November 10, 2010
Today was to be my due date with our second baby, whom we call Claire. She is not with me in body, but she is always on my mind and forever in my heart. I can hardly wait to hold her in the presence of GOD.
from The Seaside and the Fireside
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
There is no flock, however watched and tended,
But one dead lamb is there!
There is no fireside, howsoe’er defended,
But has one vacant chair!
The air is full of farewells to the dying,
And mournings for the dead;
The heart of Rachel, for her children crying,
Will not be comforted!
Let us be patient! These severe afflictions
Not from the ground arise,
But oftentimes celestial benedictions
Assume this dark disguise.
We see but dimly through the mists and vapors;
Amid these earthly damps
What seem to us but sad, funereal tapers
May be heaven’s distant lamps.
There is no Death! What seems so is transition;
This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
Whose portal we call Death.
She is not dead,–the child of our affection,–
But gone unto that school
Where she no longer needs our poor protection,
And Christ himself doth rule.
In that great cloister’s stillness and seclusion,
By guardian angels led,
Safe from temptation, safe from sin’s pollution,
She lives, whom we call dead.
Day after day we think what she is doing
In those bright realms of air;
Year after year, her tender steps pursuing,
Behold her grown more fair.
Thus do we walk with her, and keep unbroken
The bond which nature gives,
Thinking that our remembrance, though unspoken,
May reach her where she lives.
Not as a child shall we again behold her;
For when with raptures wild
In our embraces we again enfold her,
She will not be a child;
But a fair maiden, in her Father’s mansion,
Clothed with celestial grace;
And beautiful with all the soul’s expansion
Shall we behold her face.
And though at times impetuous with emotion
And anguish long suppressed,
The swelling heart heaves moaning like the ocean,
That cannot be at rest,–
We will be patient, and assuage the feeling
We may not wholly stay;
By silence sanctifying, not concealing,
The grief that must have way.
October 22, 2010
At church we sing this song that more and more it is hitting me at the very core of my heart and what I long for; what I need; and what I am clinging to.
We all need to hear that beautiful things come out of the dust. Beautiful things come out of loss. Out of sickness. Out of pain.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, is out of the realm of GOD and HIS ability to make beautiful things happen and come out of what we only see as dust.
And I know this, and I feel this, and I believe this even in the midst of where HE has me now.
Even in the dark I see the LIGHT. Even in the void I feel the FILL. Even in the sorrow I feel the HOPE.
It’s nothing foolish I have made up in my own mind. It’s there in HIS word, in HIS very promise to me as HIS daughter.
At the end of Melissa’s beautiful letter she penned these words:
“So I planted these for you. Give them a little water- just enough to keep the soil damp. And give them space. And quiet. There’s something beautiful at work in those dark places.”
To all who mourn in Israel, HE will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for HIS own glory. Isaiah 61:3
October 20, 2010
Friends and family will be speechless. They won't have anything to say.
October 11, 2010
October 6, 2010
September 28, 2010
Weep because you can.
September 24, 2010
The last few weeks of knowing that I am pregnant have been a mixed bag of emotions. But somewhere in the process of being scared of the unknown, joy crept in and has taken residence in a small place within me. It's still a small part of me, but it's there nonetheless and that feels good.
Some of you have asked what I am doing this third time around to help keep this baby safe and well and I don't mind sharing if might help any one of you. First, I am taking progesterone twice daily - I won't get into the how part of how I am taking it, but it should help raise my levels that were on the low normal side. Second, I am doing a series of weekly iron shots to boost my iron levels. Pregnant women should be in the range of 100-150 and I was only at 43 as of two weeks ago. I am also eating red meat (something I have not done up until now) to help boost my levels. And last, I have increased my vitamin D intake and am now taking 10,000 i.u.'s of it each day. Progesterone, iron, and vitamin D are all very important in helping maintain a pregnancy and it is my intent to stay on top of my intake of all three.
Also, I only had my hormone levels checked twice- the week that I found out I was pregnant and then 6 days later. At that time, my HCG levels were doubling every two days like they are supposed to. I opted to not go in for weekly blood tests to keep having those levels checked; it's an act of faith and trust for me.
Let me take this opportunity to say that if you are under the care of a doctor who is not listening to you and shows little to no concern for anything that you are concerned about, find a new doctor. I have heard one too many stories about a doctor giving someone the run-around or making them feel like their concerns aren't valid or worth looking into. I am fortunate to have a doctor who has journeyed with me since my first miscarriage and has been proactive in helping my body get healthier and stronger with the hopes of carrying a baby to term. Each time I leaver her office I cry on the bus because I feel so thankful to the Lord for giving me such a compassionate and talented doctor. Seriously, get out of your bad doctor relationship if you can and find someone who will listen to you and give you the kind of care you need and want.
We have our first ultrasound for this baby on Tuesday, September 28. I can't help but think of what my friend Melissa says about ultrasounds- "It's us taking an early peek at something that God is in the process of doing." How true that is! I feel conflicted about taking an early peek because ultrasounds can be scary and they can unnecessarily fill you with worry.......but they can also fill with you excitement and love for your baby. I am hoping and praying for the latter, naturally.
I am asking for prayers of peace and reassurance that the Lord is in full and complete control and that whatever news befalls on Tuesday is in His control and because of His perfect plan.
Assuming we get good news, I'll share pictures on my next post!
September 16, 2010
Actually, we are happy/anxious/scared/thankful to announce that we are expecting again. It's a gift we do not take lightly. Nor is it one that we receive without baggage.
I have given blood beyond measure up to this point. Hormone levels have been checked and rechecked. There have been several doctor, nutritionist, and midwife visits. Lab results are eagerly awaited and analyzed. Plans and procedures are constantly being tweaked. All of this to help us keep our little baby. It brings me to tears when I think about all the efforts that have gone into helping this little life.
And yet we know that no earthly effort determines what happens to this baby. Just like our babies before, this baby's life is in the hands of the One who gives life. And that makes me cry, too. They are tears of thankfulness. Just knowing that this baby is known by GOD and that HE watches over our baby is of great comfort to me.
As a woman, I realize how fortunate I am to have gotten pregnant three times in ten months. I am grateful that I can even get pregnant. And yet I live in a constant state of longing for my babies that I have lost. I love my Jack and Claire and I would have loved the chance to be there momma on earth. There will always be that part of me that longs for what should have been. It's been a hard, yet sweet, journey to both grieve the past and try to hope for the future. This is a dance I know well.
The day I found out that I was pregnant, the LORD gave me these words: GROW. BE WELL. I believe these are words that I am to pray over my baby.
Whenever I am anxious; or scared; or resting in the knowledge that my baby is with me still, I pray that my baby grows and is well.
Grow baby. Grow and let your momma delight in her swelling belly. Grow and thrive. Be well, sweet baby of mine. Be well in my womb and let me see your beautiful face in May.
Friends, we share this news not to seek your congratulations (you can congratulate us when a baby is in our arms) but to ask for your prayers. Please join us in covering our baby in the prayer that he/she will GROW and BE WELL.
"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:18-19
August 8, 2010
Finding meaning- no matter how much- does not bring one to peace with death.
And I am a little loopy in my thinking from time to time. The other day I thought that if I cried hard enough I could bring a baby into existence with my tears. It feels stupid to admit that now, but in the moment it felt true. Really, really true.
I have been asked if I have hope. I don’t. I have no hope.
I don’t doubt that I will get pregnant again. My body has proven that it has no problem getting pregnant. I just don’t have hope that I can sustain a pregnancy. Yet I continue do what I can to help prepare my body should there be a third pregnancy but to me, it all feels to be in vain.
This journey has been hard and to say that sounds so cheap because it has been more than hard. It’s been daunting. perplexing. disheartening. agonizing.
And such ugliness has surfaced in me. I struggle with jealousy of my friends who are moms and think mean things like “If you don’t stop talking about your children right now I am going to hit you” or “How can you be so happy when I am so sad” or "You have a lot of nerve to be complaining about your kids to me."
Yuck. Who is this person?
It’s me. And I hate that.
I continue to struggle with relating to others. I find myself identifying people, particularly women, as “never lost;” “lost one;” “lost two or more;” etc. But even with those who have lost there is a chasm because everyone’s experience with loss is so different.
I would venture to say that some have found it to be a bit too much in how I have grieved the loss of my babies. They think I have made much of that which is small to them.
I make no apologies for how I have grieved and continue to grieve for my sweet Jack and Claire. They were both once alive with beating hearts. And they are worth grieving over.
Where is God in this?
I think He is in my pain; holding me in my crying convulsions; washing over me with His peace in my restless nights; whispering Truth to me in my unsure moments; pouring out His care for me through the care and words of others; and binding me up in His love.
I feel Him in this. I know He is in this.
July 25, 2010
I hesitantly looked at the pictures that were e-mailed and it pained me to see a happy momma with her snuggly baby boy. It only made me realize more just what I lost on November 11, 2009. I lost not only the chance to carry my baby, but the chance to meet him and take lots of pictures of he and I. Together.
Some of had said to me. “Well it’s a good thing you didn’t already have children because then you would know exactly what you lost.”
Aside from the fact that this is an ignorant thing to say to any woman who has lost a baby, this is an all-together completely untrue thing to say.
Believe me, I do not need to have a child at home to know that I have lost two amazing gifts; two beautiful chances; two sweet what could-have-beens.
The agony I continue to feel on a daily basis tells me this.
July 16, 2010
July 1, 2010
This week marks what would have been the half-way point had I still been carrying Claire. We would have had our appointment to find out the gender of our baby, but alas, no appointment is needed.
And in just two short weeks we would have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first baby, Jack. July was to be a month full of birthdays: mine and Jack’s.
It’s so good for me to say their names. To write them. To see them.
But I feel as if I must fight for my right to grieve. It feels sometimes that I am being pushed to “move on” and “get over” the death of our babies.
Some want to know how I am doing and act surprised when I share that I am sad.
Some say that they hope that I have found some peace in the loss of my babies.
Let me tell you about peace in death…….there is none.
Death is not something that we are supposed to be at peace with. Death was not supposed to be, remember?
Katherine sent me this book and the writer had this to say about death and peace:
“Shalom is the fullness of life in all dimensions. Shalom is dwelling in justice and delight with God, with neighbor, with oneself, in nature. Death is shalom’s moral enemy. Death is demonic. We cannot live at peace with death. When the writer of Revelation spoke of the coming of the day of shalom, he did not say that on that day we would live at peace with death. He said that on that day ‘There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ “
I have shared with some that I feel different inside and I can’t quite put my finger on what the difference is or even how to express it. But then in the same book, I came across this passage and it hit the nail on the head of how I feel inside that may not be apparent outside:
“I remember delighting in them- trees, art, house, music, pink morning sky, work well done, flowers, books. I still delight in them. I’m still grateful. But the zest is gone. The passion is cooled, the striving quieted, the longing stilled. My attachment is loosened. No longer do I set my heart on them. I can do without them. They do not matter. Instead of rowing, I float. The joy that comes my way I savor. But the seeking, the clutching, the aiming is gone. I don’t suppose anyone on the outside notices. I go through my paces. What the world gives, I still accept. But what it promises, I no longer reach for. I’ve become an alien in the world, shyly touching it as if it’s not mine. I don’t belong anymore.”
I am changed.
And I will never come to peace with the death of my babies; or stop grieving them; or thinking about them and what could have been; or stop longing for them.
June 24, 2010
I just pulled out of the oven a peach cobbler for my deacon meeting tonight (isn't that perfect, peach cobbler for a church function!?) and I tasted it........and it's pretty yummy!
Want the recipe? It's yours for only $9.99......eh, but since you are here, I'll give it to you for free.
In a greased 9 x 13" pan, place:
- 10 ripe peaches, cut into 1/4" slices (you could take the time to peel your peaches if you'd like- just blanche them in boiling water for 30 seconds and the skin will begin to peel off. For what it's worth, I like to leave the skin on.)
- 2 cups GF baking mix or flour (I used brown rice flour this time)
- 1 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 1/4 cup melted Earth Balance spread
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, or until the top of the crust is golden brown.
P.S. You could easily turn this into a GF/WF/dairy free/white sugar free peach crisp- follow the directions from this recipe on what to do with the peaches and then go here for directions on how to make the crisp topping.
June 21, 2010
I can't call this a recipe....it's more like a few easy steps:
- Sautee 4 garlic gloves (fresh or frozen) in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until garlic is soft
- Pour in two cups of UNCOOKED, DRY rice (I use brown rice) to the pan and allow that to sautee for 5 minutes
- Add 32 ounces of chicken broth and 15 ounces of plain tomato sauce to the pan and bring it to a boil
- Once the mixture has reached boiling point, lower the heat, cover your pan and allow rice to simmer for approximately one hour or until all of the liquid has cooked into the rice
And it's for those of you who can't have wheat. or gluten. or dairy. and are staying away from processed sugar. Yes friends, it's good and not too bad for you!
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Mix these ingredients into a bowl and place in a greased 9 x 13" pan:
- 12 stalks of rhubarb, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- A pint of strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 1/2 cup GF baking mix or flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon zest
- 1/2 cup melted Earth Balance spread
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 3 cups GF oats (or less if you don't like a lot of oats)
- 1 1/4 cups GF flour or baking mix
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- Cinnamon to taste
June 10, 2010
The Cuisipro Herb Keeper.
Not only is this good-looking and BPA-free, but good golly it keeps your fresh herbs and vegetables (like asparagus) fresh for weeks!
I received it as a Christmas gift, so I am not sure if it can be found in stores or not (maybe Bed, Bath and Beyond?), but you can find it here on Amazon.com.
Here's to keeping your herbs fresh. Longer!
June 7, 2010
It’s with me when I meet you for coffee. It’s there when you see me at church or at a party. It’s still in me when I laugh with you.
My grief is always with me.
You may think that I should be “over” this by now. You are wrong.
How can I get “over” the loss of life that God put in my body? the loss of what was supposed to be? the loss of what was to come?
Even with getting pregnant again I have had to exercise the balance of what doctors say and trusting God with the timing. I just feel like trusting the Lord completely with this because I don't have the mental capacity to think about when is the best time to start trying again.
I feel different inside- death changes you.
Life, if you didn’t already know, is quite fragile. And death is painful no matter how you slice it- knowing God or not.
I read somewhere the best color in an artist’s palette is black. You can add black to any color and it adds more depth and richness. I have to believe that my black is adding more depth and richness to my life.
On looking for an answer to why this happened: My heart is not in pursuit of earthly answers. I just want to be present- heart and mind- in this journey and keep my eyes on Jesus.
I have had days where I wished I had never been pregnant. I think I would rather not know the pain of loss and would much prefer to be a person who is still trying to conceive.
I am tired and weary and have no words to say. I feel like a lump. I feel like a shell of myself. I am easily angered. Easily disappointed. I am neck-high in grief and doing my best to stay above the surface. I am low. I am sad. I am uncomfortable in my own skin and disheartened.
I dream of babies. I long for babies.
I find comfort in the morbid and uneasiness in the fairytale that all will be well.
I know life is bigger than me having a baby. I know this. But as I explained to some friends, I am just trying to find my place in THE story. And in November 2009, I thought my place in the story was to become a mom. And then that chapter was deleted. In March 2010, I was ecstatic to see that the chapter had been put back in and I was to be a mom after all. And then the chapter was thrown out again.
Violently torn out of my story, really.
You don’t know this loss. You don’t.
This is my journey.
I have had moments where I feel like I am in a bad movie- being asked to choose between trying to miscarry at home or do it quick and and have a D&C; trying to decide what to put my baby’s remains in while we are at home; and handing over my baby’s remains to the midwife and everyone in the room asking if I am okay with that.
Am I okay with that? Hell no, I am not okay with that. That baby should be growing inside of me and not being handed off for tests.
So many are rendered speechless at the loss of a baby. I’ve had many people tell me that they don’t know what to say and that is why they haven’t called or written. I understand. I get that. I don’t know what to say either. Nothing can be said, really. Words are cheap anyway. So know that it’s okay to say nothing more than “I am so sorry” or “I am praying for you.” But please, for heaven’s sake, say something. Pay honor to the life of my baby and acknowledge that this happened.
I had a moment where I did not feel utterly alone. I stood with two other women who have lost babies and between the three of us, we have five babies in heaven’s glory. There we stood, we three childless mothers, forming a tight little circle with our husbands satelliting around us. And for a few minutes I felt understood. I felt connected to something bigger than my own pain. And I felt some relief. For there they stood, these childless mothers, and they could smile and make jokes and have hope and that- that ability to smile through the grief and laugh in spite of the pain and hope because of His promises- can be me some day. What a relief to know that there is something on the other side of how I feel now.
What’s been lost?
More than you’ll ever know.
I am still here. I am breathing and doing things that make me appear alive and well. Most things are a chore and anything that takes my mind away from thoughts of my baby are temporary distractions at this point.
I am still here but wish I wasn’t. Not suicidal, just wanting to escape this pain.
I am still here but don’t know where I am. Or where I am going.
Where are You, Lord?
June 4, 2010
It may not make sense to some, but seeing my babies names written in the sand gives me some peace and in some ways, validates the sorrow I continue to feel each day.
Go here to see the story of how their names got written in the sands of western Australia.
Go here to learn and see more about this amazing woman who is ministering to many families.
May 28, 2010
I am angry at Eve for what she did in the Garden.
If Eve were alive today, I would call her and invite her to lunch. And I would grill her for what she did. And I would tell her just what her eating that fruit has come to mean to me.
It’s a fallen world now, Eve. And babies die because of it. My babies died because it’s a fallen world.
Poor Eve, she would have wished she had never accepted my lunch invitation. I wonder if she would storm out of the restaurant or quietly cry at her seat at the notion that she has unleashed so much hurt into our world.
If she stayed put, I would let her cry on her own for a bit, but then I would slide next to her and weep with her. For a woman should not be left to bear such grief on her own for too long.
And then I would tell her that beautiful things have come out of this barren road…
The other night we had dinner at the home of a couple whose church partnered with ours for a night of worship and prayer. The wife is an old friend from college and we saw her the night of the event for the first time in years. So we reconnected and set up a time to have dinner with her and her husband. After dinner, we prayed with them in their living room and as she prayed for me and the longing in my heart, she put her hand over my stomach and prayed for my womb.
It was beautiful.
Earlier in the evening she told me that the night she saw us at the prayer event that she felt compelled to pray for my fertility. She had no way of knowing what we had been through these last six months. The Holy Spirit put in on her heart.
That is beautiful.
Hannah gave me a sweet reminder of my babies- two tiny hearts on a necklace…..one for Jack and one for Claire. I wear it every day.
It is beautiful.
I have the privilege of leading the children’s ministry at our church and on Mother’s Day- a day that I was dreading for all the obvious reasons- I was presented with a large envelope filled with cards and notes written by some of the families at church thanking me for what I do for their children. I sat on a couch in the church office and read them all, moved to tears by the words written for me.
They all were beautiful.
I still reach for babies and find joy in being with children. And that may not seem like anything, but it means everything to me. My heart is not hard and the Lord is still moving in me.
Love is even more beautiful in the presence of pain.
It is a fallen world, Eve.
But God gives beauty for ashes.
May 18, 2010
So I am submitting myself to the quest of getting some answers, knowing that the answers do not change the outcome of what has passed. I wish insurance paid for the answers I really want. But I have it on good authority that the Lord is not in my network plan. So I’ll have to wait for those answers later.
Each day I am reminded of my loss by the reality that some have what I long for. Sometimes they will vent about their pregnancy aches and pains; their children’s poor behavior; or their lack of sleep and time to themselves and I must remind myself that this is their story. It’s not mine to judge or criticize.
So I am submitting myself to the call to be a friend to those who have what I want. And doing it without judgment or disdain. It’s not easy and I sometimes fail. But I am trying. And I am learning how to be happy for others even when I am sad for me.
Every morning when I wake there is a pain that settles in my heart- it rouses just as I come out of my sleep. It’s my pain and while pieces of it can be chipped away by a thoughtful gesture or a sincere word of care, it stays with me. From morning until night. This morning I spent the better part of my shower crying and asking the Lord why it is this way. He gave His answer. But I still hurt.
So I am submitting myself to the process of living with pain and waiting for healing.
May 9, 2010
The other night I had a beautiful dream of you. I saw you. You were whole. There was nothing broken. Nothing torn. Nothing separated. You were perfect. And you were mine.
What a gift to have gotten a glimpse of what could have been.
Jack, we would be just weeks away from meeting you had you not been called to Jesus- nine weeks to be exact. Nine short weeks. We gave you the name “Jack” because I always wanted my first son to have that name. Deep in my heart I knew you were a boy and now you are forever our first son. Thoughts of you come when I see a little boy fumbling on a playground, reaching for his mom with sticky fingers or a cheeky baby nestling into his mom’s arms for sleep. I assume you would have your dad’s natural curiosity and my penchant for order and from both of us you would have gotten our love for people. I would have prayed that the Lord grew you into a strong and godly man all the while showing you how to be tender.
Claire, it’s ironic that we gave you the name we did because it means “clear” and my thoughts and emotions have been anything but clear since you passed. I thought you were a boy the entire time I carried you, but a few days after you passed, something in my heart told me you were a girl. You are our first daughter, our second child- though not second in my love for you. I think you would have liked me for a mom. We would have baked and made pretty things for you to wear in your hair and I would have let you pick out your clothes in the morning because I believed in making room for self-expression….even if secretly I was embarrassed at what you were wearing.
You may have not had any physical weight in this world, but because of you, I am softer around the edges; moved more easily by other’s pain; and know the fragility of life a little more. Because of you, I am learning how to grieve while clinging to promises from God that He is working for my good; loving your daddy harder and fiercer than I ever have before; and longing to be with Jesus (and you) more and more. Because of you, I am doing less and being more.
No, you may not have had any weight in this world but you weigh deeply in my heart and I am changed because of you. All because of you.
This morning your daddy and I walked to the lake with you on our minds. I wanted to send you a little note:
We prayed that you would somehow know that we love you. That you are loved.
You are loved.
And the wind carried my message to you:
I wish so badly that I could have given you the message myself.
The day before we went to the lake, a friend sent something in the mail:
Two beautiful birds- one for each of you.
Now I have something to look at each day that reminds me of you. My two baby birds.
Babies, nothing and no one can ever replace you. You will always be a part of our family and if the Lord should bless us with children this side of heaven, they will know who you are.
I have a son.
I have a daughter.
And someday we will see each other and we will be whole. My heart will no longer be broken or torn into two. Our family will no longer be separated. It will be perfect, just as you are now.
You are loved, Jack.
You are loved, Claire.
May 4, 2010
He has given me friends. Some are old friends and some are new. But all have a special place in my heart because of how they have loved me through my sorrow. I love them all.
Hannah who is hoping for me until hope takes up residence in my heart again. She is my warrior friend. She was the first person I called after we received the news about our baby. That should speak to how much I cherish her.
Annie who fills me with Truth and sends me off with the knowledge that I am loved and not alone. She makes me cry (the good kind of crying) because she knows how to speak to my heart.
Rachel who prays for me as she holds her baby boy because she knows this loss is deep and it is wide and it is grueling.
Renee who reminds me that there is no such thing as smaller losses and bigger losses- just different losses. She blesses me and in doing so, honors her son who is with Jesus.
Lauren who knows this loss twice over. She is fresh in her own grief and yet she seeks to offer me some comfort.
Melissa who helps me see that even in the hurt there is a blessing from the Lord. Her prayers are laden with Truth and she has been one of my many blessings from the Lord through this.
Janel who sent me the simplest message when I made the decision to wait for the baby to pass at home-”Ask the Lord for exactly what you want.” It made all the difference. All the difference in the world.
Audra who points me back to the truth of who God is and what He is not. There is comfort in hearing her voice. She has always been a healing presence.
Naomi is my oldest friend and while distance and life stages completely separate us, she has made the journey with me, sending me notes and CD’s along the way. I know she doesn’t understand this, but I love her for trying.
Katherine, my dear friend. Even the silence between us could not keep me from feeling her love for me. One day I may tell our story here.....but it's still being written.
And you, Reader- you have ministered to me by telling me your own stories of loss and while I will never say that I am glad we share in this experience, I am glad that we have found shelter in each other’s words.
April 27, 2010
“You have a mother’s heart and that is why you grieve so much and so hard. You have a mother’s heart and that can never be taken away and that will never change.”
And my counselor confirmed that I am not crazy and I have not gone off the deep end to grieve this much and this hard. He says:
“Your grief is how you honor your babies’ lives. So your tears, in essence, are hugs and kisses that will never be given to your babies.”
And when a friend, who miscarried at four months, said this to me, it brought me to my knees:
“This baby was supposed to be born and held and kissed. You were supposed to meet this baby.”
And as I sat in her kitchen and watched her make wedding cake, a friend who delivered her baby stillborn perfectly summed up what this journey feels like:
And when I put myself out there and shared some of the darker parts of my heart, I heard:
“I am praying for you.”
And when I went to the Lord yesterday and could only utter this:
April 13, 2010
God: I am always thinking about you.
I lost my second baby last week.
I know. I was there. I was there when your baby’s heart beat for the last time. I was there when no heartbeat was found. I was there when you wept in the exam room by the glow of the ultrasound screen. I was there when you left the office and rode in a cab back home. I was there when you opened the front door and that wave of helplessness and grief overcame you. I was there when you went to bed crying and when you woke up crying. I was there the whole week you stayed home waiting for your baby to leave your body. I was there the moment your baby left your body. I was there all the time. I never left you. And I am still here.
I know You were there. I felt You there. I felt Your presence in the exam room. I made room for You in the back of that cab. I hoped You would meet us at home and You did. I slept at night because You were watching over me and I got out of bed each morning because You promised to take my cup. You watched over my body and You allowed me to be at home when the baby passed. And You washed over me with Your peace when I looked at my baby and saw no signs of life. I know You were there and I know You are still here. But I feel like You have forsaken me. Like you have forgotten about me and let my baby die.
I know you do, but I haven’t forsaken you and I haven’t forgotten you.
But it feels like you have.
The enemy is whispering this to you and he is lying. Don’t listen to him. Listen to Me and believe Me when I say that I have not forgotten you or forsaken you.
But why did You let this happen? Is there something I did or didn’t do that caused You to take this baby away? Is it because I did not thank You each day I carried this baby? I tried to be cognizant of that- I tried to remember to do that each day because I was thankful. You know I was thankful, right?
I have not taken this baby away to punish you because you did or did not do something. I don’t keep tabs how many times you thank Me for a gift I have given you. You could have not acknowledged this baby as a gift from Me at all and I still could have chosen to let you keep this baby.
But why did You take my babies?
There isn’t an answer I can give you as a grieving mother that would bring you any measure of comfort other than to remind you that I AM good and loving and I work for the good of those who love Me. You can’t understand My purposes now, but I love you and I am working for your good.
You’re right, that’s not comforting……at all. I love my babies and wish they were here with me.
Dear child of mine, I know you love those babies. There’s no question about the love you have for them. You will be with them again one day. I promise.
Do You remember when I was small and played “mommy” with my dolls?
Of course I do.
Do You know the love that leaps out of my heart when I am with children?
Then why won’t You give me a child of my own?
It’s not time.
I want to crawl in a hole and disappear.
I will find you no matter where you go.
You always know where to find me.
The pain is more than I can bear.
Give it to Me.
And what will You do with it?
I will turn it into something beautiful.
How can losing two babies be turned into something beautiful?
The same way that the death of My Son could be turned into something beautiful for all of mankind.
You promise to make all things new.
I do. And I will.
Is there hope?
There is always hope for those that love Me.
But I am promised nothing.
You are promised Me.
And that is supposed to be enough?
It is more than enough. I AM more than enough.
It doesn’t feel like it. I don't know what else to say now.
You don't need to say anything more. I know how you feel. Sit with Me a little longer, child, and we will weep together. I know your sorrow- I will take this cup from you. You are weary, I can see that. Your heart is crushed and you have no hope. It is good to sit with Me, for I have overcome the world and your tears of mourning will not always be.
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed." Revelation 21:4
April 8, 2010
To My Baby:
We saw you on Friday- your little heartbeat was like a twinkling star on the screen- and it seems we lost you on Saturday. A mother knows when something is wrong with her child and deep in the tucked away parts of my heart, I knew on Sunday that you and I were not going to meet the way I had hoped. So when it was confirmed on Monday that you were no longer with us, there was little surprise but just the heartbreaking realization that a mother’s instincts are often right.
My sweet second baby dead in my womb and raised to heaven in the arms of Jesus on Easter weekend. How very appropriate.
I could not bring myself to look at the ultrasound screen as the midwife and technician looked for your heartbeat. But on the way out of the room, both your daddy and I took one last look at you on the screen as we left the room. There you were in all your splendid creation- so tiny and wondrously made by your Maker. It pained me to know that when we left the room the lights would be turned back on, the linens changed, and the screen erased so that the room could be ready for the next patient. Didn’t anyone want to sit in that room and weep over you like I did?
The morning after we learned of your passing, there was a thunderstorm in the city and I think it was especially for you- creation was mourning you. Heaven put on a fierce display of tears and loud and angry booms and that, my sweet baby, was a perfect reflection of your mom’s heart and spirit. It still is.
We chose to come home and wait for you to make your passing out of my body- I can’t tell you how much agony this still brings me, for the thought of you and me being separated like this is unbearable. You were conceived naturally and in this home and by God’s grace and provision, you passed naturally and in this home. I felt the pains of you being separated from inside of me and while I have never been one for pain, I chose this way because it was the only way I could think to honor your too-short life. It was the closest I would ever get to delivering you.
You are loved so very much by me and your daddy. You were not a replacement to our first baby, but rather you were a happy second addition to our family. It does a mom’s heart good to know that her babies are with each other in the presence of Jesus. Oh sweet babies, how loved you will always be; I eagerly await our reunion.
And now we are left to grieve you and cling to and try to make sense out of God’s promise that He works for the good of those who love Him. It’s hard to see the good in your not being here and I suspect it’ll be that way for as long as I live.
You are gone from my womb and I am left to wonder what I could have done differently to have kept you longer. But I know there was nothing in my power that could have kept you here. Your daddy wonders if you were too perfect for this world. Maybe you were.
There is no replacing you. You will always, always be my sweet second baby. And I will always be your loving mom.
To You, Reader:
Nothing can prepare you for the time when life leaves your womb lifeless. Nothing.
I have learned some things about myself and done/said some things through the process of losing two babies and it’s not all that good, really. I have come to think that I can negotiate with God and barter with Him with the hopes that He would let me keep me just one of my babies. What can I give up that would make Him want to give me a baby of my own? And if there is ever a next time, should I pray more and ask for more specific things like “Please God, let my baby have a heartbeat and be in a normal size sac so I don’t have a higher risk of miscarrying”?....I was just praying for my baby to have a heartbeat all this time. I have found myself telling the Lord that I would find it appalling if He did not give me children of my own. I have suspected that He has been withholding His favor from me in this area of my life and have quietly argued with Him while other women go on to have second, third, and fourth babies. I have questioned whom He gives babies to and I have told Him in no uncertain terms that I should be at the top of His list. I have wondered if there are only so many babies to go around and if that’s the case, where do I sign to put my name on the list for consideration? And in moments of desperation, I have shamelessly pleaded with Him to tell me what I need to do to have a baby of my own, as if He would have me answer some silly riddle to figure it out.
What am I to do? How can I have hope after losing two babies? Does anyone out there know the deep, deep sorrow I feel to have lost two babies and come home to a quiet house?
Unfortunately yes, there are people out there who know how this feels and to you, I ask: Is there a book I can read or a song I can listen to that will come at all close to putting into words what I cannot? When does hope come again? And when it comes, will I know it or feel it or see it? Will the day come that I do not want to crawl into a hole every time I see a belly swelled with baby? Did you cry each time you reached for your pre-natal vitamins after you lost your babies? Do you ever wish people would hurt as much you hurt? How long will other people’s baby joy bring up my own pain? And back to the subject of hope- how long will I feel hopeless? Is it normal to feel bitter towards women who are pregnant yet feel equally drawn to them because they are experiencing something I can only dream of, something that all together eludes me? Do I look like someone who lost two babies- am I marked for life? I don’t feel like laughing or smiling- is that okay? Will Mother’s Day be as horrible as I am expecting it to be this year? Seriously, is this really happening to me?
After my first miscarriage, I had to endure some really insensitive comments and while I know people mean well, I think people end up saying the most insensitive things in situations like this out of ignorance. So let me help you know what not to say, not just to me, but to anyone who has ever lost their baby.
Please don’t tell me that I will have a baby someday- you don’t know that. I am promised nothing.
Please don’t talk to me about the hope of future babies- in case you haven’t heard, I don’t have a lot of hope right now. And I am not ready to think about that. I was still grieving the loss of my first baby and now I am grieving my second baby. My two babies are all I can think about now.
Please don’t try to speculate what went wrong this second time around. Don’t assume it is anything I did or didn’t do. Or because we did not wait long enough to get pregnant after my first miscarriage. We waited exactly the amount of time we were told to and there was no reason to think that we were putting our second baby in jeopardy by getting pregnant when we did.
Please do not quote statistics or tell me that this is normal and happens all the time. I could give a hoot about statistics and there is nothing normal about seeing your baby in a toilet bowl. Absolutely nothing.
Please do not compare your pregnancy with various complications with my pregnancies. If you ended up with a baby in your arms and got to take them home, there is no comparison.
And to God:
I am quite speechless. Words elude me and only grief finds me when I come to You. I might be angry with You, but I don’t know if I am…..yet.
You say that you work all things together for the good of those who love You and while I believe that for others, I don’t believe that for me. Why are You asking that I go through this again? I feel like You are torturing me.
Do You see the agony this is causing? Do You see how I struggle to find something in my day to look forward to? Everything was so much brighter, so much happier before. And now, everything appears dull and barren.
Do You find it ironic as I do that not only do I not have any children of my own, and apparently won’t any time soon, but I spend most of my time taking care of and making plans for other people’s children? I don’t know if that’s a blessing in disguise or…..or what, I don’t know.
Do You know how much I loathe being the person whose story others will read or hear about and then they will go on to say things like, “I am so glad that is not me…..I am so happy that I have my children……Thank goodness I never had to go through that”?
I don’t know what to make of this and I feel too weary to walk through this with You. You’ll have to carry me most of the way, maybe even all of it.
In the mean time- and I don’t know how things work up there, but if it’s possible- please give my babies a kiss for me and tell them I’ll be home soon.
March 1, 2010
I am by no means an expert of all things GF/WF (I've only been eating this way for 10 months), but here are a few of my favorite things:
Here are some old favorites done up in a new GF/WF way!: Bob's Red Mill GF/WF oats make great oatmeal and homemade granola (and oatmeal cookies!).
I also recommend Nature's Path fruit juice sweetened corn flakes and Trader Joe's brand of corn flakes are very economical.
Trader Joe's sells a GF pancake mix but I can't remember if it is WF, too.
I still haven't found a GF/WF english muffin, so if you find one please let me know!
There are so many great GF/WF products out there to use for cooking and to be honest, I have not even scratched the surface of what is avaialble, but here are a few basic things I have found to be GF/WF friendly:
- Trader Joe's brown rice pasta is not only good, but affordable ($1.99 for one pound)
- Quinoa is your GF/WF answer to cous-cous and you can buy it almost anywhere. I highly recommend using chicken broth when cooking it- using water gives it a rather bland taste.
- Brown rice is great as a side or in soups
When you can't eat wheat or gluten, it's important to be prepared when hunger comes before meal time. I typically defer to eating things like veggie and hummus; raw nuts; fruit; and rice cakes with almond butter, but sometimes these are not convenient to take on the road or carry in your purse, so here is what I like to have on hand:
Blue Diamond's Nut Thin crackers are equally good and I highly recommend the Hint of Sea Salt and the Pecan varieties.
Mary's Gone Crackers crackers are tasty and sophisticated enough to serve at a party. I love to eat them plain, but they are good with hummus and almond butter, too.
Carman's Muesli Bar are your answer to granola bar prayers! They are better than those candy bars, uhm, I mean Nature Valley granola bars and Kashi's awful attempt to make a good granola bar. My favorite is the apricot and almond bars. I have only found these at Whole Foods and since they are pricey ($5 for a box of 6), I wait until they are on sale and load up!
For Baking and Ready-to-Eat Sweets
In my opinion, Pamela's Products can do no wrong. Everything they make is amazing and oh so yummy. Here are a few things that I promise you will love, Love, LOVE!
You can use this mix to make cookies, breads, muffins, and more! The flavor is nutty and satisfying and the texture is quite similar to what you would get if you used flour. I especially like to use this mix to make pancakes on the weekend. At our home, we are big fans of blueberry and walnut pancakes- super yummy!Technically, I am not supposed to eat these cookies because they have peanut butter and processed sugar in them, but when it comes to peanut butter and chocolate, I do cheat!
Want to trick people into eating GF/WF and show them how good it can be? Bake a cake using this mix and you will succeed! This mix is better than my best homemade chocolate cake recipe and I am extremely fussy and critical of baking mixes, especially cake mixes. I added a cup of chocolate chips (Trader Joe's sells GF chocolate chips for $1..99) to the batter and it makes what is already a perfect cake even more perfect....if that's possible!
Trader Joe's sells a GF brownie mix (I use applesauce instead of oil) and it is pretty good if you are looking for a chocolate fix. Again, I can't recall if it is WF, too.
I also have found Whole Foods GF pie crust to be very good ansd while I have not used them for baking a pie, I do use them for making quiche.
I have primarily only seen Pamela's Prodcuts at Whole Foods, but I know that other grocer's carry their products. You can purchase most of their products from Amazon.com but the cost savings is only pennies and you run the risk of getting expired or nearly expired products (I have heard this can be an issue when ordering food from Amazon).