Sometimes This is Rough

Disclaimer- I will be talking about some family members/friends who are pregnant. If you are one of them and reading this, please please please believe me when I say that I do not resent you in any way. I will talk a bit about my feelings in relation to your pregnancies, but that is how I feel about MY SITUATION, not how I feel about you or your pregnancy. I am so happy for you, even on the days when it’s hard.

That being said, I found out yesterday that one of my cousins (well, technically my cousin’s wife) is pregnant, and due in April ’14. If you’ll recall, that’s the same month I would have been due with my second pregnancy. And I found out shortly after my first loss that one of my other cousins is pregnant, and due in Jan ’14, a couple weeks after I would have been due with Stormy. It feels like such a slap in the face from the Universe. Really? They couldn’t have been due ANY other time? Now when I see them, or hear about where they are in their pregnancies, I can’t help but think about where I would have been, where I should be. During the brief time I was pregnant the second time, I felt a lot better about the cousin who is due in Jan, so I’m hoping that once we get back on track and I’m pregnant again, it’ll be much less painful to be around both of them. But for now, yeah, it hurts.

So now I’m working on ways to stay positive when this feels overwhelming. I’ve hidden them, and another pregnant friend from my FB news feed. I do/will check in occasionally to see what’s going on, but I’m not really up for never knowing when I may see more pregnancy news if I go on FB. I’m also, as I mentioned before, focusing on other aspects of my life, things that don’t relate to babies and kids. Unfortunately, that’s a bit easier said than done. I’m an admin for Naturally Crunchy Moms, a FB page, and run the Pinterest account for the page. I also have an Etsy shop selling baby hats, Lil Fishies, which does pretty steady business. Even as a non-parent (and I’m so not going into the issue of whether I’m a parent since I carried two babies at least for a while), a lot of my life revolves around babies and kids. But I am looking for a job, and have a couple promising leads. If that works out, I can throw myself into work a lot. And maybe I could go through my pinterest boards and look for some fun, new craft to learn that has nothing to do with babies. Preferably a nice, complicated one that will take a lot of time. 🙂 (Anyone have any suggestions?)

Aside from that, I’m looking to find ways to derail the negative thoughts when they start. It’s so easy to fall into the rut of dwelling on the negative aspects of my situation. But things are looking up a lot, now that we have some answers from the doctors. (Also, my appointment with the Maternal-Fetal Specialist is on the 15th, so I’ll have more news then.) I can choose to be grateful for that. I can choose to be grateful for the little stupid things that kind of make me laugh at myself when I think of them, like the fact that at least now when I do get pregnant again, I’ll have all the attention for myself, which I wouldn’t have if I shared a due date with a family member.

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And every day longer that we have to wait for a baby is another day towards bringing that baby into a more ideal situation. (i.e. We’ll have that much more of our student loan debt paid off, etc.) Also, I’ve made progress on the What Would Snow White Do mindset I wrote about, but I’m far from where I want to be. Being more positive will bring immeasurable benefits to any kids we have, so the more time I have to work on that, the better. If we had had kids when we first got married, almost 5 years ago, I would have been a VERY different parent than I will be with who I am now. I’ll write about it more at a later time, but I cannot even express how grateful I am that I discovered attachment/positive/gentle parenting before I had kids. And having learned more about circumcision before having a boy has prevented me from making a choice to permanently damage my child that I would have ultimately regretted forever. So every day that I’m not a mom yet, is a chance to learn something that will make me a better mom when the time comes, before I do something I’ll regret.

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Interesting. I chose to write this because I feel like people should speak up and share their stories, especially when they’re dealing with something that people so rarely choose to talk about like repeated miscarriages. But it turns out that I feel a lot better for having written it. Taking the time to really articulate all the positive things I can be thinking about did exactly what I was planning to do, got me out of the rut of negative thinking. So if you’re in a similar situation, here’s something to take away from this. Don’t just tell yourself to focus on the positive or things you’re grateful for. Take the time to write them down, and really think about them. Add to your list sometimes. Sometimes things just suck, and you’re going to be sad about them. That’s fine. Take the time to allow yourself to feel whatever you need to. But when you’re done, don’t let the sadness take over. There’s always something good, and taking the time to remember the good things can really help.

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Some Further Thoughts

Having had some time to process and think about my test results, I have a few more points to consider.

Firstly, I wonder if my doctor in Denver should have been more proactive in seeking answers after the first miscarriage. Normally insurance wants you to wait until you’ve had at least three, so she was definitely following standard protocol. But she knew my family history of placental abruptions (maternal grandmother, mother, and cousin), and even said she found it unusual and something keep an eye on with me. As I said before, abruptions are not hereditary, but blood clotting disorders are, and they can cause abruptions. I wonder if she would have been more concerned if I’d remembered at the time that my grandmother has a history of blood clots. My miscarriage was more typical of blood clots, in that development was totally on track right up until the baby was gone. Miscarriages caused by chromosomal issues (which are far more common) tend to show delayed development, and frequently no heartbeat ever shows up. I just feel like all of those together should have thrown up some red flags. I do NOT blame her, or resent that she didn’t do more testing immediately. But I do want to put my story out there, so if someone is in a similar situation they can insist on more aggressive action before they lose multiple babies.

Secondly, I wonder if this will impact my ability to give blood. I didn’t think to ask, but I could see where it might. I never have, but I’ve always wanted to, so I’d be a bit sad if I can’t. Still, there are other ways I can volunteer and help others, so it’s not huge.

Thirdly, I wish she’d been more interested in discussing how this will impact future pregnancies. My cousin asked if I’d wind up having to have a scheduled c-section. I don’t think that would be likely, but I don’t know. I’m a planner, and I’d like to know what of my original plans are still options. I won’t be able to go with a midwife, due to the high risk status (even if they’d be willing, I wouldn’t). What else may be affected?

And lastly, the biggest one (to me). One thing I told myself with both miscarriages, especially the more recent one, is that if it was going to happen, at least it happened early. 9.5 weeks didn’t feel that early, but compared to 15 or 20 or later, it wasn’t that bad. Generally 12 weeks is the magic number, and after that your odds of miscarriage decrease dramatically. But from what I understand, that’s because most are caused by chromosomal issues, so they’re unable to develop that far. If I understand correctly, and I think I do, miscarriages caused by blood clots can happen at any time, right up until birth (as in the case of my family members who had abruptions). So I am now a thousand times more grateful that mine did happen so early. I didn’t know I was at risk, so I could have gotten to 12 weeks, thought I was safe, and been far more devastated by a late-term miscarriage or stillbirth. My experiences were no fun, but they could have been so much worse, and I’m so, SO grateful that they weren’t.

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Anyone have any further thoughts or questions about the implications of my diagnosis? Like I said before, I’m happy with my results, but it definitely provides some food for thought.

News From the Doctor!

Short version- I got what I was hoping for! The blood tests did show something, but it was relatively minor. Yay!

 (Really absurdly) long version- My appointment today was at 1:20, so I spent most of the morning basically trying to focus on other things and not freak out. Lots of puppy cuddles and reading my current Star Wars book. I also played around on the internet some and got myself thoroughly irritated by Common Core education standards, but that’s another story. When it was finally time to go, I put on my music really loud for the drive. I’m not sure Enya is what normal people blast, but it’s the only cd I had in my car, and the louder the music was, the less room there was in my head for worried thoughts.

Christopher met me there (yay for a husband who comes to these sorts of appointments with me!), and we sat in the waiting room for a bit. He could tell I was super nervous, so he was saying random stuff to distract me. At one point he mentioned that if they said we couldn’t safely have kids, we could probably find someone to be a surrogate mother for us. I, not thinking, suggested his (twin) sister. The look on his face was worth how stupid I felt for saying it. ^_^

We didn’t have to wait terribly long in the waiting room or after they took us back. I had not actually met this doctor yet (last time I saw the nurse practitioner), so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. She turned out to be very nice, which was a huge improvement over the doctor I saw in Denver that I couldn’t stand. However, neither of us were really impressed with how well she explained things and she seemed pretty scatterbrained. I plan to request to see a different doctor in the practice next time, and if I stay with them, to possibly request to just see the nurse practitioner most of the time, since I loved her. I know she wouldn’t be the one to attend the birth, but I’m not worried about that. I’ll spend far more time going to appointments throughout pregnancy than I will during the actual birth, so as long as I’m happy with the doctors and feel comfortable with them, I’m fine with not having seen the same one every time. It’s not like I get a guarantee as to which one will attend the birth anyway.

So. That was a lot of back story that you don’t care about, just to get to the actual test results. As I said above, the tests did show something. It was apparently genetic testing looking for mutations that can cause issues, primarily blood clotting issues. As it turns out, I do NOT have any of the major ones, such as Factor V. This is good news. I do have two more minor mutations that lead to a higher risk of blood clots. She also said that essentially they don’t stack, so having two is not worse, but I have to admit I don’t understand how that’s possible. Wouldn’t having two different mutations that cause clotting disorders make you more likely to have issues than just having one? Dunno. She kept throwing around the word thrombophilia, but that just seems to be the fancy word for blood clotting disorder.

Also, Christopher says I don’t get to be an X-man because I have these mutations. I say he’s no fun.

Anyway, she made it clear that this is essentially good news. It is treatable, and not all big scary bad. (I might be paraphrasing.) I might wind up just on baby aspirin, or they may have me take something stronger as well (it was not said whether it would involve shots, but we’re just gonna assume it doesn’t so I don’t freak out). She referred me to a Maternal-Fetal Specialist. Their office will make the appointment for me, so I don’t know yet when that will be, but I did request the first available so hopefully soon! She also said I will be classified as high risk when I get pregnant, but that we’d discuss that further once it actually happened. From what I was told at the last appointment, there’s a good chance this means I’ll have to see both a regular doctor and the specialist throughout any pregnancies. Yay for even more appointments! >_<

All that to say, I’m quite happy with the news. Of course, ideally one wants to have no issues and be perfectly healthy and not have any cause for worry during pregnancy. But since that option has already gone out the window, this is the next best thing. I didn’t want there to be nothing shown by the tests, because I’d be terrified the next time I got pregnant. And I definitely didn’t want it to be anything major. I was thoroughly freaked out by the thought that I might have to do a ton of shots, or worse, that there might just be nothing they could do and I couldn’t have kids. So I am pleased to be able to both have answers, and not have those answers be too scary.

Side note- I’m not sure I was right to try to not think about it beforehand. My blood pressure was high enough that the nurse seemed worried, and I actually have borderline low blood pressure. I was really nervous! Then again, thinking about it ahead of time might have just meant I kept my blood pressure up all the time, instead of just in the few hours before my appointment, so maybe I did right. Who knows? 🙂

What Would Snow White Do?

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Again, nothing baby related here. I’ll share how the doctor appointment goes as soon as possible, but that’s not until Thursday. (And in case you’re wondering, yes, I’m nervous. Mostly trying not to think about it. Pretty sure that’s not unhealthy repression, just a rational response since there is literally nothing I can do in the meantime.)

Also, quick warning, this might have spoilers for the show Once Upon A Time in it. I’m only a couple episodes into season 2 though, and they’re already on season 3, so probably not many. And if you comment, don’t post any spoilers for me!

So now that you’re probably thoroughly confused, let us proceed to the actual post here. I’ve been watching Once Upon A Time (obviously), and it struck me how much I wished I were more like Snow White, even though so many times I find myself acting more like she did after she took the potion to forget Charming. (For those who don’t watch it, the potion took away her love, which made her mean and selfish and lacking in empathy, and basically the antithesis of who Snow White is. (Also, the show is based more or less on the Disney versions of the stories, so Snow White is genearlly the happy, sweet person she is in the Disney movie.)) And while I’m not religious, it brings to mind Phillipians 4:8- “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” I think I’ve let myself spend too much time dwelling on the negative, instead of the positive, excellent and praiseworthy things. I don’t really know if this is a recent thing or more of an on-going thing that’s gotten worse of late, though I’m inclined to think it’s the latter. And I don’t mean sitting around being sad/mad about the baby issues. I just mean that habit of reacting negatively to things. Of getting annoyed at the person in the grocery line who is taking forever, and sitting there fuming. Or having to deal with someone who makes you mad, and instead of moving on, holding on to it and telling everyone you can think of about how stupid they were. Just being negative.

And I don’t want to be like that. I want to be like Snow. When she was imprisoned along with Grumpy, and he was escaping without bothering to offer to unlock her cell as well, she didn’t get angry at him. She wished him good luck. When the huntsman was about to kill her on the queen’s orders, she wrote a letter to the queen saying she forgave her. And in the Disney movie, when she was forced to leave her home, threatened with death, stuck cooking and cleaning for a house full of dwarves, she was able to find joy in her circumstances. Which is not to say she was weak, she was actually pretty badass, sword fighting and all that. She knew when true, righteous anger was a valid reaction. But she didn’t let it control her, and it wasn’t her default reaction.

You can’t really change your reactions directly. Reacting is what you do immediately, before you have time to think about it. You have to change your thought habits first. So that’s what I’m working on. It’s interesting really. Here’s an example from this morning. The light to leave our subdivision is on a sensor, so it never changes if there’s no one trying to leave. This is a good thing, but it used to be the case (I don’t know if it still is) that if you pulled up past the crosswalk, instead of waiting behind the line like you’re supposed to, the sensor wouldn’t register that you were there and the light would never change. Now I’m a rule follower by nature, and more to the point, I want everyone else to follow the rules too. I get pretty irritated when people don’t. So I used to like that that sensor would essentially punish people who didn’t follow the rules, and I never wanted to pull up to the light when someone was waiting past the line because my car could trigger the sensor for them. This morning I came up to the light while someone was waiting past the line, and my first reaction was to be irritated at them, and to hope the sensor still worked the same as it used to, and that my car wouldn’t trip it to help them. And then I realized how much that wasn’t the reaction I wanted to have. It’s so not my place to want to police the world, and I should want to help that person. Not to mention that seeing my car trigger the sensor might help them realize their mistake. I should be hoping that I could make the light change for them, not hoping they’d be stuck sitting there for who knows how long. And on top of it simply being the kinder attitude, it’s probably safer in the long run. I’ve seen people run red lights when they seemed like something was wrong and they weren’t going to change. So I had a choice. I could avoid the light (there’s a way around), possibly leaving them to their “punishment” of being stuck, and gloat about it and how I helped teach them a lesson. Or I could help them. Which one of those is really the person I want to be?

My book, the Dharma of Star Wars, has a bit on reactions as well, and how they’re an opportunity for introspection. The example used there was the anger and frustration we feel when waiting in a long line. We should take a moment to consider why it makes us angry. Perhaps we’ve allowed our schedule to be overbooked, so delays are difficult to handle. Maybe we just need to work on accepting that sometimes waiting in line is just what life *is* and to accept it as an opportunity to work on simply enjoying just being, even if we’re not doing something we think is fun or important. I’ve been working on this, and it’s helpful. When I can see that I got annoyed at Christopher for asking me to do something because I felt guilty that I hadn’t already done it, it can help me to choose not to be annoyed (and to plan better next time if I feel like it’s something I really should have had done).

I can’t promise that next time you see me I’ll be all sweetness and light and whistling while I work and playing with blue birds and bunnies. But I can promise that I’m trying, and if I act more like Grumpy than Snow please try to give me some grace as well. 🙂

 

Cutting Back

Just a head’s up, this is not in any way baby/pregnancy related. This is more the “road to crunchy” part, not the “road to mama.”

Basically, I like stuff. I like geeky stuff and I like pretty stuff and I like crazy brightly colored stuff. I like so very many different kinds of stuff. But the reality is, I have WAY too much stuff. I don’t like clutter (or more accurately, I don’t like dusting when things are cluttered, and I don’t like things being dusty), so most of my stuff winds up in storage. I rotate it out some, but mostly it just sits there. I had started cutting back on the stuff, and better yet, cutting back on the purchasing of MORE stuff. But much like eating healthier, I let myself get out of the habit. I’ve been seeing all these things I want, and oooh, I want them a lot! Especially a Wii U. I really want a Wii U.

AND we’ve been looking at houses, and we found one that’s a-frakin-mazing. Like, holy wow, I want this house. It’s huge, and it’s gorgeous, and it has all these lovely details like fancy lighting and patio with cable run out to it. It’s the sort of house that growing up, I thought rich people lived in. (I grew up not poor, but my mom was working more than one job, so my standards of “rich” were a little off.) And while it’s higher than we’re planning to pay, it’s well within the range of what we *could* afford, if we wanted to. Christopher really loved it too, but he’s more budget-conscious. And I was all geared up to make my case for why we really DO need this house. I might have even convinced him (probably not, but maybe).

And then I read this post on NatureMoms (love that blog, but she’s kinda sold out too much and is doing too many promo posts for products) about “8 Reasons Why Less Stuff Equals More Happiness.” And then right at that same time I read the part of my Dharma of Star Wars book about how our desire to always have more, and to always feel like our happiness is dependent on some stuff we don’t have, is a big cause of suffering. (Suffering, in this case, being a sort of catch-all term for any unhappiness, not the big dramatic idea that suffering tends to connote, at least in my mind.)

And you know what? If we got that big, pretty house, I would have to clean it! And we’d “need” furniture to fill it up, since we definitely don’t have enough, and what we have really doesn’t go with the feel of the place, so we’d “need” to replace what we have. We’d be paying so much on our house payments that we’d have no extra money for going to do fun things together, and we’d be paying off our student loan and car debt that much more slowly. Not to mention that we’re hoping to have kids, obviously, and they’re going to be expensive, even with doing things like cloth diapering!

And the Wii U (and all the other awesome geeky things on my Pinterest wish list)? Why on earth do I need another gaming system? I just got the Retron 3, and I literally have bought games for it that I haven’t even played yet. I will say that the usable items on my wish list are at least reasonable (like t-shirts that will actually get worn), but the things that will just be more stuff collecting dust are really not needed. And the t-shirts, etc are better saved for birthdays and Christmas. Since gifts are my love language anyway (there’s a fun blog topic I could go into), waiting and getting them as gifts makes me far happier than spending my own money on them.

So all that to say, I am extremely grateful for the timely reminder that I do not need all these things and stuff, even when I feel like I need them “sooooo bad.” Hopefully this time I can remember it when I get out there and see it all, especially since Christmas stuff is my biggest weakness, and it’s already hitting stores! 🙂

Some Thoughts

No updates yet or anything (appointment for test result follow up is on the 26th, so two weeks from today), but unsurprisingly, I have been thinking about it a bit. I’m trying to figure out how I’ll feel about the results, depending on what they are.

Firstly, you have the possibility that everything will come back totally normal. It is well within the realm of possibility that two losses is just plain bad luck. There may be no real “cause.” Or there might be some cause that won’t be picked up by the tests they ran, like if Christopher has messed up sperm or something. So getting results that essentially tell us nothing would be both good and bad. On the one hand, you don’t want to have something wrong with you, especially something serious that compromises your ability to have kids. On the other hand, if there’s nothing, getting pregnant again will be much more scary, because there’s still no guarantee that there’s nothing going on that will cause another loss. So mostly hoping that everything won’t come back normal, but it’s not terrible if that’s the case.

Then you have the scariest possibility, which is that it will turn out to be something major. I don’t know exactly what they’re testing for (blood clotting disorder was all that was mentioned, but surely with 18 vials of blood they’re testing a little more than that?), so this is a vague sort of fear. But I would assume that it’s possible that they’ll come back and say we could never safely have kids, even with treatment. That’s the worst case. I’m pretty much ignoring this one so I don’t freak myself out. It seems unlikely anyway, right?

Less scary, but alarming is the possibility of something treatable, but with an unpleasant treatment. She mentioned specifically that with blood clotting, I might have to give myself Heparin shots. I cannot express how much I do NOT want to have to do that. I hate needles a lot. Would it be worth it for a baby? Yes. But I’m really not big on that idea.

And then you have what I’m actually hoping for, which is something minor and easily treatable. She said that blood clotting issues could be minor and only need me to take baby aspirin. This would have the effect of giving me an answer, making future pregnancies less scary, but without having to go through a lot of unpleasantness. So fingers definitely crossed for this one!

In other news, I’m taking other steps to help with having a healthy pregnancy when the time comes. I was working on eating better, but between the losses and the move, I’ve backslidden rather badly. My comfort foods are junk food, and I go straight for them when stressed. But I’m feeling more motivated to get back on track. Somewhat easier said than done, given that the nearest healthy grocery store is nowhere close, but Publix does have at least some organic and healthy options. Thankfully, they definitely have organic dairy and poultry, since those are the big ones for me.

Also, I’ve found a nice hippie yoga place nearby, and will be starting that next week. Combined with some longer walks in the evenings with Christopher when we take the dogs out, that should really help with my lack of exercise. And I’m looking to get a job in retail, as I mentioned, which, while not actual exercise, will get me on my feet a lot more than I am when I’m home. Hopefully that will be happening soon.

I’ve been reading my book, The Dharma of Star Wars, again as well. Which is probably the world’s geekiest, weirdest way to work on meditation and positivity and such, but I love it. I’m not big on philosophy, or overly hippie-fied stuff, so working on those things within the framework of Star Wars makes me extra happy. I’ve found myself being more snippy and negative, and lashing out at times that don’t really justify it at all, so I’m focusing on controlling my reactions more, and not letting stress cause me to be too negative. I’m hoping the yoga and continuing to read this book and put it into practice can help with that.

I never know how to end blog posts. On Hellobee, they always end with a question, to encourage discussion and further thought, so I’ll try that. How do you handle stress, and what do you do to help yourself stay positive in stressful situations?

Bad News, But A Little Good News Too

Again, since this is mostly for friends/family, if you’re here you probably already know, but we did wind up losing this pregnancy as well. I got the blood test results the Thursday we moved, and I had only gone up to 111 in 5 days. If you’ll recall my last post, 175 was the absolute lowest it could be and there still be any hope, and even that wouldn’t have been good. And as if knowing the numbers was all my body was waiting for, I started spotting within an hour or so of getting that phone call.

While it was/is sad, to be perfectly honest at this point, a week and a half later, I’m not even upset about it. The negative pregnancy test after a positive had me worried from the beginning (even though it more than likely had absolutely nothing to do with the loss), and knowing so early made it much easier. If this were my first loss, I would probably be pretty devastated. But after losing one at 9.5 weeks, after seeing the heartbeat and all, this was nothing. I get more far more upset if I sit around thinking about losing Stormy than I do thinking about this one (who we did not wind up naming anything, since it was so early). I also think it’s worth noting that I don’t regret choosing to be excited early on when we were still hopeful. I wasn’t any more sad because I was initially happy. Not enjoying the early days would have just robbed me of a few extra days of being happy about it.

I said in the title there was some good news too, so here goes with that. I had my first appointment with a TN doctor (well, nurse practitioner) today. I was a little afraid they’d refuse to start any testing at this point, because insurance doesn’t really classify you as having a problem until you’ve had three miscarriages. And there was no way to do a d&c for this one to do any fetal testing. But she jumped right on wanting to start testing right away, without my having to ask. They took eighteen vials of blood (seriously. I had to leave and go get something to eat because they wouldn’t take that much with me not having eaten), and I have another appointment to discuss the results in two and a half weeks. I have a family history of placental abruptions (on both sides, but primarily maternal), which one doctor thought was odd because it’s not actually hereditary, and it’s very rare, so for both my mom and her mom to have had one is extremely unusual. But one of the most common causes of early miscarriages is a blood clotting disorder, which can also cause placental abruptions. And blood clotting disorders are hereditary. It’s also manageable, so if it turns out that’s the cause, we probably won’t go through this again.

Until we get the results we’re supposed to avoid getting pregnant again, so don’t expect any happy announcements any time too soon. But I’m actually very happy to be able move forward on getting some answers. While this loss is much, much easier than the first, it opens up the door to all those “is there something wrong with me,” “will this keep happening,” type questions. It makes the whole thing a bit scarier. So I’m very grateful that the doctor wants to immediately start working on getting those questions answered.

For the time being, I’m mostly just focusing on other things. I have a tendency to obsess over one thing at a time, and for a while it’s been baby stuff, for obvious reasons. Time for a new obsession. I’m kind of back in Star Wars mode. 🙂  I’m looking to get a job in retail, since a nannying job would keep me in the baby/kid mindset. And I’m enjoying being back in TN, looking forward to Christmas, planning to drive down to Memphis to see my dad and his family one weekend soon, all kinds of good stuff. There are plenty of other things to be happy about for now, and hopefully soon we’ll be back on track! We just turned 28 in the last few weeks, so we’re aiming for a baby by age 30. 🙂 Plenty of time!