Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Update on "the girls"

Well, I have some sad news about our two chickens.  We are now chicken-less, unfortunately.  Pretty soon after I wrote this post, Bernadette (the darker one - our favorite) died.  It had been a rainy day and Nick said when he put both of them in their roost that night, she was acting kind of funny.  The next morning he went out there and she was dead.  It was a sad morning.  Nick was pretty bummed.  When Caleb got home from daycare that night, he kept asking, "Where other chicken go?", so Nick told him that the chicken got sick and died.  He said "Oh, ok" and went about his business.  haha.

Then last week, I came home for lunch and decided to open the blinds to let some sunshine in and was greeted by the sight of a big white dog, unfamiliar to me, standing in our backyard, surrounded by feathers.  Yikes.  Sometimes we would let Penny (the red/orange chicken) roam around the backyard and help fertilize things, so she happened to be out and about that day.  I quickly grabbed my phone and told Nick something bad had happened.  As I was talking to him, I saw two other dogs who had been in our backyard, leave out through some apparently loose boards in the back of the fence.  Now we knew how they got in there.  Well, I opened the door to the backyard and tried to yell at the big white dog and scare him off and he wouldn't budge.  In fact, he sat right down and proceeded to play with our poor dead chicken.  So I decided I wasn't going to mess with him because who knows what he might do.  So I opened the gate to our backyard that opens on the side of the house, just so he might leave.  By the time I had to go back to work, the dogs were all gone, so I went and put a board up to block the hole in the fence and closed the gate.

Ironically, Nick received this flyer in the mail when he got home that day:

What a cruel world.  haha.

So...that's the update on our chickens who are no more.  We may get some more baby chicks this spring and try it again.  The really sad part was that Penny was like days away from starting to lay eggs.  I guess it's all part of nature.  I sure hope next time goes a little better.

So long, girls.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Crazy Weekend: DNOW & An ER Visit

In my last post, I mentioned that there was an ER visit that happened.  I also mentioned here that Nick was the speaker for the DNOW weekend at our church that same weekend.  DNOW stands for Disciple Now and is an awesome weekend for the youth that involves groups (separated by grade and gender) staying in houses of church members.  They play crazy games, eat good food, have big group sessions and small group sessions.  This year the topic was on relationships.  Nick was honored to be asked to be the speaker for the three big group sessions.  One on Friday night and two on Saturday.  He spent a lot of time preparing his messages.  And I am so proud of him.  I see so clearly how God gifted Nick with the spiritual gift of teaching.  He's good at it.  Only because of God's grace.  I am so thankful that he asked if he could run through all three of his talks on the Thursday night before it started because Friday is where things got interesting.  

You all know from my last post that we have recently experienced two miscarriages.  I also mentioned that physically, miscarriage is a process and not just a quick occurence.  Without going into too much detail, when you are pregnant, your HCG (or beta) quant levels are supposed to be doubling every 48 hours (or so at least in the first trimester).  When the doctor suspects a miscarriage is happening, one of the things they do besides an ultrasound, is to take your blood and check your levels.  If the numbers are increasing as they should, then they aren't concerned about the baby.  If your numbers are decreasing or staying the same, then they suspect that a miscarriage is occuring.  So, typically (at least in our two experiences with it) there is a week that I considered the actual miscarriage happening.  But they have to follow your levels down to zero to make sure there won't be any complications in the future and to make sure your body has taken care of things on its own (as is usually the case).  This can take days or weeks or months.  With the first one my numbers got down to zero within less than a week.  With the second one, it took a month and a half.  My numbers were just taking their sweet time going down.  So, my little ER visit happened about a month after the initial miscarriage part, while we were still waiting for my numbers to go down.

 Around lunchtime at work on Friday, I started to get a severe pain in my lower abdomen and ended up being taken home by my boss (after feeling like I would pass out or be sick and laying on the floor by my desk - very professional).  I tried to take a nap and sleep it off.  A few hours later I decided to have Nick take me to our work clinic to get checked out since it was Friday and I wanted to get checked out before the weekend.  I was still having severe pain, could barely walk, was light-headed, dizzy and short of breath.  The clinic got me right in and decided to send me to the hospital for an outpatient ultrasound.  On my way out of the clinic I passed out.  Nick and the nurse practitioner were luckily right beside me to catch me as I went down.  

At this point, Nick and I were getting pretty worried and a little scared about what was going on.  Mind you, Nick was supposed to be speaking at DNOW in just a few hours.  The nurse practitioner called the ER and told them to expect us and told us to go there directly from the clinic.  So we did.  Anyway, we spent most of the rest of the day at the ER getting several tests run.  Our sweet pastor's wife came and sat with me while Nick went to do his first session and then he came right back.  We both decided it was important for him to go.  We got to go home around midnight.  While we were there they mentioned that I was an "interesting case" - not something you want to be referred to as.  The short story is that it was deemed endometritis, or infection after miscarriage.  There were some other things going on, but I won't bore you with the details.  

The doc put me on two antibiotics and some pain medicine.  I had a follow up appointment with my doc and thankfully he gave me the go ahead for the family vacation to the Dominican Republic that my parents were taking us on the next week.  The days after that ER visit felt like I had been through surgery.  I was in so much pain for several days.  My parents are rockstars and came down early early Saturday morning to help with Caleb and other household stuff so Nick could speak at DNOW and I could rest.  My mom did laundry and cleaned my fans and vacuumed and was amazing.  My dad played with Caleb and kept him from jumping all over me.  My sweet brother-in-law dropped everything Friday night to come pick up Caleb from daycare and hang out with him til we got home.  He even offered to stay the night in case I had another episode and we needed to leave in the middle of the night.  

Our church family was awesome as well.  With many people stopping in to the hospital to check on us and calling and praying and providing meals,  We were overwhelmed by the support and encouragement of everyone around us.  I took a day off work to stay home, worked a half a day then worked a full day.  I think that full day did me in.  Thursday was a terrible day.  I was in pain and worn out. My co-worker asked if I was ok and I pretty much just burst into tears.  She made me go home (thankfully).  And I just cried and cried and then took a three hour nap.  Sometimes crying and sleeping really is the best medicine.  After that, I felt so much better.  Friday was like a whole new day.  Which was perfect timing because we were leaving for Wichita on Saturday.  

Anyway, I am feeling perfectly fine now and back to normal.  The rest of Nick's weekend sessions went perfectly and I think a lot of students were greatly impacted by the whole weekend.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

The "M" Word

It's an ugly, painful, sad, heartbreaking, sorrow-filled word.  And most people don't like to talk about it.  But it happens.  More often than we all realize.  And now, unfortunately, it is now part of our story.  

We have experienced two miscarriages in the past five months.  I honestly never thought that would happen to me.  I'm sure that's what a lot of people say, but it's true.  There is no family history on my side and it's not something I've known much about.  I am so grateful to have the love and support of my amazing husband and loving family, friends and church family.  I ended up in the ER about a month ago with (long story short) infection after miscarriage.  One thing I've learned through these experiences is that miscarriage is a process, not something that happens in a day.  I will write more on that crazy weekend another time.  We are doing much better now - time really does help heal wounds.  It doesn't mean that our wounds go away, they just are less painful than they used to be.  Our situation has also opened my eyes to the hurt all around me.  The saying, "Be kinder than necessary for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle," really couldn't be more relevant.  Throughout all of our family (extended and otherwise) we have felt the pain of death, job loss, divorce, unexpected pregnancy, cancer, suicide, miscarriages, ER/hospital visits, surgeries, infertility struggles - and all of that within the last two years in one way or another.  And if you widen the time frame, there is even more heartache.  

The truth is, every family has some kind of pain they are probably currently experiencing.  Some kind of pain that deeply impacts everyone close to them.  That will forever change how their family lives and loves.

I am happy to say that in the midst of pain and loss and heartache, we have hope.  As we have come to rely on God's grace and peace especially during these past few difficult months, I find myself thinking that I don't know how people get through difficult things in life without God.  He really is the giver of true peace, a "peace that passes understanding."  And He really is the Healer of all things.  We have been so blessed to see how God uses His people and the church to be His hands and feet.  Through encouraging words, loving gestures, meals, prayers, time, flowers, servant hearts and phone calls, we have seen God's love immensely.  My eyes still get teary every time I start thinking of all the amazing people God has used to bless us.  

While we will never know the why behind our miscarriages, we know that our babies will never have to face the harsh reality of this fallen world.  We know that God's timing is better than our timing.  We know that God is in control of our family - even though we had to learn this the hard way.  Twice.  We are reminded that our children ultimately belong to God and He entrusts them into our care, if only for a short while.  

Of course we have our moments.  When I'm missing my babies especially bad.  When I think how great of a big brother Caleb would be.  When I see other couples struggling to even get pregnant, but I have a little boy that will run and give me a big hug and say, "I wub you Mommy."  I know that I am so blessed.  The past six months have taught me to really value all the time I have with Caleb.  I know it is precious and I do not take it for granted.  I never realized how precious until recently.

Thankfully, I am physically feeling great and we are both doing well emotionally.  For anyone reading this that has experienced miscarriage, infertility, loss of a child: I am so sorry.  I know there is hope - it may be a plan that we originally never would have wanted, but hope indeed in the midst of loss.

Thank you to everyone that has reached out in one way or another over the past several months.  Every gesture means so much to us.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

February Roundup

Well it has been quite the month here at the Braschler house. Here is a quick rundown of what February consisted of:

A dear family friend of ours from Gravette passed away at the first of the month. She lived a long, full life and was one of the sweetest ladies I know. Nick sang at her funeral.

The next weekend Mom and Dad came down for a quick visit to hang with Caleb.

Nick was gearing up to speak at a weekend youth event at our church called D-NOW. He spent a lot of time preparing and practicing his material. The event was Feb 15-17. He was the speaker and had 3 sessions to prepare for. I got to hear him go through all three on Thursday night as he was practicing. I'm so proud of him and I love to see how God works through him.


Spent 9 hours in the ER Friday night - same weekend that Nick had his DNOW event. Mom and Dad came down Saturday and Sunday to help out.

Headed to the Dominican Republic a week later for a Goetz family vacation! Caleb got to spend the week playing with his cousin Jack. (Special thanks to my SIL & BIL for taking such good care of him). It was an amazing week of rest, relaxation, family time and awesome memories.


More on the trip and the ER visit coming up.