The Last Six Miles

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 11/3/14 1:29 PM
CATEGORIES: Blog, Health & Safety, Prayers, Preemie Miracle, pregnancy, Pregnant at 45

I’ve heard that the last six miles of a marathon are excruciating.  Having never run a marathon before I can only conjecture as to why.  My guess is the first twenty aren’t a piece of cake either, but something tells me the excitement, exhileration, and momentum of the first part of the race disappears somewhere towards the end, and that’s when the going gets tough.  Muscles start to fatigue; organ systems start to fail; and the mental fortitude that carried the runner through the beginning of the race starts to waiver in the face of pain.  My boys are distance runners and I’ve heard them talk about running “through the pain”.  I’ve always assumed this meant if they stuck it out long enough the pain would eventually dissipate.  They’d grow numb to it and simply be able to carry on.  I don’t think this is the case with a marathon, however.  It seems that somewhere around mile twenty there is no hope of running “through the pain” and instead the runner learns to run “with the pain” knowing that every step brings them closer to the reward of the finish.

It all sounds awful.

I have the utmost respect for those that endure a marathon.

That being said, right about now I feel like I’m hitting the last six miles of this pregnancy.  None of it has been easy but like every other challenge in life, I’ve done my best to lower my chin and barrel through it.   There is no doubt I’ve left a trail of bitchiness and half-assery in my wake.  So much of what I wanted to accomplish this year hasn’t happened simply because the physical challenges of this pregnancy have prevented me from reaching my goals.  I’ve kind of surrendered to the reality of adjusted deadlines because I know I had no choice but to adjust my expectations.

“You won’t be pregnant next year.  There’s time for that when this is over.”

Last Friday I surpassed my gestational record of 35 weeks 6 days.  That’s when I delivered Logan.  Of course, if you are familiar with my story you know I carried my first pregnancy full term, so in a way it wasn’t a real record.  But, it’s the best I’ve done since my first tangle with HELLP Syndrome and premature deliveries in 1997, so I consider myself to be currently treading in unfamiliar territory.

I haven’t been this pregnant in twenty years.

And, it’s not easy.  My blood pressure started going up two weeks ago.  Nothing crazy high.  Just high for me.  My midwife decided it would be best to begin seeing me twice a week, so I’ve become a regular in the office for my bi-weekly date with the NST machine.  My blood work remains healthy, which is a good thing.  HELLP Syndrome is a three pronged condition that stands for H=hypertension, EL =elevated liver enzymes LP=  low platelets.  So far my liver enzymes and platelet counts have remained normal.


But, I’m throwing up.  A lot.  And I’m itching like I rolled in a field of poison ivy.  I’m guessing my cholestasis is back (Cholestatis of pregnancy is a condition I developed with Logan.  You can learn more about it here.)  Tomorrow I’ll talk to my ob about my urge to scratch my face, feet and hands off.  They’ll probably run more blood work and then make a decision as to when to put me out of my misery.  Hopefully it’s no earlier than Friday.  That’s when I’ll be 37 weeks.

Double hallelujah.

Still, I have this desire to finish the race at the finish line.  My due date.  I want to have a giant, healthy baby.  I want to give birth without the presence of a NICU team.  I want to nurse this little boy right after delivery…like it’s supposed to be done.  All full-term and normal.

The last six miles.

I know that we are on the threshold of slam dunking this pregnancy, and even if I delivered this week there’s a pretty good chance our little guy would be healthy.   It’s not like I’m asking for the moon, here.  It really doesn’t have to be a slam dunk.  I’d settle for a measly little shot that rolled around the rim before falling haphazardly through the basket.  After all, two points is two points no matter how expertly it’s executed.

So, if you wouldn’t mind saying a little prayer for us.  I want this to end safely–these last six miles.  I want to finish the race.

I’m ready for the reward.


Three little princesses…

photo (82) photo (80) photo (78) photo (79) photo (81)




“Throwing The Kitchen Sink at This”: A Pregnancy Update

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 09/29/14 5:59 PM
CATEGORIES: Blog, Health & Safety, Prayers, pregnancy, Pregnant at 45

Last week was a bit of a milestone for us.

I delivered Ryan at thirty weeks on the dot so every pregnancy since I’ve celebrated passing thirty weeks sans delivery as an accomplishment. When I was pregnant with MK I vividly remember a family dinner where I confidently announced that Ryan would officially be our smallest baby.  I incorrectly assumed that since I carried MK to 32 weeks she’d be bigger.  Imagine our shock when she was actually 2 ounces smaller despite the extra two weeks of cooking time.

Mary Kate, 2008 at a whopping 2 pounds 15 ounces.

Mary Kate, 2008 at a whopping 2 pounds 15 ounces.

As I type this I’m sitting at 31 weeks three days and as much as I’d love to report that I’m cool as a cucumber about the remainder of this pregnancy the truth is I’m a bit jumpy.  Because of my history of early onset of HELLP Syndrome and other pregnancy related complications I’m on what I would call a close watch.  My doctor’s appointments dropped to every two weeks at 28 weeks and last week it was decided that I should be seen once a week for a non-stress tests (NST).  If you’ve read Inconceivable you know I hate non-stress tests because…well… they stress me the hell out.  As far as I’m concerned the notion they are called non-stress tests is an oxymoron.  In my opinion they would more appropriately be called “Let’s-scare-the-shit-out-of-this-pregnant-mother-for-kicks-test.”  I’m guessing that title wouldn’t fit on the contraption they use for the NST.

Anyways, I’ve realized that these last seven weeks are going to be hard.  I’m huge and tired.  Yesterday I schlepped the twins, a stroller, a bag full of crap and a chair to watch MK’s soccer game in 80 degree heat.  By the time I made it back to the car I felt like Chevy Chase in the desert.

chevy chase


Getting around is getting challenging.  I need to get better at gaging what I can and really can’t do.

In addition, every ache;  every little abdominal pain; every little twinge of nausea worries me.  It’s all normal–but it’s also how my troubles started during the pregnancies that didn’t end so well. As a result, I’m in a constant state of analyzing my physical well-being with a side of well earned paranoia.  I figure the only way to get through this is if I take it day by day.  Each day will be an accomplishment.  Which sounds like it should be easy.  But my days seem to long.  Really long.  With a lot of physical demand.  Luckily our schedules are going to lighten up over the next two weeks.  I think that will help.  As long as I don’t have the baby before then.

So, if you’ll bear with me over the next 35 days I could really use your encouragement.  My goal is very simple at this point.  I want to make it into November without a delivery.  If I can do that, I will have surpassed every pregnancy since my first.  The icing on the cake would be to deliver a baby without a NICU team being present.  Of course, that would require me to go all the way to 39 weeks, so what I’ll settle for is to avoid NICU time for this child.  If I could just have a baby that is categorized into the well-nursery…well…that would be a dream come true.

My posts are going to come more frequently as I get closer because I need all the hand-holding–real and virtual–I can get.


Rest assured I’m in great medical hands.  In addition to the weekly NST’s I’m having bloodwork to monitor my liver enzymes, platelets, and red blood cell counts.  All of this information will arm my medical providers with the knowledge they need to spot trouble early.  In the words of my doctors, “We are going to throw the kitchen sink at this.” I guess I’m good with that approach even if it is scary.

Of course, if any warning signs appear we will hopefully have time to administer the steriod shots to help with the baby’s lung development.  It worked for Logan.  Hopefully it will work for this little guy, too.

Fingers crossed.

That “Cover Yourself Up Teen Girls” Post…Some Thoughts

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 09/5/13 1:15 PM
CATEGORIES: Blog, Communication, compassionate parenting, Daughters, Health & Safety, Little girls, perspective, Prayers, Resilience, twins

So, unless you live under a rock or don’t have access to social media, you have likely seen  the viral blog post written by Kimberly Hall.  It was all over my Facebook feed yesterday and it seems to have struck a chord.  A most unexpectedly divisive chord.

Read Kimberly’s post here.

Interestingly, not every reader thought the article was awesome.  Many took offense and pointed out the dangers of “slut shaming”.  Personally, I didn’t find the article to be shaming at all.  I thought it was encouraging young women to make better choices for themselves.  Frankly, the post read like something I could have written.

That being said, when I was perusing the comments on (Kimberly’s blog) I came across a link to a post about the same topic written by Nate Pyle.  It was a conversation that he hopes to have some day with his young son about how women should be “seen”.  The topic is in the same vein as Kimberly’s post, except Nate goes a step further by placing the responsibility to view members of the opposite sex with respect—regardless of what they are wearing—on the person doing the looking.

Please give it a read here.

I worry about the culture in which my three young daughters are growing up.  The all-to-common onslaught of  hyper-sexualized messages go against everything I want for the futures of my children.  I know that it’s my job, as their mother, to raise them in a counter-cultural manner.  In the Savage house we swim against the stream of provocativeness and disrespect that is peddled as acceptable in mainstream society.  So far, so good with regards to our sons, but these three little girls?

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They scare me.

I know Sean and I have a lot of parenting ahead of us.  I also know our charge to guide them into an adulthood rooted in goodness is going to be a battle.  That’s why I’m so grateful to writers like Kimberly and Nate.  Regardless of whether I agree with them, they share their thoughts which causes me to hone in on what it is I want to teach my children.

I need all the help I can get.


What a blessing.


More from the twins’ two year pictures.  They were taken by the amazing Allie Darr from Allison Darr Photography.  I love Allie’s work.  You can learn more about her photography at her website.



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For Drew...

For Drew…

Yup...that's about right.

Yup…that’s about right.

Happy Thursday…the weekend’s coming!

Monday Prayers…and Smiles

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 04/22/13 10:41 AM
CATEGORIES: Blog, Compassion, Focusing on The Joy, Prayers, Resilience

Last week was quite a week for all of us.

I don’t know about you, but by the time I turned the television off Friday night I felt like waving a white flag.  Of course, I was relieved that the perpetrators of the atrocity in Boston had been apprehended, but my thoughts continued to stay with the victims.  Sometime over the weekend I heard Krystle Campbell’s mother call the death of her daughter, “a complete waste“.  I couldn’t agree more.  My heart aches for her.

What a waste.

I talked about the victims with a wonderful group of readers on Saturday in New Philadelphia, Ohio.  I was there at the invitation of their local library to take part in the first installment of their author’s series.  When I opened my talk, I reflected on how Inconceivable is a book about “getting through”, and although my life’s challenges pale in comparison to the difficult road that lies in front of the victims, I can’t help but think about the journey to recovery that all of them are beginning.  They need our support.  Both the victims in Boston and Texas have a lot of “getting through” in front of them.  I will be praying that they find the strength to persevere through their darker moments, chase resilience, and some day find a way to once again experience joy in their lives.

I hope you’ll join me in that prayer.


If you are a regular reader here you know that I often take Monday mornings to reflect on the blessings that crossed my path the week before.  Honestly, last week was such a roller coaster ride I wondered if it was even appropriate to write about my moments of personal joy.  Experiencing joy  amidst tragedy conjures feelings of guilt in me.  I also don’t want to be disrespectful.

Here’s the thing…

I think it’s the little smiles that sustain us through our tougher days.  Without these simple moments that remind us of how lucky we are, tragic events like those of last week might be able to darken our thoughts to a point of serious detriment.  I’m guessing that is not what Krystle Campbell…or Martin Richard…or Lu Lingzi…or Sean Collier would want.  From what I’ve read about them, they were all joy-filled people.

My smiles, this week, are dedicated to them.

First Smile –  A Track Meet in January…I Mean April

The boys had a track meet on Saturday.  When I dragged myself out of bed at 6 a.m., I looked at the weather and dusted off my winter gear which is somewhat of a sacrilege to me.  You see, I have this unspoken rule that all boots, turtlenecks, and down coats must be retired as of April 1st.  I’m ready for spring, dammit.  Apparently mother nature didn’t get my memo.

As I stood watching the boys run their 4×1600 race, it was snowing…sideways.  Please note their attire.  Apparently I’ve passed on  my ridiculous spring dressing expectations to them.

Ryan taking the baton.

Ryan taking the baton.


Ry was the 3rd leg of the relay.

Ry was the 3rd leg of the relay.

Drew was the anchor leg.

Drew was the anchor leg.


Ryan handing off to Drew.  Both of them freezing!

Ryan handing off to Drew. Both of them freezing!

Hey...I have to take solace in the little sense their hats show.

Hey…I have to take solace in the little sense their hats show.


Coming across the finish.

Coming across the finish.

And they won the race...but couldn't feel their hands.

And they won the race…but couldn’t feel their hands.

Second Smile –  A Book Signing and Talk

Every once in awhile I’m invited to speak about our experience with Logan.  This opportunity was a delight because it was an author’s talk in the quaint little town of New Philadelphia, Ohio.  About three hours southeast of my home, New Philadelphia has quite an advantage over Toledo.  It’s warm.  Warmer than the track meet I had come from and warmer than the frozen baby bunnies in my yard.  I had no idea what to expect in terms of a crowd which is why I was surprised with the standing room only turnout.

Apparently people in New Philadelphia read.

I  love having the opportunity to talk about the lessons I’ve learned from our journey with Logan.  By doing so I hope that I’m properly honoring the positive impact his life has had on my life and the lives of my family.  I’m a stronger, more empathetic, and more grateful person because of him.  When I share my story I focus on the gifts we were given as a result of what is commonly characterized as a mistake.  I hope that those that read our story, or hear me speak are inspired to fight like hell through their darkest moments because they have hope for joy on the other side.

I tend to talk with my hands...

I tend to talk with my hands…


I think it’s a habit I developed during my teacher years!


Can I tell you how nerve racking signing books is? My penmanship isn’t the best…


…and I’m always scared I’m going to misspell someone’s name and screw up their book! I should have paid better attention in 3rd grade handwriting class.

Third Smile –  The Master Dipper

Reagan has discovered the art of dipping.  She mastered the task of dipping during our spring break.  I think one too many servings of chicken fingers and fries encouraged her to seek out other food groups even if it meant resorting to ketchup-eating.  Ever since she wants ketchup on everything.  I mean everything…

Allow me to clarify...I didn't serve her a plate full of ketchup!

Allow me to clarify…I didn’t serve her a plate full of ketchup!


This is the end of her meal during which Reagan polished off a grilled chicken breast and green beans…all dipped in ketchup.


I think it’s safe to assume that Reese (our cat that begs for food like a dog) was mighty disappointed that the only scrap she was getting off of this little one’s plate was a finger full of ketchup.

Now…go forth and cherish the smiles.

Have a blessed week!