How we survived our miscarriage…

We survived our miscarriage, but there were certainly moments that felt like we wouldn’t. A wise woman recently told me “Grief runs deep, but so does the love.” And that’s exactly what we have come to learn. Grief will catch you off guard, it lasts longer than you may anticipate and it affects you in ways you never expect. However, we have been met with unbelievable love. Love from our Heavenly Father and love from those around us.  Grief effects everyone differently and we each need to process in our own unique way. Here are a few things that helped us survive…
1) Other than being surrounded by incredibly compassionate and loving people, we also had the assurance of a Loving Heavenly Father. For me that made all the difference. While I don’t understand why we lost our babies, I know in the depths of my soul that He is still good. I believe that there is more to this world and to our story than my limited human eyes and mind can fathom. My Savior allows me to ask the tough questions, to be upset if I need to be, to cry & scream and then to rest in the knowledge that He’s got me. That He will not allow our pain to be wasted. He makes beauty out of our ashes. If you don’t know this Savior, I encourage you to press into Him, seek Him, read about Him, ask Him questions and accept His life changing love and grace.
2) Throughout the days following our miscarriage we found ourselves often looking at each other and saying, “We’re gonna be OK.” At first it felt like we were trying to convince ourselves that we WOULD in fact be ok, but after a while it became something we believed whole heartedly. It was a reminder to keep trudging through the pain even when it felt like we just wanted to sit and wallow.
3) Being left with an empty womb and empty arms, gave me the need to engage in tangible expressions of grief. We ordered a pink and blue sky lantern and released them in the field behind our home. I ordered a necklace with 2 interlocking hearts and I often wear it as a way to feel close to these babies that we love so much. For Christmas we had 2 clay heart ornaments made to hang on our tree in honor of our babies. Maybe you need something tangible to help express what you are feeling. I encourage you to find ways to honor and feel connected with what you have lost. picstitch (2) 4) We talk about our loss, with each other, with those who have experienced this loss and with our friends and family. It’s not that we talk about it every day, but the freedom that comes from knowing we CAN talk about it, is comforting to me. This was most helpful right after the miscarriage, as we were still trying to come to terms with what we were experiencing. These conversations were raw with emotion, they were difficult and sometimes uncomfortable…but they were healing. For us, this was helpful. I needed to not keep everything bottled up and hidden. There may be times when you don’t feel like talking about it, and that’s ok too, but I believe there is healing that comes in expression.
5) Writing. For me writing has been helpful. Providing an outlet to free the thoughts and feelings that bounce around in my head all day. This blog was created with the hope that writing about our experience would be healing for us and would allow others to know that they are not alone. I also read the book: Letters to Miscarried Moms by Samantha Evans, which helped me feel less alone as I read stories of others who had walked this road ahead of me. For Ross, he found engaging in projects to be comforting. Yard work, building an entertainment center, fixing things around the house…It gave his mind time to process through our loss.  I encourage you to find activities that help you process through your experience.
6) Music. As God often does, he has given me songs throughout this journey that have spoken directly to my heart. Here are a few songs that have brought great comfort to me during this time…
You Make Me Brave by: Amanda Cook & Bethel Music
What’s Mine is Yours by: Katherine Nelson
Held by: Natalie Grant
Never Once by: Matt Redman
Out of Hiding by: Steffany Gretzinger
Friend, wherever you are on this journey, make sure you are taking care of yourself. Let those around you know what you need. Find things that help you work out your grief. And know that in Christ, your pain will not be wasted. You are loved, as are the babies you have lost. Know that you are not alone and that you WILL survive.

The club no one wants to be in…

There’s this club. A club I don’t think anyone would ever actually want to be a part of, but many of us find ourselves to be members. We enter with tear-stained faces and aching hearts. Often times with more questions and bitterness than we care to admit. The induction into this club is gut-wrenchingly painful, but the surprising thing for me was what we found once we were members. We found overwhelming support and love. Other members reached out to us in ways that meant more than words will ever be able to express. Women sharing stories of their own losses and how they survived. Men stepping out to support Ross in his grief. People we know and people we don’t contacted us to support us in our pain. Even 5 months out from our miscarriage we have continued to have conversations with others about the heartache of this type of loss. And each conversations heals another piece of our broken hearts. I pray it does the same for them as well. When I have spoken with other members of this club in person, I can see the pain in their eyes as they recount their loss, and as they embrace me with such compassion.  I have also witnessed the hope they have found. “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”~2 Corinthians 1:4.  This verse has been lived out for us by each person who has allowed God to us their own story as a comfort to us. If you find yourself to be a member of this club, know that you will be met with grace like you have never known. You will be accepted and loved on with open arms and incredibly caring hearts. You are not alone and though this is not a club you wanted to be a part of….here, you will find comfort.

What felt like the beginning of the end…

It was supposed to be a happy day. A day we had waited for since we found out we were expecting. The first time we would see what our baby looked like and hear the heartbeat. I’ve dreamed about this moment for a long time, wondering what it would feel like. Would I cry? Would he cry? Would we laugh and barely be able to contain our joy? We were excited to say the least. I lay on the table as the sonographer put the warm gel on my stomach and moved the wand around slowly. I looked at the screen trying to see if I would be able to distinguish what I was looking at. She took measurements, and pointed out my uterus and other things but never the baby. I looked at Ross, being a sonographer himself, he knew what he was looking at. He said it may just be too early to see through this type of ultrasound, so it was decided that I would have a more invasive one. My brain started to panic…is it really too early or is there just nothing there to see? I am almost 12 weeks, they should be able to see something. I grabbed Ross’s hand and searched his face as he studied the screen. The sonographer continued to take measurements and pictures of what she was seeing, but there was never mention of a baby. Tears started to slide down my face…I knew something was not right. I could feel Ross’s hands starting to shake. I remember whispering…”Something’s wrong?”, he shook his head yes. We both cried. The sonographer said she would send the images immediately to the radiologists and have him read them while we were still there. She left the room and Ross grabbed me. We sobbed. Neither understanding how this day that was supposed to be so joyous had so quickly become devastating. The radiologist called and explained that there was a baby and possibly 2 as it looked like at one time there could have been twins.  My uterus was measuring 9 weeks, but the baby they could see stopped developing between 5-6 weeks. There were no heartbeats. We again collapsed into each others arms. Just like that it was over. My head was spinning, surely this wasn’t real? It felt like a bad dream, one that I so badly wanted to wake up from but could not. Your mind plays funny tricks on you in times like this…”Surely they are wrong and the baby or babies are still alive”, “What did we do wrong?” “Did I not eat the right things, or exercise enough or maybe I exercised too much?” Ross kept assuring me that we did not do anything wrong. I knew in my head that he was right, but it left me with no explanation of why this happened. I called my mom and through tears tried to explain to her what they had told us. She cried with me. My mom is a great comforter, she knows how to grieve with others. She asked me what I needed. The only thing I could think of at the moment was for her to start calling family and close friends to tell them. A few weeks earlier we had announced to all of our friends and family about the pregnancy and now I felt so foolish for doing so. I didn’t have the strength or energy to call and explain to people that we had lost the baby(ies). Of course she agreed to do so and continued to check on me throughout the day.  When we got home, we didn’t really know what to do. He called his parents and they grieved with us and agreed to contact the rest of the family. We called my Dr to set up an appointment to discuss what comes next. Our faces were both beet red from crying so much and our eyes stung from all the tears. We needed to think about something else, even if just for a little while. We put in a funny movie and thankfully were able to laugh a little, which felt good. I was relieved to know that we could laugh, and honestly I’m not sure how, but it was healing. The movie ended and all I really wanted to do was go to sleep and escape from the sadness. We curled up together in bed, but neither of us could sleep well. We drifted in and out of sleep with tears soaking our pillows off and on. We laid in bed for a long time, there were moments of saying nothing, moments of sharing how we were feeling and how bad this hurt and moments of just crying. We finally got up and decided we needed frozen yogurt. It felt weird to be out in public doing normal things when we felt anything but normal, but somehow frozen yogurt was healing too. We ended the evening watching funny sitcoms on the couch and praying together. It was one of several times we had prayed together that day; because even though we don’t understand why and even though it hurts so bad and even though our hearts are completely broken…we WILL trust our Lord.  I am so thankful for a husband that is willing to walk through this valley in an open, honest way. We are a team. It’s not my pain and his pain…it’s OUR pain. We share the burden and we are striving to continually bring it to our Father in Heaven. We don’t know why this happened, and it kills me that I never got to hold or see these babies, but we choose to believe that God has a plan and sees the whole picture and we will trust that He’s got us. We feel his love and comfort as we walk this road that we do not desire to walk, nor do we really know how, but we will cling to Him as he orders our every step.

Sharing my story…

When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal someone else.” – Iyanla Vanzant

At the beginning of August we suffered a miscarriage. A heartbreaking experience that changed me…changed us. This change has been difficult, it has ebbed and flowed, it has produced tears and every possible emotion under the sun. But perhaps the most significant thing that is has produced is growth. And it continues to produce growth, as long as I let it. Miscarriage is a word that is often mumbled in whisper-like tones. It’s awkward and uncomfortable to talk about. But we need to talk about it. There are women and men for whom it is a reality and they (we) need places to talk about it, to hear each others stories, to know that we are not alone. For me, that has provided comfort beyond what I could have imagined. Reading about and listening to others share their stories and in so doing, joining me in my heartache. God is using these stories to heal this broken heart. And therefore, even though it is scary to tell our story, I will do so in the hope that it provides comfort to someone else who is faced with the reality of miscarriage. I’m not sure exactly what form this blog will take or how long I will write, but as we have been unpacking this experience little by little in the past few months, I have felt the desire to reach out to others and let them know they are not alone. Perhaps you are here because this reality is now your reality, if that’s the case, let me just say how deeply sorry I am for your loss. I hope through this blog you will find words of comfort and grace. Maybe you are here because your friend or family member is facing this reality…Bless you for joining them in this pain. And maybe you are here because you are one of the many people who are supporting Ross and I as we grieve this loss… To you: Thank you. Those words don’t seem large enough to express how we feel about you or how you have helped us. But Thank You.