Anniversaries

Anniversaries

One year ago today, my second daughter was stillborn.

There isn’t really much I want to say today, but I wanted to share with you three songs that popped up consecutively on YouTube on Monday that I really needed to hear.

Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how you can lay this down
‘Cause you’re not alone

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I’m standing on the mountain, I didn’t get there on my own
When I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!

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Memories

memories.jpgToday, Facebook will remind me of when I went to the hospital to confirm that our daughter had passed.  Facebook will remind me of how I numbly pulled out my laptop and typed words on a screen.  Facebook will remind me of how I got back onto the familiar road of grief one year ago.

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I know that you can remove memory reminders on Facebook.  You can remove whole chunks of time if you want to.  But I don’t want to.  I want to remember the sweet nurse that kept hope for us as each medical device came back negative for a heartbeat.  I want to remember how the moment the ultrasound confirmed our worst fears, my OB turned around and created a new game plan.  If her sleeves weren’t already rolled up, I know she would have in that moment.  I want to remember my talk with Jesus, how I re-engaged my stubborn and desperate love in the middle of chaotic grief.

I thought I would be pregnant by now, though.  I hoped I would be, that maybe a new pregnancy would lessen the blow of grief that this week will bring.  But I do have my husband, God, friends, family.  And I’m so thankful that God has created these hedges of protection during one of the dark moments in my history.

God is good.  All the time.  Even in the darkened sad moments.  Especially then.

Easter and Expectation

I’m taking a small break in my Legacy study to share something a little more personal this week.

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One year ago on Good Friday, the Friday right before Easter, I found out I was pregnant. I won’t lie.  I was kinda hoping for another positive test this Good Friday as well, but that didn’t happen.

Last Sunday, I went to my old church and heard a sermon about the Saturday in between the death of Jesus and the resurrection.  All those miracles, and promises, just to have him die on the cross.  They didn’t know Sunday was coming.  I can’t imagine what those men and women who had followed Jesus throughout his ministry felt.

Then again, maybe I do.

No one had the plan of God figured out.  They thought he was a prophet.  They thought he would restore the kingdom of Israel to its former glory.  Death wasn’t supposed to be a part of it.  Peter argued this point with Jesus and Jesus rebuked him.  The plan of God was impossible for them to see.

Last year, when I found out I was pregnant, I also did the math to know when I was due. It was going to be the day before Thanksgiving, the same day of the week that my first daughter was stillborn.  When I found out I was having another girl, I thought that all of the parts of the story were lining up so neatly into this beautiful testimony.  And then just five months after that positive test, my daughter passed away.

It didn’t make sense.  But just like the people in Jesus’s time, I’m not seeing the bigger picture.  And the truth is, I will never see the bigger picture in this life.  The only reason we can read the death of Jesus without faltering in our faith is because just a chapter or two later, he has risen.  And then we have the rest of the New Testament and the history of the world to see that story continue to the far reaches of the earth.  The people hiding behind locked doors, fearing for their lives after their teacher died, would have no way to see all of that.

The control freak in me wants to see that big picture, wants to be able to step back and see everything.  See why my daughters had to die.  See why I am having to wait now.  I know I get a few glimpses.  I see in small and big ways how God has used me during these past four years.  The rest of the story will have to be built on faith.  Faith that God will see this through, that he will reveal to me my next step when it’s time to take it.

That is the hope of Easter.  That one day everything will be revealed in the glory of God.  It is a reminder to continue living in expectation.  To keep living based in faith, learning from the ones hiding in those rooms.  Learning from the women who prepared the burial incense and got up early to honor their Lord, having no idea what they would find there.  I must continue to walk in faith, doing what God calls me to do.  Frankly, Saturday sucks.  But Sunday is coming.

Remembering My Daughters

This past Saturday was the second anniversary of my first daughter’s stillbirth.  And the day before Thanksgiving was when my second daughter, who passed away in August, was due.  I wanted to take a moment, on this blog, to remember both of them.

I don’t have a lot of memories of my daughters.  I don’t know what their cries or laughter sound like.  I don’t even know what color their eyes were.  But I do have a few memories that I would like to share in honor of them.

My second daughter loved to dance.  Anytime I was in the car, listening to the radio on full blast (like I always do when I’m alone), I could feel my daughter kick and jump.  She especially liked the beats of Meghan Trainor for some reason.  My first daughter was also energetic, but she was smaller so I didn’t feel her kicks as strongly.  However, I definitely felt her move around a few times.

Both of my daughters were shy when it came time for the ultrasounds.  They both would put their hands in front of their faces whenever it was time for their close-ups.  It was both frustrating and freaking adorable.

Both of my daughters are very much loved by me and my family.  Their short lives on this earth have inspired me to live my own life to help others who experience loss, too.  And I know that they have brought my family closer, reminding each of us what is most important.

I may not know much about my daughters.  But I know that they are safe and loved where they are.  I take comfort in that and I have hope that one day we will be reunited again.

Grateful Encouragement

The month after my daughter died, I focused on physically healing.  I took the steps I knew I needed to take in order to get healthy or at least put myself on the path to becoming stronger and healthier.  You all were there for me, with encouraging words and kindness, and it held me up in the dark spaces, more than you will ever know.

The next month, I started to look at my life, trying to figure out what my next move would be.  Here were a few of the realities.

  1. Michael and I agreed that we wanted to try again, and we would after we took some time to heal physically and emotionally.  Based on doctor recommendations, we decided 4-6 months would be a good time frame for that healing, which put us trying again at the beginning of next year, 2017.
  2. I am very blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home right now and through my next pregnancy.  Since I will have an enormous amount of doctor visits and tests when I do get pregnant, getting another job anytime soon would not be ideal. Therefore, it is not the path I choose to take at this time.
  3. Since a lot of my support has come from the online community here, I wanted to find a way to connect more, go deeper, share my life with you so that if and when I do get pregnant again, I can have you walk with me on that journey, just as you have done these past few months.

I know that having a supportive community like you guys is not always a common thing on the internet.  The internet is full of trolls and anonymous comments who spread hate.  But I’ve been lucky and I know I’m lucky to have this community that spreads love and encouragement.  For that I am grateful.

But the whole reason I continued blogging after my first miscarriage, the whole reason I shared the deaths of my first and second daughters were to encourage others who felt alone.  Isolated.  Living without the community that I so deeply cherish.  I know how lucky I am to have you because I’ve read and heard story after story of people who don’t have this kind of support.

And I feel protective of these people.  No one should have to feel alone and isolated.  I know that I can’t fix the world’s problems.  I don’t think that’s what I’m called to do on this earth.  I’m called to love.  Love God.  Love Others.  And the number one way I know I can love others is to encourage.  Encourage others who are walking through the pain.  And help others to be beacons of encouragement.

So, in an effort to connect deeper and to encourage others, I started a Facebook page.  On the page, I share my YouTube videos and my blog posts.  And I will admit I was afraid of how I would be received.  Of what people would think about me.  I should know by now that I would get loved in return.  I’m blown away by all of the people who have already liked my page.  Thank you so much for supporting me.

Right now, I’m doing something a little fun on my page.  Every Friday until Christmas, I’m doing a giveaway to promote encouraging others.  The winner of the giveaway receives two $5 Starbucks gift cards.  One for them, and one for someone in their life who needs encouragement.  All you have to do is comment on the post on my Facebook page in order to be eligible.  So, if you want to participate, you are more than welcome to.

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The reason I’m doing all of this is to bring you on the journey of adding to our family, but also to help you encourage others in your own life story.  I don’t know where this journey will take us.  But I know that no matter what, God will be walking with us, and I will do my darndest to try to point him out along the way.

A Walk To Remember

This past Saturday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  Michael and I decided to do something different this year, and we participated in a walk hosted by Hope Mommies of Dallas, a pregnancy and infant loss support organization.

There were so many people there, honoring their little ones.  We saw friends from church who had experienced stories similar to ours.  I realized that this walk held so much symbolism.  We all have walked this journey, and are continuing to walk this journey, but we walk it together.20161015_091241

After the walk, they had a balloon release, which was absolutely beautiful.  I was very emotional as I watched the balloons float away.

I couldn’t help but think, as the balloons bobbed and danced and floated away, that all of these children were together, dancing in the presence of Jesus, being held in his arms until the day we will all be reunited again.

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Feeling Alone

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance day is October 15th, this Saturday.  In fact, the whole month of October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.  But on this Saturday, many parents will come together with their communities to remember the children that they have lost.  Some will attend events hosted by support groups, while others might spend the day lighting a candle.

While I am so beyond blessed to have the online and in-person community that I have supporting me, there are times when I feel alone.  Pregnancy loss is different for so many families.  Outcomes and situations are different.  And my particular situation, within my community, is different from anyone else I know.  I am trying to branch out a little, especially among support groups, to people who are more in my situation, but it’s hard.

Most of the people in my life have kids.  They may have had miscarriages or experienced the loss of a child, but they still have kids that they were able to raise on this earth.  Even though I have two daughters, society still puts me in the pre-kids phase, and in suburbia Texas, it makes me stick out like a sore thumb.

I get church advertisements in the mail touting great kids programs, free babysitting, and mom’s night out events.  There is a host of events that happen for kids or kid groups.  So much of this community has been tailored to the nuclear family.  I have three or four elementary schools within a mile of my house, not to mention the daycares, middle and high schools.  Wherever I drive, I’m reminded of what I do not have.  Whenever I turn on the TV, check the mail, go out to eat, go to the movies, it’s always there.  A reminder of what I desperately want but cannot have yet.

But life is not hard.  I have amazing friends who surround me with love, willing to talk trashy TV with me.  I have completely supportive family members who have never pressured me about when we are going to have kids even before we lost our daughters.  I have an amazing husband who loves me, takes care of me, and supports everything I do.  We make our decisions together and I trust him so much.  And ultimately, I have a God who has made his presence known in my life through people, his creation, and other ways.  I don’t have the words to completely explain how lucky and blessed I am in this life.

But I know what it means to feel alone, and it breaks my heart that there are women who have to go through their losses, their dashed hopes, and their own desperate longings on their own.  That’s why spreading this awareness is so important to me.  I want to ask each of you to show your support on October 15th.  Last year, I asked people to share the pictures below on their social media.  I want to ask the same this year.  Or, you can light a candle at 7pm in any time zone, take a picture and share.

To use the images below, right click and “save picture as” to your desktop.  Then you can upload it to your own social media.  The We Remember are for those who are supporting, and the I Remember is for those who have experienced pregnancy loss.

Thank you, my wonderful community, for walking with me through each of my losses.  You help me through my moments of feeling alone.  And ultimately, I’m not alone.  Thank you for being with me on my journey.