Monday, March 30, 2009

Journey of a Wigglebean

Super Bowl Sunday, February 1, 2009:
One day late. Not convinced as all evidence (save the tardiness of my monthly friend) pointed to yet another month of trying. I needed to run to the store to grab snacks and beverages for our annual gathering of football lovers, so I grabbed my 19 month old, and off to Wal-Mart we went. (Side note: I hate going to Wal-Mart unless it's before 8:00 am. Otherwise it's a frenzy of moms, children and shopping carts, long lines at the 3 open registers out of the 50 that exist, and gum stuck to every square inch of parking lot space.)
7:30 am - We arrive at Wal-Mart. I securely buckle my son into the shopping cart, and begin our trek into Super Bowl snack heaven. As my cart begins to fill with all the fixin's for hearty chili and beer, I decide to make a detour to the pharmacy for an EPT. Son, snacks, beer and EPT in cart, I've gathered all I need - ghetto style.
8:30 am - Return home. Greet sleepy husband. Begin delicious chili. Eveball the EPT... I think to myself, "Don't think about it..." Continue chili-making... Eyeball EPT...
9:00 am - Quietly steal away to the bathroom. Pee on stick and place gently on sink... Walk away.. walk away... walk away... But, I "accidently" peek at results window just as I'm turning off the bathroom light, and just as a second line is beginning to appear.

9:02 am - Contain excitement and just repeat to self: "Don't think about it.... Don't think about it...WOOHOO!!! Don't think about it..."
9:03 am - Supposed to wait 5 minutes. Can no longer stand the wait, so I eagerly enter bathroom, grab EPT and stare at results window.
9:03 + 30 seconds am - Jump and leap into living room where husband is enjoying a quiet cup of coffee. Scream at him, "WE'RE HAVING A BABY! WE'RE HAVING A BABY!" in between tears and jumping... He looks at me as though he is thinking, "Suspicions confirmed. My wife needs a straight jacket and a rubber room." I wave the EPT at him and try to say calmly (which still comes out as a scream), "WE'RE PREGNANT!!!!" The lightbulb goes off. He jumps off the couch into my arms saying, "Really?? Really??" All the while Jeffrey is staring at us wondering why his parents have gone loopy. Scott and I hug and as I'm bawling, I look at Jeffrey and say, "You're going to be a big brother!" Jeffrey has no idea what I just said, but sensing that it's something really great, he starts jumping up and down and clapping his hands.

Friday, February 6, 2009:
Cramping all week... Begin to experience some spotting (bleeding). Worried, I call my doctor. Message left... Wait... Wait... Wait...
9:08 am - A few minutes late to a meeting with boss and co-worker. Trying to keep my composure. I mention that I am expecting an important phone call and apologize ahead of time if I need to step out. Boss senses something is afoul.
9:30 am - Cell phone rings. I excuse myself from meeting. I explained to the nurse what was happening, and she tells me I need to come in to see the doctor. Appointment at 1:00 pm. Hang up. Take a deep breath. Return to meeting.
10:00 am - Meeting adjourns. Boss holds me back and asks if everything is ok. I tell him no... trying to hold in the tears. I repeat the story, and he prays for me. Grateful for prayer, I try to resume a normal day.
Noon - Scott and I head for Newberg to meet with my doctor. Mixed emotions... Trying not to fall apart...
1:00 pm - Enter Doc's office. Doc listens then performs pelvic exam. Comments, "This isn't good..." Then performs t/v ultrasound (which is a violation in itself!) and searches... Empty gestational sac appears irregular. Yolk appears regular. Doc comments that irregular gestational sac could be problematic. It's too early (4 weeks) to see a fetal pole or heartbeat. He requests blood tests (to test for hormone levels). He explains that hormones should double in about 2 days, and requests we return on Sunday for follow up test. If hormones don't rise, or worse, if they decline, a miscarriage is imminent. If hormones double, that's a great sign. If they rise just a little bit, we'll need to wait and see.
2:30 pm - Leave doctor's office feeling a bit numb and sad...
4:16 pm - Send update email to closest friends and prayer warriors. Ask for prayer.
6:00 pm - Arrive at Bible Study and fall apart.

Weekend seems really long. But... feeling encouraged.

Sunday, February 8, 2009 - Head back to Newberg for follow up blood test. Seems like a good morning. Had spent some time in prayer the night before and morning, and felt encouraged and peaceful.

Monday, February 9, 2009 - Midwife calls with results from blood test.
9:57 am - Send email to friends:

Just got off the phone with my midwife. News is bleak. My HCG levels went from 17582 on Friday to only 24495 on Sunday. We would have liked to see them closer to 35000. This is exactly what Dr. Johnson warned us about on Friday…. Unfortunately, this tells us very little. It doesn’t necessarily give us enough information to tell whether or not the pregnancy will continue. It does, however, tell us that a miscarriage is more possible.

So, we scheduled another ultrasound for this Thursday. This should give us a pretty definite answer one way or the other. Of course, we will be praying for the good news that the baby is developing well and we’re headed in the right direction. The bad news would be that the baby isn’t developing as it should and the ultrasound would indicate that a miscarriage is imminent. Even worse, it wouldn’t tell us when it would happen. My body could decide at any time – a day, a week… a month… There are “options”, I was told, but, obviously, unless there were life-threatening reasons, we reject all other options than just allowing my body to naturally go through whatever process it needs to go through.

I’ve been struggling with how to pray about this. On the one hand, I’m selfish and I want God to spare my baby and make everything peachy. On the other hand, if it’s God’s will to end the pregnancy, then I want to freely open my hands and surrender all that I have to Him – including my baby. So, I’ll just ask that you pray for God’s will to be done, that the ultrasound on Thursday would give us a distinct answer, and that between now and then we would be comforted by the peace which surpasses all understanding.

February 9-12, 2009
Days are difficult. Nights are even worse. I pray fervently that God would speak but He remains silent. My emotions are all over the place. I'm grateful for having been a part of this... but I'm distraught that what we've been waiting and praying for could be taken from us. Scott and I have a lot of great conversations during this time. He reminds me of who I am in Jesus and helps me put words to what I'm feeling. It's hard to explain, but I did feel a peace during this time. God was definitely present with me, albeit silent.
February 12, 2009, 11:30 am - Follow up t/v ultrasound. Between deep breaths, my name is called. Scott and I enter the dark exam room filled with huge equipment. This is serious technology! The technician excuses herself while I prepare for the exam... I sit on the edge of the exam table and ask God to meet me here. He tells me in a very clear voice, "All that you have is mine." I felt His presence in a very real way and He reminds me that this isn't about me. It's about Him. He told me, "Trust me." I felt a loving arm around me and my soul rests for the first time in 2 weeks. And I released the grip, and opened my hands. I didn't feel encouraged that everything would turn out my way, but it didn't matter anymore. I knew that God was in control and with me. In fact, I actually felt strongly that we would see nothing and that I would, in fact, miscarry. And it was totally ok. The technician entered and began the procedure.
11:50 am - Technician explains what we're seeing... (I'll spare you the details.) Very interesting... I've seen places on my body I didn't even know I had places! And then... we see the uterus... and a gestational sac... and seconds later we see a tiny fetal pole and beating heart!

The creation of a baby is the most amazing thing. Before there is anything that phsically resembles a human, we see a beating heart... The body - the head, the hands, the feet, every other organ - develops around this little beating heart. 5 weeks... a beating heart. Amazing.

We left our appointment, and you'd think I would be feeling excited and encouraged. But... I didn't. I felt like this was just the beginning of this journey. God's words were ringing in my ears, "All that you have is mine...." It's so true. God giveth. He taketh away. Who am I to question His motives? I just knew that I needed to walk with open hands, so held very loosely on to this baby.

12:56 pm - Send email update to friends and prayer warriors:

The only thing that really comes to mind at this moment is "Thank you, Jesus!"

Last night, I was laying in bed and I heard "Psalm 138"... So I turned my bedside lamp on, and flipped there. Psalm 138:3 says, "In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul." Verse 7, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will revive me..." This morning, as we were preparing for whatever news would come our way, I just felt Jesus' arms around me. I felt bold and revived. I was ready for whatever we would see or not see.

Friends, I am thrilled to report that today we saw a tiny little heartbeat - beating at 111 tiny beats per minute. Our baby is .46 mm... a little grain of rice - just exactly the size he/she should be at 6 weeks. I actually was not prepared for that... I was prepared to see an empty sac. The likelihood of a miscarriage has drastically decreased. Our baby is due October 10th.

Praise God! I'm grateful for these last couple of weeks as it has just, once again, reminded me of my need for a Savior. And I am grateful for the boldness He provides in times like these.

I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your prayers and hugs, as well. I wonder if the outcome would be different without them.

The report of today's ultrasound is being reviewed by "the experts", as they may see something different than what the tech saw today. My midwife will be giving me a call later... I'll let you know if there is anything to be praying for.

But for today, will you praise God with me? He is faithful and good.

I'm reminded of "I Surrender All"...
All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all,
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel Thy Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power,
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Now I feel the sacred flame.
Oh, the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory to His name!

Friday, February 27, 2009, 2:00 pm - Began spotting... more heavily this time. I just shook my head in somewhat disbelief thinking, "Ok... here we go..." I called the doc's office and let them know the scoop. They asked me to come in at 4:20 for another ultrasound.

Asked another pregnant friend (who didn't know what all has happened) to come see me in my office. I told her I was pregnant again... She celebrated with me. Then I told her what had happened in the past and she mourned with me. Then I told her that it turned out ok and we saw the heartbeat, and she celebrated with me. Then I told her about the bleeding and she prayed and cried with me. Thank you, Jesus, for such great friends.

4:20 pm - Ultrasound performed. Baby is doing just great. Heartbeat is strong. The cause of bleeding is determined to be a subchorionic hemorrhage - where basically a blood vessel breaks just outside the placenta and, thus, causes some bleeding and pooling. Not "normal", but not unusual. I explain that I haven't really felt excited due to all the issues we've been experiencing. Doc tells me, "It's ok to pray for the outcome you want..." and follows with, "I'm VERY encouraged about this pregnancy..." Some excitement returns... Doc prints out picture of baby that makes me smile.

February 28-March 25, 2009 - Pregnancy is uneventful, aside from constant nausea and gagging... Coffee smells like sewer. Headaches every day. Sleeping is already a problem. I'm told that second pregnancies come with all kinds of fun stuff from showing earlier (see, your body remembers... and because the first pregnancy forever changed your muscle structure), to more cramps, to fatigue and a ton of other symptoms. This is new to me. My pregnancy with Jeffrey was wonderful. I had a ton of energy. I felt great (minus the nausea and gagging during the first trimester). I've never in my life felt so exhausted. All the time. The weeks just take it out of me - trying to work full time, chase a toddler around all evening, take care of a home and my husband. The weekends come and I just lay on the couch the entire 2 days. I take naps! Wha?? I've never been a napper. Ever. Naps are little morsels of heaven from the hands of Jesus himself. I crave pineapple, milk and (lately) apples. Oh, and bacon. But that's not unusual. I always crave bacon and fear I always will. But, I did discover (somewhat by accident) that bacon and chocolate make a great pair. Now, before you throw up a little in your mouth, just trust me on this. Savory and sweet... Professional chefs do it all the time, I have learned. Try it. You'll like it. Especially if you love bacon and chocolate, not necessarily in that order.

March 27, 2009, Noon - Hubby and I head to Portland (Providence St. Vincent's) for genetic counseling. Not that we think we need it, but really because our insurance covers it and it will (hopefully) give us peace of mind... not to mention another ultrasound... and lunch in Portland which is always better than lunch in Salem. I had to fill out some paperwork and answer questions about family history. When it asks about my general health, I wrote, "FAIR/Good". Then there were some questions about Scott and his family history. When it asked about his general health I wrote, "FAT". We laughed a lot. Then I changed it to "FAIR/GOOD".

12:30 pm - We finally get called (30 minutes late) to see our counselor. (Scott does a great impression of our geneticist...) We walk through our family history... and talk about things we never thought mattered, which, it turns out, they don't. Scott told her that I wrote "FAT" under his general health... We all laughed. I got my finger poked for some blood samples. And then we were shooed across the hall to the ultrasound room - another dark room filled with huge equipment.

Our tech walked in and we immediately loved him. He had a twinkle in his eye that told us he's a funny guy. So, sure enough, as we Matkoviches tend to do, we start bantering back and forth and having a great time. The tech loved it...he joined in... A lot of laughs that day. He performed the ultrasound (a real one this time, not a t/v ultrasound, which, as I mentioned, is a violation. Seriously.). Our baby has developed quite a bit in a month. He/She looks like a baby... And was very wiggly. The tech was trying to get a measurement of the back of the neck (a little section that, if swollen or enlarged, will increase the likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities), but baby was just flipping this way and that, back and forth, and then, WHOOPS, arms and legs over the head, and back again. It took him about 15 minutes to get the measurement, on which he commented, "The neck looks great." There's a sentence I thought I'd never hear.... It was great to see our Wigglebean so lively. I hope this is not an indication of what's to come.

Excitement returns.

We're so thrilled about adding to our family. Jeffrey points to my belly every day and says, "Baby!" He's excited too.

For those of you who have been walking with us during this up and down journey, thank you. We've felt your prayers and are grateful for the tears you have shed with us. We're finding our community.

Stories sure to come...

Friday, March 27, 2009

The sweetest things

This morning around 3:00 am, I heard through the monitor a soft call, "Mommy...." *pause*, "Mommy..." *pause*...

Usually, I don't get up. Jeffrey is really good about working out whatever is bothering him at night. And I can tell if he's crying because he's scared and lonely, or if for something else that doesn't necessarily require my attention.

But this was different. He hardly uses my name. More out of curiosity I had to go see him.

I opened the door to his room. As the soft light from the office filtered in, I saw him laying quietly on his side with his arm hanging out of his crib. He saw me. I just said gently, "What's going on in here?"

He pointed to the floor and said, "Kee-kee." (That's his name for "binky".) It had fallen to the floor.

I picked it up, placed it in his hand, covered him up with his blanket and pet his head. He fell right back to sleep.

I love these precious moments. He didn't feel the need to cry or scream out... He just knew that I would come if he called to me quietly. I pray I never forget that sweet tone of his voice, "Mommy.... mommy...."

Thursday, March 12, 2009


One of the funniest things ever is when someone's nose whistles. A few months back, Scott and I had just snuggled into bed for the night. All was quiet... when out of the silence came this faint "weeeeeeee" with each breath. So, he sniffed to try to make it go away. It just made it louder. "Weeeeeee....", inhale, "weeeeeeeeee", inhale.... Cracked us up.

I somehow caught yet another cold this season. That makes about 10 this winter alone. (Gotta love petri-dish kids.) I was all stubbed ub last night and this morning. On the way to work, I blew my nose. Because my sinuses are so stuffy, instead of a hearty blow, we heard a loud whistle, "WEEEEEEEE" and when I stopped blowing, it was following by a much softer echo, "weeeeeee". I looked at Scott. We just smiled at each other. So, I blew again. Again, "WEEEEEEEEE"... pause... "weeeeeee". We giggled. Again, "WEEEEEEEEEEE"... pause... "weeeeeee"... We just cracked up.

Why is that so funny? It's actually a little gross when you think about it. But there's something just inately funny about bodily noises. We all laugh at them. I just think the nose whistle is up near the top of list.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Random Love Affairs

Love Affair #1
I love coffee mugs. I'm not a fan of the little weenie mugs that typically come with your 20-piece dinnerware set. (You really just buy those for the dinner plates, bowls and salad plates. But, lucky you, you get the bonus cups and saucers. Seriously... Who uses saucers anymore?) I love fat mugs. Fat as in "big." (Not "phat", for all you younguns.) Ya know the kind of mug that you don't have to refill 4 times to get your fix. Just one big ol' mug. I like that a lot.

I decided a couple of months ago that I needed to, once again, kick the caffeine habit. I've done this too many times to count; at least 8 times in less than a year. Part of that was the result of the quarterly budget review when we discovered that, on average, we spend around $90 a month at Starbucks. ($40 in one week on vacation.) Ouch. For Christmas, our "to us, from us" gift was a fancy schmancy espresso maker. Thanks to our friend who works for Starbucks, we were able to pick up a $600 machine for $180. (That was 50% off the machine on sale, plus the employee discount, plus the $40 we got off by buying $200 worth of Starbucks gift cards at Costco for $160. We actually only paid $160 for the machine, and gave our friend a $20 tip.) But, even then, realizing that I was brewing up 3-4 shots of espresso each morning, I thought, yeah, it's probably time to give it up... again. I'm going on 2 months without so much as a sip of coffee. (Well, ok... actually I picked up a Frappuccino from the corner market the other day, which I quickly discovered was a mistake once the tummyache kicked in.) I believe I have kicked the habit. For now.

Nonetheless, I love my fat coffee mug. I use it for tea and ice water. Currently, I'm enjoying a diet 7-up. It's attractive. It's stylish. It rocks the logo of my previous employer (which is actually a pretty nifty logo, and comes with a ton of hilarious memories of the once-marketing & sales manager and all of our road trips to various homebuilder associations and the crazy music we'd listen to on the way). I love my mug.

Love Affair #2
I also love St. Patty's Day. I don't really know why. I pump a tad o'Irish blood in my veins, but probably not enough to really brag about. (My maternal grandfather's family name was Greene... He was pretty much hash, too, but we do know there is some Irish in there somewhere.) I fell in love with St. Patty's Day when I lived in Billings, MT of all places. (Billings is a neat place for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which is because they find things to celebrate all the time. Seriously. There is ALWAYS something happening in Billings. 130,000 residents celebrate whatever they can celebrate. They'll celebrate nothing. It makes no difference.) They have a St. Patty's Day parade every year through the center of downtown, complete with bagpipers and dancers, etc. After the parade, the bagpipers visit all the taverns... From about 11:00 am until midnight, you'll hear them somewhere in the city. Typically, I worked the day of the parade (because I worked for large tax firm, and St. Patty's Day always falls at the height of tax season), but we'd all head down to the streets to watch the parade, enjoy some lunch, and often I'd take off early to belly up at Tiny's Tavern waiting for the Bag Pipers to join us. They'd squish in amongst us, rock the joint, and we'd all pitch in to buy them all a pint. Them's some good times. Then, later, we'd head to Pug Mahon's - the lone Irish Pub in town - for the real party. Seriously, some of the most fun times there. (By the way, Pug Mahon's got its name from the Gaelic "pog mo thoin" which means "kiss my..." um... back side.)

If you ever make it to Billings, ya gotta eat at Pug's. They have an INCREDIBLE breakfast menu, for super reasonable prices (particularly for the amount of food you get). Lunch and dinner is equally delicious. Worth the trip. Trust me.

I've long since left Billings, but I love St. Patty's Day still. Every year, with or without company, I cook up an Irish feast of corned beef and cabbage, potatoes (can't have an Irish meal without some sort of potato dish) and Guinness. This year, I'm baking a chocolate cake made with Guinness for dessert. Probably not so much "authentic" Irish. But, who cares? Yum. I look forward to this about as much as I look forward to Oktoberfest. With much joy, we'll be entertaining some close friends for St. Patty's Day (thanks to a quick schedule change on their part). I can't wait.

Love Affair #3
I love pajamas and bare feet. If I could go through my day in pajamas, I would. My mother-in-law buys me the cutest jammies every year for Christmas. Always so soft and comfy. My favorites are these red jammies - long sleeved, v-neck top and draw string loose pants. I don't care for elastic waist bands. I prefer draw-string cuz you can make them as loose or as tight as you want. The first thing I do when I get home is kick off my shoes and socks, and change into comfy PJ's. Love them.

Love Affair #4
Costco sells the biggest and sweetest grapefruit on the planet. They're bigger than softballs, and as sweet as an orange. I have memories of my grandparents eating grapefruit and coffee every morning. I never understood that. Grapefruits were always so tart that unless I smothered them in an inch of sugar, I couldn't stand them. Yuck. A few years back, my grapefruit loving husband (who LOVES sour/tart) discovered these 10 pound bags of grapefruit at Costco. He went on and on about how sweet they were. I never believed him... until I finally drummed up the nerve to ask him for a bite. Good Lord in Heaven, Creator of all things delicious, I was instantly converted. I still am not a fan of grapefruit. That is, unless they come from Costco (and only certain times of the year). They are simply the best. And I love them.

Love Affair #5
Lately, I haven't been much of a morning person. Well... by "lately" I mean since the birth of our son (some 20 months ago). I really miss getting up at 5:00 in the morning. Actually, let me qualify that by saying I miss getting up at 5:00 in the morning in spring, summer and early fall. (See, I hibernate in the winter. I hate cold, rainy and wet. Cold and dry, great. Cold and sunny, even better. Cold and rainy sucks.) This is when I get to garden. I love to garden. Now, when I say I love to garden, I'm not sure that conveys the true passion and need to garden. I LOVE to garden. I love to garden in the same way Annie loves to run, Chef Ramsey loves to yell at people, and Scott loves to use big words that no one understands. I love, love, love to garden. Truly. I love getting up before 95% of the rest of the world and getting my hands into the earth, tilling up the soil, breathing in the fresh air, listening to the stillness in the morning air and the world as it awakens to a new day. I love finding Praying Mantis on my hydrangeas, and killing slugs. I love dead-heading all the spent blooms, and fertilizing in anticipation of new, bigger blooms. This, to me, is a form of worship. It's where I get alone with my Creator, in His creation. We talk. I listen. I sing. Sometimes I cry. But always, I feel a deep sense of joy and contentment. I get lost in time... I could easily spend an entire day in my yard if left uninterrupted. It's after a day in the garden when I'm at my very best. I'm renewed, refreshed and restored. I can sit back and look at what God and I accomplished together and say, "Yeah... that's good." Few things make me feel as happy as I feel when I'm alone in my garden.

This year, I'm looking forward to having a little helper. Jeffrey was given his own little garden tote so that he can help mommy in the garden. Last year, that didn't work out so well. (He was too little and wanted to eat everything he got his hands on, including the slugs.) But, this year, he's older and wiser, and can be relatively trusted to not put such things in his mouth. I'm looking forward to passing on my love for gardening to my son. We're going to grow herbs and tomatoes, and maybe a few other veggies so he, too, can be proud of what he's accomplished in the garden.

I've been watching with great anticipation as spring slowly arrives the bulbs that I planted last year begin sprouting from the ground. This will be the first year I have spring flowers in my front yard. My forsythia hedges are already beginning to bloom their beautiful tiny yellow flowers, and the buds on my cherry blossom are becoming more pronounced. Life is returning to the desolate yard of winter, and I welcome it with open arms. I'll be transplanting and dividing some Shasta Daisies this year, and will likely transplant my tiny Star Magnolia to a place it will grow and thrive... We'll build some planter boxes for my herbs and veggies. I'll visit my favorite local nurseries (Egans and Terra Gardens) for the annuals I'll be planting in all my hanging planters and colorful pots. Hopefully we can afford new mulch and some rich soil to spread around. Watering, fertilizing, weeding, tilling, pruning, clipping, mulching... I love it all.

I have many other loves, but those are the ones that are tugging my heart strings today.