We’ve all heard the line “God won’t give you more than you can handle” when you’re in a crisis or something isn’t going your way. I guess it’s supposed to make you feel better? WHATEVER. These past 7 months – heck the past 7 years have been all together more than I can handle. Here’s some of the story:
February 6, 2017 – 5 minutes before Nick’s seizure
It was a fairly warm day in February and I was itching to get out of the house for a walk with the girls. Half way into our walk, Nick had his grand mal seizure in our backyard. I still have vivid flashbacks of that 7 minute long nightmare. The girls were just 9 months old and crawling – trying to cling to me scared and crying while I was on the phone with 911, clinging to Nick scared and crying. I hope it’s something I never have to experience again and I can’t imagine the people who have to deal with seizures on a daily basis.
February 14, 2017 – Millie and Claire are Daddy’s Valentines
An MRI of the brain showed some sort of mass in Nick’s right frontal lobe and doctors suggested doing a biopsy of it to figure out exactly what it was and if it was cancerous. So a week later we were back at OSU praying this “thing” would just miraculously go away. The biopsy showed that they didn’t think the mass was cancerous or that it was really anything to worry about. We were referred to a Neurologist specializing in MS to see if we could get Nick’s symptoms under control. It was such a long frustrating journey into figuring out what was ultimately going on with him and what needed done to fix it. We spent weeks in the hospital, Valentines Day and our June Anniversary. We’ve sat in too many waiting rooms and been told everything from “Nick’s healthy! He can run a marathon tomorrow if he wishes” to “It’s cancer”. Meanwhile Nick was still having daily partial seizures (a pretty bad one on Mother’s day in fact) and no one seemed willing to do anything about this mysterious “mass” in his brain.
February 2017 – Claire and Millie visit Daddy at The OSU James
So we called Cleveland Clinic. We had heard nothing but positive news about them and figured we had nothing to loose with getting a second opinion. And I’m so thankful that we did! Our first “meet and greet” with the doctor was on May 22 and by the end of May Nick was in the hospital being closely monitored for seizure activity. He had an EEG on him 24/7 as well as being video monitored for 11 days. This pretty much meant being restricted to just laying in bed except for the occasional bathroom visit and walk down the hall with a nurse. I prayed for a Jesus attitude of servanthood as I sponge bathed my husbands feet but I’ll be honest my prayers were growing weak and my attitude didn’t resemble anything of the nature of Christ.
June 7, 2017 – The staff at the Cleveland Clinic brought us cupcakes for our anniversary.
Nick was released on June 10th and had a follow up appointment on Wednesday, June 14th with the doctors to go over all their findings. Infectious disease, oncologists, neurologists – Nick had everyone on his case. All we kept hearing was – “Wow, you’re interesting.” At the follow-up appointment, we were told that they still were’t sure what the mass was but it was causing Nick to have daily seizures and needed to be removed. “How about, Monday?” They said it so casually, like we were talking about lunch at Panera. But we had waited so long and finally someone was willing to help us so the craniotomy was schedule and we spent the weekend enjoying the girls and being together as a family.
There is so much that I could say about the day and days following the surgery. The emotional wreck of having a loved one undergo such an extensive surgery. The risks. The what ifs. The hoping this fixing everything. What is the mass? Will it come back? Will my husband be the same – remember me, love me? Will he recognize our daughters and remember everything we went through to get them? Watching my strong, independent, can-do husband become helpless… like I said, it was a little more than I could handle.
Nick hasn’t been able to drive since February and hasn’t been back to work since May. He wasn’t allowed to carry our daughters (or lift anything else for that matter) for 6-8 weeks after surgery. He wouldn’t eat for days when he got home and seemed pretty purposeless. It made doing life – you know, with our twin daughters, 6 acre property and photography business – really, really hard. I was feeling exhausted and pretty defeated.
How much more could life throw at us? How strong do you think I am, God? How much more do you expect me to handle? Because I’m telling you right now – DON’T GIVE ME ANY MORE. But God did His usual thing. He smiled and responded:
YOU are not supposed to be “handling” any of it. Remember? You are supposed to give it to me – all of it. The good AND the bad. Why do you insist on doing it on your own? My yoke is easy. My burden is light. Trust me. I’ve brought you this far, have I not? I am your strength AND your song. I have plans to prosper you. Not to harm you. Plans of HOPE AND A FUTURE. While you carried both 9 month daughters around by yourself, I carried you. While you took care of your husband, I was taking care of you. The people who brought you food, mailed you diapers, gave you money – that was me. I’m the God that provides. I led you to the right doctors at the right time and I gave them the wisdom to heal Nick. And… oh, by the way.
Erica, my daughter, I AM giving you more. You’re pregnant.
Yes, you read that right. I found out the day Nick came home from the hospital after surgery that I was pregnant. No fertility treatments. No shots. Against all odds and the stress and the circumstances – I am pregnant.
We are now 10 weeks post surgery and I have a 16 week old babe growing inside me. Nick went back to work on Monday and will be doing half days for a few weeks to make sure he can handle it. He still isn’t able to drive but the doctors gave Nick some hope for getting back on the road next month if all goes well. He’s MUCH better than before the surgery and hasn’t had any seizures or partial seizures since! Doctors say they are still unsure what the mass was – maybe some kind of scar tissue – but it was NOT cancer or any other disease and they don’t see it returning. They are confident that removing the mass along with most of Nick’s right frontal lobe fixed the problem! Can I get an AMEN?!
Our baby will be due almost a year to date from when this whole thing started in February and I don’t think that’s coincidence. It’s just God in all His awesome glory making old things new. Bringing praise instead of despair.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
20 The wild beasts will honor me,
the jackals and the ostriches,
for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
21 the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise.
A special thank you to everyone who has given and prayed and helped us through some of our lowest days. God certainly brought us some amazing warriors into our circle. The victory is His.
Photo Credit: Grace E. Jones Photography
I woke up like this. It always makes me laugh when I see shirts and hashtags like this. I take a look at myself, my growing bump of 28 weeks and think “NO WAY, DID I WAKE UP LIKE THIS!” It has been such a long journey. Five years of infertility to get pregnant once and loose sweet Oliver. Several more failed IUI’s. Another year and pregnant again but loosing Emery after our first round of IVF. 200+ shots that either I or Nick gave to me. More vitamins, different minerals, oils, blood draws and acupuncture. Even eating the core of several pineapples. Late nights reading any and every article on how to become pregnant and that’s only after learning what all the BCP, TTC, BFP, BFN, DPO, HCG, HSG…. (seriously I could go on) acronyms meant.
All of that, got me here. Sitting on the couch with my laptop, feeling two precious little girls moving inside me. But while this is the moment I have waited for, I have friends that are miscarrying, others grieving the loss of family members and some that still have empty wombs that long to feel life. And my heart just breaks for them and I feel completely helpless. I’ve been there and I still can’t figure out what to say. Saying nothing isn’t an option because I remember the loneliness and feeling like no one understands. But I don’t need to come up with my own words when God has so sufficiently provided His own words already.
Romans 12:12 ” Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Revelation 2:10 “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you.”
Psalm 112:6-7 “Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”
Psalm 29:11 “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”
Revelation 21:4 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
These are the words I read when I’m still scared to walk into the ultrasound room for fear of bad news. These are the words I read when I miss my babies in Heaven. His words are the words I sing over my doubts. His words are the words I pray over you today, my friends.
You are not alone.
Today is my 30th birthday. A day I thought 7 years ago seemed like forever away. I made a personal goal to start our family before I turned the big 3-0. I figured I would at least be able to have children by then. After all it was SEVEN years away! Every year and every birthday since I have felt this overwhelming sense of pressure. I felt like my time was running out, like my window of opportunity was closing. But our ways are not always God’s ways, are they? He has a funny way of breaking us and all the expectations we put on ourselves and our lives. He reminds me that He is in control and always has been.
Today, on my 30th birthday, I am 17 weeks pregnant and carry two (YES, TWO!) precious gifts from God. And I have so many different emotions going on; Some to which I can probably blame on the hormones. I am overwhelmed with joy and excitement for making it this far. For seeing our two babies in multiple ultrasounds growing healthy and strong! For actually getting to the point of thinking that this could really finally be happening for us. I’m also fighting this sense of fear. Fear of what could happen and the what if’s that are so out of my control. And I almost get embarrassed to even share our good news because I don’t want to hurt anyone. I know how it feels, especially around the holidays, after you have seen one too many pregnancy announcements on Facebook. I started this blog because I didn’t think anyone should have to walk through infertility or miscarriage alone. I wanted to help others and give them hope. But God is showing me that our story doesn’t have to end in pain and loss to accomplish this. Isn’t this what professing hope is all about?! Because that’s just it. God can turn your sorrow into joy. Your mourning into laughter.
If we hadn’t had fertility issues, if we hadn’t lost Oliver and then Emery, we wouldn’t have twin babes in my womb right now. Was this God’s ultimate plan for us? I don’t think so. When Adam and Eve were created in a perfect world without sin, there was no pain. That was God’s ultimate plan for us. But that doesn’t mean God can’t use that pain to bring about something great. He can use anything, even the worst parts can be restored. What the devil intended to harm us, God intended it for our good.
There is so much more that I want to share with you about our journey, the IVF process and getting pregnant after loss but that will be for another time. I guess what I wanted most to share with you all today is my gratitude. So many have been praying for so long for us. And I am in awe at all the people I have never even met who have been diligently holding Nick and I in their prayers. I started this blog to help others but it is you others who have helped me.
God is so so good. And I can’t keep it to myself. We’ve been given a double portion.
How do I even put into words what this past year has been for us. Oliver made such an impact on our lives and we have grown so much from our knowing him.
Last year to celebrate Oliver’s life we planted an oak tree in our backyard. We chose an oak tree because of the words from Isaiah 61:3.
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
We wanted something to remind us that this is not over. That God does and will restore. That He can take something that is seemingly awful and use it for His glory. In a year I have made some amazing friends. Friends who pick me up when I’m down, hold me when I cry and pray for me when they don’t know what to say. In a year I have learned just how many others have gone through infertility, miscarriage and infant loss. I hate that we have such a painful commonality but we share something – something that can’t be explained – for that I am grateful. In a year God has taught me to seek Him in the waiting. As hard as that can be at times it’s the only way I can turn my sorrow into joy. My despair into hope. God has proven himself faithful in that He is bringing us through the hard times. I have felt His nearness. He has never left us. And although it’s been a hard year, He has brought about so many God-inspired moments that fill our lives with joy and remind us of His unending love.
I watched the seasons change, leaves fall from Oliver’s tree and yet God is still the same (Hebrews 13:8). Though I may not know why certain things happen. Though I can’t see the outcome. God knows. God sees. And He will make everything beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3)
Be still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change He faithful will remain
Be still, my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Oliver, my sweet son. You have reached and filled places in my heart I never knew were there. I miss you, I do. But I know that Heaven is the safest, sweetest place for you to be. I’m counting down the days until we meet again and I’m going to try to live every one of them with unshakable faith knowing God’s in control.
It’s been a couple weeks now since my Hope Mommies retreat in Texas. I have wanted to write about my experiences but every time I try, I find that my words come short of the love that was shown, the support that was given and the friendships that were made. Fifty-some other mothers. Fifty-some other stories of loss. Fifty-some other babies in Heaven with mine.
I didn’t find out about the retreat until close to the end of registration. But I felt the want, no, the NEED to go. Before the retreat I was feeling very alone. Like I was the only one in the world grieving a baby I never got to hold; A life I never got to meet face to face. I felt like I was going crazy and everyone was just watching, waiting for my breakdown. I felt like I shouldn’t be crying this much, sad this much, dwelling on my losses this much. Everyone else was over it, so why wasn’t I?
I got to the retreat Friday evening feeling literally sick with anxiety. What if they think I’m silly for crying about my Oliver who only grew inside me for 12 weeks? And even worse, what if they think I’m crazy for naming Emery Gene even though she was just a blighted ovum and she never had a heartbeat?
We sat down for supper and all my fears fell away. I was in a safe place. We listened to each others stories. Cried over photographs of our babies. And rejoiced in knowing that our babies were all up in Heaven together. We had some praise and worship time during the weekend I remember picturing all of our babies in Heaven worshiping the same God we were worshiping. Doing the very thing they and we are created for. To worship our creator. What more could a mother want for her child than to be with Jesus. Isn’t that the ultimate goal, after all?
I was also struggling before the retreat with how to be me again. How to get life back to normal. How to not make people feel awkward around me. But I felt different and couldn’t go back to the same old me. Then another mom said it was ok; that this was the NEW normal and I can’t control how and what other people are feeling. And she was so right! I will never be able to go back to the “me” before this experience. This experience has changed me. My babies have changed me and that’s ok! As much as it hurts and as much as I want to hold my children in my arms I have found a greater relationship with God. I’ve had to seek Him on purpose. Isn’t all of life just a journey to His heart? The storms come and the valleys come but isn’t it all worth it knowing that this is not the end? That Jesus died for us to be reborn and live forever with Him?
Psalm 139:13-16 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
I think the best things I took away from the weekend were that I’m allowed to still be grieving. That I need to give myself a break when I have bad days and forgive myself when I don’t respond the way I want to respond. To realize that God knew my children before He made them and He still chose to do so. That God still has a purpose for me, during my grieving and after my grieving. That as much as He knows and loves my children, He knows and loves me. He has seen all the days that are still before me and I am never EVER alone.
I went to the retreat with fifty-some strangers and left with fifty-some sisters.
Here is a short video Hope Mommies put together from the retreat.
Ok, here it goes. Since my last post, I became a mommy of two Heavenly babies. We were able to get pregnant again and then forced to give her up again. I really struggled and am still struggling with it. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the whole thing. How did this happen again and how did I even live beyond it? After Oliver I couldn’t imagine going through another miscarriage. But then we did.
I became pregnant right around the time of Oliver’s due date. I felt like it was a sign. Like God was truly turning my sorrow into joy. We rejoiced and thanked God for such a miracle baby. I was pregnant but ultrasound after ultrasound and still no heartbeat. The doctors were so quick to use words like miscarriage and D&C and even gave me the option of aborting our baby. But I wasn’t having it. I just kept thinking how God is going to use this baby. The doctors will see soon enough. They will realize that this is our miracle baby. I wanted to wait it out. So weeks went by and several ultrasounds passed. I just kept praying for a miracle and believing whole heartedly that this is not how it’s supposed to end. But then it did.
Where was my miracle?
This time around my grief was different than with Oliver. We were never able to see a heartbeat. We were never able to attach our grief to anything tangible. We didn’t receive a pathology report telling us about the gender of our baby. Doctors used words like “empty sac” and “there’s nothing there” and I actually started to believe that for a while. The word empty was the perfect description for how I was feeling. I thought if I pretended like a baby was never conceived it wouldn’t hurt as much.
Wrong. I was still hurting and grieving and I felt silly for doing so for something that “wasn’t there”. Am I crazy?
NO! There wasn’t a something there. There was a SOMEONE! A tiny little embryo that God created and knew. A life that although was short, was a life that mattered. Not only to Nick and I but to God. He watched as this life attached itself to my body for protection. He saw as my body created a safe place for this life to grow. And He saw when this life, our child, left her earthly home for her Heavenly one.
I was praying so hard for a miracle. Begging God to do something. And that’s when I realized. Just yesterday as I was driving into the snow covered sunset. I did receive a miracle and I receive a miracle everyday.
Jesus. The Cross. Grace. And then more grace.
The definition of impregnate is: to make pregnant, fertilize, to fill throughout, saturate, permeate. What if we prayed as hard for God’s will as we do for God’s miracles? What if I prayed as much to be filled with Christ as I do to be filled with a child? For God to permeate my very being to be used by Him and through Him. No matter what our need, no matter what we think we are without, God can fill it. He creates and He fills and He saturates that empty space. And as much I yearn for our babies, don’t you believe God yearns even more for us?
Tomorrow I leave for a retreat organized by Hope Mommies. I’m so excited and slightly nervous. I’ll get to meet other mommies with different stories than mine but a similar kind of loss. Ladies that I have prayed for and have had praying for me. Some who even know my babies’ names. I’m so grateful for this organization and their love they shower over my life. If you or someone you know has suffered miscarriage or infant loss, I highly recommend becoming a part of the group. Their support through these past months has been amazing and God is turning truly turning sorrow into joy.
It’s a daily decision. To wake up and be fill by Him. To be covered by His Grace and know that no matter what I will face that day God has already seen me through it. He is my strength and my portion. He is grace upon grace upon grace.
It’s here. November. Cold, dreary, days. Hope blown away with the leaves.
I used to paint quite a bit. I was even originally signed up to graduate with a degree in Fine Arts. I loved those painting classes. Blasting music that my business-major-fiance thought was really strange. Getting lost in the merging colors and pouring emotion into thick brushstrokes. Paint under my nails and almost always, somehow, in my hair. Then, finally, a piece of the painting would turn out exactly how I wanted it and I would treat that corner of my painting as off limits. As soon as I would get it how I wanted I wouldn’t touch it again. I guarded it.
My professor would comment in his passing bys, “kill your darlings”. But I didn’t want to. Get rid of the part of the painting I thought was done? That was the part that I actually liked. So I painted around it, trying to finish the rest of the painting. To mesh my darling with the world around it. But it never worked. EVER. I would always come to the end of my painting hating the outcome and completely painting over everything. A clean slate. Nick would always ask what in the world I was doing?! Why would I just paint over everything? All that work and time? For nothing? But painting to me was never the final piece. It was the journey, the experience, the feelings I had while painting. I think that’s why it’s called a work of art.
I had a “random” memory of this the other night while trying to quiet my thoughts. Turn off the lights in my head. I have been upset, counting the days until Oliver’s due date. Watching other mothers who were due around the same time take maternity photos and finalizing little touches to their nursery. It’s been harder than I thought. And then God spoke.
“Kill your darlings”
Instantly I knew what God was saying. I have been holding onto Oliver and the life I had seen for him. The places I wanted to take him. The stories I had wanted to tell him. Stories about his heritage, about how his dad and I met, about how we had prayed for him for years and God finally brought him to us. I haven’t fully given Oliver over to God. I want to keep this piece for myself. I am guarding the thing that is most precious to me. And it’s not just Oliver but the whole idea of having a family of our own. I saw a glimpse of what it could have been and I’m struggling with the surrender. I’m holding on to this picture of Nick and I and our baby.
“Kill your darlings, give me the broken pieces and I will make them whole”
There is a hole in my life that He wants to make whole. I know that it’s a process and until I give God the piece that I like the most, that I guard with my life, He will not be able to complete His work in me. Until I surrender it all over to Him, how will I ever feel whole. A clean slate. He can take this part of me and although I don’t see how it fits into my life, He has already used it. For He is the Creator. And who am I to question? He has already seen the big picture. The whole work.
I am but canvas.
God doesn’t love me.
What have I done to deserve this?
There is no hope.
What is the point?
Why would a God that can do anything, keep me from becoming a mother?
Why them and not me?
All these; thoughts and questions that have run through my head within the past month. Why is it so hard for me to keep perspective? It is so tough to stay positive in a world where so many bad things happen to so many people. How can I profess that He is good when I’m surrounded by so much ugly?
Time is billowing forward. The sunflowers folded over with the weight of their beauty. A single maple tree burns crimson and the sun sneaks to bed a little earlier every night. Fall is just a couple cold mornings away. It seems everything is mockingly counting down the days until November. I miss Oliver. I think about him everyday. And it’s easy to listen to the devils voice. To become bitter. Angry. Resentful. But this isn’t what God wants for me. He wants me to count it all joy (James 1:2) and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). But how is that possible?
I have run the whole gamut of emotions and found that living in fear, doubt, self-pity… that’s no way to live. It’s true, dealing with infertility, focusing so much on what I do not have, can easily become my idol. It is a constant worry.
Am I eating right? Drinking right? Taking the right vitamins? Am I lifting too much? Stressed too much?
And soon it’s all consuming and everything I do, say, think about brings me back to childless. Emptiness. But how can I call myself a Christian and be empty? Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Christ lives in me and is with me. Why do I so easily forget?
And then, why would He still want me? I’ve been so unworthy. Always forgetting. Never having eyes to see all the ways He loves me. Pursues me. He is always there, and always has been. I can’t live a life being full of God and emptied with fear. For God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). He has given me a sound mind. He has given me the ability to choose to be happy. To choose to see good. To choose to wake up everyday knowing that God has me, holds me here in this moment and that it won’t be wasted. And that is enough.
This post is several weeks in the writing but several years in the making. It’s full of things I have learned through our years of infertility as well as recently loosing Oliver. I have learned so much about myself and the words that come out of my mouth. I have vowed I would never say certain things ever again because I know what it felt like when they were said to me. Most of the time it was just through strangers making small talk but other times it was from people who were close to me who just didn’t realize the weight of their words or actions. It is such a weird place to live. I wanted people to care about my feelings but I also didn’t want to be singled out and treated differently. I don’t want people to feel like they can’t bring their children around me or boast about the cute things their children do or say. I love children. I love their wonderment and sense of adventure. Their innocence and the way they love. I don’t want to be kept from their lives just because I don’t have a child of my own. But there are some things and certain words that are more sensitive than others. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned:
The question. It would be amazing the random strangers that would ask me “so do you have children” and it would be completely out of the blue. Like checking out at a store and I obviously was not buying diapers. The waitress while Nick and I were out to eat. The lady at the post office. A gentleman on the beaches of Jamaica. At times it would be laughable how satan would use so many random people to ask me that question. The best of days would come to a screeching hault. Of course there were times I wanted to scream, “NO, ACTUALLY WE DON’T!”. But every time I politely said “no” and changed the subject, my hope faded. Ever since, I have vowed never EVER to ask someone that question. There are so many other subjects of conversation and ways to show interest in someone else’s life. Sometimes having children isn’t easy. It’s not just the next step after someone gets married. A baby in a baby carriage is not always the obvious result of two people k-i-s-s-i-n-g in a tree. God made each one of us unique with our our own interests and talents and we all have a lot to share if we would ask the right questions.
Holidays. These are some of my worst days. Watching others opening Christmas presents with their children, taking cute Easter bunny pictures, or celebrating first, second and third birthdays. It’s not that I am jealous, although satan does like to throw those thoughts into my mind. It is the hardest because it is a reminder of the years that have gone by and the empty womb I am carrying. Each holiday, I think, by next Christmas I could be celebrating baby’s first Christmas. Until next Christmas comes along and I’m not even pregnant. Holidays become a reminder of what hasn’t happened for us. The real bummer is that I absolutely LOVE holidays and getting together with family and friends. So it’s a constant battle of the mind, to keep my focus on what I do have and not dwell on the one thing I don’t. God has given me so much to be grateful for.
Elephant in the room. One week, one year. It doesn’t matter the length of time after someone looses a child. It’s been almost two months after my miscarriage. Yes, the pain does subside… but it’s still there. And probably always will be. It won’t always be this raw but I will never forget the child God created for us to carry for 12 weeks. For me, I would much rather have my close friends and family ask me how I’m doing than dance around the subject. Yes, it’s probably an uncomfortable conversation but it is nice to know that other people care. That you are still in their “thoughts and prayers” like they said you would be. This doesn’t mean that it is the only thing you have to talk about but to know that a child is not forgotten is one of the best feelings in the world. I truly believe I will see Oliver again someday so, for me, he is and was very very real.
Joking Aside. Here’s the scene. Your children are screaming their heads off, your frantically trying to calm them down and catch your breath. Never, ever, ask someone dealing with infertility “are you SURE you want kids?!” “You can have mine”. This is not funny nor a joke. Because in all honestly, yes, I would love to take your screaming child off your hands for you. All the terrible two, snotty noses in the world couldn’t change my mind. Please remember that words can hurt, even if unintentional. I cringe at the thought of how many people I have unintentionally hurt with the words I’ve said. I know that now, and try to honestly filter the words I say to people. Do I really mean what I am saying? How is this going to help them? Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
At Least: Along with the last point, I have learned not to try to make someone feel better or smooth it over by saying the words “at least”. At least you know you CAN get pregnant. At least you can try again. At least you have a child. At least. I’m convinced that some of the most comforting things that were said to me were “I’m here for you”. I even had a friend tell me that if she wasn’t there for me like I needed her to be to just tell her, and she would try her hardest to be. That meant THE WORLD to me. Pure, unconditional love. No one knows the suffering someone else is going through. I’m going to try my hardest never to compare my heartaches to that of someone else’s. We all will deal with our own trials in this life. Everyone has some sort of hurt. But no matter what we are going through we all have this in common; He is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).
I’m sure my list of things I’ve learned could go on and on but this is it for now. I know that throwing my personal feelings out on the world wide web is risky and very public but I do hope that maybe we all would think a few seconds more before blurting out the first thought in our head. To take time to actually process through someone else’s hurt before trying to fix it. To just give a hug instead of our advice. To love like He loves.
Can it really be June? A month has almost already passed by? These past couple weeks have not been my best. I think I hit the “anger” part of grieving. I am mad. I feel so very cheated. I feel like life is moving on but there is a part of me refusing to budge. I think the hardest part for me right now is realizing how far along I would be and how much more Oliver would have grown. I see and am going through events that I should have been pregnant for. And then I feel so empty. Like I literally left a part of myself there at the hospital.
Last week was my follow up appointment after my D&C. Some of you may know that I am not very impressed with my OBGYN. I guess through all of this I have realized I need a new doctor and to really find someone who cares for me (or at the very least knows my name) and our baby. At our appointment, she didn’t really have much to say. I do understand that there really isn’t any way of knowing why something like this would happen. But she did say something that made an impact on me. That over 50% of women have dealt with at least one miscarriage and a lot of those have gone on to have several more. ANOTHER MISCARRIAGE? I honestly don’t know how to get over just one… how do you go through this over and over? It made me really stop and think. To look past myself and my own hurts and see a world of grieving mothers just like me. Parents that never got to hold their child, just like us. Empty cribs put back into storage just like ours.
Since my first post I have been contacted by so many women. Women who have had miscarriages. Some dealing with infertility. Some even with stillbirths. It was heart wrenching to hear but it did, in some ways, comfort me to know that I wasn’t alone and that everything I have gone through someone else has and then some. That there is life after all of this and that even though we will never forget, the pain does lift. With all those messages also came a lot of resources for grieving parents. I have included all those links at the bottom in case others can also use them to find comfort and support.
Most days I feel like I’m healing. Like we will make it. And then something. One little thing happens… a child in the grocery store smiles at me, mail for expectant parents, a diaper commercial. And I completely loose control. But it is in these moments that I feel God the most. When I’m out of control, God steps in and whispers: Remember me? I have collected your tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8) I will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5) Even in the worst times, I will be with you (Isaiah 43:2).
God finds me, even when I don’t want to be found. And even in times when I don’t fully believe that things will get better, I have to believe in God’s love for me. I have to believe that He had a Son too and that He gave Him up … for me. That God has come to give all of us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Tomorrow is coming and God is already there.
Also here are some books that I have read and have helped me. They aren’t specifically for infertility or miscarriage but they do inspire hope: