August 15, 2014

Girls Getaway in Santa Fe

About a month ago, my crazy awesome sister-in-law called me. Her words on my voicemail, "Jessie, give me a call right away. We need to talk." After a panic attack on what could possibly be going wrong (seriously guys she woke up that morning with a poisonous spider in her bed, I thought she was dying), I called her up and was greeted with the best suggestion I have ever received: "We need a girls vacation pronto!" Ha, panic attack ends. You see, Mindy is a full time graduate student, full time wifey...and me, I am a full time wife, and this summer have been on the road about 80-90% of the time. Needless to say, we are two tired and very stressed out chickas. She was even in town for a couple days near the beginning of summer and I was gone the entire time, didn't see her except for a quick hug at a wedding, I flew home for (not her own wedding, but a mutual friends). That was not okay. Add in that she lives 10 hours away and never gets any time off from school, and you have a very sad sister-in-law.


Mindy had a brilliant idea to do a girls trip to Santa Fe, NM. She had been wanting to go and I had never been there. She ended up flying into town and then we road tripped it, along with my mother-in-law, the rest of the way to Santa Fe. We had the best 3 days in cute little Santa Fe, sipping yummy drinks, eating Mexican food until we could take no more, walking everywhere through old town and staying in the cutest hotel ever (Inn of the Governors - highly recommend staying there). We saw so many art galleries and street vendors, old antique stores and hole-in-the-wall shops. But most of all, we had the best time getting to be together to laugh and relax. We are already counting down the days until next year's trip!


And because I can't pic just a couple pictures to share, here's a whole feature length film for your viewing pleasure. :)



August 11, 2014

When infertility feels an awful lot like the DMV

About 2 weeks ago, my mother in law asked me how I was doing. I told her, "pretty great, social media has been pretty quiet lately. No new pregnancy announcements so right now, my heart isn't feeling that ache as much, my comparison meter isn't going full swing." Well, you know how that goes. The second you mutter those words, everyone and their mother is announcing their newest addition, coming 2015. Then you start thinking, "when the heck will it be my turn," "why them and not me", "gosh will 2015 even be my year." And you proceed to spend most of the weekend feeling down in the dumps.

Via 
There are days, weeks, months where infertility feels like you are spending enormous amounts of time at the DMV. You know the drill, you walk in and the line is out the door. You grab your number and squish yourself down on the bench in between two stinky men. Yeup, the AC isn't working today. Of course, you chose to come on the hottest day of the year. You settle in with you iPhone out. They are on number 15 and you have number 101. This is going to take awhile...

....You have checked every social media outlet, played a couple games, organized and reorganized your calendar, color coded your appointments and are out of ideas. Maybe take a selfie while you wait and post it on said social media of your choice. They are only on number 57 so, you start to people watch. There is that lady with too many kids and they are causing chaos. Give me your child please! Certainly you won't miss one. There is the elderly man who reminds you of your grandfather, you wonder if he will ever get to meet your children. Wait, hasn't that lady already been here and through the line before. How can she possibly be back before you even get a chance to go to the front?....They call out 99. Yay! Two more people and you will be able to get out of here...

...They call out 100, and you stand up in anticipation for your turn. Someone plops down in your seat. Then, they call out "number 1"...

...Wait a minute, you have 101. Where is your number?! You go up to the desk and they tell you that they are "only calling number 1 right now and you will have to wait your turn." Um... "Wait my turn, I have been here over and hour and 101 comes after 100. I have fully waited my turn"...

...They leave you with a "well, I'm sorry. I don't know what happened, our numbers only run 1-100. You can go select another number and we will get with you really soon." And with that you get back in line, no closer to your goal than you were a whole hour ago. Doesn't matter that you gave up your lunch breaks for the whole week just to come to the DMV...

...The wait continues and they finally call your number. At least this time, they got it right. You go up and start filling out your paperwork. You will be out of here in no time, only come to find out, they only accept cash. "What?! No checks or credit card? I called before coming and they told me a check would be fine."... "Sorry miss, you are going to need to come back when you have cash."...

...So you go to get cash and realize you don't have your debit card. You realize, apparently this is just not your day and head home defeated....ready to do this all again tomorrow, during that lunch break that you no longer have. Guess you're gonna have to tap into your PTO you were saving up for the maternity leave you will never get to take.



Thus feels my life right now. Maybe next time it will finally be our turn, but until then, at least we can laugh our way through those days where the DMV feels like a never ending eternity.

August 9, 2014

Our "perfect" child

Via Pinterest
You know what I have realized recently? With time, we heal and what hurt us so much, hurts a little less each day. How, despite pain, you can choose joy and celebration and laughter amongst the tears. Granted, it has taken a lot of healing along the way, but I think that joy and celebration can be a choice we make, that despite all circumstances we will praise Him and thank Him (Job 1:21)....and it doesn't hurt along the way to laugh some too.

Through healing, Marc and I have found a new appreciation for "joking" about Peyton. We frequently find ourselves talking about our "perfect" child, the one who never:

-Talked back to us
-Turned rebellious
-Snuck out at night or ran away
-Broke a bone
-Ran off and eloped 
-Got a tattoo




Yes, Peyton may have landed me in the ER and caused us extreme heartache, but our kid is healthy and whole in Heaven, free from sin and destruction! Amen! Honestly, our first child set those expectations pretty high. Our poor children that follow Peyton, I mean they really have big shoes to fill. So, you may see me randomly fist bump the air as we congratulate Peyton for being that cool of a kid, or hear Marc and I one-uping each other on how awesome Peyton is. I guess it is all part of the healing process, part of being a family that celebrates what was ours for a short time rather than continues to mourn what was lost. Yes, there are bad days, but overall, laughter has returned to our home and Peyton gets to be a part of that laughter. 

The sorrow may last for some time, but there is joy that comes in the morning (paraphrased from Psalm 30:5). 

July 19, 2014

Thanks

Thank you all for your love and support on my last post. I'm not going to lie, that was a lot of ugly truth. I really didn't want to post it and actually waited a whole week before deciding to, but I hate being fake. Truth is, that's how my heart feels some days. That is what infertility and loss feel like....to me. I am starting to try to embrace that, share that and hopefully someone out there finds encouragement and hope that they aren't alone. We aren't always going to have our lives together, there will be days we feel helpless and exhausted. In those moments, we need community.

This past week has been incredibly hard for us. No particular reason other than sometimes infertility and loss feel that much more weighty than other times. Marc and I celebrated our 8th anniversary this past week and while I feel like "WOW, where has 8 years gone? Best 8 years of my life!", we both also had a lot of sadness surrounding this anniversary. Eight years of marriage is a long time. While we feel closer than ever together, we also both feel in a strange place in life....sort of stuck. We both feel frustrated and unsure what to do next. We keep trusting and moving forward a day at a time, but there are days where the clouds loom and it is hard to see one more child or hear one more story. Yet we keep pressing on in hopeful anticipation that one day, we will get to hold a baby in our arms.

So, life....you are funny sometimes. Celebration paired with pain. Hope in light of suffering. And friends who are awesome enough to stick by and cheer us on when we get a little knocked around. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

July 18, 2014

Naming your Angel Baby

When you lose a baby, it is devastating. You lose a part of you, you lose a dream. When I first went through our miscarriage, I was scared. My biggest fear, that I would forget our child. With a miscarriage, there isn't a face that you can remember, there usually aren't many tangible items that can make you think about your baby. Most of the time, you don't even have an ultrasound to cherish. So at that time, I committed myself to not forgetting. I bought a necklace as a momento, I have kept our ultrasound plastered to the refrigerator. But the biggest piece to that healing, to the not forgetting, came in naming our baby.

When you first find out you are pregnant, your mind starts dreaming and planning. What will your child look like? What will you name them? If you are anything like me, you may have had a list of your future children's names tucked away in your wallet since you were like 15. When I saw those two lines on the pregnancy test, I wondered if our baby was a little girl or a little boy. I pulled out our name list and started dreaming. Then, as I started bleeding, nothing else mattered. No longer was I worried about plans or names, I was simply focused on survival. From that moment on, my prayer was that my baby would be a warrior, a strong little fighter.

During that time, I saw a definition for a name. The definition meant "warrior". From that moment, I started to envision calling my child by that name. Surprisingly, it was gender neutral. It didn't require me to pick if my baby would have been a little man or a lovely lady. It was simply perfect. Yet, I was scared. I honestly thought people would laugh at me, think I was crazy for naming a little life that I only knew for a few short weeks. So I kept that name hidden inside.

It wasn't until over a year later, that I finally told my husband about this secret name that I had been calling our child. On Mother's Day 2014, our little "No. 1" was officially named. Marc instantly loved the name. He didn't think I was crazy for having called our child it secretly. It was surprising how by just putting a name to your lost child, how much more real the entire experience becomes. It feels so much more personal to call our sweet child by name, rather than just saying "our baby".


I have recently started volunteering with an amazing organization that helps to support families that have lost their babies. At our first meeting, we all sat around a table and told our babies' intimate stories. We shared together, we cried together. We called our children by name. We gave meaning to their lives. For a moment, we got to talk about them as real people. It was so freeing. So freeing to hear my baby's name, so freeing to hear others say my baby's name.

There isn't a right or a wrong way to go through miscarriage. Some people may name their babies, others may choose to not. For me, it took me a year to even acknowledge that I had a name for my child. Someday, our future children will hear about their sibling in heaven. We won't have to call "it" baby, we will call our baby Peyton. Naming our baby gave our baby a deeper reality in our minds. Solidified that we have a child, a baby in heaven named Peyton.

We love you sweet Peyton! Love, Mommy and Daddy


July 11, 2014

the post I should never publish, but am

I may look strong, but I am not.
I may look like I'm just married, but I am a mother. 
I may act like I know the reason behind our loss, but somedays it is hard to trust God that it is all working for good. Although I believe for a fact, it doesn't make it any easier. 

I miss Peyton every day. When I sit at work, in the car, on the phone, in the shower. As the water runs down my face, I remember the tears. I remember the hurt. I remember sitting in the ER seeing the ultrasound for the first time. I remember the subsequent doctors appointments and the words that ended that fleeting dream of having a baby in my arms, watching my child grow. Months go by, years go by and sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday. Other times it feels like life has moved on, but it never really heals. 

Babies grow up and those kids that would have been friends with yours, they now have siblings. And then soon, their siblings are growing up....and you get down to it and the void feels massive. Your heart aches for your precious child that you never got to hold in your arms, that you never got to see their sweet face or know the sound of their cries. And something inside you yells, "that's not right! I just want my baby." 

When you continue to try month after month for another chance, and time just keeps moving on. Your life feels like it is stuck on an eternal pause button while everyone else is moving on, living and thriving. When the texts come and they ask "are you pregnant yet?" and your "no"s get no further response, no questions, no "I'm sorry." It's as if people only care about you if you are fertile and with child. 

Sitting on a plane looking down at the earth below, thats when it hurts the most. Maybe it is because it brings back the terror of sitting on the flight not knowing we were about to lose our baby. Maybe because I feel that much closer to my sweet child when I am up above the clouds. Maybe because up there all seems more peaceful below. 

And we keep crying out "Lord, how much longer?! Please Lord, give us a child." Yet, how long will that wait continue to be? People have waited much longer than 3 years. I just simply don't get it. Maybe I never will, but I can't wait for that day when He will wipe away every tear. Our pastor the other night was talking about that moment, when our tears will be no more and he equated it to the moment when we see all our life, all we wasted, all our sin and then we see it all lifted away, perfected and how it was supposed to be. But when I think of that moment, all I see is Peyton. I see our family whole and complete again. Oh, I cannot wait for that moment.

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. (Matthew 5:3-4 MSG)

If you haven't already seen this movie, all I can say is "wow". Be ready for a lot of tears, but it is so worth it. - Return to Zero movie 


July 6, 2014

For when anxiety builds {Phil 4:6-7}

source
So there we sat, 3rd row back, left hand side of the sanctuary, our usual spot.....preparing our hearts for a Wednesday night service which we never attend except on rare occasions. My mind way bogged down with work and all that had to be accomplished the next day. My heart anxious about how I was going to get it all finished. My attitude was less than stellar as I entered into week 8 of 10 traveling. I leaned over to Marc and said, "I am so anxious!"

He turned to me, "You know the Bible has solid advice to deal with that?" Yes, I know. I recited right then and there what I have heard a million times,

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:6-7

Do not be anxious...easier said than done. How many times have I prayed that prayer? How many times have I recited that truth? Why is it so hard to accept God's peace? Why doesn't my heart feel guarded in Christ Jesus at this moment? How many more times will I ask for peace, ask for the anxiety to disappear?

When I have to travel yet again....do not be anxious....God gave me this moment
When my heart aches for a baby....present my request to God....and accept His supernatural peace even when the timing doesn't make sense
When it is hard to see how we will ever have the resources to build our house or by our land....keep on praying

And when I forget, Lord keep reminding me of this truth. I don't have to be anxious, you have called me out of it, away from the pain and confusion and into your clarity and peace. I don't have to understand it because you guard my heart. Help me to rest on your truth, to claim it over my life and circumstances. "Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I" am (Psalm 61:2).

June 21, 2014

Moments that Define Us

"When a moment or a person forever changes the way you view God and the way you view life, it seems to keep coming up." - Jennie Allen, Restless pg. 120

For a while lately, I have felt a little silly when writing in this blog. I have felt like every single post still contains mention of No. 1 and miscarriage and grief....certainly almost a year and a half later I should have other things to talk about! I am not in a deep depression over the event anymore, why does it still fill almost every waking thought. No one wants to continue hearing month over month about this struggle.

Daily though, I have to remind myself that this is my story. No matter what other people care to read or hear, God has given me this unique situation to change me. He has given me this situation to bring Him glory in the midst of this pain. He has called me to walk this road however long and hard it may be because at the end of it, it is only Him. I want Him to tell me "Well done. I entrusted you with this journey and though it was rough, you grew, you changed, you used it to bring me praise, you used it to impact and change others."

For that reason, I will not back down from talking about our struggle. I will not let Satan minimize the impact of what God is doing right here and now in my life and the lives of others. My No. 1 was a defining moment, it shook my up and made me look at life differently. What is yours? Don't be afraid to talk about it, shout it to the world, make it your mission field.

June 15, 2014

To my baby daddy on Father's Day

I must admit, most of the time I doubt that Marc wants kids as much as I do (bad wife here). I have cried my heart and soul out on the journey for the past 3 years, but I could probably count the times I have seen him cry on 1 hand. He is stronger than I know and definitely a rock when my emotions are all over the place. 

Yet last weekend, as we sat "stalking" people on Facebook, I saw those tears. I saw just a glimpse of his daddy heart. As we scoured the pages seeing other people's families and fun, his heart ached in sync with mine. His guard went down long enough for me to get it. We really are on the same page. 

Oh how I wish that this Father's Day would have been the day. How I wish he had a child in his arms, but I know that when that day comes, Marcus is going to make one awesome dad. If anything, this journey has changed his perspective on kids, refined him to what type of father he wants to be. He is such a strong godly man that desires to be available, present and active in his kids' lives. I can't wait for the time God gives him the chance to use these skills.

June 8, 2014

Do You Wanna Live with Grandma? (Frozen Parody)

Lately, Roxy has been everything but a well behaved dog. With working from home, we have started giving her more privileges like being alone in the house (not in her cage) for up to 4 hours. She was doing pretty good for awhile....but then, she stole 1 brownie off the counter....1 brownie turned into a whole tub of chocolate covered almonds....which turned into a whole box of chocolate chip cookies....which turned into a book and my Coach wallet. It seems like most of these events occur close to when I am traveling a lot for work so I truly think they are anxiety driven, but it makes us so mad. With thoughts of building a new house, the last thing we want is our dog ruining the floors, carpet, dragging mud all throughout, bringing in who knows what from the farm. There are so many times I think it would be nice if we gave her to my parents (they want a dog), but I just don't know what life would be like without her....I kind of cry each time I think about it.


Last weekend, as I lamented over my chewed on wallet, I for some reason had the Frozen song "Do you wanna build a snowman?" song stuck in my head. I have never seen the movie, maybe someday I will jump on the bandwagon, but for now, my mom-friends and coworkers post enough parodies or actual clips or quote it enough that I feel like I have seen the whole thing. Here's what I came up with:

Do You Wanna Live with Grandma? (Frozen Parody)

Do you wanna live with grandma?
Come on lets go and play.
Over there she has treats galore,
You won't need me anymore.
Man don't you love to play! 

She loves to talk right to you,
in funny voices
I wish I could tell you why! 
Do you wanna live with grandma? 
You would love to live with grandma. 

Do you wanna live with grandma? 
Think of how much fun you'll have.
She has so many balls.
You'll run all through her halls.
Come on don't you want to stay? 

I know gramps will walk you,
daily.
What more could you ever want? 
Do you wanna live with grandma? 
I bet you wanna live with grandma! 

Do you wanna live with grandma? 
Mom and dad would be so proud.
They would build a house,
Without no cares,
Cause you aren't there.
It would be "no pets allowed"! 

You would be so spoiled.
You would get fat,
There is no time to be sad.
Do you wanna live with grandma?
Come on let's live with grandma! 


Ok, so it needs a lot of work and I probably need to see the movie now. Seriously, what do you do with a dog that is downright naughty, but so much your only child and firstborn all wrapped up in a snuggly, squishy package?