My hope is to help bring encouragement,
healing, and support to others going through miscarriage.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dealing with People

"How long will it be until I don't hate people?" asked one woman who had a miscarriage, whose post I read on a "Loss" forum.  I know it sounds harsh and dramatic but I could totally relate to what that girl was feeling.  Dealing with people after any loss, I would imagine, just seems to add insult to injury.  Whether they are oblivious, insensitive, nosy, preachy, optimistic, trite, or just plain stupid, no one seems to get it and everyone gets on your nerves and if you're like me you feel like you still have to be polite and pleasant with them all.

Admittedly part of the problem here is the secrecy of an early miscarriage.  People don't know so they make comments that sting or ask you when you're going to start having kids.  You don't want to go into the whole thing and end up in tears so you just smile and take it or find a quick excuse to leave.  Kinda makes you not so fond of being around people.

Or the insensitive ones say things like, "You're still young, you have plenty of time." ... "These things happen, just keep trying."  ...  "Everything happens for a reason."  ... Maybe some of these things are true, but my baby is still gone and you don't seem to get that.

Then there are the oblivious, optimistic people who seem ridiculously happy about everything.  This most often hits me when reading a facebook status about how wonderful their life is or how we should be thankful for everything good or bad, blah blah blah.  It always makes me think either these people are very naive or are just plain faking it.  Either way it annoys me to say the least.

I've already talked about preachy friends, and women who are pregnant and complaining about it, etc.  Even people who mean well and love you, there just doesn't seem to be much to say that isn't going to hurt somehow.  A good friend of mine sent me an article about dealing with miscarriage that had some good advice about dealing with people.  I will have to look it up to get some of the specifics right about how to respond to people's comments/questions - but I do remember their advice to everyone else.  A good thing to say is, "I am so sorry for your family's loss.  Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you."  That way you are expressing sympathy, acknowledging their loss, offering support, and letting them know you care.  You're not trying to make it better or fix it, down-playing the situation, getting nosy, or pushing anything.

Anyway, lately this feeling of not being able to put up with people much has returned.  Our first baby's due date was March 17th.  I made it through that day and a couple more pretty well, just trying to ignore it.  Then it was spring break and life slowed down and we were around too much "baby" to keep holding it back.  My supportive husband was there to let me cry on his shoulder and pray with me, which I am so thankful for.  He gets it.

But still we are surrounded by "baby."  My sister-in-law had her baby March 13th, the other is about to have hers.  Several of our friends/coworkers here have babies or are expecting.  Lots of friends elsewhere are having babies or pregnant or talking about their babies.  Nothing wrong with that - when I have a baby it will probably be involved in every conversation and post too - this is just what I'm dealing with.  I can't get away from it, it's a part of life that goes on whether I'm ready for it to or not.

So... if I have seen you or talked to you over the last week or so and seemed not myself, this is why.  My patience and humor with trivial things is at a minimum.  As I go through this mourning process some stages return and sometimes it feels like I'm going back or losing ground.  But I do know that this will likely continue - the ups and downs - for quite awhile and I expect it to.  Thankfully God is my Rock and is not influenced by my feelings, trials, or anything else.  He is with me through it all and loves me despite it all.  He is my Comforter.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jealous Much?


When thinking about what to write here, I try to focus on things I read from other people on forums that made me feel better - just knowing I was not the only one feeling this way.  Jealousy = big issue for lots of people, and understandably so (in my opinion).  If you're trying to have kids, then likely you know people (family, friends, co-workers) in the same stage in life who are having kids - planned or unplanned.  It's the latter that really gets to you too, but none of it is easy.

So, first of all, let me make it clear to my friends/family who are or were pregnant recently that I in no way want to make you feel guilty.  Your babies, planned or unplanned, are blessings that I am truly happy for you about.  Please take no offense.

I'll start from the beginning of my own story.  In late July we announced to our immediate families that we were expecting, which happened to be the exact same time that my brother and his wife announced their fourth (unexpected) pregnancy.   I was ecstatic: to have a sister-in-law to share pregnancy with and ask questions of, for our kids to have cousins the same age - it was perfect.  Our due dates were within days of each other.  Within a couple weeks, my husband's sister and her husband found out they were pregnant too.  Actually they found out the same day we found out about the miscarriage - so they graciously waited a few days before telling us.  So now I have a sister-in-law on each side pregnant and due very close to the time I would have been.  One of them almost exactly.  Couldn't have a closer, more frequent reminder of "what should have been."

On top of that, for the next week I found out via facebook or people I'd talk to about so many people who were newly pregnant.  Cousins, college friends, people at church and work.  And while I was actually happy for them, each announcement brought (and still brings) that reminder and little stab to the heart.  It's hard to bring out the happiness over the hurt.

The most helpful thing I've found when overwhelmed with these feelings is to look at it as a hope.  A glimpse of what I am having faith will one day be mine to experience.  The little nephew and niece coming this spring will serve as reminders of my baby and what he/she would be like as the months and years go by.  Hopefully that makes sense.

The rest of this is kind of venting I guess.  So if you are in the same spot, feel free to vent on my comments. :)

Remember my post about feeling like the whole thing was so unfair?  This is my prime example: unplanned pregnancies.  I understand unplanned and unwanted pregnancies are very different.  Just because you didn't plan on having a kid doesn't mean you don't appreciate it.  But in my position, it sure doesn't look fair either way.  We want a baby, we are ready to be parents, we are doing everything right.  Then I hear about people who just get pregnant without even trying/wanting to.  Or who don't want to keep the baby.  How does this happen?

Another "pet peeve" of mine (and other women I've heard from in my position) are the pregnant women who complain about all their symptoms and discomforts.  Yes, I know they suck sometimes and you can feel pretty miserable.  But it rather angers those of us, who would give anything to be in that position with a healthy baby, to hear them whining about it.  Hopefully we will remember when our time comes to be cheerful and grateful during the not-so-fun times.

Sorry, I know this post has not been the most fluid but hopefully it makes sense.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Like a Lake"

             -Sara Groves

so much hurt and preservation
like a tendril round my soul
so much painful information
no clear way on how to hold it

when everything in me is tightening
curling in around this ache
I will lay my heart wide open
like the surface of a lake
wide open like a lake

standing at this waters edge
looking in at God's own heart
I've no idea where to begin
to swallow up the way things are

everything in me is drawing in
closing in around this pain
I will lay my heart wide open
like the surface of a lake
wide open like a lake

bring the wind and bring the thunder
bring the rain till I am tried
when it's over bring me stillness
let my face reflect the sky
and all the grace and all the wonder
of a peace that I can't fake
wide open like a lake

everything in me is tightening
curling in around this ache
I am fighting to stay open
I am fighting to stay open
open open oh wide open
open like a lake

Sunday, January 30, 2011

God, how could you?

"God, how could you let this happen?"  The greatest damage done by my first miscarriage was the spiritual battles that ensued in the following months.  Yes, months.  I am committed to being honest here and although I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, I was truly a wreck emotionally and spiritually for a good long time.  Much longer than I let on to anyone other than my husband - and even he I'm sure didn't realize the extent of my struggle most of the time.  I have a hard time opening up about anything too personal/emotional anyway, and this was deep.  Deeper I think than anything else I've ever had to deal with.

I have been wonderfully rooted and brought up in a Christian home with a strong church family.  God has been a big, personal part of my life forever.  I loved my church and youth group growing up, went to Bible college for a year after high school, attended a small Christian college after that, did some missions, worked summers at the Bible camp I grew up going to, been involved in churches and Bible studies and small groups my whole life.  Everything in life is centered on Christ, on God.  My natural response in hard situations is prayer and looking for God's hand or leading.  So don't think that I was looking for someone to blame and suddenly God entered the picture.  I'm no perfect Christian by any means, but I want to make clear what a huge deal this was for me.

My initial response to this personal tragedy of losing a baby was the trite (if I can say that) and Christianese answer of "God is in control.  Looking at the big picture I know that this isn't the end of the world and God's will is for the good of those who love Him, etc."  I must have still been in shock - which I absolutely was, who expects this? - because when the real emotions set in, I felt no hint of God's love or grace and nor did I want anything to do with any of it.  I felt betrayed, robbed, ignored, abandoned.  I could understand that bad things happen because we live in a fallen world.  People make choices and there are consequences.  Even nature is not how it was intended to be.  But inside my womb?  What could possibly touch this tiny life inside me and take it away?  I had done my research; I knew the pregnancy do's and don'ts.  My doctor ensured me it was not my fault, not to blame myself because there probably wasn't anything I could have done or not done to cause it.  

So I tried to be the good Christian and think God is in control and all that, but then it came down to "Then how could you let this happen?  Only you could touch this tiny life inside of me and let it die.  I don't see any good in this, I don't feel your love, all I feel is pain and betrayal and emptiness and devastation."  Ugh, how this weighed on me.  Deep in my heart I knew that I was wrong, that God is love and truth and that he never wants to hurt us and that I needed him.  But that was a very tiny portion of my broken heart that was otherwise filled with all these other feelings.  So the battle continued on for quite awhile.  I say battle because I know on one side Satan was using my vulnerability (and crazy fluctuating hormones) to feed me lies and fan the flame of anger and pain and confusion.  On the other side God kept gently pushing that little grain of the truth of who he is into my days and nights.

Hopelessness is a good word to describe my next month or more.  I wanted to start trying to get pregnant again.  I didn't want to risk the same disappointment and I honestly didn't want this untrustworthy God to be any part of it.  I knew that wasn't possible - I knew that someday somehow I was going to have to reconcile all of this and I couldn't go on living life ignoring God.  I knew that wasn't life at all, but I could not get passed the unfading feelings of betrayal and indifference.  I unfortunately confided my situation to a friend, via facebook, who (with good intentions I'm sure) pretty much just preached at me about how trusting God doesn't always mean we get what we want, and how God cannot bless what I do not surrender to Him, and how I can't push God away, he wants to comfort me, etc.  Well that was pretty much the opposite of what I needed.  In fact that is what I already knew that I should be feeling and believing but couldn't.  I felt like I wanted to have kids, but that God was ultimately in control of that blessing and I couldn't trust it to him so I was never going to get to have a family, which made me even more angry at God and just put me in this unending circle of hopelessness that I saw no way out of.

Time went by and I went on with life, although miserable on the inside.  Eventually my strong feelings (and probably my hormone levels) started to subside.  That little, but indestructible, piece of my heart kept pushing forward, encouraging me to at least take some steps in God's direction.  Last summer I had read a book, "The Shack," which dealt with loss and relationship with God.  I thought reading that and Job might be a good place to start.  Job lost everything - I don't know how he did it.  The whole time reading it I was thinking "I am not this guy, I can't even relate to his strength and faith..."  But the guy in the book was different.  He was a messed up wreck like me and that gave me some hope. 

In this book the guy has lost a daughter and physically meets God at this shack and converses with him.  In one conversation God is talking to him about how he works things out for good.  The guy asks how can God possibly justify the means of a lost life for whatever the end.  God's response was that he is not justifying it, he is redeeming it.  I read it over and over.  Redeeming it.  For some reason that cut through and spoke to my heart.  Can I allow God to redeem this?  Redeeming means it counts for something.  My baby will not be gone and forgotten and unnoticed, it will live on in the redemption of this heart-breaking situation.  So then I started wondering about how God could redeem it.  The possibility of adoption entered my mind.  We have yet to see about all that.

About that same time someone on facebook posted a link to an article or something written by another lady who had a miscarriage where she spoke of a similar struggle that I was having.  I wish I would have saved it, but what stuck with me was her realization that "we have a weeping God."  He hurts when we hurt.  He hates seeing us in pain.  That visual, along with the book's characterization of the loving God, marks the turning point in my spiritual battle.  That truth connected with all the other truth I had hidden in my heart and I knew that I could trust him.  He is good.  He does care.  He will take care of me and redeem my loss.

We did get pregnant again, and again we lost our baby.  That was almost a month ago and I have purposefully given myself this time to wait and write about my personal struggle.  I will not believe those lies again and I am truly in a much better place now that I was a month after my last miscarriage.  I'm stronger and sharing and hopeful.  I know God will redeem this whole situation, maybe even through this blog speaking to another hurting woman.  Maybe some other way that I have no idea about now.  

I love music and I feel God speaking through it so often.  Sara Groves is a favorite artist of mine...

from this one place I can't see very far
in this one moment I'm square in the dark
these are the things I will trust in my heart
you can see something else
something else
I'm still very emotional, I cry easily if I talk about it and I'm okay with that.  I'm not over it.  I don't think you ever really get over losing a child, especially two.  Even if I go on to have other kids, I will always have these other two as well.  Pro-life and pro-choice supporters may argue about when life really starts, but I know those two tiny babies were my children and lives that I will see in heaven some day.

If you find yourself in my situation, you don't have to feel alone.  I've been there and I'm sure many others have as well.  Talk to someone if you can or talk to me.  I promise not to preach at you or judge you.  Everyone else, pray with me for the hurting mothers in the world who need hope and God's redeeming power.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In Loving Memory

I have been trying to think of something to do to honor our little babies' short lives.  Luke has already shot down my tattoo idea ;) so don't even try... But I'd like to know if any of you have some ideas.  What have you done (those of you who have been here) or heard of people doing to commemorate?

My Second D&C

This experience has not been much different than my first procedure, but I wanted to update those of you who have been so faithfully and graciously praying for me and sending encouraging words.

The trip to the hospital, although very early, went fine and we got checked in and everything just as last time.  And then, my tiny veins strike again!  The dreaded IV... At least this time I had a very kind and patient nurse, but it hurt much much worse as she dug around in my wrist trying to get my vein.  It didn't work.  She switched arms and got it in just below my left wrist, thankfully because my right wrist continued to hurt up until I went into the OR.  A massage therapist came in a gave me a back massage while we were waiting, that was pretty nice.  When leaving the waiting area the anesthesiologist gave me something to relax me and I don't think I even made it awake to the operating room.  At least if I did I don't remember it.

Everything went fine and we headed home feeling pretty good.  About 45 minutes from home I started having some increasing pain.  The nurse had said just clear liquids at least until I got home, and to take the vicodin with food.  So I was hesitant to take it, but was glad I had it with me and ended up taking it when we got closer to home.  Friday and Saturday were spent mostly in bed, napping and resting.  Actually on Saturday I was fine and went to the store to get stuff to make a cake.  It failed by the way, I always forget about high altitude baking adjustments when baking from scratch so it fell very flat and dry, but that's another story.

About the medications... I mentioned in another post about the medication I had last time that I wasn't sure about.  I asked my doctor and she prescribed that last time because I was bleeding more, so I didn't need that this time.  I still had the pain killers from last time so I didn't have any new prescriptions.

So I'm feeling pretty well considering.  Physically I've had very little pain (just took the meds on Friday and was fine by Friday night without) just some discomfort and light bleeding.  My doctor said to take it easy until my check-up with her in two weeks.  I'm kinda surprised to say I really don't like that I can't work out.  I've gotten used to doing Zumba with some ladies at work after school, and going to Curves several times a week.  The extra time is kinda nice (I got alot of cleaning done last night after school) but I miss the physical activity and interactions. 

Emotionally I still have my moments but feel much more equipped and stronger to deal with all the emotions and pain that I know will continue for awhile.  I'm not trying to "get over" this, I recognize it is a very real and significant loss that needs to be addressed, grieved, processed, remembered.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sad tonight

This whole experience has been much different than the last, just as I suspect every pregnancy experience is different.  I've had an entire week since finding out about miscarrying and thought it would be a very long, hard week waiting for the d/c procedure.  It has gone by surprisingly fast and easily, which I'm contributing to all the prayers I have been blessed with from many of you.  I think also being able to talk about it and having the support from here/facebook has lessened the stress of it all.  I'm trying to keep more of an optimistic attitude.

School has kept me busy and distracted during the day and various media at night.  Tonight, though, is a sad night.  Tomorrow morning my second baby will be officially gone.  Needless to say, my heart is heavy.  I haven't done alot of crying but this evening I keep tearing up - whether it be from a home pregnancy test commercial or Pam's morning sickness on a re-run of The Office.  Many people have called me brave for posting here, and please don't take my openness as having it all together and dealing perfectly with anything.  I haven't shared alot about the personal, emotional side yet.  That may have to come later.  

I'm not really nervous about the surgery.  I would appreciate your prayers though for safe travels (we leave at 4am to get to the hospital), a smooth operation, and quick healing - physically and emotionally.  Thank you all!