It’s been almost 3 months since I last posted…January 6th, to be exact. I know this because the post, Dear Baby #3, was a dedication to our miscarried baby who was supposed to be born on that exact date.
When I published Dear Baby #3 a few months back, I already had my next post written, planned to be sent out a few weeks later on January 29th. I am also certain of this date, exactly. It was going to be January 29th. Why? Because I was supposed to be 15 weeks pregnant.
It was my rainbow baby, my beautiful ending, the blessing I couldn’t wait to share. Unfortunately, I miscarried again, and found out about it on January 6th, the very day we chose to share the painful experience of our first miscarriage.
Coincidence? Ironic? Whatever it may be, it was CRAZY.
So it’s been awhile since I wrote because I didn’t even know where to begin. I was somewhere in between “let’s just get something on paper” and actually agonizing over it. So today my hands are up, I surrender, and I’m simply going to post it, certainly not because someone is making me, but because once again it’s all a part of the crazymaddening journey, embracing the ups and downs of life while struggling with mental health.
We found out we were pregnant unexpectedly, but we were thrilled nonetheless. I remember that first ultrasound, the anticipation (there’s just ONE this time, right?!) and that heartbeat. What a remarkable, miraculous sound. The nausea, the throwing up, the constant sickness (not just “morning” this time around) – certainly no fun. But it’s so worth it, and as I write this, I’m reminded that I would do anything to get it back if it meant I was still carrying our baby.
Things were running smoothly. Being pregnant during the holidays is quite lovely as I didn’t think twice about the extra sweets and treats, although I mostly craved all things salt and carbs. Christmas was different this year celebrating in Florida but still very special. I was getting the ultimate Christmas present and nothing could top it – another baby!
My next appointment and ultrasound was on January 6th, our 3rd baby’s original due date. I thought, “How cool are you, God? Today is a sad day, a day that we could think about death, and yet I’ll get to hear life today (in the form of the baby’s heartbeat). I was 12 weeks pregnant.
So today is the day, and I sit in the waiting room forever (don’t you always at the doctor?) Meanwhile, I’m receiving an abundance of emails and private messages from people who read the blog post and want to share their personal stories of miscarriage and suffering. I’m reading these heartfelt messages feeling honored, and yet also a little bit guilty, because they’re pouring out their hearts and also giving condolences about something that happened several months ago, and now I’m actually pregnant.
Until I’m not. Present tense to past tense, just like that. I wait forever in that room only to find out there is no heartbeat. The baby measured at 11 weeks, and had died.
WHAT? Seriously? HUH? Shock. Utter shock.
I’m still kind of shocked. Acceptance, mostly. But shocked? Yes.
This pregnancy made sense. It was different, a complete surprise, totally natural and unplanned and from God. Although I’ve never spoken of our infertility struggle on the blog, Miles and Norah received the help of science (and yet still just as much God – my infertility warriors just said “Amen”) to come into this world, as well as the pregnancy from spring of 2016.
So you see, it seemed perfect. It made sense. I had no doubts that this pregnancy wouldn’t result in a healthy baby. Chris and I were beyond excited. And then just like that, in a split second, everything can change. I leave the office with nothing except 10+ extra pounds and nothing to show for it.
Very few people knew. Some family, some close friends, a couple neighbors. I just got around to sharing with some of my new Florida friends the NIGHT BEFORE. And so I’m kicking myself and saying why couldn’t I just have waited a little longer? Why did I do this?
But wow, was I wrong. I was instantly reminded of the important of fellowship and community as that group of women provided flowers, cards, and a meal for my family every night the following week. Relatives came for appointments and sent food.
Side note: I wish I was one of those “I don’t eat when I’m sad or stressed” people, but I’m not. Quite the opposite. So the food was a blessing.
Everyone is different, but once you experience grief you have a better idea of what to do when someone else is mourning. The “Tell me what I can do to help” or “I’m hear to listen” is great, don’t get me wrong. But it was the “I’m making a meal and bringing it over ______ day” or the “I’m picking up the kids to play one day this week – what day works for you?” that was wonderful. Also the random cards/flowers/pictures mailed. Those things helped. No one wants to ask for help. Sometimes we don’t even realize we need help, so that proactive, assertive hand was much appreciated.
I immediately went back on my Lexapro preparing for the hormone drops to come. I’ve wondered if it’s going to be enough but for right now it is. It’s so crazy to think that just over a year ago I had 4 or more meds to take regularly just to get through each day. I truly believe living in the Sunshine State over the last 8 months has done wonders for my mental health.
So in the end, to the people who messaged and emailed and sent their love on January 6th, the day of the “Dear Baby #3 post”…there are no words. Because you see, although you thought you were sharing and giving and sending love because of a painful miscarriage months ago, you were giving me exactly what I needed since another one happened that very day. Whether you knew it or not, you were being used by God. And I thank you. I thank you very much.
So, that’s that. Will we every have another child? I don’t know. Our family doesn’t feel totally complete, but yet I’m at peace with the wonderful gifts we already have in the form of Miles and Norah. I won’t do anything to jeopardize my mental well-being for another child (and in turn jeopardizing our family) so fertility help is out of the question (because it’s probably part of why I went to the hospital in the first place, a post for another day). We will just have to live life as its meant to be, adjusting our expectations but staying humble and grateful all the same.
2017 has not been easy. I’ve been at the dentist and specialist at least a total of 10 times already. They know me well. Thankfully my teeth are fixed and we’re good to go. On a more serious note, my dad started off the year sick and continues to struggle. I was in Chicago for a couple weeks in Feburary while he was in the hospital, and unfortunately he’s back there now. He has been on a challenging uphill climb, facing battle after battle, but the Lord is by his side. I see this so clearly.
I’d like to blame all of this on President Trump, but I try to keep politics out of it.
There are exciting things happening in the next month. We are headed to Disney this weekend for the first time with the kids. Some of my previous students will be there from Illinois for their band trip so I can’t wait to see faces from home! Our first vacationers arrive to visit the first week of April, we get to see Chris’ brother and awesome girlfriend in Orlando the weekend after, and then we head to Chicago to see friends and family!
There’s lots of positivity on the horizon. God is good. He is faithful. We will march on. And do us a favor – keep my father in your prayers.
I’ll end with a verse my brother reminded me of today:
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.” Psalm 40:1-3