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.