On loss…and moving on.

I have never really shared anything overly personal on my blog. I’ve made that decision for a few reasons – this is supposed to be a place about creativity, paper crafting, stamping – in essence, something fun that we all love. I am going to put my trust in my dear readers now that our connection goes beyond inks & stamps. For those of you who feel this is an inappropriate place to share this news, I’m truly sorry to offend. For those friends who feel they should have received an email or call from me, trust me, I wish I could – this is just easier for now and I hope you can accept my sincere apologies.

For some reason I have a strong need to share the story of my last 48 hours. I’m not sure why. It is NOT for pity – that is a major disclaimer if you choose to read any further – I appreciate your kind wishes, but I don’t want this to turn into an awkward plea for pity or a post full of ‘woe is me’ feelings. At the end of this I hope I find myself somewhere positive – and leave you feeling the same way.

The backstory: we have been struggling with secondary infertility for the last year. We are blessed to have our 2 1/2 year old, Jacob, who keeps our life busy, exciting and full of love. I honestly feel so lucky. But, we want another child. I think secondary infertility is a tough predicament – you don’t feel as entitled to the suffering of someone who has yet to have their first child, but you can’t help but struggle with all the negative, frustrating and despairing emotions of infertility because your desire for a 2nd child is just as strong as your desire was for your 1st child. I want Jacob to be a big brother. I grew up in a big family – I want the same for us. I want a baby (or babies) – pure and simple.

Over the last year we have undergone fertility treatments – shots every day to encourage ovulation, lots of time in the doctors office and a surgery in March of this year. Miraculously, and without any medical help, I fell pregnant in May. We were shocked – as was my doctor – but, it seemed the surgery was a success and the pregnancy was looking good. Having polycystic ovaries placed me in high risk for the first 12 weeks and I was terrified, to say the least. I had a very unsettled feeling the entire time – as do most women in their 1st trimester. Pregnancy is a scary time – it is totally out of your hands – which is hard to accept.

I took care of myself – exercised, took all the meds that might help keep baby safe – and the 12 week scan arrived (after what felt like an eternity) with no issues. We had a wonderful little baby, growing and healthy. A massive weight was lifted after that scan, I felt I could finally take a deep breath. The first 12 weeks were behind me. I was still overwhelmingly exhausted and nauseous, but hopeful that the end of that was in sight and the bliss of the 2nd trimester was about to begin. I began filling up my online shopping carts with cute new maternity clothes and we started thinking about how to change the apartment to accommodate for number 2.

Over the last week I was having very, very minor spotting and some cramps, which I read was totally normal. But, thanks to a cold and needing some advice regarding medicine, I decided to phone my doctor, when I casually mentioned the spotting. He didn’t think much of it, but had me come in a week early for my 16 week scan to check everything. When I drove to his office yesterday I knew something was wrong. My intuition may have been there for longer, but it was masked heavily behind the raging pregnancy hormones that were giving me a growing bump, pushing me to organize frantically and cook freezer meals for weeks on end (not complaining about that now!).

When I arrived at the office, a scan showed a baby with no heartbeat – at 15 weeks pregnant, this came as quite a shock to everyone. In a state of disbelief and total despair I waited for my husband and arrangements were quickly being made for my hospital visit for the hasty removal of the baby. Luckily, my body was functioning normally, so I can’t blame myself or my polycystic ovaries and that gives me hope for when we try again. But the last 24 hours have been a haze of total heartache. I have always known, intellectually, that miscarriage is a terrible thing – but, knowing first hand, at 15 weeks no less – I can say for certain it is awful.

And whilst everyone keeps saying one day at a time, it is impossible not to think of the next steps. For today – and this may change by next week or next month – I want to start trying again as soon as possible. And I wish as soon as possible could be tomorrow. We will have to wait an agonizing 6 weeks- 2 months before we can even consider trying. And that is only trying. There could be months of failed cycles, another miscarriage – of course, anything is possible. And if we are lucky right away, will I find the strength to endure another 1st trimester? The exhaustion (which is so much harder when you are chasing around a toddler), the nausea, the painful wait until the first scan? And how will I ever relax? Will I get to breath the sigh of relief at 12 weeks, when in fact I now know, anything can happen.

I know I am lucky – this could have happened later in the pregnancy, or god forbid, after birth. Or later. Or I could have brought a baby into this world that would have struggled and life is hard enough. For those things I am truly thankful.

I know I need to take my time now to heal and move on. Lose the weight from a baby I didn’t have, get back to my work, my family, my life. But, I’m not quite ready. I’m sad and shocked.  I want to press fast forward to January or February when our baby would have been due, but instead I want to hear the heartbeats of 2 little babies in our 12 week scan. And, even as I type that, I can’t imagine possibly waiting that long for another 12 week scan – and that is best-case scenario.

So, here I am, asking into the abyss of the internet for something – I’m not sure what. Success stories? Prayers (I’d like twins – for those who pray)? Maybe I’m just writing for the blissful release that comes with having shared – having poured your heart onto paper (or a screen) in hopes that it will remove the pain from your soul and scatter it into millions of tiny fragments too small to even notice. Maybe I just needed to get it off my chest so I can nap.

I know things will be better – I know our hearts will heal. We’ll squeeze Jacob a little tighter and move on. We will try again, for as long as it takes – of this I am certain. Maybe we’ll get a dog. I believe in the power of positive thinking – if you truly believe something will happen and wish it into the universe – it will manifest itself. I think if I’m honest with myself, these last 2 years have not been my most positive. I hope to genuinely change that. I hope I can believe my next cycle will bring a healthy pregnancy, and then that will be so.

I have a lot of lovely projects to share, but I’m sure you’ll understand if things are a bit quiet around here. I appreciate all of my readers and my friends from this lovely world of card making, scrapbooking, blogging and life. Thanks for your ear.

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Papertrey Ink Stamp-a-faire Take 2

Hello! I’m back again for another super quick post – another late night with our little one. If anyone has any tips for getting a toddler to bed in a reasonable fashion, I’d love to hear!

Anyway, I wanted to play along again with the Papertrey Ink Stamp-a-Faire Timer Challenge. I went with the same color scheme as yesterday, but chose a different sketch. I loved this color scheme, but it didn’t have quite the same ‘punch’ on this card for some reason.

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It is hard to see in the photos, but I used the Canvas & Linen Impression Plate – I still love this one – so subtle. 
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Ok, time to call it a night. I have more to share this week so see you back here soon I hope! Have a great night.
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Papertrey Ink Stamp-a-Faire

I am popping in for a very quick post tonight – already 10:15pm on a Sunday night and I just got the little guy in bed & finished dinner. A much later night than intended & I’m exhausted! I had a few minutes to play this afternoon and decided to participate in Papertrey Ink Stamp-a-faire – lots of fun challenges. I opted for the Morning Timer Challenge – I can’t resist a good sketch & color combo.

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I used Watercolor Wonder and the gorgeous color combo below for this simple, one-layer card. The sentiment is from Winnie and Walter and I went over the ‘hello’ with a black gel pen to give it a little pop. I love the sketch too – will definitely be revisiting this again in the future. I finished this in just about 10 minutes. 

Ok, that is all for this tired mamma. Have a great rest of your weekend and a good Monday!
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Simple Watercoloring – Day 2

Hello! I’m back with another instalment of Simple Watercoloring. This mini series is all about the easiest ways to add a watercolor look to your paper crafting projects. I said it on Day 1 - I’m not interested in techniques that are going to cause me stress & take the fun out of card making. These cards are easy and doable – trust me – I’m no artist!

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For today’s card I created a mask using circle dies and cardstock. I used 2 pieces of heavy cardstock to create the mask as I knew it would be getting wet. In hindsight, I might have opted for acetate as the water did still manage to seep through the mask a little. In this instance, however, I felt the ‘mistake’ added to the natural, watercolor look of the card.

I first added water to the circle openings using a paint brush. Next, I used re-inkers to add the color, carefully dropping small dots of color. Using more water, I smoothed together the colors. Often I went in and added additional color to intensify the look. I finished off the card with some enamel hearts and a bold sentiment from this Winnie & Walter set.

The card is for the current Case this Sketch challenge – I loved this week’s sketch.

Thanks so much for stopping by today – wishing you a wonderful Thursday!

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Simple Watercoloring – Day 1

I love the watercolor looks that are so popular right now in card making. For me, simple is best and I always opt for techniques that are achievable and won’t lead to endless hours of frustration – once that starts happening this hobby is no longer fun! I have had a few of those experiences in the past when I desperately try to master a technique and then wonder why I’m forcing myself in the first place – this is supposed to be relaxing after all!

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Enter the simplest watercolor technique of all – Distress Markers + Stamps + Water. I love doing this and the results are always nice (in my humble opinion!). For today’s card I wanted a bold, watercolored sentiment and this Mama Elephant one was the perfect choice. I inked up the stamp with a few shades of Distress Markers, spritzed with water and stamped – voila! The results are not perfect and that is the beauty of a watercolor look.

I paired it with a bold patterned paper, toned down with a strip of vellum and this simple card was done. The banner is stitched in place, but not adhered to the card, so it has a lot of movement and dimension.

This card is for the current Mama Elephant watercolor + birthday challenge. Thanks for stopping by – more simple watercoloring to come this week!

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Five Minute Friday

Woot, woot – Friday! I’m ready for the weekend. I’m really hoping for a few hours to work on my Project Life. Fingers crossed – doesn’t usually happen, but here’s hoping.

I have another Five Minute Friday project to share today. I don’t know about you, but right now all I have is five minutes here & there. I knew I wanted to play along with the latest Avery Elle challenge – Kraft – but, crafting time was not in excess this week. The key to Five Minute Friday is ready-made elements like chipboard pieces and bold backgrounds – patterned paper, die cut backgrounds, stamped backgrounds, etc.

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This card came together in a snap with a Papertrey Ink cover plate and a lovely chipboard flower from the Maggie Holmes Styleboard collection. The sentiment is from Avery Elle Petals & Stems. 
Thanks so much for stopping by today and have a great weekend!

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Birthday Balloons

Hey friends. A super quick post today! I finally caved and ordered the entire collection of WPlus9 inks - and I am not regretting it. They are gorgeous! The ink stamps beautifully and the colors are pretty unusual – definitely fills some holes in my collection (which is hard to believe I had any considering how many ink pads I have!). I usually stick with a color scheme but I just went for it on this card – I wanted to try them all!

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This card is for the Little Tangles Happy Birthday challenge - I used Just for You and Everyday Labels. 
Thanks for stopping by & have a great Wednesday.

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1 Hour Challenge – Simon Says Stamp August Card Kit

Hello friends! Apologies for the absence here. Life is crazy to say the least. I can finally share some news that we are expecting baby #2 in February. We had fertility issues this time around as I found out I have Polycystic Ovaries. It was a hard road and we are thrilled to have another little one on the way. The first trimester was tough and hasn’t let up much yet – still exhausted and sick – and it is much harder when you are chasing around a 2 year old! So card making, scrapbooking and most of my other chores around the house have taken a major backseat!

But, today I am here to share another instalment of the 1 hour challenge – this time I’m working with the bright & cheerful Simon Says Stamp August card making kit. I usually can do at least 3 cards in an hour, but thanks to some Copic coloring and watercoloring, I only managed 2 this time.

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For my first card I used the small popsicles and stamped in alternating directions. I colored these with Copics – I love doing this kind of coloring – nothing technical, just relaxing. I cut out a strip of blue cardstock from one of the patterned papers in the kit and adhered this entire strip to a white card base. I stamped the sentiment, trimmed it into a banner and adhered it, along with the chipboard hearts, with foam adhesive.
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For my second card I did some very messy and loose watercoloring using Distress Markers. I love these 3 images paired with this great sentiment – I thought this would make a good masculine card. 
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Thank you so much for joining me for this 1 hour challenge – if you feel inspired to give this a try, be sure to link up your post below so I can check it out! 

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Sorry…

For the super quiet blog at the moment! I am swamped with life stuff right now and haven’t had a chance to make much or photograph what I have made. More coming this week to the blog as things hopefully get back to normal.

Thanks for your understanding!

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Project Life Weeks 12 & 13

Oh, Project Life! How you torture me. Here are weeks 12 & 13 – just a tad behind still ;-)

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Hope you are having a wonderful weekend! 
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