Friday, April 12, 2013

The New Mom on the Block

I love being a mom more than I could have ever imagined. Often times when I was pregnant, women would get this sweet sparkle in their eye as they tried to explain the immense love a mother has for her child.  I would always smile and express how excited I was but kind of thought it was something women had to say to encourage the next generation of mothers.  As I am sure the two of you actually reading this blog already know (thanks mom & dad), I experienced this love six months ago when sweet Charlotte Susan was born.  I will spare you the details of the birth story for the greater good of the world wide web and fast forward to the part where I met my baby girl.

I jumped right up when she was born only to be loudly “instructed” to lay back down as the placenta was still intact and Charlotte was of course attached to it. I was ecstatic, elated, crying, and rejoicing for all to hear.  I immediately held her close and covered her beautiful slimy head with kisses telling her how perfect she was and how much I loved her. I could sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room, it felt like a cloud of peace and joy embraced us. It was such a humbling experience to receive such a precious gift from God and being trusted to raise her in this crazy world.  I now understood the motherly love that I had once viewed as some sort of fairy tale and my heart was forever changed.

Next thing I know I am up all night with my screaming angel begging for the nursery to silence my little miracle. I would let you know how that first week went but I can barely remember it myself. I believe it was the perfect combination of utter exhaustion and excitement.  I was so thankful my parents were here our first week home and for all the help from Eli’s parents the second week.  I felt like I was getting the hang of it after a few weeks and started Charlotte on a pretty good schedule.  As I am sure most moms can attest getting in a routine brings sanity to all members in the home (at one point I was even expecting the pups to run away).  I was definitely a textbook new mom.  I would fall asleep researching parenting theories on the kindle and spent most of my social time picking the brains of any mom within earshot. Going to the post office with the baby would consume my entire day and I over packed for pretty much every outing.  I didn’t know what I was doing but I did know I loved Charlotte with everything I had and she deserved a mom that would give it her all. Now, fast forward to today and I am still your textbook new mom who doesn’t know what she is doing but all those women were right, I love this job more than I could have ever imagined. I praise the Lord daily for granting my desire to be a mom and am thankful for His guidance everyday! 

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Space in Between

I sometimes feel like I am in movie remembering a tragedy I experienced but viewing it from an outside perspective (like those mind boggling Matt Damon and Leonardo Dicaprio films). After the first week of work I felt like I was living my pre-pregnancy life but with flashbacks of the miscarriage. Some moments I would be filled with peace as I reflected on God’s presence in my life during that time while other moments I would be lost in grief.  I  would find myself thinking, did we really loose a baby? What do I do next? Where do we go from here? For a while I would count down the days until I got my weekly HCG results.  I was  anxiously awaiting the return to zero so I could get my “miscarriage labs” drawn but now it has just become a part of my new routine.

My life consists of work, church, and spending time Eli and our precious friends. Work has been busy but I really love catching up with my co-workers and have taken care of some really sweet patients. I have had so much fun hanging out with friends and dating Eli the last few weeks. We are planning our big trip to Germany and Sweden and I am so excited. Honestly, it took me a while to get excited for the trip and I even felt guilty going so soon after our loss but my healing heart has changed and I could not be more excited. I have been shopping for my “Euro Drobe” (aka European Wardrobe) and planning activities with my dear friend, Sarah. Being busy has been a gift and I actually like the to do lists. At the suggestion of the midwife I have given up jogging and began speed walking. I have really been enjoying my new little hobby but it has it’s humbling moments. For example, a couple in approximately their late 50s came jogging past me and the woman was even wearing a sports bra. I couldn’t help but laugh at myself huffing along strutting my funny little speed walk. But I must say I now see why speed walking is in the legs are so sore. 

Things are starting to move along in the medical department. My HCG has officially dropped to zero so we can begin the testing. I go for another follow up appointment on Monday to discuss the labs and hopefully get them drawn that afternoon. Part of me wants to find a problem with an easy solution like hormone replacement so we can “fix” it and hopefully have a healthy pregnancy next time around. The other part of me just wants everything to be negative so we can move on and start trying whenever we are ready knowing there was nothing we could do to prevent the miscarriage. I am just praying for God’s divine hand in everything.  Even on my toughest days when my fears and questions about future children overwhelm me I am met with a calm presence and understanding that He has a plan and I trust Him above all else.

Monday, August 1, 2011

All Clear

It’s official…my follow up appointment went well and I am cleared to go back to work. My conversation with the doctor brought some much needed closure (I feel like I can‘t get enough). We have a “plan” for doing all in our power to prevent another miscarriage but I know in my heart God is sovereign and I pray daily for our future children.  After the miscarriage I missed praying for the baby the most. Aside from taking care of my body it was really the only way I was a mother to that baby and it was tough giving that up.  After our weekend getaway I began praying for our next baby, trusting we would get pregnant again.  I have accepted that I will never fully “get over” loosing a baby but through healing I can truly be joyful in hope that we will have a family one day.  Each day the breakdowns are less and I am seeking not only to live in God’s peace but to experience joy and not surrender to the feelings of indifference.

The last few days I feel like I have become a human again, an actual member of society.  It’s been almost three weeks since the first heartbreaking ultrasound and I figured it was time to get out of the house and step away from the pups even though it breaks my heart to leave them these days. I started out with errands then advanced to a coffee date and a lunch date. With each errand or conversation it got a little easier. I even hosted a baby shower for my dear friend/cousin-in-law Carrianna on Saturday. Carrianna kept telling me not to worry about the shower but I really wanted to celebrate her and the new baby. More than ever I know that life is such a miracle and it should always be fully celebrated. That morning I could tell my heart was feeling weak so I spent some time praying and talked through my emotions with Eli. I can honestly say that through God’s grace my heart was full of joy as we celebrated the upcoming arrival of that sweet baby boy. I had a great time at the shower catching up with the ladies and getting excited with the mother-to be. Aside from my adventures in the real world I have spent most of my time with Eli. He has been such a foundation for me and so selfless these last couple weeks.  I feel like he can always tell if I need to talk and/or cry about the loss or when I just need him to pick me up and make me laugh. I feel so blessed and so thankful not only for him but for all of our friends and family. As I continue to receive uplifting cards, calls, and texts I am blown away by the wonderful people in my life. I have always treasured my friends and family but have such a deeper understanding of what a gift those relationships are and I am forever thankful.  

For those of you interested in the plan:

They are going to monitor my blood HCG levels weekly until they return to zero. They said it could take up to six weeks but I had such a significant drop at my follow up they said it could be earlier. Once my HCG reaches zero they are going to take a variety of bloodwork.  I am not sure exactly which labs that entails but I know they will be looking at clotting factors and hormone levels. Eli and I just keep praying for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby with hopeful hearts.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Breakfast with the horses
After my episode of finding out I had to wait another week to return to work a mentor of mine suggested Eli and I get away for the weekend. At first I took it as a nice thought but knew it would be tough to find a low key destination that was not too far away from home (I was still recovering and didn’t want to be too far from my doctors). Not to mention it would have to accept two large dogs which required a place to play and run. Fortunately, I have not become too lazy for a google search and found the Barking Fox Farm in western South Carolina. It is a 40 acre horse farm with two gorgeous guesthouses amidst the beautiful horse pasture. The owners had been frequent travelers and always sought lodging that would accept their great dane so they now run the most dog friendly bed & breakfast around. Planning the trip was the first time I had looked forward to something in a while. It was a small victory against the battle of indifference. Aside from my breakdowns nothing seemed to excite me or upset me and this felt like a breakthrough. Eli was on board right away, I think he knew getting out of the house would be good for us both.  I have been overwhelmed with gratitude from all the beautiful bouquets, uplifting cards, messages, emails and prayer support we have received from our loving friends and family. It was special because it honestly felt like this was a gift from our Father God.

The majority of my time was spent on the porch. We had a covered porch overlooking the pasture and the horses would come say hello every morning. It was so peaceful looking out on the rolling hills taking in God’s creation. Our first morning there as I was reading through Romans I read this passage with a whole new perspective. It felt like I was reading it for the first time.

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:3-5

I was filled with hope, believing and trusting that God has a plan for our family and my desire to be a mom would be fulfilled one day. I also understood that no matter the situation or battle I am facing God is on the throne worthy to be praised.  The sadness is still with me but I have hope believing and trusting God with all my heart.

Our little trip was so relaxing and restored us both. Eli’s favorite parts were driving through the mountains, running the pasture with the pups, and his three and half hour nap Saturday afternoon. Chase loved getting to know the horses and they loved him. We could leave him off the leash and he would politely sniff their noses without spooking them.  If Riley could talk I am sure she would say her favorite part was chasing after the deer and romping around in the creek. My favorite part was breakfast on the porch and reading all day Saturday. Normally I would rather go for a run, watch a movie, or do pretty much anything before reading for “fun” but exercise was out of the question and I was pretty burnt out on television so I packed a book. To Eli’s and my surprise I read all Saturday afternoon and enjoyed every minute of it. Being home the last couple days has been a little rough. It’s almost like readjusting to reality and accepting that I really did have a miscarriage but I can honestly say I am feeling hopeful and looking forward to what’s next.

View from the porch

Chase making friends

Eli and Riley rocking on the porch

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Seeking Closure

Yesterday I had my D&C and it was an answer to prayer. Eli was able to take the whole day off work and it’s a good thing because the nurse said I was asking for him right when the anesthesia started to wear off. The doctor said everything went well and to follow up in a week. In addition to following up on the procedure we would discuss what the next step would be prevent another miscarriage. Eli and I were both touched by his compassion and his willingness to go forth with labs and tests before we would try again. I continually pray that by God’s grace we will be able to fill our home with children one day.

I have to admit there is a sense of guilt when talking about having another baby. I know it is encouraging that we can get pregnant but it doesn’t take away from the devastating reality that we will never meet the baby we lost. This may sound dramatic but I can’t help but feel like our family will always seem incomplete. I have talked to other women who have suffered from the pains of miscarriage and it seems like that feeling doesn’t go away but that it never takes from the joy of having children which is encouraging.

Overall, the D&C and talking about future pregnancies brought a good sense of closure. I could feel prayers lifting me up yesterday as I was filled with peace and hope. I was able to think about other things without grieving over the miscarriage (I know I sound self absorbed but I haven’t even been able to concentrate on sitcoms lately). I went to bed last night feeling peaceful, looking forward to getting back to living my life.   

After a truly restful night I called to make my follow up appointment this morning and ask the about when I could go back to work. When the nurse told me I had to wait until I got cleared at my follow up appointment my new found peace flew right out the window. I started bawling on the phone. I felt like I was ready to move on and the nurse was holding me back. She was shocked I was crying and her tone of voice changed from slightly annoyed to compassionate and understanding. When I got off the phone my tears became uncontrollable. I realized I wasn’t just disappointed about not getting back to work but my heart was aching for our lost baby. I was seeking a distraction from the pain and the reality of the miscarriage hit me over the head. I guess I felt like I had emotionally graduated to the acceptance and closure step of the “grieving process” and I wasn’t supposed to continue to experience such pain. After my episode I decided to quit analyzing my emotions and just try to live in God’s peace whether I am crying, daydreaming about what the baby would look like, doing housework, playing with dogs, or working. As Eli says, it will always be a part of our story and we have to trust God through it all. I am blessed to have Eli as my partner in life and we are being continually blessed by our friends and family during this time. It always seems like at my lowest points I see a new message or get a voicemail that picks me up. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Healing through Laughter: In the pre-op room they started my IV fluids and gave me my first dose of drugs to “relax” me. They put an oxygen saturation monitor on my finger since I was designated as a “lightweight”. I couldn’t help myself so I slipped off the monitor under the blankets and drop my head back to see what Eli would do. Knowing me all too well he laughed in my face. It was the first time we had joked around in a while and it felt good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Valley

My dear cousin and now fellow “blogger”, Sarah once told me that it always seemed like people started blogs after coming out of a tragedy. In my recent “blog studies” I have found that to be true in many cases. It is encouraging for us to read back on one’s trials while rejoicing in the victory and hope they have found. On the other hand, the blogs written while the author is hurting seem to be dark and painful which can be therapeutic for those going through the battle. Now, I am not a creative writer or even that interesting of a person for that matter, but I wanted to share our story while we were amidst the trial yet clinging to hope in our loving Savior. I have been encouraged by many blogs and it’s my prayer that even one person could find comfort or insight while reading my little blogspot.

MISCARRIAGE is such a dirty word and has always made me cringe. I know many amazing women that have suffered through a miscarriage and I was always filled with compassion as I heard their stories. However, it wasn’t until July 11, 2011 that my heart truly understood the brokenness and loss a mother experiences when losing a child before even getting the opportunity to meet them.

Eli and I went to our 10 week appointment to find our precious baby was at the developmental stage of a 5 ½ week baby. To be honest I had lived in fear that I would miscarry as I experienced cramping during early pregnancy.  As time passed I thought if I hadn’t started to miscarry yet I should be in the clear. The day we found out I was pregnant I gave up caffeine cold turkey, literally gave up cold turkey and all other deli meats, drank 96 oz of water a day, slept on my side, and we prayed over this baby every night. I read every possible suggestion and followed it religiously. It wasn’t until week nine I finally began to gain confidence in the pregnancy with the first ultrasound in sight. I had some bleeding at work a couple days before the scheduled ultrasound. The bleeding ending up resolving being caused by a small subchorionic bleed (this is common and not a threat to the baby or the pregnancy). Because of the bleeding I bumped the ultrasound up a day but with the bleeding resolved by the time of the appointment I was overflowing with excitement and feeling confident. Walking out after the appointment with my strong husband by my side I knew my heart would never be the same. The doctor had given us a small hope the baby would continue to develop under the assumption that our dates were off. I had activity restrictions and those few days I prayed with more desperation than ever before. Between prayers for a miracle baby I was grieving with periods of uncontrollable sorrow and tears. After a few more HCG levels and two more ultrasounds it was definite the baby had passed. I will be going for my D&C in the morning. Being a nurse I am running over every risk in my head and praying for peace and protection.

I cannot finish this first blog entry without expressing my deep gratitude to my family and friends that have been so loving and supportive through this time. I have truly felt your prayers lift me up in times I didn’t have the strength. The beautiful bouquets from my amazing co-workers and my precious friend Whitny have brought cheer to our home on days I didn’t want to open the blinds. (Don’t worry I have not become a hermit just a couple low days.) The visit from my loving parents last weekend allowed me to grieve with them and accept that life goes on. Every call, text, and email touched my heart and I feel so humbled and blessed.  I leave you with a verse that I have been clinging to the last few days.

“I have told you these things, so that in  me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33