Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Nov '09

Good news, bad news


I got a new job teaching aerobics at BYU starting winter semester. I’ve been subbing there for a year, but now I’ll be teaching four classes a week. Aerobics at BYU is open to anyone in the community (not just students) and it’s the cheapest deal around: $44 for a whole semester (3 1/2 months) and you can go to any of the cardio classes. Here’s what I’ll be teaching:

M/W 6 a.m. (step aerobics)
T/Th 5:30 p.m. (Zumba)

Other cardio classes you can attend:

M/W 5:30 p.m.
T/Th 7:30 p.m.
Saturday 8:30 a.m.

So if you’ve been looking for a new workout class, especially once the new year hits, come check it out.


Sort of bad news. I guess it depends on how you look at it. I’ve had four miscarriages this year. Four miscarriages is not usual, especially not four in a row. But hurrah for insurance, which will cover 100% of the recommended tests. Without insurance each test would be $250-$570, and there are eight of them. If any of you have had recurrent miscarriages and actually found out what the problem was let me know.

On the bright side, I like not being pregnant because I can enjoy teaching aerobics and Zumba without the inconvenience of morning sickness, varicose veins, or a big belly.


Speaking of which, I’ll be teaching a new Zumba class in Springville at the Academy of Ballet (200 South Main) tomorrow (Thursday Nov. 12) at 8 p.m. Cost is $3.50.

I’ll also be teaching another 8-week Zumba session starting in January 20th on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. My current session just ended last night. I gave my class a survey at the end to see how to make it better next time. They were a subdued class, so it was hard to tell how into Zumba they were. Turns out they loved it and only wished they could make the class longer than eight weeks.


I’ve lost weight since I started teaching Zumba/aerobics last year. I’ve gone down about a size in both pants and shirts. So I have all these old t-shirts and tank tops that I used to workout in that I never wear anymore because they’re baggy.

This week I pulled out one of my old tank tops and took a scissors to it. First I cut off the straps in the back and tied the straps together behind the neck (halter top fit). Then I cut straight down the back and took out a few inches of material to make the shirt less baggy. I saved the material to use for ties. I punched holes down the back side and used the extra material to tie the shirt back together.

It was a good practice attempt. I’m going to try it again on another shirt I actually like. If it turns out well I’ll post pictures. Have any of you done this before?

Oct '09

The Blond Within

Lately a few people have asked if I’ve dyed my hair. I’ve looked at them like, “What?” Of course I haven’t dyed my hair. I wasn’t even sure why they would think that.

Then today I noticed that the hair around my face actually IS a lot lighter. My natural hair color is brown with copper undertones that show up more when my hair is wet or in the sun. The hairline around my face, I realized, is VERY coppery. Almost orangey. Even blondish in some parts.

I stood there lost in confusion as to why my hair is suddenly changing colors, like the leaves on trees.

My first thought was hormones because I’ve had some miscarriages and I’ve noticed that since they’ve started I’ve broken out more frequently with acne. But why would hormones affect hair color?

And THEN I realized that because my face has been breaking out in acne, far worse than it ever has before, I’ve been using cleansing pads on my face, which I’d never had to use before. (They totally work, by the way.)

So then I was thinking, would cleansing pads affect my hair color?

As it turns out, yes.

The directions (which you have to peel off the label in order to view) include a few important gems, which I never saw until now:

1. Contains Hydrogen Peroxide. Wash hands after using product.

2. Limit use to the face and neck.

3. Avoid contact with hair or dyed fabrics, including carpet and clothing, which may be bleached by this product.

So. There you go. I have been self-bleaching my hair without even meaning to.

Apr '09

The Reality of Miscarriage

It’s official: I’m not pregnant. Ten weeks after my miscarriage started it has finally ended.

Now that it’s done and life can go on, I have to pause and say one thing before moving on completely. If you are experiencing a miscarriage yourself, DON’T EVER GOOGLE IT.


Because what do most people do when they’re experiencing something new and uncertain? Google their problem in search of support, good advice, and hope from others in the world who have been through the same thing.

And what do you actually find?

The most horrific stories imaginable. The kind that make you scared to death of having a miscarriage.

I learned at my ten-week routine appointment with an ultrasound that there was no viable pregnancy and that I’d need to miscarry.

Waiting for a miscarriage is worse than it sounds. Imagine someone standing over you with a needle, about to give you a shot. Anticipation is agony. Especially when it’s your first-ever shot and all you had ever heard about shots was PAIN! BAD, BAD PAIN!

When I searched online I found one horror story after another. I became terrified of having their painful experiences myself. Instead of finding hope and support, I found discouragement and fear.

So in addition to mourning the loss of what I had thought was a baby, I also had to deal with a new obstacle—fear of miscarriage.

I finally found one single blog where the woman shared her experience matter-of-factly in a way that I could relate to her feelings and gather hope for my own impending experience.

One single blog out of thousands. Why isn’t there more positive support out there? I found the same thing when I was pregnant with Wesley. You’re gearing up to bring your baby into the world and you’re excited, but also a little anxious because you’ve never had a baby before. Every woman who’s ever had a baby is more than willing to share their own labor and birthing experiences–but what part do they choose to tell you? Their most horrible, painful memories.

I still don’t get why people focus so much on the negative aspects of their experiences.

So. This post is for anyone who’s had a miscarriage, is having one, or will have one someday.


It’s OK to feel sad (and angry and disappointed and [insert emotion here].) This may sound like stating the obvious. But for someone who generally doesn’t let things ruffle her feathers, experiencing something that messes with her womanly hormones and motherly heart as much as losing a baby does is a deep, traumatic blow to the senses. The iron-clad part of my personality made me expect that I could deal with the impending miscarriage without letting it bother me. Well, that turned out to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever thought. I cried a lot. Even when I was lying on the ultrasound bed, peering up at the image on the giant screen, realizing it didn’t look right and then hearing the technician apologize, I found myself wiping away tears. I didn’t beckon them, but it’s that womanly/motherly part that instinctively came out. Some days I didn’t think much about the impending miscarriage, but there were a couple days where I felt deeply sad. Unused to feeling such sadness, I wondered what was wrong with me. It turns out it’s a normal part of the mourning process. Anger was also sprinkled in there. Interestingly, the controlling part of me also surfaced and I found myself setting positive goals for myself even while still at the doctor’s office after the ultrasound. I think it’s because the miscarriage was beyond my control, and it was a pretty crummy situation, so subconsciously I started thinking things like, “Well, dang it, if I can’t have this baby then I’m going to ____________.” Such strong emotions were behind my resolutions that I actually am actively working towards the goals I set for myself then. So if you feel like a nutter when you expect to feel normal, remember that nuttiness is normality when dealing with a loss.

Remember you’re not alone. My best friend’s my husband, and he helped me through the tears, the sad days, and the physical miscarriage. Sometimes you just need someone’s shoulder to cry on and someone to help you remember that even though things are crummy, it’s going to be OK.

God’s aware of you. John gave me a priesthood blessing, which offered me feelings of peace and hope–things I’m not sure I could have obtained on my own. And if you’re ever feeling down and have no one to talk to, God’s ear is always open.

Waiting for the miscarriage takes patience. Patience takes time to develop, and time helps make you stronger. As soon as I learned there was no viable baby inside me I wanted to be done with it. I half expected/half hoped the miscarriage would happen right away once I knew it had to happen, and I was impatient when it didn’t. I was sorely tempted to schedule a D&C surgery, just to get it over with. It turns out most women are like me–most who schedule the D&C do it because they can’t stand the waiting. The waiting is hard, harder than you’d think if you’ve never experienced it. I didn’t want to have surgery if I could help it, but anticipating the pain of a miscarriage (both physical and emotional) is almost worse than the miscarriage itself. Especially if you read the above-mentioned horror stories splattered across the Internet. Our weeks had been busy, so scheduling a surgery wasn’t convenient and I decided to wait. I’m glad I did. By the time I started to miscarry I was emotionally better than the day I had the ultrasound. I was ready and anxious to not be pregnant anymore. For me, the wait was good and therapeutic, even though I hated it.


Don’t worry yourself sick. You don’t know what to expect, but hope for the best. I think most miscarriages are over pretty fast. The fact that mine lasted two months forced me to develop patience.

Possibly because it was rather drawn out, the very worst of it was not very bad. I bled for a week and a half and then, one evening, I bled and cramped heavily for a couple of hours. And then, as you know, it took another month and a half to bleed out completely.

My worst fears—involving unbearable pain—were never realized. I never felt pain, only moderate discomfort. Enough to moan, like you might during contractions, but no pain. It made me realize I wasted a lot of energy worrying.

Be prepared. If you’re waiting to miscarry you might as well be ready with sensible items on hand that will ease your experience as much as possible. You may want to have on hand:

* ibuprofen (take four—prescription strength)
* pads (maximum protection with wings)
* Gatorade (you get thirsty during a miscarriage)
* snacks (John brought me Snickers bars; I wouldn’t have thought of it myself, but it turns out I was hungry and the Snickers made me happy. Anything positive during something difficult is good.)
* distractions (anything positive that gives you comfort; I listened to my favorite book on tape)
* heating pad
* and, most importantly, someone you love. How can I even express how wonderful John was to me? You need someone to help you through it. I was fortunate that this happened at night and John was available. I’m glad I wasn’t alone.


Follow your gut. If you’re not sure if you’ve finished miscarrying, go get an ultrasound. I had five.

Remember, life goes on. Really. Some people are really hard on themselves and on God for losing a pregnancy. I see it as a crummy experience with positive effects. Look for the light cast through the clouds. It’s there.

Feb '09

More Stuff

Wesley is doing so great with walking. You can just see his little boy bravery level increasing daily. He can push himself to standing from a squat and then take steps. When he stumbles, sometimes he’ll just push himself right up again and keep walking. I’ve been starting to count his steps, and at his best I’ve seen him take about ten at a time across a room. Tonight I saw him push himself to standing in order to walk towards a toy instead of crawl to it. He’s seventeen months old, and really growing up. Still no teeth, though. His physical therapist comes on Friday and I think she’s going to keel over in amazement at his progress this month.

In other news, I learned last week that my miscarriage was only partial and am therefore still in the process of miscarrying. Four weeks and counting. I’m still pregnant, fourteen weeks now, but not with baby, just with “stuff.”

I went to get an ultrasound last week, but since my doctor’s u/s technician was sick they got me an appointment at the hospital. It was one of those full bladder ultrasounds where you have to drink 32 ounces of water an hour beforehand. All I have to say is that these might also be known as The Ultrasounds of The Devil, particularly when the technicians are running behind and you have to stand in the waiting room (because it’s too uncomfortable to sit), bouncing back and forth and crossing and uncrossing your legs for half an hour until they finally get you in and then proceed to push on your full bladder for another twenty minutes to get the pictures they need. Add to that a fussy kid who was crying for half of the appointment, and then add a bonus intra vaginal ultrasound. And to make it the very best experience ever, add the bill we got today from the hospital for $729.15.

Futhermore, the next day I went back to my doctor, and since their technician was well again I had another round of ultrasounds (thankfully sans full bladder). The verdict: Yeah, there’s stuff in there, all right.

So still I wait.

The good news is that John and I booked a week-long vacation to Mexico at the end of April at a resort on the ocean, south of Cancun and north of Playa Del Carmen. Whenever I feel down I revert to thinking of warm sunshine, bathing suits, reading by the glorious blue lagoon pool, and snorkeling. It helps.

Feb '09


Since December I’ve been studying and preparing to take the AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America) certification exam for primary group exercise. I’m already certified to teach group exercise by Fitour, but AFAA is more highly accredited. And the AFAA exam process is harder.

Yesterday was the Big Day. I woke up on Friday morning at 5, wondering if I should go ahead with the exam. I’d already paid for the test, I had spent two months of my life preparing for the test, and it costs a bit of money to change the date of the test. But on Thursday night as I was studying I had a miscarriage. I had been expecting it; I was twelve weeks pregnant but at a routine ultrasound at ten weeks had learned it was no good. So I’ve been waiting for the miscarriage and worrying it would interfere with a multitude of commitments I considered too important to miss, including my AFAA test. Was I done miscarrying? Was my body able to endure a day of aerobic activity and three exams?

I opted to go and drove two hours in the rain and, later, snow to get to the testing site. The workshop presenter was fabulous with an equally fabulous British accent. We spent hours reviewing anatomy, kinesiology, proper form and alignment, and preparing ourselves for the practical exams. There are two practical exams: One tests your knowledge of strengthening exercises (“Demonstrate at least two strengthening exercises for the pectoralis major…”) and stretches corresponding to each of the ten muscle groups. That test is done in a group setting, so you’re all demonstrating together. I think I passed this part, although I know I made at least one mistake.

The other practical test is an individual presentation where you stand in front of the class and demonstrate a movement (cardio, strength, or flexibility) and teach the class three variations of intensity. You’re encouraged to speak a lot during your presentation about proper form and alignment. This was my favorite part of the whole day; I had fun teaching my cardio portion to the class. I got a lot of whoops and hollers, which to an aerobics instructor is a good thing. I’m sure I passed this exam, even though I accidentally made a reference to table dancing. During the most intense part of the exercise we were jogging and jumping, and I told the class to land softly on the balls of their feet and, to help them do this, to pretend they’re moving on a glass surface. Except I couldn’t think of the word “surface” on the fly and instead said “on a glass table” and added, “Like you’re table dancing.” Just after it came out of my mouth I realized maybe an AFAA examination wasn’t the place to be talking about table dancing, so I quickly added, “The good kind of table dancing!” Thankfully, the table dancing comment got me a lot of those happy-sounding whoops and hollers, the loudest of which came from the examiner herself.

Finally (and by this time the day was starting to feel long) it was time for the 100-question written exam, which we had an hour to finish. The last thing I expected was to be the first one done, but that’s what happened. When I answered the last question I looked around and everyone was still hard at it. I didn’t think I had gone particularly quickly through the test. I mean, either you know it or you don’t. There were a few questions I had circled to come back to at the end that I wasn’t sure about, and I took a few extra minutes reconsidering my answers, but even with that I finished first. That could either be a good sign or a bad one. I have to answer at least 80 of the 100 questions correctly to pass, which I think I did, but I’ll find out for sure in 4-6 weeks when the results are in.

To celebrate the end of my studying days (which made me feel like I was back in college) and the end of my pregnancy, today I am cleaning the house, doing laundry, listening to Harry Potter on tape, and playing with Wesley. It’s a good day to move on.