Before the years are gone and I've lost my nerve...

'Cause this is what I've waited for..

Saturday, March 28, 2009

As Deep calls to Deep~

Early Pregnancy Loss.

That's what I watched the doctor scratch onto the lab forms during last Thursday morning's appointment. I lost the baby. I knew already that I lost it- I felt it rip away from my body and watched as it passed. A few sharp pains and my dream was gone.

But as I watched him write those words, I just wanted to scream, "STOP! You can't write that! Write something else!!" Something that wouldn't be such a stark conclusion to the brief weeks of beautiful promise I had been living. But there they were, those black scrawled letters screaming at me while I carried the form down to the lab. My eyes met Lee's and we spoke not a word, but poured our hearts out to each other all the while trying to stay out of the way of the phlebotomist. Could she hear all the words we were crying out to God? She had propped the form up next to her computer and all I could do while she was taking blood from my arm was stare at those three blasted words.

Last Wednesday had been spent cramping and spotting and as the day neared its end I knew something wasn't right. I rocked and rocked all the while praying, "Please, please, please save my baby! With a snap of your fingers, God, all could be well! Please don't take this away from me." But still the cramps came, the spotting never ceased.

In the morning when the baby passed I tended to it as best I could. I needed to hold it, to see it, to solidify in my mind and heart that it was real. I washed the tiny sac and held it in my hands. "I'm so sorry, sweetheart. I'm just so sorry I couldn't keep you longer. Go rest with Jesus now. Go rest with Jesus......"

As soon as the ground thaws our baby will be buried by my tulips in the backyard.

"Each bulb placed in the flowerbed had become a prayer- for freedom from the ache of the last several years of infertility, for understanding why I was unable to be whole, without constant pain... and as I dug down into the dark soil I began preparing my heart for change. A memorial, of sorts, was created and at the risk over over signifying and over spiritualizing things I cannot help but look at those flowers as a symbol of God's faithfulness! He took what I used for peace and closure and tripled it to blow me away. To me, it's just another sign of His desire to bless and a reminder of how He did." -May 17, 2008 entry

So here we are again, broken and waiting, trusting God to be who He claims to be when the ache of my loss tells me otherwise. How long and how deep must my sorrow run in this journey? As I cried and prayed myself to sleep last Thursday night that's all I could say. " How long and how deep, God?" In the morning when I woke up the words to Oh the Deep, Deep love of Jesus came over me.

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean,
In it's fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me,
Is the current of thy love.
Leading onward, leading homeward,
to my glorious rest above!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus.
Spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth,
changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o'er His loved ones,
died to call them all His own.
How for them He intercedeth,
watcheth o'er them from the throne!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
love of ev'ry love the best!'
Tis an ocean vast of blessing,
'tis a haven sweet of rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
'tis a heav'n of heav'ns to me.
And it lifts me up to glory,
for it lifts me up to Thee!

It seemed to me that God was reminding me that however deep my sorrow runs, His love is deeper. I'm really trying hard to see that right now.

We already know all the things people are saying in their attempts to console. What helps is just knowing that people are hurting and praying with us, and hoping for us that God will pour out some much-needed love and bless us again. (Thank you to all of you that have been praying and sending cards, flowers, notes- we really do appreciate you thinking of us...)

I cannot argue with God on this one point- where our child rests is better than being with us, but as a mother I want to hold my child here and now. How grateful I am for the beautiful boy that spends his days seeking my arms, hugs, and kisses! God has used Jeremiah in so many ways to heal my heart and I love that little man more now than ever before. What else can I do but persevere? God has been faithful, He will be again.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Miracle of all miracles.....

By this time in my life I really shouldn't be surprised by anything, but for the first time in 8 1/2 years.........I'm PREGNANT!!

To say that we are surprised is a major understatement, and I've been riding this crazy wave of emotions for the past two weeks since we found out. I looked at three pregnancy tests that all told me the same thing, but still I couldn't wrap my brain around it- I still can't, but I guess that's partly due to the events leading up to the evening of March 2nd.

January was Sanctity of Life month and I was asked to share Jeremiah's story with our church's congregation, so at the end of the month I got up in front and began to share our whole story. How could I just share Jeremiah's story without giving a little background on where we were in life? So what was meant to be 10 minutes turned into 25 and it became evident that God wanted the whole story told. God moved in the congregation that Sunday- I don't even know how to fully explain it, but it was almost like a reverberation. Anyway, suddenly our life and the most sensitive struggle was opened up for all to see but was met with incredible support.

The following week we were approached by a woman who said that while I had been speaking she felt this incredible burden to pray for us and she attempted to find us after the service. We had already left but the burden persisted during the week so when she saw us that next Sunday she knew she had to grab us. A circle of people formed around Lee and me, and prayers for healing in my body, that I would conceive, that we would be encouraged, and hope began to swirl around us. Stunned and curious we left for home. As we got into the truck I looked at Lee and said, "Wow. I have no idea what to do with that....."

"I don't think we're supposed to do anything with it," he said. "I think God was just encouraging us, letting us know that it's still on His mind."

'Okay', I thought, 'I can handle that'. I spent the next several days processing through what occurred on Sunday morning, trying desperately not to work myself into expectations that things were going to happen in a specific time frame. So again there was hope that I would conceive, hope that never really disappeared but was set aside for so long that I didn't know how to cling to hope without facing harsh disappointment month after month after month. I didn't want to do that again. Pray and wait, pray and wait, pray and wait. The story of my life.

The next week brought turmoil that I hadn't seen in over two years; low lows that made anything baby-related extremely painful. I couldn't understand why I was struggling so much. I kept praying all week for God to prepare me for disappointment. One evening as I was praying I realized that at some point over the last several years I stopped asking God for what I really wanted and hoped for. I had been asking for all good things: peace, patience, a joyful attitude towards pregnant women, joy in my life as it is today, etc. But I had stopped asking for God a pregnancy. So I started asking, all the while saying "Okay, God. I'm me how to do this..."

I came down with a really nasty cold and spent the next week drugged with as much dayquil and sudafed that I could in order to survive the day. As the weekend approached I fully anticipated that I would start my cycle. Lee left town for a few days and I spent the weekend trying to get over my cold and take care of Jeremiah. Each morning I wondered about taking a test, but then feeling silly because I knew as soon as I did things would begin and I would've just wasted the money. I also knew I couldn't take a test while Lee was gone. We made an agreement over 8 years ago that we would always do it together. Monday rolled around and still nothing had started and I began to get frustrated. 'Of course this would be the month that things would be off for me! Why do I have to be late this month of all months?!? Haven't I already been struggling and now this? This is absolute torture!'

That evening I talked with my mom on the phone and I told her that I was late and struggling with it. "Can you take a test yet?" she asked me.

"I could, but I just really don't want to go there."
"Why not? Why not just solve the mystery and have peace of mind? Watch, you're pregnant and have been taking cold medicine all week......"

Agreeing that I would call her once I decided what I was going to do we hung up and I returned to my evening with Lee. We watched The Bachelor and it actually was a really good distraction. I was getting ready for bed when I decided to take some more cold medicine in order to get some good sleep. As I was ripping open the package to the tablets my mom's words came back to me......'Watch, you're pregnant and have been taking cold medicine all week....'

'Fine!' I thought, 'I'll just do away with the wondering so I can get some decent, guilt-free sleep!'
I had one pregnancy test left from when we were in the midst of fertility treatments back in '06. As I grabbed it I noticed that it had an expiration date of June 2008 but I thought- 'Who cares when all I need is a negative result in order to take this medicine?' I didn't even tell Lee what I was doing because I honestly didn't think I needed to involve him in it. Not even 15 seconds passed and TWO LINES appeared on the stick. I freaked out and ran downstairs.

"Lee, you've got to come upstairs right now." That's all I could say- I couldn't even tell him why. The poor guy thought something was wrong with Jeremiah but like I said, I couldn't even speak. I just pointed to the test.

"You've got to be kidding me!!" he said. "Are you kidding me?"
"It might not be real....what if it's not real?" Suddenly I really cared about that stupid expiration date. So we ran downstairs and did the only thing we could think of doing. We Googled it.

"False positive result on expired pregnancy test" To which we got absolutely no clear direction. The only option we had was to take another, NEW, test. Sweet Lee headed out to Walgreen's and came back 20 minutes later with a 4-pack. He ripped open the box and handed me a new test.
"What, now? I don't have anything left!!"

"Girl, if I have to scare the pee out of you I will. You're taking another test! Go!"

Back upstairs I went all the while praying, "God please let me have enough to wet the stick!"
Sure enough I did and immediately put the test on the edge of the tub. I couldn't watch the result appear and pulled the shower curtain closed, hiding the sacred test while it did its thing. No sooner had I pulled the curtain closed that I opened it back up to see, once again, TWO LINES. I bawled and bawled and bawled. "I've got to call my mom!!" Racing downstairs once again I grabbed my phone and dialed my parents' number.

By this time it was about 11 o'clock at night. I woke them up only to speak absolute gibberish to them over the phone. "What, honey?" they kept asking.

"There are TWO LINES!! There are two of them........whahahahahah." Seriously, I'm not even exaggerating. I really made no sense but somehow we were able to rejoice together in what had happened. We spent the next few hours making wake-people-from-the-dead-of-sleep phone calls and finally settled into bed after 1am. Needless to say we didn't really sleep that night and the next morning I took another test for good measure.

I've been walking around the past two weeks in a state of shock. I feel great, have had no morning sickness (yet) and almost feel like I'm pretending. I have the tests in my kitchen still, so that when I have moments of disbelief I just look their way and believe it to be true once again. Toward the end of last week I got a little scare and went in for blood work. My hormone levels were low and I was able to go in on Friday afternoon for an ultrasound. The doctor was unsure if what we saw was the pregnancy sac or just a blood clot and scheduled me for another appointment for this morning. Friday was a very difficult day for me. I knew that God had done a miraculous thing in allowing me to conceive, but I wasn't sure if I trusted Him to complete the process. You'd think I'd have learned that lesson by now, but the pain of disappointment lingers even when the big picture has been revealed. I was terrified that He was giving this to us only to test our faith again by taking it away. I almost lost the joy in being pregnant and couldn't really even think clearly until Saturday. Lee and I had a huge conversation and he challenged me to believe that God blessed completely. A friend quoted Proverbs 10:22 to me and I revisited that over and over again.

"The blessings of the Lord make a man rich and He adds no sorrow with it." The question was whether or not I was going to believe that to be true. Saturday and Sunday were spent in prayer and clinging to the assurance that whatever was coming our way was God's doing. I couldn't attempt to start controlling events that I did not put into motion. God did that, and my part was believing Him, praising Him. Like our pastor preached on Sunday, worry and thanksgiving cannot coexist. Which one was I going to choose?

So this morning as my mom and I sat in the exam room waiting for the doctor I was..... excited. Nervous, but excited. I was going to see my baby. And I did!! What the doctor was concerned with on Friday was resolved today as we saw this tiny thing appear. Suddenly we saw a flicker, like a small little blink. Again and again we saw the heart beating - a most miraculous moment- and my heart was overwhelmed with thanksgiving. I could feel my body relax all the tension that had built these last few days. I know my journey in trusting God to complete what He started has only just begun. This baby will be born shortly after Jeremiah's second birthday. God knew that a desire of ours was to have our children close together- like two years apart, and He answered THAT TOO! How cool is God? Really. So cool.