Category Archives: Uncategorized

my last post


after months of silence i’ve decided its time… this is my last post on this blog. its been a journey for sure, though often not down the paths I would have chosen. my heart and mind just aren’t in a place to continue this blog anymore, so i’m deciding to shut it down. thanks to my friends who have taken this journey with me. it’s been a ride.

and to those who are finding this blog later… as a follow up to my last post, I ended up in emergency surgery the very next day, had a horrible 3 month recovery from the surgery and lost much through the process but i’m learning to put the pieces back together and figure out how to live again.

another ectopic? really?


we found out Friday that there is a good chance this pregnancy is another ectopic. based on the ultrasound it seemed pretty clear there was a sac on my left side but it was hard to tell if it’s in my ovary or tube. the dr wanted me to do bloodwork again Monday and another ultrasound on Tuesday. hopefully by then we will be able to tell for sure were it is and be able to decide what to do next.

it looks like our options would be methotrexate again or to do surgery and try to either repair or take the damaged tube. since this would be two ectopics back to back on the same side and since I had such a horrible reaction to the methotrexate last year, Ted and I would prefer the surgery to fix or take the tube. if this is an ovarian ectopic, then I suppose they just take the embryo and try to leave the ovary… not really sure about that one.

I’m currently on pelvic rest which means no lifting anything over 5lbs, no sex, no standing and no walking for extended periods of time due to the risk of my tube bursting or other serious complications.

Ted has been working a lot lately. he worked through the entire night last night and got home at 8am. he is doing major systems upgrades to the computers at Furman and once he finishes programming the instal/upgrades then he has about twenty new computers to set up. it’s been difficult having him working such long hours (mostly at night) but I’m so proud of my man for working so hard and being such a good provider for me. he has over and over again made it clear that his main priority is to care for me and if the servers need to wait he will stay home with me to care for me. I couldn’t ask for a better man than that.

depending on if I end up having surgery this week, Ted and I are planning to go to Pa this weekend to visit my grandmother who was just diagnosed with cancer. the surgery should be a quick outpatient procedure so we are hoping either way to be able to go and see her. she is opting not to receive any chemo or radiation and honestly I can’t blame her. I love her and I know our days together are limited so I want to enjoy every moment we have to spend together.

life has been so overwhelming lately with various things happening at our house (our fence got run down by a drunk driver, our lawn mowers and weed eater are all broken, two of our three toilets started leaking, our AC unit is broken, etc) but it has been even more overwhelming to see our friends love as care for us. our car is paid off, our fence was repaired by a dad and his son, our yard was cleaned up last month by our care group and has been mowed by another father and son in our church since then, we have 3 window AC units to use so we have still had nice cool air and since we have 3 bathrooms we don’t really need them all right now…just turned the water off to the other two and are doing just fine.

folks have been loving us so freely and sacrificially and even while we are struggling with God’s love (or seeming lack thereof) it is impossible to deny the love of his people. I’m truly grateful. from those that live farther away or can’t help us physically we have been getting notes and flowers and prayers and all kinds of encouragement. I truly have the best friends in the world.

so all in all we are doing ok…just taking it a day at a time. the relationship between Ted and I has grown much closer as we are leaning on each other so much more right now than normal. I love that man and would rather walk through trials of life with him than anyone else. and our friends and their support has brought so many smiles to our faces lately… and that’s kinda a big deal right now.

what not to say to a grieving mother


there are millions of ladies around the world who know the sorrow and heartbreak of losing a child. some have experienced it once, others more times than they even care to voice. for me, it’s been a road I’ve walked (and am currently walking through) five times now. it’s a time of sorrow like no other. the grief doesn’t end, you just somehow find a way to work through the pain so you cry less often.

now I’m not saying its the worst situation I could ever face- I’m sure losing my husband and friends in a house fire while I ran out to buy more beer would bring a different level of grief and sorrow. while the reality is that situations always could be worse it’s helpful to know how to walk through this one. I’m hoping this post helps two groups of folks… those who have or are experiencing a miscarriage and those who are our friends and don’t know how to help.

through my five times walking this road some things have remained the same… some kind & loving friend says something that causes you to fall apart. or sometimes acquaintances or strangers make comments that can be very hurtful. or sometimes no one acknowledges your loss and you are left to grieve in solitude. not all of these comments are bad or wrong things to say, but as one who has heard them time and time again, not everyone uses discretion about what to say.

I’m not meaning this list to be rude or offensive and if you have said one of those things to me recently don’t assume I am upset at you. I’m just merely trying to express my heart and how some of these things come across to a bereaved mother.

1. “at least you got pregnant so you know you can get pregnant again.”

note: it’s not pregnancy I have a problem with… it’s a healthy baby cooking for a healthy 9 months. I’m not interested in seeing two pink lines only to miscarry again. please keep in mind that pregnancy for a woman who has lost every child is not an exciting thrilling time – it is terrifying, heart wrenching and terribly hard.

do I want to bear a biological child? of course I do. but I have no guarantee that I will be alive tomorrow… why would I find hope in the fact that I got pregnant once? many women suffer with secondary infertility… getting pregnant again is no guarantee.

2. wow, you’ve miscarried a lot? how many is it now?

note: right now i’m grieving for this baby. while its true I have lost multiple children, my heart grieves for the loss of this sweet baby. if you care, I’d love to tell you some of my hopes and dreams we had for her. I would love to share why we chose the name we did for her. we didn’t lose a number. we lost a life. I’d love to tell you what I learned in her short life as my child.

3. is it you or your husband? maybe you should get tested. I’m sure the doctors could fix you.

note: we already have. sometimes tests come back normal and still things don’t work out. I’m sure you can imagine how frustrating that would be.

4. see? it always happens once you relax then you just magically get pregnant. I told you this would happen!

note: damaged Fallopian tubes and chromosomal abnormalities and low hormone levels have nothing to do with the level of stress in our lives. and stress has nothing to do with our ability to conceive, bear and give birth to a health baby. there are stressed mamas all over the world who can prove this point wrong.

right now especially an “I told you so” is not at all helpful. what’s your point? do you want me to say thank you? or “yes, you were right.”? does that make you feel better? the reality is my baby is dead and you finding encouragement in this failed pregnancy just confuses me.

5. it always happens …. once you decide to adopt… voila! baby on board!

note: my husband’s and my desire to adopt started long before our diagnosis with infertility and will continue after this miscarriage just like it continued after our others. we long for our family to contain all genders, ages and races.

if it was that easy then the first route a fertility specialist would take would be to introduce a barren couple to a scared pregnant 15 year old girl. just because you’ve heard a story doesn’t make it the norm.

6. have you tried chiropractic/ voodoo/ my psychic/ this magic juice from my secret company / this supplement / said this prayer / etc? I swear it’s the only reason I have my sweet (insert child’s name here). he is such a miracle and if I hadn’t eaten one horse tail and one frog’s eye every day I swear I would have miscarried too.

I’m glad that worked for you. again, if it was that fail proof I’m sure everyone would be doing it. but thanks for the suggestion.

7. I understand exactly how you feel.

note: that’s impossible. you’ve never been exactly in my shoes. and honestly I’m not interested in you knowing exactly how I feel. what I’d prefer is a friend who will just listen and mourn and cry with me. even if you have 12 children, you might be the best friend to comfort me through this heartache. don’t try to “one up” my sorrow. just help me carry it.

8. did you remember to take your prenatal/ DHEA/ eat right/ not push yourself/ get plenty of sleep/ drink plenty of water/ etc?

note: after the fact is not the time to introduce thoughts of what I should have done differently. I already feel guilty that my body is broken to the point where it can’t keep a child alive. don’t make my grief worse by feeling like I caused this. I wake up every morning feeling responsible for the death of my child. help me work through that guilt and keep reminding me that it wasn’t my fault.

9. just remember all things work for good; that God gives us the desires of our hearts; that nothing bad happens to us without God ordaining it: that children are a blessing from the Lord; that our adopted child is out there waiting and maybe God let us miscarry so we can find him/ her home.

note: those thoughts just make me angry right now. can you instead just pray that God would show his love to me and replace this view I have of an angry God who planned for and let 5 of my babies die. would you just pray for peace and endurance as my body is about to experience the unthinkable one more time?

even if all these things are true right now is not the best time to give me the best spiritual one liner you can think of. if truth is not wrapped in love it is nothing. please remember my heart through this, think through what you say and help me connect those dots… don’t just tell me truth and feel like the words alone are a happy pill.

i think the biggest encouragement i can offer is this: please don’t try to fix it, just love me and help me through this.

there is nothing that can bring my sweet babies back to me. knowing you can’t fix what’s broken please stop trying. it gets really annoying. you can’t truly understand the heartache i feel, but you can love me. what I need more than the situation being fixed is dear friends who are willing to get dirty down here in the pit with me…to cry with me… carry me if needed, make me smile and help me realize that life goes on. it’s a life forever changed so it will look different but it does go on…

Good wives should do laundry


… Or that’s what I tell myself. It’s amazing how being in constant pain affects how you view everything. This has been a very trying season for me on many fronts. First, it’s hard to be out of work and feel like the added financial pressure is my fault. Medical bills get expensive really quickly and things were tight when we had both salaries. Now, nearly a month after my knee injury with no end in sight, things aren’t just tight… They’re pretty much impossible. Strike one for being a good helper. Ted is struggling to make ends meet and I feel like I’m not doing my part (and that I “caused” this mess we are in too). I want to be a good wife and fix this (because isn’t that what a good wife does?) and I can’t.

Since I’m in a full leg brace and can only take a few steps without crutches I cannot do much around the house either. After standing for five minutes or so, my knee swells up to about twice it’s normal size and starts to burn with pain. And holding anything while standing puts crazy pressure on my knee so I can’t do laundry or vacuuming or really much of anything. We fought the other day about laundry. Strike two on the good wife chart.

I’ve found it easy to compare my situation to others. I desire to have a family. I long for the day someone looks at me and calls me mom. It breaks my heart as months go by and I am still just waiting. Well this fluke accident with my knee is going to definitely delay our adoption process until we can get our finances back under control and i can heal physically. And while we wait, our care group at church is about to start the next “baby round.” The first of four babies is due this Sunday. I broke down and cried yesterday realizing I can’t have that too. I want to blame Ted for putting a stop to the adoption process, though objectively I know right now is not the right time. Strike three. I’m a bad wife.

I have cried and felt so weary and been a burden to Ted and I’ve complained a lot about where God has me. I haven’t trusted or submitted to Ted’s leadership. I’ve gotten angry at God because I know He could fix it all in a second yet He chooses not to. It tempts me to think He’s just a big all-powerful jerk. I stopped asking God to answer my prayers because it feels pointless. He’s gonna do what He decides is best. It doesn’t matter if I like it. I feel trapped.

Then God gives me a little glimpse. A friend who says with tears that my response to the next new baby should be joy and praise to God. And she should know. She prayed for years and God said no to her prayer for a child. Then another friend reminded me that God always meets our needs. Two years ago, I was reminding her of that when she didn’t know where next weeks groceries were coming from. And my husband, my dear patient husband reminds me over and over again of God’s unconditional and unmerited love. I’ve treated him so unfairly lately and even when struggling, frustrated or physically sick, he has not responded with anger like I’ve shown him. He’s been kind. Stern at times in reminding me to not wallow in self pity, but always kind.

Even in my weariness and sin, God is faithful to remind me of His care. Honestly this season of waiting and pain and uncertainty sucks. I’m so tired of it and I’m tired of crying for it to end. But one thing that has been more evident through this trial than any other is that I am not alone.

Countless friends have brought us meals and cleaned our house or taken me out of the house for a couple hours or prayed with and for me. Seeing the body of Christ so faithfully pick me up each time I’ve fallen gives me a much needed glimmer of hope. If they are showing me Christ’s love, I guess that means I can trust God even when I can’t see, it hurts and doesn’t seem to have any purpose…even when it seems He is harsh or unkind.

Thanks my friends for your prayers. I feel so weak. But somehow through it all, God is still strengthening me one small and painful step after another.


Lord, who hast suffer’d all for me,
My peace and pardon to procure,
The lighter cross I bear for Thee,
Help me with patience to endure.

The storm of loud repining hush;
I would in humble silence mourn;
Why should the unburnt, though burning bush,
Be angry as the crackling thorn?

Man should not faint at Thy rebuke,
Like Joshua falling on his face,
When the cursed thing that Achan took
Brought Israel into just disgrace.

Perhaps some golden wedge suppress’d,
Some secret sin offends my God;
Perhaps that Babylonish vest,
Self-righteousness, provokes the rod.

Ah! were I buffeted all day,
Mock’d, crown’d with thorns and spit upon,
I yet should have no right to say,
My great distress is mine alone.

Let me not angrily declare
No pain was ever sharp like mine,
Nor murmur at the cross I bear,
But rather weep, remembering Thine.
(prayer for patience by William Cowper)



“If we are really following Jesus, we will go to the hard places. Being a Christ follower means being acquainted with sorrow. Because we must know sorrow to be able to fully appreciate Joy. Joy costs pain, but the pain is worth it.” Katie Davis

My knee is torn in two different places. It will most likely require surgery. I will find out next Tuesday for sure.

My husband and I are so weary. We have tried time and time again to earn more money and get our debt paid off and each time something happens and we get one step ahead we are thrown two steps backwards.

Our house needs repairs. The tax return money will be going to surgery or living expenses instead.

We long for children. Our house seems empty and quiet. My heart is still broken from the loss of our three babies. A friend had her second child today and another friend announced she’s 10 1/2 weeks pregnant.

A dear friend is lonely and her church is splitting. She is desperate for a hug and lives 1/2 a world away. I wish she were closer.

Im sure that to you, it sounds like I’m complaining. But they are not complaints. This is me, where I am today, choosing to rejoice in the Lord and in His kindness in my life, in the sorrow and pain, right now.

You see, I am grateful that my knee wasn’t hurt worse. I’m thankful for a comfortable place where I can rest and hopefully heal. I’m grateful for the time to spend in prayer. And through this time God is strengthening me and showing me hope that is deeper than what happens in my day. He has provided me with a husband who sacrifices to care for me. He’s provided me with an amazing church family who is giving us meals and helping to meet our physical needs. I’m not going through this alone. I can cry with my friend who is living through loss and constant pain. I can rejoice with my friends who God has given the gift of new life in children. And they help me as I struggle with the whys.

He has been so good to me. My heart knows this. I truly believe it. An that truth brings joy. Joy in the weariness. Joy in each pain. Joy in each breath.

Day six


Six days on crutches feels like a long time. The dr has given me permission to walk on it as much as my knee will allow. So I put that to the test tonight at our Super Bowl party. Based on the swelling, burning, aching, throbbing, spasming, nauseating numb lump that is my knee I’m going to venture a guess and say I’m not ready for that yet. The pain hasn’t been this bad since I first dislocated it. Here’s hoping I can get a couple hours of sleep sometime tonight. And since it doesn’t really seem to be any better yet I’m still praying that if something is torn that it starts to heal on its own soon.

Careful! Lunges are dangerous!


At the beginning of January, Ted and I started a Biggest Loser Challenge on Facebook. It’s been going well so far. We are both down several inches overall and have each lost about 5-7 pounds. We’ve tried to change up the workouts and part of that included doing a Jillian workout DVD.

Well, yesterday while doing the warmup on the DVD, I went to do a lunge and dislocated my knee. My kneecap was stuck out of joint and Ted described my response as worse than bloodcurdling. After about a minute or so, while Ted was dialing 911, I was able to get the knee back in its normal not contorted position. We called Ted’s dad (who’s an ER doctor) and decided after talking to him to forego an ER visit last night and go see an orthopedist today.

We went at 1 today, he did X-rays of my knee and the good news is that nothing is broken. The bad news is that an injury like this can take a while to heal. At this point, he’s not sure if anything is torn so I have to stay completely off of it (aka crutches) for two weeks and keep it fully immobilized in a brace that has steel rods, is set at a 20 degree angle bend and goes down my entire leg. :(

So that’s been my last 24 hours and I’m already bored of being stuck on the couch. I’m off work completely for the next two weeks and then I go back to the orthopedist to see how it’s healing. If all is well, we will evaluate how long I’ll need the brace and crutches before physical therapy. If its not better (or worse) then he will do an MRI to see what additional damage might be there.

Please be praying that God would calm my heart as I see medical bills yet again combined with the lack of my income. God has always been faithful to provide and I’m excited to see what He has in store this time around. Pray that I can be focused on Him and what is right as opposed to what is wrong. Also, pray that my knee heals quickly and won’t require surgery. Thanks! :)


welcome to the craziness of 2012. jump right in.


wow! 2012 has started of to be a busy year. I sat here thinking through this post while a pot of soup was apparently burning on the stove. I started to type and smelled that oh-too-familiar scent of burning beans. whoops. Since switching to dried beans and getting a cast iron dutch oven I can’t tell you how many bags of beans I’ve destroyed. They are so much cheaper than the canned beans, but its easy to let them go and forget about them until your whole house smells like burntness. Time to light a candle and plan something else for dinner tomorrow night. :)

well, back to my original ramblings. 2012 has started out quite busy around the Riley household… we were in PA the week between Christmas for a cousin’s wedding and to visit my extended family. We left New Years Eve to drive home and after a few hours of sleep and a visit to the hospital (Ted’s grandma had a mini stroke but is doing okay now), we started on the Extreme Riley Home Makeover project. There have been several projects on our to-do list but we’ve decided it’s time to go ahead and get some of them done. Ted’s office has been upstairs in the 3rd bedroom and the room downstairs where our TV has been is kinda small when friends come over. So, we decided to rearrange… move the office downstairs into the room where the TV was, move the TV to the living room & the futon to the 3rd bedroom, move the drums from the living room to the new office, etc. Also included in this has been a significant amount of decluttering. :)

Well, I took two days off work to work on the projects and then Wednesday we finished the major reshuffling. We went to care group and almost immediately afterwards I started feeling sick. I caught some bad combination of a head cold (or sinus infection, not sure which) and a stomach bug. So, there went the rest of my week (and weekend)… spent between the bed, the couch and the potty. :( Finally today I’ve started feeling better. Which is good because tomorrow I go back to work.

Ted and I have also started a Biggest Loser challenge group on Facebook. We both would like to get back to where we were when we got married, and especially for me, last year was hard on my body… I’d love to just have more energy and feel better overall, so our goal is to workout 4 times a week. We’ll be doing weekly weigh ins and challenges. :) So far, I’m down 4.4 lbs! I’m sure some of that is due to the fact that I’ve been sick the past few days, but we’ve also really been monitoring our food & going to the gym (earlier in the week before I was sick). I’d love to be back to my goal weight during this season of Biggest Loser. Its something we talked about last season but never had the motivation. I figured nothing motivates you more than posting your pictures, weight and measurements to a whole group of 30+ friends! Yikes. humbling to say the least. But hopefully this time we’ll see results ;)

Our adoption training is this weekend! YAY! I know its only been 3 months since our orientation, but it feels like so long! We are praying that God continues to open doors for DSS adoption and we are praying that He leads us clearly to the children he wants for our family. At this point we are looking for a sibling group of 2 or 3, ages 7 and under. After our training this and next weekend, we’ll have to have a physical, get fingerprinted, turn in our paperwork and then wait for the homestudy and home inspections to be scheduled.

So, lots going on here. God seems to be at work in many areas. We’re looking forward to seeing what He does…

Christmas cookie yumminess


Thanks to God healing me of my gluten allergy back in April, this was the first year in many that I was able to have Christmas cookies. So, I volunteered to be the one to make Christmas cookies this year for my family. Here was what we got! yum!

in a storm but not alone


My child, do not be afraid. Every day of your life was ordered before you were even born. I was faithful then, to call you to me before you desired me, before you knew me, before you lived for me. I loved you first. There is no need now for you to be afraid in this storm.

What is the worst that could happen to you? Death? I am the God who is faithful to old age, even to death. A lack of answers of clarity? I am the God who knows all. No answer is hidden from me. Darkness? No direction visible to you? I am the God who leads the blind along unknown paths. Loneliness? I am the God who will never leave you. Pain beyond your ability to handle? I am the God who gives strength to the youth who are weak and faint. I am He who provides grace to the weary and help to the tired.

What is it you fear that I in my power am unable to provide? You could bring care after care to me until you have no more and still every care will find a balm in my healing and help. Every need is provided in me. I love you.

Do not doubt my care because my hand is pruning. Do not doubt my love as you feel the winter’s cold wind blow. You are precious to me and I will protect and care for you through every storm. Rejoice, sweet chosen, adopted and dearly loved child of mine, for through this trial and pain, you are seeing the benefit of years of plenty. Now, when it seems there is no fruit on your tree, you are learning that your roots do indeed go deep and this faith I called you to only a few short years ago, that faith is real. It is being tested even now and it is standing firm. Be encouraged, my child, I am producing growth. This trial is bringing endurance and the more you see my hand at work through the unknown, you will grow in faith and hope.

My Son, Jesus, who died to bring you to me, is praying for you right now. He is standing here saying “Father, forgive her weakness, forgive her lack of faith. Be satisfied in her struggle. Look to my payment and be satisfied.” And you know, child, I am fully and completely satisfied with that payment on your behalf.

So come to me, in your weakness, nakedness and need, confident in my affection and care for you. Even now, when you don’t know what to say, my Spirit is also praying for you. He is interceeding on your behalf, interpreting your tears and pain and carrying your woes before my throne of grace. So, child, cry. Cry out to me.

I loved David and I loved to see his dependence on my power as expressed so often through his tears. Cry, even when there seem to be no words. The Spirit of God is carrying those cries directly to me. They are not lost. I am listening and my arm has never been too short to save. Be confident, in the midst of this trial, of my unchanging faithful love to you.

The steadfast love I showed to your fathers, the guidance to Abraham, the protection to David, the redemption for Jonah, the transformation for Rahab, the love that did not forsake Naomi, that provided for Ruth, and that blessed Hannah…sweet child, I am that same God. And I offer those same things to you. I would delight and joy in you coming to me in hope and faith, not cowering in fear. Judgment is paid. Freedom is yours. Live there. Rejoice there. I will never forsake.

But when you feel forsaken, remember my promises. When you feel tempted beyond your strength to endure, remember I will empower you to stand firm against every attack of the evil one. Even Satan is under my control; there is no need to fear his attacks.

Rest. Rest in the storms, for I hold you safe. I never slumber and darkness does not blind me, as it does you. Don’t you see? I want you to be free, not bound by fear. This trial is producing sweet freedom as you are learning of my sovereign care and provision. Like I said to the shepherds the day I sent my son “do not fear.”. Like I told the disciples the day my Son left them and returned to Me… “do not fear.”

And now you join their ranks…the ranks of the weak and helpless of this world whom I have chosen and loved. “Do not fear.” “This trial was given to you as a gift from a hand of love. Though you do not understand the purpose of the gift you do know the hand. You have seen my care and love proved time and time again to you.

And now, sweet child though you do not understand why, take this gift of pain, suffering and confusion and accept it as a good thing given by a Father who loves you. At this time in your life, what you desire is not a good gift. That is why I have chosen this. Won’t you rest in my arms? I can see tomorrow.

This “mistake” will make sense one day. And even if I never choose to show you the reason why, don’t forget I am using this to bring glory to myself and draw others to see my power displayed in you! Is that not enough? My power at work in you? That is why I don’t wnat you to fear. I know what will come tomorrow. And it is good. Rest. Rejoice. Lean on me. I will never ever let you go.”