On Due Dates and Miscarriages

I knew the day was approaching. Circled in red on my calendar, it was a constant reminder of what wouldn’t be. My momma heart was bracing itself for the day’s impact. The funny thing about calendar days: you can’t skip over them no matter how much you want to. The youngest reader in the house read the words and asked, “Mom, what’s due date?” He cried when I told him. We sank to the kitchen floor and snuggled.

But then I started to feel strange, and I secretly wondered. The cheap Dollar Tree test confirmed it…I was pregnant on the due date of our miscarriage baby. Suddenly, the day didn’t seem so dark and gloomy. We danced through the day.

positive pregnancy test

We kept our secret tucked inside as best we could between the sickness and the excitement. We waited–for weeks to slowly pass and heartbeats to be seen. We waited for weekends with family to see the look on their faces as we told the story of God’s goodness and timing. We waited for just the right moment to slip a black and white photo across the table and have everyone erupt with joy. We waited, breath held with each passing day toward new trimesters and the next red circle on the calendar.

We danced through the days and high-fived at the end of each one we made it through. Then we said a prayer to make it through the next one. One day at a time.

We danced at my sister’s wedding in our vintage-inspired clothes. We toasted with our water glasses while others around us had a little something more. We celebrated.

vintage 1920's wedding

vintage wedding selfies

But then I started to feel strange, and I secretly wondered. The blood in the toilet confirmed it…I was miscarrying at my sister’s wedding reception. Suddenly, the day didn’t seem so happy and fun. We sat, shocked, while others danced through the night.

Everyone tried to get me to leave and go rest, but I didn’t want to. In a way, I wasn’t ready to face what was happening. I watched my boys move on the dance floor, oblivious to what was taking place. I yearned for their innocence. I made a choice to dance with them. To enjoy the night and make a memory with them. To be joyful even when my world was crumbling around me, because of the Hope of Christ in me.

The next day, we went to walk on the beach. To make a memory with the boys, spend a few more precious moments with those who love us, and to watch the sunset. As the boys dug in the powder white sand, we contemplated how a God that can make something so beautiful could still care so deeply and personally for us. His love is beyond all measure. He has shown us time and time again.

beach sunset

We said our goodbyes and settled in for a seven hour drive home. It was a quiet trip full of prayers that I’d make it home before the hardest part physically of a miscarriage. As we approached the exit for our home, the more intense my pain. I knew what was coming.

We carried sleepy boys to their beds, and I settled in for a night of pain and laboring over a baby we wouldn’t hold this side of heaven. It was intense, but I felt God’s presence strengthening me and comforting me as new life quietly slipped away.

And here I sit, numb and shocked about the whirlwind weekend full of so many ups and downs, wondering and crying out for answers. Trying to understand why and what purpose this holds in our life, knowing that only time will tell. Reminding myself that He carried us through this last time and knowing He will again. Reminding myself that I will still choose to say “Blessed be Your Name.

I’ve clung to the words in Nehemiah 8:10 “…do not be grieved for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” God laid the words on my heart to comfort me, and I’ve clung to them. He is my joy. He is my strength. Without Him I am nothing. And just as He used Nehemiah to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and purify the Jewish community, He will use this to rebuild my life and purify me for His glory.

Here I am, Lord. Use me.

My Miscarriage Story {Part3}

Four hours of people-watching and a ruined pair of jeans later, I was finally seen by an emergency room doctor. He sent me for an ultrasound–a very thorough internal ultrasound with…wait for it… my BRAND NEW next door neighbor that I hadn’t even met yet. “Hi, I’m Sara. Here are my lady parts. Welcome to the neighborhood. I’m probably not bringing you a plate of cookies after this.” It was confirmed that I would need a D&C immediately.

My husband thought it would be funny to take my picture while I was loopy…

 

Words cannot express how grateful I am for the surgical team God placed in my path that night. They were so comforting. The OB on-call for the night prayed with us and wiped my tears before they wheeled me into surgery. The words to Matt Redman’s song, “Blessed Be Your Name” swirled around in my head over and over. I vaguely remember singing it as the anesthesia took effect and hearing someone in the operation room sing with me as I drifted off to sleep.

You give and take away,
You give and take away,
My heart will choose to say,
Lord, blessed be your name…

 

grief

The week after the D&C was harder than I ever thought possible. I found myself wading in an ocean of grief and the waves knocked me down over and over until I was too tired to stand back up again. The deep, primal weeping and wailing found its way to the surface. I retreated to my bed and hid under the covers. I slept a lot. I barely showered. As we say in the South, I was a hot-mess.

donuts

Some trusted friends entered into my grief in very large ways. My best friend kept the boys overnight while I was having my D&C. Several friends brought meals. One friend showed up at my front door with two boxes of donuts because that’s what she went through when she had her miscarriages. Another friend showed up with a bouquet of gerber daisies–four red and one white to represent our family. Cards. Text messages. Coming over to sit, weep with me and pray over me. Every single one of these acts of love were so simple, but they helped me not to let the waves of grief hold me down for very long.

While I was allowed time to grieve, I was also encouraged to keep moving forward so I wouldn’t get stuck in my grief. I had two boys to care for and a life to live. One day my best friend lovingly called me stinky and told me to take a shower. I had to text her a picture for proof that my task was complete. Each day I did something more than I did the day before until I was back into the swing of things.

The waves of grief still find me occasionally. For instance, today I finally cleaned out the bag the OBGYN gave me at my first visit containing samples, baby coupons, and pre-registration papers for delivery. I shed a few tears, pulled it together and fixed lunch for the boys while listening to “Blessed Be your Name” on Pandora.

While I’d give almost anything to hold my baby in October, God has been so gracious and poured out blessings in the midst of our grief. Women in our family have shared the secret of their own miscarriages many years ago. Friendships have been taken to a different level of intimacy. I have been given an opportunity to minister to others through sharing my grief.

I may never know why I didn’t get to hold my child this side of Heaven, but I know this…my lullabies can never compare to the lullabies in Heaven. My child is doing exactly what we are all created to do: worshiping God. I take great comfort in that.

Blessed be the name of the Lord
 
Did you miss the beginning? Read My Miscarriage Story {Part 1} and My Miscarriage Story {Part 2}.

Taste Test

My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” ~Forrest Gump

It’s true. You don’t know what you’re gonna get. Each day that unfolds is like biting into a new chocolate truffle and hoping for the caramel filling.

But…what if you don’t get the caramel filling?

What if, when your teeth sink in, you get that pink-filled truffle that makes you gag? Whatcha gonna do?

Do you spit it out and chase it with a sip of water to clean your palate? Or do you force yourself to keep chewing hoping you’ll acquire a taste for it?

Asherbabyfood-HappyBrownHouse

When Asher started baby food, he wasn’t a fan. Oh, he’d take a bite or two. But then he clenched his jaw, making it virtually impossible to feed him.

Airplane noises didn’t work.

Peek-a-boo didn’t either.

He looked at me wondering why I was trying so hard…he already had me and my tricks figured out. He wouldn’t open his mouth for anything, no matter how much I knew he would like the pureed carrots.

And I wonder…

Is that the way I am with God sometimes? Do I clench my jaw tight, not willing to receive what He’s trying to give me? Am I hungry, but I can’t see the value in the things on the spoon right in front of my mouth?

Something to think about…

 

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The Wall of “Fine”

I got to hold a newborn baby this week. I know, I know, I have a baby of my own, but still…newborns make me weak in the knees.

My sweet friend, whom I actually wrote about before, had a baby. A much anticipated and prayed for baby. Oh, the joy of answered prayers!

As I took food on their first day home from the hospital, I asked her, “How are you doing?”

She replied with the obligatory, “Fine.”

Only, I didn’t believe her.

I asked again, “No, how are you REALLY doing?”

By adding emphasis with the word “really,” she knew she could break down the walls of “Fine” and tell the truth about how hard first days are with babies. Because they are…when we’re being honest with ourselves and others.

And because I had been honest with her at various times in the past, she felt comfortable telling me that the first day home hadn’t been bliss. She was sore, overwhelmed, and exhausted. And because I’m still 2/3 of of the same list 7 months in with Asher, I could say, “I understand.”

My memory hasn’t gotten fuzzy yet.

Honestly, I don’t think I could ever forget what life with a newborn is like…talk to me when I’m 80.

friendship bracelets.

photo credit: amandavenner

But here is the beauty of memories and tough times…

God allows us to walk through tough times to help others down the road. Whether it is by telling them where to step to avoid a pothole, or to lend a helping hand to pull them out of a hole when they’ve already stumbled…we must help!

I’ve walked down this newborn road twice now. I know the sleepless nights where exhaustion and hormones play tricks with your thoughts and emotions. I know the frustration of a baby struggling to latch on correctly and the searing pain associated with a bad breastfeeding latch. And while not everyone wants or needs advice, true friends can share how they made it through the struggles without offending.

I broke down the wall of “Fine” a long time ago. I don’t hide behind it anymore. I think it is only when we can live out in the open with people, instead of behind walls, that we can have true community.

Now, I didn’t have to ask my friend for the honest answer. I could’ve took her “Fine” and went home. The problem with that is that she would’ve felt alone and added another brick to the wall of “Fine” for next time.

We have to break down the wall.

If we don’t, we’ll all just be shouting “Fine” over a pile of bricks and crying by ourselves in a pothole.

It is only when we shout “Help!” that we really get help.

It is pretty simple, but yet, we all seem content to sit behind our walls.

It was when my friend finally said that she was feeling overwhelmed, sore, and exhausted that I could say, “Want some help or just a hug?”

I’m so glad she chose help.

It was only then, that I could respond to the Holy Spirit’s urging to run to Walmart for her and get something that I knew would help with the soreness while her husband stayed home with her and the baby.

It was then that I could tell her what little I knew about getting the perfect breastfeeding latch and how her husband could check after I left.

It was only then that I could run home and get the preemie clothes Jonah wore for the first month after he was born because even our smallest newborn outfit was too big.

And when I returned, I got to show her how to tie the Moby Wrap, my saving grace the first few months with Asher.

All very simple things, but all things that encouraged her and equipped her to have a better night and second day home.

I don’t tell you these things to pat myself on the back. Quite the opposite.

I tell you these things because we give a gift to people when we are honest with them and don’t hide behind the wall of “Fine.”

From the phone call the next day, I know that she was grateful for my help. But honestly, I was the one who was blessed! I had a part to play in encouraging her and loving on her. God allowed me to play a role in caring for another sister in Christ that night.

THAT is community.

I’m so glad I got a glimpse of it.

Question: Do you hide behind the wall of “Fine” or do you live out in the open? How have you experience true community?

My Favorite Family Portrait…

One of the pictures I didn’t share yesterday when I talked about the “My” Sight Word Book Jonah and I made together was this…

Family Portrait

Did you catch it? Look closely…

Did you see those extra bodies on the right hand side?

You see, even though our family TECHNICALLY looks like this (atleast for the next few hours/days until I give birth)…

family

Jonah sees it much differently.

When he thinks of our family, he already includes little brother on the way and sister from afar.

And that, my friends, makes this momma’s cup runneth over.

Because he gets it….he really gets it.

1 Thessalonians 4:9 ~ Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another…

War Cry

Grafiti

And there it was, his first curse word. Spoken with the tone and inflection of an adult, but with the voice of a boy years away from puberty’s deepening. A month shy of four years old, and he’s already found a dagger in his toolbox. My mind raced to think of how to react. I was unprepared. I thought we still had time before this blow to my ears and heart. Click here to read the rest at The MOB Society

*I’m posting over at The M.O.B. Society today! I’d love it if you joined me over there! What is The M.O.B. Society? A place FOR moms of boys, BY moms of boys.

Sunday Morning (Shaun Groves Style)

My friend, Shaun Groves, has a new CD coming out in August. He’s just released links to preview the CD on his blog. It is quality music from a quality guy who loves Jesus, Compassion International, and Adoption…three of my favorite things. (Shaun and his wife, Becky, are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia, too!)

Listen for yourself…

Third World Symphony by shaungroves

You can go ahead and pre-order the CD for $10 at shaungroves.com/store

So tell me, which song do you like best?