November 18, 2015

Phase Six: Altered

If you are visiting my blog for the first time, you may refer to the Phase One for background on our miscarriage story. We are thankful for your continued prayer support during our journey. 

When I began these posts I wrestled with what to call them. I jumped between "Part" and "Phase." And even though I have decided on "phase" it still does not adequately label these forms of expression.

A "part" & "phase" elude to a conclusion. There may be dozens of parts and phases, but eventually they will be complete; they conclude. I think this reveals my mind set at the time of losing Baby O. My Type-A personality said "you will only mourn for a short time, this will just be a portion of your story, this will only be a phase."

And while some days I wish it was over, there are tender sweet November moments when I am thankful to have my battle wounds. There are times when I just want to write a blog post about my weekend plans or show off my Christmas decor. There are also times when I open a post, bare my soul, and leave the post in draft mode because it is all too tender to release to you.

I am learning that a time is coming when "phase" is not permanent enough. I no longer want to look back and read about my phase of miscarriage, because God has moved mountains in my identity, marriage, relationships that far exceed the capacity of a "phase."

There has not been a day since September when I do not think of Baby O. in one aspect or another. That has never changed.

What has changed, and is so beautiful, is what brings Baby O to mind.

At first the thoughts came from a place of deep mourning. I missed my baby. Then through gentle interactions and tender conversations I was reflecting on Baby O in a positive light. God used our child to reach those around us that had not yet come to terms with their out miscarriage story. God used our child to soften our hearts toward the hurting hearts of others. My husband and I mourn better. Our arms are open with unconditional apology for the hurts of a broken world.

And with that I am thankful.

Only the God of the Bible, our Creator, and redeemer. Only He can take something awful and by His spirit use it to bring peace and comfort to our hearts and to the hearts of others.

Nothing else can do that. No one else can do that.

This is a life change. Not a "part" or "portion" or "phase" of my life. The very fabric of my thoughts, of my love, and of my actions are altered.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come." - 2nd Corinthians 5:17

November 4, 2015

Phase Five: Sweet November

Thank you for your continued prayer during this season of our life and phase of healing. If you are reading this post for the first time, you may refer to the Phase One for background on our miscarriage story. 

I have always wanted to be pregnant in Autumn.

I loved everything about cozy blankets, football games, and two holidays back to back. Many of the ideas of sharing news with family and friends centered around cute pumpkins, at the Thanksgiving Dinner table, or through Christmas gifts. 

So it was a tender sweet gift to be pregnant in the fall. The pregnancy was not only an answer to prayer but the timing was as well.

A few weeks ago I shared about the cruelty of this miscarriage experience. While writing that post I viewed my autumn miscarriage as a cruel taunting of this fallen world. Why did it have to be during my favorite season? Why did it have to be near my birthday? The hurt seemed so intentional. The pain seemed so specific. 

Then, during a crisp fall night, October passed away and gave birth to November. 

Sweet November. 

A time of Thankfulness. A time of looking back on what God has done this year. 

Throughout the New Testament the apostle Paul continues to remind his fellow Christians to seek a heart of thankfulness, especially during a time of trial. 

"...give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
 - 1 Thessalonians 5:18

So here I am. In my autumn, barring wounds from battle, as I march in the season of Thanksgiving. 

What I have found when I am face down before God is that I can more accurately see His provision over my life instead of my vision for my life. When I am humble before God I am reminded of the 1,000's of dollars He provided for my surgery. When I step back from my current hurt I am reminded that God puts air in my lungs each morning. There are things to be thankful for everywhere!

So how tender and how sweet of the Lord to have November after October. How tender and sweet of Him to move me toward a heart of mourning to a heart of thanksgiving with autumn leaves all around me. While October seemed cruel, November seems sweet. 

October 21, 2015

Phase Four: Content Choices

Thank you for your continued prayer during this season of our life and phase of healing. If you are reading this post for the first time, you may refer to the Phase One for background on our miscarriage story. 

One of the things I focused on during the miscarriage was the positive fact that I was able to get pregnant in the first place. This was a miracle in itself. The surgery to remove the tumor was successful and the diagnoses of only stage 1 Endometriosis was such a blessing. We had expected things to be much worse.

So when the hard news hit, I focused on December and the hope of having another announcement.
When I had to breathe through nightmare contractions, I focused on the fact that my story is not over; I will have another chance to have a child.

Once the fog cleared (of the physical pain at least) my husband and I had the conversation. With emotions at bay, we discussed when we would try again for a family of three.
While other couples may start as soon as her body allows, other couples are not us. Other couples are not in their senior year of Bible College. Other couples are not graduating in May. Other couples are not student workers employed part-time with no health benefits.

Not that it could't be done. But we needed to be realistic and honest.
It would not be honest to send resumes this winter and go to job interviews over Spring Break with the full intention of being a stay-at-home-mom once the baby is born.

So we wouldn't try again until settled where ever God takes us after May.
I've already done the math. I know it will be almost a year or more before I hope to see another positive pregnancy test.

Some days I am fine with this. I just finished midterms and finals will be here in 2 months. We will keep busy with networking and prepping resumes. We have 7 months left to soak up fellowship with classmates and professors. Our schedules keep us busy. And as a young married couple, we have plenty of time.

Plenty. of. Time.


Then there are days when all I see are a the tiny boxes I have to cross off. Three hundred and sixty five boxes. When I can barely make it through a single day.. I think of how many more I have to "make it through" before our family grows. It feels never ending.

While I am so scared to ever trust a positive test, while I will hesitate at every ultrasound, and I know I will panic at every feeling and abnormality. While going through all of this again seems terrifying, I long to be pregnant again. 

I have already heard people say "You have plenty of time." But the irony is that they are the same people that say "Don't tell God your plans!" when I share that we are waiting.

It's smart to be realistic. It's healthy to mourn.
And it's okay to prepare while God heals us.
And it's okay to rest while He moves in your heart.

"He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake."
Psalm 23:3

October 15, 2015

Phase Three: Cruel October

Thank you for your continued prayer during this season of our life and phase of healing. If you are reading this post for the first time, you may refer to the Phase One for background on our miscarriage story. 

I don't believe in signs or destiny. I don't believe that "nature" or "karma" send things my way to reward or punish me. I know why bad things happen to good people. I know why there is hurt. I know why cancer exists. I know why there is death.

There is general pain caused because we live in a decaying world full of sin. And there is specific pain that is caused by my own sin.
Pain is here because sin is here.

But it's hard when that general pain feels specific.
It's hard not to feel targeted, selected even, to go through this very pinpoint pain.


When you have to take medication on October 1st to induce labor of a failed miscarriage only to learn that October is Infant Loss and Awareness month.


It's breathing through contractions only to find out that a few states away an old acquaintance is doing the same, except she is in a hospital room awaiting the arrival of a living child.

Then there is today.
Today I am waiting for the doctor to call with my blood work to confirm that this physical nightmare is complete. That the miscarriage passed "successfully."
October 15th 2015.

Do you know what today is?
Infant Loss and Miscarriage Awareness Day.

When I realized this, I allowed my jaded and sarcastic inner voice take control of my thoughts. Laughing to myself thinking "Oh I am VERY AWARE of what happened. I am very aware of my loss."

But the "awareness" is never for the person who has experienced the loss. What is sad is that as common as miscarriage is, it's not common enough for people to share it. After all even I am resorting to a blog post instead of facebook updates and phone calls.

But why raise awareness? Why take the time to document this wave of pain and dance between joy and grief? (Thank you Angie Smith for that phrase).

Because where there is pain, there is reason for comfort.
Where there is pain, there are questions for why.
And while I understand why there is pain in the world, someone out there does not. And the pain they are feeling, feels...targeted.

The word I have been using is Cruel.
It's cruel to go through a miscarriage.
It's cruel to pay an ER bill for a miscarriage.
It's cruel to lose a life I cannot bury.

Pain. can. be. cruel.

So what do I do when I live in a world with cruel pain?
What balances specific, deep, loss?
What could possibly out last my patience, withstand my screams, and embrace my brokenness?

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." -Psalm 73:26