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More pregnant than I’ve ever been

7 Jun

At approximately at this time of evening, this exact number of days into my pregnancy, I was arriving home from the hospital emergency room after spending the worst night of my life miscarrying our daughters. It was an experience I hope never to experience again. The miscarriage itself was alone traumatic, but doing so among the worst hospital staff I’ve ever encountered, lying there bleeding helplessly all over the place, while the staff around me refused to answer me because “the doctor would be in soon” (7 hours later!), while the worst nurse imaginable dug around in my arms for almost an hour trying to start an IV (for what, i still don’t know), none understanding why I was freaking out so much because it was “so early” and we could “always try again” was beyond what I could handle. Honestly, it was the stuff that nightmares are made of. And I’ve tried not to think about it because reliving it was too awful. Each woman needs to make her own choice, but if God does take these babies (or any future ones), I don’t want to go through the experience in a hospital again.

So all day long, I’ve sort of felt in a fog. I’ve felt a numbness for this day, and a genuine surprise that I am at the end of it without incident. It wasn’t a conscious fear; I have absolutely no reason to suspect that this pregnancy will turn out like the last one. My medications are adjusted properly (unlike last time), I weigh less, I am eating right, my doctor is better skilled, and most importantly, these are different babies than the last ones, and God has a different plan for them. But still, the scar tissue is there and it was sort of always in my head. I am now more pregnant than I have ever been. And I’m at a loss to describe how I feel. I truly don’t have any idea what tomorrow will look like. Pregnancy up til this point has been sort of familiar. But starting tomorrow, it’s all uncharted water!

I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God for the length of time we’ve had with the babies and I pray that these are just the first of many, many days. But in a lot of ways, I feel like I just found out I’m pregnant all over again. Everything from here on out is completely foreign to me. I have a sense of bewilderment as I look toward tomorrow! I don’t have anything super spiritual to say about it all… I’m just working through my feelings. I’m missing our girls. I’m excited that God has seen fit to continue this pregnancy. I’m a little bit nervous, despite the fact that my head knows Who is in charge. I’m exhilarated and terrified at the same time. I’m just processing through it all I guess. I know the Lord will sort through the thoughts and emotions with and for me, so I’m grateful that I can leave that up to Him because I feel like my head is spinning.

We had a nice day today. We went to church and were very late because morning sickness necessitated a stop (that’s not a complaint-I actually love the reminder that something is really happening). Then we had a lunch fellowship time at the church and then we came home and napped a while. I went to the gym and had a nice long workout, spent the evening with DH and now we’re on the way to bed.

I actually have to call my regular OB tomorrow and get on their calendar for my first prenatal visit. I figured I’d wait til after my ultrasound, but I was just looking at their website and they like to do their first visit at 8 weeks, which is the same week as the ultrasound, so I guess I need to schedule it! That feels surreal too–the prospect of leaving my RE and returning to a “normal” doctor is just so…sublime. After so many years of doing everything unconventionally, to know that in a few weeks, this will be treated like every other “normal” pregnancy sort of blows my mind.

I find myself rubbing my belly and talking to the babies all the time. I can’t wait til I have something external to show for it so I don’t just look like a fat lady who is clutching her tummy because she’s eaten too much or is suffering from indigestion 😉 But, it’s so wonderful to know that they’re going here and there and everywhere with me 🙂

I’d best get to bed. Goodnight everyone!

Happy Birthday, Lucy and Mary

23 Nov

Hi Friends,

Hope you all are well! We are doing well. We are on track to proceed with the transfer for December 2nd. We have one final ultrasound on Tuesday, wherein they will check to make sure my uterine lining is thick enough for (an) embryo(s) to burrow into. I finished the really awful drug and the new set has been much easier, undoubtedly because it’s something the body is supposed to produce, rather than something artificial designed to stop the body from working how it should. Assuming the ultrasound goes well, we will start the last round of meds this week, including the big honkin needles that we’ll inject in my bum every day; about this, I’m still freaking out. Thankfully, a sweet nurse friend at church has volunteered to help me with them as often as I need her. Another good friend has also offered to help, but mostly because I think he likes being a pain in my butt. We passed on his offer. 😛

College roomie and her hubby and daughter stayed with us this weekend, which was great fun.

We had a really wonderful morning of fellowship at church. I’m teaching the 4s and 5s. I’ve been out of the classroom a long time, partially due to some experiences at our last church, partially due to overall burnout, and partially due to IF stuff, when my heart was just too broken to minister to other children while missing my own. But, praise be to God, my heart is really at a place where it can handle being with the kidlets regularly, and I am so grateful. I have 4 little boys in my class, which also concerned me a bit at first because of course, I am a girl, so it’s easier to know how to teach things in manners they would enjoy. But I’ve enjoyed tapping in to my creativity to reach out to these boys–I pray something is getting through to them. They are certainly teaching me! I’d forgotten how much I really loved doing this.

The love of my life is tall, blond and handsome. But a short, dark-haired little cutie pie has me wrapped around his little finger! We’ve been spending a lot of time with some friends from church (the husband being said enjoyer-of-being-a-pain-in-my-bum!) and they have 3 darling children. Their middle child and I especially have a special bond. God has used him to teach me and remind me of so many things.

In my younger years, I was around children constantly. I taught Pre-Kindergarten. My degree is in Children’s Ministry and at one time I was involved in every Children’s Program the church I attended at the time offered. I lived and breathed being with children.

But for several years now, I’ve had to protect my heart and I stayed away from children and activities related to them. My longing and grief was just too great. As God has healed my heart, children have again become a source of joy again I had forgotten how much you can learn about God (and about ourselves) through the eyes and heart of a child, especially the eyes and heart of this particular precious little one, who loves unconditionally, trusts wholeheartedly, and is full of the faith and joy of a pure and innocent child. His sloppy “puppy dog” kisses, his big hugs, his little smile that lights of the room and his great big, joyful heart serve constant reminder of Him who is our Greatest Love. I’m so grateful for the opportunity God has given us to grow nearer to this dear family.

We had Hymn-sing Sunday at church this morning. Call me old-fashioned, but Hymn-Sings are always my favorite Sundays. So many hymns have such rich, God-centered, God magnifying theology, unlike much of the more contemporary, Jesus-is-my-boyfriend type music. A sweet high school gal with the voice of an angel sang a song with the “punchline” (sorry, I don’t know the musical term!) “How can I keep from singing?” today. This is how my heart feels after a morning in fellowship with our dear church family, especially on Hymn Sing Sunday. If any of you dear readers lack a church home, please earnestly consider seeking God to direct you to one!

One reason my heart sings tonight is that today (Sunday, though this post may show up as Monday) marks my baby girls’ first birthday in Heaven. What blessed lives they must live! A year ago today was one of the darkest days of my life, as I lay in a hospital bed, bleeding, distraught and helpless as they slipped away from me. To think of the actual evening is overwhelming. So much went wrong with the course of events and the “care” I received. But what happened when our girls woke up in Heaven was absolutely perfect. They saw the Face that the rest of us can still only long to see. The only Home they’ve ever known is flawless. They’ll only ever be with their Perfect Father, rather than suffering the mistakes we were bound to have made as their parents on earth. I miss them so much, but they are in a place where they miss nothing. And my soul rejoices for God’s mercy and goodness toward them! Thank you, Sweet Abba, for giving us those sweet babies for a time, and for loving them more than we ever could. Thank you for preparing your Home for them and thank you for healing my heart to a place where I can truly rejoice that they are with you.

The other reason I sing is that until just before bed tonight, I had even forgotten that today was the 22nd. That sounds terrible. I’ve thought about the approaching day many times over the past month and week. And I expected it to be a tumultuous, upsetting day. I had sort of braced myself for the worst.

It sounds terrible to say that I forgot the date, but I think it’s truly indicative of the miraculous healing God has done in our hearts. So many times over the last year I’ve mourned our girls. But now, including today, I celebrate them with my whole heart, and moreover, the Creator who made them. Because that mourning has been laid to rest (admittedly, maybe just for now; perhaps God will unearth new dirt in this territory another time), it didn’t occur to me that today was a day to be sad. I also don’t miss them anymore today than any other day so in that regard, today was just a date on the calendar. I will always miss them. But they are with our Perfect God, and for that reason alone I can’t truly want what’s best for them and still wish them back here with me! I guess you could say I’m a bad mommy for forgetting the date, but my God is good and I believe that this “forgetfulness” was His gift to me. And what a sweet, sweet day of fellowship and love He gave us instead.

And I am so thankful for a sweet friend who did remember the date, and sent me a sweet note. Thank you, sweet friend, for remembering and honoring them.

Goodnight, Baby Girls. Happy Heavenly Birthday. I love you. And I miss you. I can’t wait for the day when we will see you. Continue to rest with Sweet Jesus until we can hold you.

Thanks, dear friends. Love to you all!

Grief

7 Jul

I started this post on 6.26.09. I didn’t have anything else to write, but I wanted to make sure the sentiment was shared.

First, thank you to everyone for your kind words about Mother’s Day. I really wasn’t trying to be a brat about it or make anyone feel bad. In my head I was just playing back a recording of how things had been–matter of fact, recitation. I didn’t mean it as a guilt issue at all! I apologize if it came across that way.

************

Today, July 6, 2009

Dear friends,
My heart is in despair right now. The grief of missing my girls overwhelms me and the pain grows only stronger as their due date approaches. Time had quenched some of the fire, but the knowledge that I should be preparing to hold them in my arms but instead have an empty belly and empty arms, breaks my heart right now. I am crying out to God but I confess the hurt and loneliness feels new all over again. In recent weeks I felt like the mourning season was coming to an end and now I feel like it has just begun. All I did today was read and pray and cry and sleep. I’ve half heartedly attempted our household bookkeeping tonight, but I only go a few minutes before the tears start again. Oh, how I miss them!

Several people have mentioned that they wanted to say something, or ask me how we’re doing or ask me about the girls, but didn’t know if they could, or should.

I can’t speak for every grieving mom, but for me, someone mentioning them helps. It helps me to know they and we are not forgotten. So please, always feel free to ask if you want. If you don’t want to ask for your own sake, that’s ok, but know it’s always ok with me if you do want to. Silence hurts worse than any questions…

I love you all.

Broken,
Jen

Names

24 Nov

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
Psalm 139:14-16

We claim this promise for our babies. We believe they are with Jesus and we believe He called them home. We also believe He loves them and that He has always known their names.

We’ve been praying about names for them and God has answered us.

We believe that both babies were girls.

Our first daughter is Lucy. She is first in our family to see Narnia and first to receive her reward. Though we hope no more of her siblings follow her soon, we know she is waiting for any who will join her to show them around Narnia. Lucy of Narnia was compassionate, earnest, and faithful-which I hope our Lucy would have been. And like the vial Lucy Pevensie received, our Lucy brought so much joy and healing to us after many years of pain and winter. Though a new pain has accompanied her loss, she was and is a precious gift to us and the Lord healed many parts of our broken heart with the gift of her and her sister. Lucy means “light.” The story of our girls is a miracle and a testimony to the God who created them. Even in her absence her life (and that of her sister) stand as a light in the darkness.

Our second daughter is Mary. Todd named her after his Great Aunt, who was taken suddenly from this world and who he wishes I could have known. Mary was also a twin. He tells me that she would have been a precious example of Jesus for our little Mary. She was a missionary in India for many years. She was devoted and gentle and kind and spunky-exactly the kind of daughter I would have loved to have. Mary was also the mother of Jesus and the name of his beloved servant of Magdalene. After the crucifixion, Mary was the first to recognize the resurrected Jesus. Mary means “bitter” which is appropriate because the loss of her and her sister has caused us bitter tears, though we rejoice in their lives and their safety in the arms of Jesus.

We ordered this in remembrance of them. It will sit next to the 2 Angels from the same collection that my dear friends gave us when we started our adoption and next to the figurine from the same collection that I gave their daddy when I told him they were on their way.

twoalike

Goodbye girls. We love you.

Pain

24 Nov

I’m not sure really how to describe today.

I wasn’t able to sleep last night. Around 6:00 I was willing the clock to move faster so I could make a few phone calls. At 7:00 I called my friend who runs the church prayer chain and asked her to check her email and send out the request so that most people would have received it before church, sparing us from having to retell everything. I left a message for my dear sweet friend C, and I called the Pastor. He was already at church so I woke DH and we headed over there early and spent almost an hour with him. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love our pastor. He brought such comfort and wisdom to us with all the care of a loving father and shepherd. It’s times like these that I’m just so, so grateful for a small church.

As people began to trickle in, we were just overwhelmed with love and support. Most people had received the email, and we were so grateful. So many people just came and hugged us and cried with us, saying hardly a word, if anything at all. It was such a blessing to have the comfort without the need of words and explanations because I don’t think I could have gotten through them. I had a lot of good cries, a lot of good hugs, and some attempt at worship. I was so glad we decided to go. Church was the only place I wanted to be this morning.

Toward the end of service the physical pain of the miscarriage started so I had to excuse myself to walk around. It’s persisted through most of the day. I can’t decide how I feel about it. On the one hand, the discomfort is unpleasant. On the other hand, it’s a bittersweet reminder that the babies really were there. I think I’m grateful for that.

Once we got home, I was able to get some sleep. I think I rested, too, at least for a little while.

We’re going to name the babies. Our pastor also offered to do a little memorial with the two of us if we wanted to. I want to do something, I just don’t know what. I feel like if we don’t, it’s like they didn’t exist or like we’ve forgotten them. I want to fight to legitimize them and their existence here in the eyes of the world. My spirit just can’t rest with the rinse of the drain being the final goodbye. Even though it’s just their earthly bodies that were lost that way, I still feel like it’s the last sentence in their story right now and I’m just not at peace with that. But what saying goodbye looks like, I’m not sure. Miscarriage is such a funny thing. There’s some arbitrary moment in a pregnancy beyond which we commemorate a loss with a memorial service, name and perhaps even a gravestone. But before that point, we’re supposed to say our goodbyes silently, and alone. And yet all those babies are equally precious, human and beloved, so I don’t quite understand the dichotomy. But nor do I know how to navigate it.

My mom is on her way here and I’m glad for that but a little fearful too. It’s hard to communicate with family right now, and even to a certain extent, DH, because the grief they’re feeling overwhelms me and I can’t help but recoil from it. I can barely manage my own grief. To see someone else grieving too for their own loss (of niece/nephew, grandchild, etc) shuts me down. I don’t know what the balance there is but I’d ask for your wisdom as we seek it. I didn’t really speak for more than a minute to anyone except church people this morning until tonight because I just couldn’t handle it. Poor DH had the job of calling our families last night. I was finally able to talk a little bit today. It went ok but the coming days will tell.

As if I weren’t humiliated and broken enough, the ER doctor thinks I have a UTI. I’m almost laughing at the absurdity. Almost.

As I mentioned before, we’re praying that the miscarriage completes itself naturally. I hate that word. There’s nothing natural about this. Natural is the babies being born in to our arms. But just the same, I’d really really love to avoid surgery. I think it would send me over the edge to have to have the same procedure that other women go through voluntarily to terminate their pregnancies. I have an appointment with my clinic on Tuesday and they said we should know by then which way things are going to go. We’d appreciate your prayers for that. In that sense, I’ve been glad for the pain and continued bleeding because I can’t help but think it gets us one step closer to a “natural” completion. But, time will tell.

My best friend comforted me with the thought that we gave these babies the gift of delivering them to Jesus. Before they were stuck in limbo, and we gave them a chance at both life and/or Homecoming. I AM comforted by that (thank you, sweet friend! I love you!) but I can’t help be selfish and wish they’d had longer life here first. I guess I don’t mind being their (and His) “delivery method” (and I am comforted by the knowledge that they are now eternally safe) but I do confess that I would have liked to have met them first.

I’m trying to busy myself around the house. The night time is the worst because it’s so quiet and there are no distractions–just plenty of time to think and wonder and miss. I guess I’m off to find some project to do.

Love to you all…

Gone

23 Nov

Our babies are now safely in the arms of Jesus. They will always be in our hearts but it was not to be that we would hold them here and tonight the Lord called them home. We miss them so much already. We’d appreciate your prayers as we grieve our loss and celebrate their brief little lives. We’d also appreciate your prayers that the miscarriage would complete itself naturally so that we can avoid surgery.

Please also pray for us in our grief. Our heads know that this was God’s plan all along but our hearts can’t stop breaking. This has been a day of immeasurable loss and pain.

We spent 7 hours in the emergency room. They knew the test results after hour 3. The rest of the time we just had to sit and wait for a doctor to be available to read them to us. The wait was agonizing. Too long and yet precious too short for when the word came, there was no turning back time.

I came home and the floodgates opened even more than they had at the hospital. Taking a shower and watching all the blood and discharge was horrific. I can’t help but scream at the fact that our babies were washed down some drain somewhere like waste. Oh God, it just shouldn’t be this way. They’re our children. They don’t belong in some dirty, watery grave. They belong in our arms. And even acknowledging that God called them to an early homecoming, why did it have to be so undignified? The thought that sometime in the last few days I watched them wash or flush down the drain is almost too much for my heart to take.

It’s now 3:30 am. I’m exhausted. And yet I can’t make myself go to sleep. There’s something about ending this last day I had with them that I just can’t do. It’s just too permanent. So, I’m busying myself with cleaning my kitchen, which now won’t be used to host a festive Thanksgiving.

Oh God I miss them so much.

I’m trying to find something spiritual in this. I’m trying to rest in God’s will. I’m trying to think about this in light of the coming season and the fact that God lost His child too and how I now have a fresher understanding of what that loss must have meant. I’m trying to think of the prospect that one day He’ll use this for good, maybe even to minister to someone else. The thoughts come but they seem so empty. I just can’t make sense of them right now. Right now I just ache to my very core. We have 10 more embryos. I have no idea when we’ll try again, but the thought of ever going through this again, much less anywhere close to that many more times, is absolutely crippling. God, steel my heart!

I packed up the journal I’d been writing to them and the few cards we’d received and stowed it out of sight. I had to fight not to throw up at the sight of the bag from the Maternity store with the sleeping bras I’d bought two days ago to help with my increasing discomfort. Out that went too. Tomorrow we’ll find a place back in the garage for my cradle my grandpa built for me as a baby, which we’d pulled out for visits with our godson and which we’d left out in anticipation of our own babies soon occupying it. The hope chest…well, it doesn’t represent much hope right now. Guess off to the garage it goes too.

We knew there was a risk that this would happen but we had so much faith and peace that everything was going to work out and we’d meet our babies in 9 months. I really didn’t think this would happen. Not this time. I feel so tricked and abandoned.

I love you, my sweet babies. Jesus, take care of them. I know you love them more than we do. Babies, go find your great grandpa and grandma and give them that kiss and hug I’ve wanted to give them for the past 11 years. I can miss you all together now. At least I know you’re in good company and care, both with each other and with the God who made us all.

This blog will be going private, soon. If you would like an invitation, please use the email link on the right to request one. I have reserved another blog here where I will post Embryo Adoption Information, but it will have some of the personal parts of our story removed. All of the EA stuff will remain here too, but everything here will not be there.

Goodbye babies. I love you.