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.

Failure to Thrive?

As I write this, I’m sitting at Panera immediately after Asher’s 9 Month well check. I’m trying to catch a few moments to myself and process after a few hard days emotionally. The latest wave to crash against me? Hearing the pediatrician mention the words “failure to thrive” in reference to Asher. I mean…have you seen this kid?

Is this the face of a child that is failing to thrive?

Asherbabyfood-HappyBrownHouse

Sure, he may be on the small end, but what those growth charts don’t tell you is that he’s been crawling and climbing for 3 months. He’s chasing an active big brother and would much rather play than snuggle up for an extended nursing session…unless it is nighttime and there’s nothing better to do. Those growth charts don’t tell you that he’s clapping, waving, and giving kisses. They don’t tell you that he’s been saying “Mama” and “Bubba” for 3 months. They don’t tell you that he’s recently picked up the words “Bye-Bye” and “Go-Go”. They aren’t able to tell you about the depths of his belly laughs and the shrieks of joy when he’s in the bathtub splashing.

Failure to thrive? Not the face I’m looking into.

Now, don’t misunderstand me…

I am concerned that he doesn’t have the rolls where he should. I am concerned that he’d rather play with his food than stick it in his mouth. I am concerned that he doesn’t have cheeks to pinch. I do recognize that his low weight could be an indicator to something medically wrong, but failure to thrive? Really?

I’m just not sure.

You see, I’ve seen the children that truly aren’t thriving. I’ve seen the empty eyes, the frailness, and the missed milestones. I’ve seen the orphan child that bangs her head against the crib rails or rocks back and forth to self-soothe when there isn’t someone to snuggle when she wakes up in the middle of the night.

Matter of fact,  I have a child that might be rocking in a crib halfway around the world this very second.

No. I just can’t accept the term “Failure to Thrive” in reference to Asher.

Low on growth charts? Yes.

Failure to thrive? No.

Not when there are 163 million orphans needing a forever family.

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…

 

Don’t forget to enter the current giveaway! Enter to win a Samuel L. Collins Search for Biblical Truths DVD.

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?

Mommy & Me: Special Time

Since Asher came six months ago, Jonah has needed some extra doses of special time with Mommy and Daddy. While he truly loves Asher, the process of becoming brothers has been hard. Finding our groove as a family of four hasn’t been easy. It isn’t something I have written much about, mainly because it has been really HARD on everyone involved…especially Mommy. And, we’re not even done looking for our new normal yet!

That first day home with Asher was an absolute nightmare. Jonah hadn’t ever been away from us for that long and was needing us. The problem was that there was this new little person that needed attention, too. Mommy was recovering from surgery and needed Daddy to help with getting in and out of the recliner, changing diapers, etc. and Jonah didn’t like it one bit. Going from being the center of attention to not being the center of attention is rough on a guy, ya know.

The jealousy was so thick you could slice it.

The tantrums were epic.

The tears…oh, how they fell!

I’m not proud of it, but I really struggled as I saw Jonah in a different light. Suddenly, he was bigger and louder. I found him annoying and whiny. Quite frankly, I cried myself to sleep that night wondering where my sweet boy had gone and asking God what He had done to my family. (Post-partum hormones were running rampant, people!)

It is right here that I will sing the praises of Mr. Happy Brown House. He’s a wise one. He knew that the thing that would help Jonah and Mommy the most was to have some special time together.

And he made it happen.

He took Asher while Mommy read books with Jonah. He sent Mommy and Jonah outside on the porch together. He took pictures while Mommy and Jonah made silly faces. And it helped…both of us.

When we headed to Florida to introduce Asher to family and were blessed with a free day at Disney, he made sure that I was the one making memories instead of watching with Asher on the sidelines. And somewhere between the Teacups and the Carousel, I healed a little. The laugh that had been squelched when colic and all of the shhhh-ing began started to rise and bubble over. I found me again, even if only for the day.

It was then that I realized the real goal of my “Mommy & Me” posts. Sure I like to post fun, educational things to do with your little ones, but ultimately, the real goal is about strengthening the bond between mother and child. You see, sometimes I get in my own way and lose sight of the real reason I do things here on this blog. Sometimes I get caught up in the business side of blogging, the prideful part of blogging, the part of me that wants you to like me because I have so much to offer. And when I can’t offer those things because my life “gets in the way” of my goals, I feel like I’ve let you down. When really, the whole point of my blogging is to document these precious years I have to live. And live them I must. Because what’s the point of blogging about a life that isn’t being truly lived?

So, today, there is no special activity.

No Pinterest-worthy picture.

No affiliate links to products for you to buy.

Just you.

You and that little one…together.

 

Your time and attention is better than anything I can write about today. Make it special. Turn on some music and dance in your kitchen. Have a pillow fight. Let them splash you during bath time. Cut out construction paper clown noses and wear them while you eat dinner. Laugh. Whatever it is, live first and write about it later.

Go. Live. Love. Then come back and tell me about it.

Yeah, that…

Asher on a very rough night

You know that feeling when you can’t get a baby to stop crying, no matter what you try…

Yeah, that.

Try feeling it for several months straight. It kinda stinks…in the worst way.

It wreaks havoc on your mommy self-esteem. Rips it to shreds and then stomps on it repeatedly. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, you start questioning your sanity. Wondering, “Am I really losing it or is that the colic, sleep-deprivation, haven’t-had-a-shower-in-two-days thing talking?” It’s a very fine line, my friend.

{Sigh}

It’s been a tough time at our house on the baby front. Sweet little brother, Asher, had colic. I think it’s gone, but I don’t want to jinx it. Colic is rough stuff. Currently, we’re dealing with an extreme aversion to sleep it seems. He fights it like I’ve never seen before. Then, out of the blue, he decides he really IS tired and screams at the top of his lungs because he’s over-tired. Really, over-tired might be an understatement…he’s downright exhausted by the end of the day because big brother, Jonah, can’t seem to leave him alone.

Jonah: “Mommy, Asher woke up.”

Mommy: “Yes, Jonah, babies wake up when you shake the bouncy seat and yell at them.”

I digress.

One would think that he’d be sleeping long periods of time at night since he’s overtired…one would be wrong. Dead wrong. I can’t seem to find the magic equation that results in sleep for him. I think he’s most comfortable on his tummy, but that is a recent hypothesis we’re still testing.

I used to be such a confident mom, but then Asher arrived and threw my parenting “theories” out the window…followed quickly by our household schedule and routine. It’s left me feeling like we’re in a tailspin and I just wish the captain of the plane would grab hold of the controls and land us already….Only we’re not on a plane, and I’m the adult that is fresh out of ideas on how to steady the horizon.

And so for now, I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that THIS IS A SEASON. A sleepless season. A season for staying in spit-up covered pajamas. A walk-the-floors-and-bounce-a-fussy-baby season. A season for being selfless for the one that is literally helpless without me. Then one day, I’ll wake up surprised and refreshed from a night of uninterrupted sleep. And it will feel oh so good!

In the meantime, I’ll embrace the moments that keep me going…

  • ¬†Asher giggling in his sleep…when he finally sleeps
  • Jonah telling “brother secrets” to Asher during floor time

    Brother Secrets

  • Early morning “Daddy & Asher” time, so Mommy can get a little extra sleep before the next feeding
  • Phone calls from friends
  • Milestones met (even if they haven’t been blogged about yet!)
  • Scripture reading during nursing sessions…we’re both getting “fed”
  • Milk-drunk smiles
  • A hand that finds its way to the small of my back while I’m up nursing in the middle of the night
  • and so many more…

One day, not too far down the road I’ve been told, I’ll turn to my husband and say “You remember how it felt when they needed us?” Yeah, that…

Weekend Reading

I’ve read so many great posts recently that I wanted to share with you!

Here are my Top 3:

Motherhood Is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank): Amen. If you are a mom, this is a “Must Read” post.

In Defense of What We Do: Great post by Jessica @ Muthering Heights. It was a sobering reminder that we have a responsibility to the generations to come in our family. What we do now with our little ones is impacting the future more than we know.

Waiting for Isaac: I bookmarked this post by Missy @ It’s Almost Naptime to encourage me on the days that I am struggling with the waiting involved in adoption and am tempted to interfere with God’s plan. I want my “Isaac” not “Ishmael” (Genesis 16)

I also leave you with this little inspiration photo found via Pinterest. It makes me happy to know that I have shutters sitting in my basement waiting on project inspiration…I think I found some.