Friday, February 28, 2014

Getting back into the water







I remember the first time I "got back into the water" blogging.

I had just written a somewhat controversial post.

Maybe I really was feeling bitter? I don't know. I just know that my coping skills had ended. It was just one too many belly shots to handle.

I didn't know how to block people on Facebook. I didn't know how to unsubscribe for a time. I didn't even realize, "Hey, I could just get off Facebook."

Instead, I blogged.

And I got bit. Badly.

In hindsight, it really was a good learning opportunity for me. It helped me establish some boundaries in my writing, and helped me protect myself as my heart bled out in words. It helped me create my own coping mechanisms when facing others' pregnancies without (hopefully) offending them in the process.

But at the time, getting bit was seriously not fun. (Actually, the antithesis of fun.)

And I remember facing this blank page on the computer a few days later, with the cursor blinking at me. "Will you write again?" each blink seemed to ask. "Or will you give in to fear, and be bullied out of your safe place? Are you brave?"

Blink. Blink. Blink.

Today, that same cursor has been blinking at me all day in my mind's eye. Waiting. Wondering. "Are you brave?"

Last time I got back in the water, it was after a horrible experience. It was like plunging into the waters below.




Today, as I get back in the water, it is after the most amazing experience of support. It  should feel like dipping my toes in the warm Bahamian ocean . . .


 But instead, I feel terrified.

Not of getting hurt.

But of disappointing.

I know it is the selfish part of me that is afraid. The one that wonders, what will everyone think of me? What if I never write a post that has that many page views again? What if people followed my blog expecting brilliance, and I only deliver normal?

As my mind reels through topics I could blog about, I receive one of many stories from you. A reader. Someone who is going through absolute heartache. A heartache I know all too well.

And I suddenly realize -- "Rachel Marie, this is SERIOUSLY not about you. It is not about being brilliant. It never was."

It's about YOU. The person sitting on the other side of this post.

You could be here because you had a pregnancy loss. Maybe you are going through a loss now. Maybe you found me recently, and are just curious how to support others. Maybe you and I are friends in real life, and you read just to support me.

Whoever you are, this blog is for you. And not for me.

Please forgive me for thinking -- even for a second -- anything different. Forgive me for my fear of writing again. Forgive me for thinking that you, the most amazing community, might be anything less than gracious to me when I stumble.

And thank you. Thank you for being a stranger, and taking me in. For caring so deeply about my babies Olivia, Caleb & Elliott. For trusting me so implicitly with your own babies' lives, your deeply personal stories, your tears and hearts. Thank you for honoring my intent in my recent post with your comments. Thank you for opening your hearts to grieving families.

And thanks for being here as I stumble along through my own journey, reaching out, hoping in some way, we really are better together.

Much love,

Rachel

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Guest Post: Good Grief

 
A guest post by Andrea Gaston

In my inbox, I have a folder labeled: *Waiting. Nestled under that is about ten other folders with different sub-titles and purposes. Some of these folders have become obsolete in their purpose and others have become a mainstay of constant use.
This system has given organization to the waiting; however, the organization has not resolved the waiting.
Similarly in the rest of my life, I shuffle things off to the side if they are not an immediate need. I have learned to compartmentalize and desensitize in the hustle and bustle of the busy present.
And this worked well for most of my life. This hastened ignorance of the need for attention to these places kept me afloat in the raging sea of anxiety and doubt and fear and depression crying out to God again and again for peace.
From where I sit now, I find that often times when I pray for peace what I want is relief; and these are not necessarily the same.

I was trying to run a marathon in constant crisis mode relying on the next quick fix of “peace” all the while hoping the mess underneath would work itself out.

But God, in his graciousness, let me crash again and again. He let me run myself ragged. He let me build my own fortress of safety – using tools like running, friends, even quiet times to build myself up and keep myself going. And then, he let my fortress crumble.

It was a Tuesday night nearing the end of September when all hell broke loose into my life. That was the night my plans, my expectations, my hopes, collided with an unexpected reality and I collapsed against an unyielding dam of fear.

The result was a blur of shock where sounds were muffled and words did not make sense. It was a time when sleep was a reprieve that did not come, when nothing seemed real or significant and numbness overwhelmed all sense.

In the senselessness, there was no understanding.

There were times when I could not curl into a ball tight enough to feel as though I could be held together. There were times when the water from the shower could not compete with the tears released behind the cover of the curtain.

There were times when I tried to dress up the pain in words of explanation so I could build a fa├žade of strength to hide behind.

There were times when I yelled curse words strung together like a rusty melody – not even directed at anyone or anything, rather to release the anxious frustration of the waiting without knowing why – to release the anger I did not know I was capable of feeling.
 
I did not realize I was able to love another person so completely before I did. I did not know the depths of my own heart until it was opened and filled in that capacity.

Similarly, when the life that was planned for and was expected is no longer there – when the other part that once made me feel whole is missing – there remains a void as never known before. In that chasm a cold isolation seeps in too fast and too deep to resist.

I write in the past tense as if all of this no longer occurs; but it does. In waves and echoes, in the stillness of a moment, or, more often, in the unexpected flash of a reminder of what was or the hope of what was to come.

And there –  right there –  in that moment I have the choice.

I have the opportunity and freedom to choose. It does not feel like an opportunity and it does not feel like a freedom and it certainly does not feel like a choice.

But that’s what it is all the same.

I can choose to shrink into that darkness, believing all of the lies strung together making me feel covered in the coldest isolation and walk out existing in the worst kind of living hell.

Or I can choose to believe all that I know is true- anything I know that is truth.

Even the simplest of truths.

Somehow, when I feel as though I am at the edge of it all and the bottom of myself, when I feel hollow and empty as all of the richness of life fades and I am whittled down to my core, it is there I remember the songs and rhythmic prayers from childhood: God is good. God is great . . .Yes, Jesus loves me . . . Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep . . .

All of them stitched together to form the most basic and desperate prayer.
 
I think this is what it looks like to choose to treat the places of grief as sacred and pain as holy – to call God good even in the midst of the mess.

In the places of grief God is (finally) able to get to those places I have kept hidden, walled up behind years of self-protection and distraction. In the rubble of fallen expectations I can see my motivation more clearly – I can see God clearly.

The goodness in the grief is that I met God there.

In the place of grief, God lets me see my need for him. And he lets me ask the hard questions of him.

That is one of my favorite things about God – he invites me to inspect him. Whereas he does not always answer my questions, he still lets me ask.

What I am learning is to stop asking for what I want, but start asking God who he is.

And that can be a messy question.

Thankfully, he promises not to leave me or forsake me as I pursue him through that question and as he pursues me through the mess.

Find Andrea at her regular blog, http://agaston1684.wordpress.com/.
 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My letter to Olivia



Dear sweet baby girl,

I'm sitting at my way-too-cluttered desk right now, tears dripping down my cheeks, with Kleenexes everywhere, and Meredith Andrews belting out with her sweet, sorrowful voice.

And I'm instantly back to two years ago. Sitting at the same desk (it was just as cluttered, I'm sure), listening the same music, with mascara-stained tears slipping silently from my swollen lids. It was the day I posted my first baby-loss post.

No. It was my first "Olivia, you are gone, and I don't know how to live without you" post.

That day, as I wrestled with God over why . . . As I struggled to imagine a lifetime without ever experiencing your newborn cry, chubby toddler hands, rambunctious hugs, highschool dances, or the first birth of your own child . . . As I felt so, so alone . . . As I felt that I would never know happiness again . . .

Then. Right then. I felt that if I could only help ONE other person. If just one other person in this world of ours felt supported, felt loved, felt understood in their loss . . .

Then maybe your short little life and death were worth it. Just maybe.

Baby girl. Did you see it happen?  Did God tell you that your short little life reached someone this weekend? Someone who needed to know that babies like you matter. Babies like you can never be replaced. Babies like you deserve everything we give our living kids.

Did you know?

Not only did your short little life touch one someone. You reached 250,000 someones.

Some people say a baby at 7 weeks can't make much of a difference.

My sweet girl -- You did. You made all the difference in the world.

You made a difference to moms who have had a chance to share their baby for the very first time. Babies that you might even play with up in heaven.

Dads who got a chance to speak about grieving a child in heaven.

Nurses, pastors, teenagers, grandmas and grandpas who all learned how to help someone else who has experienced a baby loss.

Do you see? You are passing it on. Your beautiful legacy . . . it is growing, it is changing, and it is amazing.

I'm so proud of you.

You will never leave my heart, and I'm better for it. Your life opened me up to the deepest pain I've known -- and through it, you have shown me the greatest joy in the midst of suffering. The joy of helping someone else.

If you could make such a difference in just 7 short weeks of your little life inside me . . . I wonder how you could have changed the world with a lifetime outside. If only . . .

Olivia, I never heard your voice. But I want you to know, I'm trying to be your voice the best that I can.

And right now, my little girl, the whole world is listening.

I hope you are proud of me too.

I love you more than you will ever, ever know.

Please give your brothers a kiss and hug for me.

All my heart,

Mommy

Kaylee's Story: Miscarried baby Zoe at 8 weeks





One of my readers, Kaylee, is facing her due date today. It's an empty due date -- carrying only broken dreams and too-few memories. I really wanted to post her story on this day, because I know how lonely going through an empty due date is. You wonder if you are the only one who remembers that today your baby was supposed to be here.

Let's show her some love today.

Rachel



I came across your blog today from a link shared on Facebook. I don't believe in coincedence. The baby that I miscarried would have been due tomorrow, February 23. 

Reading your stories and the others that have been shared has been healing. It is with a bit of trepidation that I share my story.
 
I found out I was pregnant in June 2013. Other than my salvation and my wedding day, that day was the happiest of my life. I took the test first thing in the morning and when I saw that it was positive, there was a burst of joy that filled my heart.

I was a mommy.

A dream that I had had since I was a little girl playing with my dolls was finally becoming a reality.

I couldn't wait for my husband to wake up so I could tell him. I put the test in a blue gift bag along with a baby girl outfit that I had bought as a gift for a friend and never given. I included a note explaining that the blue bag was for a boy and the outfit for a girl, but either way he was a dad!
 
He was shocked, but excited. We rejoiced together and that night as we lay in bed we prayed for the life that God was knitting together in my womb and asked for wisdom to parent the baby and raise him/her to know Jesus. 
 
I already had a doctor's appointment scheduled for later that week ,so I was given another test and the pregnancy was confirmed. My husband and I had planned to leave the next week for a 3-week trip to Indonesia with 2 other couples. I was nervous about traveling so far away while pregnant, but my doctor assured me that it was completely safe. 
 
In the first week I didn't experience any nausea, but a few days after arriving in Indonesia, it hit with a vengeance. It was hard to be in a strange place and so sick, but I didn't let it get me down -- I was having a baby!
 
I did research and learned that morning sickness often starts around 6 weeks and according to my calculations, I was right on schedule. I was also encouraged in my reading that it was a sign of a healthy pregnancy. I survived the rest of the trip by carrying plastic bags with me constantly. My husband was amazing at hunting down the foods that sounded good to me. 
 
We returned home. A few days later, I went in for my first OB appointment. I had my first ultrasound and my husband and I were excited to get the first glimpse of our baby.
 
I got my first clue that things weren't right when the ultrasound tech wasn't smiling. She asked me again for the date of my last period and after a few minutes said that maybe I was off on my dates and that my doctor would be calling me. I knew that I wasn't "off" on my dates. We had been trying to conceive for 6 months. I was keeping track of the days. 
 
At this point I still wasn't overly worried. The ultrasound tech was pretty vague. My doctor called me in the next day and explained that the baby's heartbeat didn't show on the ultrasound. I figured that I was 8 weeks by this time, so it should have. I was told that there was a 65% chance that I had lost the baby and 45% chance that the ultrasound was wrong. Another one was scheduled for 10 days later. I was given instructions on what to do if I started miscarrying. 
 
I left the doctor's in a fog.
 
I had just been told that in all likeliness my baby was gone. With a lot of prayer, we made it through the next 10 days. I continued to be super nauseous and felt pregnant. This had to be a good sign right? The probability was bad, but I still had a glimmer of hope in that 45%. We prayed and believed for a miracle. Nothing is impossible with God. 
 
The next ultrasound showed absolutely no change. The doctor was surprised that I hadn't miscarried yet and offered to give me some medicine to induce it. I wasn't allowed to see the screen at either ultrasound and was still feeling the same way physically. I just wasn't comfortable inducing at that point. I was told that I could continue to wait "for nature to take its course."
 
My husband and I laid in bed that night and wept. I hadn't lived the easiest life up until this point, but this was the most personal pain I had ever gone through.
 
I felt like all of the joy that I had had been ripped away and that in a way it had been a lie.
 
I turned to the Bible and was challenged by Job's response to his suffering. After everything was taken from him, the Bible says, that he worshiped God. Could I, would I worship Him now in my deepest sorrow? In the days that followed I felt immense comfort and was reminded that the joy that I experienced wasn't a lie. Every life is a reason to rejoice and there was life inside of my womb. 
 
A few weeks later, I still hadn't physically miscarried. I requested another ultrasound. This time, I was shown that there was no change.
 
 I was given medicine to induce. The first round didn't work. The second round did. I have never felt such intense physical pain. I wasn't prepared for how much it was going to hurt, but I felt like the physical pain was matching the pain in my heart. More than a month had passed since the initial ultrasound. 
 
I was open to the idea of naming the baby, but I didn't want to go searching for a name. I prayed that God would give us a name. My husband was sure that the baby was a girl, so it was fitting when the name that came to me was Zoe.
 
Zoe is the Greek word for life. Our girl is in heaven with Jesus and is experiencing life in the truest sense of the word. 
 
I ordered a ring off of Etsy that has 2 bands with a tiny pearl between them. I wear it in honor and remembrance of Zoe. 
 
My grief is an ongoing journey. I never thought that miscarriage would be a part of my story. There have been times when I think that I am "healed" and am doing fine, but then the sorrow sneaks up on me and I realize that my heart will not be healed this side of eternity. There will always be a empty space in our family that shouldn't be there.
 
I struggle when people ask if we have children. I want to shout, "Yes! Yes, we do, but she is in heaven." Saying no feels like a lie and a denial of our sweet Zoe's existence, but do I want to share something so personal with the random person who asked an innocent question?
 
My life verse is 2 Corinthians 1:3-4:
 
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 

In these verses, I hear an encouragement towards community among God's people. He comforts us so that we can share that comfort with others.
 
This blog is a beautiful example of these verses in action. 
 
Today I am 9 weeks pregnant.
 
 Due to complications with insurance, I haven't been to the doctor yet. In many ways, this pregnancy feels exactly like my last. It's a constant battle to not let fear overtake me. My husband sweetly reminded me that we will be trusting God for the life of this child for the rest of our lives and it starts now. Moment by moment, I give thanks for the life that He has given and surrender the future into His capable and loving hands. 
 
Thank you for reading. :)
 
Blessings,
 
Kaylee
 
 
Thank you so much, Kaylee, for sharing your story. Thinking of you today. <3 -- Rachel

Friday, February 21, 2014

Why miscarriage matters when you're pro-life

Photo Credit: Sarah Thompson @ Sarah T. Photography

[For those of you who are revisiting this blog, or maybe are seeing it for the first time, I encourage you to join me in my new space The Lewis Note for more posts like this.]



Back in my former life, I was a proofreader.

We were a fabulous group of gals. But, I'm not going to lie -- we were pretty nitpicky. And NOT the most popular in the office. In fact, we had not just one book, but multiple books by which we would mentally check each word, each phrase, each sentence.

We had rules about whether a dash should be the size of a capital "N" or a capital "M" (and yes, we did measure). We ensured the proper use of "insured," then assured all the writers that, yes, everyone gets those words mixed up. And of course, we must never forget to correct the spacing on an ellipsis. (#.#.#.#). Very important, that one.

But we had one rule that trumped all rules:

Consistency was king.

You see, on most issues, you could get away with breaking a rule or two -- as long as you were consistent.

And now, after both quitting my job and going through 3 first-trimester losses in a row (primarily surrounded by pro-lifers), I really wish I could say the same thing about life. And about pregnancy loss.

I must make a disclaimer (to all my friends and family reading this) -- You did the best you could. And for the most part, I felt loved and I knew that so many of you grieved with me.

To be perfectly honest, before my losses, I didn't quite understand that the way we pro-lifers treat miscarriage is important.

And yet after we lost Olivia, it didn't take long for me to realize that in this Christian microcosm of ours, somehow an aborted baby had so much more to offer the world than a miscarried one.

Both babies may have died at the same gestation -- one by choice, the other by chance. But the value attached to each child completely depended on how that child died.

Here are some of the mixed messages I received -- sometimes just hinted at, other times outright:

An aborted baby deserves to be grieved. A miscarried one deserves to be gotten over. And quickly. 

An aborted baby could have been the next Einstein or Bach or Mother Theresa. A miscarried baby was probably damaged goods.

An aborted baby was killed against God's design. A miscarried baby fulfilled God's plans.

An aborted baby was a real person, and should have the rights as such. A miscarried baby was not a real child -- naming them really is kinda weird. Speaking of weird . . . counting them in the line-up of your children? THAT'S weird!

An aborted baby should always be missed in this world. God had created them for a purpose, no matter what health issues they may have had. A miscarried baby was meant for heaven -- and we moms should just be so thankful we have a baby in heaven, and should not grieve the loss of their place on earth. After all, they never TRULY had a place on earth, did they?

An aborted baby is a tragedy. A miscarried baby is slight bump on the road of life.

An aborted baby could never be replaced. A miscarried baby can always be replaced -- "Oh, don't worry, hon -- your time will come again. You'll have more. Just relax and trust God. You'll see."

An aborted baby's mom should know exactly what she's missing out on if she has living children. A miscarried baby's mom should not grieve that loss, but instead, should just be thankful for the lives of her living children.

This isn't a debate about abortion. Really, it's not.

It's a call to those of you who say you are pro-life. It's a call to be consistent.

Do you really believe life -- personhood -- begins at conception? If so, standing up against abortion is understandable. But so is treating a miscarriage as a real death of a real person.

Perhaps instead of just standing outside of Planned Parenthood . . . Instead of just posting on Facebook your outrage at the laws in the land . . . Instead of praying for your neighbor's cousin's boyfriend's daughter who is considering abortion . . .

What if you took it one step further?

What if you held the hand of a grieving mom who miscarried at 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 18 weeks or more?

What if you never compared the loss of a 4-weeker to a 20-weeker?

What if you never said anything that started with, "At least . . . " As in, "At least it happened early." Or, "At least you didn't get too attached." Or, "At least you have one living child. You should be thankful for them."

What if you didn't try to stifle her tears? What if you welcomed them? And matched her tears with your own?

What if you held back any trite, easy answers that promised God's will and promised easy comfort? What if you just wrapped your arms around her the way Christ would?

What if you made that meal, bought those flowers and wrote that card?

What if you went to the hospital and sat in the waiting room for her, even if you wouldn't see her? Just because she is your friend. Just because that's what you do when someone is sick in the hospital or their child is dying.

What if you called her child by name?

What if you went to the service if they planned one? What if you helped her find a support group? What if you offered to go with her?

What if you prayed constantly for that hole in her heart that will one day scab, one day scar, but will never fully heal?


What if you were consistent? What if all your actions when dealing with loss of any kind, affirmed that fact that all life -- ALL LIFE -- is good, worthy of recognition and worthy of grief.

What if you didn't just affirm to the world that all babies are valuable -- but you also affirmed to a bereaved mom that HER baby was irreplaceable, and would forever be missed?

A person is a person . . . no matter how small.

And I would add . . . no matter when or how they died.




P.S. If my post spoke to you in any way, please consider sharing. Thanks for helping me spread the word that miscarriage matters!

P.P.S.  Many of the guys have posted comments on here, or emailed me. I want you to know -- I haven't forgotten you, even though I admit my post was written from a girl's perspective. MEN NEED SUPPORT TOO!

My husband wrote an awesome blog on HIS version of our story. I think all of you should read it. If you're a man, you might be able to relate. If you are a woman, you are likely dealing with a man who is grieving, and this was a huge help to me to understand his actions.

P.P.P.S. I am NOT implying that pro-choice person would not grieve a miscarriage. That would be another blog, and since that isn't my experience, it's probably best for one of you to write that post! The comparison I'm making is NOT how a pro-life mom vs. a pro-choice mom grieves. The comparison is how the pro-life community as a whole views miscarried vs. aborted babies. Just clarifying the issue, because there seems to be some confusion on that based on the comments below.

P.P.P.P.S. I'm blown away by the response to this blog! I just wanted to tell you how blessed I am to know you are reading, and then in turn, to hear your thoughts and stories. Whoever out there is sharing this THANK YOU!

I love your comments, and I promise, I am reading each one!

You are so welcome to comment -- but I just want to put a disclaimer out there. Since this is my space, and my purpose was not to start a debate on abortion, I won't be publishing the comments that are geared toward the morals of abortion. While some of your thoughts I can relate to, understand, or even agree with -- my goal here is not to start an argument, but to offer support. I hope you understand. So if you don't see your comment (and there are only a handful like this), feel free to reword and resubmit.

Thank you all. And much love to each of you.

Monday, February 3, 2014

quick adoption update



Hey everyone.

It's a busy week in the Lewis household, and I wanted to give a quick update.

We THOUGHT we had all our adoption paperwork in, but they asked for one more piece of paperwork that we now need to find. :( At least we are ALMOST done.

Then disclosure can officially be done.

We have court on Wed -- the day I was HOPING would be finalization day -- but it's not. Not sure what to expect at court this time, as it really just seems like a formality -- for what, I'm not sure.

As of now, we are hoping for finalization in 5-6 weeks. So, I'm thinking early, mid-March.


Several of you have asked how our video went, and I think it went well. It seemed to touch peoples' hearts. I haven't heard back about the meeting yet. I'm just trusting God that He used it however He wanted.



On Thursday, dark and early, I leave for our pregnancy and infancy loss support group's leadership conference. (Try saying THAT 3 times fast.)

I feel a little scattered this week, as I know I just need to get through the next two busy days, and be ready for all that our conference holds for us.


Last year was really good, and I'm hoping for the same this year. We have a different team going this year than last, so it will hopefully help us build strong relationships. A few days this week I have felt "stuck" in, I don't know, in a funk? Maybe that's what I should just call it.

Not loss. not grief. not recurrent loss.

Just a funk.

I'm not going to lie, I'm a little nervous still about going. I know it will be a blessing -- but sometimes immersing yourself in a culture surrounded by loss can bring a lot to the surface. I don't want to be in a funk anymore.

On another note, my detox went amazingly well. I'm going to be resuming it for February as soon as I get home from Texas. And I'm planning on eliminating gluten for the next 6 months to see how my body does. I've done the detox before, but I think this time, its just that much more informative and life-changing.

Arbonne is going great, and our team is taking off. I'm so proud of the girls on my team, and I'm so excited to see where this year is going to take us. I feel my passion for my business reigniting, and it really makes me happy to see that even as not EVERYTHING has gone according to my plan, I still have a career I love, friends and family surrounding me, and a very good life.

God and I are doing well, and I'm thankful always for Him. Ryan and I are doing well, too, even as I think our biggest struggle right now is handling little miss's fits. She has a strong personality, and that can be hard sometimes. We're having a home eval done by HollyRidge soon, so we'll see if they can give us some more pointers on how to help her calm herself down better.

I guess that was less of an "adoption" update, and more of a "Rachel" update -- but there you go.

Minus some "funk," I think I'm doing pretty well.

I'll keep you all posted once I get a date for the adoption finalization!

Rachel

Alicia's Story: An update

You may remember Alicia's story that I posted a few months ago, of 9 years of infertility and a stillbirth at 22 weeks. Many of you shared an outpouring of support for her.
 
Recently, she sent me a little update, and said I could pass it along.
 
I am hopeful and excited to see what this new chapter brings her. Below, she shares her latest news . . .
 
Rachel
 
 
This past November, I had the privilege of sharing the story of my stillborn son Kenneth born at 22 weeks.
 

 
 
Grieving throughout the holidays seemed unbearable and I thought my husband and I would never get over our loss. I had begun to think that all hope was lost in my marriage, and most important, for me to conceive. My husband and I had begun to seek out infertility specialists expecting to have difficulties getting pregnant again. I mentally tortured myself thinking that it would take as much as 9 years to have a baby again. I constantly asked myself, "Would you go through the same ordeal you endured trying to conceive Kenneth?" My answer is yes. I'd give my life to have my child living on this Earth.
 
Our son came to me in my dreams last night. What a vision! What a sight it was to see him with a halo over his head and with wings spread open behind his back. He was holding this glowing light and without saying a word, I heard him "say," "Here's a gift."
 
 
Now I didn't know what this gift was, or when I'd exactly receive it, but I just knew I couldn't wait for it to arrive. When I awakened I had this overwhelming feeling to take a pregnancy test. My husband luckily invested in keeping some handy around the house (just in case). I was already three days late although I kept fooling myself in thinking that my period would be irregular for a while after the stillbirth.
 
 
Upon learning, just this morning, that I'm pregnant again has me so confused. I'm experiencing a mixed emotion of elation and grief. It's such a difficult thing to understand when I keep telling myself don’t get excited, what happened before might happen again.
 
I've foolishly sworn husband to secrecy. Because my first pregnancy was such a loss to others as well, I'd hate to put them through such a thing again. I might change my mind as time progresses but I don't feel comfortable letting anyone know yet. It shames me some having to do so especially considering how close I am to my mother and sister. Ultimately, I'm prepared for whatever God has in the works.

I just wanted to share my journey in childbirth like you have. Your blog has been a godsend for me. Thank you for listening. Keep my expectant bundle of joy in your prayers.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Becoming







How does one describe living with loss?

I cannot.

It is always with me. A shadow on my heart. An imprint, stamped forever. Never gone. With me everywhere. With everyone.

Sometimes I forget about it. Just like I forget my heart is beating, my lungs are breathing, my fingers feeling.

But it is there, reminding me every once in a while lest I ever forget.



Today I watched a beautiful baby as she tried to walk. She played with toys, clung to her momma, and cried when the room was quiet.

And I ached for Olivia. Just ached.

Sometimes my losses compound as one. Sometimes I am sad I'm considered infertile now, and can't just get pregnant. Sometimes I wonder, what did I do to NOT deserve to have my baby grow healthy, strong? What did I do that SHE didn't do?

It doesn't matter who SHE is.

Sometimes SHE is someone I know . . . someone with a full, round belly rolling with child.

Sometimes SHE is a friend . . . brand-new in pregnancy and has nothing to fear or expect other than the wonderful glow of a precious new little.

Sometimes SHE is just a stranger, passing by unaware that her joy reminds me of my pain.

And I can't blame any of them.

How could I? Do I know the road they had to travel to get to this point? Do I know what life has in store for them later down the road? Or maybe the hardships they've endured that have nothing to do with fertility? Do I think of the fact that maybe they look at me with my two children, and MY joy reminds them of THEIR pain?

No.

I just ache. It is simply that.

I hurt. And I smile. And I joke. And I laugh.

And I wish away the pain that makes others so uncomfortable. I lie that I am not jealous, that I would not trade bodies with them in an instant to have what they have. I do my best to stay silent as others complain of pregnancy symptoms. I still the quiet, bitter spirit that longs to say things that would probably stab. Because that person is not me.


And sometimes I forget.

The ache is gone. The heavinesss of heart parts for free sprit. The laughter I hear is my own.

It sounds foreign.

I take time to take it in. I am . . . happy.

Strange. How weird it feels to laugh, to joke, to make fun. How strange to fall asleep wrapped in my love's arms feeling whole, instead of sobs rocking me to sleep.

How light this feels.

The joy of two girls fill my arms, fill my soul. I have so much love, I wonder if I can hold it in.

I feel blessed. Who am I to deserve this love?

And then comes another word, another reminder, another "maybe THIS is the reason."

And my free spirit feels shackled yet again. Familiar chains. Comforting chains.

Grief has become so comfortable to me, it has become my safe place.

Life. Joy. Love. Freedom.

These.

They scare me at times, and I wonder if they are mine to keep. I am hungry for them, but the taste sometimes is too sweet, too coyingly sweet, that I cannot consume in full.

I take small bites.

Baby steps.

A joke.

A laughter.

A day.

And slowly, I become who I am becoming.

And whoever that person is, I hope she is better, stronger, more loving than the one I laid to rest the day before.
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