11-27-19 Forty-Two Years

My parents celebrated 42 years of marriage this week. This evening, my sister took me to the grocery store and we picked up a cake for them. When we got home, I pulled out the same knife they used at their wedding all those years ago and sliced it up.

42 years! What a remarkable testimony of love, grace, compassion, patience, and joy. Their marriage hasn’t been perfect (whose marriage is?), but their commitment to each other and their wedding vows has been. I’m so grateful that they modeled a stable and loving relationship throughout my life, and watching them hold hands this evening brought a smile to my face.

So Happy Anniversary to my amazing parents!! This past year has been a challenge to say the least, but your continued love and commitment has been beautiful to behold. May God continue to watch over you, give you peace in unknown waters, and remind you how very much you are loved!

From all of us- Me, Tim, C, Big E, and Baby E- WE LOVE YOU!!!

2007

11-26-19 Dreams

As you can imagine, I have been sleeping a lot this past week. No sooner do I wake up then I eagerly anticipate my next slumber. I’m down to 1-2 naps a day, which I will call a success.

What I didn’t anticipate with all my sleeping were the incredibly vivid dreams I have been having. I can’t usually remember all of the details when I wake up, but they have ranged from traveling to Alaska to rescue my niece (who ended up not wanting rescued btw, so that was a wasted trip and I had to reschedule my flight home during a white out blizzard) to a crazy amount of dreams about babies… Babies I meet, babies I have, babies I could adopt- babies… babies… babies.

I always wake up the same- drenched in sweat in our chilly bedroom, my eyes trying to focus on anything familiar until my mind begins to settle. Because I’m not sleeping well, it causes more dreams as I come in and out of my hazy state multiple times a night. This adds even more to my tiredness during the day, hence all the extra naps.

I don’t remember this happening last time. Maybe it did and I just don’t recall. I don’t mind the dreams, I just wish there weren’t so many babies. My subconscious has been busy, I guess.

It’s crazy and amazing how attached you can become in just a few hours. Nay, a few minutes. My fear of losing the baby wasn’t just the fear of all the physical pain that would accompany it, but the hole that would be gouged in my heart at the loss of another child. I didn’t want to love it if I couldn’t keep it. It was too late, though. I loved it the second I knew of it. Of him. Of her. I loved that child.

I wish I could have protected it. I wish it could have been saved. I pray one day ectopic pregnancies aren’t a death sentence to the babies and a danger to their mamas- That one day they can be born too.

Until then I will stand on my soapbox and shout from rooftops that they mattered, not just because they were wanted, but because they existed. They weren’t just a clump of cells, they were beautifully and wonderfully made, they just landed in the wrong place.

It’s important to remember that their mamas are real mamas, with real tears, experiencing a very real loss.

Every child matters.

Thank you for your continued prayers and well wishes. We feel very loved. Just this evening my kids were talking about how much our church loves us and how well they have taken care of us over this past week.

To Christ be the glory.

11-25-19 I Remember

This photo popped up in my memories today. Three years ago today we were walking this same journey.

I remember-

  • hating that shirt, but buying it anyway. I hated everything I tried on because when I looked at myself in the mirror, I didn’t see the shirt, but the body that had failed me.
  • taking that walk. It was on the trail by my parents’ old house and it was the furthest I had ventured since my surgery. There was a hill that I struggled to get back up. By the time I got home I was spent.
  • forcing that smile. I didn’t feel it, but I wanted to. I felt hollow, like the world kept moving on around me and I just stood still trying not to get in its way.
  • Tim. I remember the way he felt so strong and steady next to me. How he walked slowly beside me, holding my hand, encouraging me.

I also remember it got easier. Little by little, day by day, prayer by prayer. And it will this time too. So while I wait this thing out, I’ll focus on the good little moments that come each day, the one’s I wouldn’t normally see as huge blessings, and be thankful for each one of them.

To Christ be the glory.

Thank you for your continued prayers and well wishes. We love you all.

11-24-19 Fear

If you had asked me a week ago what my greatest fear was, this would have ranked up there in the top three- finding out I was pregnant and losing the baby to an ectopic rupture. I have feared this scenario for the better part of three years. And here we are.

The irony is this… The fear I carried in no way aided me when the actual event occurred. None of my worrying or obsessing over it made one difference. It happened so quickly and was so completely out of my control that there was nothing I could do to prevent it. When it actually happened, I was just along for the ride.

Those moments of fear over the past several years that clouded my judgement and stole my joy were mere dust in my hands and rot in my heart. If we fear the ‘mights’ and the ‘what-ifs’ of life, if we allow them to be our traveling companions, when tragedy strikes (and it will, in some form or other) we will find our companions have withered and we stand alone.

It is much wiser and much braver to leave those fears at the cross. And when they plead to join you on your journey, turn your back and give them no power.

Let Christ be enough.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

11-23-19 The Wrong Place

“Did the doctors figure out what was making you sick?” C asked me as she cuddled up to me on the couch last night. My sister had brought her home late from the shop and C begged to sit with me awhile before going to bed.

“Yes. They did.” I replied. She was quiet for a moment and then she turned her face up toward mine.

“What was it?”

“I had another baby in my belly that didn’t make it,” I answered.

Her eyes widened. “I knew it. I knew when grandma said you were in the hospital and you were sick I knew it was another baby in your belly. I knew it. Why did it die?”

“It was in the wrong place again.”

“Again?!? Why does that keep happening??” she asked.

“I don’t know, honey.”

She snuggled her head back onto my lap. “I really wanted a baby sister,” she whispered.

“I know, sweet one. I know.”

Thank you for your continued prayers and well wishes. We appreciate each and everyone of you.

To Christ be the Glory.

11-22-19 Staring At Walls

The good hospital drugs wore off sometime this morning. The pain isn’t horrible, but it’s not ignorable either. This day has been strangely drawn out and dull. Not that it has been boring, but rather muted. Sounds seem muffled. Colors seem less vibrant. Hours have ticked by with sloth-like tempo.

I thought I’d spend my day binge watching tv on the couch, but my mind couldn’t settle on anything, so I chose nothing instead.

I’ve slept a lot. I’ve stared at the wall a lot.

I feel nothing and everything at the same time.

I saw my kids briefly yesterday when my in-laws dropped by so they could have lunch with me. I have missed them desperately. They will come home for good tonight. I need to feel my arms around them, and their small arms around me. I need to hear their laughter.

I know this is a process and I’m at the beginning of it. It’s not scary this time. It’s not overwhelming. It’s not oppressive. It’s just going to take some time. Lots of staring at walls. Lots of silently praying in my head. Lots of sleeping. Lots of healing. I’ll get there.

I’m thankful for the friends that have dropped by, texted, messaged, brought food, run errands, and have taken such good care of me, and for my mom who has worked tirelessly to make sure I’m ok. We are blessed to have you in our lives.

Tomorrow is another day, and with my kids here it will be a better one. Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers.

11-21-19 A Familiar Pain

I knew all the signs, but the signs didn’t happen.

But the scars did. They happened.

For those of you that have followed along on my journey for the past several years, you know the hardest, most heartbreaking thing I have encountered was the loss of our pregnancy in October 2016 due to an ectopic rupture. It shattered my world.

Yesterday I took a pregnancy test. To my shock it was positive. The first positive test in years. A flood of emotions swept over me… joy… excitement… fear… sheer terror I would lose this one too.

I told Tim the moment I saw him and how his face beamed with excitement.

But minutes after taking the test, I started to feel off. There was a pain coming from my abdomen, the left side. I tried to shrug it off, blaming it on my excitement and nerves. I took a Tylenol, changed my clothes, and started helping at the shop.

But the pain didn’t go away. If anything it was getting worse.

I started not being able to stand up straight. There was no let up. And all at once I recognized this pain. This pain was familiar.

I had my sister take me to the ER and by the time I got there the pain was unimaginable. Mercifully they didn’t make me wait, escorted me quickly to triage, and then immediately into a room. They jumped into action, hooking up an IV as I threw up from the pain. Within moments morphine was coursing through my veins, offering some reprieve.

“I doubt it’s ectopic,” the doctor said as we discussed the possibilities. “It’s too early. You aren’t even five weeks. We’ll get an ultrasound and figure out what’s going on. But I highly doubt it’s ectopic.”

But I didn’t need an ultrasound to tell me that it was. I knew that pain. I’m intimately familiar with that pain. In 2016, the hospital I went to didn’t give me pain meds for about eight hours. Eight hours I writhed in bed with that pain. It’s unmistakeable.

They rolled me down to the ultrasound and when I came back the doctor came in almost immediately. “It’s ectopic, but it hasn’t ruptured yet. We are waiting for the OB to take a look at it. He will be here soon.”

They gave me fentanyl. Everything was quiet. I watched the bustle of the ER outside my room as I began to mourn my last biological child. Five hours I knew you. Five hours I loved you.

When the OB came in he informed me that it had indeed ruptured. I was filling with blood. Surgery was imminent.

I knew the drill. I’d been here before. But last time there were warning signs. This time there weren’t. This time happened so fast.

It wasn’t long before they wheeled me into pre-op and I got to meet the OR team. They were kind and comforting. They answered all my questions and encouraged me. My sister never left my side and soon Tim arrived to hold my hand until they rolled me away.

The surgery was successful. They stopped the bleeding. I lost the baby… again.

I woke up in recovery with two nurses watching over me, offering me crackers and ginger ale. As I got less groggy, they called back Tim and Julie. It was after midnight, but if I could get up and start walking I could go home. They guided me to the bathroom and when that was a success, they helped me get dressed in my street clothes- my dusty shop clothes. I was going home.

Today I have felt ok. My pain is minimal. The hospital acted so quickly that I ended up losing only a little blood (much better than last time when I lost a pint.) The recovery should be much faster. It hurts a little when I walk, and I tire easily so I have slept a lot today. I figure I will over the next few days.

I’m still mentally processing everything that has happened, but writing usually helps so I figured I’d share tonight and get the ball rolling. Surprisingly I am typing this with steady hands. I’m sad. I’m unbelievably sad. But I’ll be ok. We’ve walked this road before. I hate it, but at least I know how to walk it. I’ll cry when I need to, mourn as I can. But I know with confidence that I do not walk this road alone. My circumstances do not change the character of God. He is just as good today as He was yesterday morning. I can fall asleep tonight knowing He has entered my pain with me, that He will guide me through it, and protect me as I heal.

To Christ be all glory.

Thank you for all of your prayers, visits, and food!

11-19-19 Reading is Magical

The kids have been with my in-laws since Thursday afternoon and I expect them home in a couple of days. I hear they are having a lot of cousin time, baking with grandma, and spending their days playing. I am missing them desperately and counting down the hours until they are home.

The other day at Target I bought my first Christmas present of the season. I saw this adorable shirt on the rack and I immediately thought of my girl. More often than not these days, I find her absorbed in a book!