Sunday, September 25, 2016

And what comes next

As I sit here a little over 15 weeks pregnant, I feel like I should tell the story of that.  Well not the actual story, but just what life has been in this state.

You see this baby surprised me.  I hadn't gotten a normal cycle back yet and well in my thinking I was still heavily grieving and there wasn't any way that I could be pregnant again so fast. My last miscarriage took the better part of 6 months for my body to recover from and silly me thought this one was going to be longer, but apparently this isn't the case and well, God had different plans for me. So two months after miscarrying little Noel, I found myself surprise pregnant. And honestly I wondered if it was just hormones playing with me, so I took more than one pregnancy test on different days, because I honestly just didn't feel ready and I was a bit mad and more so scared out of my mind.  I couldn't bare another loss.  I just was shocked a bit too.

A few days after finding out, my grandmother (my dad's mom) died, and it was not pretty.  I was mad at myself for not calling her back ever after losing Noel.  I had gotten her a card but never sent it. I was scared about having to see my family at such a vulnerable time. So I went and I hid and didn't really talk to anyone, because I couldn't and to me that had to be okay.  That was all I could do. But knowing I was pregnant I was already hoping for a girl, someone I could name after my dear grandmother.  She really was the only grandparent that I ever knew in a deeper level, and I just wanted to do something in her memory.

I came back to my life from that trip and I just wanted to hide, hide and hide.  I wasn't ready for this pregnancy overall and I sure wasn't ready to discuss it with every passing person.  And granted being pregnant was way more obvious to me than to the outside world, I felt like I didn't want to be seen as there was a chance someone would know. My body on the other hand knew it was pregnant and didn't let me forget with extreme heartburn and carpal tunnel and racing heart and varicose veins and exhaustion.  And because I was where I was in grieving and in pregnancy it was hard to tell what was from what.  My husband has been a trooper thru this all and has helped me when I needed help and has done more than his share of late night runs for food cravings and comforting during cry sessions over life.

Being pregnant post loss is scary, especially a loss that was later than any other loss before because you realize how much you are not in control of any outcome.  That you just have to take a day at a time because God is the only one with a say in how long we get with our kids. And this is so very hard to do, because we hope for the best.  We imagine the future of holding a baby and yet you know maybe that's not going to happen.  Instead you may only get to know them through photos or kicks or just a glimpse of a positive pregnancy test.  And it is so very hard and I don't wish it on anyone. I had a first trimester full of intense anxiety and parts of it have lingered.  I hate waking up in the middle of the night because I can have flashbacks of going to the bathroom and finding I had bled so badly and was miscarrying. They are less now at 15 weeks then they were at before the same chronological time of my last loss, but its this eerie reminder that it happened and I would have hoped for a different outcome but now I'm here.

And that day and night have come and went in this pregnancy and it ended up low key and not dramatic at all those few days, and I am so very thankful for that.  So maybe I will get to hold a baby at the end of this pregnancy, and I pray and hope for that, but if that's not the plan, well I'm trying to remember I'm still in God's hands. One of the reassuring things that God has done for me when I so very needed it is when I was in the church and closed my eyes, I saw this image of Him carrying me in his arms like a sleeping child. Something I so very needed. Because I felt like the only thing I really was keeping on with was God's grace and it just felt like a perfect reminder to me of that. So on those hard days I remember this and pray for me to recognize his grace, and somehow I have pulled through each time so far.

So I'm here now at 15 weeks 1 day and praying to feel a baby kicking in the next few weeks. I'm still apprehensive a bit, but becoming more and more excited.  Some days, I still want to hide, but its less of that and more of okay I'm here now, and God thinks I can do this, so help me God to see that I can do this.

Thank-you for listening to my story.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Joy in the child

As Mother Teresa was canonized yesterday, the quote of hers that came to mind was the following:

“How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.” -St. Mother Teresa

I have always loved this quote, but struggled with it too. However, there is truth here, and I am learning to live it daily. 

When I was pregnant with Noel, I struggled so much with what others might think of a fourth child.  I know I shouldn't have let it bug me, but I did.  There were some people that I still let into influence my thinking at the time that weren't positive about another child.  And in fact sometimes weren't really positive about the ones I already had.  Honestly, this type of thinking stemmed way back to 10 years ago when I was engaged to my now husband, and I'm sure even before. You see, I let in counsel to someone I trusted, and the one objection to me converting to Catholicism along with marrying my husband was that, "those Catholics, they just have so many children." I didn't have the background that celebrated children as always being a gift, instead they were financial burdens or things to fit in to a narcissistic life. 

But Noel, despite my internal battle was a gift, a true gift in so many ways.  I remember the time I told my students about him and just the absolute joy they had in celebrating a new life was amazing. I don't think I'll ever forget that day because honestly, I don't think I've ever experienced that much joy from someone else about something/someone in my life.  It really was eye opening. 

And then as I sometimes struggle with my kids and their well, being kid like, I was upset about something that my one son did in the presence of another teacher.  Later talking with that teacher he recanted it in a positive manner, one which again celebrated the life the gift that the child was instead of a sum of his faults. 

Recently, a dear friend kept witnessing my crying so much at church this past summer, because for some reason the Holy Spirit just brings the tears there, the much needed tears. She gave me a note and a dear little painted heart shaped rock, with the words "Jesus wept". Oh so appropriate words they were and are. My friend remembered my dear little baby, this baby that only was with us for so long.  My friend didn't judge one bit about timing or family size, but loved and saw that I loved, and for this I am so grateful. 

You see, I think to this point I didn't think that there really was a place where every life could be really celebrated in its entirety. I was broken and couldn't see it, I couldn't see it in the people around me, I instead always felt judged or judged myself.  I think its odd to say that death has brought an understanding of joy, but yet somehow I think it is so for me.  I think seeing people have authentic joy over life has been one of many lessons little Noel has fruitfully taught me. And in that joy, I feel like I can finally understand more about gratitude. And while I know there is thanks in the suffering, I think the thanks in the joy, this, this has been missing for me, and I am so very grateful to be learning this now. 

There is more, but I will save that for another time.