stopping the insanity

So, clearly, this weekend appeared to be a weekend of excess.  And could I have eaten less pasta and bread?  Yeah, probably.  And could I have eaten less candy/chocolate/ice cream?  Probably.  But I would also say that I didn’t eat as much of the candy/chocolate/ice cream as I wanted. And that poses a problem for me.

As I learned back in January, I am hypoglycemic.  This means that carbs are a particular problem for me because my body absorbs and distributes the carbs so quickly that I CRASH after carbo-loading.  Eating carbs causes me to have a blood sugar low within an hour or so that makes me FEEL super hungry.

As a matter of fact, when I eat candy mid-afternoon, by the time I get home at 5:30, I am irrationally hungry.  I don’t even bother to stop at the store because I am SO hungry that I am not sure how I will make it through the store without A) forgetting half of my list or B) maiming the first person who tries to abscond with my cart.

And don’t get me started with the parking lot.Let’s just assume there would be much carnage.

So anyway, I do not make wise decisions when I am on a sugar low.

Plus, my body converts these carbs to fat faster than you can say “Put down the butter Paula Deen!”  And if that wasn’t enough to make me pass on the sugary delights, the fact that we would like to get pregnant again means that I am at high risk for developing gestational diabetes.  While a high birth weight for our babies has always been a real possibility (my dear husband rocked the scales at a mighty 13 1/2 lbs and 24 inches of pure baby delight), gestational diabetes ups the ante significantly.  If that was the only serious side affect of gestational diabetes, that would be one thing.  Unfortunately, there are several other unfortunate potential by-products of gestational diabetes that give me pause for concern.

I realize that the idea of giving up all sweets seems … well… un-American.

I mean, who does that?

But after taking a long, hard look at myself in the mirror, reviewing the scale, and looking in the mirror again, I decided that I need to do just that.

Oh, not to worry, the idea of giving up all sweets did not come without serious mental protest and angst.  My poor, sugar-addicted brain said, “But dear Emily, what about BIRTHDAY cake?  What knd of person says NO to BIRTHDAY cake?? What about having something sweet to make eating healthy worth it?  Just a little bit of sweet stuff won’t hurt!”

Does a birthday cake make the birthday, I ask you?  Do I need a 3 p.m. sugar fix?  Do I need dessert after EVERY DINNER?  The fact that I tried to find reasons NOT to give it up was the biggest indicator that I SHOULD give it up.

I submit to you this: the celebration is to be augmented by the food.  The food is not to be augmented by the celebration.  This is a VERY difficult decision for me to give up sweets.  But I realized I was putting my desire to have a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ahead of being healthy.  I was putting a slice of amazing, gooey chocolate cake ahead of feeling good.

Not any more.  Starting tomorrow (I had ice cream before I made the decision today), Frank and I are quitting the sweets cold turkey.  It’s going to be difficult because I am going to have to be really honest about what is a sweet and what is not.  I thought about buying some Fiber-One bars for their fiber-related benefits and because… wait for it… they also have a chocolate product.  Houston, I have a problem.  Using a Fiber-One bar to “replace” candy is not right.

And, of course, I realize that my eating habits are causing a rift with God and in my marriage.  I know that sounds far-fetched, but bear with me.  When I eat poorly, I feel bad about myself.  Instead of focusing on becoming the person that God wants me to be, I focus on how bad I feel about myself.  And if that’s not enough, I happen to have a wonderful, sweet, adoring husband who thinks that I am beautiful, no matter what, but I turn him away so I can have a self-loathing pity party.  Now, Frank muscles through it, but I think about how much BETTER my marriage would be if we avoided these kinds of pity parties all together.

So anyway.  This is my new adventure.  Anyone else want to join me?  I plan on discussing this frequently on the blog as I am anticipating a lot of withdrawal symptoms that may include “the shakes” and inexplicable crying/anger.  But once I get through the detox portion, I expect that I will feel MUCH better.  Right?  ::scratches arms, looks for a candy bar:: Right??

brave

I am not a brave person.

Ask Frank.

When I am walking up the stairs and he chases after me, I sit down on the stairs and curl up.

True story.  It’s like my knees stop working.

Fight or flight?

Is laying down and dying an option?

And this transcends into other areas of my life.

The amount of effort it takes for me to do things often seems monumental.

And sometimes, I wonder why things fail and I realize that my fear stopped me from taking a critical step.

I know that I am smart.  Maybe not genius IQ, but I know enough to be dangerously effective.

But fear of disappointing people stops me in my tracks.

My dear friend and fellow blogger, Heidi, found out that she is expecting.  This baby is so wanted!

But she has been hurt a lot – four years + of infertility and two miscarriages are stunningly difficult things to endure.

She vocalizes something I’ve worried about since we realized that this fertility biz was not looking awesome for us: that once we get pregnant, what if there is more pain?

And I wonder, do I have what it takes to make it through the first 9 weeks of pregnancy without wondering if every ache and pain is a sign of another loss?

Can I be brave?

And not just in pregnancy – but in all areas of life: work, family, friends, missions, finances, etc?

I think I can.  I am pretty sure I can.

And I have a God that says I can.

I think about the disciple Peter a lot.  The oldest of the disciples.  The one who Jesus regularly used as an example.

One day, the disciples were in a boat in the midst of a raging storm, and Jesus walks on water to them and quiets the storm.

Wanting to be just like his teacher – and believing bravely that he CAN be just like his teacher – Peter follows Jesus out onto the water.

And Peter walks on water.

Pastor Rob Bell points out that it is when Peter hesitates – when he lets fear creep in – when he stops believing in himself – that he starts to sink.

Pastor Bell points out that Jesus BELIEVED in Peter.

But Peter did not believe in Peter.

And I wonder, is God walking along side me telling me, “You CAN do this!”

And I am not failing at things because God didn’t answer a prayer or give me enough or teach me enough or instruct me enough: I have to own up to the fact that I might be failing because I don’t believe that I can do it.

God has already provided me with everything I could ever need.

Supplying the bravery is up to me.

God smells like grass

Walking out of work today, there was a smell on the air that smelled like summer and sunshine and softball and Saturdays at dusk.  It was the smell of grass.

I breathed the smell in deeply and I smiled.

If God had a smell, I think it would be fresh grass.

This has been a long winter.  I feel like last winter never ended and it just bled into this winter.

Maybe that says more about the emotional situations that Frank and I have been dealing with than the actual state of the weather around here.

But there was a peace in the air, sweet like the smell of the grass, that made me feel hopeful that while it has been rough, it is far from over.

The world will be new again.

sucks.

Sometimes things just suck.

In big, big ways.

My appointment with my OB triggered big anger in me tonight.

The appointment itself was fine, but the perceived injustice of this situation just exploded in my brain.

I swore and cried and yelled at God the whole way home.

Fortunately it’s not a long drive.

And it’s ok to be angry, and even to be angry at God.  He’s a big boy, and He can take it.

But at the end of all of my anger and frustration and fury at our situation, God quietly and calmly reminded me that I am His child.

I’m a little less angry.

That’s not to say that I’m not going to have bouts of anger about the situation.

But God can handle this.

the stories our lives tell

Donald Miller spoke at church Sunday. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, since unlike most of the world and my husband, I had not read Blue Like Jazz.

The thing is, and perhaps I hadn’t admitted this to even myself, I hadn’t expected to hear from God on Sunday. From the loss we experienced this week, I was still feeling a little alone and a lot sad. I didn’t think that God would speak to me. That he could speak to me.

The first thing that Donald Miller said was that basically God has a general purpose for us – that we would know Him and share His love – and that God helps us figure out our giftings and talents, but that if we are choosing between a becoming a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher, that is pretty much our own decision.  It takes a lot of the “rightness” and “wrongness” out of the way that I sometimes look at those decisions. I am free to be me and to figure out who I am.  That was pretty cool (although, kind of a “duh” moment too).

Donald Miller spoke about stories and how our lives tell a story. That all stories are essentially about a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.

He said that what we want tells our story.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34)

If we want material things, that is what our life story is about.  Some people choose to make their stories about pursuing the next best car, the next best fashion, etc.

His sermon made me take a step back from our loss this week and think about it in the context of a larger story. And it made me wonder about the story that Frank and I are telling: what is that bigger thing that we are constantly moving towards and wanting?

Where is our story going?

All along, one of the greatest things for Frank and I is that we’ve just wanted eachother. Time together. Every week is the saga of making, finding and fighting for time together. The greatest feeling for both of us is falling asleep together.  That is why, when Frank is gone, I just don’t sleep as well.  I have to talk myself into going to sleep.

For us, having children was not just the next logical step in our marriage, but over the progression of our fertility treatments and related successes and disappointments, we realized that having children was truly an extension of our love for eachother.

I remember when we were dating Frank texted me after an early morning flight and said, “looking at the sky, I realize that my love for you is even bigger than that.”

To be able to say that almost 8 years later that our love is bigger than it was when we first fell in love sounds almost ridiculous – how could that be? I can’t even believe that it is possible, and yet it is.

And it is the biggest desire of both of our hearts that this story that we started together would continue. That future generations would be blessed by this big love that we have for one another.

That is what helps us move forward.

There have been little signs and big signs in the past week that life goes on.  Just this weekend, the sun came out and the world warmed – spring is just around the corner.  I’m not totally convinced we won’t have one last blast of snow, but the worst of the winter is behind us.

It will get warm again.  The sun will shine.  Frank and I will go on long walks.  I am going to start running again.  (seriously – once I get the green light from the doc… more on this later)

The point is, even though it felt like life stopped for a while, it continued on for the rest of the world.  That’s what happens.

On the day I had my D&C, I woke up from a nap and made a few work related phone calls.  Nothing major.  The people I talked with had no idea what had just happened that day.  I took care of what I needed to and then I snuggled up against my husband.   It’s ok that those people don’t know what was going on with the girl on the other end of the phone, but as I was having the conversations, I thought, “how many times have I spoken with someone whose heart was breaking while we were speaking – and yet, I had no idea.”

And there is strange comfort in knowing that life continues on, even when my heart is broken.  Life continuing is God’s way of reminding me of a few things: first, that I will be ok and second, to be tender with all of His creation because I don’t know what kind of day or week or month someone else has had.

But most importantly: our story is not over yet.

small steps to feeling better…

So, as you can tell from my previous post, the recovery from the D&C hasn’t been all sunshine and roses.  There are a few *minor* side affects that are still working their way out of my system.

But in an effort to return to normal, Frank and I took a few steps towards feeling more normal.

First, we left the house.  Not that I haven’t left the house, but I’ve really only left in order to go to work or the grocery store.  I haven’t gone out on social visits, really.  So, first step was to visit my parents and see my sister’s new townhouse.  It was really nice.  I think it helped that the sun was shining and it was over 40 degrees. (side note: there comes a time in every winter that I think, “it will NEVER again be above 40!” and then, miraculously, it is above 40 degrees).

Then we went to get my oil changed on my car.  I know I should be better about changing my oil. I know that.  But for some reason, I have a mental block when it comes to changing my oil.  So a few hundred miles over the limit and a few *ahem* weeks over the date limit, my oil is changed and dear George (the name for my car) is a happy camper.

After the Midas adventure, we went to check out cars.  Not because we are buying a car right now, but because I like to see new, shiny cars.  We sat in a few vehicles, looked at a few certified used ones on the lot and then did the next thing that came to mind: we took a nap!

My dear friend Allison brought over some delicious baked mostaccoli – YUM!  We also stopped by Frank’s friend Jeff’s house for a Loser Party.  Yes, that’s right, a Loser Party.  Everyone who came received a “loser” ribbon and a take home gift of Easy Mac and canned Spaghettio type food.  Yum.

Such a typical Saturday, yet I felt the best that I’ve felt in a week.  And that is awesome.  Praise God for great Saturdays!

life goes on

We’re going through one of those situations where life just stops for a while.

We were bumping along, a sunny, beautiful day (metaphorically of course- c’mon, it’s still bloody winter in IL), and then something horribly unexpected diverted us from our normal trajectory.

And unfortunately all that comes to mind are cliched sayings.

I wish something profound or amazing came to mind.

But now: just cliches.

This too shall pass.

Everything happens for a reason.

And maybe these cliches come to mind because they are true, or because they are comforting, or because they are both.

I was talking to my dad this morning and he was explaining to me a little bit about how he is grieving.  He said, “Emily, you remember that scene in Back to the Future* where the family members start to disappear from the picture because things weren’t changed in the past?”  “Yeah?” “That’s what it felt like to find out that you lost this baby.  Like someone who was supposed to be in our family suddenly was not. They were just erased from the picture.”

One week ago, our sweet baby stopped growing, but I had no idea.  I was still dreaming of what she would look like and what a hot summer pregnancy would be like and what it would be like to be in the delivery room with Frank holding our baby for the first time.

And now, just one week later, that whole reality has been altered.  In September none of that will happen.

It was all just so quickly erased and replaced with a new reality.

And we will be ok.  Slowly but surely, everything is coming back into focus and we are realizing that for this baby, this was the plan all along.

But man, I wish I had something profound to say about it.

*My dad raised us on sci-fi and time travel.  The first chapter book he read to me was The Time Machine by HG Wells.  It’s not surprising at all that Back to the Future came up as part of his analogy. 🙂