Sunday, December 7, 2014

My Miscarriage Story

 The things people do not tell you could kill you.  The things they do tell you could heal you.

The Natural Disaster

I feel like my doctor’s office should have sent me home with some reading material on what a miscarriage should and should not be like.   I was left to the internet, which was very vague.  Everywhere websites said it would be like a heavy period, which might last one to two weeks.  This is how I had prepared myself.  It seemed to be going that way. 

The third day, to put it politely, I started bleeding a lot.  I thought, “I don’t know maybe this is what it’s like.”  Maybe this is the big event that happens.  I had very strong, labor-like, cramping, and a lot of bleeding.  It ran down my pants and seemed to be getting stronger.  Finally, I called on a friend who is a nurse practitioner.  I was calling more because I wanted more knowledge about what was going to happen.  I asked her how much bleeding was too much.  But by then it was getting scary.  She informed me I needed to get to an ER quickly.

My mom was visiting so she drove me to the ER and a friend took my children.  The ER was able to help me quickly enough.  I received IV fluids and went home.  I was wiped out for the next few days.  I still tire easily.  But, if I had not had a friend with medical training and whom I felt comfortable calling, things could have gone very badly.  I feel totally abandoned by those who were supposed to care for my health.  My doctor’s office is difficult to even get on the phone.  If only there had been a pamphlet for me to take home to help me know what’s normal, what’s not and explain my options.

So my takeaway for other women facing miscarriage is to ask for reading material, because you probably will not know what questions to even ask.  Then read it right away and call your doctor with any questions you might have.  Do not be afraid to be a bother?  Do not be afraid to ask dumb questions?

The Miscarriage Sisterhood 

In the past when I have met women who experienced miscarriages I have given my condolences, but I never linger on the topic.  I know it is painful and I wish not to trouble them.  For me it was the same.  I told my friends and immediately told them I did not want to talk about it.  It just made me feel too raw to talk about it.

But a funny thing happened this week.  Women started sharing with me about their own miscarriages.  For some reason while talking to these women I did not feel so terrible.  Likewise, they did not seem to struggle with it either.  Another friend shared that every time she shares with a woman facing miscarriage she feels a small sense of healing in herself.  I felt as strong as ever talking to these women.  It was very comforting and healing to see life and strength after loss.

I think it is healing to share with someone you know has gone through it.  Every story is different, with the same end--loss and grief.  Sharing the miscarriage stories is a little bit like sharing birth stories.  I think women feel solace in sharing birth stories as well.  It is something deeply connected to who we are and our womanhood.  Unfortunately, now I am a part of a new sisterhood.

 Looking for Sense in the Senseless 

Lately, I am the saddest (distraught and pained beyond measure), when I try to make sense of it.  I keep asking God why this happened.  I keep searching for signs why He would not want us to have a child now.  I’m always looking for signs from God.  My own answers make no sense.  There is no sense in this.  It all just feels like happenstance--like there is no hand of God.  That is why this is all so troubling. 

I pray a prayer every morning that says, “In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You.”  There are no accidents; God makes no mistakes.  Then I remember that God is good.  So what awful thing did He protect us from in this event?  I keep searching to find God’s hand and I only become sadder, because I neither see Him nor want God to have brought this upon us.

Perhaps this event was bound to happen in this fallen world, yet He cared for me through my loss in ways that cannot be quantified.  I look at the timing of our loss.  I see how fortunate it was that it happened last week and not in the coming week when I would be traveling.  I see how fortunate I am in my friends and family, in the love and care they have given to us.  I see a lot of silver linings. 

I have to stop asking why.  I have to stop searching for meaning, because miscarriage is senseless.  I can only move forward and live.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Our fifth baby has passed on.  I immediately told myself that this baby was never really mine.  All of us belong to the Creator.  "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away."  I wanted to be okay about it, and for the most part I am.  But, I was surprised by grief.

When my brother died my grief was present and overpowering all the time for weeks.  Then it began to subside.  Especially as I gained closure.

I tried to be stoic.  I wanted to be stoic, but with the loss of this child, grief came in waves.  All the time for the first couple days.  But after I scheduled a D & C, I felt a great sense of peace and closure (fortunately, I don't have to have the D&C after all).  Now grief only sneaks up on me in my solitude.

At first I did not feel like eating all day.  Then when I finally did eat, it was like the food had no flavor at all.   That was the same when my brother died.  As soon as I tasted the food and it had no flavor, I realized this must be grief.  It tastes the same--flavorless and bitter.

I told the children. Alex and Kristiana immediately burst into tears.  They really wanted a new sibling.  Fortunately, I think children can process their grief quickly because they live in the moment.  Andrew and I really wanted this baby too.  We wanted this baby more than we realized.

I went through all the emotions denial (I was in denial that I was in denial), grief, anger, acceptance.  I was pretty angry for two reasons.  I felt like Nature's fool.  I only learned of the loss at my first prenatal appointment.  It was supposed to be an appointment full of joy.  I had prepared myself to see a little figure with a beautiful little heart beat.  I felt like I should have known it wasn't going as planned.  I also thought that miscarriage was usually associated with signs like cramping and bleeding.  There were no signs.  My hope in this child was great.  (But I feel like that is needed.  A child needs his mother to believe in him and hope for him.)

There was one sign.  Do you ever get the feeling like something you expect in the future will not happen?  Part of me did have that feeling this time.  Anytime I have trouble envisioning the future, I worry that it's because God has not ordained it to happen.  I had that feeling about my brother.  He was to go to a new university in the fall, but I had a feeling it wasn't going to happen.  I had trouble envisioning him there.  I immediately connected my feelings once he died.  In later years though, I told myself that I felt that way because no one can predict the future.  Technically, no one has a future until one gets there and then it is already your present.  Now that it has happened to me again in much the same way.  Perhaps there is something to it.

The second way I felt angry was that everyday I prayed and told the baby to grow, and he did not.  The child did not obey his mama.  They never do, do they?  So we had to say goodbye.  Alex had given the baby a name.  So that is the name he will pass away with--goodbye, Xavier Thomas Clayton.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

If You Want to Keep A Secret...

...Don't tell your kids.

I'm 7 weeks pregnant.  I'm not too secretive about this fact.  I feel awesome about it, hopeful and so full of life.  It's actually a really difficult thing to keep under wraps.  

Our children know I'm pregnant.  They are pretty happy and excited about it.  Our son said, "I want a brother, but if it's a girl I want her to be as sweet as Lucy."  Awe.  It's his way of saying Lucy's a nice sister.

I think I have underestimated how big this news is to the children.  I hardly think about it.  Sometimes I wonder if everything is going well, because I have only the occasional symptom.  However, every time we go out in public the children start telling every stranger they meet, "My mom's pregnant!"  

I've asked them not to do that.  Like I said, I'm not secretive about this, but I really don't feel like striking up a conversation about my pregnancy with strangers.  But, it occurred to me after this happened four times in a row with me correcting along the way, they must really be excited. Having a new brother or sister is in the fore front of their minds.

It's really quite sweet.  They pray for the new baby everyday.  I'm not ashamed about this, so I am really going to have to stop being embarrassed when they tell strangers. 

Friday, October 31, 2014


I decided to have an impromptu painting day to teach the kids about mixing colors.  So I printed a color wheel off the internet (I love technology) and pulled out the red, blue and yellow paint.  All went well until Annie (4) said she was going wash her hands.  Later, I discovered she first painted the bathroom with her hands.  I told her that this is why I often say no when she asks to paint.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Annie's Fourth Year

Well, I thought I would blog about Annie's birthday, but I decided to make a movie instead. Annie likes to feel special.  So I thought a movie was due.

On Annie's birthday I gave her a birthday gift early.  It was a Hello Kitty tee shirt, so she could wear it all day.

Then we worked on a shortened day of home school, so that we could go to the zoo.  It was a perfect visit to the zoo.

We spent the morning at the zoo.  Went home and had lunch and a short rest.  A little while later a couple friends came over for cake, painting and presents.

I drew Hello Kitty pictures for all the kids to paint, but I did not take pictures of them before the tots turned them into muddy messes.  However, Kristiana, painted hers neatly. 

Birthday Magic

Alex made Annie a Lego present.  Whenever there is a celebration Alex makes Lego presents.  However, he did not give it to her.  He carried it around for days and showed everyone what he had made. He was pretty proud of it.

Mno Hiya Lita!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

One Ordinary Morning

Higgle Wiggle

First thing after breakfast all the children went the back yard to play.  In the yard, the baby pool was full of water from another day’s play.  The kids reached in and splashed a bit.  Then Annie, who is almost 4, ran to the porch and told me she wanted to swim.  There was a swimsuit on the patio table that had been left there to dry.  She pointed at it when she asked to swim.  I grabbed it and quickly slipped it onto her.  After a few seconds Annie began to wiggle and scream as a nickel sized spider crawled out of the suit onto her breast.  I tried to help her brushing the spider away.  But it’s sticky silk prevented us from getting it off immediately.  It bounced from breast to arm, to leg, to leg, to leg, and then to toes where she danced on it lightly and then it bit her toe.  The spider made a dash for the grass where it vanished.  Annie, of course, was traumatized at the hairy, scary, tickly attack.  She no longer wanted to swim.  The thought of getting into a different swimsuit had no appeal as she explained there were definitely spiders in the pool as well.

The Child Philosopher

Later as we made our way through home school lessons my son had an existential moment.  He paused from his work, his face became long and he looked as though the weight of the world were pressing down upon him and indeed it had.  He said, “Sometimes I wonder what I am doing here.  Is the world an illusion?  Is God real?  Why doesn’t he answer me?  Why doesn’t he tell in words that this world is real?”

I played Socrates and started asking him “the questions,”
            “What about this world would make you think this world is an illusion?  What are some things that indicate that this world is real?”

He began to talk about God some more without answering my questions.  So I talk to him about how God talks to us—in silence, in signs, in our humiliation and devotion.  I talked to him about seeing the signs of God.

These are questions men have been asking for ages, son.  It’s just not usual to start pondering this all when you’re just shy of eight years old.  I guess he takes after his father and grandfather.  I know the path you should take in this world, son.  Now where should I start with such a young philosopher?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Comforting Big Baby

Sometimes when the girls are grumpy, whining or throwing fits, I ask them if they want to play big baby.  I swaddle them in a blanket; feed them a cup of milk; and then rock them a while.  Today, during home school I wrapped up my big babies; set them in their cradles and gave them stories to read.  This lasted about 20 minutes.  It was worth the time with the other children.

French Binge

A few weeks ago I had a Franco-American book binge.  I read Bringing Up Bebe and French Women Don't Get Fat.  Bringing Up Bebe was interesting.  But, I didn't really learn anything that made me radically change my parenting style.  Mainly, I took away to not take crap behavior from the kids.  I decided to tighten up on my discipline--make it clear cut and clean.  Seems like everyone needs to do that every once in a while, especially after a summer of watching T.V.

I learned almost nothing from French Women Don't Get Fat.  That's not to say there are not tips that could improve the lives of poor eaters.  However, I simply learned nothing new--nothing I did not already know.  It was a little bit of a bore to me.

But, there is one thing that I really enjoyed during my time reading the books.  I started drinking a petite glass of red wine every afternoon and a small piece of cheese.  During those weeks I felt a lot more relaxed about life.  I felt this way not because I was feeling the effects of the alcohol.  It really was not that much wine.  But, the flavor sensations of the wine and cheese were lovely and relaxing.  And I knew the whole day prior that I had this lovely little snack to look forward to.

I drank a bottle of wine a week.  Alas, this became too expensive of a snack.  A decent wine is at the very least $10.00.  A $10.00 snack for one person is too much, not to mention the cheese.  It was a nice ride maybe someday I will have money enough to continue this day break.

Mno Hiya Lita!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Chore Tags

I attribute our relatively smooth home school days for the past two weeks, and free time for myself to our new chore tags, and parental, no nonsense attitudes.  We have been able to be especially no nonsense, because we have the chore tags to back us up.  Next step: manners tags.

Last spring I came up with this idea to make these laminated chore tags on rings, but it took me a long time to put them into action. 

First, I spent a week thinking up all the things my children need to do in a day.
Then I spent weeks upon weeks formatting, downloading clipart, and purchasing supplies (lamination pouches and book rings). It took me a few weeks to convince myself that this is something I wanted to spend money on.

Then it took me a week to print, cut, laminate and assemble.  There are over 100 tags.  It breaks down to about 30 cards per kid.  We also have weekly card like dusting, sheets and bathrooms.

Why I did it: 

One should not need cute little cards to do the simple things one needs to do in a day.  I should not have to repeat myself over and over, brush your teeth, wash yourself, pick up after yourself. However, all I do all day is bark orders at the children.  They don't do what they are told.  Then in despair I give up and do it myself.

So I put it in simple pictures and black and white.  Now they know what I expect done.  Now they know how to take care of themselves.  It's like a scavenger hunt. 

Suddenly, our house is generally neat, tidy--dare I say, clean--and I have free time.  In the past couple weeks I've read books, taken naps and prayed in the afternoon hours. 

(Lucy loves helping the most)

Next, I plan to make manners tags, because I constantly have to correct behavior.  Perhaps, if they can see it in black and white, it will finally click and they will exhibit proper behavior.  Wish me luck.  It will take me weeks to format, find pictures, print and spend the money on these tags.  I plan to make it like a game.  On one side of the card list a scenario, and on the other side proper manners.  I might have to draw the images myself.  I have about 40 manners in mind at the moment.  But, perhaps if they see the effort I have put into their manners, they will care too.

Mno hiya Lyta!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Because We're Happy

I'm not going to say that I am bad at getting pictures of the children.  It's really that the children are bad at getting ready in good time to take darling photos.

And really as cute as those "first day photos" are, I find myself rolling my eyes at them a little.  They bother me: the perfectly coifed children holding the perfect, little slate, with "first day of school, X grade" written in pretty cursive.

I'm just one to want to live in the moment and relish it as it is and not because I'm going to take the perfectly posed keepsake photo during that moment.  It kind of makes life feel forced.  I guess if I'm going to take a picture I want it to be natural and photos almost never are.

First Day of Home School Co-op

I would have liked to have a picture of all my children dressed neatly in their Co-op uniforms.  But, it just did not happen, because they were all busy having a great time meeting with there friends and learning new things.  I took a couple posed pictures, but their with other children and I do not feel right posting them without parental permission.

We made a model of the layers of the earth at Co-op

Claytonopolis School

Our first week of school was very smooth.  I made chore cards for each child to carry around.  I made cards for morning, noon and night.  We have done pretty well learning morning and noon chores, which made our home school day go very smoothly.  We have not begun the night chores yet.  I figure those will come in time.  The chore cards have helped because both the children and I know what they ought to be doing at all times.  If something is left undone, we all know it.

After working all summer, we decided to begin Kristiana on first grade material.  I was a little skeptical as to whether she could do it, especially in spelling.  But, she performed like a star the first week.  She even impressed me by proving she could write her very long name.

The second week she is having a little trouble wanting to finish all the work.  My solution, give her a big long play break; and of course, she can have no T.V. or media time unless the school work is done.

Annie, has enjoyed some preschool time too.  She wants to do what Kristiana is doing, which Kristian never wanted to do what Alex was doing.  Annie has also spent lots of contemplative time with our preschool manipulative.

Lucy does her own things and almost never bothers us.  We're super lucky with this baby--going on big girl.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Making of a Passport Photo

I am totally amused at the making of my passport photo:

-two side tables
-three table lamps
-one child sized chair
-poster board
-masking tape
-three giggling kids
-one pseudo-photographer husband

We ended up having to get our five year old daughter to crouch behind my chair holding a lamp behind my head so there was no shadow behind.

What amuses me so is these two photographs are the same picture, same moment.
One is chaos, the other peaceful.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


We went to see the Cataldo Mission one Sunday after Liturgy.  It's the oldest building structure in Idaho.  It was built by the Jesuit missionaries between 1850-1853 for the Coeur d'Alene tribe.  It was built in the Italian style.  All of it was handcrafted.  Wood was carved and painted to look like marble.      The paintings were hand painted. The candle holders and chandeliers were carved out of tin cans.  This place was clearly created by people with great devotion and reverence.

Mno Hiya Lita!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Just One

It's been a busy week of swim lessons and home school.

The kids have swims lessons each morning Monday through Friday, and we stay in the pool extra time for fun.  I believe it has tired them out.  My son professed he is actually burnt out on swimming.

On the other hand, Annie began the week crying through her swim lessons and now she smiles through them.  Her teacher was very patient about her crying.  She did not baby Annie.  She only reassured her.  The teacher also made Annie do all the swimming activities even though she crying.  Annie finally realized she was just going to have to suck it up, because she wasn't getting out of it.

For the past two weeks Kristiana and I have been working on her Kindergarten materials for an hour each day.  In that hour, we work on religion, reading, nursery rhyme memorization, writing and art and math.  It sounds like a lot, but it's pretty low key.  I teach her a lesson and then I ask her to demonstration her knowledge of the lesson.  If she cannot demonstrate, then that day we spend more time on it.  

A lot of the time, Kristiana seems a bit ADD to me.  It's a struggle to get her to focus on one thing.  She does not learn very well by just listening.  In fact, she does not even acknowledge being called, very well.  Sometimes I have to yell very loudly before she acknowledges being addressed.

If I can occupy her hands, then I can often get her attention better.  Sometimes I draw what we will talk about and ask her to color it while I teach her the lesson.  Today, I started thinking up hand motions for her religion lesson.  I am going to call her a tactile learner.  I do not know if this is just her age or her method of learning.  She also talks non-stop from morning to night.  She often talks herself to sleep at night.  She's also very creative and artistic.

I have a feeling Kristiana did not accomplish much this year in her lessons because she has a special learning style that I need to grasp and put in order for her.  But, since I have been able to work with her one-on-one without interruption for the past two weeks it has felt more like it was with my son.  Kristiana has made big progress.  Now I need to figure out how to do this with more than just one.

This is our favorite book for Kristiana right now, "Draw, Write, Now."  Alex did no like it as much.  He's not the artist type.

Mno Hiya Lyta!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Washington Trek 2014

Ready to Ride
This little girl is the worst traveler of our family.  
We had to entertain her the whole way.  It was a pain. 
Then she would cry for an hour before she would nap.
At night, she played up. 
But, she was funny too.  She learned a lot of new words on our trip.
At one point she started screaming at a big rig hauling cars.  
She yelled, "Get down! Get down!"  She thought the cars were up where they ought not. 
It was a riot. 
We told her it was okay.  They were stuck up there.  Then she starting saying, "Stuck? Stuck."

Good travelers.
All on one bench seat, taking care of each other.

We saw hundreds of giant windmills all across the prairies.

We visited at Grandma's house in Wyoming.
Grandma set off fireworks for us!
Fun times.

Alex built a castle out of the broken bedrock on Grandma's property.  Mommy helped.

Lady loves Grandma's property, because she can run and sniff and explore.

The kids can too.

And it is very peaceful.

We visited Uncle Adam's tomb, and laid flowers there.

We watched the trains go by at the downtown Laramie bridge over the tracks.  
They blew their horns for us.

Artists have painted the buildings down town.  This is new since I was a child.

This happened here.  It's the pride of our state. "The Equality State."

My mom found this statue in a storage unit somewhere.  
I'm convinced it's the statue from my first grade classroom at St. Laurence Catholic School.  
If it is not, it is at least a replica. #nostalgia

Then we drove 1,000 miles more through Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, taking in fresh mountain air and huckleberry ice cream and finally arrived at our final destination in Washington.  

Now is the time for Washington adventures.
Mno Hiya Lyta!