mama story: Jessica

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Jessica is a sweet friend of mine from back in North Carolina.

She talks about how society has the habit of telling early miscarriage sufferers that they are "barely" pregnant (I had the same thing said to me during an ultrasound). Oh how I wish everyone would just recognize that a baby, no matter how small, is a BABY! 

Jessica has a beautiful story, give it a read and show your support. I'm sure you will find at least one aspect of her story that you can relate to, it hit home on so many levels for me.

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I'm not sure how to start my story. It's taken me sometime to really sit down and put into words exactly what went on. I've never been the type of person that is good at remembering every little detail especially when it comes to dates and times. Honestly if it weren't for the hospital papers I wouldn't know exactly what day it was. I know that sounds terrible when it comes to recalling a miscarriage but the whole experience seems like such a blur at times; just a bad dream. What I can promise you is that I do remember the emotional and physical aspect of it all. Those memories stick and honestly I don't think will ever go away. Here is my story. 

I still think about that day like it was just yesterday. It happened March 5, 2015. I was 5 weeks along with my first baby. The only ones who knew I was expecting was of course my husband and 2 close work friends who knew we were trying to conceive. I knew about the risk of miscarriage but I never thought I would become a statistic. We knew of the probability that it could happen so we hadn't told our families yet. I never thought when we did tell them it would be for different reasons.

I was about to lay down for bed and went to the bathroom as usual. I was spotting. It wasn't a heavy bleeding but of course I started freaking out. Google gave me all sorts of reasons why I may be bleeding this early on, including miscarriage. I told my husband with tears in my eyes that I was bleeding all while trying to not have a panic attack. We both tried reassuring ourselves that it was ok, it was only light and if I was still bleeding in the morning I would go to the doctor. I knew that if I was having a miscarriage that going in at that moment wasn't going to make a difference. Nature was going to take its course.

I hardly slept at all that night. I got up the next morning and the bleeding was still very light and hardly there anymore. I had just a small slither of hope. I wasn't cramping or hurting. I decided to go on in to the doctor anyway. Not trying to worry my husband, I told him it was okay, he could go on in to work and I would just go to the doctor by myself. I haven't even had a chance to schedule my first appointment yet with the ob/gyn so I had to go to my primary care doctor. I was an anxious, nervous wreck. My mind was racing and I knew I didn't really want to hear what the doctor was going to tell me. My primary doctor did a vaginal exam. There was still blood so she wanted me to go and have blood work done and an ultrasound just to check things out. I think she knew then I was miscarrying and so did I. My heart dropped at that moment. She did her best to make it seem like it was nothing and that it could be old blood from my previous period but I knew that wasn't it.

I got back in my car and called my husband. All I wanted was him there. Trying to be brave and strong by myself was not happening at this moment. Reality was setting in. I couldn't face having to go to the hospital for the ultrasound by myself. I was scared and heart broken. He finally met me at the hospital. I think he knew when he saw me what was going on but I honestly don't think he believed it was really happening or at least didn't want it to be happening. By the time we were waiting for the tech, my bleeding had finally increased and I started having stomach pains. We were finally called back. Because I wasn't but 5 weeks an internal ultrasound was done. I couldn't see the screen and the tech never said anything to us. All I remember is laying there so vulnerable and so uncomfortable with tears in my eyes, knowing that at that moment my baby was no longer with us. I long now for an ultrasound of our first little miracle to look back on.

Every jab to my uterus felt like a stab to the heart. I remember there being so much blood after changing back into my clothes and knowing that was the end of my baby's life. When we walked out the hospital I just remember holding my husband and crying. When we got back home I just laid in bed and cried. We had to go back in 3 days (Sunday) for bloodwork to check my levels. I kept waiting for at least one of the doctors from the primary care office to call with results but they never did by the end of the day on Friday.

Over the weekend, we decided to tell our families what was going on. When we told my in laws, my heart sunk again because they were so excited that we were pregnant but in the same breath I had to tell them I was having a miscarriage. They were all supportive and encouraging but it was still all so devastating. My mother in law even told me she had a miscarriage before having my husband but no matter what anyone said, I never felt better. By the time I went back in for bloodwork I was so over being poked and prodded and just wanted it to all be over. Crazy me thought I could actually go to work Monday. As soon as I pull in to work I get the call from my primary doctor. And just like I knew, we had miscarried. My levels were already negative so my sweet little one was officially gone. I went in long enough to tell my supervisor what was going on, barely getting the words out and went back home.

The days and weeks to follow were even harder than I ever thought they would be. I had so many emotions between guilt, sadness, and anger. I kept thinking it was something I did wrong. Did I over exert myself? Did I eat something I shouldn't have? Why me? Why God? Was I not a faithful enough Christian so God is punishing me? I couldn't even be around babies or anyone pregnant. A women came in to work with her newborn baby months after the miscarriage and I couldn't even look at her or hold the baby. I felt so bad but I was dying all over again inside. After she left I completely lost it, tears flooding out.

And my poor husband. This didn't just effect me. I had to remember he was going through a loss too. Although his wasn't as physical as mine, he also lost his first child. We never really talked about it too much but I know it tore him up inside as well.

There are so many aspects of this miscarriage that I can't explain and unless you've been there, you just can't grasp what it all does to you. I remember in the months that followed when I had a good day I would immediately feel guilty cause I felt like it meant I was forgetting what I lost.

It's been so hard to sit down and write this story not only because it was so tragic and upsetting but because I didn't feel like it was significant enough. Society told me I was "barely" pregnant. I wasn't that far along so it's not that big of a deal and it doesn't count. I didn't have a picture or anything for a memorial of my loss. When people asked when it happened I had to always think so hard to remember the exact date and that made me feel even worse. I must be such a terrible person for not remembering the date of such a horrible event. All I dwelled on was how I felt and what it did to me emotionally and physically. I had almost convinced myself that I hadn't lost anything. But how great is my God that He tells me otherwise. It doesn't matter how far along I was. It doesn't matter if I remember the date and time without hospital papers to remind me. I was pregnant. I was carrying a life inside me. A life God gave me and He took away. For whatever His reasons are, I may never know, but He blessed me with my first little miracle even if it was for a little while. We have since been blessed with our rainbow baby boy born in August 2016 sharing his daddy's birthday. He has brought so much joy and healing to our family. I can't wait for the day I'm able to tell him about his sibling in heaven, his forever guardian angel and he understand what that means. In the meantime his dad and I will continue to raise him with God's guidance and forever hold dear to the memory of when God first made us Mommy and Daddy.

mama story: Audra

Today's mama story was written by a sweet friend of mine named Audra. She has three babies waiting on her in heaven, read below to hear her story. Leave her some love in the comments!

Also, if you have missed the announcement on Instagram and facebook, check out this link to read about a very special fundraiser and purchase yourself (or someone else!) an awesome shirt.

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My journey to become a mom actually began before I was ready. Only about a handful know this, but I was one of the girls who got pregnant in college. Sadly, I lost my little one at 6 weeks. Everyone kept telling me how it was a blessing in disguise, and that I'd be happier down the road. In truth, they had a point. My boyfriend at the time was abusive, not a Christian, and a whole slew of other bad combinations should've made me run from the start. But when you're young, no one can tell you differently. But that loss hurt. I got the "shame" of having to admit that I had sex before marriage and everyone knew it, but I didn't have that sweet little baby to love on. I felt like I was being punished, and ultimately fell into a deep depression. Thankfully, God saved me from that and I was able to move on and find the one who I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with.

    About 7 months after we got married, we decided we wanted to start our family. We had just moved 450 miles from home and it was just us and our dogs. And we got pregnant immediately!! I was so happy and so ready to be a mom. I just knew that since I had "done things right" and waited until we were married that this baby would be okay. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I lost that sweet one at 6 weeks. I started to get confused, and I knew the enemy was trying to get me to not trust God. But I was determined to not fall into that pit of darkness again, so we prayed and prayed. Through that miscarriage, my wonderful OB found out I had a rare clotting disorder and a hormone imbalance. That was what wasn't causing me to lose my sweet babies. And there were super high success rates with medicine that could kept me carry a full 9 months! I was so excited. I finally had an an answer and a reason. So, we tried again. 9 months later, we were pregnant again! I was so nervous this time. But I finally made it past the 6 week mark! So we told our families and started to get excited. Sadly, two weeks later, we lost our second baby. So here I was, 3 miscarriages down and completely devastated. I felt like I was letting my husband down, because my body couldn't do what it was designed to do, even with the medicine my OB said would work. And I had no control over it. My faith was shaking but I knew I had to keep pressing on, and that there was a reason for this.

    I knew my heart needed some time to heal, so we stopped trying and focused on us. We fell in love with a ministry called The Call that equips Christian's to become foster and adoptive parents. We went to training, and got certified. I repeatedly said to myself, "this is why I haven't had a biological child." I felt so strongly that Caleb and I were meant to foster and maybe eventually adopt. I finally felt truly happy again, because somehow I was still going to be a mom.

    But God has a sense of humor, and we found out a week before Christmas that we were pregnant. I was completely shocked. And terrified! I went to me OB right away and he did everything he could to make sure this baby was healthy. We did blood tests every 2 days to make sure my levels were rising, and they started me on my daily blood thinner injections. (Yes, shots!) We made it to 8 weeks and it was finally time for an ultrasound. I remember sitting in that waiting room feeling so distant (and so nauseous), terrified that they would tell me that something was wrong. When they called my name, I started shaking. It felt like forever waiting for her to set up the machine and get started. I didn't even look at the screen out of habit. But then she said "and there's the heartbeat," and my world suddenly changed. I lost it. Started bawling right on the table! I kept saying "I can't believe this, we've never had a heartbeat before." My heart felt like it was floating! Pure joy is the only way I can describe it. Now here we are, at 35 weeks and 5 days pregnant. Somehow my body has grown and developed this sweet, little boy. It has been the hardest journey, but the most wonderful. Every time he kicks or has the hiccups, I'm reminded that God fulfilled a promise. He has taken my deepest, darkest fears and laid them to rest. And I'll never stop praising and thanking Him for it! We still think about our previous babies, or littles, as I call them. Every due date or loss date that passes still hurts. But we plan on honoring them when Elijah is born. After all, I'm sure they helped God choose Eli. And I know that one day, when we're all in heaven, I'll finally get to meet them. What a glorious day that will be!

 

mama story: Nova

Today, I'm going to be featuring two mama stories on the blog because I couldn't decide which one to share this week. They are both beautifully written. The first one was submitted by Nova, this has to be one of the most heartbreaking, yet beautiful stories I have read so far. Leave Nova some love in the comments.

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For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a mother.

A few of my childhood memories corroborate this:
Once, in first grade, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.
" A mom, " was my carefully printed response, complete with a hand-drawn picture of a baby crawling in a yellow onesie.
" Pick something else ! " the teacher scrawled across the page.

At another time, I announced to my aunt and grandmother that I wanted TEN children.
Now, as I approach 30, I would be content with just ONE.

Within months of marrying my first husband (at the age of 20), we became pregnant. We blabbed the news to any and everyone, much to the disbelief and disconcertion of the pastor who didn't know we'd wed at the courthouse 2 months prior. We were so excited! A week after the positive pregnancy test, I started spotting. At first, I was assured that it was 'normal' and not to worry. However, the next morning I was taken to the emergency room to be examined. Terrified and alone. Tests left me feeling mortified. An uncomfortable ultrasound where the only sounds were clicks and taps of the mouse and the sound of my tears hitting the paper sheet beneath me. It was the silence that told me:
" ___ miscarriage. And, oh yeah, you're rH negative. " They sent me on my way with informal paperwork and little comfort or support.

That loss - of our child, our hopes and dreams for the future, even our innocence, in a sense. We never considered a loss (miscarriage or otherwise) as a potential outcome because, quite honestly, we had never been exposed to that possibility. In our young and naive minds, the only outcome of a pregnancy was a healthy baby.

What angered me more than anything were the platitudes that ran along the lines of "Everything happens for a reason," "It wasn't the right time", "You'll have more babies", and "God has a plan", etc. It hurt deeply. 'Get over it' was the unspoken message, and I heard it loud and clear.

I couldn't and didn't and haven't and won't 'get over it'.
I grieve(d) deeply. And then, I became hell-bent on getting pregnant again.

As the weeks and months went by, I began to resent my body for not being able to do the One Thing it was designed to do. Each Big Fat Negative and every monthly cycle/period felt like a betrayal and a failure, leading to disappointment and gutteral breakdowns. Finally, at a doctor's office (for what I thought was a completely different issue), the stick turned Positive. Such was the shock and surprise on my face that the Doctor thought it was an unwanted pregnancy! I quickly informed him that it was quite the opposite: my baby was VERY much wanted.

This time, we knew to keep the information restricted to immediate family only. Terrified of a repeat miscarriage, I called my OB/GYN and frantically tried to make an appointment, only to be quite cooly informed that I'd have to wait until my 8 week ultrasound, standard procedure. Near hysterical, I begged and pleaded but to no avail. Barring an emergency, there was nothing to do but wait.

A few days before that appointment, I began spotting.

Once again, I waited, hoping against hope that everything was and would be alright....but the day before my scheduled 8 week ultrasound, my worst fears were confirmed: I was having a(nother) miscarriage. 

Afterwards, the doctor expressed that things were serious now: we would need a multitude of tests and, if I WERE to ever become pregnant again, I would be considered extremely high risk. She also informed me that in her 20 years of practice, she had never experienced a case like mine. 

I think I kind-of gave up hope after that, to be honest. 
I felt like damaged goods. 

The emotional toll of the losses and infertility, combined with a multitude of other issues, facilitated our separation and eventual divorce 2 years later. However, we were on friendly terms before he died suddenly in an accident.

How I wish(ed) I had been able to give him a child and his parents their grandchild.

I remarried, eventually. On December 1, 2015, I confirmed what I alreaxy suspected: I was pregnant for the third time. Happy and excited but filled with trepidation; it didn't surprise me when I started spotting soon thereafter. I didn't even look at the ultrasound this time. The doctors were cautiously optimistic, my husband naive and hopeful. I mentally prepared myself for the inevitable.

Hearing those words, " I'm sorry, but you're miscarrying ", yet AGAIN, broke me. The doctor's assistant infuriated me by commenting that it was "just a bunch of cells and tissue", but I was too heartbroken to reprimand him. 

As soon as I ever suspected that I might possibly be pregnant, something in me changed: I became a mother. My main focus was the life inside of me: protecting, nourishing, loving each pregnancy -- each life, each child -- wanted and loved deeply. Each loss was devastating beyond comprehension, and yet to the majority of the world, it was as if they never existed. 

My grief was heartwrenching.

We 'took a break' from trying to conceive for about a year and a half until we felt that we were better prepared to try again, come what may. We even requested and was approved for a referral for a fertility specialist. Now, I was the one that was cautiously optimistic.

And then, my husband got deployment orders. 

It goes without saying that babymaking/TTC is on hold.

It seems like my lifelong dream to become a mother has been deterred at every turn. I don't know at this point if that dream of mine will ever come to fruition. Will I ever have a healthy pregnancy? Oh, how I long for the whole of it: morning sickness and aches and uncomfortableness and swelling -- the flutters and kicks -- I SWEAR I won't utter a single complaint if granted this ONE THING-!!

I don't know if I'll ever be able to have kids -- be it via natural pregnancy, fertility specialist, or adoption. The not-knowing.......Sometimes, I try to lie and convince myself that I don't even WANT kids, thinking that it hurts less that way. But deep down, I know -- I feel -- the truth.

Every time a pregnancy announcement or ultrasound snapshot fills my social media newsfeed, my heart aches. Every time I see mothers with their infants and toddlers in stores and sidewalks, my throat tightens. 
I caress the tiny clothes and shoes, bottles and diapers and formulas, strollers and cribs, wondering, dreaming...... Wincing at the inevitable question: "Do you have kids?" as my heart completely shatters.

My babies would be 7, 6, and 1 year(s) old now. I miss them every day and wonder who they would have been, what they would have looked like and so much more. All the unknowns. All the lost moments and memories. 
I wonder who *I* would be now, had I been granted that awesome gift to care for them as their mother. 

I dream of them, sometimes. The memory-dream of their weight, scent, and voices cling to me when I awaken to reality. 

I carry them in my heart.

Harper Angels
05/31/2009
08/09/2010

Jackson Angel
12/07/2015

Vivamus pellentesque vitae neque at vestibulum. Donec efficitur mollis dui vel pharetra.
— Hope K.

dad story: Bear

Doing something a little different today - I'm sharing a "dad story." My husband wanted to share what's been on his heart lately. He hopes it will help some other men out their who may be struggling with handling emotions after loss. Like I have emphasized before, sometimes all we need is to know we are not alone.

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To this day, no one, not even my wife, knows how I truly felt the day our baby's heart stopped beating. If I recall correctly, it was a Thursday afternoon. We were cleaning our weapons at the armory. I had just finished up and put all my gear in the car when I got a phone call from my wife saying that the baby's heart had stopped beating. In denial, I said, "Are they sure?" My wife cried, "Yes."  I remember the next things out of my mouth would instantly change the complex of our relationship. I said, "Well, you got your wish then."

For weeks before, she was nervous to be pregnant and didn't know if she was ready to be a mom. Was it the right thing for me to say? Absolutely not. I don't know if it was just my raw emotions talking or what, but I wish I could have gone back and said something else, or just not have said anything at all. Because sometimes it really is best to say nothing. What I was really feeling was my heart being torn out of my chest and shredded to pieces. I blamed God, questioned Him about why our baby died, why us?! 

I remember like it was yesterday. The Third Day song "Cry Out to Jesus" was on in the car on my way home from work after that phone call. The song is so old, but at that moment it happened to be on the radio. I stopped being the tough guy and crumbled into tears and could barely see to drive home. All I could think was that we would never get to see our baby or see her grow up. I finally got home to find my wife in bed crying. I went into the bedroom and just held her and we melted in a pool of tears. We were both (understandably) an emotional wreck. We didn't have answers. We talked about how she would have to take medication to get our dead baby out, and/or get a D&C. We decided to do the medication (if you have read her other posts, you'd know she had to end up having the surgery anyway). We had so many people at our old home church praying that Ivory's heart was still beating. They were praying it was a misdiagnosis and that the baby was still alive, but with all the prayer nothing changed. We had still lost our first baby.

"...nothing changed. We had still lost our first baby."

My wife took the medication for the process to start, making her basically go into labor with our unborn child. I was emotionally checked out and wanted to be as far away from everything as possible. My wife was cramping really bad and taking baths to help the pain, and I just kept my distance because I had no clue how to be there emotionally for her during that time. Over the years I've learned to cut off my emotions and just embrace what I was going through, good or bad. We were both scared and had never experienced loss like this over the course of our six years together (eight years this fall). The way I handled the loss  and the way she handled it were totally different.

She paced around crying, just wanting someone to be there for her and hold her through the process, and I was incapable of doing that. I didn't want to actually face the fact that our child had died. I wanted everything to be back to how it was a week prior - where we were the happiest we had been in years. But, it never would be, because my wife felt like I wasn't there for her through all the emotional pain. I was zoned out and gave off the impression that it didn't matter, she felt like she was going through all of it alone. In reality I was fighting all kinds of emotions and just kept pushing them all down inside and never talked about the pain, the hurt, the frustration that I was experiencing. I was supposed to be the tough guy who didn't get phased by anything. It did nothing but put up a huge wall between the two of us all because I wasn't there for her when she needed me most. 

"...I would do it all differently."

If I could go back and change everything about that weekend, I would do it all differently. I would have been by her side even though I didn't want to see what she was going through. I didn't want that to be my only memory of our first baby. I wanted to remember only the good things like the first ultrasound where everything was fine. But, nothing was fine, and she had to go through a traumatic, emotional miscarriage alone. I'm so glad she had close friends that were actually there for her during that time.

Nothing I can say now can turn back time so I can respond differently to all this. I'm just writing this to let every man know, do not be the man that thinks he has to hide his emotions and cut off all communication during a tough time in your life. Be there for your spouse or significant other and support her fully. There will be times in your life where you need to be the tough guy, but trust me: this is not the time. She will want your to just give your love and let her know you are there for her, and that you are both going to get through it the best that you can.

remembering

TRIGGER WARNING - GRAPHIC DETAILS BELOW


I'm still haunted at times by memories of the worst weekend of my life. Sometimes, the person we want to talk to most about it doesn't want to, so we need to find other ways to get it out. Writing is my outlet.

I remember waking up that morning with the slightest twinge of cramps, but didn’t think anything of it. I had been told all along cramping is “normal.”

I remember bursting into tears as I found out my baby had died, and then being swarmed in hugs from the sono tech, doctor, my manager, and my close friend. One of the perks of working in ob/gyn I guess.

I remember getting in the car, barely able to see the road through tears, and the first song I hear on the radio is “Good Good Father” by Housefires. You are perfect in all of your ways to us…you’re a good, good father.

I remember my husband and I crying in a crumpled mess on our living room chair for several hours, trying to decide which of the three options to take to “evacuate” my uterus (medical terminology is just so kind).

I remember making a decision, and calling my doctor and going in to get the prescriptions.

I remember exactly what I wore that day. Black capri leggings, brown sandals, chambray button up. No makeup, ratty bun, puffy face and eyes. The norm for someone who had spent 24 hours crying.

I remember wandering around Target as I waited for my prescriptions to be filled. I was throwing random stuff in my basket, looking for any way to make the weekend a little more tolerable. Pumpkin chai latte mix, funky purple nail polish, trashy gossip magazines, fuzzy socks. If only I knew none of that would make the slightest difference.

I remember being incredibly annoyed at how friendly the pharmacist was. Could she not READ what prescriptions I was picking up (misoprostol, oxycodone, ibuprofen)? Was it not obvious what I was about to endure? Why was she so damn happy? Did she really think smiling that much would help me?

I remember getting back to my house and finding a big bag of stuff on my porch from my dear friend. A book, a Chemex coffee brewer, a kitchen scale, coffee filters, coffee, a handwritten letter. Strangely, those things meant more to me than anything in that moment and brought me more comfort than any of the crap I had recently bought.

I remember mindlessly watching House M.D. as I waited for my husband to get home so I could take the pills that would initiate “the process.”

I remember setting up my “station” on the living room couch and placing all my essentials on the coffee table. Water, pills, cookies, cell phone, charger, Bible, tv remote. And that stupid purple nail polish.

I remember taking the first dose of pills and being surprised at how quickly they started working.

I remember telling my husband he should call my doctor because I was pretty sure I was going to die. The cramps were too strong. The room was spinning too much. I was too clammy and feverish. I was bleeding too much.

I remember calling my friend, J.K. (no really, those are her initials), probably crying incoherently,  and her saying, “You don’t have to be a superhero. Take the pain medicine.” So I did.

I remember taking the pain pills and realizing it not only numbed my body but also my mind. I liked that.

I remember the feeling of blood pouring out every time I stood up or moved that entire weekend. I avoided moving at all because there was just something awful about seeing all of that come out of me.

I remember passing baseball sized clots and searching through each one looking for my baby. I needed to see that baby.

I remember how alone I felt because my husband refused to come in the bathroom with me at all that weekend. I felt like a freak.

I remember calling my doctor, because about halfway through the process, something didn’t feel right. She told me to come to the office even though it was a Saturday. She was already there doing paperwork from the week.

I remember calling my friend to take me there because my husband wouldn’t go. She got to my house less than thirty minutes later.

I remember laying on the exam table, J.K. holding my hand and stroking my hair, as my doctor pulled out the gestational sac and some more clots. A bunch of it had gotten stuck around my cervix and it would have never come out had I not gone in.

I remember watching as my baby and its tiny home was placed into a sterile container and set on the counter.

I remember asking to see my baby, but being told that no, I didn’t really want to do that. Well, I did. I needed the closure. Looking back, I wouldn’t have asked. I would have just done it. It’s one of my regrets.

I remember  being driven home and stopping to pick up sushi on the way.

I remember arriving back at home and collapsing on the couch, a feeling of emptiness coming over me. My baby wasn’t inside me anymore.

I remember clocking into work at 7:45am two days later, only to clock out again at 7:55am because I just couldn’t do it that day.

I remember showing up to work the next day, trying to push myself to at least stay for half the day. I was crying all morning, eyes puffy and face tearstained. I was told, and I quote, “It’s time to move on now.”

I remember going to our friend’s house that night (which was normally band practice night), and all of us just sitting around the kitchen table crying and praying.

I remember being extremely upset when my Percocet ran out, because now I’d be forced to deal with the emotional pain.

I remember making a shadow box with ultrasound pictures and bible verses to remember Ivory by.

I remember making two doctor’s appointments because the bleeding went on for weeks and never stopped. I was tired, depressed, irritable, and not myself (but who would be themselves after losing a child?).

I remember dealing with depression really badly after my miscarriage, to the point where I stopped caring about myself, gained a little weight, and physically could not get out of bed some days. I was given Zoloft.

I remember making a third appointment for another opinion, 2.5 months after the miscarriage, because something kept telling me that no amount of birth control I was given would fix the “hormone imbalance” that was causing the bleeding.

I remember being scheduled for a D&C for the next day after that appointment. I was scared to death about being put to sleep, but glad that hopefully my bleeding would finally stop.

I remember calling a friend and asking her to drive me to the scheduled surgery.

I remember being so nervous that the nurses pushed two doses of Valium before I was wheeled into the OR to be put to sleep.

I remember hearing, “Doctor, she’s really nervous,” before being put under.

I remember waking up in recovery and feeling good. I was in no pain and had no bleeding. However thanks to the drugs, I was crying hysterically because I couldn’t see my doctor anymore. I was told he was in the OR with another patient.

I remember reading the operative and pathology report from my surgery a few days later at work. Uterine contents, evacuation of contents: degenerated tissue with villous outlines, intact fragments of benign endometrium and cervix also present. These findings are suggestive of degenerated products of conception. Multiple tan-grey tissue fragments with aggregate measurement of 5.0 cm. That’s what was causing all my bleeding – leftover “products of conception” (I hate that phrase with a burning passion).

I remember that day was the start of my recovery. I felt better, and I felt like I could start to pick up the pieces, no matter how long it took me.

I remember wanting to take about my loss with my husband, but he didn’t seem to want to. This is still a problem we are working through. Maybe one day.

I remember telling Naomi (my rainbow baby) that she has a sibling named Ivory Genesis in heaven, and watching a huge toothless smile stretch across her face.

I remember everything, because it’s all I have.

Dear Ivory

Dear Ivory,

Here I am writing you again on the eve of your original due date. If you were born around this time last year, you'd be one. Sadly, as we all know, things didn't work out how we had planned and now you've been in heaven much longer than here on earth.

I've been struggling with what to write for a few days now. I feel like my thoughts always come out like a jumbled up mess, so I'll try to share what's been on my mind.

I still wonder why God took you from me so soon. How is it possible that in the eight short weeks you were in my tummy, you fulfilled God's purpose for your life? How is it possible that my loving, kind, generous God so graciously planted you in my belly, helped me sustain your life for several weeks, and then plucked your sweet soul up and into heaven? Why would He do that? Why did He allow me to get pregnant in the first place? Why did He take you if He knew all the emotional and physical pain it would cause me? Why did He take you if he knew my marriage would nearly fall apart in the aftermath, and we are still struggling to pick up the pieces all this time later? Why?

I don't have the answers. I've always said that once I get to heaven, I'll know why He took you. But - I'm not so sure I will know. Maybe it isn't God's plan for me to know what happened. Heaven is supposed to be a place of rejoicing and laughter and dancing, would He really want to bring up the heartbreak and hurt again, if He has made all things new? I admit, I haven't researched the biblical answers to any of this, I'm just pouring out what's on my heart.

I have learned a couple things throughout this process though, and I bet that really surprises you. It seems like I still cry for you an awful lot, and I do, but I'm also learning. If I hadn't lost you, I would have never connected with some of the amazing women that I have. I would have never gotten to share my story and reach out to other moms in the same shoes. With Love, Genesis & Joy would have never existed. This ministry is because of you, my beautiful baby. I would have never learned how to relate to others going through loss. And most of all, I would have never dove into God's Word like I did, searching for answers and praying, praying PRAYING that Jesus would help me through the days ahead. I was so angry at Him for so long, but honestly - what kind of person would allow such pain to happen (even though death is not in His ultimate plan at all), and then never leave your side, and will always be there to help you through it? My Jesus is that person, the One who is holding you for me until I get there.

My body is the first place your heart started beating, you made me a mother. No matter who does and who doesn't acknowledge that, it's the truth. I am a mother because of you. People probably wonder how I could possibly love you so much, even though I never got to hold you in my arms. The simple answer is this: I created you. You are my baby. How could I not love you?

One last thing before I go. I told Naomi about you recently. I said, "Naomi, did you know you have a big sibling up in heaven? Her name is Ivory. Ivory Genesis. She was the pure, beautiful beginning to our family and I know she lives in you now." Ivory, did you know Naomi got the biggest grin on her face when I told her that? I know you made her smile. Just like it makes me smile when I randomly see angel wings - that's our sign and I know it means you're near.

It's time for me to go. Happy original due date, my precious baby. You have taught me so much. I'm sending up a white balloon to you tomorrow, send me a sign when you see it. I love you more than I could ever explain, you have my heart. 

-Mama

                        One of the only pictures I have of me pregnant with Ivory.

                        One of the only pictures I have of me pregnant with Ivory.

mama story: Chelsea

Today's featured story was submitted by Chelsea. She has graciously allowed me to share her e-mail address if anyone would like to get in touch with her regarding her loss. If you would like to speak with Chelsea, please e-mail me and I'll get you in touch with her.

Each Monday a new mama story will be featured. E-mail me with your story!

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My pregnancy was going well- we had surpassed that safe zone of 12 weeks and had since shared our news with friends, family, and of course our social networks. We had reached 17 weeks and were 1 week away from finding out the sex of the baby. I had started to have some sharp pains around my abdomen, but both my husband and I, after entering many many google searches had chalked it up to round ligament growing pains. At one point I did start to bleed a tiny amount, but it was known that I had a sensitive cervix from the beginning so it wasn't unusual but I still decided to call the doctor's office to see what they thought. I spoke with a nurse and she agreed that it was most likely growing pains and that since I had an
upcoming appointment I should just take it easy and drink lots of water, which I did.

It was the evening before I was planning to announce the pregnancy to my small team at work, my boss already knew. I was at home working on something in the office when I stood up- there was a huge gush of water and I had initially thought I had had an accident. My husband was on his way out the door to take the dog for a walk so I called down to him to let him know something wasn't right. We got right in the car from there to head to the emergency room.

As soon as we got there I was surprisingly taken back into a room right away and they put an IV port in, but then sent us back to the waiting room for close to an hour. Google is not your friend! When we were finally called back into a ED bay a doctor did a pelvic exam. I'll never forget the way she told me, "there are products of conception." I had no idea what that meant exactly until the nurse said, "you're having a miscarriage." They wheeled me into a separate room to have an ultrasound, the first ultrasound I would have that wasn't transvaginal, but I would never get to see the screen. I never did get to have that perfect ultrasound that shows the clear outline of a formed baby. At this point they confirmed that while the baby was still alive and had a great heartbeat, there was no amniotic fluid left. We weren't given many options, actually none. We were told that the baby was too young to make it to a healthy delivery with no fluid to help it to continue to develop and that it likely wouldn't live very long in the womb without it either. We were admitted to labor and delivery that night and they started me on cytotec to induce labor. 


It took over 24 hours until we finally delivered our 5oz baby boy. He was absolutely perfect, just very very tiny. He was born sleeping. I am so thankful to have been able to see him, hold him, and spend time with him before having to give him back. We made the decision to have him cremated so that we could know where he was at all times. In addition our wonderful nurses took beautiful photos of him and we have a perfect set of hand and foot  prints that will help me to not forget just how tiny he was.

We never got an actual cause of the miscarriage from our doctors. We did have our baby tested for abnormalities, none were found. It boiled down to the fact that I did have an infection, but the debate was how it started. Did my cervix open allowing infection to enter my uterus or an infection cause my cervix to dilate early? It is an example of the age old chicken or the egg question. I found a wonderful resource online called Abby Loopers where I felt strongly enough to take matters into my own hands and I went forward with something called a transabdominal cerclage. I'll have to have a c-section when I finally have a successful pregnancy, but it will hopefully keep my cervix closed to prevent future infections.

My biggest takeaway:
-If you feel like something is wrong, be an advocate for yourself, push to
be checked out!

                                  The tiny hand and footprints of Chelsea's sweet baby.

                                  The tiny hand and footprints of Chelsea's sweet baby.

Husbands and loss.

This post is inspired by a small conversation with my husband a few nights ago. He had come home from work early (early for his job is around 8:30 at night) and were sitting on the couch talking while the baby was asleep.

We were talking about church the day before, and he said, "Yeah. When that guy got up front and was talking about how hard it was just to worship, how it took everything he had to even lift up one hand, that's how I felt."

"How you felt when?" I asked him, suddenly perplexed at the serious direction our casual conversation was headed.

"When we lost Ivory. I didn't think I could make it either. I didn't want to worship God."

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I always get frustrated because my husband isn't as open about our loss as I am. He compartmentalizes it a lot, which I can't really be upset about because I do the same thing, except for when it comes to our baby. We've had many arguments over the last year and a half because I felt like the loss didn't matter as much to him, that he wasn't as attached to the baby, or because I thought he felt like I was overreacting. Then, he'll randomly say something like our above conversation and I'll realize it absolutely did matter to him and he still feels the pain. He's admitted before to feeling like he has to keep it together for me - even though sometimes I wish he would lay on the floor and just cry like I've been known to do.

My point is this - men process grief a lot differently than women. Just because they don't cry at the mention of your baby's name doesn't mean they feel any differently about it than you do. It took me a long time to realize this. You have to understand that everyone's journey through grief is completely different. I'm still mucking through the waters nearly two years later, but for some people they begin to feel healing much sooner. You can't put a timeline on grief and you can't compare your journey to anyone else's.

My husband isn't a tattoo guy, but I got a tattoo on my wrist to honor Ivory. He got a knife engraved with "Ivory Genesis" and Job 1:21. I put together a shadow box with Ivory's ultrasound picture (I carried this box around the house with me, room to room, for about a week after the miscarriage). He admits to hearing a song on the radio and getting flooded with emotion and memories. We both process things differently, and that's okay.

I'm still waiting for the day that we can sit down together and just talk about the loss without any walls up. It hasn't happened yet, but that's okay too. It will one day, but both parties need to be ready. It can't be rushed.

I was pregnant with Ivory in this picture, and didn't know it yet. We found out the next week. (July 2015)

I was pregnant with Ivory in this picture, and didn't know it yet. We found out the next week. (July 2015)