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.

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