Monday, December 28, 2009

Better days ahead

Without getting into too much detail, suffice to say that I'm fairly confident that I'm finally on the downhill side of what has felt like history's longest miscarriage. I'm so, so thankful. I was curled up on the floor wrapped in a quilt after church yesterday, crying my eyes out because it's been exhausting to have it draw out this long, to keep being reminded of what's happening and what we've lost. I've been so afraid that the time is coming near when I'll have to draw a deadline for myself and agree to medical intervention...which I did NOT want. So it appears that God answered "yes" to my prayer that it would progress naturally. I know that if He said "no," then it would be for a purpose and He would carry me through that, too. But I might have had a temper tantrum along the way and it would have been uglier than necessary.

Christmas was wonderful. We went to my aunt and uncle's house north of here and saw most of the family. Only once did I come close to crying, when one of my aunts hugged me really tightly. I couldn't help but keep asking myself during different parts of the day, "Is THIS when we would have told everyone? What would that have BEEN like? How COOL would that have been?" On Saturday Matt and I were drinking tea and hot chocolate at JP's, and I remembered that I would have been ten weeks that day. Just about out of the proverbial first-trimester woods. Anticipating starting to show soon. Why is there no end to the tears I can produce?

But it was not meant to be, and now I look forward to seeing what IS meant to be.

We had a fabulous day checking out the sales downtown on Saturday, ate lunch at a fancy restaurant (we had a coupon, don't be too impressed) went to a movie, and played games at home. We bought ski equipment for Matt and tried it out around the neighborhood under a delightful snowfall yesterday. I have Matt and Molly and a great family and amazing friends. My Glory Baby is in heaven celebrating Christmas with the King of kings. We miss that little one that we had already grown to love. But we're so excited to see what will come next.

So thank you for your prayers and support. This experience showed us that God can mobilize an army and uplift us with the prayers of other people. What a grand thing to see and experience! Please pray that in the months ahead we might have another joy...and one that will be healthy and strong (and, um, THERE) and that we'll be able to hold and love.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009


Sorry I had to keep my last entry so heavy-hearted, but I worked this weekend and haven't had a chance to update it. I'm on my way out the door pretty soon but wanted to give a quick update.

My hormone levels continue to rise, but the increases are slowing down, so at some point they need to start dropping and I'm hoping that's real soon!! One thing that encourages me about that is that my body clearly is strong and healthy and doing whatever it can to support a pregnancy (although there is nothing to support). I find comfort in this! I'm so thankful that I am so fearfully and wonderfully made that my body is trying to do what it was made to do...even if it's a little, um, slow on the uptake.

I worked this weekend, but felt great - physically and emotionally. Of course I remain sad that my little one is no longer with me, but God's peace is so abundant.

Today I continue to feel great. I went skiing and scrambled to do some last-minute Christmas things.

I really want to point out that if I say that I'm doing well, I'm doing well. I was telling a friend last week that I'm a lousy actress: I'm not all that great at hiding what I'm feeling! If I'm sad, I'm fully sad and am unable to hide my tears. But if I'm feeling well and at peace and happy, it's not a facade. My smile is not fake, my laughter is genuine, my mood is exactly how I feel. There are times when I feel like I have to spend more energy trying to "convince" others that what I'm feeling is genuine and acceptable - whether it's a good or a bad day. My good days are not days in which I'm in denial. I can't deny what's going on at all. I can't deny my disappointment. But I love life too much to not continue enjoying it.

Anyway, I'm off to a birthday party, so I need to scoot - thank you soooo much for all the prayers and encouragement. I know my roller coaster will continue, so I continue to covet your prayers and encouragement!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

One of those days...

There are days that are much better than others...yesterday was one of those days. Things are easily in perspective, my spirits are up, speaking Truth to myself comes easily.

Then there are the other days. My mind intellectually still knows and reflects on Truth and an appropriate perspective. But I'm gray. My mind is a blank, gray slate. Things take twice as long to get done. I'm forcing myself to live and enjoy my day.

Today is one of those days.

I cry. I fight with my husband. I make no sense. My body still thinks it's pregnant and I yell at it (that does a lot of good). My thoughts are a scramble and it takes everything in my power to take them captive under Christ's authority.

I'm grieving and feeling every shred of it. I should be nine weeks tomorrow and raving like a pregnant, hormonal lunatic. Not raving like a miscarrying, hormonal lunatic.

Am I just being dramatic? Should I just get over it? It was, after all, nothing. Like, I'm grieving the loss of...nothing, save for what I THOUGHT was there.

Tomorrow will be a better day.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A balm to my soul

I drove sweet Carinna to school this morning (Matt usually hogs her....but I guess that's because her school IS on the way to work for him). A balm to my soul.

Kristin and I went out for coffee last night, and were in absolute hysterics over the live music that was playing at the coffee shop. The place where we went attracts a crowd of an...older vintage, if you will. "The Silvertones" were providing the entertainment, suspenders, Santa hats, and accordians to even winked at me when I walked in. A crowd of seniors flanked the Silvertones, clapping gaily in rhythm. One lady in festive red sweatpants was knitting a celebratory blue scarf. We were amused. Greatly.

Another balm to my soul.

Carinna's mom called me this morning after I dropped Carinna off at school. Sandra and God are like bark on a tree. Her relationship with Him is so profound that I can't find words to describe it. The things that she has been through have given her no choice but to rely completely and wholly on Him (shouldn't we all??). Anyway, Sandra is in seminary and was writing a final paper, and God was bugging her so much about this particular verse (she calls it "holy harassment") that she had no choice but to call me and pray it over me. When Sandra prays, things happen. Like, immediately. It's amazing. If faith like a mustard seed can move mountains, Sandra's faith in God can scootch the entire universe. This tiny, gentle woman takes the Word of God and wields it with unabashed authority when she prays.

God harassed her until she gave me this verse:

I therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called...(Ephesians 4:1)

God has called me to this place. I have a duty to uphold. If I crumple, and allow bitterness and anger and anxiety and fear to take root in my heart, bad news. That's not to say I can't FEEL those things, but I may not allow them to take up residence. God has given me an opportunity. I didn't ask for it. I thought my opportunity was to bear a child, and I liked THAT opportunity. But it's what He gave me, and given that He created the universe and knows my heart better than I do, I guess He has the authority to give me what He sees fit. So I have a choice - turn inward and get nasty, or ask Him what it means to walk in a manner worthy of this deal to which I have been called.

...with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:2-3)

God laid on Sandra's heart to tell me that I am very adept at loving people, but I am not loving in circumstances. Huh. I need to seek Him on what He means by that. I have a suspicion I get it (I tend to unravel, and listen to the untrue things I tell myself instead of replacing them with Truth), but I'll have to press into it a little harder.

God is the God of life...and death. He conquered death. Death has NO VICTORY over those who put their trust in Him. He created this baby for the express purpose of taking him or her home in order to glorify Himself. This baby had a purpose...even if the child didn't develop into one we could see, God is using it for His glory.

So if me (and Matt, I'm not trying to leave him out here) going through this trial is a means by which ONE person catches a better glimpse of Christ and who He is and His magnificence, then I'm so, so grateful. I DON'T like it. Yesterday was a REALLY tough day, alone with my thoughts and my grief. I'm heartbroken and scared and frustrated. I wish I were still counting off each day and getting ready to spring some exciting news on my family at Christmas. But that simply was not to be, and I have no control over it.

His grace is sufficient, and it's all I need. Another balm to my soul.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A request...

Please, please, please pray that my body will take care of things naturally and I will NOT need a D&C. I'm in a weird time frame with Christmas approaching. I just canNOT handle the thought of a D&C right now. Thanks.

Getting going today

I'm having a hard time getting going today. And BTW, I'm not trying to be dramatic about this very common event. I just need to journal, and I type a lot faster than I write, so if you're bored by my ups and downs, I don't blame you and I don't expect people to read this with rapt fascination.

I'm struggling with feelings of dismay, anger, bitterness, and overall pessimism (I prefer to think of it as "realism" ;) ). I know the Truth behind it all, that God IS in control, things DO happen for a reason, and these are feelings that I have to sort through and process with that as my backdrop.

I feel duped. Like this pregnancy was some kind of cosmic joke. I remember in college when there were rooms full of girls with bridal magazines, planning away every detail of their wedding, down to the colors and flowers and shoes and hair clips and makeup...only they weren't even dating anyone. They were full-on planning something that didn't even exist.

Well, here I was with a fist full of positive pregnancy tests last month. Unless I'm really bad at math, my dates were spot-on. I know WAY too much about embryonic development and prayed over every cell that was forming every day (because I've taken care of the result of the problems that happen in those precious first weeks). The formation of the yolk sac and the gestational sac. Cells start to lie down the spinal column and the primitive brain. More cells start forming a four-chamber heart and teeny lungs. Like slowly putting on a jacket, they start to wrap up the sides and "zip up" in the front, containing the gut. And on and on and on. Every day, thousands of new brain cells are forming. I prayed diligently over each. Little. Cell.

You hem me in behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.

And then I find out that all I was praying for, thinking about, hoping about, worrying about...didn't even exist!!!

:( :( :(

Or did it? I fully believe life begins at conception. So SOMETHING was conceived; it just was too messy to become anything that we could see.

I guess I just feel kind of messy right now. I KNOW that all things work together for good. I KNOW He hears my cries and comforts the afflicted. I KNOW He uses all things for His glory. I GET that.

But I don't get what to do with my heart...or myself, for that matter. I get that this pregnancy is over and wasn't meant to be on this side of heaven. I get all that. I'm not throwing myself on the floor or even wondering "why me?" Because, why not me?? I can hardly expect only good things to happen and then pitch a fit when bad things happen. That's hardly in keeping with reality.

I just feel like something was a part of me....and now it's not...and when it left, a few of my brain cells went along with it. And I don't know what to do. I feel useless. And gypped. I took good care of myself to ensure a healthy for a growing baby. Started to plan and prepare...cautiously, but planning and preparing nonetheless.

For an empty sac.


I've learning life isn't an if/then statement. We tend to head in that direction.

If you eat this/exercise this much/yadda yadda, then you'll never get heart disease/cancer/you name it.

Yeah no, that doesn't always work that way.

If you take ___mg of hemma-hemma (insert whatever weird ingredient you want), then you'll never get hemma-hemma (insert whatever weird disease you think you'll never get from taking the first hemma-hemma).

Again, we don't have THAT much control.

So I'm not trying to say that I'm flummoxed because I took good care of myself, and then had it go awry. It just happens, and quite often it's nothing that could have been prevented. But's hard not to ask, why the heck did I even bother??

Because we're supposed to be good stewards of what we have, that's why. Not for a specific result, not to reap a reward (though we may), but because that's what you're supposed to do.

Anyway, I'm frustrated, feel discouraged, and wish things were different. But they're not, and I'll never have another December 16, 2009, so I better make the best of it.

Today is one day closer to a better day, right??

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Something about grief

So many people have remarked about that beautiful poem on my last post, that I have to clarify that those are beautiful song lyrics to the song "Glory Baby" by the band Watermark. It's from their album "All Things New," which is one of my favorite CD's. Watermark is a married couple, and they wrote the song after they had a miscarriage. I have always loved, loved, loved that song, and to be completely honest, something in my heart has long known that at some point I would identify with and treasure that song. I highly recommend downloading it and listening to it.

I just have to say something about grief or going through a hard time. It does no good to hold it in and let it rot your bones. Everyone has lost SOMETHING, whether it's something as silly as a pet gerbil or crushing as losing a spouse or a parent or a child. But we ALL know what that bitter cup of loss tastes like.

I've just chosen to talk about what's going on with us. In Sunday School this past weekend while we were taking prayer requests, I just blurted out that I'm having a miscarriage. Did I wonder if maybe that was just *too* personal, *too* graphic, *too* icky to talk about in Sunday School? You bet. Do I regret saying something? No way. The support was overwhelming. To be able to sit in church and cry openly was freeing. To receive hugs and cry with people who have experienced their own losses was comforting. To just be open about it was liberating.

I didn't think I'd want anyone at work to know. Didn't think I could handle all the questions and puppy-dog eyes. But they really did deserve to know why my face was so blank for two days and why I was grumpy. Once again, SO much support. God is SO kind. He let me work with one of my favorite people in the WORLD (Martine!!!), who is like the big sister I never had and my Mom-away-from-my-Mom, who cried and prayed with me the second I told her what was going on. The word spread quickly and people were encouraging and loving and shared their own experiences with me. One nurse - one that I hadn't told and didn't know that she knew - even gave me a "Willow Tree" angel and a card...I wrote "Glory Baby - 12/14/09" on it and now have a tangible memory of what would have been. It felt SO GOOD to be real. Why the heck WOULDN'T I be real? Because it's embarrassing? Because people might talk about me? So what? It's life. So live it.

If I hadn't told people, I would have stuffed my feelings and suffered quietly, lashed out at other people, and been a miserable wreck. I would never have had the opportunity to see how AMAZINGLY God works through other people and demonstrates His kindness. And THEY would have not had the opportunity to BE that kindness for me. It just does no good to build up our walls and pretend.

So we're going to be okay. Very disappointed to be sure, but it's just not in our control. If I depended on my circumstances to be the rudder of my ship, I'd have run aground a LONG time ago. The joy of the LORD is my strength - not the joy of my marriage, the joy of my friendships, the joy of my pregnancy or children, or anything...those will ALWAYS let me down. I might be let down by what God allows to happen, but HE never lets me down. He gives and He takes away, but He stays the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Goodbye, my sweet Glory Baby...

Lyrics by Watermark

Glory baby, you slipped away as fast as we could say
You were growing...what happened dear?
You disappeared on us,
Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe until we're home with you...
Until we're home with you

But we'll miss you every day
Miss you in every way
But we know there is 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...

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...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Glory Baby

We were keeping this under wraps for the most part, but I have to come clean: we're expecting.

Or so we think.

I had my first OB appointment yesterday. I'm quite certain of my dates, and accordingly, should be about 7 1/2 weeks along. Because I know and work with my OB, she shimmied me in for an ultrasound for a "peek." (Normally, I would not have needed one because I have a regular cycle and my dates aren't questionable, but to have an ultrasound at that point is quite common.)

There was nothing to see.

An empty gestational sac. Which was quite small.


My OB believes that my dates are "off." I believe they're not, but it IS possible that I'm a week-ish off. Because the sac was so little, she would not call it a blighted ovum or a miscarriage.

I had a hormone level drawn, and it was an appropriate level for someone who only had a sac well as an appropriate level for someone who is 1-2 weeks behind where I think I am.

She gives me a 50/50 chance that I may very well be pregnant. Another level will be drawn tomorrow to see if it's increasing appropriately. BUT, in the case of a blighted ovum, that would still reflect an appropriately increasing level, even though there's nothing there.

A blighted ovum is a fertilized egg that implants and starts to form a gestational sac and a placenta, but no baby grows inside. This is usually the result of a chromosomal abnormality that is bad enough that there's really no point in growing a baby at all. About 50% of miscarriages are the result of a blighted ovum. Unfortunately, it's a sticky wicket because the placenta is there, and the placenta is what produces the hormones, so your bloodwork can make it appear that all is well. The gestational sac can even grow, even with nothing inside of it.

BUT - I know people who were told they had a blighted ovum and a few weeks later there was a thriving, healthy little bambino in there.

Maybe God has our baby tucked so tightly in His hem that we just couldn't see it.

Either way, we wait. Either way, His glory will be displayed, whether He knits this child together, or He walks with us through a valley. Either way, it's a win-win situation for this baby: either he or she gets a ticket straight to heaven from the closest place on earth TO heaven...or he or she gets to grow and thrive and live. And I want what's best for him or her.

Either way, I get a child to hold in my arms in July...or a glory baby to hold in my arms in heaven.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Decking the Halls

When I was growing up, decorating for Christmas was an Olympic event. My mom has SO many Christmas decorations, and she has a stack of pictures to help her remember where each thing goes...even the "centerpiece" on the toilet!!!!! Our black lab even had a Christmas collar with holly berries on it. It was very fun, very festive, and an all-day event.

Our house is kind of small, so it clutters very easily. Christmas decorating doesn't take all that long in my little 1940 Cape Cod, but it sure is fun. I just have a few little areas that I jazz up, and I like to enjoy the details. And I REALLY love glitter!!

Here are some fun closeups of my faves from the tree (LOVE my snowflake garland I got several years ago at Crate & Barrel!)...

I have to interrupt my reverie here to let you know that as I write this, it's snow-globe snowing outside!! I'm like a little kid when it starts snowing like that!!

Last year we bought a hutch at a cottage-antique store, which we use as a book shelf and game storage. I found this decorative berry thingy in Shipshewana for 50% off, and I bought the star lights several years ago at Target.

I kind of invented this centerpiece in the kitchen...Matt says it looks like a scary octopus, but I don't care. It's glittery.

My grandpa made the little wooden mailbox for me when I was a really little girl. I love pulling it out each year and thinking of him. It's so simple, but so special to me.

And finally, the best part of Christmas decorating...

Need I say more??

Soak in the Christmas season...not the presents, not the decorations, not the commercials, not being merry and happy and trivial...but soak in Him.

Merry Christmas...