Saturday, August 1, 2009

Three Pictures


This first picture is from early July, when my parents and one of my brothers and one of my sisters came to visit (which is a topic for a whole other post). Edee decided to pal around with Grandpa at the Elkhorn Ghost Town. She also palled (is that the past of pal?) around with Grandpa at Murdock's Ranch Supply, where she loudly declared, "THAT'LL PRO'LLY FIT ME!!" about every. single. item. they passed. Grandpa hurried her to the children's section, where they found a pair of cowgirl boots that did indeed fit her. And a cowgirl hat. And boots and hats for all her older siblings. Whew!    
This next picture is a good example of what happens when you ask your husband to please take a picture of Edee's haircut so you can show your parents.
The man hustles. Right then, right there, toothbrush-in-mouth. That's what Edee's haircut looks like when she's brushing her teeth. (And we don't always match her hairbow to her pajamas. Or her sister's pajamas, which are what she happens to be wearing.)

This last picture takes a bit of explaining. Or in my case, explaining and re-explaining and re-explaining.
In June, we found out I was pregnant. I cried. Ethan was shocked and then his usual level-headed unshakeable self and consoled, "We're already outnumbered. What's one more?"
I cried more.
My parents and half of my siblings came to visit. I was bummed that my morning (ahem) sickness was greatly restricting our activities, but there was really no restricting the cuddles and silliness that the children shared with their grandparents and aunt and uncle. And that's all they really wanted.
My parents and brother left. My sister stayed on for another week.
The day after my parents left, we cleaned the house for a showing and then went to a park while the Realtor showed the house. I stayed in the van (sick) and then realized I was gushing blood. I called Ethan and said we needed to go home right away and I thought I was miscarrying.
My sister stayed with the kids while we went to the Emergency Room. We saw a nurse (not a doctor like we were told we would see). She did a pelvic exam, said, "Yes, that's a lot of blood. Yes, it's a miscarriage." When Ethan asked her if they could do a sonogram, she said, "No, it's too early. A sonogram wouldn't show anything. But you should be done miscarrying within a couple of days."
We went home, told the kids that the baby had died, and started googling "miscarriage" to see what to expect.
The first thing we discovered was that that nurse was either shockingly ignorant or a blatant liar. A sonogram is the first thing usually done in a suspected miscarriage, and the baby's heartbeat can be seen at six weeks. I was nine weeks along.
The next thing we discovered, after a few days of waiting, was that a lot of the "usual" things that happen with miscarriages were not happening with me. Suffice it to say, I was still sick as a dog with no cramping or other miscarriage signs.
After talking to a friend who urged me to find an OB and go there "just to know for sure," I talked it over with Ethan. I told him I thought I was coping very well with denial and maybe needed a break from the whole idea of being pregnant. He told me I wasn't being very realistic and was still ACTING very pregnant, and he hated denial. So I made an appointment with an OB and then became very excited at the thought of knowing FOR SURE.
The morning of the appointment, Ethan stayed home with the children and I drove into the doctor's office. On the way there, I kept praying, "Dear Lord, please let them do something TODAY to confirm either way, and please let me be satisfied with whatever result it is and know that it is for Your glory."
At the doctor's office, I explained that I wanted to confirm a miscarriage. I gave him the history, and he wheeled in a sonogram machine. He and his nurse set it up and turned the screen away from me and towards them. Then I heard him say, "Oh."
"Are you ready to see this?"
"I guess so," I answered.
Then he turned the screen towards me.
I was not ready.
Now sonograms ALWAYS look like hurricanes to me. I can NEVER see what you're supposed to see. So I looked at the screen and said, "I don't know what I'm looking at."
"Well," he said, pointing to that blobby looking thing on the left, "THAT is a perfectly healthy-looking, big, 12-week old baby . . ."
Then, pointing to that blobby looking thing on the right, "right next to a perfectly healthy-looking, big, 12-week old baby. Congratulations and congratulations!!"

For the second time in my life, I was stunned by a sonogram showing twins. The first time, I was stunned because I had no idea what was ahead. The second time, I was stunned because I had a good idea of what was ahead.
Oh, my.
The doctor was thrilled and then made idle talk as he waited for me to come to my senses. "You could have your own reality show!" he said. Reality show? Are you kidding me? We're not even going out in public together! We'll take separate vehicles to Walmart! We'll go to separate Walmarts!
Fortunately, shock was not the only emotion at the time. There is something so incredible about seeing two babies (once you've had them pointed out to you and have stopped trying to figure out their weather patterns) that I don't think you can help the joy. There was joy. Much joy!
When friends found out what had happened (mostly through our last church's e-newsletter), a common comment was, "Wow. What an emotional rollercoaster for you!"
Honestly? Not really.
I mean, before I found out I was pregnant, this is how I felt: OVERWHELMED.
After I found out I was pregnant, this is how I felt: OVERWHELMED.
When I thought I was miscarrying, this is how I felt: OVERWHELMED.
When I suspected I might not have miscarried, this is how I felt: OVERWHELMED.
When I found out I was carrying twins, this is how I felt: OVERWHELMED.
Rollercoaster? Not so much.
It wasn't the thought of eight 8 and under that knocked me flat. It was the thought of six 4 and under.
But in God's providence, Ethan has been preaching through Ecclesiastes. The Sunday before the miscarriage drama, we sang this song, and the refrain has been coursing through me ever since:

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
His holy will abideth;
I will be still whate’er He doth;
And follow where He guideth;
He is my God; though dark my road,
He holds me that I shall not fall:
Wherefore to Him I leave it all.


Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He never will deceive me;
He leads me by the proper path:
I know He will not leave me.
I take, content, what He hath sent;
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait His day.


Whate’er my God ordains is right:
His loving thought attends me;
No poison can be in the cup
That my Physician sends me.
My God is true; each morn anew
I’ll trust His grace unending,
My life to Him commending.


Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He is my Friend and Father;
He suffers naught to do me harm,
Though many storms may gather,
Now I may know both joy and woe,
Some day I shall see clearly
That He hath loved me dearly.


Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Though now this cup, in drinking,
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it, all unshrinking.
My God is true; each morn anew
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
And pain and sorrow shall depart.


Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Here shall my stand be taken;
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
Yet I am not forsaken.
My Father’s care is round me there;
He holds me that I shall not fall:
And so to Him I leave it all.

***Well, almost. The doctor believes the bleeding is due to a subchorionic hematoma, a relatively harmless condition that should resolve itself in a few weeks. We have a more thorough sonogram on Wednesday to find out more.


  1. Well, hearing all the different updates was somewhat of a rollercoaster for *me*, Rachel, so I'm guessing everybody else is just projecting as well.

    Although my reaction honestly was "My sister is such an overachiever." Not that far off from overachiever to overwhelmed, right? :p

  2. You know what my big achievement is these days? Getting a shower. I'm not kidding. That's my hugest accomplishment each day. I have to work myself up to it and then recover from it.

    And so TODAY, Ethan's birthday, when I have NOTHING, should be really fun. How on earth will we get him gifts, a cake, cards, with him driving and me barely able to walk into a store before I have to sit down?

    I'll let you know!

  3. Rachel! Chris Mayne sent me to your site, which I didn't know existed until now. Congratulations on your many blessings! I'm so inspired. I struggle with two blessings day to day and say, "I'm not worthy" to you moms of more than that.

    I have a blog too which I normally update weekly: I also want to homeschool! I miss you terribly. Now I know two L.U. friends in Montana with six or more kids whose husbands are pastors! (Jen Iverson). Love you, Becca

  4. I loved talking to you last week, and I've been praying for you ever since. I really hope you are feeling better and less overwhelmed. Just take it one minute at a time (a day could be too overwhelming)! And, Happy Anniversary! Hopefully you can get a few minutes alone with your hubby.

    P.S.--Edee is just adorable in these pictures!

  5. So good to hear from two long-time friends -- Becca from college (and the church we attended then) and Carol from . . . babyhood!

    Becca, I have been perusing your blog and enjoying "meeting" your family. What lovely pairs of cheeks your babies have!

    Carol, when are you going to send some new pics of your babies? It was good for me to talk with you. I have always run to you in a *crisis*!

    Yeah for long-time friends :)

  6. Rachel, Kim sent me your blog address. Loved the pictures. Keeping all of you in our thoughts and prayers. The hymn you shared is a treasure. love, monica


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