Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Choose Love over Fear

It isn’t our ability or our disability that divides us.
It isn’t our gender or sexuality. 
It isn’t our religion or politics.
It isn’t our wealth or poverty.
It isn’t our race or family background.
It’s fear.
Fear divides us.
Fear keeps us separate and alone.
Fear builds a wall but love breaks it down.
Fear stays safely away, but love opens the door and says
“Let’s journey together.”
Love doesn’t have to be right.
Love doesn’t have to be perfect.
Love doesn’t need everyone to be the same.
Fear divides.  Love unites.
Therefore, I choose love.
Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest
of these is Love.  1 Corinthians 13:13


Faith takes the first step.
Hope believes the path leads to healing.
Love makes the journey beautiful.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Another first...

When some of your best friends have a new baby boy, you do everything you can to go show your support and see the beautiful baby. But, what do you do when they had their healthy baby at the same place you lost yours?  

Last night for the first time since leaving without Isaac on September 10th 2015, I faced my fears and went back inside the place I was completely broken apart. And guess what?  I survived. Sure, thinking of Isaac was on my mind the entire time, but I wasn't there for me last night. It also helped that the few days I was there with Isaac I never once saw what room number I was in, or even remembered what floor I was on exactly. 

This was the third baby we've gone to visit at various hospitals since we lost Isaac. And every single time we were back safely in our car I lost it. Not because I wasn't happy for them, (because I definitely am happy for them) it just brought up the "why us" question again. I wouldn't wish what happened to us on anyone, especially those closest to us, but why did they get their happy ending when we didn't?  

Just when I think I've handled every "first" that I'll have to go through as a loss parent another one pops up.  And as long as I keep looking forward, I'll keep going to visit friends and family, and tell them congratulations, even if it still hurts. Because in the end, I'll survive. I have each time so far. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Pregnancy after Loss



Pregnancy after loss.  It’s the one thing I truly want, but am truly terrified of getting. Before I got pregnant I would lay awake at night hoping, praying, and wondering when and if I’d ever get my little miracle.  When I found out I was pregnant I laid awake at night hoping and praying that it won’t end in another loss, and also wondering how I will cope if it does.

The pregnancy test was only the tiny word "pregnant" on a stick, but it was enough to induce the strangest fixture of fear and excitement I have ever experienced.  Will I get to bring this baby home?  Please God, let this baby come home with us. 

I feel like going out in public is comparable to a mine field some days.   Will I see someone who asks Thomas “if he’s excited to be a big brother, when he knows he already is?”  Will I see someone who tells me “not to worry, it won’t happen again?” Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll bump into someone who gives me a hug and acknowledges that it’s both a wonderful and scary time.  I never know what to expect, and sometimes the unknown is hard. 

Ultrasounds are a blessing and a curse.  It’s not enough to feel our girl kick all the time.  I need to see the heartbeat before my own pounding heart will slow down.  During my 20 week ultrasound I felt bad asking, but before she even started I asked if she would show me the heartbeat first.  That’s all I cared about.  None of the other measurements would matter if there was no heartbeat.  Also, instead of enjoying seeing Marlowe on the screen, I found that I spent most of my time praying that each measurement is what it was supposed to be, and there were no red flags that something could be wrong. 

Feeling Marlowe move around brings a sense of peace.  But some days she moves so much that it’s slightly annoying, mainly between the hours of midnight and 3 am.  Sometimes it’s painful.  But I dare not admit that to anyone other than Tom, because I know how blessed I am to even be feeling these kicks again.  The same is true for general pregnancy aches and pains.  The pain that I feel as my muscles and ligaments stretch is legitimate, yet I know I need to be grateful for the pain.  It means I have gotten further in pregnancy than some women do.  The bigger the baby, the better chance they have of surviving, right? 

The knowledge that this pregnancy is a gift, a wonderful miracle, is always with me.  But at the same time, I’m tired of being pregnant.  It takes most people nine months of pregnancy to bring home a baby.  By the time Marlowe gets here I’ll have been pregnant for sixteen months before I got to bring mine home.  Pregnancy isn’t a walk in the park, it’s tough on the body, and I don’t have the baby to show for last time’s effort and strain.  My body is weary, and my mind is hesitant to accept that all will be okay this time.  The simple act of typing that out brings huge waves of guilt.  Don’t I know how lucky I am?  How many women would give anything to be in the position I’m in? 

I have so many unanswered questions.  How can people tell me that everything will be okay this time?  They don’t know that.  Why did losing Isaac have to happen to us?  Why do people expect this pregnancy and baby to “fix” me?  Why do people ask if my doctor is watching me closer this time?  There was zero indication that losing Isaac was an option.  They wouldn’t even have known to look for it. 

And finally, why is it so hard to admit all of this?  Why does it feel like admitting all of this somehow means I am not trusting God with this pregnancy?  That I’m not grateful for this little girl?  Because I do trust Him, and I am forever grateful for this baby girl.

Pregnancy after loss is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  And holding all of these thoughts in isn’t good for me or Marlowe, so as guilty as I feel typing them out, it needs to be done.  I want this baby girl here safely more than anything else in the world right now.  So I’ll continue to lie awake most nights hoping and praying that we won’t lose her as well, and our rainbow baby girl will get to come home with us.  

Friday, February 24, 2017

Fear and Hope

Hope and Fear

Those are the two words that have surrounded my pregnancy with Marlowe.  It’s a delicate balance, and if I’m not careful I’ll allow myself to go too far one way or the other.  Having lost Isaac the innocence of being pregnant is gone.  Just because I’m pregnant and made it past the first scary twelve weeks doesn’t mean I get to bring a breathing baby home. 

If I’m being honest I’ve found it very hard to be hopeful about this pregnancy.  I don’t want to live that way though.  I want to cherish every moment, as I don’t know when or if this pregnancy will end as well.  That sounds pessimistic, but not a moment goes by that I don’t think and wonder how I’ll survive if it happens again. 

After talking with Tom the other night, and a friend via text this week, I’ve decided I will choose to have hope.  I started by buying my very first thing for Marlowe – a simple outfit.  But, by buying this I’m giving myself permission to have hope.  And that is a scary, and exhilarating thing.  I don’t want to be afraid to bond with her while I’m pregnant.  I don’t want to miss out on anything that she has to offer. 

I’ve also been dealing with the fear that being excited for this baby means that I’ll forget about Isaac.  That will never happen.  And this baby won’t replace him in any way.  He was very much longed for and loved just like Thomas and Marlowe.  We’re still making our way through that storm in our lives, but are enjoying the rays of hope that are coming from being pregnant again. 

A rainbow baby 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 that 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. 


So over the next few months I will be trying not to live in fear of the what if’s, and know that God has a plan for my life.  Just like He had a plan for Isaac’s and now Marlowe’s life.  I will do my best to not let myself go to that dark place of fear, and stay there.  It’s a scary place, and it’s not where I want to be.  So, fear and hope.  Hope and fear.  If I have to choose, I choose hope.  Hope that someday sooner than later I’ll be holding my living precious baby girl.  

(Marlowe's new outfit)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Marriage




Marriage is hard work. 
Even if you're married to your best friend it is hard. So when it seems you hit EVERY bump in the road, you must hold on to each other tightly and fiercely. 

Marriage is amazing. 
You have a partner to travel life's scariest paths with.  Together we fight the grief and the sorrow. We save each other again and again from the pits of despair. And together we keep wishing and hoping. Trying to make each other's dreams come true. You have someone to laugh with, about nothing and everything all at once. 

Marriage changes. 
This isn't just specific to couples who have lost a child. We change every day. For better and for worse. And we flip flop the two depending on the moment in the day. 

I find that I fall in love with Tom over and over. I fall in love with a new person every time. Sometimes it's the young guy I met at the movie theater, who made me laugh. Then it was watching him become a dad. Reading to my belly and talking to our boys, and now to our little girl. 

After Isaac died I needed Tom more than ever. I fell in love with the man that took care of me and slowly helped pull me out of my fog of grief. He tried so hard to make me laugh in those first few months. Even though his heart was broken too. 

How do you continue loving when your heart is breaking? 

We have our ups and downs. And we fall in love with each other again and again. We fall in love with the new versions of each other. 

We are parents. We are partners. We keep growing and changing. Fighting for our dreams, living for both of our boys, and our little girl that isn't here yet. 

Losing a child changed us forever. We had to learn to cope together. We learned how to rescue each other from sadness. And always, always we held each other up. The one thing that could have torn us apart made us stronger. There's no one else I could have gone through this with. 

  • Yes, marriage is hard...but it's also amazing, and I can't wait to see where we are years from now.  



Sunday, January 8, 2017

Mixed Emotions

We got the call, baby number 3 doesn't have any defects, and we were told it was a girl. I've always wanted a daughter of my own for as long as I can remember. I had a permanent smile for at least the first twenty four hours. I couldn't wait to tell anyone that would listen that we were going to have a girl. 

And then almost as fast it hit me like a ton of bricks that if Isaac had lived I wouldn't be having my little girl. Talk about the biggest mix of emotions I've felt in a while. 

I'm very thankful for this baby, and I'm just as thankful for Isaac. Without him I wouldn't have realized that it was possible to love another child as much as I loved Thomas. Without him I wouldn't know the eternal cycle of grief and joy, and how they intertwine. 

I also know that having this baby won't take Isaac's place. No one could ever do that. I'll always have an Isaac shaped hole in my heart. I also, deep down, believe that Isaac helped hand pick this specific baby sister for our family, and I'll forever be thankful to him for that. 

Marlowe Alexis - you are so wanted and have been prayed for, for a long time.  Please know that by being here we are going to be simultaneously overjoyed and I'm sure slightly sad at times, because every new thing you do will be a reminder on what we missed out on with Isaac. But, in the end, I'm sure extreme happiness will take over. 

I love all of my babies with all of my heart. As much as I wish that our story looked a little different, I'm happy with the blessings that I've been given, and don't take them for granted.  



Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 vs 2017

Sad
Angry
Broken
Confused
Happy
Anxious
Cautious
Defensive
Depressed
Drained
Envious
Hopeful
Lonely
Loved
Mad
Numb
Peaceful
Restless
Tired
Annoyed
Strong
Calm
Crushed
Disappointed
Brave
Excited
Good
Heartbroken
Guilty
Terrified
Rejuvenated
Thankful
Content

I have felt all of these emotions at least once in 2016.  This year has been a year of extreme highs and extreme lows for me.  Navigating life after loss is harder than I ever expected, but it has also taught me so much more about myself. 

At the beginning of 2016 I never thought I’d feel hopeful and truly happy again.  Month by month I slowly started laughing again.  At first I would feel guilty for laughing and having fun, because to me that meant I had moved on, and that pushed Isaac further away from me. But, I had to learn that moving on was the only way that I could honor him completely.  He wouldn’t have wanted me to stay in that deep dark place.  That wasn’t fair to anyone.  By the end of 2016 I feel like a completely different person than I started out this year.  

With our new baby on the way I’m so excited, and hopeful that this baby will get to come home with us.  But, to be honest, I’m also terrified.  What if the unthinkable happens again?  Would we live through it a second time?  I can’t dwell on those thoughts though, as I don’t want to slip into that dark place again.  Instead I’m choosing to be hopeful, and pray that things will be different this time.  I know being scared and stressed out isn’t good for the baby, so I’m doing my best. 

If I had to choose one word off of my list that would describe how I want and plan to live in 2017 it would be strong.  I’ve never considered myself a strong person before.  Not physical strength, but emotionally strong.  With every day that passes I hope to be strong enough to put one foot in front of the other and face the new day.  I will be strong enough to get through this pregnancy, and love this baby as fiercely as I love Thomas and Isaac.    Yes, there will be days where strong is the last thing that I could feel, but my hope is that those are the days I’ll be able to look back and see how far I’ve come, and realize my strength is what got me through. 


What word would you choose to describe how you want to live in 2017?