Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Do Not Worry

My wonderful husband and I are getting ready to go on vacation! We are so excited, but one of our daughters is really anxious about it. Unfortunately, she doesn't get this anxiety/fear/worry/whatever you want to call it from a stranger. I emailed her this bible verse image the other day, and she has fully embraced it. We are writing it on a post it and sticking it by her bed, we are sticking it in her locker, and she wants to memorize it. I also told her that this was one of the verses I memorized before I was pregnant with the girls. I was so worried that I would not get pregnant and would not get to be a mom. I repeated this verse daily, as well as Matthew 6:25-34, as a reminder to myself that God has everything under control. I still remind myself that on a regular basis, but some days are a struggle. Some days, it seems easier to worry than pray. Some days, it's easy to let my mind get out of control and think "what if...", but God tells me not to worry and instead to pray. Because God tells me this, I can in turn help my daughter with this and model to her what that looks like in my own life.

Matthew 6:25-34
Do Not Worry
25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your lifee ?
28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Feeling Abandoned

I'm not sure why, but I've always had a fear of being alone - being by myself, being left, and being unwanted. I don't remember having a reason for this fear, but that's probably my biggest fear still as an adult. After we lost the babies, people didn't know how to react. It's so hard for people to know what to say and do after a death of anyone. With a miscarriage, people especially don't know how to react. The grief process is different for everyone who has gone through a miscarriage. Some people grieve and seem to move on more quickly. Some people grieve the loss of their baby publicly and for a very long time. Some people think of the miscarriage as an easier way to lose a baby that probably wasn't healthy. Some people grieve more silently, but always carry the loss with them. No matter what, it's a physical loss and an emotional one.
After my miscarriage, I felt alone. Friends were there for emotional and physical support in the beginning, but I tried to bounce back. I grieved the loss of my babies, somewhat publicly to the people who knew, but always trying to hide the real hurt. Always saying, "I'm okay" and "They're with Jesus and I'll get to see them someday." While I still believe that, I wasn't okay. Saying I was okay did not help me move on, and did not help me feel less abandoned. People move on with life, and they can't help when they don't know.
Yesterday, our Pastor spoke about Exodus 17:12. 12But Moses' hands were heavy.Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set.  I was angry. I still felt abandoned and hurt and like I had been left alone. I felt like I have been asked to be Aaron and Hur, but had been left alone and didn't have my own Aaron and Hur. I read in a devotional this morning, that people want to be there to help--IF THEY KNOW. Ouch. People didn't know, because I didn't reach out. I realized that I DO have Aarons and Hurs in my life, and I can't take them for granted. It's way too easy to take the people that are there for you for granted and to focus on the ones who aren't. My sweet husband wisely told me (during my meltdown), "That's the devil trying to get you down. It's the devil who wants you to be angry." The devil wants me to focus on my defeat, my anger, and my pain, but God wants to help me to focus on the good and help me to be victorious in HIS name!



Monday, January 23, 2017

Sharing...

I started writing this blog at the advice of a friend when we first found out we were pregnant with our identical twins. After we lost the babies, it became a place for me to record my thoughts and some of the details of what happened. Recently, I wrote an article for our MOPS newsletter. Soon after that, I felt God telling me that I needed to make this blog more public. The thought of putting this out for other people to see makes makes me feel almost extremely nervous and scared--scared about what others think, scared of pity, scared of being vulnerable. For some reason, I feel that God wants me to share this, so I'm putting it out there and trusting.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Releasing the STUFF

The morning that I my article for our MOPS newsletter went out (Having it All Together Post), I was fairly nervous. A lot of STUFF I had been keeping inside was now going to be out there, at least for my MOPS group to read. That morning, I read my Bible on my phone. The verse of the day was Ephesians 4:32 - Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you. That hit my heart. We were going to be discussing anger at MOPS, and my post about anger and forgiveness and love was in the newsletter. It was just a confirmation that I was supposed to share some of my story. Then I read my morning devotional, and it was all about releasing the little stuff and making sure to give it to God, and if possible, talk about it with a close friend, before it morphs into the big stuff. I was guilty of NOT doing that. If it was little, I could handle it...it was no big deal. Then the little stuff became more little stuff and more little stuff, and soon, it was more than I could handle. The little stuff had morphed into something big, something I was angry about, and something that was taking over my life. It was just another realization to me that it was time to release some of the STUFF that I had been keeping inside, and the MOPS newsletter was apparently where I was starting.
Now my question is, how do I release the little stuff and talk about it, without feeling negative and whiny. I still don't know the real answer to that, but I'm thankful for my GOD who knows my deepest, and sometimes darkest thoughts that I won't even admit to myself, and still loves me; my husband who loves me through good times and bad times, who calls me out when I'm having a pity party and walks with me through it to get me out of it; and for friends who I have been able to share the STUFF with, who have cried with me, hugged me, prayed with me, and been there to have fun with me, too! It's time to learn to release ALL the stuff to God so IT doesn't control my life!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Having It All Together

I like to think of myself as a happy, optimistic person, and I also really like to present a "life is all good" image of myself. I'm not sure if that mentality is because of how I grew up or if I taught it to myself, and I'm also not always sure if it's good or bad. However, 2 1/2 years ago, my world was rocked, and my "life is all good" image and positive mentality became impossible to maintain.
After having our 3 kids (2 via IVF and 1 surprise!, but that's a completely different story), we decided we were ready to use our remaining embryos. After some unexpected difficulties and MONTHS of hormone treatments and crazy drugs, we were able to transfer 2 of our frozen embryos. I knew I was pregnant within a couple of days, well before the blood test. I went in for an ultrasound at around 7 weeks, and we heard the heartbeat of our baby...and then very soon found out there was another baby hiding in the same sac. We looked, and realized the second embryo hadn't taken, but the first had split and I was now pregnant with identical twins. I was shocked, a lot overwhelmed, but also excited! Fast forward two weeks, and we went in for another ultrasound. The babies had grown to around 9 weeks, but they know longer had heartbeats. Again, I was shocked, completely overwhelmed, and devastated. I had somewhat prepared myself for the thought of losing one, but I had never even considered that we could lose both, especially with no advance notice. We told the people that already knew, but I struggled with telling other people. I wanted the world to know that my babies were gone, but in order to tell people that, I had to tell them about the babies first and it was too much of a rollercoaster that I didn't want to relive. I kept telling myself that I was glad I lost them before I was too far long, but I was also a little bit angry that I lost them before I was far enough along for people to remember them...and in my mind, care about them.
After two weeks of waiting to miscarry on my own, I had a D&C. I insisted that we have another ultrasound the day before, just to verify that there were no heartbeats. Thankfully, my doctors were very caring and understanding. Two weeks after the D&C, I ended up having complications and extreme blood loss (again, that's another long story.) Thankfully, I had a couple of friends/family who were able to come stay with my kids overnight so I could go to the hospital. That night, I realized that I was no longer scared of death, because I would get to meet my babies. However, I also realized that I was not ready to go, God must have more in store for me because He got me to the hospital in time, and my 3 kids here need me!
In the weeks following my hospital stay, I was worn down, hormonal, and I started to become very angry. I was angry about losing the babies; I was angry about being so exhausted; I was angry about a vacation my husband, brothers, and dad took; I was angry for being trapped in a hotel room with my 3 kids and mom during this vacation; I was angry when my sister-in-law announced she was pregnant; I was angry when I got the insurance statement from my hospital stay... All of this anger came out in impatience with my children, impatience with my husband, and a lot of tears! My mom actually called my husband to talk to him because she was concerned after our hotel stay. In an attempt to try to maintain my "life is all good image" in public, I stuffed feelings down to try to stay the happy person I wanted to be and especially wanted people to see. Stuffing these feelings down resulted in more anger. Unfortunately, most of this inner anger was toward my church and towards friends. I was hurt and angry that people were there for me during the loss, but seemed to disappear and not care in the aftermath. I was upset and feeling left out. I would go to church, trying to praise God for all of my blessings, but leave angry that I no longer had my babies, angry that I wasn't feeling taken care of, and angry for being angry. I'm sure my anger came out towards people and church during that time, which only made me feel more isolated. My husband tried to help in all kinds of ways - empathy, tough love, insisting (with the help of my pastor) I go see a therapist, insisting that I focus on other relationships. All of these probably helped a little bit, but I was still holding on to the pain and not wanting to admit some of it, gradually letting some go, but never enough to fully be free. Finally, I admitted all of my anger and pain I had been holding on to my church life group. Their prayers and love helped so much. I was also able to release the pain and anger with an adult mentor who encouraged me, prayed with and for me, and gave me hope for daily struggles.
With God's Grace, I am overcoming my pain from losing our babies and overcoming the anger and hurt that was in my heart. My relationships with others, while so important, is not the most important part of my life. I have learned (and am still learning daily) that my relationship with God is my most important priority. Only God is able to heal my pain. Only God is able to know what I am thinking and what I need without me asking (and sometimes without me even knowing.) The church is made up of imperfect humans, who are not mind readers, and I needed to let go of my expectations of others. (Sometimes I also need to remind myself of this with my husband and kids.)
God's Grace is enough. God's Power is made PERFECT in my weakness. In all honesty, I still struggle with knowing how losing my babies is God's perfect plan, but I know he has an amazing plan for my life. I have an amazing life and a wonderful family and friends, but I don't have it all together and I never will. It's a daily battle between "looking like I have it all together" and "being real" without letting the anger take hold, but it's something that I know God will help me with, as long as I keep letting Him.



Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas

Christmas is one of my absolute favorite times of year!! I love seeing the joy on my kids faces, just because it's Christmas! I love Christmas music! I love shopping! I love Christmas food! All of it! It's such a BEAUTIFUL time!
As I reflect this year, I've been thinking a lot always about the babies...what they would be doing now, how much my son would probably hate being a big brother (and especially sharing the attention), how my nurturing daughter would probably love helping with everything for the babies, and how my logical daughter would probably adore the babies but be super annoyed that they would destroy her creations.
Now, the pain is less; the joy is more. Still the bittersweet knowledge of knowing that we truly have 5 kids, but only 3 here. 3 to buy Christmas gifts for, 3 to fight with each other, 3 to hug and love.
As I think on that I was realizing how much pain our all-knowing God experienced. God sent HIS ONLY son to be a baby-- fully knowing he would experience pain, suffering, and death. And God did that for US. God's pain was MORE so our JOY could be abundant. Christmas is that time for abundant joy.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Choosing JOY


One year ago, I woke up nauseas (completely normal), ready for our ultrasound and to see the babies again. We had a LONG wait at the doctor's office, which is completely abnormal. When the nurse did our ultrasound, I could tell by the look on her face that something was wrong. She sadly told us, "I can't find heartbeats." I was in such shock I couldn't even cry. It never even crossed my mind that we could lose both of our babies...especially in the same instant. From the way they measured, how I was feeling, and the long wait in the waiting room, I am convinced they lost their heartbeats while I was in the waiting room. I'll never know for sure, but that has always been my gut feeling.

I will forever be thankful to our doctor's office for the way they handled our loss! And I'm so grateful to our friends and family for their support!

Today, we have decided to have a family day and to be grateful for our wonderful blessings. We'll have lunch at school with our firstborn daughters; we'll spend the day with our son; we'll write thank you notes and deliver cupcakes to the amazing staff at MidIowa Fertility; we'll have a pizza movie night with our kids; and we will rejoice for God's amazing grace and other blessings in our life.

We'll always mourn the loss of our twin babies, and I'm sure there will still be days of struggle, bitterness, and anger about the way things happened. TODAY, I choose joy. I have let bitterness and anger control me for far too long. TODAY, I choose to forgive. I choose to have JOY. I will choose daily, sometimes moment by moment to forgive, to move on, and to love.