Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This & That

Thoughts on miscarriage...

As little as a year ago, miscarriage was almost a dirty word. I had no experience with it and the word seemed to be whispered like tragic gossip. It seemed so far away, something that could never affect me. And I’ll admit it, though I knew it was a heartbreaking fact of life, I always thought it had something to do with the woman. Like it was somehow her fault. Like something must be wrong with her. But obviously I’ve come to know miscarriage intimately over the last year. I understand how common it is. 1 out of 3 or 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage. The average woman will have 1 or 2 miscarriages in her life and never even know about them. They could just present as a slightly late period. I know now that it isn’t my fault. And it isn’t a dirty word. It is heartbreaking, but it is God’s way of sending only perfect babies made in His image.

Many people have not-so-subtly hinted that when we get pregnant we should keep the news to ourselves for at least 12 weeks. I don’t know if they are concerned that we might be embarrassed by the miscarriages, or if they just feel uncomfortable dealing with the news themselves. But secrets aren’t my style. We have an amazing support system, and they are there for us in good times and bad. I don’t see the point in celebrating, praying, worrying, and suffering alone. God gave us friends and family to love us and we want them with us every step of the way in this beautiful life.

Speaking of my support system… I am just so blessed. I have a husband that makes me feel safe, treasured, and happy. I have family that know me inside and out. I have friends that offer to bring me chocolate, get me drunk, or just snuggle up and cry. I have a Bible study group that prays for me and offers me support and guidance. I have babies and children in my life that fill my soul with joy. I have far-away friends that cheer me with a text or a phone call. I have confidantes that have been in my shoes before. I have everything I need. But you know who has helped my heart heal the most? 3 family members that love me unconditionally and give really good kisses...


My internet "friend" MckMama needs your prayers. The youngest of her Many Small Children, Stellan, is having some heart troubles. Lift him up and keep his family in your heart.

Prayers for Stellan


My real life friend Lauren Lea Warren is an amazingly talented artist and designer. She has a cool new blog for her business. Check it out! (she is also designing a new photography logo for me!)

Pixels, Pencils & Paintbrushes


One of the babies I love to love on is Mr. Kouper Shane Kneupper. And boy does he have big news! Along with his older brother, Kayson, he is expecting a baby brother or sister in October! Kouper is one cool kid. But he is always dealing with medical procedures, so your prayers couldn't hurt!

Our One In A Million Kouper


About two weeks ago, my maternal grandmother passed away. Shirley Hughes was the most loving biatch, ever. Understand, I say that with love and respect. She was a strong Christian and gave freely of herself. But God love her, she could be a real snob! She was married for 56 years and bossed around an amazing family. We celebrated her life last week in a ceremony at the Cross on the Happy H Ranch. She suffered for many years from Alzheimer's and we are thankful that God has taken her home.


My friend D'Laine is getting married this weekend! We wish we could be in Las Vegas with them, but we are sending our love to 'Laine and Victor. (who are also expecting another baby for us to love on!) CONGRATULATIONS PACHECO FAMILY! What happens in Vegas will bless the rest of your life!


And finally, just so you know that I am really okay, here is one of the self portraits that I took on Sunday...

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away

It seems just as I have positive news to share, I must rain on the parade. For a week my HCG levels went up and the doctor was positive, but then they stopped. Alas, this baby is not meant for our arms either.

Chromosomal abnormalities just mean the baby wasn't perfectly formed. We will undergo more tests, but most likely nothing is wrong with us and it was just nature taking it's course.

Thank you to our dear friends and family who shared our joy, sent up earnest prayers, and gave us love and support. I am so blessed to have the best husband in the world.

This happened for a reason. God wants us to have a perfect baby, and He has a plan. I am trying to get my soul back to the peaceful place I was when I wrote this Chrysalis post. I am trying to be strong in my faith. But for now I feel weak and broken.

Yet still optimistic about our future as parents...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Extreme Makeover!

I'm officially into this blogging thing! Isn't our new page cute?! I came up with the new name and theme and my new friend Jessica did the design work!

I highly recommend her... she was quick, helpful, creative, and worked with me to create my own custom style. She didn't even mind when I changed my mind and got nit picky!

If your blog needs a makeover, visit Jessica at
This, That & Your Blog.

I still have a few changes and additions to make, some photos to add, etc. But I'm lovin' it! What do you think?

Oh, and Happy St. Patty's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pinch Me, Poke Me, Prod Me... Just Knock Me Up!

This morning I started Acupuncture for Fertility. And I LOVE it!

Acupuncture is helpful for infertility issues, and is especially useful in improving the success rates for IUI and IVF. For one, it reduces stress. Stress increases cortisol in your body, which lowers progesterone. Progesterone is critical for getting and staying pregnant. Acupuncture also increases the blood supply to your ovaries, supporting the formation and release of healthy eggs. Finally, it increases the bloodflow to your uterus, helping to create the optimum uterine lining for implantation. After becoming pregnant, Acupuncture can also help prevent miscarriage.

My RE recommended acupuncture to me... and I'm down for anything that can help us! They have a husband and wife team that travel to the clinic so that treatments can be done in the same, convenient place as all of the other poking and prodding involved in assisted reproduction. I will go twice a week until our IUI (about 2.5 weeks), once after the IUI, and then once after our pregnancy test. If it fails, I can continue the acupuncture through the IVF process.

This morning I went in for my consultation and in less than 10 minutes she had needles in me! And no, they don't hurt at all. She put some in my feet, one or two in my legs, one over each ovary, one in my hand, and a few on my scalp and forehead. She also placed a heat lamp over my uterus. It doesn't feel warm on the skin... it heats from the inside out, sending this feeling of warm bliss all over my body!

She left me there pricked and warm with a sound machine playing in the room for half an hour. She came back far too soon and I felt wonderful! Refreshed and relaxed and optimistic!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

{Wordless Wednesday is another idea borrowed from MckMama. (at least I think she started it!) Can you tell I adore her? It is an opportunity to forgo words and let photos speak for themselves... and you KNOW I love photographs!}


Monday, March 9, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. In the blog world, Not Me! Monday is a fun way to air your dirty laundry without really confessing to anything! Here goes...

I did not hear about a friend of a friend that designs blogs and might want to do mine for free, and then immediately go stalk her blog. That would be creepy, so not me! And I was not totally impressed with her talent and did not feel the need to promote her at This, That & My Blog.

I did not take 3 naps this weekend, because that would be completely lazy.

I did not laugh when Adorable Loving Husband (ALH) asked if he could be called Adorable Sexy Stud instead. I am not still laughing,
not me.

I did not put my cat in the parrot cage so that they could taunt each other. And I was not delighted when the parrot learned to say “meow” in under 5 minutes,
not me!

I did not tell ALH that I would help design, build, prepare, plant, and tend a garden… and then completely skimp on the work. I did not spend an hour starting seeds while he did the hard manual labor, not me! I also did not find him at all sexy as he worked… all sweaty and dirty and strong…
not me!

I did not attend a small town rodeo with loads to look at and spend half of my time checking out other photographers’ lenses. I did not covet some of the super fancy equipment they had, because that would be unChristianlike, so not me!

I did not spend an hour of my time at work writing this post and sending out a promotion for my
Spring/Easter Portrait Special... I would never use company time for personal things, not me!
I did not just get a call at work from someone named Judy Golightly... and then at the end of her sales pitch I did not say "thank you for calling, Holly." She did not correct me and I certainly was not awfully embarrased!

I did not curse at the computer when I tried to submit this entire post and a $@&# server error erased it all, not I! (and I am not so stupid that I can't recover it on my own)

I would never do any of these things... nope, not me!

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Stork Would Be So Much Easier!

A couple of weeks ago, my Adorable, Loving Husband (hereby known as ALH) and I got some disturbing news.

We’d been doing various fertility testing and one of these was a semen analysis. Yep, ALH had to make a deposit in a cup. Unpleasant as this might have been, he was a total trooper and everything came off with out a hitch, so to speak.

But when the results came back, we were diagnosed with teratozoospermia. Eh?! Huh? Just sounds like a silly little word, something I might name a dinosaur in an improvised bedtime story for my nieces and nephew.

But it means that ALH has some seriously wonky sperm abnormally shaped sperm. For you technical folks, his Kruger Strict Morphology is 2% and normal is 14% and above.

So… with a slightly damaged ego, ALH and I absorb this news along with the announcement from my OB that we “have only a teeny tiny chance of conceiving without help from IVF or other fertility treatments.”

Turns out, we have a 2% chance every month. A healthy couple has a 25% chance. (I swear this is higher since my girlfriends all got knocked up the very moment they so much as winked at their husbands) Obviously we don’t like these odds, so we made an appointment with an RE (reproductive endocrinologist) at RMA of Texas.

For two weeks we ponder the reason behind the results… tight cowboy jeans? horseback riding? drinking? copenhagen? surely the army is to blame? We wonder if we will be making a baby in a petri dish. I’m not gunna lie, I think my inlaws almost passed out imagining me as the next OctoMom. (oh hell no!)

Finally, our appointment was this morning and we both really liked the RE. He starts running through my history and my test results and other than the miscarriage everything is “normal, normal, normal.” So he finally asks about a semen analysis and I start making jokes about ALH’s wonky abnormal sperm. (don’t worry, I would never do this if he wasn’t comfortable with it… but of course he is secure in his masculinity- adorable, loving husband that he is)

Well, the doc jumps to ALH’s defense and says that while the morphology may be low, the quantity of sperm is so high that it makes up for it a bit. That’s right, this highly educated doctor at the top of his field joined ALH in bragging about him having sperm up to his eyeballs. They might have beaten their chests like cavemen once or twice. So… my cowboy stud has PLENTY of swimmers, and they CAN swim, but most of them swim in circles and bump into vaginal walls. Doc says taking some vitamins might improve his morphology.

The doc then invades me for a vaginal ultrasound to take a look at my ovaries, tubes, and uterus. Since starting clomid this month, I had some really bad ovulation pain. And it is immediately clear why… I have ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome. One ovary is big as a bus, my uterus is retaining water, and a few huge follicles are still hanging around despite being a few days past ovulation. This will go away and isn’t an issue… unless I need stim or trigger shots during procedures later… in which case they will have to watch me closely.

So with the gross invasion of our private bits medical history out of the way, we set our plan of action. Assuming I am not pregnant this month (wouldn’t that be a lovely blessing!), we will begin IUI with clomid at the end of March. This has about a 15% chance of working. If it fails, we will test ALH’s little guys again and see if his counts have improved. If not, then we go straight to IVF with ICSI. This has about a 68% success rate. I’ll explain more as necessary.

What it comes down to is this… I don't get to create a life by making sweet love and then lying in my sexy, adoring, loving husband's warm arms. No… ALH will have to perform in a cup and I’ll be bare-assed on a cold metal table with my big feet in the stir-ups. But… it will all be worth it when we hold Baby Lietz in our arms!

Join us on our journey...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


So as March rolls in, I realize that my due date is approaching.

Unfortunately, a due date that now means jack shit.

The friends who found out they were pregnant the same time I did are blissfully rounded, have their babies correctly gendered and even named, and are counting down the days until they hold their miracles to their breast and inhale that sweet baby smell.

If we had gotten pregnant when we started trying, we would have a 3 month old child now. If we hadn’t miscarried, I would be 8 months pregnant.

I was due in April. I was fully prepared to feel sorry for myself. To allow myself a bout of depression and perhaps even a frank discussion with God. I was preparing to mourn the baby we didn’t get to deliver on April 12th.

And then I realized…

I realized that April 12th is Easter Sunday.

Yes! A day to shed your mourning and find hope.

A day to give glory to God!

What a sign this must be!

God gave His Son and then raised Him from the dead for me. He loves me and wants me to be happy. He treasures our unborn child in heaven. And He will bless us with beautiful, healthy babies, I know this in my heart.

Easter is coming… and I too, will be reborn!

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Totally Radical Birthday!

I turned 27 last week and several friends helped me celebrate with a night of 80's music! We went to dinner and then saw the Spazmatics play. They are a really fun band that plays cover songs from the 80's and a even a few 70's and early 90's. THANKS FOR MAKING MY BIRTHDAY TOTALLY RADICAL! Here are some of the tamer photos from the night. I love you guys! You're like, awesome. (and my adorable husband brought me chocolate covered strawberries at work... he knows the way to my heart!)

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