Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Honoring Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

{Preface...I know that every woman handles the loss of her baby differently and that is absolutely OK. This is just my story.}

I remember right after it happened, I had the thought of, "Now I'm 'that woman' who had a miscarriage." 

Sometimes it's still hard for me to believe. I had a miscarriage. 

And I did. Back in May, 2008, over Mother's Day weekend. I still remember it so vividly, the sights and sounds and the gut-wrenching pain. And my heart. Ooooh, my heart.

I still, literally, right this second, tear up at the thought of it--but probably not for the reason you would think.

Here's the thing. My miscarriage experience itself was relatively "easy." I was only six weeks along, just long enough to fill out my pregnancy journal and start dreaming about whether I'd have the baby in 2008 or 2009 (my due date would have been December 28th and my first son was born six days "late") and whether our first son would get a brother or a sister.

The bleeding started on a Friday and I spent the weekend (Mother's Day weekend) feeling like I had the flu. When my body actually purged the tissue on Tuesday, I felt relieved. I will never forget that day. It was May 13th, 2008. I never went to see a doctor and I even attended church and celebrated Mother's Day with my son (pictured below) and my mom. I was incredibly fortunate.

I say that the miscarriage was like getting sucker punched at a Sunday School picnic. 

It was a huge turning point in my life and served as a necessary wake-up call that allowed me to see life in a different way. It also allowed me to see God's grace in a different way, and I am forever changed.

I get emotional because I don't even recognize myself anymore. The miscarriage ushered a season of fear (and eventually full-blown anxiety) into my life that took me many months (years, really) to get past. In fact, I still fight anxiety almost every day. 

That season afforded me the opportunity to ask some hard questions and make some hard choices--ones that many people don't confront until they hit rock bottom. My rock bottom, by the grace of God, was mercifully minor.

I was able to make many positive changes over a long period of time, and grow closer to God in the process. I am so grateful that God gently pruned me the way He did and the growth since then has been astounding. 

By the way, the story had a happy ending. On May 13, 2009 (a year to the day later), our redemption baby came home from the hospital. God didn't have to do that. He is very, very good to me.

My heart aches for the mothers who suffer the loss of a child, in ANY form. Every story is unique and every baby deserves to be celebrated and remembered. 

So much of my life is different because of that miscarriage. It is actually better because of it.

I write on this blog to encourage other women to try to see God's grace in their experience, too. The healing process is long and it is hard. Allowing God in to minister to you and encourage you makes all the difference.

Read my miscarriage redemption story on my These Heels Are Made For Walking blog.

Please contact me if I can help you on your journey in any way.

Monday, October 7, 2013

It's a no. Again.

Another 31 day cycle came and went and in a way, it gets easier because you just get use to another month going by and no good news.

I felt lousy in the days leading up to the arrival of my period, complete with nausea, moodiness, cramping and a restless night of sleep. But, as always, I held out hope until the bitter end.

When it was officially over, I felt sort of numb and haven't really even thought much about it since. Maybe it's a coping mechanism, maybe it's a way of repressing emotions--I don't know.

Again, near the end, I was in hell, wondering if I was PMS-ing or experiencing early pregnancy symptoms. Like always, you hope, hope, HOPE you're pregnant but feel like you're probably not. You know realistically that the odds are not in your favor. That's why every positive test I've ever had has been such a shock--you really cannot believe that it's positive, because deep down, you just can't believe it's real--until it's real. Every time, it has taken some getting use to.

I know God withholds nothing good so I have to accept that, for whatever reason, it isn't good yet. 

The "feeling lousy" part makes me wonder if perhaps I'm not healthy enough to carry a healthy baby at this point. I am almost 36, I don't exercise and I could use to lose a good 5-10 lbs. I probably need to cut back on more activities, practice resting and eat a more nutritious diet. So I'm taking the "no" as a chance to get healthier, find more balance and truly prepare for the implications of adding another child to our family.

It's daunting, at best. And of course I wonder if this really is the right thing for us and if I really want to do the whole new baby thing all over again.

I've had these thought before and then every time I reach my fertile phase again, I'm ready to give it another try. We'll see what happens this time, a year after we started "trying." Yes, my hopes will be up. Again.