Friday, March 25, 2011

My story from MOPS

Yesterday I was very blessed to have the opportunity to share my story with a wonderful group of moms at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers).  I was very nervous in the weeks leading up to yesterday, but when I woke up yesterday morning I felt a lot of peace about sharing.  I could feel all the prayers that people were saying for me and felt surrounded in God's peace.  This is my story as I shared it yesterday:

I found out I was pregnant for the first time in November 2000.  I was 19 and unmarried.  I had accepted Christ as a young girl, but in my teenage years I became rebellious towards the faith my parents had raised me with.  I was excited to be pregnant; my whole life I had wanted nothing more than to be a mommy.  I was oblivious to the fact that something could go wrong…I just assumed that when you got pregnant you had a baby.  My biggest fear was just telling my parents.  My pregnancy was very uneventful until the weekend before I was supposed to have my first OB visit.  I was thirteen weeks along when I started spotting.  I went to the ER where I had my first ultrasound.  The baby was only measuring 6 weeks and there was no heartbeat.  I had a D&C that weekend.

I was devastated to say the least.  I didn’t know how I was supposed to carry on life as a “normal teenager” after going through such an experience.  Someone very close to me told me that the miscarriage was a blessing in disguise and that I was so young and had so much going for me, a baby would have gotten in the way.  I tried to seek out God, but in the end I gave into the thoughts that plagued my mind that losing the baby was my punishment for disobeying him.  And so I ran away from God.

The next five years my life spiraled out of control as I tried to fill the broken hole I felt in my heart.  Nothing ever seemed to fill that hole and my life fell further and further out of control until I hit my rock bottom.  During those dark years of my life I always knew God was near.  I could always hear him calling me back and when I knew I had nowhere else to go, I surrendered to Him.  I found a great group of college aged Christians, got involved in small group, got back in the Bible, and recommitted my life to Christ.

I would like to tell you that the transformation in me happened over night…and in some ways it did.  But I still struggled with the demons of my past.  Shortly after I recommitted my life I met my husband.  After a whirlwind three months we were engaged and three months later I found out I was pregnant again.  This time I was ashamed…I felt like such a hypocrite.  Not to mention the timing was incredibly inconvenient.  We were three months away from our wedding and I still had a semester of school to finish.  Despite all this, I was still in love with the tiny life growing inside of me.

Six weeks into the pregnancy I began spotting.  I had an u/s that day, and to our surprise we saw not one, but two babies!  But we also saw a large blood clot in my uterus.  Unfortunately the babies were attached to the clot and unless they were able to attach to a healthy part of my uterus they would not make it.  After a few more u/s the doctor confirmed to us that the pregnancy was no longer viable and I had another D&C.  With all of the craziness of planning a wedding and finishing school, I didn’t have a lot of time to grieve, although my heart was still broken.

We got married that September as planned and five weeks later I found out I was pregnant a third time.  Once again I started spotting around 6 weeks.  I was completely beside myself.  I couldn’t bear the thought of losing yet another baby, but when we went in for an u/s I saw something I had never seen before…a beating heart.  I continued to spot the entire first trimester, but the baby was always doing great and on July 16, 2007 I gave birth to a healthy, beautiful red-headed little girl.  I cannot even describe to you the joy that surrounded me that day.  God had finally blessed me with the baby I had so desperately longed for.

Six months later we were very surprised to find out we were expecting yet again!  The pregnancy was perfect…no spotting, no scares and on October 3, 2008 I gave birth to the most handsome little boy.  As I looked at my two precious babies, who were only 14 months apart, I felt so blessed.  I felt like I was finally doing things God’s way and he was blessing me in return.  But I still had a lot to learn about God’s ways.

When my son was 13 months old my husband and I were ready for another baby.  Three weeks later we found out we were pregnant for the fifth time.  The pregnancy was normal and at 20 weeks we found out we were having another little girl.  The u/s did show one of her kidneys was slightly dilated, which basically means she was not eliminated enough from that kidney.  We followed up with u/s for the remainder of the pregnancy…mostly just to monitor the amniotic fluid levels.  The doctors were not sure what was going on with her kidney, and they wouldn’t know until she was born.  I was told that it could just work itself out after she was born or that the worst case scenario was that she would need surgery to remove the kidney…which wasn’t even that big of a deal because we only need one functioning kidney anyway.  I was not thrilled with this news, but in the grand scheme of things that could be wrong with a baby, this did seem fairly minor.  I just trusted God to take care of my little girl.

August 9, 2010 was my due date.  I went in for my last OB appointment and felt her kick at the Doppler as the doctor listened for her heartbeat.  I had no idea this would be the last time I would feel her move or hear her heart beating away.  I went home that day and tried to keep myself busy so I wouldn’t dwell on my anxiety over wanting labor to start.  I was ready to meet my little girl.  After the kids were in bed that night I was able to put my feet up and relax for the first time all day.  This was usually the time of day I would feel her move the most, but that night I didn’t feel anything.  I drank some orange juice and ate some fruit hoping the sugar would get her moving.  But I still didn’t feel anything.  I began to push forcefully on my stomach and she still didn’t respond.  My husband asked me if we should go to the hospital and I said no.  I was tired and wanted to get some sleep in case I went into labor.  Really, I was in denial.  And of course I couldn’t sleep at all.  I started having regular contractions around midnight and around 3 am we left for the hospital.  There was none of the excitement, or anticipation I had felt driving to the hospital with the other two.  I just felt really sad, but I didn’t quite know why.

When we got to the hospital the nurses hooked me up to the monitors.  They couldn’t pick up the baby’s heartbeat.  In that moment I knew she was gone.  We had to wait a half an hour for the on-call doctor to come in with the u/s machine.  It felt like an eternity and as he did the scan he asked a ton of questions about the pregnancy.  The screen was turned away from me so I couldn’t see, but he finally said, “I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat.”  I covered my eyes and sobbed.  A million questions ran through my mind…I had just heard her heartbeat; everything was just fine…do babies really die on their due dates?  Then I had another contraction, and the first thing I said out loud was, “So I still have to deliver the baby?”  It sounded so stupid coming out of my mouth, but I could not fathom going through labor and delivery.  I was scared about what she would look like, or if I would want to hold her.  It was all too much to comprehend.

Less than five hours later my sweet Harper Elizabeth was born silently into this world. I remember crying from some unknown place deep inside as my doctor unwrapped the umbilical cord from her neck five times. When my doctor asked if I wanted to hold her I immediately responded YES!  My fears about her were gone and I was surprised to see how “normal” she looked.  Her lips and fingernails were blue but she was beautiful…a perfect blend of how my other two children had looked as newborns.  It was not until her birth that the doctor was able to determine what had caused her death.  I will never forget how long and stretched out her cord was.  Apparently she had been such an active baby she had gotten her cord all tangled and tied in a knot, but it wasn’t until she dropped before labor that the knot tightened and cut off her blood and oxygen supply.  Even with all of the ultrasounds I had during my pregnancy there was no way the doctors were able to see a knot in her cord.  This type of stillbirth is called a “cord accident” because there is no way to detect it.  There was also no link between the cord and the issue with her kidney.  It was very hard for me to accept that there was no one to blame and nothing that could have been done to save her.  I hated the thought that she could have been a perfectly healthy baby…if only.

We spent the day holding Harper; we bathed her and dressed her.  Our children and parents and my sister were able to hold her.  And then we had to let her go.  I knew I would never again hold my baby on this earth.  That was the most painful moment of the entire day…leaving her at the hospital with an empty belly and empty arms and going to a home that was ready to welcome a beautiful baby girl. 

There was a brief moment in the hospital that day that I looked at Harper and vowed I would never allow myself to feel that pain again.  But the very next day I felt a consuming desire to have another baby.  I’m not sure if it was the hormones, or the confusion my body must have felt going through 9 months of pregnancy and 9 hours of labor and not having a baby in my arms as the end result.  Maybe it was just a way to have some hope that better days were ahead.  Either way, I knew I wanted another baby as soon as possible.

My doctor said because I went full-term I needed to give my body time to heal, but we could try in 3-6 months.  Those three months felt like an eternity, but I am glad we waited that long because I was able to do a lot of grieving.  I had no idea how much work grieving is, and how long of a process it can be.  Even now, seven months later I am still in the midst of it.  I was able to realize that a new baby is not going make things all better, and that there will always be a place in my family that only Harper could hold.  Nonetheless, I still desired to have another baby.  When we finally hit the three month mark, I started to have some fears if I was really ready and even asked a few of the mentor moms to be praying for us.  When I didn’t get pregnant that first month and I was devastated.  I had never not gotten pregnant!  I had this whole plan that I would get pregnant right away and have a baby by Harper’s first birthday, so when I didn’t get pregnant it was like starting the grieving process all over again.  I was so excited when I did get pregnant the following month…I was due exactly one year and one month after Harper’s birthday.  So I wouldn’t have a baby by her first birthday, but waiting one extra month didn’t seem too bad.  I announced the pregnancy right away and asked everyone I knew to be praying for our new baby.  I thought for sure nothing bad would happen this time…we had already been through so much; God would never let anything else go wrong. 

But on January 17th I miscarried the baby at home at just over 6 weeks along.  I was devastated.  Not as much for the loss of the baby, although painful…I was more devastated that God would have allowed this to happen again.  I thought I “deserved” a healthy baby and I just couldn’t understand why I had to suffer again, on top of the pain I was still dealing with from losing Harper.

I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t mad at God.  I felt abandoned; I questioned what he was thinking.  Although being angry with God was a place I didn’t like to be, and a place I didn’t want to stay…I couldn’t avoid that fact that I was hurt that he allowed this type of pain in my life over and over again. 

When I look back at my life over the past 10 years, the past 7 months, even the past 2 months I can see how much God has carried me through and how far he has brought me.  Through each one of my losses I have learned more about him as he reveals more and more of himself to me.  But I realize I was only able to grow in my faith because I made a conscious choice to seek him.  Even today, as I struggle with why life isn’t turning out the way I dreamed it would, I still have to make the choice to believe his promises and seek him, when I feel like running away.

Some of the biggest lessons I have learned about God is that he is a loving and caring god.  He was not punishing me when I lost my babies.  I believe he was crying right along with me and offering to carry me through that pain.  I will probably never understand in this lifetime why God did not save Harper, or any of my other babies, but I know in my heart that it was not his intention to have his people suffer.  It was only because of sin being introduced in the world that we have all became subject to pain and heartache.

I have also learned that God never wastes your hurts…he can and will use everything for his glory and his purposes.  He has created every life for a purpose and even in the midst of my pain I can see how he is using Harper in my life to reach out to others who are dealing with similar losses.  As a mother I have no greater joy than to know that my precious daughter, who even in death, is being used by God to fulfill his wonderful plan.  Our time together may have been way too short, but her life still has meaning and purpose.

One of the most recent things God has been working on in my heart is releasing the control I think I have over my life.  When Nikki and I first talked several months ago about me sharing my story at MOPS I had this vision of standing before you with my pregnant belly telling you all how good and faithful God is.  Obviously, that was my vision, and not His.  But I am still going to tell you that God is good and faithful, but not because I got my way, or things worked out the way I wanted them to.  He is good and faithful because he does love us and because in our weakest moments he is the only one who can offer us true hope and peace and grace to make it through.  I may never understand all the “whys” but I choose to put my trust in a God who cannot be put in a box…a God whose ways are higher than my ways.  If I could figure out his plan or predict what he was going to do next, he wouldn’t be a very big God…so I have to choose to trust a God much bigger than me, even if it doesn’t always make sense.

Everyday I have to make the choice to believe that his promises in the Bible are truth and cling to them with every ounce of my faith, even on days when that faith seems very small.  I hold tight to the promise that his plans for me are good, even if that plan seems very painful right now.  And I hold even tighter to his promise of eternity; a place with no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears…a place where I will be reunited with my five precious babies.

One year ago today...

One year ago today we had our first ultrasound and found out we were having another little girl.  These are the pictures from that day.  Before I even got pregnant with Harper I loved the name.  I asked Joel what he thought of the name Harper if we had a girl and he agreed to it.  We never even talked about any other names for a girl or boy, so on this same day last year we knew right away that this new little girl would be called Harper.  These pictures are very special to me because, even though we have so many beautiful pictures of the day she was born, these pictures are the only pictures of her as a healthy living baby.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Signing off for a bit...

Well, as of some point today, we are no longer going to have home Internet.  We just got smart phones and to cut some extra costs we have decided to cancel our Internet.  However, this will make it more difficult for me to blog (I'm not sure I can pour my heart out on the world's smallest keyboard using only my thumbs!).  But, obviously, I haven't been keeping up with the blog that much lately anyway.  I'm not sure why...I suppose I'm just at a different place in my grieving and haven't felt like writing as much.

This may sound incredibly insensitive, or strange to some, but as of late, my desire and struggle to have another baby have replaced my pain of losing Harper.  (Please note I did not say "replace Harper" just replacing the "pain of losing Harper").  I guess there was only so much I could do after Harper died.  I scrapbooked, blogged, shared her story with whomever would listen.  I believe with all my heart that I grieved was a lot of work.  And I know that hole in my heart will never go away.  I will love her until the day I go to meet her.  I will never forget her (how could I?).

But lately I am just soooo ready to move forward.  I don't want to live with the constant black cloud hanging over my head.  I want to see the sunshine, and feel joy when it's light shines on my face.  And for me a big part of moving forward is having another baby.  I don't know if or when this baby will be a part of our lives.  And that has been another grieving process I have had to go through lately.  I had this "master plan" after Harper died that I would get pregnant right away and have a baby by her first birthday.  Obviously, that's not going to happen.  Right now I don't even think I will have a baby in 2011.  As the weeks go by, that "plan" gets further and further from reach.  And I am grieving.

Of course by now I should have realized that God's plans are not my plans.  I've said it from the beginning, but it seems to not be sinking in.  As of right now, the plan is to have another baby...I'm not ready to give up on that dream yet.  But I have also realized that a new baby is not going to equal true joy in my life.  In this in between time I am working on finding a place where I realize that God is good, and faithful, and loves me, and has good plans for me...whether those plans include another baby or not.  And honestly, that "place" is almost impossible to find...but I will keep searching.

So, I'm not sure how often I will be posting here.  If I'm ever around a PC I will try to update how things are going and what kind of progress I am making on my walk with God, and our attempts to add to our family.  And if I really need to get something off my chest I suppose I will just get a good thumb exercise in!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Six Months

Six months ago today I was oblivious to the fact that my life was about to change forever.  Or, I should say, the way it was going to change forever.  At some point on August 9th, Harper's spirit left this earth and went to Heaven.  And I didn't even know it happened.  I was still waiting for contractions to start, anxious to meet my little girl.

The past six months have been full of ups and downs...I feel I've made big strides on this journey called grief.  But I'm not where I hoped to be right now...Plan A:  Enjoying life with a six month old baby girl in our family.  Plan B:  Get pregnant as soon as possible and be entering my second trimester.  Plan C:  ? 

I guess its time to just let God do the planning, because my plans aren't working out. 

The pain of losing Harper does not consume me like it did in the beginning.  I still think about her constantly, but those thoughts aren't in the forefront of my mind.  I am able to function and carry on a "normal" life while still carrying her memory with me always.  I'm still sad when I think of her, or when I see a pregnant woman or a newborn baby.  I'm sad that life isn't turning out the way I thought it would.  But I am learning to be okay with it.  And that's a big step for me.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

First things first...

I haven't written in awhile.  I think about writing all the time, but I guess the old saying, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all," keeps coming to mind.  I always wanted this blog to be honoring to God and show what he has been doing in my life through losing Harper.  Lately, I just feel so stuck.  This last miscarriage has really shaken me up...mostly spiritually.

I want to trust God, I want to trust his plan for my life and trust his timing, but I'm finding that so incredibly hard right now.  I really put a lot of hope into a new times that was the only thing that got me through really tough days was the thought of having a new baby.  I thought I would get pregnant right away and have a baby by Harper's first birthday/anniversary.  Obviously, that's not going to be the case...and I get so much anxiety when I don't even know when or if we will even have another baby.  It's so hard for me to let go of that control, even though I know I don't have any control to begin with.

I just finished reading a book by Pete Wilson called "Plan B."  It really called out some major sin on my part.  Lately my desire for a baby has become so consuming that I know it is taking God's place in my life.  A baby has become an "idol" I have put before my relationship with Christ.  But this is where I feel so stuck.  I don't know how to make that desire go away and I don't know how to put my trust and hope back where it belongs.

I get so irritated when people tell me to "count my blessings" or to just be thankful for the two kids I have. And rightfully so, I am very blessed to have my kids, but they in no way take away the pain of losing Harper or the miscarriages.  But I do know there is some truth to that...I have to get to a place in my life where I am content and if I never have another baby I need to be okay with that.  That is so hard for me to say right now, because I still hang on to this hope that there will be another baby, but I also have to face the reality that it may not happen.  And I'm going to have to be okay with that.  I can't let this ruin my life.  And I cannot let it ruin my faith.

Another thing that I read in "Plan B" that really struck me is that during these tough times when we don't think God is around or that He doesn't's not Him that's me.  He is always here, always's me that's not drawing close to him.  I think as Christians (or maybe not all Christians, I'll just speak for myself) we have the preconceived notion that God's got our back and that nothing bad is going to happen to us...which is so not true.  Then when something does go wrong we think  God has totally forgotten about us.  But I know in my heart this is not true.  I've worked through this so many times already, but every time I get knocked down I have to start all over again.  Who is God?  What do I believe?  What do I know to be true?  I even went back and reread some of my earlier posts click here to read and I still believe that.  I'm just not sure why I have to start all over again every time things don't go my way.

So, I suppose the reality I'm faced with here is that I have a choice to make...keep going down the path I'm on, trying to make sense of life on my own...or surrender it all to Him, trusting that He knows what He's doing.

Deut. 4:28-31:  There, in a foreign land, you will worship idols made from wood and stone—gods that neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell.  But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. “In the distant future, when you are suffering all these things, you will finally return to the Lord your God and listen to what he tells you. For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.

Matt. 6:33-34:  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Baby girl, it's such a crazy world without you.  I'm trying to do what God wants me to do...and sometimes I fail miserably.  I wish everyday that you were still here and I didn't have to live with this pain.  I hope that someday I will look back on this time in my life and see how God was using you to shape me into the woman he wants me to become.  I miss you and love you so much.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Try, try again

When the world says, "Give up," hope whispers, " more time."

Different Child

A different child, people notice
There's a special glow around you.
You grow surrounded by love
Never doubting you are wanted;
Only look at the pride and joy
In your mother and father's eyes.
And if sometimes between the smiles
There's a trace of tears,
One day you'll understand.
You'll understand there was once another child.
A different child.
Who was in their hopes and dreams.
That child will never outgrow the baby clothes.
That child will never keep them up at night.
In fact, that child will never be any trouble at all...
Except sometimes, in a silent moment,
When mother and father miss so much
That different child.
May hope and love wrap you warmly
And may you learn the lesson forever:
How infinitely precious,
How infinitely fragile is this life on earth.
One day, as a young man or woman
You may see another mother's tears
Another father's silent grief
Then you, and you alone will understand
And offer the greatest comfort.
When all hope seems lost
you will tell them with great compassion:

"I know how you feel.
I'm only here because my parents tried again."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Faith

I've had another day to process my feelings and sort through my emotions.  I know my post from yesterday may have seemed like I was blasting God, but that was not my intention.  I was angry with God, and while I find that incredibly scary, it was the way I was feeling.  Today some of that anger has subsided and I've had a better chance to examine my heart.  I'm doing better than I thought I would be.  I don't know if its just that I've become hardened to this type of this has already happened three times so...whatever.  It stinks, but that's nothing new.

I got the final results from the blood work today and the pregnancy hormone is almost completely out of my system so that is good.  Unlike my other miscarriages, this was the first time I was able to pass the baby naturally and it was so much better than having a D&C.  The less invasive the better.  Physically I feel really good. 

I do not regret my decision to announce the pregnancy so early.  Although it was hard to tell every one that I lost the baby, I know it would have been even harder to go through this with no support.  I wanted this baby's life to be recognized and celebrated.  Even though we only knew about this baby for 12 days I know he or she was loved and prayed for every one of those twelve days.  That's a good feeling.

I would have to say that the hardest part about this miscarriage has been the blow it has been spiritually.  More shocking than the fact of losing the baby was the fact that God allowed this to happen.  I really thought He was going to wrap us in this protective bubble and give us a healthy baby.  I thought that was what I "deserved" after what I have already been through.  But God has never promised to give me what I deserve.  Because what I really deserve is a life separated from Him because of my sin. 

I know in my last post I eluded that God was the one causing this pain, but I know that is not the truth.  I know we live in sinful world and that bad stuff happens to people all the time, regardless of how much they love God or how strong their faith is.  But what I just can't wrap my head around is why He continues to ALLOW this to happen to me.  He is the only one who has the power to change the outcome, but he chooses not to.  And that is why I feel abandoned by him.  Right now, in my mind, there doesn't seem to be much difference between CAUSE and ALLOW. 

For those of you who may be concerned about my faith right now, please know that I am NOT giving up.  I'm praying more than usual...even though those prayers may be angry prayers, I'm still praying.  And nothing fazes God.  He knows.  And I believe right now he's meeting me right where I'm at.  I'm making a conscious choice to hold on to my faith and what I know in my heart to be true...even if I can't feel it right now.  I know my faith will be restored.  I know in the end God's the one that's going to get all the glory.  Right now I'm just hanging on by a thread, and believing that this will pass.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just like that its over...

I'm dreading writing this post, partly because of the emotional state I'm in right now, and partly because of the bad news I have to share.  I've been told numerous times that people appreciate my honesty and transparency in my blogging...and so I will write this from my heart regardless of the condition of my heart at this moment.

Late Monday afternoon I noticed some light spotting when I went to the bathroom.  I tried to stay calm reminding myself that I spotted the whole first trimester with Emmerson and everything turned out fine.  I tried to get through to the clinic with no luck.  Finally about quarter to five I was finally able to reach a nurse but because of the weather all of the doctors were home already.  She told me to call back in the morning or go to the ER if my symptoms got worse.  And my symptoms did become much worse.  I called into the ER and was advised to stay home due to the weather because this was not a "medical emergency."  At this point in the pregnancy there is nothing that can be done to save the baby.  Tuesday morning I was able to get an appointment set for 10:30 in the morning for an ultrasound.  The ultrasound showed nothing but an empty uterus.  My doctor tried to be optimistic with us and said that we could be wrong about the dates and ordered some lab work to see where my pregnancy hormone levels were.  I didn't hang on to that bit of optimism because in my heart I already knew we had lost the baby.  Just a few minutes ago I got a phone call from the clinic to let me know that my levels were at a 9.  At 6 and a half weeks they should be in the hundred thousands so it's safe to say that the pregnancy is done.  I'm supposed to go back tomorrow to make sure the levels go down to zero to make sure there is no retaining tissue.

So just like that its over.  I can't even begin to sort through the emotions I am experiencing right now.  Mostly I am just angry.  I guess I thought somehow God was going to protect us and give us a healthy baby this time.  I feel like I've been through so much loss already...when is it going to be enough.  When do I get my happy ending?  I cannot understand why God would create me in such a way that the only thing I have ever been sure of is that I wanted to be a mother.  I know that he has blessed me with two healthy beautiful children and that I am a mother...but this road has been so hard.

Losing my first two pregnancies shook me up pretty bad.  I was never privileged enough to be blissfully unaware that something could go wrong in a pregnancy.  Then I had two healthy babies back to back and thought that pain was a thing of the past.  But now here I am again....its not even been six months since we buried Harper and I'm dealing with another loss.  I cannot even begin to understand what God has planned for my life.  Right now I have to make a conscious choice to believe that he has good things planned for my life but my heart doesn't believe it.  I feel abandoned.  Where is he in all of this?

When I announced this pregnancy not even two weeks ago so many comments filled my facebook page about how awesome and good God is.  But now?  How do you continue to give God the glory when life continues to take you down rocky paths?  I'm just so hurt and confused right now.  I don't want to turn my back on God but I know my faith has been battered and bruised and its going to take a long time to heal.

It feels as though when Harper died our whole world began to crumble in front of us.  We have been struggling financially.  At church they always make such a strong stand that if you are faithful to return your tithe that God will bless you, but we have not received any of those blessings.  The income keeps getting smaller and the bills keep getting bigger.  And now this miscarriage on top of still grieving Harper.  Its more than I can bear.  All of my hopes and dreams are being shattered in front of my very eyes.

I'm so afraid that there is something wrong with me and I will continue to suffer these losses.  My doctor says because I have two healthy children there is no reason to think I can't have another, but how much pain can one person go through before they become a hollow shell of the person they once were?  Three miscarriages and one stillbirth...five babies much more can I really go through?  I'm going to be 30 in a few months and feel that time is working against me a this point.  I've always wanted four kids and that dream is getting farther and farther from my reach.

I don't have any positive note to end this post on.  I'm hoping that I will be healed physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I hope I can learn how to trust God once again and find comfort in Him once again.  Any other relationship with someone that would continually cause me hurt and pain I would walk away from, but I know I can't walk away from God.  I know that my eternal reward will erase all of this pain I feel right now.  I know if I never get to have a big family here on Earth, I've got five precious babies waiting for me in Heaven...and I'm hanging on to that little glimpse of eternity until my faith can once again be restored.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Some thoughts on pregnancy after loss...

Here we are, a week into knowing about this pregnancy.  So far it has been great.  I haven't "freaked" out yet or wondered if we made a huge mistake.  I'm just so excited.  I have been so blessed with such wonderful support...people genuinely are happy for us and praying for a healthy baby.  That means so much to me. 

I know that for the most part people have been incredibly supportive, but there are still people out there that think we are crazy.  Maybe they think its too soon, or maybe that we are setting ourselves up to be hurt again, or maybe we should have taken losing Harper as a sign that we weren't meant to have any more kids...or maybe that it isn't fair to Harper to be moving forward so quickly.

All I have to say to that is I love Harper with my whole heart.  I still grieve her.  Like I said in my last post, a new baby is not going to make things "all better" or take her place.  But I don't know why that would mean that we don't deserve another chance at building our family.  Are we just supposed to take the hand we have been given and not try again for better days?  I personally don't think that is how God wants us to live.  He has good plans for us and wants us to experience life in abundance...There is no reason to think that we can't or won't have another healthy baby. 

I know that Harper is whole and perfect in Heaven.  She is receiving all the love she could ever need in the presence of our Savior.  I do not feel guilty for wanting another child.  And I know she does not have the capabilities to feel unloved, or replaced.  I believe she is so happy for us right now.  She does not want us to live our lives in pain, or fear.  And I refuse to live my life in fear.  I don't know what the outcome of this pregnancy will be.  I am praying for the best and taking it one day at a time.  But I do believe that God has good things in store for us. 

I think that women who go through the types of loss I have been through are some of the strongest, bravest women I know.  They know pain and adversity and are still willing to put their whole hearts on the line to get what they really want...a healthy baby.  There are two types of women in my support group...those who have gone on to have a healthy baby or babies and those who are desperately trying to reach that goal.  No one has said, "Well my baby died so I'm just going to give up."  No one.  We all would give anything to have our babies back and to not have gone through the pain we have been through...but it doesn't stop us from trying to reach that goal.  Last November Joel and I decided we were ready for another baby and we thought we were going to have that baby, but things didn't work out that way.  But that longing and desire for a baby do not just go away.  We still want a baby. 

I am still so sad when I think about the little girl that would be five months old now.  I think about how differently my life could be right now.  But I also know that I cannot hang on to the past...what could have been.  I will love Harper every day for the rest of my life.  I will never forget her.  But right now I am looking towards the future and its a wonderful place to be.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's a New Day

I suppose it's only fitting that my first post of the New Year should be entitled "It's a New Day."  Just this morning I found out that we are expecting again!  I know...I'm not even 5 weeks along yet but I am so excited I just could not wait to share the news.  My estimated due date is September 10, 2011...exactly 13 months after Harper's birthday.  (Another interesting tidbit about this due's 9.10.11, but what's even more interesting is that Harper's due date was 8.9.10...totally irrelevant, but interesting nonetheless.)

Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of my first miscarriage.  My journey to motherhood has been painful and joyous.  I am full of hope in this new life growing inside of me.  I know this will not be an easy road ahead, but it will definitely be an opportunity for further growth in my relationship with Christ.  Really, this will be a true test of my faith.  Do I really trust God with this new little life I have been blessed with? 

I know some may be shocked to hear this news, it hasn't even been five months yet, and I understand that.  I read somewhere once that you knew you were ready to try for another baby when your desire for a baby outweighed your fears.  For me that day was August 11.  There was a moment in the hospital that I looked at Harper and vowed I would never let myself feel that pain again...however that was very short lived.  The next day I felt an overwhelming desire to try again as soon as possible.  The doctor gave us the go ahead at three months.  It didn't happen that month and that was devastating to me.  To wait three months to even try felt like an eternity but then when it didn't happen that first month was very difficult.  I am so thankful that it happened this month though.  I do feel very blessed that getting pregnant has never been an issue for me (this is my fifth pregnancy in less than five years).  However, bringing those babies home has proven to be a bigger challenge.

I want you all to know that this baby is in no way going to be a replacement of Harper.  No child could ever take the place of another.  Just as Emmerson and Alton do not replace Harper, a new baby would or could never replace her.  My family will always be incomplete.  Even if I have a dozen more kids not a single one could replace her.  She will always be missing from my family.  But I am excited at the prospect of new life, new hope.  Some online forums refer to a pregnancy after loss as a "rainbow baby."  I never understood why until I saw the definition...A rainbow appears before the storm has cleared as a sign that the sun will appear again.  This baby isn't going to make things "all better."  I still grieve my little girl...but I do see a rainbow in the clearing.

Besides my excitement, I wanted to share this news already for a couple other reasons.  First, so that you will join me in prayer.  And secondly, because I believe every life deserves to be recognized and celebrated.  After my first miscarriage I said I would never tell people I was pregnant again until after the first trimester.  It was like I felt embarrassed that I had to tell people I lost that baby.  So with the next pregnancy I told very few people, mostly just immediate family.  And when I lost the twins it was a very lonely place to be.  Because so few people knew I didn't feel that I had a lot of support.  Losing a baby is not something to be ashamed is not something to be kept quiet.  That is such an old-school way of thinking and so after that I shared the news of my next pregnancies right away.  And as I've learned now, there is no "safe" time to share the news.  If you make it past the first trimester or hear the baby's doesn't guarantee a thing.  I heard Harper's heartbeat on her due date and she died later that day.

I guess my point is this...Every life is worthy of recognition and deserves to be celebrated.  So whether this baby lives 9 weeks, 9 months or 90 years it is still a baby...a human life...a wonderful creation of our Heavenly Father.