Monday, June 29, 2015

Processing Loss

I feel like blogging today, but I am drawing a blank on what to write about.  Lately, most of my posts have been about our health/fertility journey and pregnancy loss.  I was hoping to be struck with some divine words of wisdom to inspire and encourage others who may be going through a similar chapter in their life right now, but to be honest, maybe I'm the one who needs to read a post like that today.  I'm still in the trenches too.  I'm definitely not standing on the other side yet, ready to tell you that it's hard, but you can make it through.  I'm still figuring out how to make it through too.   



So maybe instead, I can just provide some solidarity by sharing where I "am" right now on this journey.  It's been a little over a month since our second sweet little babe's life ended.  Thirty-eight days exactly since we learned that we wouldn't get to meet this one either.  The shock has worn off, but the pain has only slightly diminished.  

We went back to church for the first time last week.  On Father's Day.  It was our week to serve in children's ministry, so we spent our first Sunday back since losing our baby surrounded by other people's babies and young children.  Not my ideal return to church, but I was actually kind of thankful to avoid the crowds and found it slightly therapeutic to cuddle some chubby tots and kiss their soft little heads.  




I'm struggling to talk to God about this loss.  I really wrestled with Him the first time.  I told Him that I was mad at Him, that I felt like He didn't do anything to help us, and asked Him how I was supposed to trust Him when I felt so let down by Him.  He met with me during that time.  He comforted me.  He showed me many ways that He had taken care of me and fought for me.  I felt my faith in Him renewed and that was a big part of my healing. 

This time... this time I don't know how I feel.  I obviously still believe that everything He showed me and spoke to me the first time is true.  I've seen His hand helping us through this past month and felt his comfort through our friends and family.  But I'm still upset.  I still can't believe this happened again.  I'm afraid of how many times He's going to ask me to go through this kind of loss.  I'm tired of waiting and trying and hoping.  I want to skip ahead and know for sure how this is all going to play out.  

I know I'm not going to get straight answers like that though, so I think instead of asking and talking to God about it and risking more disappointment I've just been avoiding having any type of conversation with God at all.  I know He's there and I can acknowledge His sovereignty and faithfulness, I've even found comfort in several Bible verses, but I haven't gone any further than that.  

Maybe subconsciously I'm not ready to move into the next phase of grieving either so I'm just holding onto it instead of taking it to Him.  This grief is heavy and cold and dark, but it also feels safe and comfortable and familiar now.  I don't know if I'm ready to heal.  I don't want to move on.  



One of the things I hate most about all of this is the lack of control.  Nothing in the past two years of trying to get pregnant has gone the way that I hoped it would.  Nothing.  I know that control is just an illusion anyway, but it's hard not to fight that.  It's hard not to want to feel like you have some say in what happens in your life.  I think that God is trying to teach me to just sit back and trust Him to keep me safe on this ride... and I'm rebelling hard against that.  I want to tell Him how to author my story and I'm mad that He hasn't taken my "advice".  I'm sure that the sooner I accept all this the better it will be for me - man, too bad I'm a stubborn hard-head.  

So that's where I am today.  Still working this all out.  Still processing.  Still working up the courage to journal again and be honest with God and let Him back in.  I'd love to hear from you, friends.  Leave me a comment and tell me how you're doing.  Or share a verse with me that has helped you through the difficulties in your life.  



Saturday, June 13, 2015

When the Unthinkable Happens... Again

Saturday, May 2: Doad and I set off for a fun-filled vacation to Cancun for 8 days.  

Saturday, May 9: The day before we fly home.  A very happy day and an answer to prayer.  




Tuesday, May 12: I start spotting.  I try to keep my cool and not get stressed.  This pregnancy feel so much different than the last one.  I don't have the terrible, foreboding feeling that I did before. I feel happy and hopeful.

Monday, May 18: Still spotting so I call the doc and ask if they can run some blood tests just to ease my mind. HCG = 2224

Wednesday, May 20: HCG = 2894  It should have almost doubled within the two days so the doc calls for an internal ultrasound to rule out any complications.  I prepare to see our baby for the first time and am actually looking forward to the appointment.  I feel calm and fairly confident that our baby is healthy and all our fears will be put to ease at our ultrasound on Friday.

Friday, May 22: We arrive at the office on time, only to be told that our appointment was accidentally scheduled at a second location 30 minutes away.  We rush to the second location and they manage to squeeze us in.  I'm now feeling stressed and frazzled, but try to remind myself that we are about to see our baby.  They turn on the screen and my heart jumps - is that little circle our baby?  The nurse and tech look at each other and the nurse immediately calls for the doctor - that was weird.  Doctor comes in and starts looking over the screen with the tech.  I ask if they can see my baby and they brush me off.  Doad squeezes my hand tight.  My heart starts to pound - something is wrong.  The baby is growing in my right tube.  The pregnancy is ectopic.  Not viable.  Over.

I shatter.  Start crying.  Is this really happening?  Another loss.  Again?  


Why?


The doctor asks if this is my first pregnancy and I tell her that I miscarried just four and a half months ago.  She tells me that she is sorry and this is really unlucky.  I know she's trying to sympathize, but it sounds so unfeeling in that moment.  I want her to fix it, tell me there's hope, something that can be done.  Instead she tells me that I have three options: 1) I can take a low dose of chemo to dissolve the pregnancy 2) I can have surgery to remove the pregnancy and my tube 3) I can wait until my tube ruptures and have emergency surgery to stop the internal bleeding and have my tube removed.  

I want someone else to make the decision for me.  How can I choose to end something that I have wanted and prayed for for so long?  I feel like I am betraying the life inside of me.  If there had been any way to save the pregnancy, I would not have hesitated to take the risk.  Nothing can be done though, so I choose the medicine.  I'm sorry, baby.  Please forgive me.

The day is long.  From the doctor's office we go to the hospital for a qualifying blood test - STAT.  Doad eats.  I can't.  Then to the outpatient infusion center for the treatment.   I almost pass out on my way to the car.  What have I done?  Please tell me this is a nightmare.  

At home, we collapse into bed.  We are in shock.  Trying to process.  Just this morning I was preparing to see our baby - happy, healthy, growing.  Now, hours later, I am no longer pregnant.  Empty.  Shell-shocked.  Broken.  The grief is unexplainable.  So thick, so heavy, so dark.  How many more times is this going to happen?

God uses our friends and family to surround us and help us muddle through the long weekend and the week following.  They send us prayers and encouraging verses.  They pray for us.  They bring us a meal - every day.  

Slowly, I make my way through the process of grieving.  I no longer wake up crying every morning.  Most nights I can fall asleep without tears.   But the road is long and lonely.  No one can do your mourning for you.  Some days it's two steps forward and one step back.  And some days it's two steps forward and two steps back. I think today might be a one step back kind of day - but it's hard to tell.  

This is my story today.  I'm not going to lie, I don't like this part of the story.  But it is my story and whether I like this part or not, I have to believe that God is doing something through this sad, hard thing.  Please pray with me, friends.  Help me hold out for the happy ending.

Lamentations 3:20-24 (ESV)

My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.  But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."