Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

TWW and Kindness Friday Part III

After months of missing the big O because of hubby being sick and some weirdness in my cycles, I am officially one week into the two week wait. I feel like this is our first full-hearted attempt since my last pregnancy, and as much as I make excuses about why we couldn’t really try each month, I think the truth was that I wasn’t ready. I want a baby, but I wasn’t ready for the emotional roller coaster that is TTC, and as much as I hope and pray that our next baby will be our rainbow, I have to acknowledge the very real possibility that I could have another mc and I couldn’t face that possibility. Now, I’m ready to try. I’m ready to hope. I’m ready to risk great heartache for a chance for our rainbow. I’m ready to hurry up and wait I have begrudgingly resigned myself to waiting.

Whenever we aren’t trying or I’m not currently in the TWW, I always think that it’s not that bad–I can stay calm and be patient and stick to my POAS plan. Seriously, I’m an intelligent, reasonable person, and I can conquer the TWW with grace and sanity. Then, starting just a few days after ovulation, I feel the desperate need to start peeing on all the things. No matter what I’m doing, the upcoming peestick day and everything it represents (the possibility of a baby growing in my ute, the possibility of another mc, the possibility of our lives being forever changed) is always in the back of my mind. The harder I fight it and try to stay calm, the more forcefully it drives itself into the forefront of my thoughts. It’s ridiculous.

So, in an attempt to distract myself from obsessing about the current state of my ute, I’m going to spend the next week doing things that I enjoy and will leave me feeling content and empowered. Let’s think of it as a whole week of kindness that will keep me mentally (and possibly physically?) happy and healthy. Here are some of the things I plan on doing over the weekend and during the evenings next week:

  • I would like to spend as much time as possible outside. I haven’t posted about it, but hubby and I have been busy little bees getting a garden ready for this summer. First, we built a fence to keep out the pup, then we built two raised beds, and two potato towers. We also used the extra lumber from our fence to make some small boxes for me to grow herbs. Now that it looks like we have had our last frost (I hope), I’m ready to plant some seeds and some of the seedlings that we have been growing in our house. I absolutely love the feeling of the dirt under my hands and watching the miracle of life coming from these tiny seeds. It really builds up my self esteem and also makes me feel more connected to God. Unfortunately, it is supposed to rain all weekend, but that’s ok because I have a back-up plan:
  • I’ve been spending some time lately reading blogs and watching youtube videos on how to make my own cloth pads and panty liners.  I spent my winter knitting, and now that it is summer, I am ready to start sewing again! Sewing makes me feel so calm and empowered–it’s like the whole world disappears for awhile, and there is nothing but the whir of my machine. Also, wearing something that I made is an incredible feeling! I’m planning on taking aspects that I like from different patterns and products and meshing them into a super awesome hybrid that’s just for me :o)  I know it may seem silly to make these during my TWW, but maybe I can jinx myself into pregnancy…
  • Over the past few months, I have slacked on my reading and replaced it with watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix. In the past week or so, I have worked on remedying that and revisiting my “to read” list. I’ve started a pretty hefty epic fantasy series called that Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson, and I’ve enjoyed it so far. I’ve almost finished the first book, and it feels really good to lose myself in a series again, which I haven’t really done since I finished reading the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin (can I mention that he needs to hurry up with the next book?). I’m also doing daily bible readings (following the OWNit365 plan), and reading different nonfiction works, like those by C. S. Lewis.
  • The last thing I want to concentrate on is spring cleaning. I’ve gotten a little bit of a head start, but there is still plenty to be done–we bought a fairly large house with the intention of filling it with children (because we are responsible and couldn’t possibly start trying before we had a place to put a baby), so there is lots to clean. Once the nice weather hits, I actually enjoy cleaning–opening all the windows and smelling the fresh air while I organize, sort, scrub, and fold.

So that’s it. My be-kind-to-myself-by-attempting-to-salvage-my-sanity-during-the-TWW plan. What do you think?

Also, here is a bonus picture of our little Molly hanging out in one of the raised beds before we filled it with dirt. She’s not so little anymore!

Our sweet little furbaby!

Our sweet little furbaby!

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Lies I Tell Myself

Over the past month or two, our small group at church has been studying James. A few weeks ago, we talked about James 3 and the tongue. We talked about the devastating power that our tongues have and how this power for evil includes not only the words we speak, but also our internal dialogue. This discussion made me much more aware of the things I tell myself, and I’ve begun to realize how hurtful some of those lies are. Here are some of the lies I tell myself about my fertility:

  • I hit the jackpot with my husband, and I used up all of my life blessings with him. He is so wonderful that I don’t deserve any more blessings. 
  • I somehow jinxed myself earlier in life by claiming that I didn’t want children. It wasn’t until I experienced some serious emotional healing and self discovery that I found my deep desire and calling to be a mother, but it was too late.
  • I’ve had a lot of hard stuff happen in my life, and I’ve begun to believe that is just the way it will always be for me–as soon as I recover from one life disaster, another will follow in its stead. That’s just the way my life will always be, and it can never change.
  • I always imagine my womb as an angry, hostile, barren place. In my mind’s eye, it’s grey and dusty and full of cobwebs, and it is a hateful place that rejects life.
  • I did something to cause my losses. Whether it was from a physical shortcoming or from being a person who doesn’t deserve children, those losses are my fault.

I’m working very hard now to change the language I use when I speak to myself. I’m learning to be kind to myself and not place blame where it does not belong. And when I am to blame, I am learning to treat myself with grace, understanding that we are all broken, and if my God can forgive me, I can forgive myself. I’m also learning to trust hope. This can be so hard to do–as a friend of mine said, hope is heavy because it is an anchor.

I think that all of us could benefit from this. We have  to change our internal dialogue. We have to stop beating ourselves up. We have to stop prophesying disaster over ourselves. We have to start treating ourselves with grace. If we can’t do it for ourselves, we have to do it for our future children. I challenge each of you–pay attention to your internal dialogue over the next week, and make it a point to be kind. All of those wonderful, encouraging things you post on each other’s walls? Say those to yourself, and see what a difference it makes.

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Signs and Control

February 14th was my second due date. I’m not writing this because I’m freaking out and upset (although I am sad). Instead, I’m writing it because I want to talk about the signs that we see in our desperation to have have some semblance of control in this crazy process of IF and loss.

When my mom was pregnant with me, her due date was February 14th (I ended up being born two days early, so I’m not quite a Valentine’s baby). When I calculated my due date with my second pregnancy and discovered that it was the same date, I just knew that the pregnancy would stick because look at the signs!!! It has to mean something!!!

The truth is, the signs are everywhere–especially if you are looking for them. Do you know how many rainbows you see in your lifetime? I’m pretty sure that number doubles when you are TTC after loss. After my first two losses, we had a very wet summer so I kept seeing rainbows. Each time, I knew it was a sign that the next pregnancy would stick, and we would finally get our rainbow baby. Spoiler Alert: that pregnancy didn’t last either. Even though I know that the signs mean nothing, I still look for them. I’ve spent the last week thinking if I’m pregnant, the baby will definitely stick because it’s meant to be. It couldn’t be coincidence that the one time we had sex this cycle was during my fertile period, right? It has to mean something, right? Somewhere in this big world, there has to be a sign that we will finally hold our baby, right? Right?

It think it all comes down to control. We cling to our signs because we want a guarantee that all of this struggle will eventually be rewarded, just like we cling to our peesticks to make us feel like we have some sort of influence on our cycle and the outcome. But you know what? There is no guarantee. There are couples who spend years and tens of thousands of dollars trying to have a baby and they see sign after sign after sign, and they still live child-free. There is no magical baby sign. I have no real control over the outcome of my next pregnancy. It sucks. I like to be in control, and it just kills me to know that I have no power when it comes to my pregnancies.

But it’s also beautiful.

If I can’t control the outcome, I also can’t be responsible for it. As much as I might beat myself up and loathe myself and my body after I have a miscarriage, the truth is that it’s not my fault. I see a lot of women on these blogs get upset at the lack of control they have over their outcomes and their lady parts. That is completely justified. But when you acknowledge the lack of control, you also have to accept that the blame doesn’t lay on you. Trust me, I’m talking to myself as well.

Will I get pregnant again? Probably. Will I be able to give birth to a baby? I have no idea. And no signs that I see will change that. At least I can take comfort in the fact that I’m not going to screw it up.

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The POAS Plan

Today is 8 DPO, and I am resisting the urge to pee on all the things. I would like to hold out until 10 DPO because I’ve gotten a BFP on that day with two different pregnancies so I think it’s a pretty safe pee day, but it’s just so hard to resist. So today I thought I would share my “wait until 10 DPO to pee on a stick” plan. I’ve been following this two-part plan for nine or ten months, and it seems to work for me:

1. No peesticks in the house. If I have them, I will pee on them. Some people like to stock up on HPT’s, but I’ve discovered that I loose all self control when I have a stack of them in my house. Instead, I will purchase them on my way home from work the day before I test and try to hold out until the next day so I can use FMU. Sometimes that doesn’t work and I just hold my pee for a few hours that night, but I do try to wait until morning.

2. Use cheap dollar store peeticks until I get a BFP, then switch to digital for confirmation. We often have friends ask us how we manage to survive on the amount of money we make, and the answer is that we are really cheap. I just can’t justify the price of fancy peesticks because I feel guilty wasting the money, and hubby gets upset (he never actually says that it upsets him, but I can tell he’s annoyed). So I always start with dollar store cheapies, which works out great. I’ve always gotten my BFP a few days before my period is due when using them, and I don’t feel bad about wasting money if it’s negative. I actually have a system where I hoard dollars and save them to buy peesticks. If I want to buy something cheap that I don’t need, like a soda or candy bar, I ask myself if I’m willing to sacrifice one of my peestick dollars for it. The answer is usually no because I love my peesticks. Once I get a squinter, however, I allow myself to use a digital HPT so I don’t drive myself crazy analyzing the lines.

That’s it. It’s a simple plan but it works. It keeps me from testing way too early which will stress me out and waste our money. I have two dollars stashed in my wallet, so I will buy two tests at the dollar store on my way home tomorrow and hopefully get a BFP on Friday, which is 10 DPO.

Does anyone else have a method for testing?

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Frustrated

Remember how I said that hubby has Crohn’s and he will be starting Hu.mira to help him? Yeah, that hasn’t happened yet. He got his prescription on the 9th of this month, and he will finally get his medicine on Tuesday, an entire month after he first went to see the doctor. First, we had to wait for him to get his TB test, which he couldn’t do on a Thursday or Friday because it has to be read two days later and can’t be read on Saturday or Sunday, so it was a whole week before he was done with that. Then, we had to deal with the insurance company and prove to them that he actually needs this medication and no other medication will work. Then, we had to contact the drug company because our co-pay was $1,000 for two shots (which is a month’s worth of medicine). Seriously? Why the hell do we even have insurance if it doesn’t actually make it so we can afford our medical care?  Anyway, the drug company has a co-pay assistance program that will basically waive the cost of the co-pay so that we only have to pay $5 for every month. Once we finally got that worked out yesterday, we have to wait until Tuesday because the shots are overnighted from a special pharmacy. It was too late to send it yesterday, and they don’t ship Fri-Sun, so they are sending it Monday and we should get it Tuesday.

Meanwhile, my big bad husband who never complains is constantly wincing in pain and has even cried quite a few times because he hurts, he’s tired, and he’s frustrated with the whole process. I really just want my husband to feel better and do the things he loves (like respond to fire calls), and I feel so angry and helpless about this whole process.

Not every day has been bad, though. He had a really good weekend, and he even initiated some sexy time on Sunday for the first time in a month. Consequently, I ovulated the next day, so we’re not writing off this month like I had previously thought. Maybe we’ll get a one-hit-wonder baby this month… I’m not getting my hopes up, but I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Anyway, if you are a praying person, please pray that hubby starts feeling better ASAP after he starts his shot on Tuesday. The first time he takes it, he actually has to take four. Then he takes two the next time, then just one every time (he’ll take it twice a month). If you are not a praying person, please send healing vibes and good juju his way.

On a completely different note, make sure to email me your project before tomorrow if you want to participate in the Little Miss Craftypants Challenge. It doesn’t have to be anything big or complicated, but we would love to have as many people crafting with us as possible!

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Not a Resolution

I’m not a New Year’s Resolution kind of girl. Throughout the year, I try to be more mindful of stuff or improve on things, but I rarely set hard “goals” because I beat myself up so much and I have so much anxiety when I don’t achieve them.

Having said that, I have come to a realization that I have to stop comparing myself to other people. I know that this seems so obvious, but I really struggle with this. I compare myself to people who have more than me–women who are fertile and have no problems in pregnancy, people who make more money than me and don’t struggle to pay their bills, people who seem to have endless patience and compassion (or other enviable qualities), people who get to travel the world while I’m stuck in small town East Tennessee, etc. I also compare myself to people who are facing hardships that I am not facing (the “Oh my gosh, if it happened to them it could happen to me and I should panic about it” comparison). Either way, it makes me feel bad about myself, and if I would just stop comparing myself to others, I would see that my life is actually pretty great and I’m a good person who is worth knowing.

Today, one of the girls I work with came in our office and announced that she is pregnant. She actually announced it by grabbing my hand and putting it on her belly and beaming about having a baby. She went on to say the she got “fixed” three years ago because they were done having children, and she only has a .03% chance of getting pregnant. I just smiled weakly because I was so shocked and luckily she was too excited to notice that I wasn’t jumping for joy. After she told everyone in the office, one of my co-workers told her congratulations, and she responded with, “Yeah, I guess you could say that!” (because, you know, this wasn’t planned and was as prevented as you can get). My mind immediately went to a pity party–she has a .03% chance of getting pregnant because she had invasive surgery to prevent pregnancy and yet she is having a baby and I’m looking at adoption options. How unfair is that? It makes me want to scream and cry and throw a legit temper tantrum because I am just so angry at the unfairness of it.

Yet I can’t compare myself to her. I will make myself crazy and miserable if I compare myself to all of the people having babies. I have to just concentrate on myself–my health, my sanity, my marriage, and the options that are available to me. What can I do with what I have been given? Because no amount of envy or wishing or anger or longing or comparing is going to change what I have been given and make me like someone else.

So it’s not a New Year’s Resolution (because it’s almost February and I don’t do those anyway), but it is something I am going to try to work on. I’m going to concentrate on me and try to not feel like a failure when I am not accomplishing the same things as those around me or go into panic mode and live in fear when something terrible happens to someone else. I know that is easier said than done, but I think awareness is a good first step.

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Endurance

For those of you who are church-goers, have you ever gone to church and felt like the pastor was speaking directly to you? Like he is addressing everything you are going through and his sermon was written specifically to encourage you with your current struggles? I have felt like this every Sunday for weeks, and I have been taking a lot of notes so I can go back to them for encouragement and insight. I wanted to let you all know a little of what he said in hopes that you find encouragement too.

Pastor has been doing a sermon series on Nehemiah for a few weeks now. In his first sermon on the series, he talked about how Nehemiah went straight to prayer and fasting when he heard that the walls of Jerusalem had fallen. He said that when disaster comes, we usually do one of two things: we ignore the problem or we frantically try to fix the problem. We do not usually immediately turn to prayer. This spoke to me quite a bit. In this journey, how much time have I spent charting, researching, blogging, and doing other things to “fix” my problems? We always have a plan B, plan C, heck we’re on plan G right now, but I think in a lot of ways, pastor was right–I spend a whole lot more time trying to fix our fertility issues than I do praying about them. Which is funny considering they are ultimately out of my hands.

Yesterday, I swear pastor was talking to me. The sermon was on endurance. Pastor talked about rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and how the people were tired and wanted to quit after the wall was half built, and he said that opposition is inevitable, especially when you are doing something that God has called you to. Something I thought was particularly relevant was when he said that the tools Satan uses to bring opposition haven’t changed over the years. Nehemiah refers to discouraging people (Neh 4:1-3) and discouraging progress (Neh 4:9-10), and these are things we face today. I think it is something we especially face with infertility. I know each of us has had a conversation with someone who just didn’t understand and ended up discouraging or upsetting us instead of building us up, and I also know that we have all faced discouraging results–things just don’t move along the way we want them to. Every cycle it feels like we have to start over from the beginning, especially if we experience a loss. Pastor kept emphasizing: just keep praying, just keep building, just keep picking up bricks, just keep praying.

It was just really encouraging yesterday to hear this–to be reminded to persevere through prayer. Prayer may not make me able to have a child, but it will encourage me and it will keep me connected to God and His plan.

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Fear vs. Hope

Infertiles deal with a lot of fear. During my journey, I’ve been afraid that I wouldn’t get pregnant, afraid that I would miscarry, afraid that I would miscarry again, afraid that we would never have children, afraid that I wouldn’t be able to function after multiple mc’s, afraid of BFN’s, afraid of BFP’s, afraid that my friends would move on without me, afraid that there is something seriously wrong with me, afraid that hubby will give up on me, etc. Fear is just a huge part of this whole process, and it is something I have been struggling with a lot. There is one big fear that has been consuming me for months.

I’m terrified of hope.

Terrified.

I’ve been apathetic and disconnected. I’ve used reason and stuck to the facts, writing lists and making back-up plans. I’ve mentally beaten down any symptom spotting. I hesitantly post about our plans, thinking they sound too naive and unrealistic, but they are met with so much enthusiasm. I get comments full of smiley faces and exclamation marks, and it reminds me of how far I have fallen from hope. I am so grateful to have this community to be hopeful for me because I seem to be incapable of it right now. It’s like I’ve been in the darkness too long and can’t stand to be in the light because it is so painful.

But at some point, I have to let myself hope again.

I have a beautiful friend who always seems to understand my heart, and she told me a few months ago that I have to stop prophesying disaster over myself. She’s right. This is no way to live. The question is, how do you move away from the fear and allow hope back into your heart? Are there maybe some magic sunglasses that make the transition from the cave into the light a little easier?

I noticed yesterday that I was spotting. I’m pretty sure yesterday was 9 DPO, and I have only had mid-cycle spotting three times before. Two of those times, I was pregnant. Ever since I saw it, I’ve been using all of my mental and emotional energy trying to suppress hope, and it is exhausting. Would it be too much to hope that this is our month? Would it be too much to see the spotting as a good sign of implantation? Would it be too much to pray that we get a BFP and our take home baby? Would it be too much to hope that this year will be different–full of joy instead of pain?

Thanks you for leaving encouraging and enthusiastic comments–they help more than you know. I hope I can feel that same enthusiasm soon.

 

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The BFP Plan

Over the past four months, I have thought a lot about what our next steps would be. We came up with a plan to try one more time to get pregnant and stay pregnant without any major tests or treatments. I was really convinced from the beginning that my low progesterone was the problem, so we’re going to give it one more try with the supplements, and I’m as hopeful as I can be about it while still staying sane.

The biggest question I’ve been asking myself lately is, “What do I do when I get that BFP?” After getting pregnant three times, I’m fairly confident that I can get pregnant again if we try hard enough (but I also know not to take anything for granted when it comes to TTC and pregnancy). So I had to come up with a plan, a BFP plan, based off of my last three mc’s. Here’s the general idea:

  • I will not call to make an appointment until I hit six  weeks. I lost my first two pregnancies so early that I never even made it to my first appointment, and with my last pregnancy, I somehow had it in my mind that my baby would be fine if I could just make it to an appointment. Now that I have successfully made it to a first appointment and had two betas, I know the truth: going to see a midwife or OB earlier is not going to keep me from miscarrying. I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but calling to cancel three different appointments for three different pregnancies was humiliating, and I don’t want to do it for a fourth time. So to avoid making yet another first appointment to only cancel it, I’m not even going to make an appointment until I am far enough along to hopefully find a heartbeat. 
  • No Betas I thought these would be helpful and enlightening, but all they really did was upset me and stress me out, so I don’t see a reason why I need them. I’m not going to argue if my midwife really wants me to do them, but I’m definitely not asking for them.
  • I will not tell anyone IRL until I see a heartbeat. Whenever I say something like this, people always look shocked and say, “You aren’t going to tell your husband?” I guess I’m the only one who thinks it is implied that I will tell my husband. There is a woman I work with who has some weird sixth sense–she always comes into my office on the day I get a BFP and asks me if I’m pregnant with this knowing look on her face. With my first pregnancy, she asked me before I even knew. Still trying to figure out how I’m going to avoid that because I’m the worst liar ever.
  • Double my progesterone supplements. When I went for my follow-up appointment after my last mc, my midwife said she could increase my progesterone for my next pregnancy, at which point I asked her if it was necessary because my progesterone was within the normal range on during my last pregnancy. She told me it wasn’t necessary but it couldn’t hurt, so I’ve decided that I will increase it to twice a day as suggested once I get a BFP. Why not before? I am very susceptible to medications that make you tired. For example, I cannot take a Benadryl without taking a two hour nap. When I take those supplements at night, I sleep so well because they make me so tired, and the midwife said to take one in the morning and one at night if I choose to take two. I have a boring desk job, and it’s hard enough to stay awake without taking the pill in the mornings, so I’m not going to give up two weeks of productivity until I get a BFP and it’s totally worth it.
  • I will take it easy. Nothing strenuous at all. I’ll get a burly EMT the change to bottle at the water cooler at work instead of doing it myself. I’ll do a lot of sitting around the house. I’ll read a book on my lunch break instead of going for a walk. I’ll love on hubby in ways that don’t involve my pelvis. It’s not permanent–just until I go to the first appointment at get some confirmation that I have a baby that is actually growing and has a heart that’s beating.
  • I’m limiting myself to one HPT every other day.  I don’t want to ban myself from them entirely in case I need some reassurance, but I’m limiting myself so I won’t constantly agonize over the tests. Part of me wants to say that I have to get rid of them after I use them so I can’t obsessively compare them all the time, but I’m trying to be realistic here.

Some of these points are for practicality (Do I really need to pay the copay on another appointment if I’m going to lose it a few days later?); some are to boost baby’s chances (A little more progesterone can’t hurt); and some are to save my sanity (Multiple HPTs a day can’t be mentally healthy). We’ll see how it all plays out once I actually see that second line.

What do you all think? Anything I should add?

9 Comments »

TTC Pregnancy #4–Cycle #1

If you think this post seems terribly apathetic, that’s because it is. That’s where I am right now. Bear with me, I’m hoping it will pass soon…

For the first time since August, I am officially in the two week wait. I wrote awhile back about how I felt stuck, and you would think that starting TTC again would help me feel like I’m achieving some forward motion. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I had a rough New Years. I have a very vivid memory of going on vacation with my very pregnant friend and our husbands on New Years last year. I remember crying to my husband because I wasn’t pregnant yet. Sure, we had only been trying for 4-5 months, but I had this gut feeling that something was wrong and we would never have a baby. It’s been a year since that moment, and we are essentially in the same place. So TTC may seem like progress, but we started TTC well over a year ago,  I’ve been pregnant three times, and the end result is that we’re in the same place we were last year.  You could even say that we’ve backtracked a little because now we have  more heartache and less hope. I’m fairly certain I won’t feel like we are moving forward until I am solidly into a viable pregnancy or we move on and start the paperwork and classes for the foster adoption plan–Plan H (seriously, there are only so many letters in the alphabet).

I’m not really holding my breath for this cycle because hubby and I haven’t been particularly diligent in our baby-making efforts. The timing wasn’t perfect–we had sex around the general time of ovulation, but we might have missed the exact window. Hubby hasn’t been feeling well (he’s going to the doctor tomorrow to figure out what could be up with his stomach), and I have stayed true to my promise of not pressuring him when he doesn’t want to. I didn’t even tell him when I was ovulating because I didn’t want to upset him or stress him out by making him think that he has to have sex with me. So we are basically only having sex when we feel like it and I’ve been watching for ovulation and hoping that he feels like it at the right time. It’s not really the perfect recipe for baby-making, but at this point, our relationship and hubby’s emotional health is much more important to me.

Even though I make it sound like I was tricking hubby by not telling him when I was ovulating, he is fully up to date and well aware that I am in the TWW. He also knows the official POAS date: Friday the 12th. I’ve been taking my progesterone in the evenings and I have enough to make it until Thursday before I need to refill it which is perfect because I think Friday is 14 DPO. So I’ll take a HPT on Friday morning, and if it is positive, I’ll refill my prescription that day. Then I will follow the “BFP Plan” that I have comprised over the past four months since my last mc. I’m planing on posting about it in detail tomorrow, so be sure to check back in, because you know you are on the edge of your seats.

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