Friday, May 28, 2010

always look on the bright side of life


One of the most challenging things in going through an ectopic pregnancy, other than the feeling of terrible loss and sadness, is the fact that it isn't "over" for quite a while. In my case, it's been a smidge over three weeks since this has all started and I'm still having to go in to the doctor's office at least once a week for blood work. As of today, my HCG levels are still in the hundreds. Three hundreds, to be exact ... which means that it's likely I'll still have a few more weeks of 'testing' before me.

Last Friday morning, after I received my lab results from Thursday - and told to write down all of my HCG levels over the past two weeks (in the event I wound up in an emergency room), I was given the green light to drive up to Sonoma County for our niece, Angela's, high school graduation. Not only did we want to help Angela celebrate this monumental event, we wanted to seize the opportunity to visit with Charlie's family one last time before we pack up and head east in four short weeks.

The trip north was wonderful.

We loved every minute of it.


I'll write more about that, later.

For now, I want to write that over the past couple weeks, a lot of people have asked me how I am doing? They seem to be concerned because there have been so many things that have happened in our lives over the past month, that it doesn't seem fair that we should have to deal with "so much" at once.


Yes, it really stinks losing a pregnancy and bloating up like a balloon. And then there's the whole moving, not moving, moving, not moving - roller coaster that can wreak havoc on one's digestion. (Hence triggering even more bloating.)

But more often than not, I can't stop thinking how much worse it could be and how truly blessed I am. Not that I'd in any way want to challenge the powers of the Universe to test my survival and coping skills, but my heart goes out to those who are challenged to their very core. Those who lose family and friends to disease or accidents or senseless violence. Those who are tested and tried and entirely drained of their will to live, but yet - still find the strength to go on.

It seems to me, regardless of what you are going through ... it could always be worse.

And the fact that it's not ... makes me thankful.


This past weekend, while we were in San Francisco, I was afraid that we would not only be leaving our hearts in that beautiful city, but also the contents of our stomachs, when Henry woke up vomiting early Sunday morning. For a brief moment I grimly thought, "Surely this will sweep through the entire family while we are 600 miles away from our washing machine - dryer - and all vomit mitigating supplies."


But as I filled up the hotel bath tub with clean water and put a pale Henry in to soak, my grim thoughts were replaced with overwhelming feelings of gratitude when I stood looking at my little boy and thought of the earthquake victims in Haiti, and the children we sponsor in Peru, India, Uganda and Bangladesh. When those children are sick with a stomach bug, are their parents able to just stick them in a clean tub filled with fresh potable water?

Are the components of the BRAT diet ... bananas - rice - apple sauce - toast, at the touch of their finger tips when they call for room service?

And if a woman in one of those countries is one of the 2% who has an ectopic pregnancy, would she be successfully diagnosed and treated - before it's too late?

I'll go out on a limb here and guess no, no ... and no.

I went to a business meeting today and one of my coworkers brought in a bag of Dove chocolate. While preparing to inhale savor my first piece, I saw this inspiring message from Jean in Houston, Texas:

"Blessings only come to those who notice."


What's incredible is that you can pick how you want to live your life.

(Get it? PICK? I love this picture. These children steal my heart.)


As for me, I most definitely notice.

And that alone makes me feel even more blessed.


  1. what a sweet post... (((hugs))) i am so sorry for your loss. I've been thinking about you and wondering how you're doing. Sending you lots of hugs...


  2. I didn't know you were fond of Monty Python in the US? Now I'll be singing that song all day, which is a good thing! I love that you always manange to pull yourself up and look on the bright side.

  3. That's a great message in your Dove chocolate. And if fits you. Reading your blog over the years has led me to believe that you are definitely a person who stops to count (and notice) your blessings. One of my favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein. He said "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." I think you fall into the second category! God bless you!

  4. Thanks for the reminder - we are blessed and sometimes, just don't notice all that we have.

    I love that you always try to look on the bright side. Many thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  5. So happy to see your post today. Was wondering how u are:) LOVE the pic of Henry's finger in his nose! My 3 year old looks like his nose is meant to have a finger in it at all times!

  6. What a wonderful post. It takes a wide lens to see all the blessings. All the best to you and your family!!!

  7. That is an inspiring reminder! Thank you!

  8. Love your attitude. 'nuf said.

  9. Jen, I'm so glad you posted again I've been worried about you and the gang. You inspire me so, "always look on the bright side of life" does not come easily to me. It's getting easier, Thank you Dr. Sanity, but it's still not my first reaction to most situations.

    You are such an awesome person, strong, gentle, kind, loving, giving the adjectives could flow forever.

    I'm glad that you're handling the bad things as well as possible and can't wait to hear tails of Jen, Charlie, The Trips and Henry move to Virginia.

    Take Care

  10. Beautiful post.....thanks for updating. I was gettin' worried.

    Congrats to Angela!

  11. People in 3rd world countries watch their kids die from the smallest of things. It breaks your heart.

    I don't like that blessings note on the chocolate. Fine in a country where people aren't starving. But if you are surrounded by starving people - I think they deserve a few blessings - and the fact that they weren't BLESSED enough to be born in another country where their kid doesn't die of distentry or get run over or dengue or typhoid or starve - or even get to go to school- doesn't seem to really cut it in my book.

    No the place isn't getting me down - but it is a bottomless pit of projects that can help.

  12. Jakarta Rocks: I'd agree that it doesn't seem right that some people have so much and some don't. But I guess it all comes down to perspective...

    I read a story today about a young woman who was nearly crushed to death when her home in Haiti collapsed with the EQ. Her young sister and cousin died, in her arms. It took HOURS for her to be dug out. Months later, she is suffering severe post traumatic stress and seizures. And, she remains homeless. But she has hope and she perseveres and in doing so, she inspires countless others along the way.

    It's hard for me to consider that she is "blessed" but I bet she'd beg to differ. The sense that I got in reading this article about her is that she feels like she has a distinct PURPOSE and it's her goal to figure out what that purpose is and how to improve the lives for others within her radius of influence.

    As Wonder Chris commented ... sometimes it takes a mighty wide lens to see the blessings. As for me, I'm so humbled by those who live in such dire conditions and consider themselves to be blessed - when they could just as easily trudge about feeling like they've got a curse upon them.