Gabriel

To Love and Lose: Misscarriage thoughts 2 years later

It's been two years and two months since we lost our first baby in a "missed miscarriage." Yes, much has happened since and the Lord has given me such peace and healing. It's been a long time since I've mentioned our baby Gabriel on this space but I recently have encountered many women both distant & close experience the same loss.

*Photo credit: Eddie Maestas -taken during our second pregnancy with little Bonnie*

If you're just now facing the storm of losing a baby, hear this: It eventually gets easier to take on each day. You eventually will have a day of very few tears. Then, you'll feel badly about not feeling badly. It's a torturous cycle. Eventually, you'll stop noticing every pregnant woman within a mile of you and wish you were her. Eventually, you'll find peace. For this, I hope for you.

But hear this too: Though the days, months, & years pass... Though you add more children to your family... you'll never forget that baby. The hurt, heartache, pain, feeling of emptiness will never fully leave you.  You may always look at your family photo of 3 and think there should be 4 (or one more). You'll never forget that day that you said goodbye or that day you were supposed to say hello. Your mind will still count the years your baby would have been. Your heart will still ache to meet him or her some day. It just will.

Lastly, hear this: You'll be okay. Eventually. You may miss and mourn. Do so. It's healthy. The Lord gave you a heart to be a Mother. A Mother, you are. No matter what others say, no child will replace the one you lost. But, your loss will only make you a better mother. Because you know what it is to love and lose. You know from the deepest depth of your soul what it is to wish time would rewind... Or speed ahead to eternity where you can re-unite with your child. YOUR child. You are Mom. And Lord-willing, you will hold a baby of your own this side of Heaven. But that doesn't help to hear; this I know. As difficult as it is when folks say, "you'll have another one, it'll be okay," give grace. They don't know. And, the curse of miscarriage (& infertility) is being in community. Because others don't know what to say or how to say it. It hurts. Seeing others with child hurts. But, that's our human nature: to want what we can't have. Mama, give yourself time. Give others grace. Let yourself cry. Bring up your loss with others and talk about it. It helps. Ultimately, permit yourself to hold that baby close to your heart. Give yourself permission to cry less and less each day and be okay. Eventually. Give yourself permission to love better and bigger because of that sweet baby you lost.

//*Photo above from a shoot I did with one of my dear friends expecting her baby girl after a previous miscarriage*//

To those who want to help, hear these words: We want our babies to be remembered. They were real, living, heart-beating, tiny-legs-kicking human beings. They are our babies and we love them dearly. It's okay to ask, "How are you feeling today? What has been on your mind and heart?" A couple of friends were so loving (& still are) to call my baby by name and intentionally ask how I was feeling. The sweetest gifts two dear friends gave me were a necklace and bracelet with a little G initial. I clung to those in a way I can't even explain.  It's okay, in fact, it's fantastic to bring her a meal. As not only her mind and heart recovers from miscarrying, but her body too (whether it meant that she needed a D&C surgery or miscarried on her own), the last thing she'll feel like doing is making dinner for her and her family. Remember that though you may not have seen a big baby bump, much was going on inside and she needs time to heal and recover. Since not easily seen, this is often forgotten.

She won't be able to sleep well. She'll be emotionally exhausted going through the stages of grief but find it difficult to put her weary mind at rest. Bring her coffee, flowers, send a card, a thoughtful note... Just recognize what happened and let her know you care for her and her breaking heart over the loss of her baby. A little goes a long way.

Miscarriage and infant-loss is isolating. Sometimes it just helps to know you're not alone in what you're feeling. Since most people in day to day life don't talk about such things, I want to share a few books that helped me heal and process everything. Another friend recently mentioned how much she found they helped too and so I think they are worth sharing:

Triggers & Peace


**Written a month ago, but deciding to share before our baby girl arrives**

Many triggers have come my way these past few weeks. You see, a year ago, I sat on that exam table looking at an ultrasound image of a lifeless tiny baby form. An image that just a few weeks prior showed a heart beating away, a tiny body growing right on track... The silence was deadly. The Doctor took measurements. Silently. I couldn't look at Andrew. Nor could he look at me. He just held my hand and the tears began to fall. No explanation was needed. But, then the silence broke. The Doctor began the spiel where she explains how this isn't my fault. How it's common. How there's nothing we could have done and no way we could have known. Our little one likely just wasn't fit for this life. Those images, that moment, will never be erased from my memory. The minutes following of walking out through the office in front of the perfectly pregnant awaiting patients were painful. Oh, so painful. Not to mention that I had just finished a long stretch of night shift on at work and hadn't slept. That always helps... not. We had to wait in the car for an hour and a half for another appointment confirming what we already knew. I was hungry and tired, but my blotchy, red, tear filled face was no match for anywhere public and Andrew had to somehow use every minute to continue studying for his boards just a few days away. What now, I thought. What on earth, now?

That terrible day began months of me living in a dark place. That terrible day began months of trying to "be okay" and trying to be supportive of my newly pregnant friends. They graciously loved me through my pain and lovingly supported me through the months of treatments trying to get pregnant again. They listened to my anger about the bills that kept rolling in from the D&C my body required. I held such bitterness that my loss of a baby cost more than the birth of a baby.

...I couldn't help but smile when my "Gabriel wildflower" bloomed in the back yard this week. One single orange flower. A gift from above...
Though the weather was bright and sunny, those summer months were dark and dreary in my soul. They were stormy with confused emotions, lack of sleep, and what I believe to be acute depression. I leaned on the Lord, my husband, and friends/family as best I knew how. Then one month's of fertility treatments finally worked. I was overjoyed; but also confused with how to feel. I can only assume that others experiencing similar scenarios have felt some of the same realm of emotions. Will I always feel sad this time of year? I wonder. Was it just that I walked by that same exam room? Was is because I found my crinkled up airline ticket from the week we think that the baby was lost? Many triggers arose that week and I re-mourned our loss. Something tells me I needed to do so before our baby girl arrives. I needed to re-process those emotions and take the time to grieve. 

So, the the coast we went- surrounded by his creation. I dove into God's word. Listened to his promises with open ears and an open heart. Crying out to him, peace came over me. True peace. 

As we await the coming of our daughter, my heart and soul are overwhelmed with excitement. Andrew and I will always remember our first, our loss, the things we learned from it, how we grew, how we leaned on each other and on Christ like never before. But, with open arms, we welcome this baby... and we thank the Lord for the peace he has given.

Bump love


 

A year ago last week, we were finding out about our first pregnancy with Gabriel. Such joy filled our hearts. Abounding joy! As spring has fully arrived, I cannot help but remember those sweet weeks with our first babe and also re-feel sadness that we never got to hold that precious one in our arms. I am reminded of how spring turned into a warm and depressing summer, which then turned into a hopeful late Fall when we learned of our pregnancy with this little one in November. Winter was worrisome and fear filled my soul. Coming full circle, now the warm air fills my lungs with hope and happiness. Flowers bring luminous color that are a reminder of God's faithfulness. Our hearts are once again filled with overflowing joy and I anxiously await meeting the little human under this bump of mine. 


As Easter approaches, I think specifically of the trust Jesus had in his heavenly Father. Jesus knew of the pain and suffering he would feel on the cross. He even asked God to remove this cup from him-- to change plans so to speak. Oh, how many times did I plead with the Lord to give us back our sweet Gabriel. Oh, how many times I cried out in sadness and pain pleading for this to all just be a dream. But, ultimately, Jesus trusted God and remained faithful. Even while suffering on the cross, he reached out to the thief next to him offering forgiveness. I am challenged to have such faith, trust, and courage. It isn't easy living the day to day following heart ache. Many lessons are learned. The greatest for me being that I do not control this life of mine. As someone who lived hour to hour from her planner, this was quite the lesson to learn. But much needed. I don't know why tragedy happens, why innocent lives are lost. But, I know that I trust in God's plan for my life. Today's encouraging verse on my iPhone app reads, "But as it is written, 'what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

I could not have imagined the life I have. I would not have planned it necessarily so. But I'm ever thankful that someone greater is in control. He has a beautiful plan for this life of ours. It is so difficult to see in the day to day, but even over the past year, I see immense beauty. I hope to look back 5, 10, 20 years from now and feel the same though I know that new heartaches will arise. 
Happy Easter week to you!

This was a spur of the moment, ten minute "let's get some real photos since I'm actually dressed nice" outing. Andrew lovingly agreed and did an amazing job. He has learned a lot through my photography journey and I think that he probably does a better job on the shooting portion. We went back to our favorite spot down the road. Last year's Christmas photo was taken on these same tracks and I look forward to taking more in the coming year as each season will bring something (or someone) new. 

It's strange editing photos of myself but I'm so thankful to have these and cherish each one. I only wish we brought the tripod and got Andrew in some of these. Maybe next time!