Just a few things to know before you read this post. 1. It's quite scattered- from quoting Nouwen and Brennan Manning to whining. 2. I am by nature a passionate and impulsive person- this can also be translated to IMPATIENT ( I am working on this) 3. I'm okay- writing helps me get out my feelings so don't worry.. I'm Okay, just having a rough spell. 4. Please, please comment if you have prayer ideas, responses etc. I would really love to hear from you.
I know I haven't posted anything since Halloween time and I had hoped by now I'd have good news to share, but I don't. I'm just really frustrated. If you don't belong to Facebook, maybe you don't understand this but on Facebook, you can post how you are feeling or what you are doing at any given moment of the day. This is fun to check in and see what my friends are up to. But lately, I'm considering dropping out of the Facebook world. I am about up to my ears in "Surprise, we're expecting our (fill in the number) baby!" Yay! Woohoo! I am apparently, the only one in my circle of friends, which exceeds 100 on Facebook, who is not pregnant or just had a baby. And I'm so envious! How ungodly is that?! I am so ENVIOUS. I'm really trying not to be bitter- but with every month that a child grows in my friends wombs, and not in mine is one more month of distance... that's the only word I can think of.
I don't know how to explain this but I'm just filled with a sense of loss. I feel like I'm losing control over things, I'm waiting on a chance that I'll get pregnant and even like I'm going to lose my friends. Since they will all have kids at the same time, I feel like I'm going to have nothing in common with them, they'll all naturally group together and I'll eventually get weeded out. Isn't that so irrational? As irrational as it is, that fear of being left behind is nesting in my heart. Not only do I have to deal with negative pregnancy tests and PMS every month, I hear about how "fat" everyone is getting while they are pregnant. YOU ARE NOT FAT! YOU ARE PREGNANT! Don't you know what I would give to be getting "fat" right now?
And if I have to see another belly pic, I'm going to lose my mind!*
Right now I'm doing a Beth Moore Bible Study on Liberty in Christ and it's been really eye-opening. I'm studying taking my thoughts captive to Christ. Any thoughts that are controlling (ahem... having a child) or filled with something (ahem... fear) that is not of God need to be taken captive to Christ so that I can be of sound mind, and filled with peace and life. The steps to take are to recognize the lies, repent of any sin that may have gotten you there, dismantle the lies, pray and claim God's word over your thoughts, and persevere until your thoughts are not controlling you, but you have found freedom and the mind of Christ.
So, here's where I wonder, and here's where I hope to have a meaningful comment dialog. When applying God's word to my situation, this unspeakably deep longing to be a mom- what do I use? All throughout the Bible, there are barren women. All throughout the Bible, women have kids! I can trust in God but when it comes to specifics, what do I pray? My heart is that I would be pregnant and have a beautiful tiny life in my arms at the end of 9 months. So if I pray that God's will in my life be done, I'm leaving out a huge portion of my current heart's cry. But if I pray for something specific, like a pregnancy, maybe that's not God's will for my life. I want to pray for what moves God's heart and in turn, it will move mine. I want to pray what's "right"- do you sense the people pleaser in me? Trying to please God with what I pray and still being true to my heart is where I'm caught.
I'm just still broken hearted- and I'm trying really hard not to be jealous. I'm trying really hard to remember that God's timing is perfect. I'm persevering, not losing faith, struggling with letting go of what I thought our family would be like.
The hardest thing right now is that I'm alone. I have Abe and he's wonderful but other than that (and he is a boy so he doesn't understand fully), there is no one in my situation. And I'm not joking when I say that! Can you believe it? No one. My best friend is due in June, and by the time I have kids(however it happens), I'm worried that there won't be any connection between her kids and ours. Our time will get less and less as our kids occupy our lives and have friends of their own, their own age, who they'd rather spend time with. We will just connect with those kids' moms. Or they meet up with other friends of mine who have kids the same age and yet again, we just sort of diverge.
When my best friend reads this, she's going to recognize how ridiculous this is. And I do too... it's just hard to put a rational band-aid on an irrational wound. And I hate, HATE that everyone knows we're trying and that every month that goes by, without an announcement, they know "it didn't work". I feel like my privacy is gone- I feel like I don't have control over anything.
I'm seeing glimpses of bitterness... (if you haven't seen them, read above) and I don't want that. Deeply, I don't want that. God is still my ever present comfort- but I need more than that. I need to see Him as my SAVIOR, my DADDY, my LOVE, the giver of all good things, and the one who has great things ahead for me. I need to feel and experience a gut-level connection with Jesus.
Brennan Manning writes: "The Lord is fine-tuned to the hates and loves, disappointments and delights, brokenness and togetherness, the fears, joys, and sorrows of each us. That He knows what hurts the human heart shows up all through His earthly ministry: with the brokenhearted Magdalene crying at His feet, the adulterous woman fearing for her life, the Samaritan woman with her history of failed relationships, the women weeping along the road to Calvary. IT shows up in the many passages that describe Jesus as "having compassion." The Greek verb splangchnizomai is usually translated " to be moved with compassion." But it's etymological meaning is more profound and powerful. The verb is derived from the noun splangchna, which means intestines, bowels, entrails, that is to say, the inward parts from which the strongest emotions arise. In American argot we would call it a gut reaction. That is why English translations resort to active expressions like " he was MOVED with pity" or "his heart WENT OUT to them." But even these verbs do not capture the deep physical flavor of the Greek word for compassion. The compassion that Jesus felt was quite different from superficial and ephemeral emotions of pity or sympathy. His heart was torn, His gut wrenched, the most vulnerable part of His being laid bare."
from Lion and Lamb: The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus
"It (splangchnizomi) is related to the Hebrew word for compassion, rachamim, which refers to the womb of Yahweh. Compassion is such a deep, central and powerful emotion in Jesus that it can only be described as a movement in the womb of God. There all the divine tenderness and gentleness lies hidden. There, God is father and mother, brother and sister, son and daughter. There all feelings, emotions, and passions are one in divine love."
Henri Nouwen Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life
I know that God is weeping with me and that He has deep gut-level compassion for my sadness. I know that in my head but to read Brennan Manning write when Jesus wept with any of us over our hurts... personally with me over this, "the ground of all being shook, the source of all life trembled, the heart of all love burst open, and the unfathomable depth of God's immense, inexhaustible caring revealed itself" speaks to my soul.
I read these passage differently knowing the depth of emotion Jesus has in each of these situations...
Matthew 14:14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Luke 7: 11-13 11Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."
Matthew 20:34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
Mark 1:41 Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!"
Also, in all these passages, Jesus' compassion precedes a "miracle"- a healing or a deliverance. As Jesus continues to have compassion for me, I await the reality of his movement in my life. I will not limit Him. I will only trust and wait. Which I suppose is helping me work on that impatience thing too...
So, at the risk of offending people, I send this out. My faith is real and it's not always praise songs and hugs. Sometimes God is walking with me in the dark night of my soul... this is one of those times. I don't have a whole lot to say to Him, but he knows my heart, He's holding it tenderly as it's breaking and rebuilding, breaking and rebuilding.
Jesus is relentlessly tender. When someone has a broken heart, a deep physical longing, He is relentlessly tender to meet that need- He will meet me in this.
I trust in Him. I trust in Him. I trust in Him.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
*Oh, and please keep posting your belly pics and celebrating the new life within you. I'm just venting and really do enjoy seeing how your bellies grow and I await the newest members of your families with great joy and anticipation.
Today Abe and I carved our first pumpkins together. I carved a dog paw into one for the dogs and Abe carved a traditional jack-o-lantern. I'll take nighttime pictures of them tonight but thought I'd post some of our carving antics. It was so nice to spend time together. What made this extra special is that these two gigantic pumpkins came from Abe's amazing garden. My husband is so talented and definitely has a green thumb. Because the pumpkins were a bit dryer, they were so easy to carve and the insides weren't really slimy at all. We've committed to growing our own pumpkins from now on~ it made carving them even more special.
Today I tucked all of my "tangibles" into a manila envelope and asked Abe to put it into the safe. By "tangibles", I mean all the cards, notes, ultrasound pictures, my discharge papers and my hospital bracelet, a sweet hat a friend made for our baby, and some pictures of Abe and I from the State Fair- I can see that my smile is not genuine. I tucked all this into a large manila mailing envelope along with a letter I wrote to our little one. I recounted the bigger details of when we found out I was pregnant, what I felt throughout the weeks I carried him/her, and some of the details of the loss. I wrote it to our baby knowing that it's really for me. I'll pull it out every once in awhile, read the letter, look through the cards, touch the ultrasound pictures and remember. I said what I would have said to their face but didn't get the chance.
Miscarriage is this wierd, silent, almost shameful thing. I can't believe how many people don't talk about it, or recognize the life that was there. It's sort of as though if you show too much emotion at any given time that you're being irrational- "it was JUST a miscarriage." Now, believe me, I know that's not truth. Loss is loss. Grief is grief. Emptiness is... well, you get the picture. I wish that people felt more comfortable with recognizing their loss. Instead, families grieve in private- or feel like their grief is "wrong" or "excessive" or "unwarrented". I believe I lost a whole little person, and if you're reading this and have suffered a miscarriage, please hear me. I believe you lost a sweet, precious little life and however you grieve is okay. It's not shameful or excessive. Women are made to mother, biologically and emotionally- when that motherhood is cut short, we recognize in a soul-moving way how deeply flawed our world is.
I've come to realize now, over two months, since we lost our first baby, that of course there is light on the other side- there's hope, there's peace, and that life inevitably goes on. I get up and go to work, play with the dogs, kiss my husband, laugh at jokes, get frustrated when my students don't listen, and filled with tenderness when their little compassionate hearts show kindness to another. I sleep, I eat, I worship. Yet still, while I live fully, there's a deep loss of innocence that came with losing this little life and I suppose comes with any loss. If and when I get pregnant again, it will be tempered with an awareness of the great possibility of alternative outcomes. I will not dwell on the dark things that COULD happen but I will be aware of them more acutely nonetheless.
As I signed my little card to our baby, "Mama", an old wound cracked open again. I would have been 20 weeks pregnant now. Halfway there. I had it marked already in my calendar- I have the books (on shelves now)- I even have some of the clothes I would have needed. Instead, this week, I celebrate my 31st birthday with an empty womb, a tiny hole in my heart, and a solemn spirit. God, the great comforter, draws close to me again as always. He never fails to be my ever-present help in times of need; even when my need is just a good cry.
He also never fails to fill me with hope. I look forward with great great longing to the day that I can put the silly little picture of a baby in the corner of this blog as it counts down the days until my due date; to the day that I can hug my ever expanding belly and complain of heartburn and sciatica; to the day that after great pain, I can feel the reality of my child in my heart AND in my arms.
With that, I tuck all the memories of our baby into an envelope and close it, not sealed permanently, not even in the safe yet... maybe in a week or so... I think I'd like to look through it a little more while it's still out on my desk... and I remain the same: A child of God, an imperfect, impulsive receiver of redemption, a wife to the greatest husband a woman could have, and a mama- at least by heart. And most importantly, I remain "tucked" under the wing of my Savior, held tenderly against the breast of the lover of my soul and the keeper of all promises.
I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings
In the past few days I've learned of numerous families who are struggling right now with infant or pregnancy loss. I didn't know all this could happen when I was younger- did it? Did people just not talk about it? When did my future go from being about myself to being about my children? When did my hearts cry change to that of a mother weeping for her child or the emptiness in her arms and womb? When did I become a part of this loss? When did loss suddenly seem all around me?
I know that God is good, and faithful- no matter what. I know that in my heart and in my head but I also know that this life brings with it no small amount of heartache. My mom had two miscarriages and I don't remember her being really sad- my mom and I are cut from very different cloths, she's infinitely more private with her emotions but even so, she says it wasn't as realistic of a loss for her as it is for me. There's nothing wrong with her reaction, just as there's nothing wrong with mine- they are just different.
I am feeling so sad. Tomorrow is both the two year birthday and anniversary of the death of my best friends first little girl Briana Joy. Every year, we fundraise, we walk, and we remember her life. The money we raise for such a great cause doesn't change the fact that any one of us would give anything to hold her here instead. September 21st always looms dark and sad, yet filled with possibility. We grieve, we celebrate her small life, we turn another page in the book of the "Days Since..." in hopes of brighter days ahead.
Yesterday, a couple from my high school lost their 3 week old son Amos to a rare genetic disorder. As I breathe, I pray that they would feel in undeniable ways the mighty, magnificently tender love of God- that he would literally shake their souls with His presence and His promise for a future full of hope. Mostly, right now I pray that they would be surrounded by people who love them to hold them up, embrace them, and walk alongside them for the days after this don't get any easier. I walked with an old friend and cried with her as we remembered her two lost little ones- and rejoiced over her two little chatty babies in the strollers in front of us. I grieved for a worship leader who lost three little lives- oh, how he and his wife understand how we feel. At my Bible Study on Wednesday, I learned of yet another miscarriage- filled with questions of "will I ever get to meet my baby?" "was it a boy or a girl?" and this is just in the past few days. And of course, there's always Rachel- always in the back of my head, in the quietness of my heart- the first little girl lost whose smile I still see, whose butterfly kisses I can still feel- June 8th... All this heartache is just in my small circle of friends, acquaintances, and loved ones. There are so many more...
Briana's mom and I have talked many times about death and the grief for those who are left behind. Briana and our baby, Amos and Rachel, all these tiny babies are not sad, not lonely, not hurting, not scared. How can they be? They'll never know imperfection- they know only life, only beauty, only fulfilled promises, only the love of God not the pain of this earth. Because of this, we should have immense peace- we should have... and I venture to assume that we all do, at some time and in some moments- but, what does their absence really mean for us? Heather, Briana's mom, said at the annual fundraiser for the Missing Grace Foundation, that while she wishes it wasn't this exact one, that through all of this, God has called her to a ministry. She's more than just Briana's mom, which is a beautiful and heavy burden to carry, but she's also being called by God to love, serve, and come alongside women who've been in similar situations. As she wades through the grief that comes daily, her light shines brighter and her heart burns purer for her little girl and those who need her.
For me, right now it means I'm in a holding pattern. It means I wait- and wait- and wait upon the Lord to renew my spirits until the day I am face to face with Him in all His glory, His mercy, His magnificent tenderness. And then I won't have to wait anymore to see my little one. Nor will any of you have to wait any longer to hold your little ones. In the mean time, while we're waiting, there are so many things we have to do. Even in the past few days, I've been so comforted by friends and loved ones who've walked where I've walked and are open to talking to me, comforting me, and okaying my reaction, whatever it may be. And I'm sure that even as we are blessed with children, we will always remember with great longing our first little one- and wait with breathless anticipation for the day we get to meet.
So, while I'm waiting for the perfection of Heaven, I hope that I can be used by God as a comfort, as a resource, as a minister to those whose hearts are broken by loss. I will not limit what God wants to do with my life, and in honor of my baby. Even now, I wait for an opportunity to hold a mommy who is grieving her loss so richly, so deeply, and just weep with her; tell her I understand, tell her it's okay to feel however she's feeling, and just be there to listen.
On September 12th, Abe and I had an opportunity to participate in a fundraising walk in honor of Briana and also in honor of our baby. We did a balloon release with hundreds of others who've lost babies at all stages. Before we released the baloons, they played Celine Dion's "Fly" and we just observed a moment of silence. I clutched that balloon so tightly, not wanting to let it go, but wanting to fully feel the loss- sometimes I feel if I'm not sad, it wasn't real and at the same time, if I'm not happy or joyful, then I'm wallowing. As I said, I'm surrounded by people who have "okayed" my responses no matter what. As the tears streamed down my face, I curled into Abe's arms and wept for our baby; for the hopes dashed, the plans foiled, the heart broken. There is evidence all around that I was pregnant- that there was a life in me at one time. There's the video from my sister's wedding where I would touch my stomach and share a secret smile with Abe, we had a secret then that I couldn't wait to share; there are ultrasound pictures, a stuffed Sleep Sheep that was the only thing I bought for our baby, my ER bracelet, and the cards from all of you, the charm on my bracelet that adds our baby to the story of my life, and my writing.
I talked to a woman about her miscarriage nine years ago. Her eyes still well with tears, her heart still hurts- she told me after she lost her baby, she became a writer. She wrote a poem for her lost baby and it hangs on her bedroom wall- a gentle, tangible reminder of the short life that impacted her whole family. This blog has become my writing- my reminder. It's as thought words just pour out of me. I'm sure I tell more than I should, more than you want to know but it's of great comfort to me to know that my words are not going unheard. When I can't speak through the tears, I can write. When I'm feeling really good, really hopeful, I can write. And, when I need to remember, I can go back to that first entry on August 15th, and remember-
I can read God's comforting words through scripture that He brought to me when I needed it most. I can find rest in Him again and again and again.
And then, with renewed hope, refreshed spirit, I can continue...
Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
A song of ascents. 1 I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Tomorrow I go back to work. For those of you who don't know this already, I am a teacher. I teach art to kids ages 5-12. I have been anxiously awaiting this day. The kids are my favorite part of teaching and I'm ready to see their bright smiles.
This past week has been like an out-of-body experience. It's been a workshop week which means that we have staff meetings and district meetings and time in our classroom to prep for the year ahead. I've found that I feel like I'm a stranger in my own skin. A friend of mine who has recently gone through losing a baby by miscarriage helped calm my fears that I might be losing my mind. She knew exactly how I felt, she still walks through it too. She calls it wading through the muck. That pretty much describes it. I feel as though my words don't even make sense. This past week, I would go to school so excited to chat and check in with my friends and find myself not wanting to talk to anyone. I felt like I wanted everyone to know why I was not myself and I didn't want anyone to know. I want everything to get back to normal and I don't want to forget the little life that was inside me. It's a bizarre feeling. I don't know what I want- I can't make decisions... it's wild. That's why I'm so very excited to get into the classroom again- my kids know nothing of what's been going on and that's refreshing. It's almost twice as hard talking to people who know about our loss and don't say anything as it is talking to those who don't know. I find I'm frustrated with people who don't know but I don't want to tell them anything. Do you see how odd this is?
I'm a pretty open person so for me to be closed off like this or unable to figure out what I want to tell people or not tell them is really unsettling. I'm just not myself right now... I hate that. I also hate that underneath all this, there's bit of nagging fear for the future, whispering quietly in the shadows. God will carry us through... IS carrying us through.
So, that's where I am... grrrr...
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Tim. 1:7
I had a checkup on Wednesday with my OB. (Have I mentioned how great I think she is?) Anyway, after some questioning, she decided to do an ultrasound to see how things had progressed. She hurried out of the room to see if they could fit me in then but the ultrasound technician couldn't. She scheduled my ultrasound for right away the next morning and we again, had to wait.
Yesterday I had my final ultrasound. My body has done what it needed to do. I'm no longer pregnant and do not need to have surgical intervention. I am at the same time relieved and disappointed. My OB was off yesterday so I spoke with another doctor. She was very sure that the miscarriage had been complete and that no intervention was needed. Just because she's so good, my OB called me today to check in, let me know that she too had looked over everything and that my body has done it's job. She filled me in on what to expect in the next months and I told her that the next time I see her, I hope it's because I'll be pregnant again. She laughed and said, "Me too, Sarah... me too."
I left the doctor's office on Thursday and had a wave of sadness wash over me. This was what I wanted- closure. There was nothing on the ultrasound, there's no way around that- there's no ambiguity or what-ifs or maybes left. That's good news, now since I've been craving finality. The waiting was the hardest part, for sure, but as I drove away from the clinic, I felt so sad. On one hand, I had my closure, on the other hand, it's now undeniable that we've really lost the baby. The reality of that reared it's ugly head in the car. I just felt physically empty- I still do.
So, now Abe and I look forward to our future. Our future has kids in it- I know it... deep within my heart, I know we will be parents. Whether we complete our family with biological, adoptive, or fostered children, I will be called Mama someday... hopefully sooner, rather than later.
Thank you for your support, your love, your kind words, your prayers, your tears, and your laughter over the past two weeks. It's been a roller-coaster of emotions but threaded through it all has been the sweet presence of Jesus and our friends. We've come out of this with a renewed commitment to God, to each other, and to our future. We've gained great perspective on what really matters in life. We've waded through a pretty deep valley but are nearing the other side.
Harold Kushner wrote a book on the 23rd Psalm and said this, "When illness, bereavement, and the losses that come with age cast a shadow over our lives, God is there to fill the empty space, to remind us that shadows are cast only because the sun is shining somewhere, to take us by the hand and lead us through the valley of the shadow and into the sunlight."
I do feel that God has taken us by the hand and walked us through the valley. I don't feel like we're out yet, but we're heading there. The hard thing about any valley is no matter how much time passes between whatever sent you there and the present, you never forget your voyage through the dark. Any trip into a valley of shadow changes you- hopefully for the better, sometimes for the worse. It is my fervent prayer that Abe and I have been deeply changed... that our hearts are entwined closely together with God and all that He has in store for us. It is my hearts desire to be able to offer comfort to someone who may have gone through the same thing. I know that I will still have sad days, or weeks or seasons but there is a temporary time frame attached to all of those. I know at the end of days, I will race to the arms of my Savior filled with everlasting joy, boundless love, immeasurable peace and infinite gratitude. And then, with breathless joy, I will meet the beautiful life I once carried. Until then, until Zion (our promised land of Heaven) is our reality, we will carry on in faith that God is mighty to save, always good, and ALWAYS alongside us.
With hope, gratitude, and joy... Sarah and Abe
"There will be dark days, days of loss and days of failure, but they will not last forever. The light will always return to chase away the darkness, the sun will always come out again after the rain, and the human spirit will always rise above failure. Fear will assault us, but we will not be afraid,'for Thou are with me'". Harold Kushner from The Lord is My Shepherd
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Today, I went to a baby shower... I know... insert: stupid, stupid, stupid. What did I expect? I knew that there was going to be tons of baby stuff (which doesn't bother me), numerous pregnant women (who again, don't bother me) and babies (LOVE THEM! LOVE TO HOLD THEM!) What could go wrong? I had prepared myself for the typical baby shower things- even given my situation, these things don't bother me. I'm not upset with every pregnant woman I see or sad when I see a little baby that's not mine! I'm not grieving like that. Again, what could go wrong?!
My dear friend is due in October. She's going to be an amazing mom. She's kindhearted, fun-loving, tender, spontaneous, gentle, patient...(need I say more?) She's built to be a mama. Her child will be loved deeply, cuddled constantly, challenged regularly and exposed to millions of exciting adventures with his bike-riding, ice cream loving, rhubarb eating, children's book crazed mama! It was a beautiful shower with absolutely lovely women. We ate, played games (one of which i won on celebrity baby names... What!? I'm a name person!!!!) opened gifts and finished off the afternoon with key lime pie- my FAVORITE! I even got to hold the most beautiful little two week old baby. What a doll! We cuddled and I fed him- I just couldn't get enough of the little one!
What I didn't anticipate or prepare myself for were all the questions. Well-meaning, kind people asking me if we wanted kids, when we were going to have kids, do you have any kids? I even hesitated... do I say, "well, we are in the process of losing our first... or "no, no kids yet..." The looks on their faces would have made me cry (not a good idea at a happy baby shower). It was just hard and I had to hesitate and plan my words. I said, "none, yet... but soon, hopefully". No one there knew my situation except my friend (whose shower it was). The last thing I wanted to be was the crazy friend crying in the corner. I wanted to celebrate the new life inside her! I wanted to be there! I had makeup on and everything!!!
So, I held it together. By the time I left, I had a headache from holding it together but I didn't lose it. However, on my way out the door, a girl there announced to her friends that she was expecting. I knew she was already, I had guessed a week or so ago. She is due a week before I would have been. But, this is what got me, she pulled out her ultrasound pictures to show her friends and I could see from where I was standing what our baby should have looked like. It was all I could do to breathe on my way out the door. I lost it a bit in the car on the way home and now I just feel like I've been run over by a heavy truck. I hurt all over- but my spirit hurts the most.
I have no doubts that we'll have kids, none. My faith in God is not threatened or lessened when I have a sad day. I am not angry. I am just really jealous right now. I don't know how else to say that. I just am sad that I couldn't celebrate with my friends over beautiful baby-shaped ultrasound pictures. I'm so frustrated that I'm breaking out now and my hair is awful- flat and wierd and just ugly!!!!! (how come no one told me that would happen?) I'm sick of feeling sick- I didn't have morning sickness until I started to lose the baby, now I'm nauseous every evening. I'm disappointed that when we do get pregnant again, it won't be the first time everyone gets to hear that we're expecting- I've already told them in the cute celebratory way I always dreamed of (little personalized onesies to my parents and Abe). I'm grieving that the reality of that first exciting baby is lost.
I know that I am not alone. I know that aside from all the tokens of comfort that surround me from our loved ones, I have the greatest gift of all: the everlasting love of God. I also know that when we do add to our family, God's increased our cheering section exponentially. You've joined us on this journey for such a time as this. I know that you will cheer and yell, laugh and holler, maybe even cry a little when we share good news with you in the future. It seems like such a long way off but I have hope. God will provide- even for me in all my imperfections. I don't always make the best decisions (like going to a baby shower a week after finding out our baby's no longer alive) but I make them with the best of those I love in mind. I knew that my friend would be blessed today by women who love her and are excited for her. I wanted to be there to celebrate with her and celebrate we did!!! I knew she would be happy to see me. I just should have expected the tears that inevitably fell down my cheeks on the drive home.... so maybe instead of calling this post stupid, stupid, stupid... I should give myself grace and call it: a worthy try at normalcy.
At the risk of being repetitive, remember, we're okay. We SO DEEPLY appreciate your messages, kind words, prayers, cards, notes, etc. I look at them off and on and they bring smiles to my face and warm my heart. Thank you for thinking of us at a time like this. Please remember that our loss is so common- that someone next to you could be going through the same thing, or have lost a child at any stage, or have struggled for years with infertility. I wonder how many times I've innocently asked semi-strangers, do you have kids? Are you going to have kids? When are you going to have kids? I pray that I have not unwittingly caused them pain. I hope now that I will learn to think before I ask that simple question. Maybe it's not my business, maybe they're hurting like I am right now, then again, maybe not... I guess I'd just rather err on the side of saying too little, than too much. Or, truly, I'd rather be the type of person that someone could feel comfortable opening up to, and then in the middle of a baby shower, cry to and feel the love of God surround them with my human arms.
Pressed but not crushed, Sarah and Abe
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. (Ps 145.18-19)
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. (Ps 32: 7)
Today, I've been sad. I'm sure that I will have many more days like this one before they completely fade, if they ever do. Even amidst my sadness, I see visions of comfort all around me. These are just a few precious comforts that people whom we love and love us dearly have placed around us to comfort us in the quiet, still sad moments.
This is a bible that was a gift to me from my Grandma. She colored all of her favorite verses. I find comfort here not only from God but from my thoughtful Nana, who pored over every page to share her faith with me.
Quite possibly, Rosie and Violet have comforted me the most today. Refusing to leave my side, the two of them follow me everywhere, curl up at my feet, and sleep in my arms. Sometimes, pets just seem to get it.
Yesterday, I took Abe bowling. Yes, you read correctly: bowling. This is his vacation week and I realized it's been filled with 1 ER visit, 2 OB visits, and countless encounters with a teary wife. I thought he should have some sort of fun. I took him out to lunch at McDonald's (I know.. fancy, right?) and then bowling- where he did quite well and I was an embarrassment. Oh well, we had fun. If I could I would have attached the picture from my cell phone of him bowling a strike. It was a much needed respite in a week of sadness.
My husband has been remarkable this week. Words fail to adequately express what Abe has done for me, how he has cared for me, and how he continues to look out for my well-being at all times. As he prays aloud for God to watch over his wife, comfort her body and give her peace- I'm just speechless. I am so blessed.
I've also been really touched by the kind, compassionate, heartfelt, honest, thoughtful, self-disclosing, and encouraging messages I've received from friends and loved ones all over the country. You have no idea the power of your words. Thank you for continuing to walk alongside us.
Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Psalm 61:1-4
Today is a new day. Nothing has changed physically for me but I feel spiritually renewed. I have cried myself out, and all that remains is peace. Deep, beautiful, breathtaking, humbling, joy-filled peace.
Peace is an unexplainable gift. It's a welcome feeling that seems to almost physically weigh on my shoulders. This morning, I find myself giggling about the cucumber that my dogs stole and managed to down half of before I caught them. I'm smiling about the caramel rolls I had for breakfast. I'm warmed by the wonderful time I had with my Bible Study ladies last night. I have peace- real stillness in my soul.
Don't misunderstand, I am not spouting some canned religious "everything is ok, all the time" superficial platitude. I'm sad, deeply saddened by our loss. I look at the ultrasound pictures, at the blob that was my baby and see flashes of what could have been- a child swinging on the swingset, a nightmare that leads a terrified little one into my arms, a sweet smelling brand new baby nestled against my chest. The disappointment that I won't have that when I thought I would makes me sad. There's no way around that- loss is a sad, disappointing, heart-breaking, life-changing thing.
I'm also not trying to compare our situation with those of loved ones who've lost their sweet little ones to a multitude of afflictions. I can't begin to imagine the depth of grief my sister-in-law feels as she lives each day without her beautiful daughter or the breathtaking pangs of losing a child at the brink of delivery. This is our personal loss, our personal experience... our valley. I can't claim to know the depths of grief in someone else, only in myself.
That being said, this I do know. There is no measure as to how high and how wide, how deep and how long, nor how great the love of God is. I've come to the point in the past few months that I don't care if I'm labeled "too religious" or "too fundy". None of those labels matter. What matters is, I HAVE PEACE. I KNOW beyond words, the physical comforts of God. I KNOW that when I cry out, God hears me, I KNOW that. I will not apologize for the great Comforter; The Lover of my Soul; The Healer of all hurts. My only prayer is that in your hurt, your pain, your sorrow... that you'll cry out, sometimes without words... just tears, and let the God of the universe shelter you, comfort you, empower you to continue day after day filled with deep, blessed peace.
I know that we will meet our baby someday in Heaven. I believe that even though our baby was physically not yet developed, he or she was a full-soul and that we will meet face to face someday. And when we do, I will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that this sweet soul is my first baby, longed for before they were a thought in our heads, prayed for before they were cells dividing, and thought of with great love long after our lives have moved on. It is because of this great love I have for the baby no longer with us, that I marvel at the love of God. For how much I already loved this child, God's love for us is immeasurably greater.
The Lord says, "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.
So, please, don't worry about us. Continue to pray for us- I will always welcome that and I know we still have a lot of healing to go through. We are not out of this valley yet. I've been very honest on this blog about my feelings throughout this process, which is still ongoing, and I will continue to do so. We've had quite a few people comment on how they've followed our story this way and because of that I will keep posting as news, or thoughts come up. I look forward with great longing to the day when we can share the good news of another child with you. For now, we are resting in the immense peace of God, filled with joy and anticipation for what is to come. As I've said before, even in the valley, I am acutely aware that God is NOT done with us yet. What a beautiful thing!
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:16-19
I don't have words right now. I'm just heartbroken. Our doctor did another ultrasound and saw that the baby is shrinking, has no heartbeat, and the gestational sac is getting deformed- in preparation for miscarriage. She said, "This is it. This is 100%. This is your definite answer. There is no hope for this pregnancy." She put her hand on my knee and told us that we would get through this. I know that when we have a healthy baby, she will be cheering us on from the front row. I love my doctor. I think she's wonderful. She explained my options and I've decided to wait awhile longer and let my body do it's thing. If this doesn't happen naturally, there are other options but they are not on my radar right now. One really great thing is, I did get pictures from the ultrasound so that I can always know there was a little life in me at one time.
Abe and I ask that you pray for closure for us both physically and emotionally and for comfort as we grieve the loss of our first little baby. Right now, I don't have wonderful words about God to share with you because I'm out of words in general. I'm completely overwhelmed while He's patiently, firmly, and tenderly holding me in the palm of His hand, cradling my broken heart and calming my frayed spirit.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 2 Cor 1:3-5
We thank you for your continued support, love, and prayers. Beseeching God on our behalf is the greatest thing you can do for us right now. As I've said before, we'll be okay, we're just passing through the valley.
Abe and I continue to wait. Right now, we've been told that our baby has no heart beat and that I will miscarry. Right now, I still have not lost our baby. So, we wait. I have another ultrasound on Wednesday morning and am longing for a miracle- a heart beat. It truly would be a miracle for so many reasons. In this and through all of this, I still know that God has kids for us in our future. I can't wait to meet them, see their little faces, and cuddle them- dry their tears, hear their giggles, see the wonder as they discover new things. This is sad, heartbreaking... but, we have hope. This is not the final word in our family's story. There's always a future, no matter how deep the valley is now, we are not alone.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
The key word is THROUGH, we are not dwelling, just passing through the valley. Slowly walking through a deep valley, though.
Longing for the other side, but still walking, trusting in our Lord...
This post was supposed to be beautiful and exciting news. Abe and I were going to announce that we were adding to our family and were expecting a baby in March of 2010. Today, however, we found out that our sweet little baby had no heartbeat. I know miscarriage is very common and I grieve that so many women have to experience it. It doesn't change how much it hurts. God is still good... in everything... all the time...
So, this song Glory Baby by Watermark pretty much sums it up:
Glory baby you slipped away as fast as we could say baby…baby.. You were growing, what happened dear? You disappeared on us baby…baby.. Heaven will hold you before we do Heaven will keep you safe until we’re home with you… Until we’re home with you…
Miss you everyday Miss you in every way But we know there’s a day when we will hold you We will hold you You’ll kiss our tears away When we’re home to stay Can’t wait for the day when we will see you We will see you But baby let sweet Jesus hold you ‘till mom and dad can hold you… You’ll just have heaven before we do You’ll just have heaven before we do
Sweet little babies, it’s hard to understand it ‘cause we’re hurting We are hurting But there is healing And we know we’re stronger people through the growing And in knowing- That all things work together for our good And God works His purposes just like He said He would… Just like He said He would…
BRIDGE: I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies and what they must sound like But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home And it’s all you’ll ever know…all you’ll ever know…
Thank you for your prayers as we walk through this valley. Don't worry, we'll make it through.
Tonight, my husband brought in a HUGE harvest... one of many, I'm certain. Who needs a farmer's market!? We've got the Wolfe Family Farmer's Market right here! Yum... if you're needing some fresh produce, I'm sure we have enough to share! Enjoy!
This pumpkin isn't done yet and it's gonna be a big one! State Fair, here we come!