Saturday, July 26, 2014

Storming the castle and other cool moves.

I thought I was doing pretty well.
I cried less.
I laughed more.
I didn't forget but it didn't hurt as much to remember.
I played with my sons while thinking of my daughter.
I was engaged and present with them.
I didn't feel like being physically sick when the 13th rolled around this month.
I could actually look at my friend's 25 week pregnancy update without completely losing it.
I even looked wistfully at her belly picture thinking about what my belly would have looked like as I would have been 25 weeks along as well.

Then Wednesday came.

I felt withdrawn.
I wanted nothing more than to go back to bed.
I wanted to hide away.
I wanted to get lost in the online world.
I didn't want my husband to go to work because the thought of the boys needing me was overwhelming.
I tried to keep it together. I really did.

But then my husband gave me the look and asked me the question.
"What's wrong?...."
I tried to brush him off and just tell him I was in a funk.
Just a weird mood that I couldn't shake.
"You miss her a lot today....don't you?..."
And that's when I lost it.

Tears came.
I couldn't stop them.
I couldn't hold it back anymore.
It felt like my secret was out.

I tried to hide it from the boys.
Tried to keep it together for them.

I'm not sure if our 4 year old asked my husband or if my husband just told him,
but he knew mommy's heart was sad.
He bound into the kitchen, dimples showing, arms open wide, and embraced me.
He wrapped his sweet little arms around my neck and held me as I held him.

"Mommy, I know your heart is sad today. So here's the deal..." In his typical 4 year old fashion he lays out a plan for our day full of snuggles and movies, extra hugs and kisses, and helping out with his brother.

I cried on and off all day.
I tried to hide it as best I could.
We snuggled and watched a movie.
Even Bug, who is usually on the go, climbed up to snuggle me completely on his own.

As I worked on making dinner that night I cried while cutting up onions.
I didn't think it was noticed as Monkey didn't say anything and wouldn't really look at me.
But as we ate dinner he said, "Wow mommy! These onions are TASTYYY! Even if they did make your eyes cry."

Oh that boy.

I decided we would end the day a little happier.
We walked to the doughnut shop.
Ice coffee for mommy and a doughnut to share for the boys.
"THIS is a happy ending to a sad heart day." -Monkey
We brought back our treats and watched Turbo.
And yes, I cried some more.

The next day Monkey asked me if my heart was still sad.
When I told him it was feeling much better, he looked proud and accomplished.
He told me that we would snuggle more that day to help my heart be even less sad.
As I watched my boys play sweetly together with their castle set, well as sweetly as they can while storming the castle gates, I couldn't help but imagine what it would have been like in two years. Monkey 6, Bug 4, Zoe 2. The three of them storming the castle gates together, slaying dragons, and taking on the world.

Later that night he asked me why my heart was sad.
I didn't know how to answer him.
He had asked me questions before.
I told him that mommy just missed some people a lot.
He asked me who I missed.
I didn't want to lie to him.
I didn't know what other questions may come if I told him I missed his sister.
I didn't feel it was fair to my husband for me to tell our son alone.
I told him I missed his daddy a lot that day.
I was relived that I hadn't had to lie but that I didn't have to tell him everything.
He asked me who else I missed.
People. I said people. That's plural.
I told him I also missed his Mima.
He asked me who else.
I knew he wanted the full truth.

I had so many thoughts.
How do I do this? How do I tell my oldest son that he has a baby sister in heaven?
What is the right thing to do? Do I tell him? Is telling him that news for me or him?
What might that do to him? Why isn't there a manual for this?!

I quickly changed the topic and got him distracted with something else.
I felt relived at first but quickly realized he just needed to know the full truth.
I told my husband that night about the conversation that took place.
We just sat together in silent sadness.
Sad for the life we have lost with our daughter.
Sad for the sister our sons are missing out on.

Today was a beautiful day.
The sun was shining.
Unplanned, my husband and I took Monkey into the backyard and sat at the picnic table together.
We began telling him how there had been a baby in mommy's tummy.
We told him how she's now with Jesus.
We reminded him of when mommy was really sick and he helped feed his brother dinner and friends and family brought us some dinners.
We told him what his sister's name was.
We told him we love her and miss her and how that makes us sad.

He listened intently.
His sweet little 4 year old mind trying to take it all in.
He asked us if we'll ever get to hold her.
He asked us if she was going to come back.

We told him that it doesn't work that way.
We told him we'll hold her some day when we go to live in heaven with Jesus too.
We told him how happy she is in heaven with Jesus.
We told him that it's ok to be sad and to miss her.
We told him it's ok to talk about Zoe and ask us questions.

He flashed his dimple smile and his eyes lit up as he said,
"Zoe would have loved me. I would have taught her all sorts of cool things."
And with that he took off into the backyard, showing off his ninja moves, and other cool things he would have taught his little sister.

We did the best we knew how.
And for now, that was enough.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Is God still Faithful?

The night my heart was breaking and I was losing our baby I created a playlist.
I titled it "Sad" because that's how I felt.
I began to add song after song.
I listened to the playlist I had created every day.

I had a deadline to meet for a dog expo I would be attending at the end of April.
I focused on sewing and listening to the playlist.
One day I really heard the lyrics to one of the songs I had added to my playlist.

"I am broken, I am bleeding
I am scared and I’m confused...

I am weary, unbelieving

God, please help my unbelief

'Cause You are faithful

Yes, You are faithful"

I listened.
That had been the word I had been  using to describe exactly how I felt inside.
Physically my body had bled and it felt like my heart would never stop bleeding.
I was terrified. Had I caused this? Just days before I had carried my oldest son's bike through the house and outside for him to ride it. As I picked it up and carried it, "hmmm, should I be doing this? I wonder if its really wise for me to be carrying this bike."
I was so confused as to why God would give us a baby we initially didn't want, but fell in love with, then take her away.
I was weary to the core. A deep kind of tired that no amount of sleep could touch.

"I will proclaim it to the world
I will declare it to my heart
I'll sing it when the sun is shining
I will scream it in the dark

You are faithful
You are faithful
When You give and when You take away
Even then, still Your Name is Faithful"

I have to confess that I had times when I really questioned God.
I remember listening to this song and thinking, "I know in my head that God is faithful but my heart is so broken right now that I think it's forgotten."

It felt easy to tell the world that God was faithful but I had moments where deep inside my very being I wasn't so sure if I still felt and believed that.
He had given us a baby that was then taken away.
Just after I had given God my heart in a way I never had before my world was rocked to the core.
Was God still really faithful in those moments?
I wondered why He couldn't ease me into this new life.

As I listened to the words I thought through how easy it was for me to share God and what I claimed to believe while in Africa. But now? Sure, I could still tell others what I though I should say or what I thought they wanted to hear, but deep down inside me I wasn't so sure.
I was shaken to my core.

As a teenager I had been able to shout it from the mountain top.
Now as a mother who had just lost a child I had a hard time whispering it to my heart.
It didn't seem fair. He gave me this baby and then took her away? How could He still be faithful?

"And with everything inside of me

I am choosing to believe

You are faithful"

We had friends over for group one Sunday afternoon and while honestly I don't remember much else about the conversation I do remember what my friend Melissa shared.
She talked about how they sang "Christ Is Enough" by Hillsong. The chorus,
"I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back."
She went on to talk about how we have chosen this life. 
We have chosen to follow Jesus. Are we going to live like it or are we going to turn back like Lot's wife? (You know, the woman who looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt? yeah her.)

Isn't that like us though? To want to just stay with what we're use to.
To want to go back when we come upon something difficult.

So I decided I would declare it to my heart.
I would scream in the dark places that I was walking through that God was still faithful.
And now as I look back during some of the darkest days in my life I can see His presence.
I can see the ways in which He was faithful and reminded me He hadn't left.

So I will continue to say yes.
I will continue to say that God is faithful.
I will continue to believe.

Photo Credit

And just in case you want to listen to the song you can click this link:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Waking up and walking out of the fog

Three months.
For three months I have walked around in a fog.
I've been tired to the core.
I have gone to bed at the end of the day and though "I don't remember what we did all."
I have felt a deep brokenness that no amount of time can heal.
I have felt an emptiness that no amount of stuff could fill.
I have grieved over the loss of my child harder than any other loss I have ever experienced and I have lost a lot in 24 years.

I felt like winter would never end.
I felt like the sun would never shine again.
I cried for days on end.
I would fall asleep with a wet spot on  my pillow from my tears and wake up wishing the weight in my chest would go away.

I felt like my world was crashing in around me.
I felt like I was suffocating in my own life.
I called it a successful day when we all got out of pjs.
I couldn't even begin to think about trying to keep up with the house.
Most days I simply wanted to stay in bed.

I was confused how people who had lost babies before could be so callous and cliche.
Yet, friends who had never experienced that loss didn't feel the need to say anything and simply embraced me.

I became "that blogger", you know, the ones who write about miscarriages and baby loss.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I hit publish on the post about the life we almost had.
A lot of days I didn't want to keep writing.
I seriously considered walking away from my blog entirely.
But then something happened that I never expected.
I began to get messages from other baby loss moms full of love and support.
And then I received a message from someone who needed to know she wasn't alone.
So because of all of you I kept going.

I will never just "get over" having lost a baby.
A part of my family is missing.
I will never go a single day without thinking of my sweet girl.
I will always wonder what it would be like to have her in the mix.
I will always wonder.

But I realized a few things recently.
I don't have to just get over it and move on with life.
I do have to keep moving forward.

Moving forward doesn't mean moving on 
and it certainly doesn't mean forgetting.

I will carry my girl with me everywhere, every single day, for the rest of my life.
I will never forget her.

But something happened recently.
I feel like I woke up.
The sun was shining.
The fog was gone.
It doesn't hurt quite as much.
I don't feel quite as raw and broken.
I'm still grieving. I still hurt.
But I don't feel like I'm suffocating.

Time hasn't healed my broken heart, God has.
Stuff hasn't filled the emptiness I've felt deep inside, Jesus has.

I'm not saying that this has been easy or that all of a sudden I feel normal again.
I know I will have days that are really difficult.
I have several friends who are all due when I should have been.
It will be very bittersweet to hold their babies.
I don't know what the future holds for me or my family
but I feel like I'm beginning to live again.

The sun is shining.
Winter has ended.
Spring is here and summer is coming.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The question without answers.

It's amazing how much changes in the course of four years.
Four years ago today I was 10 days overdue with my first child.
I went through the disappointment of false labor and then a failed induction.
I came home the second time after having been on pitocin for 8 hours and decided to go help out at a youth event at our church because I didn't want to do nothing while waiting.
At the time eating a spicy chicken wing sub and playing 4 square with a bunch of teens sounded like a lot more fun.

Four years ago today I was unable to sleep because I knew the next day I was going in for my second induction and he would be born within 24 hours after the start of the induction.
I would finally be holding my sweet little boy.

He's grown into such a sweet, caring, loving, and affectionate boy.
He is so intuitive and observant.
He's quick to run and check on other's if he thinks they could be hurt.
He's one to sit and snuggle while watching a movie.
He loves to make you laugh and hugs and kisses are always on tap.

The day our world changed he never left my side.
I didn't know what to tell him about what was going on so I simply told him mommy didn't feel good and that I had to rest a lot.
I spent the day laying on the couch and he spent the day snuggled up close to me.
He was quick to get up and help his younger brother just so I didn't have to get up.
I'll never forget the way he told me "Momma, I'll feed brother dinner tonight so you can go lay back down."

When I finally began to start physically feeling better he would ask me often if I was ok.
He would ask me if I needed to lay down.
And he began asking me how my heart felt.
He knew I was sad deep inside but that I wasn't sick anymore.

Then about a month ago he started talking about what he wants for his life.
He told me that he wants to get married and be a daddy.
And then he started talking about "his little girl."
He started telling me things that he wants to do with her and things she'll like.

But then he surprised me one day by saying that I should have a little girl.

The first time he said something about me having a baby I just quickly changed the subject.
I just couldn't even imagine another baby. I didn't wan to replace the one we lost.
He has continued to bring up having a little sister and the way he would protect her and teach her cool things.

Ever since losing our daughter I have wrestled with how to talk to my oldest son about it.
Tomorrow is his fourth birthday but today he grew up.

We sat together in our favorite chair to read a couple of books when he asked me the question.

him: "Mommy? Is there a baby in your tummy?"
I looked over at him to see his eyes looking at my stomach with eyes that pleaded for a yes. Before I could answer he reached down and touched my stomach as if hoping to feel something.
me: "No buddy, there is not a baby in my tummy."
His eyes looked confused, still looking at my stomach, and he pulled his hand away.
him: "Oh. I thought there was."
How do I answer this? How do I talk to him about his baby sitter that he'll never meet or hold this side of heaven? 
me: "There was a baby in there, but not anymore sweetie."
him: "I know mommy. There were two babies in there. First there was me and then there was brother. But I thought maybe there was a baby in your tummy now."
He looked at me with a sad smile. I could tell he was confused. Unsure how to ask the question. I looked back at him wanting to answer his questions only I realized these were questions without answers.
me: "Why did you ask if there was a baby in my tummy?"
him: "I just thought there was so I just wanted to know."
He then climbed off my lap and left the room.

I watched him as he walked away.
His physical demeanor different than when the conversation had started.
His heart was sad and he didn't know why.

The rest of the night has been spent with him close to my side.
He asked me how my heart was feeling. I told him my heart was sad.
He told me his heart is sad too. He asked me if I missed daddy because he misses him too.
Extra hugs and kisses.
Bedtime was a little bit later.

My son turns four tomorrow but he grew up a little bit more today.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

When Mother's Day Hurts

I remember my first mother's day in May 2010.
I was pregnant with our first child.
Full of wonder and excitement.
My belly growing more every day.
The feeling of the kicks, punches, and hiccups I would feel from him every day.

I was a little jealous of my husband because I was still pregnant for
mother's day but our son would be born before father's day.
Yes, I was a mother already but it felt like it didn't count because he wasn't born yet.

I look back and think back to that first mother's day and think how naive and silly I was to think that just because my child wasn't in my arms I was less of a mother.
I remember on that first mother's day my husband cooked a delicious dinner for me.
We had just returned from our trip to Arizona for my husband's college graduation.
So many firsts in that first year of marriage.

The next three mother's days were all ones that I looked forward to.
My sweet husband always made a wonderful dinner and made me take a "day off."
Guilty free naps or time to read a book.

But this year?
This year it's different.
This year Mother's day was painful.
I cried on and off the two days leading up to Mother's day.
I just wanted to skip it.
Could I just sleep through the day and ignore it completely?
I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and realized I looked pregnant but I'm not.
I didn't want anyone to wish me a "Happy Mother's Day" because honestly I'm not happy.
And I feel guilty for saying that because I know I've been blessed with two wonderful boys but it doesn't make it hurt less.
There is still an ache in my heart for the child that I'm missing.
There is still a brokenness that I can't shake.

I had a conversation with someone just before Mother's day.
She asked me about the title of my blog.
Thankful For Thorns.
I told her how it's being thankful for even the hard stuff in life.
I quoted the lyrics that my blog title came from.
"Everybody loves a rose, but will you be thankful for the thorns."
And then I confessed to a perfect stranger that I'm having a really difficult time
living out that title.
How can I be thankful to have lost a child?

I never realized before this year how Mother's day could be painful.
All of my previous mother's days were ones I looked forward to.
As a kid/teen we almost always went out to dinner with family and spent the whole day together. Sometimes we would go to the mall after dinner or we would to back to my aunt's house. Either way Mother's day and Father's day were always fun celebrations.
Then I became a mother myself and in my own joy I completely overlooked countless other's pain.

Children without mothers.
Mothers without children.
The walking wounded with hearts that are broken.
For so many it's a day full of hurt.
It reminds so many of what they've lost.
It reminds many of what they never had the chance to have.

Mother's day was a popular day to announce pregnancies.
New babies due to arrive late October early November.
Babies that will be born close to the day my daughter should have been.
My heart aches.
I'm genuinely happy and excited for them but I would be lying if I said my heart didn't hurt with each announcement. I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn't jealous or that I was completely fine with this. I would be lying if I said I was ok with this broken road I'm walking on.

Grief is a strange thing.
It hits you when you least expect it.
It leaves you feeling deflated and empty.
It makes you feel crazy and angry.
It causes you to cry when you were just laughing.
And the whole time you just wonder if it's ok to feel the way you do.
My dear friend can I just tell you; Yes, it's ok to feel the way you do.
Yes, it's ok to cry, to be angry, to laugh, to be happy.
And I promise, you're not crazy.
I wish I could give each and every person who is hurting this mother's day a huge hug.
Know that you're not alone.

I'm still grieving. I still cry. I still feel alone. But I grieve with hope.
I have the hope of knowing my sweet daughter is in the arms of Jesus.
I have the hope that someday I will finally meet her.
I have the hope that God has a plan even though I don't understand it.
I have hope.
I pray that if your heart is hurting today that you have that hope too.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

One Month.

It's been one month since we said goodbye.
It feels so much longer.
It feels like just yesterday.
But I guess that's how grief is.

I'll be totally honest.
My house is a mess.
There are dirty diapers needing to be washed,
Hampers full of clothes needing to be washed, folded, and put away.
And dishes needing to be washed.

I'm trying to keep busy but I have little desire to keep up.
I spend a lot of time sewing these days.
It's productive, enjoyable, creative, and keeps me busy.

I feel like a bad mom to the boys.
I'm struggling to be there for them.
They are changing.
Right in front of me, they are changing.
Changing, growing, learning and...and I'm missing it.
Because I feel like if I move forward,
if I go on, keep going...
that it means I'm forgetting my third child.

And if I forget her...
then she'll be gone.
Lost forever.

I feel stuck.
Stuck in life.
Stuck in my blog.

I have so many review commitments I need to fulfill, giveaways to be done,
and other things I want to blog about too but I can't seem to do it.
I never thought or imagined that I would be in this place.
And I just don't even know how to add in other content to my blog again right now.

One month later...I'm still in that place.

Today I realized if I were still pregnant I would be 11 weeks.
I felt both of the boys move for the first time at 11 weeks.

I ache for that feeling.
That feeling of movement of life inside of me.
Those first few baby butterfly kicks.
The ones that only I could feel.

I feel like some people get it.
But so many...most...don't.

Few call.
Less come.
Life moves on.

But here I am.
Still grieving.
Still broken.
Still hurting.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

When you give God your heart and it all falls apart.

Two months ago I never thought this is where I would find myself.
Two months ago I never could have imagined how different I would be.
Two months changes a lot.

On February 1st my husband and I attended a wedding.
Probably the most beautiful wedding I have ever had the honor of attending.
The bride and her family have been friends with ours as long as I can remember.
My sister and the bride best friends since they were four.
The wedding was beautiful and was more like a worship service than a typical wedding.
They spent their first moments serving each other by washing each other's feet and worshiping their Savior.

Her father gave her groom a charge.
Things about her heart and holding and protecting it.

I had been going through some stuff and really stuck with me.

The next day while at church while still thinking of the wedding and some of the personal things we had been dealing with for months just got to me.
I cried and worshiped in a way I have never experienced before.


I had this moment alone with God while standing in a room full of people.
And I heard Him say to me, "I will hold and protect your heart if you will let me. I can't promise that it'll never be broken or hurt but I can promise that I will always hold it in my hands. I will always be right here holding all of the pieces and will help you put it back together when you're ready. If you will let me."

So that day in church I said "Yes" to God in a way I never had before.
I had trusted Him as a child. I had followed Him half way around the world as a teenager.
But I fully gave my heart to Him and said "Yes. Here is my heart, I'm trusting you with it" as an adult. We sang a new song in church that day and as I sang and poured out my heart I for the first time really meant what I was singing.

"Here we stand our hearts are yours,
Not our will but yours be done."

But then two weeks later He whispered softly to my heart again.
Reminding me that their was something I was holding on to.

"You said you gave me your heart but there is this piece
 right here that you are holding on to so tightly."
I know God but what if you don't do this right.
What if I'm not ready for this? What if I can't do it?
"You can trust me. And if it all falls apart I will be right here
holding all of the pieces."

So I did.
I gave up the last piece.
The piece that was trying to control if we had another baby or not.

You see, I had all of these plans. 
These goals and dreams that I didn't know if I could do with a newborn and two older children. I liked our routine and schedule. I was seeing ways I could grow my blog and my etsy shop. I could see in two years, maybe less, we would finally be debt free.

But I thought another baby...well that will change things.
We'd need a new car.
Could I handle being pregnant, all of the pain that goes along with my pelvic condition (pubic symphysis dysfunction), and still be the mom I want to be to my two older boys?
So I was holding onto that piece.

Two days later, after fully giving God my heart, God planned our family for us.

I was pretty sure I was pregnant but it was too early to take a test.
So I waited.
When I was two days late I told my husband that I thought I was pregnant.
I took the test and we watched and waited.

Three minutes.
That's all it takes.
One line.
Two lines.

For one week I wrestled with how I felt about being pregnant.
I would feel excited and happy. Catch myself with my hand on my stomach.
Then the next minute I would wonder how I'm ever going to really do this all.
Then I heard Him whisper softly to my heart again... "Trust me."

On Wednesday, March 12th my husband called me and said "Find someone to babysit the boys. We need to go out this weekend. We need to celebrate. We need to get excited."
I told him that he was right. We needed to get excited and that every baby deserves to have their parents happy and excited about them.

Two hours later it started.
I went to the bathroom and was shocked at what I saw.
I tried to keep calm and hopped it was nothing.
When my husband got home from work I told him what was going on and we went to bed.
But when we woke up the next morning I knew it wasn't nothing.

My heart shattered.
Broken into a million pieces.
I realized just how in love I already really was with our baby and how much I wanted her.
But I knew what was happening.
I knew we would never get to hold our sweet baby in our arms.

Never breathe her in.
Never feel her soft skin.
Never touch her hair.
Not on this side of heaven.

That Sunday we went to church.
I was numb and broken.
I avoided certain people.
Didn't want them to know.
I wanted to be alone.
I wanted to be held.
I didn't know what I wanted.
I cried.

The lights were dimmed.
It was time to worship.
I felt so broken and didn't know if I could.
But at the same time I had to.
And we sang.
"Here we stand our hearts are yours,
Not our will but yours be done."

I sobbed.
I couldn't really even sing.

I told God that He had my heart.
He told me that He couldn't promise it would never be broken.
He promised me He would hold the pieces in His hands.
He spoke softly to my heart.
Then my heart was broken.
He reminded me that He is close to the brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18)

So I'm here.
Two months later.
Hands still lifted high.
Trusting Him to hold the broken pieces.
Praying that my brokenness brings glory to His name.