To start, I’m going to steal some words from a food blogger I intensely admire who has been sharing about her pregnancy and infant loss for the past 5 months. Thank you for your story and your words, Lindsay from Pinch of Yum. (The following statements were used in Lindsay’s posts about her pregnancy and her son, Afton, and I always found them to be so loving and respectful of all her readers, regardless of their current situation. I hope I can do the same for my readers.)
To you mamas who have been there – I’m so glad we can share our experiences. and thank you for creating a space that is non-judgemental and welcoming of all.
To you mamas who are pregnant – I’m glad you’re here. Please love those precious babies the very best you can.
To you mamas who are still trying to get pregnant or recovering from loss – we see you, we love you, we’re cheering for you and your babies.
To you mamas whose journey includes loss of a pregnancy, a child, or a dream – I now stand bravely among you. I see you, I love you, and I’m hopeful for us and our babies.
To you readers who are in a completely different life space altogether but still show up to be friends on the internet – umm, you’re the best… You are amazingly cool. We’re lucky to have you here.
There are so many things I could write about pregnancy after miscarriage.
I could write about the decision to try or wait after our miscarriage cycle, running through practical (“If we wait, we can go on our Alaskan cruise in May!”) and emotional (“Are we ready to put ourselves out there again?”) reasons to wait or go for it.
I could write about the first agonizing weeks after a positive test, just waiting for the shoe to drop.
I could write about the numbness I tried to hide in, not getting attached to this pregnancy, before my emotions took over and I allowed myself to feel the full extent of fear and hope.
I could write about the interminable wait at the first doctor’s appointment and the rush of joy from actually seeing a beating heart.
I could write about my hesitation in sharing good news because I now know what it feels like to have pangs of grief and jealousy when someone makes a pregnancy announcement.
I could write about how weepy I got last week, re-realizing my complete lack of control even if we do not have another miscarriage, when an acquaintance posted a picture of their newborn, likely diagnosed with Down syndrome and other health complications after a seemingly normal pregnancy.
I could write about how now, even a week after my doctor said chances of anything happening to this baby were less than 5% after seeing its little heart flutter at 10 weeks, that I still feel myself on guard.
Thankfully the negative feelings are decreasing with each week as my little rainbow baby hope rises. I’m marveling at the way my body is already changing and how different pregnancy symptoms can be from one to the next. I’m starting to imagine my little fall season with Little Bamboo (it’s a long story, but might make sense if you’ve watch an obscure Japanese animated movie called Princess Kaguya).
And I’m making Mean Girls jokes because, yes, our due date is October 3rd.
“You have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story.”
A few weeks ago, just a days after she shared the news that she was expecting a baby boy, a food blogger I follow delivered her sweet son, Afton, at just over 23 weeks. He died the next day.
I was crushed for them. Although I feel closure and healing from our miscarriage in October, the empathy still flows fresh. I grieved for these people I’ve never met, knowing I’ve only tasted a hint of what they’re going through.
This experience of watching this loss unfold online solidified what I’ve been learning the past five months: adding children to our family is so absolutely beyond our control. This woman lost her baby at 23 weeks. A coworker of mine went into labor around the same stage of her pregnancy, but ended up delivering a healthy full term baby months later. Who was in control of one baby’s life and another’s death?
We got pregnant without hardly trying. Others try for years and never get pregnant. We lost our baby. Teenagers have babies they don’t want. Some babies are born perfectly healthy while others have rare genetic disorders or die from SIDS when they’re a few months old. International adoptions fall though. Some couples are shocked at how quickly they are paired with an adoptive child and scramble to prepare. Foster placements that seemed for sure end abruptly. People who were told they were infertile are surprised with good news.
It’s all. out. of. our. control.
Sure, we can chart and time intercourse and take supplements and eat the right diet and avoid the wrong things and fill our applications perfectly and make enough money and pass the home studies … but ultimately, we can do all these things and still not have a child. It’s ultimately not up to us.
Honestly, it sucks. We may never understand why one baby lives and another dies, while a couple desperate for children can’t have them, and someone who doesn’t want a child ends up with one. It’s not in our control to know. It’s complicated and can be confusing.
At first this seems so negative, so futile, but as I think of it more, it frees me. This is beyond my ability to control or even understand; it is in God’s hands and in His plans entirely. We will bring a child home in Him timing alone. I don’t have to worry and fret and cry and wonder. I just have to trust Him.
“I am Yours, do what you wish. I am Yours, I am Yours, and I know this: whatever happens next is in Your hands, in Your plans, nothing less.”
I’m not saying this is easy; heck no, it’s not easy! But I am saying it’s true. And it reminds me of something else that is out of my control.
There is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and there’s nothing I can do to make God love me less. Nothing. He loves me just the same. And that’s freedom.
There’s nothing I can do to bring a child into our home any quicker than God will allow our family to grow. Nothing.
So I can relax. I can practice trust and patience and remind myself of God’s perfect plans. It’s not easy, but it is good.
As I drove to HEB yesterday morning in the chilly rain, it struck me how strange the next few hours would be. I was driving to HEB to pick up some flowers and a sympathy empathy card for some friends who had just found out about their own miscarriage. My next stop after HEB was to grab some breakfast tacos to serve another couple of friends who had welcomed a new baby into their lives just three weeks before. The contrast was jarring. Even more significant: both these families live on the same street, literally across the road from one another. I was instantly reminded of God’s call for us: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” On the south side of the street, I teared up and expressed my sorrow for the couple who had lost their child. 15 minutes later, on the north side of the street, I laughed with the new parents as they tag-teamed a pee-fountain diaper change. It was a morning of rejoicing and mourning.
It’s been seven weeks since we found out about our sparrow, about a month since I last wrote. Seven weeks: we’ve know our loss two weeks longer than we knew our child’s life. It feels long ago and yet so fresh at the same time.
Since I last wrote, we’ve done a lot of healing. I feel a lot of closure. I’m sad, but less frequently and somewhat less intensely. But certain things over the past two months have definitely triggered that weird mix of mourning and rejoicing.
I went to Target a few weeks ago to purchase a baby gift for a coworker’s baby shower. While I was there, I picked up a little white bird ornament to commemorate our baby. I made it through the store okay, but after I got home and talked with Greg some about how we were doing, we both cried a little. I was happy for my coworker but still reminded of our lack.
Last week, in the span of 24 hours, two couples, one a little more distant and one a little nearer to my heart (mentioned above), shared with me about the miscarriages they had experienced since we had ours. I was crushed to hear both stories. I felt deeply for them and deeply felt my own sorrow for our loss. Before I had a miscarriage, I knew it was a sad thing, but since having one myself, I feel the sadness fully for the first time. I mourn for us, for them, and for the broken world that allows such loss.
At the same time, I currently have several close friends who are pregnant, and I’ve felt so joyous and happy for them. My love for those women outweighs the sadness and pity and impatience I feel for myself. But when baby announcements from acquaintances on Facebook seem to become a weekly occurrence, I have to walk away from my phone and computer and take a moment to collect myself.
Healing from miscarriage is a journey of rejoicing and mourning, highs and lows, hope and sorrow. Most days, I have a lot of hope. Some days, I don’t. And that’s okay; there’s room for both in God’s kingdom and in His community. I feel privileged to rejoice with my friends and their new babies, and I feel honored to share my sorrow and mourn with others in empathy. And so I am content with where we are for now.
On a personal note, we’re taking s few weeks off from family planning to rest and enjoy the holidays with family. We will see what 2017 brings, but we’re hopeful for more life. Thank you for allowing me to share my heart with you all.
It’s been 12 days since I was told the little life inside me that had barely begun had already ended. It was was shocking and as cliche as every movie, every TV show: “I’m sorry, but there’s no heartbeat.”
I know people don’t talk about miscarriage, but I want to because I like talking about the things no one wants to. I’m all about open communication. I’m the girl in the church who asks new married couples how their sex life is going. I’ll tell you all about our budgeting and savings goals. I blurted out “We’re pregnant!” to one of my close college friends just days after we’d taken a test, when we were just four weeks along. They say not to tell many people until you’re out of the first trimester, in case you miscarry, people nearly whisper, as if saying the word brings it about, like it’s Lord Voldemort or something. But we couldn’t keep it a secret; we were too excited. So I want to share our story of loss for the same reasons I wanted to share our news of life with friends right away — because I can’t keep it inside of me. And because October is Infant & Pregnancy Loss Awareness month, ironically enough.
Honestly, I never thought a miscarriage could happen to me. Sure, we’d always end the announcement by saying, “Yeah, we hear not to tell people so early just in case something happens, but we’d want support from you even if something did.” But it never crossed my mind that something might actually happen. My mom never miscarried and I knew my maternal grandmother had had 10 successful pregnancies out of 11 (I was later told she actually did have a miscarriage at another point, taking her “success rate” to 10 out of 12). We got pregnant basically without hardly trying, which I know is a huge blessing, and one I don’t take for granted, but all these factors made me think I was untouchable. It wouldn’t happen to me. Actually I didn’t even think it wouldn’t happen to me, I just didn’t think about it at all.
So that Monday morning when I wiped and saw just a little brown blood, I told myself not to panic. I’d known for reading every pregnancy website that spotting was fairly normal and half the time meant nothing. The blood was old and brown, not fresh and bright red. I didn’t have any cramping. I actually felt extra sick that morning, and they say if you feel pregnant, and I did, it’s a good sign. It’s when you stop feeling pregnant that things go south. But we were leaving on a multi-state road trip in three days, so I decided to call the nurse and just check to be safe.
The nurse called me back and said what I expected: it’s probably nothing, you can wait a few days to see if it goes away or gets worse, or you can come in just to check. I mentioned the trip and she asked if we had heard the heartbeat at our first appointment two weeks earlier. We hadn’t. At the time, the doctor said it was still fairly early (six and a half weeks), but we’d hear it the next time. (Now I wonder if it ever did beat…) So we decided to go for peace of mind so we could go to Missouri unworried.
I picked up Greg and we drove to the clinic in New Braunfels, and although I kept trying to tell myself it was fine, I started getting uneasy. What if it wasn’t? We prayed outside the clinic, checked in, and waited. We went back to the exam room and saw our doctor, who seemed quite hopeful. She did a pelvic exam and confirmed I wasn’t “actively bleeding,” which was a good sign, and I still felt pregnant, which she also deemed a good sign. So she started up the ultrasound to finalize all the good signs, but that’s when things changed.
For whatever reason, my body just never got the news our baby had died. It kept on going, pumping out hormones and blood and growing placenta, all while the life had gone from our child more than two weeks before. That’s why I still felt pregnant, why I wasn’t actively bleeding. They call it “missed miscarriage.”
They brought in another doctor just to confirm what the ultrasound was showing. I bawled. Greg held it together but only until the car. Our doctor assured me it wasn’t my fault and explained what could happen next. For various reasons, we chose to go with a dilation and curettage, better known as a D&C, a procedure in which the doctor dilates your cervix and removes the contents of your womb in a surgical environment while you’re under general anesthesia. We set the date for two days later, the day we had planned to leave on our trip.
Our trip. The timing. My lack of actual miscarriage symptoms. The only signs that something was off was the spotting on Monday. I had no symptoms of miscarriage at any point, not even spotting on Tuesday and Wednesday. I can’t help but attribute the whole timing scenario to the Lord. I almost feel like He said, “I’m so sorry. I’m going to let you in on this now so you use this trip and this planned time off to grieve and heal.” I fully believe had I not spotted on Monday, we still might not know we’d lost it. Our next appointment wasn’t scheduled until two weeks later. Finding out your baby passed away two weeks ago without your knowledge sucks. Finding out it died a month ago… I can only imagine it would be even worse. Or maybe my body would have gotten a clue, and we would have naturally miscarried hundreds of miles from home while on vacation. The alternatives horrify me, and although this is the saddest thing that’s happened to me, I’m grateful for the way in which it happened. I see the Lord’s hand in it.
On the drive to the hospital, as cheesy as it sounds, God spoke peace and comfort to us through some Christian contemporary music (Jason Gray’s “Sparrow”).
“If He can hold the world, He can hold this moment.”
I think He has our little sparrow in his hands. A few weeks before we found out about the miscarriage, I had spent some time journaling with God, and He shared with me His love for me and for our baby. I know He has our sparrow.
The D&C went fine. The worst part of physical pain was the six sticks it took the nurses and staff to get an IV and blood drawn. Our doctor even let us do one final ultrasound, just for peace of mind, just to check that God hadn’t allowed a miracle to happen. She was so kind and compassionate. I went home that afternoon, and after resting for a few hours and finally getting to eat something, with our doctor’s blessing, we left for Arlington.
It may seem crazy they we went on vacation literally hours after leaving the hospital, but I think it was what was best for us. We saw family (including my parents, grandparents, and two of my three siblings) and mourned with them. We spent a lot of time together as a couple. We checked in on each other’s emotions. We held each other as we cried. We laughed and had fun. We enjoyed amazing weather and beautiful scenery. We accepted feelings of sadness when we saw adorable babies in Mizzou clothing everywhere, but also started regrowing our hope that one day we will have adorable babies in Mizzou clothing. We worshiped in the church where I started to fully cultivate my relationship with God. We ate breakfast with the pastor who married us, who has mentored us throughout the years. We cuddled a fat cat. We ate amazing food. We wrestled through the complex thoughts of grief (Am I sad because we lost this baby, or am I sad because we lost the possibility of a baby? Or both? Or does it matter? Should I be more sad? Should we start trying again right away?). We drove through four state capitols. We saw one of Greg’s favorite musical artists. I bought a candle from the Fixer Upper Silos. I posted a lot of happy pictures from that trip and felt conflicted about it. I didn’t want to paint the picture that we were fine because we weren’t. But it’s not a lie to say we enjoyed the trip and we did have fun. The trip was a gift I am forever grateful for.
I’m also forever grateful for the man I married, my best friend, my rock of a husband, Greg. Many times over the last two weeks I have been overwhelmed to tears with love for him. Seeing his heart for our baby and for me through the last few months is astounding. I know I wouldn’t be in this situation without him, but I also know I couldn’t make it through this situation without him. I know he’s hurting, too, but even in his pain he serves me and puts my needs first. He watched the Middle Tennessee Nobodies just decimate my Tigers instead of watching the biggest game of the week (maybe season?), Alabama vs. Texas A&M. A&M ended up losing, too, but the fact that he went to that football game with me instead of watching his (actually pretty good) team, is just one of the thousands of ways he’s shown me love lately.
On our honeymoon, Greg I went to see the Seattle Symphony play a Pixar concert. They performed music from all the Pixar movies, accompanied by clips from each film. Right before intermission, they played the score from the opening montage from Up!
If you haven’t cried while watching this opening montage, you are a robot. And for the newlywed couple who’s marriage was less than a week old? You better believe we both cried like little babies! After the symphony finished their piece you could audibly hear the entire audience sniffling, which was pretty hilarious actually. Greg even overheard a college-aged girl on the way out for intermission proclaim, “Why didn’t they show the part with the goofy dog??”
On the Tuesday after we got the news, I scrolled through the “miscarriage” part of Pinterest for whatever reason, looking for hope, other people’s stories, a chance to cry, something. I saw this image from Up! and I couldn’t contain the tears. I remembered our honeymoon and our first few days of marriage. I remembered watching that montage thinking it was sad, but it was life, and hopefully none of the hard things in that montage would happen to us. But even if it did, at least we could have each other. And we still do. And that is something I thank God for every day.
We’re back home now. The first day back at work was rough. While I was out, a few things happened with coworkers at my office and now we’re down two staff members for the next few months. It’s stressful, but my boss and coworkers are kind and understanding. Greg came back to one of the biggest church events bearing down on him, just about a week out. It was hard to go back into our normal routine when we’re feeling anything but normal.
God continues to meet us here, though. He gives us friends with listening ears and big hearts. He reveals other couples who have walked this walk before. He speaks hope and comfort to us. I know He grieves with us. He is here, and He works all things for the good of those who love Him. He also lost His own son and knows the pain of death. Thankfully He has conquered it, and we have hope in eternal life with Him.
I started this post back in February, but I’m going to publish it now!
Greg is currently enrolled in Fuller Seminary’s Master of Arts in Global Leadership program, which is a fancy way to say he’s earning a seminary degree primarily online with a cohort of classmates from across the world. Literally. Like on multiple continents. He takes most of his classes online, but he has two in-person two-week stints where he travels, and in January he had his first stint in Colorado! So since we’re terribly sappy newlyweds who can’t be apart for more than five days, I went to visit during the middle weekend.
I’m gonna keep it short and sweet, list style.
Spent the morning in class with Greg, learning about his classmates and worshipping with them.
We all know this blog has been super neglected over the past few years. Part of me is afraid this all just may be a relic of my college and grad school thoughts… But another part of me just isn’t ready to let go yet! I’ve been out of the practice of writing, but it’s something I enjoy, and something I want to do more of.
Greg and I spent last night making some summer bucket lists — both for ourselves personally and for us together. One of my personal items was to overhaul this blog and actually post in it! The last two years have been insane: moving to a new town, starting a new job, going through pre-engagement counseling, getting engaged, getting promoted, getting married, and adjusting to married life. Now that we’ve nearly hit the one-year mark and now that the summer seems like things might finally slow down, I feel like this is a good time to revamp this thing.
So this summer, the plan is to redesign the look and start posting again! I am excited to start this habit up again and interact with you all online. Some ideas I have to write about:
Things I’m cooking/baking and favorite recipes
Campus ministry updates
My summer bucket list
So… we’ll see how this goes! I feel like I often have tried to restart this thing, but it hasn’t worked lately. We’ll see what happens this time!
As a newlywed, I’ve been cooking more and more to feed our new little family. (And to have delicious leftovers for lunch!) Plus all my new kitchen gadgets make me really excited to bake! So here are some recent recipes I’ve tried, and, in several cases, loved. Try ’em out yourself!
S’mores Bars from Truffled Delights
S’mores Bars: Made this for the first time we hosted our church homegroup. I thought they were pretty good, but our friends raved over them. Easy and yummy for sure. Resist the temptation to cut while still hot. It’s a sticky mess. Let them cook completely, cut into bars, then warm one up in the microwave if you like the gooey, drippy thing.
Texas Sheet Cake Cookies from Cookies & Cups
Texas Sheet Cake Cookies: I decided to try these after a friend posted she made them on Instagram. I was slightly disappointed. They were fine but not rave-worthy. The icing matched the traditional cake icing flavor and texture well, but the dense cookies left me wishing I was eating moist cake instead.
Cookies & Cream Bars from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen
Cookies & Cream Bars: I avoided a little disaster here with a sharp new knife. When they say to butter your paper before pouring, listen! I was scraping wax paper off every bar. 😦 Overall, good, but very dense and chewy. I think I prefer dipping the original cookies in a big ol’ glass of milk. I ground pulverized the cookies into fine crumbs (in my new food processor!), so maybe keeping them a little more choppy would ease the density?
Herb-and-Chili Shrimp Toasts from Real Simple
Herb-And-Chili Shrimp Toasts: Yummmmmm. This was such a fresh and delicious recipe, and fairly quick and easy to make (I think… Greg did it!). I saved time for us by buying pre-peeled, -deveined, and -cooked shrimp. We used a jalapeno because I couldn’t find any red Fresno peppers and parsley because HEB was out of my preferred cilantro. Instead of a baguette we used slices of bread from the recipe below. The perfect summertime dinner paired with…
Peach, Basil, and Almond Panzanella from Real Simple
Peach, Basil, and Almond Panzanella: We served this as a “side” to the shrimp toasts, though Real Simple claims it could be a lunch on its own… not sure of how filling it would be, but I’d probably just eat the entire recipe’s worth! We toasted our own almonds, used white wine vinegar (HEB wasn’t fancy enough for champagne vinegar), and grated pecorino cheese instead of ricotta salata. Greg and I both really liked this! I should make it again while peaches are still in season…
Chorizo Sweet Potato Skillet from Budget Bytes
Chorizo Sweet Potato Skillet: So quick and delish! I cooked up a whole bag of dried black beans we’ve had in the pantry forever, so I’m looking for more black bean recipes! This one was a hit (Greg said it was a repeat for sure), and we thought it could be fun to mix up the meat, types of salsa, and types of cheese for varying flavors. Greg doesn’t usually like chorizo, but whatever kind I got at HEB won him over (for this dish at least).
That’s some of what I’ve been cooking lately! I hope to write posts like these every so often to share my finds and kitchen adventures.
Have you cooked/baked anything good lately? What should I make next?
I haven’t posted in a few months (as per ushe) because, well, this time, I got married, and that kind of took up a lot of my time in addition to a busy summer of New Student Orientation at work.
But I do want to try to write more now that the wedding planning is over! And I have so many things to share, like
more tweets from the past
a wedding recap
what I’ve learned from marriage so far (I’m an expert! ha! jk.)
the epic pranking our friends did while we were in Seattle
So here’s to hoping I make more time for the blogs! I have high ambitions now that my home iMac basically has it’s own room (“the study”) because I am an adult who lives in a house with her husband and we have matching throw pillows and a fancy foot-pedal trashcan! (That’s defines adulthood, obvs.)
Volume 6 of Past-Lindsay Tweets brings us to Spring 2011, my final semester at Mizzou. Fun Fact: I tweeted 687 times in April 2011. What. the. heck. Past-Lindsay, you CRAY. I think it was because it was my last month of college, and I procrastinated the crap out of it. Let’s see how it went!
Magazine major/Human Development & Family Studies minor problems…
I was in charge of making all the food for a 100-person Super Bowl Party. There was a lot of queso.
It was a freakishly cold spring, and I’m pretty sure I had Seasonal Affective Disorder.
One of my favorite jobs I had at Mizzou was an internship with the ResLife marketing department. The best was designing T-shirts for all the residence halls! #tshirtseason
Ah yes, interviewing for grad school back in my home state.
I’m obsessed with color-changing cups. We might have them at our wedding…
I never did meet her… *sobs*
I still think this, though my fear has lessened.
I took a 20th Century Art class, learned all about Ready-Mades…
People always wanted Truman (the Mizzou mascot) doing various things on their T-shirts.
Gotta love Student Affairs life. This was from the manual for my summer graduate assistantship at A&M.
We’re back with tweets from Fall 2010, aka the first semester of my senior year at Mizzou! My first semester in my own apartment, my semester at a Freshman Interest Groups Student Coordinator, my first semester as a leader in my church. There are a lot of tweets about my good friends from LT and The Rock this time.
It was a right of passage to do a wheelie in my friend Justin’s wheelchair.
Breezy is legitimately one of the funniest people I know. Hahahaha this still cracks me up. In case this needs context, Google the book “Captivating.”
I stopped regularly working out my sophomore year of college After that, going to the Rec just meant cutting through it on a walk across campus…
Love me some Amanda Craven serenades!
This semester I also applied to grad school at A&M.
I visited Kent State over the break to see some LT people!
My 11-year-old brother, everyone.
Girls don’t let other girls wear Bump-its.
Guys. I STILL haven’t read GWtDT, though!
Now this is a story. One time John Murray wore a polo every day for a month and made a Facebook album with pictures. At the start of the month he smiled in every picture, but by the end, he was just snapping pics real quick. There’s one picture of him in an orange polo with a scraggly beard and he looks like a convicted murderer. This picture has become a running joke with my friend Breezy, who periodically prints this picture and mails it to me or will randomly Facebook message it to me because it’s hilarious.
It’s funny because he’s in a wheelchair!
I LOVED my magazine editing class that semester.
My apartment that year was a little janky… including my bathroom where my toilet was jammed right up against my shower and there was barely any leg room.
Aka Justin, Amanda, Sam, John, and Ben.
Most of the rest were just silly, self-explanatory thoughts and quotes. Oh, Past-Lindsay!