Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blessings



This song conjures such strong memories and emotion, that I can't even listen to it without being brought to tears, it's a very reflective song for me on so many levels. The image of those thousand sleepless nights she sings of, takes me back to the week that I miscarried, the hours I spent laying awake crying and crying out, the nights I did nothing, but beg for the life of the child inside of me. I spent a lot of time feeling as if those cries fell on unconcerned ears, thinking that God was indifferent to the fact that I lost my baby, and to the fact that I was hurting. I remember being so mad that God would let me go through something so awful while my husband was gone, I asked why He allowed this to happen while I was alone, and all I heard was that still small voice, dejectedly telling me "You're not alone, can't I be enough for you right now?" This song reminds me that God's love and promises should be enough, that He longs for them to be enough for us, and while my heart was breaking, so was His, not just because He was watching me hurt, but because I doubted that He only wants to give me the best, that I doubted His love, and that I doubted the promises He made to me as His child. I often think of Job when I reflect on that week, of God giving Lucifer permission to tempt and try Job in any way He wanted, did the same conversation happen about me? Did Satan asks God's permission, and did God oblige with confidence that it would only make me a stronger witness, give me greater ground for His kingdom? I cannot say that I was completely faithful to my Lord in the weeks and months following the loss of my baby, as I have shared before I was very cold and indifferent towards God, I never doubted His existence, but I doubted His plan. However, I can also say that when I threw off the shroud of doubt over my eyes, I knew that God was using my suffering in the lives of others, that it wasn't just about me, that it was about the other parents I would encounter who were grieving, that it was about allowing God to use me as a light in someone elses darkness, it was about letting blessings come through my rain, through my storms, through my hardest nights. As much as I want to offer comfort to other moms, I always wish it wasn't necessary, I often catch myself saying "It's just not right, I wish no parent had to experience this loss," in fact I often find myself wishing I had both of my babies here on earth with me, but this song really convicted me, that this world is NOT my home, that my heart doesn't belong here, and neither do my kids. My ultimate goal as a Christian parent is for my children to spend eternity praising the Lord, and my job is halfway done, yes, it hurts that I never met her, or held her, or cared for her, but she is in the care of the Most High, she IS home, in the arms of the Father who created her for His own joy, and for that I cannot be angry, for that I can feel blessed! I urge you all to remember that in the midst of life's storms, Gods love would never give you lesser things, that He wants to offer you mercy, and He wants to richly bless your life, don't lose faith in His promises, because one day your pain will be gone as you enter into the Home that God has been preparing for you since the beginning of time, your heart will soon enough have all of the things it has been longing for. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sparrow Liran

When I lost my first baby, I lost many things, and one of those things I thought I lost was naming a baby. It didn't take me long to realize that this wasn't true, that just because I didn't get to meet my baby, that didn't mean she didn't deserve a name like any other child. To some it may seem crazy to name a child that was never born into this world, and it may not be right for everyone, but for me this single act brought me a great deal of closure and healing, it gave me a small sense of normalcy, amidst chaos, it helped me to feel like that baby existed, that I was a mommy to a real child.
Shortly after my miscarriage had been confirmed, I brought up the idea of a tattoo in memory of the baby to Michael, he liked the idea and wondered what I had in mind. My mind went back to the song that had brought me so much comfort during the week of waiting for the results that confirmed I had lost our baby, "His eye is on the Sparrow." We did some research on pictures of sparrows, and even the symbolism of the sparrow, when we found that Sparrows are a symbol of freedom and love we knew this was perfect for our baby, our baby who we loved, and who was eternally free, in the truest sense of the word. After we got the Sparrow tattoo's the name Sparrow just really stuck for our baby.
While we had chosen a name for our baby, I still felt as if something was missing, Sparrow needed a middle name. One evening I looked through 100's of names, the meanings of names is very important to Michael and I, so I wrote down a few names that were especially meaningful and showed my list to Michael. I had one in mind that felt perfect, and much to my surprise it was the first name Michael pointed out on my list. The name is Liran, it is a Hebrew word meaning "my song, my joy." I don't think I will ever be able to explain why, but the name is perfect. While it was devastating that we lost her, I didn't want her name associated with sadness, I wanted it to be an expression of the perfect life of a child born into heaven. Freedom, love, songs, joy, all things I associate with heaven, and now with my heavenly child.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Rainbow Baby*

I have gone back and forth on whether or not to share since this blog is for the purpose of sharing about and supporting those who have experienced a miscarriage, but I finally have decided that my readers have become a part of my journey and I wanted to share with you that on June 17th at 11:02pm I gave birth to my Rainbow Baby*.
 I was induced at 36 weeks and 6 days (June 16th) due to pre-eclampsia, After 28 hours of Pitocin induced labor I stopped progressing and my baby boy was delivered via C-section. It took him almost 30 seconds to take his first breathe and I will tell you, that was the longest 30 seconds of my life. It is so scary being pregnant after a loss, that I thought I was surely going to lose this baby, too. And if I thought being pregnant after a loss was scary, being a mom after a loss is even scarier. I am going to get honest here, because I think most new moms are too scared to be. I spent the first 2 weeks crying about everything, I was totally overwhelmed and convinced I was a terrible mother, I just knew that I wasn't competent enough to be a mother. His first night home he cried, I cried, neither of us slept more than a few minutes in a row, and I nearly dropped him when I fell asleep nursing him in my glider. I loved my baby, but I did not love being a mom. I am glad to say that has changed, but I still worry about that little man, I don't know if it is my previous loss or if it is normal, but I am constantly checking to make sure he is breathing, at night, I actually turn the baby monitor up so loud that I can hear him breathe as I fall asleep. I am petrified of being this child's mom, but I have never been more excited for anything (well, after the initial shock wore off, that is)

*"Rainbow Babies" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted...

Psalm 34:18 tells us that "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." A year ago, I would have laughed at this verse, in fact it probably would have made me angry. I remember one Sunday morning about a month after my miscarriage, looking across the church sanctuary and seeing a little huddle of pregnant gals, I imagined what pregnancy and baby related topics they must be talking about, as I thought that I should be in that circle, too. I turned to Michael with tears in my eyes and told him "you know, sometimes I think God took our baby just because He could!" Michael just shook his head and said "You know that's not true, God doesn't do things like that" I just told him "I'm not so sure about that anymore." To me, God had become this big emotionless man, I knew He was there, I knew He had the control over everything that was happening in my life, but I honestly believed He didn't care. I was never truly angry at God, it was much worse, I became indifferent to Him, I just couldn't fathom that He could be a caring, emotional God and still allow my baby to die despite my prayers and begging. The sermon that Sunday was on the crucifixion, and I never imagined how it would impact me. I listened with tears in my eyes as the pastor talked about  God turning His head away as Jesus cried out to Him from the cross and a couple of truths being very evident to me. The first truth was that God genuinely knew how I felt, not only did He know what it felt like to lose a child, but He understood the pain I felt when I had to sit idly by, while my baby died, He knew what it felt like not to intervene, not to be able to protect His child, and He knew what it felt like to know that was the plan laid out and that changing it would have been dangerous. The second thing I finally understood was why God had to turn His head away as Jesus cried out to Him, I always thought this was cruel and selfish, but I realized that God hurt so badly for His son, that He could not stand to see Him in that pain. I knew in that moment that it was no different when I cried out to God, when I was begging for my baby's life, when I was in the deepest pain I had ever felt, He hurt that badly for me. So today, I can believe that "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm not alone...

First of all I need to put a disclaimer on this post, it is going to be raw, it's going to be a bit graphic, and it may be a bit unsettling for those of you who have never experienced a miscarriage. That being said, I have struggled with sharing this, I am going to be honest in a way I am not comfortable, but I feel strongly called to do so, because my goal is to break the taboos associated with pregnancy loss, and let others know they are not alone.
I remember being told "I hope you don't have to have a D&C," and so I kept praying I wouldn't have to undergo this procedure, until the day I passed my baby. I was going to the bathroom, and as I looked down at the pad I was wearing I saw a clot, which is not unusual when you have a natural miscarriage, but this one was different, the coloring was not the same. As I looked closer, I realized the strange color was tissue, that what I was looking at was not just a blood clot, what I was seeing was a tiny, fully intact, fetus enclosed in a sac, just like the pictures I had seen in all of the pregnancy books. In that moment I wished I had had the D&C, I wished that I was not seeing what I knew I was.
It was unsettling to say the least, I had no idea what to do, so I quickly rolled that pad up and threw it away. My heart still breaks a little when I think about those few minutes I spent in the bathroom with my baby. I have spent a lot of time beating myself up over the fact that my baby was so unceremoniously disposed of, to this day, I wish I had had more clarity in that moment, to do things differently. I kept this secret for a while, but one day it became too much. I tearfully apologized to my husband for throwing our baby away, expecting him to hate me as much as I hated myself for this act, but he just held me. He told me he wasn't angry, and as I tried to convince him that he should be, he told me there was nothing I could do and that I needed to forgive myself.
There are times I have heard stories of moms who were able to save their baby and have a little memorial and burial, and I felt like the worst mother in the world for not doing the same for my baby. In meeting other angel mommies, though, I found that I was not alone in my actions or regrets, and this eased my pain some. It was comforting to know that I was not the only woman who had been so emotionally overwhelmed that she literally had no clue what to do, that the only thought she had was "I cannot possibly be looking at my baby right now, this cannot be happening!"
I am still working on totally forgiving myself, but I am coming to terms with what happened, and the sting isn't so acute. I am constantly reminding myself that what I saw was merely the earthly shell my child wore, that she no longer resided there, that the soul of who she is had already been born into heaven.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Because I knew you..."

I don’t envy women who have had a smooth journey to motherhood. I don’t regret the 7 weeks I carried my first child. I am not angry that I lost my baby. I haven’t always been able to say these things, but today I truly mean every word. The last 10 months have been painful, but they have been fruitful. A friend who lost her 4 year old daughter told me “If God would have said I will spare you the pain, but you would not know her or you can have her, know great love and joy, but then you will feel the loss to the same degree as your love and joy…I would have her again and again.” There was a time when this statement would have seemed strange to me, even irrational, but today it is not, today I understand her heart, and I understand exactly what she means. I never met my Sparrow Liran while she lived, but I would not change the fact that I carried her, because no matter how small a life is, there is always something we can learn from it. I think of the incredible growth God has brought to my heart and life since losing my baby, I think of the compassion and understanding I have gained for those around me who are hurting, I think of the appreciation I have gained for life, no matter how short; I would have none of these without my Sparrow. I truly would not be the same person without her. I know it seems strange to some that I mourn her loss, that I recognize her as my child, that I talk about her, that I memorialize her life, but I would not be the person I am today without her. Lord Tennyson said “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” many scoff at this sentiment, but when you truly love someone, it is worth the risk of losing them, for the change they have brought to your life, you are willing to lose them again and again, because that means you will know them again and again, and you know, that without them, you would not be the same.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Unknown Author, Beautiful Sentiment

I did not write this, but a friend shared it with me, and it is so true and so beautiful!! If you have seen/read this before and know who the author is, please share with me so I can give credit, where credit is due!
***********************************

There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better.

I will be better not because of genetics, or money or that I have read more books but because I have struggled and toiled for this child.
I have longed and waited. I have cried and prayed.
I have endured and planned over and over again.

Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.
I will notice everything about my child.
I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover. I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life.

I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold and feed him and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot or cry tears of a broken dream. My dream will be crying for me.

I count myself lucky in this sense; that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see.

Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love.

I will be a better mother for all that I have endured. I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain.

I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body. I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall.

I have prevailed.
I have succeeded.
I have won.

So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.

I listen.

And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely. I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes.

I have learned to appreciate life.

Yes I will be a wonderful mother.

Author Unknown

Friday, April 22, 2011

Jesus Commands my Destiny

video

This is one of my favorite songs of all time, there is just something about the lyrics, the imagery always touches my heart, I rarely make it through this song without crying. After I lost Sparrow the lyrics “From life’s first cry to final breath” always brought sadness, and dare I say a little bit of anger, as it always brought to mind my baby whose cry I never heard. It wasn’t until recently that I heard the lyrics which followed that line, “Jesus commands my destiny,” isn’t it amazing how often we don’t see the forest for the trees? And so finally, hearing those lyrics all together, “from life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny,” I was able to put it ALL in perspective, and it hit me, that not only does God command my destiny, but also the destiny of each one of my children. As Christian parents we dedicate our children, we have them baptized, we pray for God to use our children for His will, but very few of us realize what it can entail when we put our child in the hand of God. And may I be so bold as to say, that if some of us realized God's will for our child, me might be very hesitant to dedicate them to His will. For many of us, when we allow God to command the destiny of our child, it means that we will lose that child. As painful as that is for us to let go, many times this is how God uses our child(ren) for His will. It has taken me some time to realize this fact, and to even come to peace with it, but I know that even though my Sparrow’s life lasted a mere 7 weeks, that were only lived inside of my body, God has and is and will be using her little life for His grand will.

Friday, April 8, 2011

"Moving On" vs. "Moving Forward"

There is a great sense of guilt that can often accompany smiles, laughter, and celebration after you have lost a child (at any age), there is that feeling that you are somehow disrespecting your angel by feeling happiness again, that somehow you have "moved on" and left your angels memory behind. What is important to remember is that there is a difference between "moving on" and "moving forward." So often we are told to "just move on" after we lose a baby, but that is impossible, no matter how small that child was when we lost them, they will always carry a piece of our heart, they are a part of us, and we CANNOT and WILL NOT forget them. What is possible is "moving forward" into a new normal, life will never be what it was before, it can't be, but you can find peace in a new normal. That new normal will contain days of sadness and tears, but it is also okay to smile, to laugh, to celebrate even. This happiness does not mean we have forgotten our child, or that we do not still grieve the loss of them, what it means is that our child's memory has meshed into the story of our lives, they have become a (normal) part of who we are. So when you find yourself laughing or smiling after, do not allow yourself to be overcome with guilt, but rather continue smiling knowing that you have found that new normal that is essential to survive heartache.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jealousy

In high school I was always a person who was prone to jealousy, I think it was the insecurity with my size and looks that caused this. I always wanted what someone else had; their body, clothes, shoes, hairstyles, boyfriends, cars, backpacks, you name it I probably have coveted it at one time or another. I even remember times while Michael was deployed, of feeling jealous of the other couples I would see who were actually in the same country. But I can honestly say that compared to the jealousy I know now, all of that was minuscule. Yes I realize jealousy is a sin, but I think if we are all honest (which is my goal with this blog), we would admit to feeling jealousy at one point or another in life.

In the months between my miscarriage and this pregnancy, seeing a pregnant woman, hearing about a friend’s ultrasound, seeing baby bumps, getting baby shower invitations, it really made me covet everything that I had lost, I can honestly say I never knew jealousy like this in my life. Now as I sit in the month of March, the month we would have welcomed our first child into our home, I feel that same overwhelming jealousy as I hear birth announcements, see pictures of doting March parents with their bundles of joy, read Facebook status updates about new babies, it's hard not to miss and long for what could have been. I thought being pregnant again would soften the blow of Sparrow's due date, but as much as I love this child inside of me and am looking forward to the arrival of my July baby, my March baby cannot be replaced, and the past month of watching babies being born has reminded me of that fact.

It's funny how important all of those things seemed to me years ago, the clothes, the shoes, the cars, the hair, the boyfriends, it's laughable now to think I ever thought of these as envious, because they just aren't that important, and the feeling of jealousy was so minuscule in comparison to what I have felt over these last few months.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

PAL (Pregnant After Loss)

People think that when you get pregnant after losing a child, that everything is okay, that you're happy, that life is good, and that you have forgotten about the miscarriage (or stillbirth) that you experienced, but it's not true. You almost feel like you are holding your breath, as much as you try to enjoy being pregnant, there is still that small voice in the back of your head asking "what if I lose this baby, too?" You get excited when you hit those milestones, for me it was 7 weeks and 2 days (I lost my first at 7 weeks, 1 day), then it was the second trimester, then it was those first kicks, then it was the ultrasound that told me my baby was perfect, but you never fully relax, because deep down inside you are just waiting for something bad to happen. The statistics don't matter, it doesn't matter how many women have miscarriages, it doesn't matter if one or two miscarriages is medically unremarkable, it doesn't even matter if a successive pregnancy is completely healthy and uncomplicated, your mommy heart has been broken, and there is no making it whole again.
Besides the fear you also have that child, the one you never met, or that you only held for a few brief moments after they were born silent, you can't replace that child. It doesn't matter how many more children you have, the child you lost will always hold a piece of your heart. You will always miss them, you will always wonder what life would have been like with them in it, there is no getting over that. As I carry this child with incredible joy, I still find myself sad for the baby that I lost, this would have been the month I would have REALLY become a mommy, and I can't help, but feel jealous as I see all of the March babies being born, wondering what life would be like right now with a newborn in our home. Does missing my first child mean that I love my second any less? Absolutely not! This loss has taught me the depth of feeling that a mother's heart truly has, and that makes it okay for me to be sad over one child, while rejoicing in another. So you ask, am I excited to be pregnant again? Of course. Am I still healing from the loss of my first child? Of course!