Miscarriage

By: Crissie Miller Kirby

I will never, ever forget that day – Friday, March 16, 2007.  I was 11 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child and scheduled for a routine ultrasound.  My nerves were a wreck.  My husband had been away for 3 weeks working a shift of border patrol for the SC National Guard, and I had experienced some spotting during that time.  It was nothing major and the midwife had assured me that if it stopped on its own that everything was most likely fine, but we would make sure when I came in for my appointment on the 16th.

The nurse came to the door and said that my doctor was running late after his shift at the hospital; I could either reschedule my appointment or wait.  I immediately said that I wanted to wait because I’d been having some issues and wanted to make sure that everything was okay.

When he arrived, we went back in the exam room and my OB started the ultrasound.  At 11 weeks, we should have been able to see some sign of the baby, but couldn’t.  He switched from the external ultrasound to the vaginal ultrasound, thinking maybe my dates were wrong and I wasn’t as far along as we had originally suspected.  However, our fears were realized when he said that while the gestational sac was present, there was no baby; it had not developed.  Tears flooded my eyes.  I was heartbroken.  I was devastated.

My OB-GYN and his staff were absolutely wonderful.  They hugged me and offered their condolences and words of consolation and prayers.  The decision about how to proceed was left to us; we could wait for my body to realize that there was no baby to support and it would begin the miscarriage process on its own or I could schedule a D&C.  The uncertainty of when that might happen, combined with the fact that Pierce was only 15 months old caused us to schedule a D&C for the following Monday.

We left the doctor’s office in tears and headed back to my office.  I couldn’t face anyone right then, so my husband went in to tell my co-workers what had taken place and that I would not be back that day.  We went home and made the phone calls to our immediate families and our closest friends.

I just didn’t understand why or how this had happened.  I had had such an easy pregnancy with Pierce; I was, literally, the woman other women loved to hate.  I never had morning sickness, no spotting, no swelling, and minimal weight gain.  Pregnancy had been so easy for me – how could I now be on the cusp of miscarrying?  I blamed myself.  Surely I had done something that had caused this situation.  I thought that maybe even God was punishing me for things I had done in my past.

That weekend I experienced the worst physical and emotional pain of my life.  Emotionally, I was drained, devastated, and just wanted to get everything over with and get back to “normal.”  Physically, my body began to miscarry and I wound up in the Emergency Room.  Monday morning came and I underwent the D&C.  God bless my doctor, the nurses, the anesthesiologist and the nurse anesthetist; they did everything to make me comfortable, put my mind at ease, and to keep me from getting sick after surgery.

The partial ending of this story is that about 5-6 months after my miscarriage, I became pregnant with my precious Smith and my pregnancy with him was, like my pregnancy with Pierce, pretty easy and enjoyable.  Other than the initial concerns, until we heard his heart beat, and saw him growing well in utero, it was a great pregnancy.  Unfortunately, my miscarriage also had a profound negative effect on my marriage and less than 4 years later, I would be divorced.

I share my story with you because as women we all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but did you also know that October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day?  Too often, we neglect pregnancy and infant loss, because we are uncomfortable with it – we don’t know what to say.  The truth of the matter is, pregnancy and infant loss is just like the death of someone else that you dearly loved.  The biggest difference is that in most instances, you never knew the person that died; you may not have even known that the little person existed.  But, to the parents, that little person had a name, hopes and dreams attached to him or her.  That loss is just as important to the parents as the loss of a spouse or a parent or sibling; it can be devastating.

Even more so as, in most circumstances, there is no funeral or memorial service during which to say final goodbyes; no real opportunity for “closure.”  Well meaning individuals try to console us by proclaiming that there can be other babies; they insist that something must have been wrong with the baby; or, that it was just simply God’s will.  Their words, while well intentioned, often serve to lessen or negate the loss.  Many feel that we should just be able to move on and live life as if the loss had never happened.  Unfortunately, those losses have the power to transform families; some positively, others negatively.

For those of us who have loved and lost children we did not have the chance to ever know, we take a moment today to reflect and remember those tiny lives that touched us so immensely.

Lights, Camera, Dance! Pink Glove Dance Voting Begins!

Today is an important day!  Voting in the 2012 Pink Glove Dance competition begins today at 1:00 p.m. EST.  The hospital is asking everyone in our community to vote for our Pink Glove Dance by going to www.pinkglovedance.com and “Liking” our dance with a Facebook account.  A vote for our video is a show of support for cancer survivors everywhere.

For the second year in a row, Lexington Medical Center is entering the international Pink Glove Dance video contest sponsored by Medline Industries, Inc.  The project honors cancer survivors and raises awareness about breast cancer.

Our hospital’s 2012 Pink Glove Dance features the compelling story of Lexington Medical Center nurse Amy Kinard of Lexington, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 34.  The video is shot in our hospital and around our community – including at a highly-energized Williams-Brice Stadium, on a special pink glove skydiving adventure and inside a rock star celebration of cancer survivors.

In total, approximately 1,000 Lexington Medical Center employees dancing to the Katy Perry song “Part of Me” in the video.  In addition to high energy and Broadway style choreography, there are special effects, smoke, strobe lights and more.  Importantly, the dance features several LMC employees who are breast cancer survivors; they’re wearing t-shirts that say “Survivor from Day 1,” noting the strength and courage of breast cancer patients right from the time of their diagnosis.  “Survivor From Day 1” is the theme of this year’s video.

Pictured above are the breast cancer survivors who appear in this year’s video.

In 2011, with more than 60,000 votes and 110,000 You Tube views, Lexington Medical Center clinched the first-ever Pink Glove Dance contest.  The hospital beat more than 130 other health care organizations from around the United States and Canada with a dance featuring hundreds of Lexington Medical Center employees dancing with pink gloves.  The dance became so popular, it was featured on national television including ABC World News Tonight and Fox & Friends on the FOX News Network.

You can vote for Lexington Medical Center’s Pink Glove Dance by going to www.pinkglovedance.com and clicking “Like” with your Facebook account.  You must have a Facebook account to vote.   This year, voting for the Pink Glove Dance 2012 is from October 12th to October 26th.   Please encourage your family and friends to vote for Lexington Medical Center’s Pink Glove Dance video!

Late Night Ramblings

By: Roshanda Pratt

A New Chili for Football Season

By: Brady Evans

Brady Evans

The other day I was jogging and contemplating the state of my life as I often do when I run.  I was thinking about how busy I was about to get with school starting soon and my plate newly loaded with exciting opportunities at the high school where I teach.

For some reason when I feel like I’m really busy, I gravitate toward making myself more busy.  So, while running, I started counting backwards the weeks from November 17th to the present, trying to determine if I had enough time to train for a marathon.

Yeah, so I’m about to be busier than ever at work, my husband is about to be traveling for his job more than he ever has, and I’m trying to fit a marathon into my schedule.  Just to spice up my life a little.

Around mile 12 or so, I figured that if I wanted to spice up my life, maybe I should just do it in other ways – like cook new and interesting recipes.  If you’d ask my husband, whenever I feel adventuresome in the kitchen, pineapple shows up in our meal.

This recipe was really good.  I might make it again before I dig up another chili recipe.  Pineapple makes sense in chili to me – we love pineapple black bean enchiladas and pineapple peanut stew.  It is officially football season: I just got back from our first home football game.  That makes this recipe even more perfect for my life right now.  What’s more is that I made it all in the crockpot so while I get busier, my time in the kitchen gets shorter, but my excitement about eating stays the same.  And for now, my craving for a marathon might be quenched…until my 14-mile-run this Saturday.

Other chili recipes on Branny Boils Over:

Black Bean Pineapple Chili (inspired by Better Homes and Gardens)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground pork or turkey
  • 1 16 ounce jar pineapple salsa (this was easy to find at my normal grocery store)
  • 1.5 cups crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 15 ounce can beans (your choice!), rinsed and drained
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro, fresh Mexican cheese, lime for serving

Instructions

  1. Brown ground meat stovetop.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a crockpot or large soup pot and cook until vegetables are tender (8 hours on low in crockpot and 45 minutes stovetop).
  3. Garnish with cheese, cilantro, and lime, if desired.

Columbia Welcomes GWEN RAWLS Italian Shoe Boutique

By: Staci Rutherford

Gwen Rawls

When I first discovered that a new accessories boutique was coming to town, I could not wait to share the news with all of the trendsetters and fashionistas of the Midlands!  GWEN RAWLS Italian Shoe Boutique opened on August 23, and of course, I had to stop by to check out all of the fabulous shoes imported straight from Italy.  I had the pleasure of meeting the owner, Gwen Rawls, at Power of the Purse a few months prior to the opening, and instantly connected with her since we share a passion for beautiful accessories.

A South Carolina native with a love for European fashion, Gwen has traveled extensively throughout Europe, but she always returned to Milan to explore the world’s fashion capital.  Like many women living in Columbia, Gwen felt her shoe shopping options were limited, and typically went to boutiques in Charlotte, New York and Atlanta to find the stylish brands she loved.

Gwen began conceptualizing an Italian shoe boutique that could help women in Columbia—and throughout the southeast—find their own foundation for fashion right here in the capital city.  “At GWEN RAWLS, women will find elegant Italian shoes and bags that are limited in quantity to ensure a customer can build her own signature look.  I want my customers to feel empowered with their purchase and to give them a renewed sense of elegance.”

When I first stepped into the boutique, I didn’t know which way to turn.  There were beautiful shoes displayed everywhere.  The staff at GWEN RAWLS was warm and friendly, which is often rare when shopping at an upscale place. I can honestly say that Gwen really thought about her customers’ lifestyle when she personally selected each shoe.  Styles include embellished stilettos, knee high boots, booties and flats for women like me who find it difficult to stay graceful in a heel more than 3 inches.

 The next time you are out and about, stop by GWEN RAWLS and tell them Staci sent you.  It is located near Chipotle at 4840 Forest Drive, Suite 17.  Store hours are Monday through Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.  Also, be sure to connect with GWEN RAWLS via Facebook at www.facebook.com/GwenRawlsShoes or on Twitter @GwenRawls.  You can also visit the website at www.gwenrawls.com.

Salted Caramel Nirvana

By: Elizabeth Webber Akre

I’m not much of a sweet freak.  But, my husband is and that gene has obviously been passed on to our daughter.  Don’t get me wrong…I can appreciate a good dessert, a good cake or a good cookie when I see one, I just don’t crave that kind of stuff.

However…

Since I became addicted to Pinterest, I came across a recipe whose photo grabbed me and hasn’t let go.  It’s for “Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bars.”  When I do indulge in sweets, there are certain types that really appeal to me: chocolate, hazelnut and any combination of salt and sweet.  I’ve had this recipe on one of my Pinterest boards for a couple months, but haven’t done anything about it.

Today was my sweet baby’s 1st day of 1st grade.  I decided that I’d make a special dessert for her.  As I pondered all the great recipes in my head and in all my books, etc., the salted caramel cheesecake came to mind.  All I needed was graham crackers and cream, so I ran out for these provisions and got busy.  This recipe is not hard to put together.  In fact, it’s quite easy.  But, the result will wow the socks off your family and friends, and they will think you worked forever on these delicious bars.

Cut into bars, sprinkle with salt and dive in!

The website where the recipe is located here.  It is a fantastically rich, gooey, delicious dessert that is out of the norm and special.  Whatever you do, don’t skip the salt!  That is what really sets this dish apart!  I didn’t have any fleur de sel, so I used some smoked sea salt and it was awesome.  Give it a shot.  I bet you’ll be happy you did.  Everyone at my house was happy about it!  I got a two-thumbs up from the little one, I mean the big 1st grader, so I know it was a success.

Here’s One Last Call You Don’t Want To Miss

By:  Mary Pat Baldauf

Last March, I discovered Revente’s Last Call, a charity resale shop benefiting The Women’s Shelter in Columbia, South Carolina.  I was about midway through my two-year journey to better health, and I needed some smaller clothes.  I’d been steadily losing weight and couldn’t keep myself in a pair of pants for more than about a month.  I visited Last Call for inexpensive clothes to wear during the transition, but I found much more: stylish, sustainable, affordable clothes; women helping other women; even new friends.

Being a long time “green queen,” I reduce, reuse and recycle.  Thanks to Revente’s Last Call, I can also add shop sustainably to that list. Shopping at resale boutiques like Last Call, you can reduce your environmental impact in a huge way.  Used clothes don’t require new materials, energy or resources to manufacture.  They also don’t require new packaging or additional shipping.  Even better, when my purchases become too big, I clean them and take them back for a third person to enjoy.

Lest you think shopping a re-sale boutique leaves you with no style, think again!  The bulk of Last Call’s inventory is from the generous consignors of Revente in Five Points, where consignors may choose to donate their unsold items knowing they are helping support women in need through our shop.  I’m not a “name brand” fashionista, but I’ve gotten some great high end and designer finds at Last Call.  In addition, there’s a unique selection; it’s not the same thing you see at store after store in the malls and shopping centers.

And sustainability and style don’t win you over, the prices will. On my most recent trip to Last Call, I bought three great pieces for less than $55, including a fuschia Talbots cotton shirt ($15), a two-piece Singrid Olsen green sweater set ($20) and a black Larry Levine faux-wrap skirt ($15).  If you “like” Revente’s Last Call Facebook page, you’ll hear about their special sales – they often have buy one, get one half-off sales – and also get a sneak peak at some fab pieces. Also, if you donate clothes, you also get a coupon for a percentage off your next purchase, as well as a receipt for tax purposes.

What differentiates Revente’s Last Call from other re-sale shops is 100% of net profits go to The Women’s Shelter,  a non-profit organization that provide a safe environment for homeless women in crisis and the necessary resources to build strong and healthy lives. Since opening their doors in September, 2010, they’ve donated more than $44,000 to the shelter. That’s not all. They also help the women by providing suits for job interviews and other occasions. Phenomenal.

If you’re not sold yet, you have to meet some of the special women of Revente’s Last Call. First, there’s shop owner Debbie McDaniel, a real fireball!  She’s a “buy local” advocate, style maven and all-around good person. She’s usually at Revente, and I always try to stop in to visit when I’m in Five Points. Patti and Chase run the store on a daily basis, and after shopping there for these last 17 months, they’ve become fun new friends!  I remember the time I was there and fit into my first size 12 pants in years.  They were as excited as I was! And Chase could be my personal stylist. She knows my love for color and patterns, and as soon as I walk in, she starts pulling things they’ve gotten in that “look like me.”

I’ve actually just about hit my goal weight, and I thought this would be the time that I started investing in more expensive pieces.  But you know what?  I’m still shopping Revente’s Last Call. It’s a great way to add stylish, inexpensive pieces to your wardrobe while helping others. It’s a win-win-win.

So whether you’re on the lookout for transition pieces while you’re losing weight, new pieces to update your wardrobe or new ways to save money in today’s economy, I recommend Revente’s Last Call!  Last Call is located at 3015 Millwood behind an octagon building that used to be a florist shop.  It’s also in the same area as Groomingdale’s, which is on Butler Street.  It’s open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Monday through Saturday, and parking is plentiful.  Bring cash or a debit/credit card and allow yourself plenty of time to look and try things on.