Category Archives: pregnancy

A Stroll Through Hell

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photoIt was the week of fourth of July, Caleb was about seven weeks old and my in-laws had come to visit. It was exciting to show off our baby, and even more fun for my then 2-1/2 and 5 year old to play with their grandparents. We decided to venture out to the beach to soak in some rays and allow the grandparents from Kentucky a little time to dip their toes into the ocean. We loaded up the car and were on our way…that’s when I noticed it. The diamond in my engagement ring was gone. I sat shocked for a moment, and continually rubbed my fingers over the sharp claws that once held that small gem. I looked throughout the car, shook out my clothes, shook out the kids clothes and once at the beach went all through the beach bag. No diamond. I sat on the beach heartbroken. I had worn this ring for almost half my life and what it symbolized, and who it meant I belonged to were extremely valuable to me. Losing a part of that was simply put…sad. We went home that evening and I searched everywhere – even vacuumed just to search through the dust collector – no diamond showed up. The sharp prongs kept cutting into my finger and I slowly realized the ring had to come off. Heartbroken. For those who do not talk to themselves this will sound odd, but I sat myself down and had a ‘what is your problem girl’ conversation. Why was I so sad by the loss of this gem? Was I any less married to Chris because it was gone? Was I less of a woman? Outside of the amount of jewelry I was now wearing – had anything changed? No. I took a few deep breaths, tightened up my big girl britches and low-and-behold carried on with life. ย ๐Ÿ˜‰

Not all moments of sadness and disappointment can be handled quite that well. Some moments are much more difficult to maneuver. My most difficult, without question, has been going through a miscarriage. I have never journeyed through something so horrific. First, there is the loss of the dream of a precious little one. After finding out we were pregnant, I would sit down and think of our little one, and would do so by continually looking at our other kids. Would this one be as dramatic as the others? Will he or she have Lacie’s smile or Caleb’s laugh? Would Isaac’s tender heart reside in this one as well? The bits and pieces of who our newest dream might be, lay in front of us – and my mind continually wondered how the pieces would come together. But that was lost. I am ridiculously in love with my Christopher – experiencing the joy of a little of him and little of me and a whole lot of God coming together to form these treasures that we call our children is one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced. But this new treasure, this new part of the two of us was lost. There’s no sweet way to express it – miscarriage breaks your heart. Hell.

That is the loss that my heart and mind went through, and then there was the loss of the pregnancy itself. As gently as I can express it – the actual miscarriage was hell. A hell on earth that I didn’t understand before this moment. There were weeks of exhaustion, pain and bleeding that wore my body down. There were so many unknowns – Will it be today? Will it happen on it’s own? What will it entail? The questions, the number of unknowns weighed heavy on my heart and mind. Then the actual miscarriage took place. It began on a Thursday evening – for several hours, I cried as my body began to sort through what needed to be done. Friday morning I woke up feeling okay, and for much of the morning wondered ‘was that it? did it happen?’ And then my body very graphically made sure I knew it had not yet taken place. There are no words to express what I went through, no horror movie that can compare to what I experienced, and no delicate way to explain. Nearly blacking out twice, I laid quiet that evening, numb in my heart, exhausted in my body, and desperately finding ways to block the experience from my brain. Hell.

I went to the doctor today – hoping to close the chapter – only to hear that more blood tests and another visit are still ahead just to ensure that I’m now not anemic or secretly housing some sort of infection. Sigh. I was doing well as I sat and listened to him talk until he began to talk about how strong I am. He admitted that he was surprised that not only did I go through the experience on my own, but that I did not cave in and go to the hospital. He fully expected that though I was hoping to avoid the hospital that I was going to end up there regardless. And he looked at me and commented on my strength. In that moment, I inwardly fell apart. He soon walked out and Chris even wondered why (having received good news that I would not need surgery) I was crying. I couldn’t verbalize in that moment, but suddenly the weeks of being strong hit the wall. Having to be physically strong to get through the ordeal; having to be mentally strong to get through the conversations that surrounded the subject; having to be strong for my kids so as not to scare or concern them; having to be strong for my Christopher so he could stay focused on work and church; having to be strong for myself so as not to cower in a corner somewhere. In one moment of a doctor acknowledging that strength – the rope broke. In a matter of seconds, strength turned to instant weakness. My body suddenly felt the pain and exhaustion. My heart felt 100 pounds heavier. My mind was suddenly fried. Strong? Me? No where even close. Hell.

Last night while the kids were eating their dinner, I took advantage of their having to be captive audiences to their dinner and decided to clean their rooms up. The normal routine of removing hidden toys from under beds, straightening up shelves, and clearing the floor. Halfway through cleaning up Isaac’s room I saw something out of the corner of my eye laying in the middle of his floor. I leaned down to pick it up and my feet collapsed under me. There laying in the fibers of the carpet sat a small tiny gem. My breath caught in my throat and my mind continually repeated – there is NO way! Picking it up I headed downstairs to the secret resting place of my engagement ring. Slowly I placed the sparkling gem into the broken setting and wouldn’t you know…a perfect fit. Three years have passed. Numerous adventures have been held in that room, countless runs of the vacuum…and yet there it lay. Impossible.

I have thought about it all day. There are a million things that could have (and should have, given the residents of this house) happened to that diamond. It should have been lost forever. Everything said to me that finding it again was impossible and yet there it was. Through this miscarriage, and even today as the bottom seems to have fallen out a bit – I am reminded that this isn’t forever. It has been hell, yes, but it’s a not a hell I have to live in. It does not have to continue. It is hell, but merely a stroll through it not a residency in it. Hopeful.

There are times that God feels distant, quiet, unseen and just not there. A considerable amount of time can go by where I can walk right by him and just not notice…but he is there; has always been there, will always be there. He is who gives me strength when I am weak (2 Corinthians 12:9). He makes himself known at just the right time and in just the right moment. He is the beautiful gem that fits perfectly into my broken heart. He himself has ‘strolled’ through hell – knows the walk, the pain, the inexpressible experience of it all – who better to lead me out of it? I am not strong, but I am gripping to him with all that I have and repeatedly saying ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD (my) God goes with (me); he will never leave (me) nor forsake (me).’ (Deuteronomy 31:6). And I wait, with great anticipation, for him to help me through. What is broken can be made whole again. Thankful!

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Blank Canvas

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Last night I was introduced to the world of painting. I have had many friends go to places like ‘Bottles and Brushes’ and ‘For the Love of Art’, but I had never had that experience myself until last night. To be honest I was excited to try something new, but was nervous that my type A personality would not just allow me the freedom to paint. I was also skeptical that the picture that was shown to us would somehow make it’s way onto my canvas.

photo 1 (1)I sent this picture to Chris and declared that my end result would probably not look nearly as good as it did right at this moment. As the instructor walked everyone through the first lines to draw, made suggestions on how to mix colors, and helped guide which end to start on – it was interesting to me how others responded. There were some who wanted to make theirs a night scene, others who wanted to replicate the original and a few who went in a completely different direction altogether.

photo 2 (1)I wanted to replicate the original (as best as I could) and by this point was feeling pretty good – how hard are straight lines really? It was just after this point that the small details of the picture had to be put into place, and that is where I began to slow down. I counted at least three different times that she was ready to show a new technique and she had to look at me say ‘It’s okay, I’ll come back to you’ because I was that many steps back. Window panes, borders, cobblestones were finally figured out and put into place and all that was left were flower boxes and flowers. I sat and stared at the painting – she came back to me and I admitted that I was stuck – the flowers freaked me out. How the blazes do you make flowers? She simply said with mild disgust in her voice ‘Flowers are the easiest part’ and kind of walked away. So I held my breath, closed my eyes (not literally) and hoped for the best.

photo 3 (1)So this was the end result, not a masterpiece by any stretch, but not as horrific as I envisioned it going either. After staring at this canvas for over three hours straight, I finally looked up to see what others had done. There were several that looked similar and there were some that were much different. The most unique of those was the XXX Adult store at night with a chalk outline of a body out on the sidewalk (and I was stressing over flower boxes). Why walk you through my evening of painting…besides the obviously riveting details of it all…ha! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Over the years, God has been very creative in the ways that he teaches me and gets my attention. My tag line for this blog is ‘life is an illustration’ primarily because those small seemingly unimportant moments of life, God uses to talk to me and teach me. Yes, I’m wired weird and I’m okay with that. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Last night was one of those moments. Much like the people in that room, I was reminded that we all attack life and the things that come at us very differently. What is easy for some, is stressful for others.ย The decisions we make can lead to good things or could land us in some pretty dark and scary places.ย We can strive to be like Christ (the original) or we can choose to go at it on our own. Over these past weeks of walking this road to what will eventually be a miscarriage many have wondered where strength has come from, have commented that they don’t know how they would walk that road, or have expressed confusion for me. I thought about that a lot last night. God hands each of us a blank canvas, he instructs us on techniques like pray without ceasing and leaning on him in times of trial, he gives guidance on where to start and how to maneuver through – but ultimately it’s up to us. He instructs to trust, but I can choose to fret. He promises that he will never leave me, but I can choose to think he’s a liar. He continually tells me that he loves me, but I can turn my head in hate. The picture that would ultimately create would be a pretty dark one. I’m not strong. I don’t have this figured out. I don’t know what the end result will be. I am weak. I am tired. So when he says trust that looks so much better than fretting. When he makes promises – I want to hold to that because he has shown himself faithful too many other times. When he tells me he loves me…through his word, through you…my heart simply chooses to believe. It’s just too genuine and real to be anything but truth. The peace I found in this simple moment last night was that when I looked at that blank canvas, I genuinely did not think anything good would result – I had never done this before, how would it be possible? I’m in the same place regarding this miscarriage, I’m sure you’re in a similar place regarding a decision, a health issue, a crisis, or an opportunity that is in front of you. I don’t know the end result, I’ve never walked this road before so my mind wants to think this is an impossible journey…but his word tells me differently. The canvas in front of you may be pretty blank, but he can walk you through to what will ultimately be a masterpiece in him, at least that is what I am holding to. Praying for you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Holding Strong…

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This weekend a beautiful friend from my past drove over 5 hours just to come see me and spend the day with me. She wanted to be a shoulder to lean on, have an opportunity to look me in the face and tell me she loved me – and truth be told I think just wanted to physically see that I was okay. I knew that I needed to take her somewhere where we could get lost in the atmosphere while we talked about anything and everything- cuz that’s how they do it in cheesy chick flicks, right – so of course we headed to the beach. After a delicious meal we walked up and down the beach, and while the conversation was encouraging…I kept getting lost in the scenery. The ocean was extremely rocky…crashing waves repeatedly hitting the sand…and the clouds…amazing. One moment dark, the next white, gone then too many to see the sky. I couldn’t stop watching them move and change. Then out of nowhere I looked up – the sky a beautiful shade of blue laced with clouds and there in the middle a beautifully full moon. Needless to say this completely distracted me for much of the night (I think if I pointed out the moon even once more she would have chucked me into the ocean.)

Several days later…I’m still struck by the images from our walk primarily because they remind me so much of where I am right now. I will be honest – and if it makes me look stupid, well it’s a look I wear well – but in all my years of being in the church, in my time serving in a women’s ministry, in my time having friend after friend get pregnant, in my lifetime of being a woman – I don’t think I have ever fully understood what it meant to have a miscarriage. I’ve heard the term countless times and my ignorance had the experience of it so wrong. I think I thought it was similar to the idea that comes to mind when you hear ‘she had her baby’ – when someone has a baby, they endure hours of labor (and a barrage of other things) and then ‘ta da’ the baby is here. For some reason I thought ‘she’s having a miscarriage’ operated the same way…that you struggle for a hours (a barrage of other things would happen) and that was the end. How completely stupid am I? We found out almost two weeks ago that there were problems, about a week ago that the baby was gone, and then Thursday last week I thought that was going to be the day…but it wasn’t. Friday came, my body began to show signs (some not worth detail), pain…that was going to be the day…nope. Saturday…wrong again. Sunday…tears ran down my face, my body contracting and pain that caused my breathing to be labored…this would be the day…no. Call me stupid…but this is just NOT what my head thought to prepare for…and suddenly I want to go to every woman who I know has walked this road and gently hug them for their unknown, unspoken strength.

photo 2Many have asked how I am…how do I answer? I feel very much like this picture…rocky waves that keep crashing down, a cloud just hanging right over my head. When will the rain in that cloud let loose? How much more rocky and turbulent will the waters become? I have no clue. My body has not given into the inevitable…and the clock is ticking…ten more days and the risk of infection will be too great and doctors, hospitals and procedures will have to come into play. How am I doing? In truth…I’m worn, weary.

photo 4But then…as is the way God has always dealt with me…in the unknown, in the weak moment, in my tiredness, in my sadness…He comes unexpected…much like that ridiculous moon in the middle of my sunny ocean view. Yes, the waves are crashing…yes, the storm will break loose – how, when, in what way – I don’t know. But there He is…there He will be…that unexpected beautiful image to focus my attentions on. David said it so much better than I ever could…’I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you – the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121, NIV)’ ย In other words…He’s got me. How am I? Thankful for the reminder that He has me…thankful to try to focus on that and not the storms and waves of weariness and fear of the unknown that surround me. Encouraged and humbled by the love we’ve experienced from others…holding strong.

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