Posts Tagged ‘Pregnancy Loss’

As I was sending a note to my friend, Ryan Janzi, to let him know that I was planning to add a link to a post he had written recently, Ryan was sending me a similarly themed post.

I want to share Ryan’s post on caring for those couples in our lives who have experienced the loss that miscarriage presents.

It is a loss that only those who have experienced it can fully relate to and understand.

Being one who is part of this undesirable club, I can attest to many similar experiences that Ryan relates in his post.

Even if it is not an experience that you share, read it, as it will better prepare you to respond to someone in your life who will be walking this road.

“In my last post I mentioned what a shame it is that so little is said in our society regarding miscarriage. It tends to be a taboo subject experienced by so many, but publicly addressed by so few. Why should countless couples cry in silence, not knowing and being strengthened by the many similar stories of their family and friends? In my opinion we need to begin talking with others about these experiences. This silence ought to be broken.

Now, let me be clear. In the first weeks and months following a miscarriage, it makes sense that this grief should be kept relatively private. As my wife and I walked through our three  miscarriages, the last thing we wanted was to be conversing with everyone we knew about this challenge we were facing. I’m sure this would have been emotionally exhausting. You simply don’t want to have to relate on such a deep of a level with anyone other than your closest family and friends. However, I also don’t think it should be kept too private. You do need those few people who will cry and pray with you and extend support in other meaningful ways. Keep it private, but not too private.”

To continue reading, click on Opening Up About Miscarriage-How to Care For Couples Who Walk this Road. It will be well worth the read.

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As I write this post my fatigue has tossed my adrenalin into the sea of forgetfulness.

I am sitting on an airplane, just one hour from my southeast destination, and almost seven from when I boarded a plane with two of my children, in the Pacific Northwest.

I have personally had only about an hours rest in the past twenty-four hours, and I am weary beyond words.

My daughter and son have finally found rest … One slumped over at the window, and the other weighing heavily on my shoulder.

As the adrenalin has faded away, as planning and packing and preparations have given way to fulfillment of our plans, my thoughts have turned to how very fragile life is.greeting-card-flower-life-is-fragile2

In recent days, as I have become aware of the death of a gentle man, of the tragedy of preschoolers left in life without a mommy and a daddy, of the heartbreak of a couple (and all their family) dealing with the news that the dreams of health and long life that they have had for their yet born baby will not be as dreamed …

the high levels of adrenalin have not allowed these events to pierce my heart …

until now.

Life is fragile.

Having had these two children of mine lay their heads on my shoulder in as many hours, turning towards the tops of their heads, inhaling the scents that are uniquely their own, reminiscing in my mind of the many times we have traveled together since their births, fatigued, frustrated and even infected by flu bugs …

I remember

how very blessed I am,
how very short life is.
how very fragile life is.

According to every source I checked (there were many), women under 35 years only have a 20-30% chance of conceiving each month, and about half of all conceptions end in miscarriage (most before the woman knows that she is pregnant).

I remember the agonies of losses of little, yet born babies, I remember vowing that those losses would not be in vain. I remember promising each of our children as I held them in my arms in different hospitals, in different cities, even different provinces, that I would not forget how very blessed I am to have the chance to be their mom …

that ‘mom’ would be more than a noun,
a title,
that mom would be a verb,
That I would not just ‘be called’ mom
I would be mom to them …
mom in action
LOVE in action.

As our newborns grow up to independent thinking teenagers, we forget to inhale, and drink in the scent that is uniquely theirs. We forget how just holding their newborn body in our arms brought us to tears, how the sight of their smile made us smile, how nothing mattered more to us than protecting our babies.

As parents of teenagers we need to get physically close enough to drink in that scent, we need to hold them close, we need to look at them, and smile … we need to protect our kids.

Or maybe, if we hold them close, if we can be still enough to be brought to tears just by holding them in our arms, if we smile at them … every day, maybe that will be a protective barrier around them, around their hearts.

Life is a miracle!

Life is fragile.

Love in action!

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I have now been blogging for one year.

My first blog was published on March 10 (Regular Day), but it took my until the twenty-third to really get going, on a more daily basis.

I have shared my life, in writing, with whoever wished to read (to listen) … thanks mom 😉 . I always feel as though I AM writing what my mom will read, and it haunts me a bit. I need to be careful about how much I tell about her (Re-boiled Tea), and about my memories of my growing up years. I fear that if I go too far, I will get a nasty “now Carole” email or phone call! So, I have to watch what I say! She does need to realize, though, that with the (what she might perceive as) bad, also comes the good (Pussy Willows).

I have shared my loves as well. It is funny to me that the first of ‘My Loves’ that I shared was my beast. In no way does the order that I shared them indicate their place in my heart (although … some days … 😉 … ). My Loves are all located at the top right of this page, if you want to check them out. They are the nearest and dearest to me, and to my heart.

Hubby and I have had numerous (five) pregnancy losses, and those I have shared (Treasures in Heaven), (Entertaining an Angel) with the hope that my sharing of them gives support to others going through something similar, and gives knowledge and understanding to those who have not (The Club you don’t want to Join).

I have shared about the most frightening night of my life (Do You Love Me?), the evil thoughts I have (Evil Thoughts), and the people I admire most (Moms that I Admire).

I have shared a series about women (What Women Want), and (due to the insistence of my daughter), a continuing story that is fiction (Unfading ), as well as many, many, many about truth (Hanging On), (It Wasn’t the Nails).

I have also shared how poor I really am at grammar (as if you hadn’t figured that out in pretty much any paragraph preceding this one) (Oh, I ain’t no Good at Grammar ALOT).

Mainly though, I write this blog for me. One year later I know that it has been my place of therapy and theology, and the sublime to the ridiculous. It is here, sitting at my keyboard that I can pursue my passion (Passion), and that this one place in the word, is all mine. And it is here that I sit, and feel God working on me, and He’s not done yet.

“I believe God made me for a purpose …
and when I run
(write, dance, sing, teach, preach, build, etc., etc., etc.,)
I feel His pleasure.”
Eric Liddell

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Women who have had the misfortune of pregnancy loss are part of a club that no one wants to be part of. It doesn’t matter how the loss has occurred, or how far along the pregnancy had gotten, you are in the club.

As I spoke with a friend who had recently re-joined (aka. she had just had ANOTHER pregnancy loss) this unfortunate club, the losses of my hubby and I came clearly to my mind. And that is what happens, as the sorrows and sadness are shared with you, your own memories come to the forefront of your mind, as fresh as they were when they first were formed. What is happening is that the trauma of your own loss has imprinted itself so firmly into your memory that, if recalled, it can be relived once again.

I do not like that resurfacing … it haunts me, and it hurts.

While talking with this lovely lady, whose heart is full of grief (again) I was struck by the uneducated responses that women (and men) sometimes hear at times like this.

-“You are still young, it will happen”
-“I understand how you feel”
-“It’s probably for the best, who knows what might have been wrong with it
-“At least you were not that far along”
-“Just try again”
-“You can always adopt”
-“Is there something wrong with your reproductive system?”

Oh yes, those are actual quotes of what people have said to myself, or to others in the club. They are said by people who have had the blessing of not being in this club. That is why, for those who have had more than one loss, when it happens again, we club members contact someone else who is in the club, and keep multiple losses silent to the rest of you.

To talk with someone else, in the club, means to speak to someone who will not give advice, but who will give an ear, a hug, a well understood sigh, and will share in the common experience.

My purpose in writing this post is to give those of you who are not in this club some advice:

-Do not give advice!
-Do not say ‘hopeful’ and trite things.
-Do not avoid the couple … make eye contact; smile; send a note or email that just says ‘thinking of you’ or ‘you are in my prayers’ or ‘my heart aches for you’

And, if you are part of this club, let them know … because it is only those who are part of this club who have the closest understanding of what they might be going through … and they need you.

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Our oldest daughter was a most desired child.

She was not our first child, though. I remember when I found out I was pregnant that first time. I was in a total and complete sense of awe (hubby just kept saying “you realize everyone will know we’ve had sex now” …  the mind of a man is truly a complex simple thing). Very soon after having the pregnancy confirmed, I eagerly prayed to God, with thanksgiving, and promised Him that I would remember that this baby was His first, and in that recognition, I was giving our baby back to Him. I felt like Hannah promising Samuel back to God.

Then, at around eighteen weeks into the pregnancy, the baby died.

One year and a bit later we got the confirmation that I was pregnant again. I felt so thankful, so blessed by God, but I did not offer that baby back to Him (immediately). There have been many times, over her nineteen years, when I have been confronted about the sacrifice that I have held back from God. I have never been directly confronted by individuals, so much as confronted by my own guilt for holding back my daughter from the God who gave her to me. I would be awakened to my guilt when I was reading, or listening to a speaker, or singing a hymn or worship song (try singing “I Surrender All” when in a position of NOT surrendering).

Over her nineteen years I did gradually lay her in the hands of the one who laid her in mine. It was a process, a journey, and I know now that I will be continuing this journey throughout all of my days. There was a pivotal moment a few years ago, when I was confronted with my need to put my words into action. I did speak of it in the past (Do You Love Me?), and that day forced me to lay my mother love, to lay my daughter, on the alter (like Abraham with his son Isaac), and to let God be in control of her life. And I believe that day I did.

That baby is now turning nineteen this weekend. She has grown from a round faced, little girl with Shirley Temple blond curls, to a young woman with a striking sparkle in her eyes. She is intelligent, responsible, and exhibits wisdom in how she thinks, and in how she chooses to live her life. She has never been one to follow the crowd, and she has a mind that is all her own. I am proud of who she is, and how she is living her life. She loves Cinderella, swimming, learning, and coffee shops. She is completely convicted of what she believes in … no half way under that blond curly hair! She believes in black and white, and a few shades of gray. She believes in justice, for all. She loves to follow the lives of Mother Teressa and the Kardashians (?). She dreams of the Mediterranean and of shoe sales.

I am blessed to be her Mummy. She is the child who first introduced me to birth, and of living outside of my own body and being. She acquainted me with the wonders that innocence can more easily see. She can make me think and re-think like no other on this planet. She still invites me into her joys, and her sorrows as she opens up her heart to me.

What I wish for her is that she would continue with the foundation she has behind her, and reach with joy and humor and eagerness and faith and wonder toward whatever is to come.

I can not pretend to know what the future holds for her, but I know who is holding her as she ventures towards and through it. And, because I chose to laid her there, I know that she is in good hands.

My dear, you are beautiful, it’s true.

Mummy 😉

Jesus looked at them and said,

“With man this is impossible,

but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:26

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I have written a number of times about our pregnancy losses. The responses I have received to them, have indicated how very common, how very painful and how very life-changing they are on those who share such experiences.

Truly, to have experienced the loss of a yet to be born child can leave a permanent imprint on the hearts of those who loved that child even before he or she took it’s first breath.

Today, July 4, is the 20th anniversary, of the due date of our first child. One who died, in utero, around sixteen to eighteen weeks gestation. I admit that this date has rarely, except on the actual due date, had any significance for me. The date that I have more commonly remembered is January 21. And this past years anniversary was particularly significant.

For those who have experienced loss, any loss, the anniversary of that loss can be felt in many different degrees. Some years the date passes, and it is not until the day later, or even weeks later, that the significance of that date is remembered. Other years you remember it every moment of that day, and the days, and even weeks, surrounding the date.

This year was a little of both.

It was Thursday, January 20, and my family was having a jovial, sarcastic, humorous dinner together (in other words … a ‘normal’ dinnertime). As we were laughing, eating, re-creating the events of the day and sharing plans for the day to come, I stated “I can’t wait for tomorrow, I get to go to chapel!” You see I work in a Christian high school, and every Friday morning our school has ‘chapel’. I enjoy chapel, but I have not ever said that I was eager to go, so it was a rather odd statement for me to make.

The next day, Friday, January 21, I filed into the gym, with about five hundred other staff and students, as well as parents. I was feeling pretty good that day. Eager for a good work day, and for a time of school community worship.

The music began, and it was okay … nothing ‘wow’ish’, but it was good.

Following the worship time, and a few announcements, the speaker for the morning was introduced, a local pastor. I didn’t know him, had no connection to him. He started with prayer, and then addressed the scriptural reference point that he would be focusing on as he spoke … Matthew 6:19-24

… and my heart stopped

… and my palms became wet

… and my throat became so dry

… and my mind raced … what is today’s date?

… and I remembered …

… and tears fell against my will.

The reason for the emotional and physical reactions to the mention, and then reading of that scripture is that one night, as I slept, after the loss of our first child, I had a dream. The dream was of a man, I do not remember what he looked like, but I knew, with everything within me, that it was Jesus. And, in the dream, I handed a baby to Him … our baby. And Jesus looked into the wrapped up child, and His eyes were riveted to the tiny babe, and He smiled … that wonder-filled smile that we all smile, when we gaze into the face of creation. And then He looked at me, with such love, such compassion, such comfort, and He said “I will take care of your treasure for you, until you return. While you have this treasure, with me, in heaven, your heart will be here too.”

And, the dream was over.

And I opened my Bible, and found the passage, Matthew 6:19-21. And I knew that God had given me the confidence of His care for our child, and the promise that we would one day meet, and the comfort of knowing that our child was in even better hands, in heaven, than he or she would ever have on earth (even though we loved that child so much).

And that, for all of my days, I would live my life with my heart focused on the treasures that await me in heaven. And that our three earthly children would grow up knowing that as much as we, their parents, love them … God, in heaven loves them even more.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,

where moths and vermin destroy,

and where thieves break in and steal.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,

where moths and vermin do not destroy,

and where thieves do not break in and steal.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21

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