Friday Ramble: Connection

Connection.jpg

Several weeks ago, in another post, I can’t remember which one, I removed two paragraphs because I realized it didn’t fit with the rest of what I was writing.  I held onto those two paragraphs until I had another day to dig deeper into it.  And when I opened up the Word document to jog my memory on this topic, this is what I read:

It’s really, really easy to barrier yourself in this life.  All of our houses have garages that close, doors that lock, fences that border.  Our phones come with a do not disturb function on it and caller id, but before that, we were using voicemail to screen our calls (or was that just me?).  We have been moving towards isolation with furious speed for decades.  We blame the tools of this world – smart phones, social media, the internet – for all of it, but we, mankind, created those tools.

This is not a declaration against social media or cell phones or even the internet.  God is in every connection.  We can’t encrypt against his omnipresence.  We can’t go incognito from his omniscience.  And I believe he works as much in the virtual world as he does in the physical one.  You can’t block God.

This month has been particularly hard for me.  The end of this month will bring the one year anniversary of losing our second daughter.  And just like with our first, the weeks leading up to it have been hard.  Like I said earlier this week, I feel drained by any social interaction, so I’ve chosen to take some time to myself.

Then, I read these two paragraphs and realize how appropriate they are as a reminder. Even when I’m feeling the need to distance myself to work through grief, it is such good news that God remains connected.  And he has made himself known to me – through nature, my dogs, even conversations online with friends and strangers.  It’s so amazing to have people check in at random, but perfectly timed, moments.

So, thank you, friends.  Thank you to those of you who have commented on my blog recently.  You have made my heart smile.  Thank you to those who have sent private messages or small reminders to let us know that you are praying for us this month.  It has meant so much more than you will ever know.  In the midst of pain and grief, I can look to my Heavenly Father who provides for me, and I know that I am blessed.

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What To Do When She is Pregnant, and You Are Not

I hesitate to write this post because, full disclosure, I have people in my life who are pregnant right now, and I didn’t want them to feel like I was singling them out or directing this post towards them in any way.  But, coincidentally, I’ve had a lot of conversations with friends who are in the trenches of pregnancy loss and infertility who are met with this dilemma (without even knowing my own situation), and the conversations that I’ve had with them have been so helpful, eye-opening, and uplifting that I feel like I want to share.

PreggoFriends

Because it’s not normal to hear that a new, precious life is coming into this world and respond to it with grief.  And we, as the women of pregnancy loss, get that.  We want to be happy.  We want to feel nothing but joy and excitement for what is coming.  But sometimes that is difficult because it means that time is moving on, and it’s a reminder that our precious babies are not here with us.  And we wonder if we will ever get to experience this same joy.

So, here are some things that I’ve learned from conversations with others as well as through my own journey.

  1. It’s okay to not be okay.  I feel like there is this desire to just get over it and “act normal” for those people we love and care about.  But being honest with yourself and with your friends and family is paramount to your health and the health of your relationships
  2. It’s okay to have boundaries.  You do not have to go to that baby shower.  You do not have to inundate yourself with social media pictures and updates of belly shots. You already know at least some of your limitations, and communicating that to people who love you will help in the long run
  3. It’s okay to challenge yourself.  But even if you don’t go to that baby shower, I challenge you to still get them a gift or send them a card.  I would invite you to pray for them, or even ask them for specific prayers about their pregnancy.  Don’t just lock yourself away from everything, because there is a baby coming, and that is something to be excited about.
  4. It’s okay to seek help.  I see a therapist.  I have since about 10 months after my first daughter died.  I found a therapist that specializes in pregnancy and infant loss, having experienced it herself, but that may not always be available in your area.  Try at least one session.  Or at the very, very least find a good, supportive forum.  There are private Facebook groups and groups on several sites where women go for support.  They have been helpful to me on advice as well.

Dear pregnant friends, please be patient with us.  We are not going to go about this perfectly.  We may mess up and say the wrong thing or have a response to something that you weren’t expecting.  Know that we love you and we love this sweet new little one coming into the world.  We are just terrified of our own grief at times, at the unexpectedness of it all.  I’ve had reactions to milestones in other people’s pregnancies that I had no idea would affect me so much.

I am pretty lucky to have very aware friends and family who have supported me over the last four years of our pregnancy loss journey.  But I know that this isn’t true for a lot of women in my life, and I wanted to reach out and let them know that they are not alone.

 

Friday Ramble: My Adventure to the Drug Store

Drugstore

Usually, I buy my pregnancy tests and all things ovulation related from Amazon.

SPOILERS: I am not pregnant.  This is not that post.

Let’s continue.

Lately, my cycles have been predictable, even leading up to the cycle, I know I’m not pregnant.  My body is really good at making that clear.

Until this month.

Now, last month’s cycle, without going into any TMI, was WEIRD.  It was so weird, you guys.  So, I should have suspected that this cycle would be a little off, especially since it’s finally sunny outside and I’m spending more time out in that sun, hence the extra activity can also play a factor in weird cycles.

But as the days have passed and I haven’t had any of my normal symptoms, that little voice in the back of my head starts to scream.  Of course, due to the “normalcy” of my cycles of late, I ran out of pregnancy tests a couple months ago and didn’t restock.  But, I can’t wait two days for Amazon to bring me more, so I have to go to the local drug store.

My local drug store is great.  It has amazing people that work there.  But some of them are quite nosy.  For example, one day I bought a Dr. Scholls Ingrown Toenail repair kit for a stubbed toe, and the cashier proceeded to give me all of the tips and tricks to avoid such a situation.

Also, I worked in a drug store when I was a teenager, and I was quite the nosy cashier, myself.  So, I’m thinking as I pulled into the parking lot that I’m about to receive a lot of karmic justice.  I’m fearing that even a “good luck” and knowing look as the pregnancy test boxes are being rung up will send me into a tearful meltdown.  I know that either way (either preggo or PMS), I have a lot of hormones running through my system, and I’m gearing up for the inevitable breakdown in this store, a store that I frequent a lot due to the proximity to my house.  But I have to know, and that need overcomes my shaking hands, so I get out of the car.

As I walk in, I see the front cashier chatting with some customers, but he takes notice as I enter and welcomes me to the store.  I make a beeline straight for the aisle I need, but as I am walking there, the manager and another employee asked if I need help finding something.  Where is an invisibility cloak when you need one?

I head down the aisle.  It is not lost on me that on the same aisle as pregnancy tests, there are condoms.  So if one works, it means the other didn’t.  There are also pads on this aisle, which I guess is also appropriate.  Cause you will need these if the test doesn’t work.  Just found that slightly entertaining.

Oh!  Preggo tests are “buy one, get one half off”.  They know their customer.  Cause you know that pregnant or not, I’m taking at least two at a time just to be sure.  And there aren’t that many there, which means that of course, everyone else is doing the same thing I am, and I’m wondering if this time of year is particularly busy for the pregnancy test industry.  But now I’m standing too long in front of this section, so I grab two boxes and make my way up to the front of the store.

The cashier is still chatting to the customers, but as he sees I’m ready, he points me to a register and rings me up.  I’m thankful that “Ingrown Toenail” girl isn’t there today, and slightly happy that it’s a man at the register, as they are less likely to even realize what I’m buying, or at the very least less likely to say anything.  He rings me up, we talk about the loyalty rewards card and I leave the store relatively unscathed.

Of course, I go home and take a test, finding out that it’s negative.  Michael comes up later to put something away and I tell him the results.  He comes up and hugs me.  He doesn’t know what to say and neither do I.  It’s all part of it.  Every month this year has been a disappointment.  Tears fall down my cheek, but I’m not ugly crying or anything.  Just disappointed and frustrated that my cycle has decided to shift a few days to the right, giving me slight hope.

I don’t know if there was a moral to this story, although reading it back, I find it both hilarious and sad, which I think aptly describes life in general.  Some days we are hilariously anxious over what ifs that turn out to be nothing, and other days our hopes are delayed for a little longer.  I guess, I just wanted to share the window that is my life to you, my sweet, dear friends.