Moving on from Miscarriage

As time carries on, and the weeks and months grow into many that separate us from the first news of our untimely miscarriage, we move forward.  I would say that time heals, but I would be lying.  Time removes the sting, the punch in the gut sort of feeling, and maybe even the heartbreak, but I am finding it doesn’t seem to remove the, I’ll call it…the abyss that is miscarriage.   The abyss…the God-given area of our heart that attaches to its unborn, the part of ourselves that gives completely to that in which grows in her depths.  Oftentimes, we are unaware of just how deep our feelings and connection goes until our baby is born or until we have time to feel its bond.  Yet, it is real no matter where you are in you are in your pregnancy and when you lose it, you know that this special area of your heart, created just for this little person, will forever be vacant, will forever wonder if and what.  There are big reminders…dates, pregnancies in similar spots and there are small reminders…musings of your mind, the to do list in the back of your head that you began to formulate upon realization of conception, the shoes you saved for the what if it was this gender or the picture you found at the thrift store – perfect for your future child’s room.  Yes, it’s there…my abyss, my longing for my child.  I wonder how this space will evolve over time.  Will I ever be able to rectify its presence? Time marches on, friends and family move forward, miscarriage is often forgotten, but a mother carries forever her abyss, her God-given hole for her baby.

Even in the face of knowing we get to move forward and try again and are deep in the planning stages for our next embryo transfer, I feel the longing.  I almost unknowingly calculate in my mind where I would have been in my pregnancy.  I can’t help it, I long to be able to begin to feel the movement of my baby, to have scheduled the anatomy ultrasound and be in the planning stages of a gender reveal party.  I am hopeful that there will be news of another baby soon enough, a successful transfer and a celebration of a healthy pregnancy.  In time, I trust I will have these things again.  In time, I know that my heart will feel fulfilled and that it will give immeasurably more love than I ever thought it capable to the sweet lovelies whom I will bear.  In time, the pain will continue to lesson, slowly replaced with a heartfelt understanding that God always KNEW what he was up to.

aka…FAITH.

Like so many other battles I have endured, Faith enters the picture, triumphant and certain.  There are just so many things in life you have to accept on Faith.  We have a very limited understanding compared to God.  Ultimately, healing comes with trusting in His promises. Our Faith carries us forward.

Faith that all will be made right some day.

Faith that He makes everything beautiful in time.

Faith that my baby dances with Jesus.

Faith that He is GOOD.

Faith that He will give me the strength to forever carry on, to bear even more hurts and to live in even greater JOY.

To Him be the Glory.  To Him I surrender my heart, my abyss…please fill it with your love.

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Beautiful life: A eulogy to our unborn child

WARNING:  Graphic content related to miscarriage

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Tonight we buried our little baby.  No longer than the finger nail of my pinky, opaque and beautiful.  Nothing could have prepared me for the emotion I would feel when I saw that little formed body just beneath the translucent sac that had once developed to nurture it and protect it.  It was obvious when I passed the gestational sac earlier this evening.  There it lay, surrounded in the soft cushion of my uterine lining.  I had been waiting for it all day.  Early this morning, I had taken the misoprostol.  I was hopeful that everything would pass with a single dose but didn’t know when or how it would go.  Mostly I have been emotionally numb since learning this past Wednesday that there was no longer a heartbeat and that our baby had died.  But my emotions ripped to the surface as I held this little life between my fingers.  I went and grabbed my husband and he too was shaken out of his own numbness.  This was it.  This was the little life we have been praying for, hoping for, and loving for so long.  This is the little life that had already been through so much.  Created via IVF almost two years and then frozen for most of that tme.  After a short thaw in April, it had quickly found a snug little home deep inside me where it grew as best it could.  Within weeks of it making its home within me, it endured uncontrollable retching, it’s mother with acute appendicitis and subsequent surgery.  Somehow it endured.  It would seem that so many would give up on this precious being two weeks later when an initial ultrasound revealed no heartbeat.  We were told to stop our medications, that it was pointless, that the pregnancy wasn’t viable.  Instead, we held out for a miracle and waited.  This little embryo defied all odds and continued to grow over the following week.  5 days later, at our ultrasound that was meant to confirm death, instead showed a beautiful little life with a steady heartbeat.  We celebrated the miraculous and praised God for this tiny person.  In the end, it wasn’t meant to be.  At least not on this side of heaven.  We trust and believe with all our hearts that this little life is dancing with Jesus.  We find comfort in the knowledge that he already knows LOVE truer and deeper than any found here on earth.  This little life waits to be reunited with his earthly family, for the only family he has known.  But he waits with strength and courage, for he has found peace with Jesus.

Tonight we buried our baby.  We found the perfect spot.  We dug a hole and we placed him in the ground.   Many tears were shed and fervent prayers were offered up.  It was a precious moment shared between my husband and I under the darkened sky.

For us, he will always be in our hearts.  We are forever grateful to God for allowing us these few treasured weeks together.

 

Today we celebrate a miracle….

Where do I start?

This past week has been rough.  Since finding out our embryo did not have a heart beat and was measuring small at 6 weeks 3 days, we have been on a roller coaster of emotions.  They had told us there was no hope.  They told us that the baby had quit growing and that they had never seen a pregnancy like it turn around.  Over the past 5 days, we went back and forth as to whether we should miscarry naturally, or take misoprostol or schedule a D&C.  That day, overwhelmed with grief and flooding emotions, we decided that we would just stop our medications and let nature begin to take its course.   In 30 years of practice, our Reproductive Endocrinologist had never seen an embryo turn the corner after such a devastating ultrasound. According to him, it had died and miscarriage would ensue shortly.

Later that evening, as we were getting ready for bed, we decided to let my husband’s mother in on what had been going on.  We just felt like we needed more support and who better than mom.  As my husband relayed our tragic news to her, through muffled sobs I could overhear her asking him over and over again if there was any hope for a miracle.  Is there any hope?  Could it be possible?

These words resonated deep within my heart and in that moment we decided that we needed to give this embryo every last chance that we could.  Whatever happened, I didn’t want to look back knowing that we didn’t try, that we didn’t at least continue our meds for  a few more days and do a confirmatory ultrasound the following week.  So, I hurried back into the bathroom, gave myself my IM progesterone and endometrin and to a fitful night of sleep we went.

Over the next few days we pleaded with God, while all the while trying to be real with ourselves about the likelihood of miscarriage.  A friend sent me a card with a verse that really carried me through the weekend (Psalm 27:13), “For I would have despaired had I not believed in the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  I took heart and let this be my anthem trusting that his will is perfect, his timing is perfect.  The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.  He is trustworthy.  It was definitely a faith building wait and wait was all we could do.

Today, as we drove to the ultrasound, we prayed for a heart beat, we prayed for a miracle, we also prayed for strength, for courage, and for peace with whatever the outcome.

Well, to get to the point…there it was….the heart beat.  It was there.   The embryo had grown and it was alive!  But even in this, the waiting continues.  The embryo is measuring a week behind.  It is measuring 6 weeks 1 day and I am supposed to be 7weeks 1 day.  We are FAR from out of the woods and are in a state of limbo.  Our RE is pretty sure that it is an abnormal embryo and will quit growing over the next week or so.  We will go back in a week and a half to hopefully have a more definitive answer one way or the other.  For now, we wait, we hope, we prepare for whatever may come our way.  We are SOOOO far from clearing the uneasiness and 1st trimester dangers and this waiting period will be one of the most difficult.  I can’t even begin to tell you what hearing that your embryo is abnormal and most likely has a condition that wouldn’t be compatible with life does for your heart, but time will tell.  Today, we wait and celebrate that the impossible has happened for us and there is no reason this baby can’t defy all odds and grow to be the most beautiful and healthy little baby! If the baby does stop growing, there will be plenty of time to grieve.  Today, we celebrate life.  Today, I focus and muster all my courage upon just being thankful for this miracle and NOT allow my mind to ponder what ifs.

Heartbreaking Loss. Miscarriage at 6.5 weeks.

I am not alone.  So many have walked much more difficult paths, have endured far more significant losses.  Is it possible to quantify loss, to distinguish the pain threshold associated with differing types of loss?  I do not know.  All I know is that I am feeling it…the death of so much more than just a fetus.  The death of dreams, the loss of hope for this pregnancy, the death of a potential sibling, the dying of prayers prayed in ernest for this sweet, loved embryo.  How do you move forward?  How do you just leave it in God’s hands, relinquish control and say YES, Lord, I know you are so much bigger than me and my dreams…your plans beyond anything I could comprehend.  You must have something GREATER, BIGGER, BETTER in store.  I will get there.  I have walked long enough with my Lord, endured suffering associated with being an outcast in my family, difficult seasons of heartache due to break-ups, years of waiting for my true love, and infertility.  I know that each and every one of these has led to a deeper sense of self, a greater love for my Lord, and always, at the end of each season, when the light finally pierces the dark depths of each tunnel, I have been able to tell myself that I would surely have suffered through each again.  It is always worth it. 

Today I learned that my pregnancy is ill-fated.  We transferred 1 embryo on May 2.  It was a perfect transfer.  Everything was textbook perfect.  The lining was perfect, my hormone levels lovely, even the embryo was graded the best it could possibly be.  I had complete faith that it would work in our favor…and sure enough, 6 days later, we got our first positive pregnancy test at home.  Each successive day it became darker and darker.  It wasn’t really a surprise.  I just knew it was going to work out. Our situation just seemed to favor this scenario.  At 10 days post 5 day transfer (10dp5dt), we had our first offical bHcg.  It was a beautiful number at 125, higher even than our first baby’s number.  Joy upon JOY.  We would be having a baby around mid-January!  What a gift!  

But then, within hours, the trouble began.  That night I developed severe abdominal pain and nausea.  The nausea turned into severe vomiting and soon the pain and vomiting was just too much to bear.  I have never experience a pain more fierce, more unrelenting.  It felt worse to me than child birth.  I had no idea what the source was.  Deep into the night, laying upon the cold tile floor of my bathroom, I told my husband I could no longer endure the pain and dry heaving.  I felt like I just wanted to die and knew that I needed pain relief and resuscitation fluids and so to the emergency room we went.  It was discovered that I needed an emergent appendectomy.  I was devastated.  What would be become of this sweet, vulnerable embryo…just a few days implanted, not yet differentiated into organ or limb.  We stuck with a minimal anesthetic plan and I avoided any and all medications post surgery.  My serial betas continued to double, but in my mind the damage had already been done.  What embryo could endure such stress, such heaving of its newly established home, such exposure to potentially toxic medications….

Today I had my first ultrasound.  The gestational sack looked perfect but as we zoomed in on the embryo, we all realized there was no heartbeat.  I immediately saw the look of concern upon the face of the nurse in the room, jaw half dropped as they probed the embryo from different angles and called in the attending to take a second look.  But there was NOTHING.  The fetus was measuring small.  There were murmurings that they had never seen a pregnancy like this turn the corner.  It was over.  They say I did everything I could.  They say that I can’t blame the surgery.  They say it was probably chromosomal.  They say many things, but in my heart…well, I guess I have to just let go because I will never know for sure.  It certainly is a lot to endure in the early weeks.  All I know is that I now have to decide HOW I want to MISCARRY, how I want to proceed.  These are questions I hoped to never be faced with.  Questions I never hoped to seek answers to.  But I am here, and I will continue to walk, I will continue to trust in my Lord, to look to him for strength, to recognize that His plan is perfect, that His timing is BEST and that His GRACE is sufficient for me, His power PERFECTED in my weakness.  Whatever that means RIGHT now, RIGHT here.  I will keep walking.  

For now, I wait…wait for this baby to leave my body and return to dust.  Dust to dust.  Ashes to ashes.  One day we will meet again and everything will be made right.  

4 months has come so fast!

This weekend sweet Eden Rose will be 4 months.  It has been 4 months of near perfect bliss.  Truly, I could not feel more fortunate, more blessed.  I have cherished each and every moment with our girl and am trying to not DREAD going back to work next week.  This maternity leave has been a busy one.  My mom stayed with us for about 3 of the 4 months.  We sold our old home, bought a new one and moved.  My brother moved in with us and is between careers and is here for an indefinite amount of time. We traveled to Washington a few times…one time I drove the 8 hours all by myself.  That was CRAZY!  I would pump as a drive.  (Thanks to FABULOUS pumping bras)  Then we would stop at Starbucks and each get the refreshment we needed from the long drive.  Her some milk, me a little chai!  It was a LOT of work by myself at 2 months.  The weather was HOT, spit up and constipation in full swing…the smells of sour milk and sweat drove me home early.  But nonetheless, I have no regrets for how these past 4 months have gone.  I feel so blessed.  The word CHERISH has been my mantra.  Lately, each morning, we just snug and snuggle as long as possible.  She is an awesome sleeper, sleeping from 8:30p – 7…then I wake her up (or daddy wakes her up…we often sneak her up a bit earlier, just aching to see our little girl), feed her and then she and I will snuggle in bed for another 2 hours before feeding her in bed and determining that I really should probably get up!  I just love those moments together.  Her turned towards me.  She will just stare into my eyes and do her sweet blinking thing, making cooing noises and smile at me.  MELTS my heart! How precious these mornings are to me!   I realize that we it won’t always be this easy, that we will probably have some regression once I go back to work or she begins teething or something…but for now, I am CHERISHING! : ) 

Our new house is a blessing out of my wildest dreams.  God just blessed us so much and things just all fell into place so perfectly.  It is truly my dream home and could be our forever home…with so much potential to grow with the ever changing needs of our family.  For now its perfect, we have our space and my brother also has plenty of space to make his own.  

I am getting back into wood working and am LOVING it!  We have boughten quite a few power tools and I am just getting so excited about the long list of projects I want to build.  Currently, I am working on a dining room table.  A modified version of THIS table:  Image

Thank you http://www.shanty-2-chic.com.  It has been SO fun to get back into the swing of things.  I am making a 2 base, shorter version of this table and have all the pieces for the bases done.  Yesterday, I began to assemble it.  It has been an awesome creative outlet for me.  I have not had any sort of a hobby for years and I am so excited to furnish our home with handmade creations at an affordable price!

Also, I can HARDLY wait to get started on our next baby and would already be pursuing it had our RE not recommended that year long wait.  I just LOVE it so much and really hope God blesses us with a houseful.  I know it would be completely chaotic, but I just LOVE loving on these little persons of our own making.  We have quite a few embryos, so I am just excited and hopeful about what is in store for us.  

Anyway, over these past 4 months, I have started at least 10 -11 posts and have not finished a single one.  Today, I am just going to post this.  This weekend I will be taking her 4 month photos so I am going to try my best to post one of those.  

Blessings to all! 

A letter to a high school graduate…

Since I can’t seem to get a post together for the life of me about this busy summer of ours or Miss Eden, I will share a letter I wrote today for a dear friend of mine whom I have known since she was 3.  Pretty crazy that she has now graduated from high school, her life before her.  I love her dearly. 

These are things I can’t wait to teach Eden.  I feel so blessed to have a daughter to love, to guide, and to pray for.  

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Dear friend,

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.”  Prov 3:5-6

 

We have heard this verse a thousand times before.  I imagine it might have even been one of the first verses you memorized as a little girl.  Countless times you have prayed through it, heard others lean on it and even many more times you have sought to trust this good word.

 

You are embarking on one of the greatest adventures of your life.  You have completed high school and the world stands at your feet.  So many directions, so many paths, so many opportunities lay before you.  In your heart you hold dreams for your future, hopes for a family, love and fulfillment. 

 

Life will in time fulfill many of these dreams, but there will also be many other dreams yet dreamt, hopes yet to be had.  You will plan and pursue and God will sometimes redirect and reroute.  Don’t be afraid to follow him into new areas.  You may have seasons of drought, seasons spent in the desert of this life.  Just remember, God led Moses into the desert for 40 years.  It took him 40 years to become the man God would need to lead his people out of the Egypt.  God sometimes moves us into areas of detour…where his sole purpose is character development and preparation.  Never underestimate the beauty that these heart-wrenching seasons can produce. 

 

There will be many joys.  Treasure them, hold onto them, and capture them.  There will be friends that you hold near and friends with whom, over time, you will drift away from.  Bottom line, keep the ones who build you up, who make you shine from the inside out, and who encourage you and allow you to be yourself. 

 

Don’t fall captive to the image this world has created for you, for all women.  We cannot and will not ever live up to it.  Instead, remember that you have unique gifting and that your true beauty is measured in the love that you show others. 

 

Smile – there is no greater way to impact someone’s day…It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s yours to offer freely.  It will bless people in ways you will only learn of in heaven.  Make it a habit to smile…even when you’re grumpy.  Eventually, you will find that even in moments of grumpiness, you are able to go beyond yourself and allow God to use you to bless others. 

 

Don’t ever settle.  Trust in the Lord…if the path leaves you heavy, your stomach in knots, your heart unsettled, it probably is not meant to be.  Listen to these signs. God has given you a discerning, wise spirit.  Oftentimes we know the answers to our questions though we are afraid to admit it, though we are afraid to walk away or walk through the doors he is opening.  Be still, listen…the next step will sometimes-mean waiting; sometimes it will be to keep walking.  Ask God to help you to discern between the two.  He promises that He will make our paths straight…and he will do that.  One day you will look back on your choices, having trusted and sought Him and you will be able to say that he has fulfilled your dreams in ways far “beyond anything you could have asked for or imagined.” 

 

Lastly, a woman told me when I was turning 19 to pray for a man who would Honor, Cherish, and Adore me.  In time I added 2 more things to this list…that he would Desire me and Appreciate me.  That last part came from your mama.  There are very few people in this life who will truly appreciate you…ALL of you (the good, the bad, the ugly and the glorious) and show you such admiration.  Make sure you marry that man!

 

I could go on and on….

One day at a time.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Cherish the moments.

Pray without ceasing.

His mercies are new every morning. 

 

Oh, I do have one more thought for you.  A family I met in college lived by these words and sent their kids off to school every day with this line.

RECEIVE GOD’S LOVE. 

It sounds easy, but oftentimes we struggle to allow God to truly love us.  Receive His LOVE for you and you will find unending joy. 

 

Best,

Danielle

What about the Men?

I read this article out load to my husband last night. We could identify with it in it’s entirety. So glad this is being written about and I pray it brings awareness to this often lonely and heartbreaking struggle.

Recipe for a Family

There are a few good articles out this week, before Father’s Day that addresses the toll that Infertility takes on men.  Here is a good one:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/for-men-infertility-often-becomes-a-private-heartache/2013/06/05/049e33ca-ba6b-11e2-b94c-b684dda07add_story.html?hpid=z1

-Cindy

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