- God taught me that He is enough. There was a period of time where Michael and I were the only 2 people on earth who knew I was pregnant, and the only 2 people on earth who knew I was facing a miscarriage, unfortunately we were nearly 200 miles apart. As I questioned God's reasons for this happening while I was so alone, I heard Him say "You aren't alone, can't I be enough to comfort you right now?"
- God taught me what loss feels like. The only person close to me I have ever lost was my great grandmother, and because of her age, cancer, and love for Jesus Christ it was a natural thing, and though it hurt an I still miss her, I know she is whole and praising Jesus! Losing my baby was a completely different and infinitely more painful experience than losing my grandma. As badly as that hurt, I now have a greater compassion for my patients and for others around me. A colleague once told me "your loss will make you a better nurse" and she is right, when you have experienced a great loss in your life, it makes you more understanding of the losses others face, and makes you better able to care for them.
- God taught me what it felt like to be an outsider. It's no secret that I love being surrounded by people, that I am often in the thick of things, but I can honestly say that going through a miscarriage taught me what it felt like to be lonely and outcast. There were countless days where I went in to work and the topic of conversation was pregnancy and babies, before my miscarriage I would have joined the conversations in excitement for the (many) girls who were expecting , but to be honest I felt so jealous of those women that I could only sit sadly in silence. I remember one Sunday morning at church, looking across the sanctuary at the little huddle of pregnant girls talking about who knows what pregnancy related topic and all I could think was "I should be in that group, it's not fair." I can honestly say that I have never in my life felt more alone than I did at that moment. And as badly as being an outsider felt, I know that God allowed me to feel that way for a reason, that it would give me a deeper compassion for others.
- God taught me that not every pregnancy has a happy ending. When Michael and I first decided that we wanted to have a baby, I knew miscarriage was a reality, but it never occurred to me that it might happen to us. Now I know that it can happen to anyone, and unfortunately it happens to a lot of women. My eyes have also been open to the fact that many women suffer multiple miscarriages, some in their first trimester, some in their second, some women give birth to silent children, and some will hold their children for minutes, hours, or even days after birth before they are taken to be with Jesus. I have realized how naive I was to think that pregnancy is always a beautiful thing, sometimes it can be an inconceivably painful experience.
- God taught me that not every woman who wants to be a mommy will get to carry their own child. When I was little (before I knew about the birds and the bees), I thought that if you wanted to have a baby you prayed really hard, and if God thought you would be a good parent, you would get pregnant, boy do I realize how wrong that train of thought was, I now know that sometimes people who don't want babies get them, and some people who want them don't. I can honestly say I have been pretty naive to this fact up until recently, I never realized how many women struggle with fertility issues, and how terribly painful those struggles can be. Sometimes those journeys end happily, sometimes they don't, and while it is hard for me to understand why God allows some really wonderful men and women to be infertile, I appreciate the fact that He has made me more aware and sensitive of these things.
- God taught me to appreciate and relish every moment I am pregnant. While I have a good feeling about this pregnancy, I spent a lot of time being nervous and worrying, but I finally realized how ridiculous that truly was! I have decided that no matter how long or short this pregnancy may be (and I pray it is LONG), I am still carrying my child and I will enjoy every moment of it! I spent my entire first pregnancy being so scared of miscarriage that I never enjoyed it, and that is one of my biggest regrets, I have finally resolved to have no regrets this time around, whether this pregnancy ends in miscarriage or the birth of a beautiful child.
- God taught me that children are a blessing. I know I don't have any living children yet, but I can honestly say God has helped me to see what a blessing they truly are. I am always disgusted when I hear people cussing at their children or calling them names, so many times I want to slap the parents and say "don't you realize how lucky you are to have that child?!?" Just remember next time your child is driving you crazy, there is a woman out there who wishes she had a child to drive her crazy.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
There are so many different dimensions of pain and loss when you miscarry a child, or deliver a still baby. Obviously there is the painful loss of your child, there is also the pain of losing your pregnancy, trust me they are two entirely separate things, both of which I mourn differently. I think the loss that makes me most angry is the loss of innocence. When a woman gets pregnant, the world is her oyster; she is full of optimism, and a feeling that all is right with the world, that nothing could go wrong. But when your baby dies, you lose that sense of optimism, you truly become jaded, because you suddenly are made aware of the harsh reality that something could go wrong, and it could happen at any moment. When DH and I discussed TTC, the words miscarriage, infertility, stillbirth, or even SIDS never came up, they were never a thought in my mind, but now I often find myself scared of all of them. I am constantly worrying “what if I can’t get pregnant again? What if I will never bear another child?” and then I think “what if I do get pregnant again, and lose the baby again? Will I be able to survive that tragedy again?” and then I worry, “what if I carry a baby term, and he or she is born sleeping? I truly don’t think I could handle having a still born child” but what if I give birth to a perfectly healthy baby who falls victim to SIDS? I feel like my TTC journey is so full of “what if’s” that I can barely let myself enjoy it. What I wouldn’t give to go back 6 months, before I even realized that any one of these horrors was a possibility in my life. Oh, to be in a place where I could ignorantly revel in the bliss of making and carrying a baby. Every day I hope that my miscarriage was a one time, fluke, possibly a hormone imbalance, but every day I have to ask the question “what if it wasn’t? What if there is something wrong with me? What if it happens again?” I know this is an issue of faith, and I know that ultimately it is in God’s plan, but it is hard not to be plagued with these questions. I suppose the name of my blog explains it all “losing my doubts and fears” huh?
Monday, October 18, 2010
My dearest Child,
Sparrow, there isn’t a day goes by that I don’t think about you and miss you. I miss the thought of you growing inside of me, I miss talking to you, I miss placing my hand over you on my belly, and knowing that all is right with the world. I miss the way your Daddy kissed my belly, and would talk to you, he loves you so much, he did from the moment we found out you existed. He would have been such a good daddy if you had come to live with us, sure he is a little goofy sometimes, but you will never meet a man who loves more passionately than he does, and yes that love reaches all the way to heaven for you. I know he would have loved your hugs and kisses, and you wouldn’t find anyone who would have loved to sit and cuddle with you more than your Daddy. And you can bet that when the boys would have started coming around he would have been greeting each one on the front porch while cleaning one of his many guns, (that you can be sure he would have taught you to shoot right after you learned to walk.). He would have had high standards for any boyfriend you would have had! You can also be sure that you would have been safe with your Daddy, and you would have never had to question his love for you. There are so many things I think of that I will miss doing with you and teaching you Sparrow. I looked forward to lots of crafts and reading and dancing while you were little, and we would have done lots of baking and cooking together when you got a little older. I dreamed about listening to you sing and play the piano and any other instrument you took an interest in, your daddy and I love music, and we would have immersed you in it(and trust me, between the two of us, you would have had a very diverse music library!). I also think about the day I would have taught you to put on make-up, (not too much, just enough to highlight your natural beauty) and the times we would have gone shopping together (until you got too old to be seen with your mom). I also think about getting you ready for the prom, getting your hair done, putting on enough make up to make you look like a princess, and yelling at your dad to “put that gun away, you are going to scare her date!” There are so many things we would have done together as a family, and so many things we would have taught you, I am sad to think that we won’t ever get those chances. We will just have to settle for loving you from afar right now. Sparrow, I wonder what you are doing up there? Is your great great Grandma Jump rocking you to sleep and singing to you like she did for me, your Uncle Chris, and your cousins Dust and DJ? You have so many grandparents in heaven, are they spoiling you and doting over you like your family members here on earth would have done? Are you playing with the other Angel babies of our family and friends? Have you sat on the lap of God and asked Him a million questions about the world and heaven? Do you sing to Him and give Him the praise He deserves? I can’t wait to meet you baby girl! I take comfort in the fact that the only life you have known outside of my body is Heaven, that you have only known perfection, that you dwell in “The Hiding Place,” but I won’t pretend that I’m not jealous that God gets to spend all of His time with you, sweet Angel.
All my love forever, Mommy
Thursday, October 14, 2010
October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, I have joined a campaign called "I am the Face," the goal of which is to break the taboo of talking about miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death. My husband and I have decided to share the story of our sweet Angel, in order to take a stand saying "I am not ashamed to talk about my baby"
On Tuesday July 6th of 2010 after waiting almost a week for my period to start I took the pregnancy test that told me I was pregnant, and then I took another, just to be sure, in hindsight, I should have known, feeling nauseated all the time, constantly having to pee, pulling feelings in my pelvis/abdomen, all of the signs were there. I can honestly say that as badly as I wanted that baby, I was in a state of shock, I fell in to my husband, Michael’s, arms and just cried. The big news came the day that we were celebrating my birthday, and though I felt a little uneasy for reasons unbeknownst to me at that time, I can’t imagine a more beautiful birthday present than the one I received that day. We spent the day on Lake Michigan and all I wanted to do was to tell every person we encountered that I was carrying our first child. The next day we took a trip to Barnes and Nobles and I bought a week by week pregnancy guide and Michael got “the Cave Man’s Guide to Pregnancy,” I’m sure we were both glowing at the checkout line! It was a blissful few days for us, rubbing my belly and talking to our baby. Michael was leaving that weekend for 2 weeks of annual training with the Army and was so excited that he wanted to tell our families before he left, I wasn’t comfortable telling anyone yet, I was only 6 weeks along and something just didn’t feel right to me. Well Saturday morning Michael kissed my lips and my belly and told me how much he was going to miss me and the baby, and Sunday morning is when the bleeding started. I tried to convince myself that it was implantation bleeding and it would stop, but the bleeding just got heavier, I called him in tears, I knew something was wrong, but he was the only other person who knew about the baby, and I just wasn’t ready to talk to anyone else. I was spending the weekend with my family and tried to go about life as usual, not wanting to say anything to anyone, but I just counted down the hours until my doctor’s office opened Monday morning. I called the office, and they told me I could either come into the office or the hospital to have my blood work drawn, I didn’t want to go into the hospital, I just know too many people there. I called my parents on my way into the office with tears in my eyes, hating that I had to tell them they were probably losing their first grandchild before I could even tell them we were expecting her. As I sat in the exam room waiting for the nurse to find a vein she assured me that some bleeding was normal, what I didn’t tell her about was the cramping and back pain that I knew were not normal. The downside to being a nurse is having the head knowledge, unfortunately in that moment I didn’t have the nurses clarity, I was just a scared mom. She told me that I would have the results of my HCG levels the next morning, and even though I knew that first level wouldn’t tell me anything conclusive, I was anxious for that phone call and it still felt like an eternity waiting. I can honestly say I have never prayed so hard in my life, I spent the whole night watching the clock and begging the Lord for my baby’s life, it has been the most physically and emotionally painful thing I have ever been through. The call didn’t come as early as I had hoped, but by noon the doctor’s office called to tell me that my levels showed that I was between 4 and 5 weeks pregnant (my levels were in the 400’s), I still don’t know if I was truly only that far along or if my levels had already started to drop. I made a follow up appointment for Thursday to ensure that I would have my results before the weekend, the results that would tell me what was really going on. I went back into the office Thursday morning and after I left a strange peace came over me, one that I, to this day, cannot explain. I spent what felt like another eternity praying, and pleading with God, and waiting for that phone call Friday morning, only to get the news I had been dreading, my HCG levels had plummeted to 50. I didn’t cry at first, I was just in shock, I called Michael, and all I could say was “we lost the baby,” we both were in silent tears for what felt like hours. After sitting in stunned silence, alone, I finally called the American Red Cross, yes Frank from the American Red Cross was the first person besides my doctor and husband to know that I had a miscarriage, and I couldn’t have asked for a more compassionate and understanding case worker. Frank called my doctor and asked if he felt that this was an emergency which warranted bringing my husband home from military duty, to which my doctor said “of course!” (Thank you Dr. Barkow!). Frank called me several hours later to inform me that he had called Michael’s chain of command and that they were in the process of deciding if he could come home or not, yes my husband got his first “Red Cross Call” and hopefully his last ever. The Army didn’t let me down…they gave Michael a 3 day pass and told him that if he called to check in each day after that, they would extend his pass so that he would not have to come back and he could stay home with me. We spent that time alone, just being together, hurting, holding, and working towards healing. During that week we discussed getting a tattoo, I suggested a Sparrow because the whole week when I was waiting, I kept being reminded of the song “His eye is on the Sparrow and I know He watches me.” We looked online and found that the Sparrow is the symbol for love and freedom, how perfect for our baby, who was free from the pains of this earth. We also chose the middle name Liran, which is a Hebrew word meaning “my song, my joy.” Sparrow Liran was expected to join us in this world March 6th, 2011, but rather she flew to Heaven on July 16th, 2010, where we know she is worshipping the Lord with the family members she would have never known on this earth.
Though we never carried you in our arms, we will always carry you in our hearts, we love you Sparrow Liran.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Please don’t think I was spared any grief because I lost my baby before I met her
I loved her from the moment I knew she was growing inside of me
Please don’t say I should be over it by now, that I should be ready to move on
There is a hole in my life where she should be, and my heart just isn’t complete
Please don’t tell me that something was probably wrong with my baby
I don’t care; I would have loved her no matter what
Please don’t continue to ask me if I am pregnant again, or when I will be
Each month brings its own disappointment, without the added pressure
Please know that seeing pregnant women can be painful, new babies can be too
Each one is a reminder of what I lost, what I want and do not have
Please understand that to you my feelings may be irrational, even insane
That doesn’t make the pain any less real to me
Please don’t brush my loss under the rug, and act as if it never happened
It’s a reality in my life, I am reminded of it daily, and don’t get to forget
Please remember that I am grieving and trying to heal
It is an unpredictable process, and it will take some time
Please don’t be afraid to say the word miscarriage in front of me
I know what happened to me, and I need you to acknowledge it too
Please let me talk about my baby and my pregnancy and my loss
It might seem uncomfortable, but it is the only way I can heal