There are up to 10 weeks left before I meet my second born son face to face, flesh on flesh. Could be sooner, but Im planning on being past my due date so that if it passes by like your average day, I am not drowning in depression (which may still happen). Today marks 32 weeks with this undeserved miracle boy. Our official date we are due to deliver is May 25, but I usually follow that with, "But we're planning for June 10th." The term "due date" used to bring me emotions of fear and grief. Grief because I felt the only due dates I may ever experience would pass and be a reminder of who we lost [you know, our real life, human babies]. Fear because for the first half of this pregnancy, I always answered the when-are-you-due question with "Well...May 25...but we don't know if we will make it there, so let's just talk about today. Today I am pregnant."
Of course there is always the chance of delivering a still son. No one plans that. No one expects it or wants it. But it happens and its tragic and it is a very real loss of a very real life and I am doing my very best to not just assume life is peach and roses and everything works out perfectly - because it doesn't. I pray to take this journey one day at a time instead of assuming I know the outcome of everything- because I don't.
The other day a friend sent me a link to this post. I read it and I cried because I remember these days so clearly...those days of:
"I know how she feels when she walks in to the OBGYN’s office and is surrounded by pregnant women. I understand her heartache and I know how challenging it can be to sit there and feel like a failure among other women.
I know how she feels when it’s hard to even see a child because you can’t help but wonder what your child would look like at that age, if you were able to have a child.
I know how she feels when her friends, co-workers, and family members are announcing their pregnancies when she has spent years trying, and failing, to become a mother.
I know how she feels when her period starts, every month, and reminds her (with a bright red reminder) that once again she has failed to do what should be such a simple thing for a woman."
My heart ached for Ashley because this is so real. The grief. The wondering. The suffering. The loss of not only quick-easy-“normal” fertility, but also of babies. So wanted, so loved, so precious. I have known these realities. And though I am currently 32 weeks pregnant, I will never forget the years of waiting…wondering…losing hope and growing in grief. I am now a mama blessed by adoption, and hopefully biology in the next 10 weeks…but 1 year ago today I was in the depths of the pit, grieving the loss of my baby by miscarriage. My boy conceived through fertility treatments.
I want to use my space to share what I firmly believe about "Gods plan" and miscarriage: it was never for your babies to die or your body to seem so…broken. His plan was life in Eden, the garden of hope, health, wholeness. His presence thicker than air, His creations living LIFE. Not dying in the womb. So when people say hurtful cliches like “it was Gods plan to lose your babies,” “His desire may not be for you to be a mama,” etc etc…HEAR THIS: God places the desire to bear children and be Mama in us. If that desire is in you, it is from Him, the ultimate caregiver and nurturer. And when it doesn’t work “the way it should,” other people feel awkward and uncomfortable; people don’t like suffering and are often offended by it. People often don't know what to say, just as you and I don't know what to say in other situations. But know that He is with you in this darkness and He is grieving the loss of those babies too. He is dancing with them and holding them and they will be the first to introduce you to Jesus (this thought still brings tears to my eyes, always will). But He mourns with you. Because He feels your pain. He feels your loss. The loss of a child, your child that once had so much potential..a future, now without a heart beat.
I was told at the age of 12 that I most likely could not conceive and carry life. The doctor shared this before he sent the first of many rounds of radiation in the form of x rays through my lower back, unable to protect my ovaries. In high school, I suffered 3 major events that were incredibly packed with force on my body. A terrible car accident, an ATV accident, and then a wave accident in Hawaii. These happened within 6 months of each other and the x rays, CT scans, and MRIs were plenty. They said I had lost a 1 inch chunk of vertebrae. They said they were frying my ovaries with more radiation. They said my sacrum was stuck crooked, forever. They said I would not be able to produce healthy eggs, that my uterus would not support a pregnancy.
A year later I had bilateral pulmonary embolisms and was diagnosed with two blood clotting disorders. My OB at the time said getting pregnant would be incredibly stupid, and if I did, I and my baby would die (she was not a great doctor, because there are plenty of successful FVL pregnancies - I just didnt know). Another year later I am diagnosed with endometriosis, an autoimmune disease that inhibits fertility.
Though I wondered if their prediction of me never conceiving and carrying to term was my reality, part of me knew deep down it could not be. Part of me knew that God is bigger and that I would one day carry a baby, deliver him, and kiss him. I have not made it to that point yet, but I am nearing it.
My story is not your friend's story. Even if she has endometriosis or factor v leiden or a protein s deficiency or whatever. I hope that I do not become some random story others use to attempt to comfort someone in deep anguish, in the throws of infertility or miscarriage...because when in the pit, you don't always want to hear how everyone else is able to conceive and carry...you need something bigger to hold onto. Something firm, secure, steady. Something supernatural. I do want "my story" to bring hope...hope in Jesus, not in babies or honored titles such as "Mama". The hope and encouragement that Jesus is Comforter, Healer [of hearts and bodies, but definitely hearts], and Friend. Hope that God isn't just sitting up in the clouds causing you this anguish and sorrow, but that He is right next to you grieving and mourning as well.
Here I am. 32 weeks pregnant with a "high risk" pregnancy.
Tummy Baby and I have been through a bit together:
First Trimester: the intense stress, fear, and guilt of being pregnant. The constant questions of, "Will I lose this little life too? Will I have to say goodbye too soon? Will this pregnancy altar our adoption journey, forcing a halt, and then if I lose this baby...then what?" So much nausea and vomiting. The beginning of twice-a-day blood thinning injections, so many bruises and lumps from the shots. Bronchitis. Headaches. The grief of losing not only our job, but having the trajectory of our career/life completely altered and changed after what happened...and losing a lot of people we loved, as well as a couple relationships we thought would never be lost. Being jobless for 2 months. Moving to a new city.
Second Trimester: embarking into a new church community. Continued nausea and vomiting. Headaches. Prayer walks and jogs. Continued daily injections. I drank radiation for a special x ray due to a blood clot scare, trusting it was worth assuring I was clot-free. Feeling his kicks, wiggles, pokes and prods for the first time and loving every movement. The adoption of his older brother, our sweet Sage whom we adore with every inch of who we are. The exhaustion kicking in overboard, being pregnant and caring for a newborn.
Third Trimester: continued daily injections. Nausea. Headaches. Sore feet and legs. Bronchitis. Pokes, wiggles, prods becoming stronger, letting us know that he is safe and alive. His heart is beating. Falling up cement stairs [clumstastic is what I am].
He remains in my womb and I feel him giving Sage all sorts of love pats while Sage uses him as a chair. I am still in awe that I have the gift of life swelling me round, from the inside out. This undeserved life, of two under 6 months.
It still feels like I have 5 months of pregnancy left...June is far away from now. It is barely spring. June means summer, an entire seasonal change.
When this baby boy is born, no matter the outcome...whether what I hope our labor & delivery actually happens or not...I know there will be so many emotions. So many feels. It makes me nervous, because I already have so many intense emotions, I cannot imagine the vast amount I will be experiencing. But I believe the tears will be beautiful and freeing. I look forward to that day, with anticipation. Also I am weird and excited to birth a human, even though I am sure I will regret saying that out loud on the internet.
I want more than anything for this baby to know we love him so much, even if we have/had to say goodbye. I want to continue trusting Jesus with him, knowing that Jesus loves him entirely more than I do. Anytime with him is a gift.
Tonight as I drove home from dinner with my mom and her husband, I shed some tears that were the product of a deep appreciation. Appreciation that I have this immense honor to love and care for precious souls.Human souls. I get to pray over them, I get to smooch them, I get to feel their sweetness both in my womb and on my skin. I pray I never forget this gratitude; this deep gratefulness for the title "Mama". I pray that I always seek to love them well and place their needs above my own. I pray that I do not slip into a place of bitterness and hatred towards motherhood, but that I am always amazed at the gift of a privilege it is. Because truly, it is privilege and it is a gift. It is no burden.
Thank you, Jesus, for the title "Mama".