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.