember that life is also full of joy when we search for it.

Baby Saucy is 14 weeks along and due October 4.

For another amazing account of hope following baby loss, read my sister’s blog here.

Behind the Scenes: Birthday Cakes

I kid myself with “behind the scenes”.  Like I am a movie star with something interesting to show you or something.  Hmpf!  But you know how you see someone else’s beautiful creation be it a craft or a recipe and you never see pictures of their 10 failures before they got it right?  Or how they completely destroyed their table with a glue gun?  Well, I’m posting pictures of some ugliness when it comes to making birthday cakes happen.

I actually am a Wilton certified cake decorator.  No, really.  I am.  I had big ideas of how awesome I was going to be and how I could use my awesome skills to earn extra money when I had a family.  Some of these grandiose ideas stemmed from my own mother, aunt and grandma who decorated cakes when I was a child.  But I realized in the midst of my training that I didn’t have a passion for it and with cake decorating you really need passion to get you through the days (yes, days) of baking, mixing, coloring and making cute swooshie things.  I realized since I didn’t love it, I just couldn’t be patient enough to make cakes pretty as the pictures.  Lesson learned.  But I still attempt to make fun cakes for my family’s birthdays.

My husband’s birthday is exactly a week before my 5 year old’s so there’s a lot of cake going on at that time.  Hubby requested mini cupcakes which I did in red velvet with cream cheese icing.  The thing about red velvet is it stains everything.  My hand looks like I just finished wiping blood from the counter instead of cake.

I ended up making 50 something mini cupcakes.  They are so cute but I was so done.  I took a few of them to create the number 36 and slapped on some icing, called it good.  They were too.

My sweet 5 year old requested a princess cake.  Not just any princess either, Princess Peach.  He really wanted me to make him this fondant Mario wedding cake I found online but that surely wasn’t going to happen.  He settled for this.

I know it’s not the best decorating in the world but I think it’s pretty good with the amount of time and effort I was willing to do.  I think it took me 2 hours to decorate.  Last year, I made him this Curious George cake.

He was even easier to make because I didn’t have a lot of colors I needed to mix.  So how do you make these mediocre cakes?  Use a template!

  1. Just find a picture and print it out to fit on your cake.
  2. Cut around all the edges then place it on your cake.
  3. Take a pointed knife or box cutter or exacto knife, whatever and cut around your template.  Make sure to not cut very deep.  In fact, the more shallow you cut the cake, the better.  Otherwise, when you serve the cake, it will fall apart on you.
  4. Remove the template and trace your cutting guide with icing.  With both of these cakes, I used black icing I bought.  If the picture isn’t complex, you can use an icing tip that comes with store-bought icing tubes.  Or find a craft or cake decorating store that sells Wilton tips (like Hobby Lobby or Michaels) and get the size you need.  The smaller the number, the smaller the size.  You do not have to buy icing bags either.  Just stick the tip through a corner of a sandwich baggie.
  5. Trace any outlines you need inside.  You can cut your picture if you don’t trust your creative instinct and trace like you did before or go wild and freehand it.
  6. Fill in with icing.  You can use a small star tip to fill in like you might see on Wilton cakes but I find it cramps my style… and my hand.  You can smooth the icing with a clean finger that you dip in a bit of water.

From all this partying, I had a mountain of dishes.  Both sinks are full and it’s overflowing.  😦   I despise doing dishes.  At least I got to eat a fair amount of cake!

New Year, New Me?

Ahhh, I love the new year!  I am a bit crazy and I love making goals for myself.  I really do this all year long but there is something about the start of a new year that makes me be able to forgive myself of all my shortcomings from last year and start anew…  At least that’s how I usually feel.  With that said, I haven’t made any resolutions yet.

I was looking at my 2012 resolutions and it was painfully obvious that I was failing.  I made 6 resolutions and I can confidently state I achieved 1 of them and completed half of two others.  3 out of 6 is 50% and 50% is an F.  F for F-A-I-L.  Cue sad music.

So instead of thinking about my bad grade from last year, I’m going to focus on an old resolution that went gloriously well.  Cleaning.

I know you’re already excited with just that simple word so let’s dive in to the topic.  Cleaning is something that you have to do and love the results but the actual work is not normally enjoyable.  Actually, a lot like your job.  And also like a project at work or school, when more people are involved, the more complicated it gets.  I had 4 people living in my house so cleaning seemed to be really complicated and I wasn’t master of that universe.  So I made a new year’s resolution to master it and I actually aced it by the end of that year.

Now aced it doesn’t refer to a sparkling clean house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Acing it refers to now I have a more manageable contained mess where everything has at least been recently sanitized.  Cause life isn’t perfect and certainly I am not and I live with a whole house full of people who aren’t either.  🙂

Tip #1:  Decide what your standard of cleanliness is.

Tip #2:  Lower it a notch for each opposing factor.

When I met my husband, I was one of those people that had my things and places very organized, neat and clean.  That’s how I like to live.  After a few years of trying to change my wonderful hubby to be like me, I decided I liked loving him (even with his huge pile of stinky clothes) better than fighting with him all the time.  This meant that there was a more…  lived-in style to our home.  With each child and stress, the standard of cleanliness went down.  It had to.  Unless I want to spend every moment of everyday cleaning.  I assume that most people do not want to be cleaning all day long every day too so that means lower your ideal standards.

Tip #3:  Decide how much time you’re willing to spend on it each day.

When I first made mastering a standard of cleanliness in my home a resolution, I was working about 25 hours a week in the evenings/nights and taking care of 2 kids during the day while my husband worked.  My “free” time was precious and my energy was even more so.  I knew that there was going to be some days where I couldn’t clean and when I did have time, it wasn’t going to be very much.  Now that my full-time job is to raise our 3 children and make a home, I have more consistent time and energy to go towards cleaning.  Be realistic and don’t put yourself up to something that you’ll fail at.

Tip #4:  Create a system.

The time you have and the type of cleaning that your household needs will determine what your system is.  Google cleaning routine and you’ll get all sorts of systems to look at and make your own.  When I first started, my system was a list of chores that I would rotate through.  There was no laundry day or clean the floors day.

1.  Dishes

2.  Counters

3.  Floors

4.  Bathrooms

5.  Laundry

The first block of time I had to do chores I would do dishes, the second time I would clean off all counters and so on.

There would be some days where I would get “backed up” and have to skip bathrooms to do some laundry and then go back to bathrooms.  The cycle would get broken up a bit but it worked for the most part.  About once a month hubby and I would take a Saturday and just work on cleaning the house up.  Sometimes the dishes piled up and the Mr. would do some cause I was working on floors.  We just accepted it since that’s how our life was at that moment and that moment we knew wouldn’t last forever.

Now that I’m home, I do have chores assigned to certain days.

Monday:  Counters, sinks & trash

Tuesday:  Floors & mop

Wednesday:  Toilets & mirrors or Bathtubs (these alternate every week), a Bedroom (deep cleaned once a month)

Thursday:  Counters & laundry (only wash & dry)

Friday:  Bills & fold laundry

Saturday:  Floors, Dust (every other week)

Everyday: Dishes

If for some reason, I can’t get to a chore on it’s assigned day, I just skip it that week (except for laundry).  If you were to come to my house on Wednesday, it will look pretty sparkling clean.  If you come on Saturday, it will most likely look like chaos.  But at least I know the floors underneath all the toys and random half-eaten quesadilla are still pretty clean!  I also have my 7 and 4 yr old boys help out.  They normally have one chore a day and sometimes two.  They typically help with dishes and pick up but I give them the option to help me with another regular chore where I try to teach them how to clean.  A very important skill if I am to stop cleaning when I’m 40, right?

Tip #5:  Revise and reward.

Try it out for a couple weeks and if it doesn’t work, change it!  Don’t force it to work.  My current routine has slowly changed to what it’s become today, home diva-ness.  At least that’s what I tell myself.  And you should tell yourself the same thing and add a special happy dance.  Or whatever you want to do to pat yourself on the back for accomplishing good in your life.

Now back to thinking what I can resolve to do this year…  I think eating chocolate will be on the list.  I’ll ace that.  🙂