How we told our family

So there we were having our first "family moment" in the bathroom when we realized we had to decide how we were going to tell our family right away. You see, yet again I had always thought I would do something creative for how we told our family. A creative surprise handcrafted for each of our immediate family members: My parents, Tristan's parents, John Ryan and Bethany, Paul and Heidi, and Heather and Holly. That sounds lovely doesn't it? Did it happen that way...not a chance.

See, Heather, Tristan's sister from Colorado was staying with us, as well as Tristan's sister Heidi and her husband Paul(who just got back to the states and would be far away in virginia in a matter of days)...then later that evening we were picking my parents up from the airport, the next day Tristan's sister Holly was coming to town and then that weekend Bethany was coming to Austin to do the Capital 10k with me and my mom and I knew I wanted to tell her and John Ryan at the same time and there was no way I could keep it from her all weekend.

That's a lot of people all at once huh? How could we pass up the opportunity to tell so many of them in person? We couldn't. So rather than keep the excitement to ourselves for a while we decided to go a head and tell EVERYONE before the weekend was up(Remember it's still Wednesday March 23rd 2011 and Tristan and I are still in the bathroom).

After we decided to go a head a tell everyone we had a few more moments in the bathroom and then rejoined Heather in the kitchen making our sushi dinner. We sat down to dinner with Heather, Paul, and Heidi and I am sure I barley said a word. One, because my mind was spinning, and two because I was afraid I would let something slip. Heidi even asked me if something was wrong or if I was just tired from a long week. I don't remember my response...but I am sure I was awkward about it!

We made it through dinner and we were off to the airport to pick up my parents. We waited at the bottom of the escalator for them for what seemed like an eternity. Finally we saw them and we just stood there waving with the biggest smiles on our faces. My dad said that while they were coming down the escalator he turned to my mom and said we looked gitty! Well we sure were! They got down to the bottom,we hugged, I was quiet and made an awkward moment for all of us for a sec by looking back at Tristan and then back at my parents and then blurted out..."we're pregnant!" It was a sweet moment. Very surreal. And, I think my parents were as much in shock as we were about it!

When we got home Heather, Paul and Heidi greeted my parents and then we all sat down to visit. Tristan shortly after got up to make the announcement. For the past several years when he has an announcement to make he always says, "I have an announcement to make...and no..we aren't pregnant." So he decided he wanted to tell them in a similar fashion. He got up and said, "I have an announcement to make...and no..we aren't pregnant(a few seconds pause)....well...actually.....WE ARE!!!" It turned out to be quite the confusing announcement. But eventually they all believed us!

Holly came to town the next day and when she arrived I gave her a package and told her that I had picked up a gift for her while I was in Colorado. It was the pregnancy test wrapped up! She let off a big.."wahoo" and pretty much jumped off the couch!

A little after that we told Tristan's parents via skype. Tristan told them we had an amazing dinner the night before and I proceeded to lie about what we had saying, "we had baby carrots, baby peas, baby back ribs." etc.... they caught on pretty quick and it was awesome!! I think Heather got a video of their reactions. I hope to get it from her and post it on here because it's amazing. The way they simultaneously threw themselves back on the couch in laughter and glee was priceless. We were all laughing!

Finally we got John Ryan and Bethany on Skype and told them the news. John Ryan is on his way to becoming a world class wine Sommelier and the four of us have been talking about taking a day trip across Texas to visit several wineries. We all got talking about wine stuff on Skype and I said, " you know John Ryan, I don't think I am going to be able to partake in all the wine tasting and such for the next nine months." He was confused and gave his classic shocked crazy brow weird eye face...and then I think he asked, "Melissa, are you pregnant?" I said yes, and his response was one of my favorites...crazy of course....followed by Bethany's squeal. It was awesome!

Baby of mine, you are VERY, VERY, loved!


Restroom Freakout( with never before seen pics of "the moment")

As I sat in the restroom looking at the stick I had a million thoughts running through my head. Possibly the most thoughts I have ever had in there at once! :) "Is this what this moment feels like?" Honestly it was kind of underwhelming because it just didn't seem real and I couldn't believe it. I still don't some times. It felt like an eternity that I was in there by myself with my thoughts, but knowing me it was only a few seconds.

I had always thought I would tell Tristan in a really cute special surprising way that I was pregnant. But, as I said before God's ways are not ours and the way this moment was going there was no way I could not tell Tristan RIGHT NOW!!!! And now that I think about it....a fun and creative surprise reveal would have been cute and fun to blog about but it's just not me...and it's not Tristan either. So I ensued to tell Tristan in just the way I should have known I would always tell him. Like a lunatic!

I calmly(since Heather was there) called out the bedroom door, "Hey Tris, can you come here for a sec?" Tristan came to the bathroom and I was jumping up and down waving the stick in his face going crazy! He gave me his crazy eye look, grabbed the stick and then grabbed the box. Then he looked at me again and we jumped up and down, did some freak out dances, and whisper screamed. I remember looking back at each other several times with crazy faces, saying things like "Oh my Gosh", "your pregnant", "no way"! We were both freaking out and in shock.

It's amazing how scary and beautiful that moment can be all at the same time. I cry at a lot of things but in this moment I didn't. Kind of like when we got married. You would think that I would cry...nope....weird. I think I was just so in shock. We just couldn't believe it was happening. And so soon. We were...and still are..... amazed!

Naturally, a Enter the Worship Song comes to my head when I think of how blessed we are and how good our Father is:

The song is called God is Good. You can listen to it here:

Or just read the lyrics:

God Is Good lyrics by Enter The Worship Circle
You give good gifts to me

I pray that I receive them well

So pass the cup of suffering

And let the oil of joy be poured I'll say

God is good, God is good

God is good, God is good

We love your purpose, Father

We want the glory to be Yours

So pass the cup of suffering

And let the oil of joy be poured

we'll say

God is good, God is good

God is good, God is good


His ways are not our ways, trust Him

Before I get to the rest of the story let me just say one thing... I am so ready to be caught up with my back stories because I have so many current things I want to blog about and it's killing me. ok. done.

SOOOO....Tristan and I went back to see Dr. Reue in February to see how my dear ovaries were doing. They did a sonogram and everything looked great. The fallopian tubes were straight and intact, and the ovaries looked very well healed already AND one of my ovaries had just ovulated a few days before! Dr. Reue seemed very pleased and so were we. He told us if we wanted to we could start trying again to get pregnant(I say again because we had started trying in October and things got postponed...for obvious reasons). He made sure to tell us the odds against us; Melissa you are almost 30 and fertility decreases, it takes the average couple at the very least 6 months to get pregnant, you just had surgery...etc.

We were very aware that it could take a long time and we were ok with that because we were both so grateful that it was even a possibility to still have children of our own. We left excited but with low expectations, just to be careful.

Well March 23rd rolled around and it was 3 days before I was suppose to start my period. I was feeling, "different" than I usually do at that time. Mostly I wasn't bloated, I hadn't broken out and I thought that was strange. I totally could have waited a few more days to take test but I just had this feeling. It was evening and Tristan, Heather and I were in the kitchen working on a sushi dinner I believe. Paul and Heidi were in town too but I think they were out running errands maybe? Anyway , I told Tris and Heather that I had to go to the bathroom. I would have brought Tristan with me but I didn't want to look suspicious.

I think I was pretty nervous. I had taken a lot of tests since we had been married but this was the first time I was actually nervous. It seemed like forever until anything showed up on the stick and even then I wasn't sure if what the stick said was true. A plus sign came up and my heart started racing, I grabbed the box out of the trash to make sure I was reading this right. I was in shock and just couldn't believe it I guess. Yeah, I had read it right. I was in shock and kind of just sat there for a moment dumbfounded with my heart racing and my mind going crazy. Was this really happening???

Yesterday, as Tristan and I were driving around town I was thinking about how I often have low expectations or try to have none at all with many things.....just to be SAFE. To guard my heart(which we are suppose to do). You know, it seems like the right thing to do. But I kept wondering what my Abba Father thought of that perspective I take. My Jehovah Jireh, God who provides. And I just kept hearing Him say "your ways are not My ways, trust Me."

Maybe the way I am about expectations makes me not trust Him? Maybe it makes me forget that His ways are not my ways? Maybe instead of trying to be a practical safe person who doesn't get her hopes dashed I should be a person who when faced with situations, events, and people issues that I could carry my heart away , I say, "Your ways are not my ways, I will trust You."

Growing up(mostly when I was a teen and starting to like boys) my mom always reminded me of Proverbs 4:23, "Above all else guard your heart for it is the well spring of life." I think in my fallen humanity I have applied the verse the wrong way all these years. I tried to be careful, to not get my hopes up, to not let my mind get away with me. To be careful with my expectations. All good things I guess. But isn't the best keeper of our heart the Lord? Maybe all this time I should have been giving my Jesus my heart, letting Him help me guard it. Remembering and living out that His ways are not my ways, and I just need to trust Him.


The oranges (beware of nasty pictures of my ovaries below)

When we first moved to Austin(we were both officially living her by August 2010) I figured it was a good idea to find an OBGYN and go in for my yearly routine exam. As I started to make friends with other Seton/AISD school nurses and asked around and the two people I asked both highly reccomended Dr. Reue. He was on my insurance plan with Seton, his office was just down the street, and I heard he was one of the best OBGYN's in Austin, so I set up an appointment to see him in mid November.

I instantly felt comfortable with Dr. Reue and could tell he was a great Doctor. While he was doing my exam, I could tell that he all the sudden noticed something. He calmly told me he felt something on my ovaries and wanted to bring in a sonogram machine. I was a little alarmed, but I know cysts are very common on the ovaries so I wasn't too concerned, mostly just curious. He examined the ovaries and told me I had some large tumors on my ovaries and that I needed to set up an appointment to see the sono tech, and get a more detailed sono of my ovaries. He said he was unsure what type of tumor it was but that it was possible the growths were from endometriosis or they were possibly dermoid tumors. And he said most likely I would need surgery. He might have told me more at this appointment, but I don't remember. I set up an appointment for the beginning of the next week to come back and get a more detailed sonogram.

I don't remember being too upset or disturbed even though I knew this could probably have big effects on our future of starting a family. I just remember feeling at peace, not being worried, and knowing that whatever happened the Lord was going to take care of us. I consider my reaction a miracle, and totally a gift of God's Spirit. I remember even thinking it was unusual that I (the girl that's wanted to be a mom since my own birth) was so at peace. I just wasn't afraid. Maybe it was because I was mothering 30-60 kids a day in my office? Or maybe I was just in shock? Or maybe my God is just that big and that good? :)

I went in the next week had my sono and was setting up an appointment for laproscopic surgery in two weeks by the end of the appointment. He said the tumors were the size of large oranges and he thought they were most likely benign dermoids (just google it!), but that he didn't think there was any endometriosis (which was a HUGE relief!). He also was very clear that he wouldn't know for sure until he went in there and looked. His main concern was that the tumors where so large and heavy that they were causing the fallopian tubes to twist and that the circulation could be cut off from the ovaries. He seemed pretty confidant that the surgery would go well and that the ovaries could be saved. But, he never said anything about having children.

I went in for outpatient surgery on December 1st(a Wednesday) and was back at work by Monday. The whole experience was a breeze and I was so pleased. It was my first experience as a patient in a hospital. Everyone treated me great, and the anesthesiologist put in my IV so I didn't feel a thing. My mom came up to be with us which made recovery a blast. We just watched Jane Austen esque movies on netflix and I slept. I barley had any pain and was just tired and a bit uncomfortable and sore. Below is a picture of my ovaries. They are the ginormous white balls. You can also see how twisted the fallopian tubes were.

Dr. Reue was pleased with how the surgery went and he said there was plenty of healthy ovarian tissue left! Tristan and I felt like this man was an angel....and he was for sure our new hero!!! We were so blessed that my insurance covered everything, but even if it hadn't we would have paid the man anything! It's easy to get frustrated with how expensive Dr's can be but Tristan and I we were both clearly reminded what a blessing it is that God has given us such talented men and women who do such amazing things!!!

God's timing in this was incredible because if I would have waited any longer to go see the OBGYN I could have lost my ovaries completely. It's just amazing.

I went in 2 weeks after the surgery so Dr. Reue could check on me and at that time he set up an appointment for us to come see him on February 17th to get a sono of the ovaries to see how they were healing! It was December 14th and I thought February couldn't come fast enough.


Austin High

WARNING: this post is long and doesn't have any desirable media....just words. Hang in there, only a few more posts and I will be caught up and it won't be so bad!

The past year I worked at Austin High School. It's a school of about 2300+ students on Lady Bird Lake. It is an amazing school with unique first class programs, exceptional staff and teachers, and a diverse student population. I had a very stressful first year there(especially the first semester), but most of it was stress I put on myself. I kept thinking about how big the school was, how anything could happen, and that when something went wrong medically for someone I was the one everyone looked too. The Lord sustained me through every situation...of course....but most of the year I couldn't shake my fears. Austin ISD Health Staff is technically hired out to AISD from Seton Hospitals, which means we have to run our health rooms like hospitals. Which ends up including LOTS more paperwork and other extra stuff. This also made me nervous as I often wondered what management was thinking of the work I was doing since they can and do audit EVERYTHING!! So all that was more stress I piled on myself. I learned a lot about myself this year and a lot about how I just don't really know how to trust the Lord well. As I am sure you can tell from my writings before, I often live in fear. And, it's an awful place to live.
BUTTTT....don't stop reading now. I am about to get to the amazing parts about my year at Austin High.
What made my year were the students who I affectionately call my "kids." I love so many of them and wish they could all come home with me. I learned I LOVE working with high school students in public school and being the nurse put me in the perfect position to be there for students in need. I got to be a friend, parent, and confidant everyday to all kinds of kids from every walk of life and it changed me and blessed me more than I could ever express in words. They each helped me make it through this year(YES, that means YOU Pinky!!!), but they didn't just help me make it, they made it a rich year. If I could just sit in that office and just "be there" for the students without all the paperwork, legal stuff, and medical responsibility...I think I might do it forever. I remember how nervous I was about working with high school students, I was afraid they would eat me alive and think I was totally not cool. But, I quickly learned that if you listen well, take interest in them, and just show them true love, boundaries, and consistency, that's all it takes. They are yearning and dying for those things. And those are things, I could do. Now if only raising my own teenagers could be that easy some day!! HA! :)
Because of my experiences with the student's at Austin High I have talked to Tristan about how as we are raising our own family I desperately want to be family for students who don't know real "family". I am not sure how we will do that or what it will look like but it's on my heart. I have often wondered why God has blessed me(and Tristan) SOOOO much and given me an amazing childhood and so much wonderful family. I knew God had a purpose for it, I just wasn't quite sure what it was for, but I feel like it's becoming more clear. It reminds me of the Enter the Worship circle song(and it's also a scripture) that talks about how God places the lonely in families(The song is called It's My Joy, if you want to look it up). It's a lovely song. One of my favorites. I am also reminded of Luke 12:48, to whom much is given, much will be required(Melissa's paraphrase). So, based on my life I would say it's not an overstatement to say...MUCH is required. And Tristan and I are ready to learn more about what that means for our family. What is it you desire from us Lord? We are ready(well at least we think we are!), just show us the way!


The past year, in a nutshell.

Since my last post we moved to Austin, Tristan started grad school at UT, I got a job working as a nurse at Austin High, we found an amazing corporate church family and small group, Tristan got a job with Price Waterhouse Coopers, I had 2 grapefruit size tumors on my ovaries removed, we traveled to Germany(and had many other adventures on the road together and with dear friends and family), Tristan worked for the Texas Legislature, and I got pregnant. It's been a whirlwind year. It's been amazing but also really hard. Adjusting to a new city, new jobs, making new friends, and so much more...all wonderful changes but none that come without trial, error, failure, and God's refining hand. We are thankful. We are different. We are weathered. We are tired. We are joyful. We are HIS!