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On recurring miscarriages and being “unlucky”.

January 26th, 2013 — 12:10am

Well hello! I’ve missed you all! You’ve grown so much I hardly recognize you. Let me pinch those cheeks!

I’ve been meaning to keep you updated on what’s been going on with Ethan, but I keep putting off writing any posts because I’m always so busy doing other things. I want to get back to posting semi-regularly, though, and what better way than to tell you that I had another miscarriage.

I was super excited to find out I was pregnant because I found out on December 9th, two days after my birthday, and I knew EXACTLY how we were going to tell my MIL. I set up an appointment for an ultrasound for when I would be 6 weeks because I was a wee bit nervous since I’d already had one miscarriage, though the doctor had assured me that I would most likely not have another miscarriage. I was sure this pregnancy would be fine.

In fact, I was so excited about this pregnancy that I totally spaced and only got my MIL two gifts for Christmas, one of which was the photo that told her we were pregnant.

I started telling Ethan he was going to be a big brother and I set up an appointment with our midwife and I told a few close friends that I finally got my BFP.

We left my MIL’s house Christmas evening because we had some things to do the next day. When I woke up on December 26th, I thought I felt my period starting but then told myself I was being ridiculous and paranoid. I wasn’t actually surprised when I went to the bathroom and saw bright red spotting. I knew. I just knew.

When I called the doctor’s office, I ended up with an appointment with a doctor that I didn’t want to be assigned to but had forgotten to switch away from when I’d been assigned to her. I figured she couldn’t be that bad, and in fact our appointment with her was fine. She was matter of fact about the whole thing and gave me a 50/50 chance of carrying to baby to term, though I knew without a doubt I was miscarrying. She sent me for blood work and told me she’d call when the results came in.

One of the tests done with the blood work was an hCG test, which tests for the pregnancy hormone. When the results came back, I had almost completely finished the miscarriage. The doctor called to tell me that, and I took the opportunity to ask about a few things. First, I asked about progesterone. It seemed to me that my results from this current blood work and the blood work I had done when I had my last miscarriage were low. I was told that testing for progesterone is an outdated test that they did in the 1950s and won’t tell me anything except whether I’ve ovulated or not. Actually, this isn’t true but I didn’t want to argue over the phone.

So then I asked why I had a second miscarriage when I was told it was unlikely that this would happen again. This is what the doctor said:

“Well, you’re just unlucky.”

OH REALLY. Is that an official diagnosis?

Needless to say, I switched away from her as fast as I could. I’ve been meaning to write a note to the head of her department to ask that she show a little more compassion to the next woman who comes to her in the middle of a miscarriage.

I had my first appointment with my new OBGYN today and I told her what’s going on and my concerns about when I get pregnant again. She listened, understood where I was coming from, and agreed that we would do blood work as soon as I find out I’m pregnant again. I’m so thrilled that I found her!

My situation isn’t really cut and dry because Ethan is still nursing, and nursing affects hormone levels so that could be why I’m having trouble staying pregnant. I’m hesitant to wean him just to get pregnant. I’m hoping I can have a viable pregnancy and still nurse Ethan.

I’ve also discussed this whole situation with our midwife and she suggested I take Welcome Womb, a tincture with herbs that are know to help progesterone.

The year 2012 will be The Year of the Miscarriages, but I’m hoping 2013 will have better things in store for us. I’m hoping we’ll get pregnant quickly again (getting pregnant hasn’t been the hard part!) and that we’ll buy a house and sell our condo. I’ve got big plans for you, 2013. In the meantime, let me leave you with some pictures of Ethan!

Family picture











Ethan with his hand in the cookie jar








43 comments » |Posted under

Thoughts on Stardust (audio) by Neil Gaiman

December 16th, 2012 — 9:58pm


Title: Stardust [Audiobook] [Physical]
Author: Neil Gaiman
Narrator: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy
Running Time: 6 hours 38 minutes
Date Published: October 30, 2012

I’m actually quite embarrassed that I’ve never read any Neil Gaiman, so when the opportunity arose for me to listen to the audio of Stardust, I jumped at the chance.

I actually went into this not even knowing what Stardust was about. Gaiman says in the Introduction that this story was born out of his desire to write a fairy tale for adults. I was instantly hooked. A fairy tale for adults? HELLS YEAH! I’ll admit, though, that my heart sank a little when I found out the Gaiman was the performer for this audiobook. The author? What the hell?! I’ve been to more author appearances than I can count, and honestly, I haven’t heard too many great author readings. The reading is stilted, emphasis is placed on the wrong words, and it always feels like they’re reading so I never get lost in the words. But Gaiman did an amazing job, making me eat my opinion about authors reading their own books in a very short period of time. It makes me wonder if he’s performed other novels of his, and if so, I want to get my hands on them!

Stardust is about Tristran Thorn who is in love with Victoria Forester. One night he tries to get a kiss from her and they see a falling star. She tells him that he can have anything he wants if he retrieves that very star for her. So off he goes to find the star so that he can present it to Victoria. He finds the star quite easily, which turns out to be a girl who, due to falling from the sky, has broken her leg. Tristran captures her and takes her on the journey back to his village. Along the way they encounter a unicorn, witches, elves (I think?), slaves that have been turned into animals, and an assortment of odd characters.

Since this was a fairy tale for adults, there was some swearing and sex. Which I actually really enjoyed. It wasn’t over the top. It was a nice juxtaposition of the quaint fairy tale with modern words sprinkled in. Gaiman is still able to keep the traditional feel of fairy tales with the way he writes, while still nodding to the fact that this book is for adults who still love fairy tales.

The writing was always so much fun, to the point that I would laugh out loud at the way Gaiman turned a phrase. At one point I got out of the car and was just grinning because I was so happy to be immersed in this book. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t listening to it at that very second (I mostly only listen to books in the car). I felt like a teenager whose crush just asked her out on a date. I was smiling LIKE A FOOL. And when I was away from the book, I was thinking about it. I was positively giddy to get back in my car and start the story again.

I’m sure the book is great, but I highly recommend the audiobook. Do yourself a favor and get Stardust for yourself for Christmas. I will be listening to this book again. And again.

Five out of five stars! I want to throw stars at this book it was so good. This guy can tell a story.

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Thoughts on The Boy in the Suitcase (audio) by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis

November 28th, 2012 — 10:59pm

Title: The Boy in the Suitcase [Audiobook] [Paperback]
Author: Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis
Narrator: Katherine Kellgren
Genre: Mystery
Running Time: 8 hours 41 minutes
Date Published: December 13, 2011


Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, wife, and mother of two, is trying to live a quiet life. The last thing her husband wants is for her to go running off on another dangerous mission to help illegal refugees. But when Nina’s estranged friend Karin leaves Nina a key to a public locker in the Copenhagen train station and begs her to take care of its contents, Nina gets suckered into her most dangerous case yet. Because inside the suitcase is a three-year-old boy: naked and drugged, but alive.

Nina’s natural instinct is to rescue the boy, but she knows the situation is risky. Is the boy a victim of child trafficking? Can he be turned over to authorities, or will they only return him to whoever sold him? In an increasingly desperate trek across Denmark, Nina tries to figure out who the boy is, where he belongs, and who exactly is hunting him down. When Karin is discovered brutally murdered, Nina realizes that her life and the boy’s are in jeopardy, too.

My thoughts:

The Boy in the Suitcase was the first translated book that I listened to on audio, and I was pretty sure that audio is the only way I’ll be reading translated crime fiction in the future. The second translated crime fiction book that I listened to confirmed that. It’s so nice to have names and locations properly pronounced, and I think the proper pronunciation helps me keep track of the characters better.

I found The Boy in the Suitcase to be such a refreshing read! I can’t expound too much into why it was a refreshing read, other than to say that I read a fair amount of crime fiction and the reason the boy is kidnapped was quite interesting and had me thinking about right and wrong long after I finished the book. The pacing was excellent and I thought it was gripping from the minute I started the audio.

The Boy in the Suitcase had some interesting social commentary about immigrant refugees that is relevant to those of us in the US. I don’t like to be beat over the head with an author’s agenda or personal political or social opinions. Not because I don’t like discussion or debate, but because I’m relatively intelligent and can get more out of one well worded sentence than I will something that belabors a topic. Thankfully, the authors don’t focus too much on the immigrant refugees topic, but they did do a good job of putting it out there for you to ruminate on or dismiss as you see fit.

I don’t know if it’s my newness to audiobooks or that the narrator Katherine Kellgren really is as good as I thought she was, but the narrator was fantastic! She had a different voice for everyone and her pronunciation and accents had me repeating words and names exactly as she said them long after I finished the audiobook. I’ve got the second book in the series, Invisible Murder, on my list of books to read, and I’m hopeful that Katherine Kellgren will be the narrator for that one as well!

Thanks to Audiogo for giving me this audiobook to review!

14 comments » |Posted under

Thoughts on Live by Night (audio) by Dennis Lehane

November 26th, 2012 — 1:14am

Title: Live by Night [buy the audiobook] [buy the hardcover]
Author: Dennis Lehane [website] [Facebook]
Length: 14 3/4 hours (416 pages)
Genre: Fiction, historical
Date Published: October 2, 2012

Live by Night is the third book by Dennis Lehane that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. A few years ago, after I read my first Lehane novel, I mentally put his whole backlist on my List of Books to Buy, so when Live by Night was published, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to review it on audio. Here’s the synopsis:

Boston, 1926. The ‘20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world.

Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city’s most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw.

Joe embarks on a dizzying journey up the ladder of organized crime that takes him from the flash of Jazz Age Boston to the sensual shimmer of Tampa’s Latin Quarter to the sizzling streets of Cuba. At once a sweeping love story and a compelling saga of revenge, it is a spellbinding tour de force of betrayal and redemption, music and murder, that brings fully to life a bygone era when sin was cause for celebration and vice was a national virtue.

Seriously, if there’s one thing I want to convince you of, it’s that you need to read Live by Night. I was on the edge of my seat with the first sentence: “Some years later, on a tugboat in the Gulf of Mexico, Joe Coughlin’s feet were placed in a tub of cement.” The book is full steam ahead from that first sentence, and doesn’t let up through the whole book.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of The Godfather film while listening to this book. I consider The Godfather to be a classic, so I don’t make that comparison lightly. But the way Joe Coughlin rises to the top and the way he tries to hold on to a bit of his humanity and the way the story is just so epic made me think about The Godfather quite a bit while listening to the book.

Live by Night is epic, spanning most of Joe Coughlin’s adult life, from petty thief to mob leader. I found Coughlin to be a very nuanced character. Whether it was Lehane’s intention or not, I thought a lot about nature versus nurture while Coughlin struggled with his choices. Coughlin’s descent into being a gangster is one of those things that has so many small steps, so many things that you could say, Well, it’s just this one thing that won’t hurt anyone, that when Coughlin finally admits he’s a gangster, he’s really been that way for a while. And while he’s technically a bad guy, you’re rooting for him to triumph over the other gangsters. It felt a bit like rooting for Dexter.

I just loved this book. It was amazing, heart-pounding, gritty, and insightful. It never felt too long (in fact, I wouldn’t have minded if it had been a tad longer, not because anything felt rushed, but because the story was that good and I didn’t want it to end) and the characters’ emotions seemed to leap off the page.

As I mentioned above, I listened to the audiobook which was AMAZING. The narrator, Jim Frangione, made me realize why they say an audiobook is performed by so-and-so. Live by Night was a book that I felt like I couldn’t listen to the CDs fast enough. There are visuals that I have from this book that I expect will stay with me for a long time, specifically because of how the narrator performed the story.

Have I fallen all over myself to tell you how fantastic this book was? Because that’s what I’m doing: falling all over myself about how good this book is. Lehane makes me feel like a teenager in that I want to read all of his books, know all the trivia about him, and then write a bad poem about how much I love him. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to properly obsess over authors, but at least he makes me feel like I would do that if I could. Who was the last author that inspired that in you?

Thanks to HarperAudio for sending this book for me to review.

7 comments » |Posted under

Thoughts on Broken Harbor by Tana French

November 19th, 2012 — 10:49pm

Title: Broken Harbor [buy the book]
Author: Tana French [website]
Pages: 464
Genre: Fiction, mystery, literary
Date Published: July 24, 2012

I have been stalking Tana French ever since I finished The Likeness in October 2008. When you find an author that you love (and I mean love in the she’s-in-my-top-three-favorite-authors-of-all-time way), waiting for their next book is kind of like trying to entertain a toddler. It’s excruciating. (Or maybe it’s just me that finds trying to entertain something with the attention span of, oh, around 6 minutes to be painful.)

So to say that I’ve been waiting for Broken Harbor with every inch of my being is totally true, though also a bit 15-year-old-melodramatic.

But still.


As I cracked open Broken Harbor, it was with a bit of trepidation. Could Tana French even come close to my expectations?

“I will never doubt again.”

I was thrilled when Broken Harbor book was picked for my book club (a new release! hardcover!). When we got together to discuss the book, the premise of society making my generation feel like we have to have it all — a spouse, 1.8 kids, a house, two cars, etc, made for fascinating discussion. We ended up talking politics, taxes, income, and who is considered to be middle class. The discussion was quite natural and flowed straight from the book. Fortunately, we all still liked each other when the meeting ended.

Here’s the synopsis of Broken Harbor from Good Reads:

In Broken Harbour, a ghost estate outside Dublin – half-built, half-inhabited, half-abandoned – two children and their father are dead. The mother is on her way to intensive care. Scorcher Kennedy is given the case because he is the Murder Squad’s star detective. At first he and his rookie partner, Richie, think this is a simple one: Pat Spain was a casualty of the recession, so he killed his children, tried to kill his wife Jenny, and finished off with himself. But there are too many inexplicable details and the evidence is pointing in two directions at once.

Scorcher’s personal life is tugging for his attention. Seeing the case on the news has sent his sister Dina off the rails again, and she’s resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family, one summer at Broken Harbour, back when they were children. The neat compartments of his life are breaking down, and the sudden tangle of work and family is putting both at risk . . .

One of French’s strong suits is her ability to write dialogue. Obviously crappy dialogue is easy to spot, and probably most dialogue goes unnoticed. But I’ve found that I love to come upon French’s dialogue because it’s so interesting. I realize as I type this I risk coming across as daft, but trust me on this. The Irish dialect comes alive and while I wouldn’t call the dialogue snappy, her characters have spunk, making their conversations more than just a way to move a story forward.

I have to warn you that I ended up being consumed by this book while I was reading it. Mostly I started looking at new housing developments as if they were the ghost estate in Broken Harbor. I don’t know how French can not only transport me to another world while reading her book, but can also make it so that I’m sort of still in that world even when I’m not reading the book.

The story itself is heartbreaking, and I was surprised that the story became even more so as I got further into it. Where is the line between sanity and madness? Will we know when we’ve crossed it? Will our family or our friends? These questions come up both in the main story and in Scorcher’s personal story, which was melancholy as well.

What do you do when friends start doing things that you don’t agree with? I don’t mean illegal things, but things that you think will make them unhappy?

The questions this book broaches are numerous, so there are many directions a book club could take it.

If you like your endings wrapped up in a nice tidy bow, Tana French is not your author. I have friends who are still mad that they read In the Woods because they never found out what happened *In the Woods*! I happen to like the fact that the reader is left to imagine how things might/should/could/would end, especially in Broken Harbor. Even more than that, I like that there’s no one person to blame in this story. It’s like all relationships — things are always much more 50/50 than they may seem and when you look at the picture as a whole, it’s hard to pin everything on one person and say, This is the reason everything happened the way it did.

Anyway, all that to say that I loved this book. If I had to rank it against her others, I’d say it ties with Faithful Place, which I thought was only slightly less great than The Likeness (which is in my top 5 favorite books of all time).

A huge thank you to Viking for sending me a copy of this book for review.

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