Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Amsterdam museum day

Joe's first semester is over, so he can really enjoy some downtime. With the kids in school, we decided to head to Amsterdam for the first time. Amsterdam has tons of museums and is overall a fun city to visit. Of course when we got to the first museum, it was closed. And wouldn't be open for another hour...... So we started wandering.

We found this ornate old house. Can you imagine living in a house like this?
Joe was excited about all the different bridges.
Joe was plotting and envisioning how he would jump his car or bike off this bridge, as it was halfway up. Unfortunately the drawbridge/pole was made of steel.
Of course it wouldn't be Amsterdam without the cool home fronts
One of the museums we visited was the Rembrandthuis. I have to admit I didn't expect much of this, and expected to be in and out pretty quick. However, we were able to attend an etching demonstration in Rembrandt's very own workshop. It brought back a lot of memories to the printing class of my very first semester at BYU
The guided tour gave some great insights to Rembrandt's life
Time flew by, and before we knew it, it was time to head back home. Hopefully Joe and I can spend similar days like this together again.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Culture phase

We are approaching the 3 month mark in Holland. At first our focus was on settling in. Then we seemed to have had a solid month of sickness and cold weather. Just this week, I realized that we're living a little too much like natives, in that we haven't done any touristy things. And that's a shame! Part of the reason we wanted to live in Europe, is to experience the culture. We almost need to live like natives during the week, and like tourists on the weekend/vacations.

Joe's first semester at school is over, and he has a full week of vacation. Not having to study, opened up a chance to enjoy a little of Holland. Unfortunately the weather wasn't cooperating, so our plans to hit the beach had to be changed for an inside activity. After some research, it quickly became apparent that there are more great museums here than you could see in a year. The yearly museum subscription will the best chance for us to see as many as we can.

We decided to stay close to home today, and visit Den Haag's "Gevangenpoort". It's a 600 year old jail that is located in the city wall gate. But the cool thing about Holland is, that even if you go for a museum, there are so many other things to see right around it. Old buildings, history, typical dutch food stands, and of course tiny cars.

Instead of tearing down old, dilapidated buildings, they gut them, and renovate from the bottom up
at the Binnenhof (home of the parliament)
Enjoying some typical Dutch food: raw Haring with onions. YUM!
Winter was willing to try it, Ginger and Sterling, not so much!
Joe's lesson in pigeon catching.
And of course, the tiny car. Doesn't this just look like a toy car, that was blown up in a magical expansion machine??

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sad labor story

**WARNING** again; read with caution

A lot can happen in 24 hours! Reading my last post, I was doing fairly well with the whole miscarriage, and kind of waiting for it all to be done. In the afternoon the cramps started getting more intense, and comparable to labor contractions, with some heavy bleeding. Joe was at school, and after about 3 hours of bearing it alone, I called Emma to the rescue. She dropped everything she was doing, and came straight to my house. The cramping and bleeding tapered off, and I was hopeful that the baby had come out. It had been painful, but bearable.

After going to be early, I woke up around 2 am, again with heavy contractions. Not wanting to be up all night, I tried to go back to bed. That worked. For a few hours. But the next time I woke up, I literally worried I might bleed to death, and called the midwife. Luckily she believed the severity of the situation, and came to my house to have a look. It didn't take her too long after arriving, to decide I was in bad enough shape to go to the ER.

Initially at the ER, the only thing they did for me, was comfort me by running some blood tests to make sure I hadn't lost too much blood. The midwife had made a guess of 1 quart of blood, so they wanted to make sure I didn't need a blood transfusion. Then a lot of waiting. Waiting for the blood results. Waiting for the OB/GYN to come into work at 9am, in order to do an ultrasound to see if a D&C would be necessary. Waiting for the contractions to slow down or stop. Luckily I didn't need blood. Luckily they gave me some wonderful drugs to get rid of the pain.

As they were getting me ready to move me to the Obstetrics department, so I could wait for the doctor to come in, I lost what turned out to be the placenta and other tissue. Knowing that the baby was only 4mm, I wasn't expecting much, but it was surprisingly big. Definitely not something that would just go away unnoticed. At this point I started feeling a little better. The combination of the drugs and the slightly lighter contractions allowed me to rest for a few hours while waiting on the doctor.

My worst fear was that I would still have to have a D&C, even after suffering through all that pain. Luckily they were taken away when the OB/GYN did her ultrasound around 9am. Everything was clear. My body had taken care of itself. I never dreamed I would have to go through labor, and not have a baby to show for it after.

Most of all I want to express my sincere thankfulness for all my loving family around me. For Emma who got up in the middle of the night, cleaned up the huge mess I made in the bathroom, took care of the kids and took them to school. And for my dad who has called and asked how he can help, just about every few hours. And of course my dear husband Joe, who had to spend the first part of his 35th birthday sleeping in an uncomfortable hospital chair, and never left my side despite his well-known aversion to female issues. For my cousin Talita who brought me flowers and dinner this morning, even without knowing about the whole episode. Who is also picking up my kids from school this afternoon.

I can't imagine having to do something like this alone!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

the other 1%

The follow-up ultrasound was yesterday. I was expecting the worst, and that's exactly what I got. My little bean was the same size as 2 weeks ago (6w1d), but this time without a heartbeat. I'm so sad, yet at the same time strangely disconnected. The last time I would have random crying spells; none so far this time. All I keep thinking about, is whether something with me has changed. I'm a little older, but not old enough to cause these problems. I've had a Mirena IUD, which could potentially cause problems. Or maybe it's just chance. Statistics do say that 25% of clinically proven pregnancies fail. If that's the case, I should be good to go for 3 healthy pregnancies (which is just a tad too many for me). No matter the reason, all I can do is try again, and hope and pray for the best next time.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Personal Progress

As a Young Woman, I kind of, sort of, participated in "My personal progress". This is a program that the church sets up to help young women become strong, faithful women, moms, and wives. I saw this program as a big pain, and ultimately stopped after the first year or two. What I failed to see, was that these projects could build a strong foundation for a testimony. Now that I'm 15 years further in life, I can clearly see how my participation in this program could have saved me a lot of heartache, struggle, and doubts. To this day I see women with strong testimonies, and wonder to myself how they could be so strong. They must have done Personal Progress.

But enough wallowing about my failed efforts in the past; now that I am a Young Women's leader, it's so important to be a strong example. And I can only do that by participating doing my own personal progress along with the girls. I know that if I do, my testimony will grow, and good habits will form. So that's the goal!

99% sure

**WARNING** TMI for some of my readers

It has really helped me to be able to read back to my last miscarriage, for signs and symptoms. At this point I'm 99% sure I am having another miscarriage. I had been spotting since my last ultrasound, and it stopped in the middle of last week. ( so from 8 weeks - 9w4d) Carefully I was starting to have hope again that maybe I did get my dates wrong, and I was just not as far along. That hope was dashed this weekend. Saturday after I cleaned for a little while, I was having cramps similar to menstrual cramps. They would stop after sitting/laying on the couch, but start up again when I rode my bike, or pretty much did anything at all. Same thing on Sunday, until I started bleeding after standing up while cooking. The bleeding isn't very heavy, about the same as a period, but the cramps are persisting. Since it's still pretty early in the pregnancy, I know the doctors won't be able to do anything to stop a possible miscarriage. The best I can do is to wait for tomorrow's ultrasound to confirm the sad news, and to hopefully get some answers about how long it will take before we can try again.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lil' sis

With the limited amount of blogging I've done since we've lived in Holland, I shamefully recognize that I haven't done one single post about Emma. Emma is my much younger sister (11 year my junior). When I left for BYU, she was Sterling's age. We didn't really get the chance to get to know each other on a personal level, until she lived in Boise for a year in 2005. But even then, she was still in the middle of her teenage years, and we really only saw each other occasionally. I was still "the big sister".

As soon as we started spending time together a few months ago, it was plainly obvious that we are kindred spirits. We have the same humor, ideas, and even seem to read each others' thoughts. Almost like we've been best friends for our whole lives. She is living with my dad right now, which we pass every day on our way to the kids' school. Emma is a full-time students, but there have been days where I was able to jump on her when she was sleeping in, or ring the doorbell until she finally came down after 10 minutes. Emma loves being a tante to my kids, and has treated each of them to individual "dates" with her. Of course, after they each had their turn, I got jealous and demanded a sleepover of my own.

The best part about living so close to Emma, is that we see each other so often, that it's not a special occasion when we do. However, it remains a treat every time. Especially because I know she could be spending her time with any of her other awesome friends. The special times are when we talk about boys, take silly pictures, or watch Prison Break together. I realize how special these times are, especially because I KNOW we won't always live a 10 minute bike ride away. So I try to soak up as much Emma time as humanly possible. Some pictures of the past few months with Emma

A warm welcome at the airport
Helping me put together an Ikea bookshelf which serves as our food storage/pantry
Helping with the less glorious tasks such as recycling
Video chatting with our other sister on the other side of the ocean
During Winter's sleepover date
During MY sleepover date
Celebrating Sterling's birthday at Ikea
Being silly with the laptop camera, tonight when Emma just came over for dinner and a relaxing evening at home
I am so happy to have this time go spend with, and get to know my littlest sister Emma. We have become best friends, and I will cherish these memories for the rest of my life. An added bonus: the kids get to have a super cool aunt to adores them.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


The waiting is killing me. The uncertainty whether this pregnancy is doomed to fail, or if I'm one of those lucky few exceptions where everything turns out okay. The internet can be very helpful, but also can drive you crazy. Of course I look for websites where people share positive outcomes, but most of the results I'm getting don't look good. One day I can be so positive, and just think everything will be fine, but in my heart of hearts I do believe I'll be crying at the doctor's office next week.

Of course whether this turns out good or bad, there's nothing I can do to change it. But that doesn't change the fact that I'm ready to know either way. Luckily Joe doesn't have school next week, so he'll be able to be there with me.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sterling turns 8

Sterling turned 8 today, and we've been celebrating all weekend. Sterling chose to eat breakfast at Ikea and go to the zoo for a fun activity yesterday. The €1 breakfast at Ikea in Holland is much better than the breakfast in the US. It includes 2 freshly baked rolls, Dutch cheese, and also a hard boiled egg in the shell. We decided you will never get an egg like that in anAmerican restaurant, since it looks too much like something that actually came out of a chicken.
At the zoo we just mozied around and took our time looking at all the little displays and even the surgery lab. That's the best part about a season pass, it doesn't matter how much you see or don't see, all that's important is that the kids have fun. Probably also why I don't mind if the kids spend hours in the playground.

Today was Sterling's actual birthday, and he was given the chance to be baptized. We had a very sweet baptismal service for Sterling with a lot of my family in attendance. In order to make it the best for Sterling, we decided to do it all in English, which I am soooo glad we did. Today was also stake conference, and people wouldn't have time to go home in between conference and the baptism, so I provided lunch for them all. This was also a great opportunity to actually sit down and talk to my family and catch up.
I didn't realize just how bad that monster zit looked on my cheek until I was looking at these pictures later at night. Where was my concealer?

And of course a birthday isn't a real birthday without cake and presents! I originally wanted to give Sterling "Mario Kart" for his birthday, but after being scammed on the dutch craigslist, I ran out of time. Looking back, I'm glad I didn't get him that gave, because now he is actually using his imagination playing with things like Legos and building/painting with little crafts.

We love Sterling so much, and are blessed to have him in our family. He's a great helper around the house, and very considerate towards his sisters.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I don't want to do this again! Yesterday I went for my 8 week ultrasound. As soon as the tech lady looked at the uterus, she asked whether I was sure about my timing. The fetus was measuring 6 weeks, even though I am 8 weeks + a few days. Also, the heartbeat seemed VERY slow for a fetus. Almost as slow as my own heartbeat. The only 2 options are:

1. My dates are off, and I really am 6 weeks pregnant. This doesn't make sense since I got a positive pregnancy test almost 4 weeks ago. That means I would have gotten a BFP 3 days after conception.

2. Something is wrong with the baby, and it's developing slower than it should.

The hardest thing for me is the not knowing, and the waiting. I'd rather know for sure that this will be a miscarriage, so I can mentally prepare. Instead, I have to wait 2 weeks for another ultrasound, and then it will become clear which option is happening. The hard part is, that I am likely to get my hopes up, just to have them dashed later.

What is wrong with me? I never had problems carrying babies to term. I had 3 normal pregnancies, with 3 babies. Now this is the second problematic pregnancy in a row. Of course the internet provides both grim reality stories, and hope stories. The best thing would be for me to just not think about it. But how could I possibly do that? Every little twinge, cramp, and other out of the ordinary thing, puts me in high alert. I can't even go to the bathroom without getting stressed about what I might find.

The best thing for me emotionally, is the accept that this pregnancy will end in the near future. That way, if by some miracle it doesn't, it will be much easier to handle, than if I do the opposite. Also, I found this article:

"The embryonic heart rate at 6-7 weeks can tell a lot about the likely outcome of a pregnancy. At 6.2 weeks, assuming a CRL of around 4 mm, a heart rate of 100 beats per minute (BPM) is good. Below 80 BPM, the embryo "almost never makes it to the second trimester," he said. In the 80- to 89-BPM range, the likelihood of first-trimester survival increases to 36%. In the range of 90-99 BPM, the odds are 68%.

"If the heart rate is slow, the probability of loss will be very high, but you never know," Dr. Doubilet said. "Have the patient come back in a week. Odds are, the embryo will be dead and you can evacuate the uterus, rather than having a spontaneous abortion happen while your patient is at the shopping mall."

It doesn't get much grimmer than that....

Share buttons