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?  

June 6, 2014

House plans are in!

I


Can you believe it? House plans are in!!!!! Well, the house plans that we like this week.... if you have been following our farm land journey, you will know that we have changed our minds every other day (sometimes multiple times each day) on what we truly want to do living out on the farm land. Do we build little now (<600 sq. ft.) and then our dream house down the road? Do we wait now and build our dream house only once we have the money to build big? Do we build a barn with apartment and live in it until we can build something? Do we just build huge now and hope financially we keep our jobs for the long haul? What to do? Sometimes I think there are way too many options. However, our hearts keep coming back to this one little farm house. When we first started looking at house plans late last year/early January, this was the house we felt set on building. Except we made too many modifications at the time that it looked too expensive and too complicated for our liking, so we started looking further.

After months, our hearts still really love this farm house. There are two versions, a smaller and medium sized farm house, both versions contain a huge wrap around porch, 2 bathrooms and at least 2 bedrooms. We were really set on the smaller version for awhile (~700 sq. ft). We sent out for the blueprints and they finally came in!!!! .... and with them comes a whole new slew of stressors. If you thought your marriage was strong, just try building a house together. Two very opinionated first borns in the hardwood isle at Home Depot...watch out!

We quickly found that the smaller the house plan, the more claustrophobic planning felt. While we want to truly simplify and live different than what the standard "American dream" calls for when planning a house, we also need some space to move. It seriously was too small for our liking, we knew once the drawings came in that it just wasn't going to happen. So we quickly ordered the larger version (and they were on sale!). The larger house adds about 500 sq. ft so the house will be relatively the same size as our current home, plus there is a basement and extra bedroom that weren't available in the smaller model. Plus the outdoor living space is unbelievable! Wrap around porches on 3 of 4 sides.

It is so fun to finally be "settled" on a house plan. It makes it feel that much more realistic that someday we might actually be living out there! Now I am sure from seeing our track record with this process, these plans most likely will change, but hey it is all part of the crazy process of building your own home. The land owners will be back from Europe in the next couple weeks and electricity is slated to be brought onto the land in mid-June. Hopefully that means we will be under contract in the next 30 days or so.....so exciting!


[update: as of writing this last night and scheduling it for the morning, Marc has already informed me he wants a different house plan now. Ha! What did I say, our minds keep changing.]


June 2, 2014

Busy for the sake of busy

"Busy" has become such a hated term in my book. People constantly use the term "busy", making their lives seem unusually crazy. I feel like we have this impulsive urge to be busy, look busy...but yet, business is totally real and legitimate in this culture and our lives. I much prefer the term "full" when describing this phenomenon. Our lives are full in so many ways.

Lately, my life feels full to the max. I am traveling out of state 2-4 days each week with work, trying to catch up on normal life at home when I return, leading a Saturday Bible Study which I love, trying to be a good supportive wife, building and designing a home, trying to prep our house for possibly selling it this summer (and filing insurance claims for the recent storms we had hit our area). There are a lot of days that just checking one thing off my list is an accomplishment in itself. It took me 5 months to respond to my poor Compassion child, maybe I will get my cousin's graduation gift sent one of these days. Things have had to take a back burner. I "temporarily" suspended my Etsy shop 3 months ago (still haven't opened it back up), I hardly ever have the time to sit down and write (although I have a million topics jumping out of my head), working out maybe happens once a week if that. I feel like I am in "survival" mode most days.

The other day, in the midst of being overwhelmed and frustrated, I was reminded again that it is okay to put these things aside. We have to prioritize and chose to take on those things we love and that fill us up. Work, it isn't going away anytime soon, but there is so much more to life than work. In my off-work-hours (when I do get them), I need to ensure I am filling that time with things I love to do and serving how God is calling me to serve. If it doesn't meet those two simple criteria, it is just worthless and a waste of the time I have.

"Turn my heart towards your statutes and not towards selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word." 
Psalm 119:36-37

So here is to not being unnecessarily busy. Here's to realizing that it is all just stuff, most of life is all just filler. Here's to taking moments to love, serve and enjoy. Here's to embracing down time and not feeling a compulsive need to be busy. Here's to surviving a crazy full summer and somehow enjoying it to the full potential!

May 31, 2014

In it for the long haul

3 years ago, we came off the pill...no clue we would be here today.

3 years of trying...1 child lost on this earth but gained in Heaven.

3 whole years.....hard to imagine it has been this long.

Three years fighting infertility and miscarriage and most of the time feeling like it is most definitely wining. At times, I think this journey has gotten easier...but other times, it continues to feel extremely isolating and long. I hope to each day grow more, then other days I seem to revert back into my old ways. Positive growth in the right direction is something right?

Each day I think "Lord, how much longer? This journey feels so long!"

But he continues to say, "Do you see how long the path to Calvary was? Do you see how long we fought for you? Do you see how much my Son suffered for your sake? And you are worried about this? I am the giver of life. I redeem the broken. I am fighting for you still. Be patient my child, this road is short in light of the eternity I have planned for you. I am coming soon so keep being you. Live for me despite this, glorify me through the pain, comfort others with this same love you feel from me." And when I feel like I can't do it much longer, he purposely has all the songs that strengthened me during our loss (my "miscarriage soundtrack") play back to back on Pandora in perfect order, no commercials or other songs to pollute their impact....those songs never randomly align. He gives me verses that specifically minister to my heart. He gives me grace for another day.

3 years feels so long.

3 years and no idea when the end may be.

3 years but tomorrow isn't even guaranteed. 

This is my story. It's broken and lovely, and I know God is redeeming even those moments that hurt the most..... I wouldn't trade it.