Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Update Part 1: The talk

 I wanted to share this. I'm not really sure why. It's pretty personal, but at the same time I'm sure there are people out there who will read this and will have to do the same thing or have already had to do the same thing. If anything, I just hope that anyone who reads this understands what a process the whole miscarriage thing is. There are many parts to it and that it is not easy to move on from. 

Telling Morgan:

When we first found out we were pregnant this time we decided not to tell Morgan until we were a lot further along. She was too young to understand when we lost the last two pregnancies, but now it was different. Every day in her world was filled with baby dolls, play diapers, baby bottles, baby strollers, you name it. If it had the word "baby" in it, she was all about it. She even took to calling my friends 4 month old "my baby" when she would talk about her. So needless to say, when we found out we were expecting we were thrilled, but wanted to be in the "safety zone" before we shared that with her. Everything seemed on the right track and one day my husband let it slip in front of her. We thought maybe if she didn't say anything else she would forget.  Later that night we went to dinner at a friends house and in the middle of our conversation she blurts out, "My mom is having a baby!" I was really upset at first because I just felt very guarded over this pregnancy and wasn't ready for her to know. I felt like it would ruin her whole world if for whatever reason we lost this baby too. 

Losing this baby was incredibly hard, but what made it even harder was having to tell my two and half year old that our baby was is heaven. We tried not to talk about the baby in front of her while I was pregnant just because we were trying to be cautious (even if she already knew). We thought after we lost the baby we wouldn't say anything about it unless she asked. She hadn't mentioned the baby for weeks since she first found out, but much to our dismay the week after we lost it that's all she could talk about. She kept asking about the baby and saying, "there's a baby in your tummy." To which I would reply, " no not yet."  She even told people at daycare (that was fun to have to explain too). 

Finally,  Super Bowl Sunday I hit my breaking point. We went to our friends house, who of course have the 4 month old that Morgan loves. I did my best to try and ignore Morgan doting all over her and wanting to be close to her. I just so badly wanted that relationship for Morgan. It was hard to watch and know I couldn't give that to her right now. 

On our way home out of no where Morgan said, "Mommy you are almost going to have a baby!" I choked back the tears and said, " No honey, not yet." Then came the tearjerker. Softly from the back seat she said, "but I want there to be a baby in your belly." My heart exploded at that moment. I could feel my face get hot and the tears just came pouring out. It was as if I could literally feel my heart breaking into a million pieces. " We got home and she went into the other room and my husband just held me while I cried for a few minutes. I told him I was so angry, it just wasn't fair. She would be such a great big sister. Why did this have to happen and why did it have to hurt so bad? I finally decided that we needed to have the talk with her. 

The next day while playing in her playroom I brought it up. How do you tell this to a two and a half year old, I thought?
Me: "Remember the baby in Mommy's tummy?"
Morgan: "Yeah"
Me: "There isn't one in my belly anymore because it had to go to Heaven."
Morgan: "Why?"
Me: "Well the baby wasn't growing anymore so Jesus took it to Heaven to take care of it until we get there." 
Morgan: "Are you crying?"
Me: "Yes, because it is sad. It's ok to be sad. I cry sometimes when I miss the baby." 
Morgan: "I don't want you to be sad." (she get's up and hugs me with tears in her eyes)
Me: "I know, but it is OK. God is helping mommy feel better. You and daddy make mommy feel better too. You make me very happy. Someday we will have another baby."

And that was pretty much the conversation. The worst and hardest one I have ever had with anyone in my whole life, but some how the most healing. 20 minutes later as we are playing out side Morgan says, "Remember when you were crying about the baby because you missed it (as if had been years ago already)."  "But you are OK now right?" she asks. "Yes, Mommy is OK." 

I just thought and thought about that conversation for the longest time. I totally under estimated her ability to understand the situation in so few words. Even at a young age she understands it I think the best a 2 and a half year old can. God is taking care of our little angel. That comforts her and that is all she needs to know. Seeing the simplicity in that conversation in healing. She says it in such a positive way that it reminds me to have faith because God is helping us through this and we are going to be OK. 

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains" C. S. Lewis

I hear you God. I know you are still there. 

To be continued.....

Monday, January 28, 2013

Repeated Pregnancy Loss- Day #4

Words cannot describe what it's like to look at an image of your baby on an ultrasound screen. Something so tiny and perfect with a beautiful little flicker of a heartbeat. There is no more living proof you need in that moment that God exists. It's hard to look at that baby and think, how could anyone ever doubt his miracles. It was one of the best moments of my life next to marrying my husband and having my daughter. 

Fast forward two weeks to the worst moment of my life. Same ultrasound tech, same room, but different words. Words I never hope to hear again in my life. I looked up at the screen and could see the baby but there was no longer a tiny flicker of a heartbeat. I'm not stupid, I obviously knew what that meant but I asked anyway hoping by some miracle of a chance she saw something I didn't. She looked at me and said, "No, we need to call your doctor." 

It was like someone had sucked all of the air out of the room. I couldn't breath. I was in shock. They moved us to another room and my husband and I just sat there and held each other in disbelief while the doctor tried to explain and comfort us. We sat there numb hearing bits and pieces of what she was saying between trying to grasp what had just happened. I remember her saying "you don't fit the bill for repeated pregnancy loss". "I don't see anything that points to anything being wrong with either of you, sometimes these things just happen and we don't know why." Then throwing in some statistics like, "only 2% of people have recurrent miscarriage after already having a healthy pregnancy." Suddenly this sarcastic thought ran through my head, "well aren't I the big winner, " I wanted to say. This is not a club I wanted to belong to. This would be the Repeated Pregnancy Loss club- defined as 3 or more consecutive pregnancy losses. 

We continued to sit and discuss options and I elected to have a D and C procedure done. This was actually much easier on my body than when I had tried to do it naturally the last time. As far as the physical end of things goes everything has gone really well (it's the emotional side that is torture). My husband was amazing the whole time. It's funny how in the midst of tragedy I fell even more in love with him than before. You want sexy ladies? There was nothing more attractive about my husband than sitting there to hurt right along side of me. That might sound weird but it's hard for guys sometimes to grasp that kind of emotion. He really has been amazing. Although it was hard having to come home and put on a happy face for your 2 and a half year old that doesn't understand why Mommy and Daddy don't feel like playing. It was hard to look at her, but also healing at the same time. Hard because we were so excited for her to have a sibling. She is all about babies right now which makes this process even harder. Not to mention a lot of our friends are pregnant or having their second.  It was also healing. It has truly made me realize the miracle and gift that she was to us. She would hug me around my neck so tight and say, "I love you so much mommy" and my heart would melt.  She is by far the best thing that has ever happened to us and the best medicine for a broken heart a doctor could ever give. 

It has been 4 days since we found out we lost the baby and it hurts a lot. There are brief periods where we forget and share a laugh about something or smile. We have to grieve in shifts so we are able to function and play with our daughter like any normal day. There are times when I find myself thinking I only have to hold it together two more hours until she goes to bed and then I can cry. We talk about it, cry and talk some more. We look at the picture of our ultrasound and wonder what went wrong? Why things had to be this way? I don't know that we will ever have answers and that part is really hard. Feeling like we were powerless to stop it from happening. Your most innate reaction to parenting is to protect your child and we simply couldn't.  

Where do we go from here? Good question. Obviously we will have tests run, etc. but the truth is God is the greatest physician and healer we could seek. We are hoping and praying he is not finished expanding our family and will help us find some answers, but ultimately he is were we will get our healing. The only bad thing about healing is that it takes time and I am not a patient person. Grief, unfortunately, does not have a time limit. I would really appreciate if God would instead have a some sort of press conference on this kind of stuff, tell me his personal plan of action and timeline on this sort of thing. My husband reminds me often it doesn't work that way. Instead, I will have to be patient and trust him to bring us through this. We cannot do this on our own, we do it with God. The world isn't going to stop turning because of our tragedy, so we can either sit around and choose to be defeated or we can let God be our strength and put one foot in front of the other. We are going to be OK and I know that for certain because God is good. In the mean time keep us in your thoughts and prayers because we need them. 

Update our progress soon....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Life Goes On...

The Recap: This miscarriage process has been unimaginable. It's the kind of thing you just want to pinch yourself and wake up like it was all a bad dream and it never really happened.We went from our first miscarriage in April (very early miscarriage) to a very long and draw out miscarriage the month after. We found out we were pregnant again in May and knew something didn't feel right from the beginning. Then  sat through the rest of May worrying about what the doctor was going to say that I already knew in my heart was true. We arrived at June and proceeded to sit through a month of multiple doctors appointments and blood tests to confirm the miscarriage. At the beginning of July we made the choice to try and wait out the miscarriage and let my body miscarry naturally because it was better for my body and the doc thought I could. Turns out my body is incredibly optimistic as we sat through three more weeks of waiting for my body to release a baby that wasn't growing. Then finally had to opt for medicine that would help my body speed up the process. That in its self is something I don't wish to ever experience again. I will spare everyone the details but it is graphic, gory and not something that is easy to process. After three months of heartache, three month of mental, physical and emotional exhaustion you feel like you just have nothing left to give. It has affected every aspect of my life. It makes me miss the person I was before all of this and wonder when I will get her back. Below I wrote about where we are now and what I have discovered through all of this.

Moving On And Getting My Joy Back:

I recently had a discussion with my husband after feeling particularly depressed one day and said, "I wasn't always this way right? I used to be fun once?" I was half joking but his response was not. He said, "I would would just say more pessimistic." Ouch, that hurt! I asked but was not fully prepared for that. I cried because I knew it was true. (Now before you pounce on my husband, I asked him to be honest because I had been feeling this way for some time prior to the miscarriage.) I started thinking back to when I became this pessimistic person. Yes, I had just had a miscarriage but this started long before that. I used to think of myself as this very optimistic, patient person who generally had a very happy demeanor. The more I thought about it the more upset I got because I knew either I was never that person or wasn't that person anymore. Over the last two years I had morphed into this pessimistic kill joy who worried about everything under the sun. I was starting to realize God was revealing some major problem areas for me. This was bigger than a miscarriage and more permanent. While going through this process I realized somehow I left some of the best parts of me behind somewhere. It took something earth shattering for me to step back long enough to really admit it and admit I needed a change. Worrying is a dangerous trait. It places all of your troubles and fears on you and convinces you that YOU need to handle it, that things will be OK as long as YOU take care of it. The problem was I wasn't letting God do his job. It was like saying, "it's OK God I got this, I can do it myself." Well, if I was doing life my self I apparently wasn't doing a very good job. Why wasn't I letting God do his job? Well, that revealed my second area of weakness: patience. I am more interested most days in getting instant gratification and solving the problem immediately. I now see that has always been an issue for me. If I was excited about something I wanted to do it right now, if someone was hurting I wanted to fix it right now, whatever the situation I wanted to take care of it now! See a theme here? God doesn't work that way. God has his plan, his timing and his reasoning and is not interested in mine. God is a big picture planner and thank goodness because if he just gave in to every impulse the way I wanted to who knows where we would all be right now.

I guess the point of this is that God does not initiate suffering but rather allows it for creating beauty. The last 4 months have been a mix of emotions I'm not sure we would want to relive again if we were given a choice, but those were the cards we were dealt. I can't see God's big picture yet and why we had this experience, but I do know where there is darkness there is light. Something good is being created as a result of that. Right now, I know that part of this experience has allowed me to see some not so flattering things about myself and revealed that I need God more than I know. I know I am not personally ready nor will ever be ready to rule this world on my own so why do I need to pretend like I am the one in charge. No amount of me worrying, planning, fixing, or being anxiety ridden is ever going to prevent all bad things from happening or challenges that arise. Frankly, it is a breath of fresh air to hand myself back over to God and let him have the reins again because I am tired. We are not meant to do life on our own. I can't ask God for help and support and still try to run the show myself. He is far wiser than I am and has never lead me astray before. He has given me a wonderful husband, daughter, family and friends to help support me through all of this.

God doesn't plan for us to suffer, he takes our suffering and brings beauty where there is darkness. As we move on from this miscarriage I have no idea what God has in store for us. I pray that we will be able to expand our family with a healthy baby when he chooses. I miss my fun loving spirit that I know is in there somewhere and I know my family and friends miss it too. For now, I have a different mission but this time I am not going solo. I'm getting my joy back, but only through God! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When Things Went Dark

This post is going to get dark, but hang in there with me. I promise not all post will be this way but just as life is not perfect neither is mine.

Miscarriage is probably one of the cruelest things that a woman can ever experience. It can also be one of the most lonely. There are very few comforting things that you can say to someone who has had a miscarriage unless you have had one your self. It is a mixture of very dark and depressing emotions, not a happy place to be. If you read the last post, I left things feeling optimistic: this is not that kind of a day. I have struggled to maintain my composure most days although I felt like I was concealing it well with my faith. After all, I am a Christian, I'm supposed to be positive and not have doubts right?

Well, yesterday morning God called me out on my doubts. Again, one of those days where I felt like I was the only one in the room and God was confronting me head on. The sermon was on Habakkuk chapter 1. I'm going to be the first to admit I had never heard of or studied this book. The beginning of the story is where a man (Habakkuk) is confronting God and crying out to him and expressing his doubts. "How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!”but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me;there is strife, and conflict abounds.Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails.The wicked hem in the righteous,so that justice is perverted."

That's when I started "silent crying" during the middle of the service. You know, the kind where you don't make a sound but the tears just keep flowing. I realized I was Habakkuk! I thought I was coping pretty well under the circumstances, but I was covering my feelings by hiding behind my faith. I kept my head down as they kept coming almost ashamed of myself for doubting God's presence in my suffering. I couldn't believe that I was breaking down like that. Everything that I had ever learned about God: that he was faithful, merciful, gracious, just, that's what comforted me in times like this. Why did I suddenly feel...... I couldn't even let myself say the words in my head, I couldn't let myself go there or I would fall apart. As our pastor kept going and it took a turn a didn't expect. Our pastor said, "God is big enough to handle your doubts." I I realized it was OK to feel that way. It was actually OK to question and have doubts. He said it was not only OK, but that you needed to confront your doubt before it becomes disbelief. And that's when I let it go and allowed myself to feel those things I was afraid of. Uh-oh ... here it comes ANGRY, JEALOUS, DEPRESSED, SADDENED, HOPELESS.

So through the next few days I allowed myself to feel that dark side. You might have been there before, that feeling that is like a black hole that just sucks all the joy out of life and leaves you feeling sort of numb?  I knew I believed that everything happened for a reason and that God has a plan but I didn't care about the plan then, I just wanted to be angry for a while. I was angry that this happened to us, I was jealous of the pregnant women I saw walking around because that was supposed to be me, I was depressed that our hopes and dreams for this baby had failed, I was sad that we couldn't give our daughter a baby brother or sister, I felt hopeless with no control over the situation.

On a side note: For those of you who have never had a miscarriage, there are certain things that have to transpire to have a miscarriage. In our case our baby did not develop, but my body has not recognized it as a failed pregnancy. The process of my body recognizing this and finally "miscarrying" can take weeks. Meaning no growing/living baby but still technically pregnant because my body it holding on to it and won't release it so to speak. I can have a procedure done to assist in forcing my body to "release" it, but we opted to try and wait two weeks to see if it will do it on it's own before we run a risk of infection. I will spare everyone the details of what most people are expected to experience during a miscarriage, but it's not pretty. I tell everyone this not to depress people but to inform people because until it happened to me I never bothered to think about what people who miscarried went through. So here I wait hoping that my body will now "release" the pregnancy before I have to under go a procedure for safety measures.

So yes, I felt all of those emotions as ugly as they were. Walking around every day with a constant reminder inside of you of what could have been made me feel very hopeless. I finally had an out loud emotional release with God where I prayed and cried my eyes out. You know the cry, it's what some people refer to as the "ugly cry". I told God about my doubts and how I felt. I told Him that I needed him to strengthen me and I needed him to show up big because we couldn't do this on our own. I prayed that he would somehow bring us closure to the situation and help my body do what it needs to do.

You can relax, this is where it lightens up. So what have I walked away with from this scripture and personal situation? Mainly like our pastor said that God is big enough to deal with our doubts and that its OK to have doubts every now and then. God doesn't say dig your self a permanent hole and wallow in your self pity, but that I think it's normal to questions sometimes because it forces you to dig deep in your faith "and ultimately draw you closer to God. Pray a lot and confront it when you feel it. As our pastor also said, "You don't always get what you want, but you get what God has planned for you." Right now that plan might feel a little ugly and imperfect to me because I can't see it and it's not my own, but he knows the end result and he has a better track record that I do. So whether you are dealing with something dark or you have doubts, take them to God and know that "God is moving even in the dark moments."I will probably continue to have hard days here and there, but as I said before, God loves us enough to never leave us where we are.

Advice if you ever know someone who has had a miscarriage
LISTEN: If they will talk, encourage them to talk about it is so important to deal with those feelings. Be willing to do this often because there is no time line on grief. If you have never had a miscarriage then there really isn't much you can say to comfort them. Be a shoulder to cry on and allow them to use you as a sounding board. What you have to say isn't going to be as important as just being there and being willing to listen or even cry with them.

For those of you going through it:
TALK: you need to talk about it as painful as it is and allow yourself to go there. Talk to your spouse especially and share your feelings repeatedly, but remember men handle things differently than women. I often mistook my own husbands optimism as not caring enough about the situation, but remember they are also trying to be strong for us,

Monday, June 25, 2012

God Said "Not Yet"

Have you ever sat in church and felt like the sermon was directed toward you? A few Sundays ago that's exactly the way I felt. To tell this story in its entirety, I have to back up a little. Lets start around two weeks ago.

I went to church with a heavy heart that morning because just days before we had been to the doctor for the first prenatal visit of our pregnancy. I say heavy hearted because it was during that visit that we saw and empty gestational sac staring back at us on a monitor. For those of you who have never experienced that moment, it is one you never want to. A moment of panic, sadness and pure disbelief all rolled into one. While the tech pointed me in the direction of the tissues, she left the get the doctor. I knew at the moment that things didn't look good. What made this even more damaging was that we had miscarried the month before. While a very early miscarriage, it hurt non the less. I knew based on the only possible conception dates that something was very wrong with this picture. We should have been at least 6 and a half weeks by now. The doctor tried to reassure me that sometimes the dates can be off, as well as the ultrasound sometimes. We scheduled an appointment in two weeks to have an ultrasound again and she said we should definitely see something (meaning a baby) by then. I still had my doubts and felt like I already knew were this was going. Never the less, we tried to live life like normal. Our family was going to travel to Destin,  FL with my husband for work so that would give us some time to "relax" for the majority of the two weeks while we waiting for our appointment. 

Prior to leaving on Monday we attended church that Sunday. The sermon was about prayer; praying to God but not always getting the answer that you want. Our pastor talked about God's plan and how it doesn't always match up with ours, but that his is the prefect one. Sometimes God will answer "yes", "sometimes no" and sometimes "not yet". I could relate because I knew of several instances where this was true. In fact not only could I see God at work in my life, but can recall being thankful for God NOT answering some of my prayers later on realizing that he helped me dodge some bullets. I could also see some hard times in my life where God had taken a terrible situation and something good and unexpected had come from it. As I heard him speak, it was as if God was trying to prepare my heart for the news we would later receive. I remember tearing up thinking about how hard we had been praying for this baby to be OK and to be healthy, but suddenly being very scared at the thought that it may not be His will for that to happen. The thought of God saying "no" broke my heart, but I knew I had to keep praying. This time; however, I changed my prayer from asking for a healthy baby to God's will for our baby. I knew I couldn't give up hope, yet somehow it felt hopeless.

 I prayed constantly for a healthy baby and God to give us strengthen, comfort, patience and peace about the situation. The wait was exhausting and I had lost all of my pregnancy symptoms during our trip. Finally, the moment had come, we arrived at the doctors office two weeks later and were escorted back to the ultrasound room. Holding on to my last bit of optimism as we looked at the screen, we saw not much more than the gestational sac yet again. There was no baby and we knew it was over. That confirmed what I think my heart knew all along. We were sent back into the waiting room to be called to meet with the doctor. I have never hated a waiting room more in my life. There is nothing more excruciating than sitting in a room full of pregnant women being reminded of what you just discovered you don't have. In that moment, I just wanted to walk out because it was almost too much to bear. Thank God for my sweet husband who saved me by accompanying me that day. Once we were called into the doctors office she confirmed my worst fears that we had in fact lost the baby. I cried while the doctor was in the room but once she left I lost it. I broke down and sobbed uncontrollably. I don't know what I would have done in that moment if my husband wasn't there with me. (For anyone who will read this and feel like his role has been left out, there will be a whole separate post for that :)) I kept thinking, God said no. How do you handle life when God says no and would we be strong enough to handle it?

As I cried, my husband held me and reminded me that God didn't say "no", He just said "not yet". We may never know why he chose not to answer our original prayer for a healthy baby, but we do know that sometimes his plan doesn't always match up with ours. As painful as the situation is, he has a different plan for us, a perfect plan. I pray that one day he will bless us with more children but that will be in his time and not my own. While I never wish to relive that day again, I left more hopeful than I came in that God was not calling this the end of the road for us, He was simply saying "not yet". I knew the road ahead was going to get a little darker before it got lighter, but that God was going to be here with us the whole time. Just in every other part of my life I can recall that felt dark or terrible, God showed up with something better. He loved me enough to never leave me in those dark places then and I knew he wouldn't leave us this time either.