our little sparrow – our miscarriage story

 

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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??”

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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.

Thank you for letting me share our story.

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Coming soon: A new Lindsay In Progress

Hello again, friends!

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
  • Travel posts
  • Book round-ups
  • Life lessons
  • 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!

24

I’m on a blogging roll! I think I may be a certifiable binge-blogger… nothing for WEEKS, then BAM! Four posts in five days!

Anyway, last week was my 24th birthday. I figured I needed to blog about it because I blogged about 23 and 22. I really can’t believe I’m 24. I’m officially in my mid-20s. It’s weird that I am anywhere from two to six years older than most college athletes. I am one year away from being a quarter-of-a-century old! But I don’t really feel depressed or old or anything. Part of this might be because I shared my birthday week with my now-28-year-old boyfriend. Nothing like a little perspective to make you feel young and spry! 😉

The Monday of my birthday week my roommates threw together a small surprise part with about 5 of my friends, which was really sweet. Thursday, on my actual birthday, my roommate Megan took me to Chuy’s for apps and happy hour margs. Overall, it was a simple birthday!

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Birthday Tex-Mex with Megan!

But because Greg’s birthday is three days before mine, we celebrated with a sickeningly adorable joint birthday party in San Marcos this weekend.

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Lighting the candles on our shared cake! He lit my pink candles, and I lit his blue candles because everyone knows you can’t light your own birthday candles.

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Happy joint birthday! It’s hard to tell in this photo, but the pink and blue candles spelled out both “24” and “28” because I am super clever.

We had a bunch of friends from Greg’s church over for cake (that recipe pretty much, just minus the cream cheese in the icing), food, games, and then we watched Brave because Greg associates me with blazingly ginger heroines. How sweet!

Greg got me a Texas State T-shirt (Eat ’em up, Bobcats!) and an ADORABLE kitty coin bank from Japan, which is slightly broken now due to some party guests wanting to see if the kitty would take chips and toothpicks as well as spare change… And now Greg’s ordering me a new one, haha.

I got Greg the card game Bang! and five Bill Cosby CDs because he loves Bill Cosby. I also made him a jar with date ideas for our summer in Colorado.

Not my photo, but it’s the same concept. I colored coded the sticks for various types of dates (day trips, things in Estes Park, things on the Y grounds, hikes, etc.)

Overall, it was a really fun birthday that I did not mind sharing at all. Hopefully there will be more shared birthday week events in years to come!

Greg sporting the Mizzou T I mentioned in my spring break post at our party. Doesn't he look great in black and gold?? Go Tigers!

Greg sporting the Mizzou T-shirt I mentioned in my spring break post at our party. Doesn’t he look great in black and gold?? Go Tigers!

23!: I am worth it

I have to admit. I wasn’t necessarily excited about my 23rd birthday. I wasn’t upset about it or anything, but I felt somewhat indifferent. I’m pretty sure that sentiment came out in Wednesday’s blog post.

See, I struggle with believing the lie that people like me, love me maybe even, but not enough to go out of their way to show it. People will be friends with me if it’s convenient, but after that, I’m just not worth it.

I realize this isn’t true, even if people have burned me by doing this to me. I know God doesn’t seem me that way and most of my friends don’t either. Yet I still believe it sometimes. And I’ll be honest, I really thought no one would care that Wednesday was my 23rd birthday.

Even though my coworkers celebrate everyone’s birthday with a banner, card and baked good, I thought they might forget for me. Even though my roommates have made a big deal about all the other birthdays in our house, I thought they wouldn’t for me. I don’t know why I thought these things because obviously neither my coworkers or my completely awesome and loving roommates were going to blow off my birthday. It’s just a lie I let myself wallow in sometimes: I’m not worth it. I’m not worth the trouble.

Boy, did God pull a number on me this year. I felt so special and loved and worth it this year. So many awesome people blessed me in so many ways, some in ways they didn’t even know they blessed me. There were just so many awesome things about my birthday this year that I think I’m just going to have to list them off:

Just some of the awesome birthday extravaganza that went down on Wednesday

  • My sister woke me up with a phone call from Greece!
  • Roommates Kelsey R. and Jennifer got me Blue Baker for breakfast, including a breakfast sandwich, a muffin and a cinnamon roll. So far all I have been able to eat is the sandwich, and that lasted me two meals! So much food. Plus they got me milk. I love milk and haven’t had time to go get some since spring break ended.
  • Kelsey R. and Jennifer stickie noted my room with words of affirmation and funny sayings and pictures.
  • The weather was awesome. Thanks, Jesus!
  • My coworkers all greeted me at work with shouts of happy birthday, including out student worker and administrative assistant surprising me through the office intercom (funniest part!). I also had a banner and a card and delicious baked goods.
  • My friend John who is a missionary in Africa sent his monthly support prayer letter, which is always a favorite of mine to read. (He didn’t even know I would consider that a birthday gift!)
  • All my roommates and my friend Jana decorated my office while I was in class, so when I returned to work from Counseling Skills, I found streamers, candy, more stickie notes, confetti and blackberries on my desk haha!
  • I had so many birthday texts and wall posts.
  • I had an enjoyable evening of work with my students while my friend Barclay did me a favor and was a guest speaker for the photography organization I advise.
  • My friends Melissa and Drew called me, and although I didn’t get to talk to Melissa, I got to catch up with Drew for the first time in a few months.
  • I tweeted earlier this week that all I wanted for my birthday was for my room, which flooded on Monday, to be dry and back in one piece, new carpet and all. When I got back from work, it was all back to normal! And I didn’t even have to move my heavy dresser back; it was returned to its rightful place.
  • I got to eat dinner on my little side porch and watch the sun set and just sit with Jesus and thank Him for a really wonderful birthday.
  • My roommate Kelsey T. wrote me a super sweet note.
  • Two families who don’t have a lot of money to spare sent me support for Milan unexpectedly, even after I told them they should just pray for me!
  • Spent the evening with my homegroup getting ready for a carnival this weekend and just hanging out and laughing with them.
  • My hives weren’t as itchy today as they have been the past few days.

Overall, it was a really spectacular birthday. God really just spoke to my heart and told me, “You are worth it. You are worth enough to have your friends do nice things for you, but beyond that, you are worth me giving my son to die for you so we can be together.”

Dang. That’s the best birthday present of all.

23

I celebrated my birthday with my family and our traditional Chocolate Birthday Cake last week while I was home for spring break. (Spring break... that's still so "college.")

Today I am 23 years old.
It feels surreal.

I am older than most college athletes. I am the same age my mom was when she got married. I have long passed the legal drinking age. Were it not for grad school, I’d be well into my first year of “adulthood” (defined by a post-bachelor’s-degree job). I am older than Taylor Swift, but younger than Adele (not by much, though).

I feel like I’m in a silly middle place between college and “real life.” I spend all of my time in school (college) or at work (at a college) or with my roommates (3 of whom are in college) or with my homegroup (through a college ministry.) Yet I am beyond college. I am “old.”

But yet I am young. 23 is young. 23 is early 20s. Is twenty-something.

I apologize for this post’s randomness. I just don’t know exactly what to say about 23. Like  said last year, there aren’t too many big birthday milestones after 21.

I also don’t really have anything planned. For some reason I have lost the excitement for big birthday shenanigans of ages prior. No skating parties of Minnesotan road trips or first drinks for this girl. Just my, myself, and my 23 years of experience to look back on.

I have to say it hasn’t been too bad…

Doodlebug

Sometimes All the time, my statistics class is boring.

It is also three hours long.

It often feels like torture.

To make it through the monotony, I often doodle.

Here are some of my favorites from the last unit…

This was actually from a department meeting in which I forgot to bring a pen. My supervisor let me borrow one because I obviously needed it to doodle… I mean take notes…

My coworker Tony and I LOVE these little snacks called Fruit Nuggets. Go buy them.

That angel’s future is so bright, he has to wear shades!
Name that Nick, Jr. cartoon!
A combination of lyrics from the song “Daughters of Jerusalem” and a cat in a top hat and bow tie.
HAPPY WEATHER!

Thankfully I only have one more statistics class of instruction and then my last exam.

But who am I kidding? Once a doodler, always a doodler.

First friend-dates

If I’m being completely objective, I’d have to say my move to College Station has been one of the easiest transitions I could have imagined. That’s not to say parts of it haven’t been hard or challenging, or that I don’t miss my Mizzou folks more than words can express. It just means that when you take in everything that could have gone wrong or how hard it could have been, this transition has been relatively easy.

It was a huge blessing from God to come here with a few close friends and at least a bunch of other friend-ish acquaintances . It was a great base for me to start rebuilding my support system and a great resource for meeting new friends. But the thing about moving somewhere and starting over is that you have to start over.

Not many people here really know me. I’d say maybe three people do, so far. (Which isn’t half bad, considering I’ve been here a month.)

In order to combat this, I’ve taken it upon myself to ask several friends and acquaintances out on first friend-dates. I just this term because it’s the best metaphor I can think of to represent what I’m doing. Essentially I find people I’d like to get to know better (as friends) and asked them to get lunch/dinner/coffee/ice cream/froyo/snow cones with me. And then we basically have a first date, if we’re being honest.

How many siblings do you have? Where are you from? What’s your major? How’d you get to A&M? How’d you find Fellowship Church? What’s God been doing in your life lately? Share your testimony. How’d you get involved in student affairs? What was your undergrad experience like? What do you like to do for fun?

I’ve had these first friend-dates with about 5-7 girls so far. (I’ve really only done it with girls so far, but I definitely want to get to know my homegroup brothers, too, so they’re next!) A lot of my conversations have been really blessed by encouragement and testimonies and being able to see God working in other people’s lives. It’s also been a blessing to get to know my coworkers and understand their background and education. But I’ve also gotten to share a lot about myself, where I came from and who I am during these conversations. People are picking up on my quirks already! (i.e. love of proper English, my Mizzou pride, my height, my ginger citizenship, my love of Gilmore Girls, how I got to A&M, bits of my testimony, my journalistic background, what student affairs is, etc.)

It’s been a cool opportunity to lay the groundwork for some really awesome friendships I can see forming in my future, and I’m excited for more first dates and more follow-up dates!

Weird quirk #1

I sleep to TV shows.

One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday afternoon or on a weekday after I finally get out of class/work is take a nap to a TV show. “To a TV show?” Yes.

I really love napping to the sounds of a familiar TV episode. Almost any time I decide I want to take a nap, I’ll pull up an old episode of The Office on Netflix or pop in a Gilmore Girls DVD and instantly drift into the perfect nap sleep. Something about the familiar voices of the characters I love just puts me in the perfect nap state.

That being said, I don’t like to fall asleep, like for the entire night, to TV shows. I usually end up waking up once the background noise stops, so napping to The Office or Gilmore Girls is the perfect way to take a 20- or 45-minute nap.

Am I the only one who does this?

Almost there!

Holy cow. In just a little more than 24 hours, I will be back in Texas. The journey I began more than a year ago is wrapping up! In two weeks, I should know where I’m going be for the next 2+ years. So crazy.

Tuesday evening I leave for College Station, where I’ll be interviewing for graduate school until Friday afternoon. Saturday I’ll take three flights to Detroit and a car ride to Bowling Green, Ohio, where I’ll interview at another grad school until Tuesday evening, when I’ll fly back to St. Louis. It’s a whirlwind week, but it’s been a long time coming.

This time last year, I wasn’t even 100% sure I was going to grad school. Just out of curiosity, I opened my journal to this time last year. Here’s some things I wrote:

  • Mission Statement: It is my goal and mission to develop freshmen into successful college students by encouraging them to discover who they are, build strong relationships with peers, grow into leaders, find their own faith and become responsible Christians and community members.
  • Short-Term Goals
    • Become a FIG SC
    • Research grad programs
    • Focus on God
    • Grow close to Him at LT
    • Grow closer to friends at the Rock
  • Continue to guide me in the right way for my future. It all seems so unclear and uncertain right now. Show me where I need to be after graduation.

It’s so exciting to see how God has helped me accomplish these goals and lead me in the direction of my future!

PTL!

In the mean time, I’d like to ask for a few prayers.

  • Safe flights
    I will be on six plans throughout the next week. Pray they all are on time and don’t lose my luggage.
  • Good interviews
    I have somewhere between 10-20 interviews throughout the next week for various assistantships. Pray I am able to show off my best traits in a collected, non-anxious way.
  • Boldness
    Throughout the next week have the potential to meet 100+ people. Between current students in the programs I’m applying to, other applicants, faculty and strangers on planes, I want to talk to strangers and maybe even share the gospel. Please pray for courage, boldness and opportunity.

Thanks, y’all! I’ll keep you updated!

Song for the blog: “Almost There” from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog

Accomplishing goals left and right!

Time for a life update!

This week is going to be ca-razy. But before we talk about why, let’s catch up on how things have been this February.

I was officially invited to interview for student affairs master’s programs at Texas A&M, Texas State and Bowling Green State University. After a lot of fretting, praying, pro-con-list-making, talking and obsessive-flight-checking, I have decided to interview at Texas A&M and Bowling Green!

(Un)fortunately(?), the interviews for both those programs are back-to-back, Wednesday through Friday and Sunday through Tuesday. I’ll be flying down to College Station next Tuesday, interviewing there, flying to Detroit on Saturday, interviewing at Bowling Green, then flying back to Saint Louis, all within a week’s time. Thus, craziness.

Before I leave next week, I have a lot to accomplish. Today I had a test and short paper due. Thursday I have a six-page midterm draft. Friday I have another short paper. I also have two fairly long papers due while I’m out-of-town, which means I must finish them before I leave. Yikes!

On top of all the homework I need to do this week, I have a couple pretty big events I must attend. You see, I have been selected as a member of the Class of 2011’s Mizzou 39! This is a huge honor — to be recognized as one of the top 39 seniors in our class. It’s such a joy to celebrate four years of blessed experiences and opportunities with 38 of Mizzou’s greatest student leaders. Because of this honor, I have even more on my schedule this week! Last night we had a candlelit revelation ceremony on the quad; tomorrow we’re being recognized at the half time of the Mizzou basketball game, and Saturday night is a celebratory banquet. That means my parents and sister are coming to visit me this weekend! I’m very excited to see them and hang out with them, but I also know I could use this weekend to prepare for next week. Oh, well! We’ll make it work.

So if you’ve been following along, this post mentions two of my Spring 2011 goals, which I have now met!
1. Be chosen as a member of Mizzou 39.
2. Interview at two graduate schools.

Now on to accomplishing another goal: Get into Texas A&M!