Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Our Blessing!

Sorry for the long delay in posts, it's been a long 13 weeks but we are ready to share the good news!

God has blessed us with a third pregnancy! And this time we have made it to 13 weeks (tomorrow) and counting! So far everything has been going well but I should probably rewind on how we got here.



13 weeks ago our doctor finally gave us the "go" to try again and we started up on another round on clomid. Two weeks into my cycle I had an ultrasound that confirmed one good follicle and we were sent on our way.

The waiting period in-between is so hard, and I ended up taking a test a few days early...


Is that a faint line I see? We weren't sure so we waited a few more days and I took another...


Here we go again!!  We were so excited! But when we called our OB to share the news and find out our next step, he pretty much just said we would continue to do exactly what we had been doing before. This made our hearts sink. We really felt last time around that something had to change or this pregnancy would end up unsuccessful just like the others. 

But we knew we had to give it up to God. He was in control, and we were aware of that more than ever. We prayed for Him to give our doctors and us the wisdom to make the best decisions for our baby during this pregnancy. We shared our news with our closest family and friends and asked them to pray for us too.

That weekend we attend a birthday party for our niece and nephew. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law are involved in a small group through their church and many of their group families were in attendance as well. One of the mothers in the group shared with us why she choose to leave an adult ICU as a nurse and work in the OR of a women's hospital, in which she encountered many couples who had to undergo procedures from a loss of their baby. She felt drawn to these families through her and her husbands own and experience with infertility. She knew of our story because my sister-in-law had asked for prayers for us, so I wasn't surprised at her opening up to me. Then she went on to share with us a doctor with whom she worked with that she thought maybe would benefit us. 

So the following Monday I called them up... "Hi. I'm 4 weeks pregnant and I'd like to see the doctor." The receptionist was stumped, "Um, we help people get pregnant." I took a deep breath, and shared my story. She collected a handful of details about my history and said she would share them with the doctor and call me back to see if she could help. An hour later she called to tell me I had an appointment in a few days! Whew! 

A few days later I met with the reproductive endocrinologist and she took a detailed history and let me know what she thought would be a good plan for our pregnancy. I loved how proactive she was and how determined she was to make this pregnancy work! She also said she would be willing to call my OB and let them know she was taking over for the first trimester, which was a huge relief to me as I was nervous going behind their back. I left the meeting ecstatic and called Marcus to let him know how much I loved this doctor since he couldn't make it to the meeting. 

We truly felt like God had organized everything to lead us up to meeting with this doctor!

That week I had a bunch of lab work done and was started on synthroid and IM progesterone. Let me tell you, daily IM injections in my bottom were very unpleasant but we were willing to do anything for this baby!



We also did some genetic testing, in which Marcus and I were both carriers for some diseases, but not of the same, which was very reassuring!

We had our first ultrasound at 6 weeks when we got to see our little peanut for the first time! I was even a day further along than we had originally thought! Though we didn't get to hear it, we got to see the little flicker of a heartbeat that reassured us everything was okay.



The morning sickness didn't take long to set in and hit me in full force around 5 1/2 weeks. It's a good thing the doctor advised me against working out more than very light activity during the first trimester because I was so tired and nauseous I could barely get off the couch, let alone get through a workout! Even 12-hr overnight shifts were rough. I also couldn't eat any of the foods I normally love (fruits and peanut butter being my most missed foods!). But I knew it was all going to be worth it!

The housework wasn't getting done as quickly either and my husband was even alarmed at how calm I was about it. This was not at all like my type-A personality. But Marcus was so amazing about picking up the things I was having trouble getting done so that I could rest. He took good care of me!

This pregnancy was different from the others in so many ways. We completely trusted in God and His plan for us. Sure, there was still fear that it could end just like all the others, but we felt oddly calm at the same time.

Our next appointment was at 8 weeks and we got to hear the heartbeat for the first time!! At a strong 167, Marcus and I finally let out the deep breath we were holding and squeezed each others hands. It was the most amazing sound we could ever hear!



We felt so blessed that things were going well! At 10 weeks, we had our last appointment with the reproductive endocrinologist and got to hear the heartbeat for a second time. They also shared some more wonderful news with us- no more IM progesterone shots! Now that we were nearing the end of the first trimester, we set up a meeting with our OB. 



We were nervous as first he would not be happy with us for leaving, but he was so great at reassuring us and let us know his plan for our pregnancy. We had another ultrasound at 10 weeks 5 days and we saw our little peanut moving!! It was so incredible to see!



Our last appointment with our OB was at 12 weeks and 5 days, and we heard the heartbeat again at 152. 

We are so grateful how God has blessed us! Throughout this journey we had some days when it was hard to even believe in a future with a baby. I doubted whether I would ever have a successful pregnancy. The waiting periods were long and full of anxiety and fear, but now it almost feels unreal. 

Announcing our pregnancy has been something we have been cautious about, because we are still fearful. And though we know anything could happen, we do know that no matter what, God will help us to get through it, just as He has thus far. And it wasn't going to be easy hiding it much longer, my belly popped pretty early with this pregnancy!


Thank you to everyone for your love and support throughout our journey! We could never had made it through on two feet without our friends and family by our side and the prayers we received!

For those of you who are still struggling with infertility, I know this can be hard to read. My intentions sharing our joy is to simply share our journey thus far. My prayer for you is that you would hold onto the hope that God has perfect timing and a plan for your future.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

It's Not Your Fault

Recently someone brought my personal experiences into my professional life and implied something that has since been bothering me. Here are my thoughts on whether or not his journey has been "my fault"... 



Whenever someone finds out about our journey, their first response is usually wanting to offer advice to us. 

Their intentions are true and we know they are only trying to help, but one comment in particular cuts pretty deep.

One of the most common pieces of advice we receive is to “not stress” or to just “let it happen”. 

This comment makes my heart sink. 

Yes, this journey is anything but stress-free. We’ve experienced the excitement of a pregnancy without the stress of anticipating a miscarriage and we have taken time off of “trying” to let it happen. 

But infertility is a health condition that we have no control over. Only God knows the plans for growing our family and how everything will work out. 

So as much as we would love it to be as easy as “just letting it happen”, it isn’t so simple. And when someone advises us to try not to stress- it hurts knowing they think I am doing something wrong. That I am causing this inability of us to carry a child. 

Of course every woman fears that they could be doing something wrong. Did I workout too hard? Did I eat something wrong? Did I not rest enough? This list goes on and on! But this is never the case, and neither I nor my husband feel that I did something wrong to cause my miscarriages.

For those of you who struggle with infertility- understand that it isn’t your fault. That there is nothing you are doing wrong. Place your trust in God’s hands, as He already knows the plans He has for you.


And for those who are just trying to help, please know that this journey we are on is experienced much deeper than we let show. Simply offering your comfort and prayers is all we could ask for.

Jessica

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wisdom

Sorry for the delay in posts… school has started and has me spending most of my free time with my nose in the books!


Last year in Europe- an experience of a lifetime!



Lately I have been reading in the book of Proverbs and wisdom is a topic that is written about often. If you would have asked me years ago if I thought I was wise, I probably would have said, “Sure, I have been through some experiences in which I have grown and learned from”. 

But looking back over the past couple years, I am amazed how much my wisdom has grown through my relationship with Him. 

I have come to know how important it is to have Him by my side and how much I need Him.
I have had to learn pain and loss and fear and how to overcome them all so that I don’t stumble into a deep dark pit.
I have had to give up control and learn that God has the wheel.
That no matter what, He can get me through it, because His plan is what is best for me.
Wisdom comes from trusting in Him when the future is foggy.
Wisdom means enduring hard blows only to remain standing on two feet.

It is so easy to just let the difficult times get the best of you. To just give into your weariness and throw your hands up in the air. To refuse to get out of bed and dwell on the bad instead of focusing on the good.

But I have learned that this way of life is dark and painful and will not get you anywhere. Well, it may get you deeper and deeper into a pit. And when you are there, you can’t experience joy or happiness.

I have stumbled often and I still have days when I feel weary on this journey, but even when I fall, I know that I just have to look up to the Lord and He will help me get back up onto my feet.

Father, I am so grateful for the wisdom you have taught me over the past couple years. I know it makes me a stronger person and has helped me to see the light despite the darkness. I pray that you would continue to give me the strength and wisdom to do what is right on this journey.

Jessica







Friday, August 8, 2014

Fear



Marcus and I have always talked about our interest in adopting. We always dreamed of having a few kids of our own and then adopting. 

But lately, our eyes have been opened up to the possibility of a whole new path. 

Granted we are still early in the journey of fertility challenges, the fear that we may never be able to have children of our own still lingers in the back of our minds.

We support adoption completely. But we also want to experience all the joys of creating a child together. 

Of watching our baby grow in my belly.
Of experiencing birth and the joy of holding our child for the first time.
Of looking at our child and seeing ourselves.

As scary as it might be, we are starting to picture a path that may only involve adoption. We don’t know what God’s plan for us may be, but we want to move forward without fear and with complete trust in Him.

We would be blessed to have the opportunity to adopt. To watch our child grow and raise them to know His love is truly most important to us.

Not knowing what the future holds can be very scary. Here is the prayer that hit home the most for us right now. If you are feeling anxious or fearful about any major decision in your life, this prayer is for you too.

Dear Lord,
I am so grateful You are bigger than my fears. You are bigger than the anxious feelings that won’t seem to subside. You are with me (Isaiah 41:10). You are all-knowing and all-powerful. Because I know all of this to be true, I will trust You and Your perfect plan. I make the choice right now to reject the paralyzing feeling of fear so I can walk confidently in the trust of Your assurance. Calm my thoughts, Father, and give me Your peace in this moment.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jessica

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Experiencing Joy and Sorrow with Others

Last week we were able to enjoy a relaxing week on the beach with family and friends to celebrate my brother, Jarod, and his now wife Anna’s wedding. I am always overcome with joy when I get to see two people who are so perfect for each other pledge their love for one another. 

Here are some of my favorites of the happy couple…







Because weddings are such a happy moment in life, much like having a baby, I can’t help but think about those who are hurting. Those who want so desperately to meet their soul mate but are still feeling so alone. They are happy for their friends who are getting married, but still feel envious at the love they long to have. They feel the clock ticking by slowly and are constantly reminded on social media sites what they don’t have. 

And then those who have found their true love feel terrible for being happily married while many of their friends are still waiting somewhat impatiently for their happy moment to arrive. 

Sigh. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around why on earth some of the happiest moments in life have to be so hurtful for others. 

Sorrow is such a personal experience. You try desperately to put on a happy face and maintain composure when you are really breaking inside. Your friends and family may use all their effort to comfort you, but complete human empathy just isn’t fully possible. They cannot get inside our skin and experience what we are truly feeling. 

And their ability to comfort can wear overtime as well. As much as they love you and are willing to do everything humanly possible to comfort you, it helps, but it will never be enough. 

Joy is much like sorrow in a way. Joy may only be truly felt in isolation or with those who are directly experiencing the same thing. There will always be those who just cannot experience this joy with us. 

“The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy”
Proverbs 14:10

There is only one who can fully experience life with us and that is God. Only God can provide us with real empathy. He experiences our highs and our lows to the same degree that we feel them. 

But how do we overcome the barrier so that no one has to feel as though they are walking on glass? 

I have to say that over the past year I have experienced many days where I felt numb after hearing another pregnancy announcement or sadness whenever I see a woman’s pregnant belly. I remember one day waiting for Marcus to get off work sitting in the hallway at the entrance to our hospital and noticing that about every other woman was pregnant! I’m pretty sure my prayer went something like this, “God, are you serious right now? I am so weak right now that all I can do is laugh. Please make the next 10 people to walk by me be males”. 

It has been a struggle for Marcus and I to figure out how to have true happiness for those around us who are pregnant or have been blessed with children. The grieving process has been long and hard and leaves us feeling weak and exposed. Of course many of our friends are in the stage of life where they are starting a family and it has sometimes left us feeling envious or bitter when we too want to be where they are.

But we want our friends to experience the joy they deserve. After all, if we were blessed with a child, we would also want to post pictures on Facebook of our little bundle of joy. We don’t want our sorrows to effect another’s happiness. We love our friends dearly and want to rejoice with them when God decides it is their time to be blessed with a baby, without so much sadness. 

It took me a while, but I finally realized that the only way I would feel true happiness for those around me, was to ask God for it. My prayers were always focused on asking God to relieve me from so much envy, jealousy, and bitterness…. but what was I doing to overcome these sinful feelings? I was dwelling in my own sorrow. I began to ask God to feel true happiness in the blessings of others and I honestly feel like He is answering my prayers. I don’t want to be excluded from some of the most important moments of my friend’s lives because they are experiencing joy and I may be experiencing difficulties. 

Can I say that I don’t ever feel a moment of sadness when I hear another pregnancy announcement? No. And I don't know if my heart will ever heal completely. But looking at where my feelings were a year ago to where they are now, I can see that God has done tremendous work in my heart and helped me to rejoice with true happiness. 

And though I know joy can leave us wanting to burst out with excitement, not everyone is capable of experiencing that joy right beside us. We have to be conscious of the feelings of those around us, taking special care to those who are in times of sorrow. Knowing that God is rejoicing with you is comforting enough. 

So whether you are single and waiting to find your true love, longing for a little blessing of your own, or waiting to land your dream job-  no matter if you are experiencing great joys or deep sorrows, know that you are not alone, and that God is with you every step of the way. 

Open your heart to Him and ask Him to let real happiness overflow within you. 

“If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans”
-Woody Allen


Jessica

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

3 Years!



Today marks 3 years with my wonderful husband! I am truly grateful to God for the man He has placed by my side. I couldn’t imagine this journey without his unconditional love and support.

Yet, the last three years have been anything but easy. We have faced opposite schedules more times that we would like. We have had to learn what it really means to be married. We have faced obstacles we never thought would become a part of our story. And we are not where we thought we would be after 3 years.

We are even stronger.

Our marriage has become much stronger from the journey God has placed us on. The Lord has taught us to depend fully on Him and each other. We have learned to be selfless and to put one another first. We have grown in our faith and pushed each other to strive to be better spouses. We have hit our breaking points and been there to catch each other’s fall.

But most of all our love for each other has grown deeper than I ever imagined possible. I can’t picture my life without my husband by my side.





Here’s to many more years of growing our love, our relationship with Him, and hopefully our family.

Jessica





Friday, June 20, 2014

Serving the Best Way I Know How

Lately I have been spending many of my nights working in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit because of their exploding business, unfortunately. And it is here I find myself thinking often about the parents at the bedside. As a pediatric nurse I always strive to provide care to the whole family, but don’t always have this opportunity when there is no parent at the bedside.

I know many of you think, “how could a parent leave the bedside of their own chid?!” But let me tell you it happens more than you would think. I see it often as parents of children with life threatening illnesses choose not to be there. I like to think this is their coping mechanism. That the pain is less if they don’t have to see their child suffer. Or that they just detach themselves from someone they are afraid to lose. 

Either way, I still have no idea what these parents are experiencing so I try to stop and put myself in their shoes. A good friend of mine has a child with HLHS who has been hospitalized a few times and I appreciate hearing her opinions as well as stories of her experiences just so I can try to understand the other side. 

Meeting Baby Josiah in the hospital after being born at 32 weeks

I may not completely understand it, but this I do know: when a parent sees their child sitting there on a ventilator, when their child seems to face one obstacle after another, or when alarms let them know that their child is not maintaining, my heart just breaks for these parents. 

They sacrifice time with other children they must leave at home to focus on their baby who needs them most. 
They leave jobs they can’t maintain because they feel drawn to the bedside. 
Marriages suffer as there is no time to nourish them.
They face diagnosis after diagnosis with no idea what is in store for them next.
Their emotions run high and they get little to no sleep. 
They overcome one battle just to face another.
They go crazy just sitting there feeling helpless with no way to control the situation.

And I just have to watch as parents sit there scared and holding each other’s hands tight. I try to do everything possible to make it easier for them, to reassure their hearts. But the true control is in God’s hands. Only He knows what His plan is and when He will call these precious babies home. Only He can provide them with the comfort they need.

Baby Josiah and Mommy

We often pray for the patients, but the families need our prayers just as much, no matter how they choose to cope. Both the family who is there and those that are not. 


Though it may be hard at times, I feel blessed that God gave me to opportunity to serve my patients and their families. My job allows me to serve the population I love most in the way I know best. Nursing can be so stressful, both emotionally and physically, but God gives me moments like this to understand my purpose and the difference that I can make in one life. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Making Time for What is Most Important


This week marks one year since we received the first devastating news. And with the craziness this summer has brought, I was hoping the day would pass by without me thinking too much about it. 

Or at least that was my plan.

I always thought staying busy would help me keep my mind off of things and allow time to pass more quickly, but I’ve come to find that isn't always the case. The pain is always there for the children we have lost and staying busy does not mask it. The only thing that can truly help is really putting all my energy into the Lord.

But with so much going on it has been hard to find some quite time where I can really share my heart with the Lord. The busy plans of summer are exciting, but can also leave me feeling exhausted. Especially during this “waiting” period. 

The waiting period has been and always is very hard. There is an increased chance for miscarriage in the first three months after a miscarriage so the doctors usually recommend you wait until this period of time is over to try again. And with already having two miscarriages, our chance is doubled. 

The waiting period is relieving in that we don’t have to worry about the stresses of getting pregnant or being on fertility medications that make me somewhat emotional (or VERY emotional if you ask Marcus). But at the same time it is just as stressful not being able to do anything at all. I feel such a loss of control. And being content with God’s timing and letting Him be in control has been a constant struggle for me.

So in the midst of my weariness, how do I communicate my heart to the Lord? I feel like my prayers over the past year have essentially been the same day in and day out and sometimes I even feel too exhausted to figure out what I am really feeling. 

It is times like this when I am truly thankful for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which allows God a glimpse of my soul. He gave me this gift so that He could know me and I Him. He already knows what I am feeling or thinking. He knows the needs and wants of my heart before I even have it figured out. And in the midst of my weariness when I cannot form the words I want to say, I am comforted to know that my prayers don’t have to make sense and I don't have to know exactly what I need because He already does.

I am also thankful for His Word. I recently was reading in the book of Psalms and had to smile at the irony of David’s plea to the Lord in Psalm 13. It was almost as if David took the words I have been trying to find right out of my mouth. In verse 2 David says, 

“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” 

Even when I can’t find the words myself, God is able to finish my thoughts and let me know that He is here when I spend time reading His Word.

Worship also helps strengthen my love with the Lord. I have heard many songs over the past year that help me speak my heart through the lyrics. Knowing that God can hear me lift up His name and hear my cry removes all the burden from me. A few have even described my feelings  so perfectly they bring tears to my eyes every time I hear them. Two in particular are Tenth Avenue North’s “Worn” and The After’s “Broken Hallelujah”. I always know when I can’t find the right words to say, God hears my prayers through my worship to Him. 

So if you too are feeling weary from a busy start to summer or the trials that are going on in your life, don’t forget to take time for the Lord. Whether it be through worship, prayer, or reading the Bible, know that you will find comfort in knowing He is near and He will give you the strength you need to get through. 


Jessica

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

An Answer?

I always thought if I just had an answer to why our babies don’t grow and their hearts stop beating then everything would be better. We would be able to have a successful pregnancy and go along on our merry way. This is part of the reason why after our second miscarriage we told our doctor we were willing to pay for some of the blood tests that insurance wouldn’t cover yet. So our doctor ordered tests for some of the most frequently seen blood clotting disorders.

After getting my labs drawn I almost hoped one would be positive. I would have my answer and everything would work out. But when my doctor called and told me one was positive, I didn’t have the relief I thought I would find.

It turns out I am positive for a gene mutation called MTHFR that causes clotting. It is controversial to doctors as to whether or not it actually can cause miscarriages. Some believe it disrupts the blood flow to the fetus causing slowed intrauterine growth and ultimately the heart to stop beating (which is exactly what has happened in our pregnancies). They have also seen successful pregnancies with treatment. However, other doctors caulk it up more to “chance” as to why women have successful pregnancies after miscarriage and focus on the lack of research for MTHFR as a proper diagnosis with effective treatment.

Sigh. So what does this all mean? What should I believe? I decided to do what we always tell our patients NOT to do, I googled it. There were blogs about it and doctors who firmly believe in it and women who described their pregnancies and their success with treatment. But I still don’t know what to believe.

In the end my doctor (who has been a high risk OB for 19 years and I trust completely) decided to consult Maternal Fetal Health to determine what treatment I would need for the next pregnancy, whether it be just aspirin or heparin injections.

But yet I still worried. I still don’t feel in control of the situation. I am gently reminded that God is in control. I can’t worry about what the results mean or if we have our “answer”. Only God knows our future and how our future pregnancies will go. 

Before this journey I was a control freak, plain and simple. I have a Type A personality. I follow my planner with precision and knew what I was planning to be doing the next week, next month, or even the next year. But God was slowly nudging me aside and taking over the control without me realizing it. When Marcus and I decided to start trying to have a baby I thought, “Okay if I get pregnant now I will have a baby then and then this would happen… etc…”

I’m sure God was smiling at my grand plan because that was not the plan He had in store. A year and a half ago the thought of giving up any control gave me a sense of panic. But now I feel relieved He is in control. I have learned that if I don’t rely on my faith and allow Him to have control, then I am not trusting Him. And why wouldn’t I trust God? He knows what is best for us and His timing is nothing but perfect. 

Now we pray everyday that we do not grow weary and that we continue to trust in Him and be content and patient with His timing. We would love if you could pray that for us too.

Jessica

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Understanding How to Love Us

I am a firm believer that you truly don’t understand what someone is going through until you have been in their shoes. 

I often think of my patients and their families and try to even imagine what it must be like, but I don’t fully understand it. I understand it from my perspective, but not for what they are going through. All I can do is try to be as empathetic as possible.

The same goes with going through miscarriages or infertility. I never fully understood what it was like until I found myself going through it. But I know that there are so many people out there who have been in our shoes, who understand what Marcus and I are going through. 

But there are also so many that don’t. Because this is most times a secret club, our society does not have the opportunity to learn how to best approach those experiencing this journey.

I have been told by friends throughout this journey that they don’t know what to say or how to act.This blog post has been on my heart for a while now so I felt it was time to share. My prayer is that this post can reach those who don’t understand what someone on this journey is going through and to help them know what helps and what hurts.

(Obviously these don’t apply to everyone, but are generalized to what I have felt or have heard from others. Please don’t take anything offensively but just learn how to best understand someone close to you who finds themselves on this journey).


Why don’t we talk about it?

First of all, this isn’t something that can come up easily in small talk. How do you bring something like this up? Oh by the way, I was pregnant last week and this week I’m not? My feelings are often so painful that even the thought of it would instantly bring tears to my eyes. But telling people is like giving them a glimpse of my soul, as raw as that may be. 

I also fear how people may react. Will they be stunned and speechless? Or will they offer advice that is more painful than helpful?

This brings me to my next point…


What NOT to say.

I have heard it all: 
Don’t worry it will happen someday- but God has not promised me this
Just relax and it will happen- my journey is stressful to say the least and it isn’t so simple to just “relax”… and “relaxing” does not cure infertility issues
You can borrow my kids for a day- I don’t want your kids, I yearn for a child of my own
Enjoy freedom while you can- we are ready to bring a child into our lives and embrace the experience of a newborn or a terrible two
So and so had a miscarriage and they have 4 kids now- but each child of God has a journey of their own He has planed out, their success does not always bring me hope
Just have fun in the mean time trying- those who have dealt with infertility know, it is anything but “fun”
At least you know you can get pregnant- what is the point in getting pregnant if you can’t carry a child to term?

I know that all of these people have the best intentions but it is hard for them to see that their words hurt more than help in the face of a loss. A simple “I’m sorry” or a hug is sufficient enough if you don’t know what to say. Or let me know you will pray for me, because that is what I need most right now.


Please don’t complain about your children to us.

I realize you want to vent, but it hurts me more than anything. All that runs through my head is what a blessing you have been given to even have children. It is one thing to tell us about your child, but when people complain constantly I don’t understand what you are going through either as my daily life is nothing like yours! 


Your pregnancy announcement still hurts so please tell me in privacy.

Yes I am thrilled you are pregnant! I would never wish infertility or miscarriage on anyone. I understand that God places each child into a parent’s life for a reason. But despite these feelings, your pregnancy is a reminder of my loss. I need some space after hearing your news. I am still dealing with feelings of my own that are hard to hide, especially when they are all brought to the surface suddenly. Sometimes I am too weak to hide my pain and I need some time to work through this. You have something I want more than anything so please understand my faults. 

I agree you are allowed to share your wonderful news in any way you wish, but please, please don’t tell me in a group setting. People stare at me to see how I am going to react and it gets awkward. I have to work so hard to hide the overwhelming emotions that start to overtake me. Then I have to sit through everyone asking questions about your pregnancy as I am racking my brain to plan my escape so I can let my tears flow and breathe again. It helps to just send a text or email letting me know so that I can deal with my feelings first and am not taken off guard unable to cope. 


Please still include me.

I still want to hear about and experience your pregnancy with you, but understand it may still sting. Let me ask you about how you are doing. I don’t want to be left out of your baby showers or parties either, but understand if I’m just not ready. I prefer to stay busy than to just sit back and watch the shower unfold so giving me something constructive to do is best. I want to be included in your children’s lives as well but let me get comfortable in my own time. Your invite means the world to me so please let me decide if I am ready or not.


The pain never goes away.

Even after all I’ve been through on this journey, every pregnancy announcement still feels like a dagger to my heart. I want more than anything for the pain to subside, but nothing will ever take away what it feels like to lose a child and long to hold them in my arms. I have never in my life felt pain so deeply.

Though it may be months or even years later and I seem to be holding up well, my heart is still broken inside. Anniversaries and holidays just remind me of my loss and the baby I should be holding in my arms. Your prayers mean more than the world to me and would help me to heal, even long after my baby has left this world.


I still need time.

Time to process. Time to heal. Time to understand God’s plan for me. So if it is too much to be around you right now or I just need some space, please understand my needs. I know this sounds self-centered but it’s just what I may need at the moment.


My husband is hurting too.

Not only do husbands feel the hurt of losing their child, but they face fears of inadequacy to prevent their wife’s pain. They want to be able to “fix it” because that’s what they do best but they also understand that there is nothing they can do to cure the pain. They feel that their wives need them to be strong so they may not express their grief verbally, but deep down they are feeling the same pain. They want to be fathers too. This journey is deeply emotional for men too and breaks them down to their core. It would mean the world to him if you acknowledged him too.


I do appreciate you asking how I am doing.

Though you may be scared to even bring it up because I may just break down and cry, I do appreciate you acknowledging my struggle and sincerely caring about how I am doing. Walking around people who are oblivious to my journey is more painful than talking about it. I may shed a tear or two or get choked up, but I need to grieve my struggles too. And sometimes I just need to talk about how I feel- my frustrations, fears, angers, and hopes. So if you feel comfortable, feel free to ask me how I am doing.


Don’t ask me if I’m pregnant. 

But please don’t ask my if I am pregnant yet. I understand your support for me, but your asking may cause me to become discontent with God’s perfect timing. This journey has already been very stressful and I may not be ready to tell you even if I am.


Don’t be nervous around me!

I didn’t grow two heads and turn green because I have vocalized my struggles. I don’t want to be seen as “the couple who has had a miscarriage”. I am still me so please treat me the same. At the same time I need to not always think about my pain. I want to laugh and experience new memories so that I don’t fall into a deep dark pit. Your awkwardness just reminds me of my struggles. I need more opportunities to have fun and smile.


When in doubt just ask!

I am always willing to let you know my needs so please just ask if you aren’t sure how you can help, what you can say, or how you can pray for me.


How can you help?

If we have just experienced a loss, your support means the world to us. Imagine what you would do for someone else who just lost a child and treat us the same way. During any course of our journey, your prayer is most important to us. 





Blessings,
Jessica

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Child of God

In the midst of our journey it is really hard not to feel defeated. Sometimes I even feel like we are running a marathon with no end in site. 

Sadly, we will never experience the “glow” or elation of a pregnancy. Our last pregnancy was filled with anxiety, uncertainties, and many, many tests and frequent visits to the OB. Before that it felt like we were on a roller coaster of emotions trying to get pregnant (when little did we know my body wasn’t cooperating!). Though we want nothing more than to have a child of our own and would do anything required of us to hold our sweet child in our arms, this journey has always felt like an up hill climb.

But in the midst of our struggle, we try to focus on the positive. We cannot control our future and we know that the Lord will help us get through anything. Looking back now I can hardly believe we have survived thus far! We know that if we truly trust in God’s plan for us, we will see in the end that He always works things out for the best. Though we don’t realize all the reasons now, there is a purpose for us experiencing this journey.

Yet even though I have experienced all this, I have been so blessed. God has given me the most amazing husband to walk with me in this journey. We have been blessed with stable jobs, healthy bodies, a roof over our head, and food to put on our table. We have the most wonderful and supportive family and friends, without whom we would never have gotten to where we are today. Most importantly, we have the love and support of an amazing God.

We don’t need a lot to be happy. We have been blessed beyond imagine. 

What I need to focus on most is just being God’s child. Having a child of our own is less important than being God’s humble obedient child. He is enough. I may stubble and fall, but I often pray for God to help me to take my eyes of myself and the child I desire. 


Father-

You know the desires of my heart best. You know how strongly I desire a baby- to mold, love, and teach of Your love. Help me to give this desire, this ache up to You. Help me not to snatch it back up like I often do but to place all of my burdens into Your hands. I want to be truly content with Your will and Your timing. Thank you for reminding me that You are enough!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Suffering




Warning! This blog post may get a bit sad and dreary!

I don’t know if it is from lack of sleep today, or just the weight of my thoughts, but I have been feeling very weary today. Do you ever have those days when you just want to soak up the sadness and feel like you need a good cry? Well today was one of those days…

For me, music has always been a staple. I find the greatest relief and comfort from the perfect song. And I probably have a song that reminds me of every high and low that has occurred in my life. I even created a playlist that I titled “Cry Mix” just for these occasions, which was perfectly fitting for today. 

But the sadness that was heavy on my heart today was not for me. During this journey I have thought a lot about how many people around me who do not know what I am going through or what I am feeling. We are so often caught up in our own worlds, oblivious to difficulties the people around us may be facing, even if we are aware of their sufferings. 

LatelyI have been trying to put myself in others’ shoes to try to better understand their pain.The woman who was kidnapped for 11 years and wrote about her torturous beatings. How could she possibly survive like that? How did she find the strength? Or the woman who’s blog I just read about losing her son slowly and painfully to cancer. How could she get through her day watching her child suffer and disappear before her very eyes? How could she find the strength to still see the good in the Lord and in the pain their family is going through? I witness parents every day at work who have watched their children struggle day in and day out with no ability to comfort them. How do they find the strength?

My heart aches for these strong souls. I can’t even to begin to fathom what they are going through. The suffering is all around us, no matter how big or small. 

But somehow God can carry us through and give us hope. I am still awed at how He can bring us out of the deepest darkest pits. How He can carry us through pain that seems unfathomable and give us the strength we need. No mountain is too small for our Lord to conquer.

In my quite time I have been reading through the book of Job and I feel weary for him as he cries out to the Lord. Job even felt so low that he questioned the Lord and His presence in his suffering. Proof that even the strongest of faith may find themselves here. Yet Job’s friends questioned him in his right to challenge God so boldly with this accusation. 

I fear a pit so low that I would question God’s absence when I need Him most. Through my journey I have found the most comfort in knowing He is near. I too have questioned the Lord why, for He knows my feelings, my thoughts, and my heart’s darkest secrets. But I find clarity in exposing myself to Him so that He can show me the way out of the dark.

Father- Today my prayers is for those who are suffering. That You Lord can give them the strength they need to not let these pits swallow them up. We know no one understands suffering like You. No one understands each and every individual’s sufferings as great as You. Help them to not become so weary they lose hope and to find a way to trust in You with all their heart. And Father I pray that You would put it on our hearts to pray for our brothers and sisters and remember to acknowledge what it may be like in their shoes. Thank You for those you have placed in our lives to help comfort us and give us hope in the midst of our suffering.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13


Here's someone God placed in our lives to share all the joys and heartaches. How could you resist that face!?