Tag Archives: miscarriage

Music Moves Me

Rosebud

Chris and I were blessed to receive concert tickets to help us celebrate our birthdays and anniversary. It was a wonderful evening. The headlining artists were awesome, but the band that has stuck with me most since then is a new one – an opening band called All Things New. We liked their music and decided to buy their first album. It’s good stuff.

One day, I had their CD playing as a background to my day just working about the house, when I was stopped in my tracks by their song, “Keep Me On My Knees.” It immediately brought me to tears, and I realized that if I had heard this song in December, I’d have declared it my anthem in light of losing Parsley.

Here I am in the desert plains
All I have is You
I am desperate and broken down
So I turn to You, I turn to You

Here I am in the desert plains
All I have is You
I am desperate and broken down
So I turn to You

Now I’m asking You, Father please
Just don’t take the weight from me
If this is what I need
To know You, all I need

And I’m begging You, Father please
Just don’t take this pain from me
If this is what I need
Then keep me on my knees

When I’m alone in my darkest night
I know you’re with me
Through the struggle I believe
You still are holy

I’m asking You, Father please
Just don’t take the weight from me
If this is what I need
To know You, all I need

And I’m begging You, Father please
Just don’t take this pain from me
If this is what I need
Then keep me on my knees

If this is what I need
Then keep me on my knees

Whatever for the cost
Whatever for the cost
Break my world apart
Whatever it takes
Whatever it takes
You will ask my heart
You will ask my heart

Now I’m asking You, Father please
Just don’t take the weight from me
If this is what I need
To know You, all I need

I’m begging You, Father please
Just don’t take this pain from me
If this is what I need
Then keep me on my knees

If this is what I need
Then keep me on my knees

I can’t explain it, but this song resonated so deeply with me. Three consecutive miscarriages had stripped away everything I thought I knew about what our family would look like. It challenged the family planning theology that Chris and I have chosen to live by. And yet… I had grown so close to the Lord in the midst of our trials, and I learned even more how to lean into His promises. And that’s a sweet spot to be.

We have to be willing to walk through whatever the Lord asks of us, for His purposes. And we have to trust that He will work it for good. He loves me. I can trust Him in the valley as much as on the mountaintop, and if He needs to keep me on my knees, broken, then that’s what I desire.

Good Samaritans

When I quit my job over a year ago now, one big decision to be made was about how we would cover Poppy and me with health insurance. Chris’s coverage was guaranteed through his school, but they wouldn’t allow us girls to be a part of the plan as it was a student-only kind of thing.

We researched a few things, but I knew I was intrigued by the idea of Christian healthcare sharing ministries. There are a few such ministries out there, but I was especially drawn to Samaritan Ministries.

God really knew what He was doing when He directed me to become a member.

Honestly, Poppy and I are pretty healthy, and – excepting any unexpected accident or illness – did not expect to have many healthcare expenses, except for one thing. We were hopefully planning that I would need maternity coverage this year. Through Samaritan, I’ve received that and so much more.

The basic premise is that when I have a health need, I submit information about it. Samaritan Ministries sends out a monthly newsletter, and every member is directed to pay their share to another individual. So, I write my check directly to someone who has health needs, and I receive checks from other members who are sharing with me. Frankly, I think it’s a beautiful model of how the Christian body should work together, caring for one another in a time of need.

*****

For me, being a member has meant so much more than simply help with paying my medical bills. I’ve had other members praying for me. Other members, when sending me a share that they can see will go to help costs incurred because of a miscarriage, send notes and encouragement.

It is these notes of encouragement that have made all the difference! Certainly, no insurance company cares about its customers in such a way.

I wanted to share some of the words of encouragement that I was given, just in case someone reading could benefit from the kindness shown to us.

*****

“We trust each day brings more healing to each of you.”

“I encourage you to keep your trust in the Lord and His many promises. God’s blessings to you and your family!”

“We are so sorry to hear of the loss of your precious baby. It is hard to understand why these things happen.”

“I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I’m praying God will comfort you and that you will receive complete physical and emotional healing from Him.”

“So sorry to hear of your loss. I understand what you’re going through. Praying God will be your comfort as He is mine.”

“Praying for peace and healing in your hearts.”

(from a fellow sister who has lost a baby) “If I could give any advice, it would be to let yourself cry and grieve over your little one and tell Jesus how much it hurts. He, Himself cried when His good friend, Lazarus, died, and He understands your pain and sorrow now, even if no one else does. Cry out to Him and tell Him every single thing you feel. Tell Him about your sorrow, anger, confusion, or anything else.”

*****

To receive such faith-filled words and sympathy cards from people who did not know me meant so much. I remember one morning in particular when I was really having a hard time but hadn’t realized what was causing my feelings yet, I received a wonderful piece of mail from a Samaritan Ministries member. It truly felt like a hug from God Himself.

I want to encourage you to care for those around you in the same way that I was cared for by Samaritan members. A simple sympathy card with a note of “I’m praying for you” can make such a big difference.

As difficult as our road has been, I know that our grief and pain has been shared by those around us, caring and praying for us in the best ways they know how.

May God bless each of our good samaritans.

A beautiful sympathy card we received.

A beautiful sympathy card we received.

Telling Big Sister

That’s what Poppy is, you know. A big sister.

Our sweetie playing outside on a warmer day last month.

Our sweetie playing outside on a warmer day last month.

I know what that feels like. I couldn’t be happier to be my little brother’s big sister. He is, an has always been, an absolute joy. I can’t imagine having grown up without him.

The difference is, Poppy doesn’t know she is a big sister, and I wonder what she’ll think of the title when she is old enough to know. Of course, Lord willing, we might have added to our family above or below Poppy, and this may be a non-issue.

But for now, when I rock my two-year-old to sleep… When I smell her sweet skin… When I tickle her ’til we’re both breathless, I can’t help but wonder what things would be like.

*****

It can be difficult to think of my two-year-old as a woman one day. Yet, that is what Chris and I are to prepare her for: womanhood. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that our experience will affect the way I teach Poppy about being a woman and a mother.

Our culture so easily dismisses and denies the blessing of a child, and yet, the Lord proclaims their blessing, indeed! I will remind Poppy that He alone directs her days and that should she follow Him with her life, she can trust that His plan will prevail.

I want her to know that the day she enters the gates of heaven, her siblings will be there to greet her. I want her to understand that she was only an “only” child for 11 short months… that half of our family resides in heaven.

I hope that learning about her siblings will make heaven a little bit more understandable for her. Life and death are normal parts of the human experience, and if we’re in the Lord, there’s nothing to fear. We can instead rejoice!

*****

This post reflects my scattered thoughts about bringing Poppy into this part of her family history. Regardless of anything else, though, I want her to know that she is loved. She is purposed to live on this earth. She has siblings in heaven awaiting a glorious reunion.

And, as she looks forward to motherhood one day, I pray she never ever doubts the blessing of a child.

Even If the Healing Doesn’t Come

I wonder if the next chapter of our story starts this week. I have my first appointment with my new perinatologist in order to see if we can determine a common thread to our losses and, ultimately, see if there is anything more or different we need to do the next time I become pregnant.

I’m simply anticipating… anything really. After so many months of so many emotions, I would really like to think I’m ready for anything. Something might show up in our test results. The doctor’s expertise matched with our story might also be enough to set us on a new path. I really don’t know exactly what to expect, but I’m ready to know.

For so long after losing Basil, I was terrified of that third miscarriage. Two miscarriages might simply be a “fluke” (in the world’s mind – of course we know that God purposes each individual’s life – our sweet babies notwithstanding); but three miscarriages would be this “thing.” We didn’t want a “thing.” We didn’t want this to be a long journey, and yet here we are. And, after losing Parsley, I was more ready than ever to simply grab the bull by the horns and keep on keeping on.

Anticipation suggests hope, and I can’t deny that answers would go a long way to settle my heart. I’m a details kind of person, and it’s hard for me to not continually dig deeper. And still, I know the Holy Spirit has been preparing me for anything.

What I’m learning is this: Do I trust God? Period. Not “trust Him until I get answers and can put my faith in modern medicine.” Not “trust Him until we have a successful pregnancy and bring home our rainbow.” Not “trust Him because we know things will turn out in our favor.” Just simply trust Him. And, it’s a hard question to answer. I definitely think I’m closer than I was several months ago. He really has taught my selfish heart so much. And still, part of me struggles to give this up to Him day after day, miscarriage after miscarriage.

So, friends and blogosphere strangers, won’t you pray for us this week? Pray most of all that we continue to know God in greater ways and become more like Him, whatever the cost to our earthly selves. Pray for answers at my appointment should God will us to know them. Pray for confidence to proceed and a good relationship with my new doctor.

Pray that we’ll trust. And praise Him alongside us for His goodness. He is so, so good.

*****

In light of this anticipation, I can’t help but think of this great song by Kutless. I’ve sung it many a time, and I really identify with it.

Our “healing” may not come – I’ve had to force myself to think that through. We may have yet to endure countless trials, and yet we will still choose to trust Him.

You are God; you are good. Forever faithful one. Even if the healing doesn’t come.

Losing Parsley

Telling Parsley’s story brings this blog current in this chapter of our story. We lost Parsley December 2012, almost exactly a year after our first loss, Pepper, in December 2011. Know that we are taking necessary steps to protect whatever blessings God may see fit to give us in the future. We are honored to know that many of you are praying for us as we walk this path.

*****

Upon waking early one Sunday morning, it dawned on me that I just might be pregnant. I had none of my usual tell-tale signs that accompany the opposite scenario.

Honestly, I trembled at the thought. To be pregnant again after two previous losses seemed too much to bear. I fell to my knees under the weight of it all and cried out to The Lord. I cried and prayed, promising Him that I would walk whatever he had for me; that if I were indeed pregnant, I praise His name for the blessing and place the little one into His hands.

After some time in prayer, I worked up the courage, and yes, even the hope to test. A few minutes later, I knew little Parsley existed.

So hopeful Thanksgiving morning, just four days after finding out I was pregnant!

So hopeful Thanksgiving morning, just four days after finding out I was pregnant!

You see, just the day before, Chris and I had an emotional and heart wrenching conversation about our family. In a sense it was a sort of memoir to the road we’d walked for the past year and the ways our faith had been strengthened. We affirmed before God to one another the things we believe: we would not take things out of God’s hands; we would accept the blessing of more children however He sees fit to give them; we would accept His choice of perhaps never granting us more children; and we would be eternally grateful an blessed by His sovereignty in giving us Poppy.

It was one of those conversations that leaves you feeling spent and energized all at once; but mostly, I felt peaceful, in harmony with my God and my husband.

Because of that conversation, the following day’s exciting news was received a bit with fear and trembling. I now know that becoming like Christ is painful.

Yes, Lord, I will follow you. Yes, I will trust you no matter where my path leads. Yes, you are enough. Yes, yes, yes…

And yes, I know where you lead may hurt. Yes, I understand that becoming more like you means dying to self. Yes, I understand my faith is worth more than gold. Yes, yes, yes…

Like times before, I shared the wonderful news with Chris. Could it really be possible that in two-and-a-half years of marriage, this was my fourth pregnancy? Four times to experience the elation of a positive pregnancy test! Four times to celebrate with Chris. I don’t want to sound trite, but seriously – what a blessing. I fully recognize that even the experience of a positive test is a blessing denied to many. And so, I rejoice.

We didn’t really make plans on how or when to announce this new little one’s existence to anyone, but I nearly had to spill the beans the very next day due to some intense morning sickness. I was pretty nauseous with Poppy, but mostly after week 6; and I hadn’t had any morning sickness really with my previous two pregnancies. I was estatic! Morning sickness is generally believed to be the result of strong hormones. Since it was my hormones we had been doubting, I saw morning sickness as a true gift. I know, I know… But, repeated pregnancy loss turns everything upside down.

Thankfully, I made it through a big Thanksgiving prep grocery trip with my mom and Poppy, and we told our parents two days later – the night before Thanksgiving. I just couldn’t hold the news in any longer, and in case we had the opportunity to share at Thanksgiving (you know, the whole go-around-the-table-and-share-what-you-are-thankful-for spiel), I wanted to take it!

Thanksgiving passed without the opportunity to share our news, but I was content. Simply peaceful. Our experience with Pepper motivated us to share big and share early with Basil; but with Parsley, I just felt at ease.

Me and my girl - during the "in between."

Me and my girl – during the “in between.”

My “at ease” feeling lasted exactly one week.

At 4w5d gestation, I was overwhelmed with sadness and fear. It was the first day where my past came back to haunt me, and I was emotionally miserable. I spent the whole day believing that spotting was on its way. In retrospect, it was. Still, it was so insignificant that when things seemed okay the following day, I changed my mind about what I thought I had experienced.

This up-and-down emotion and my body’s confusing signs continued for a few more days, and I felt the stress. The few people who were privy to what I was going through kept encouraging me to stay rested, not panic, release the stress. I think that those were good reminders, but I also think that subconsciously I was preparing for what was coming.

The not-knowing and the fear to hope during that week were agonizing. My sweet mama even reminded me to trust the Lord and hold tightly to Him. It was almost impossible for me to explain at that time that I did trust Him, and He was why I was even able to take one step in front of the other. However, and I want you to catch this because it has been life-altering for me, trusting God doesn’t mean we get the happy ending. If I have learned anything in the past year, I have learned that this is the case. But, you know what? Trusting Him is still worth it. I wouldn’t be able to walk this path if it weren’t for His mercy upon me.

Finally, after more than a week of spotting and pseudo spotting, emotional anguish and many shed tears, I began to miscarry. I was exactly 6w0d.

You may be questioning my use of the word, “finally” above. I’m going to be painfully honest here: in real, tangible ways, it was a relief to know the answer to the unspeakable question. Oh man, did it hurt. I grieved this lost baby whose eyes would never meet mine; whose body I would no longer nourish; whose hand I would never hold. I grieved the loss deeply. But, for better or worse, I was now accustomed to the grief. I knew how to be there. I knew how to feel the pain and keep walking. I knew how to cry one moment and laugh the next. I am learning better and better every day how to dive into the arms of my heavenly Father for my comfort and source of peace.

It’s not that the pain lessens or that my ability to withstand the blows strengthens. It is simply that when I am weak, He is strong. And in those moments, I was weaker than I had ever been.

The “finally” means that “finally my sweet baby sees the face of Jesus.” “Finally, I can find peace and not worry.” “Finally, I can stop fearing to hope.” Finally.

Gratefully, Chris was able to be home with me through the next few weeks. That had not been the case when I lost Basil, and I could tell how having my husband with me daily made an overwhelming difference. We decided after a day-and-a-half of bleeding to go to the doctor. They were able to confirm with an HCG blood draw that I was indeed miscarrying. The doctor I saw was very genuine and compassionate – a relief to my previous two experiences. I didn’t even need to return to the doctor; I simply took another HPT a week-and-a-half later to see that opposite. That negative.

God was very gracious to me as this third miscarriage was the easiest physically. And, at the risk of attributing my experience to others’ – I have found that the emotional road to recovery somewhat mirrors the physical. It’s easier to begin healing emotionally when your body is healing easily, too.

And so my fourth pregnancy became my third miscarriage. My third child to know only the richness of heaven – to see the face of Jesus before the face of his or her mama.

I love you sweet Parsley… baby number four.

So much good

I’m going to say something crazy.

I don’t want to be who I was before I lost three babies.

I suppose it is a great paradox of my life so far – to hate that our babies died but to rejoice in their eternal lives; to hurt so badly with grief but to weep with joy over the strengthening of my faith; to believe that I have been blessed through suffering.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:6-9

Church_with_rainbow

I can’t explain it, but I know some of you get it. Well, for all I know, all of you get it, and I’m the slow learner. It is so unfathomable that God can work so much good through so much bad.

Losing my babies and walking this path of repeated pregnancy loss is not something I wanted for my life. You know what I did want, though? I wanted great faith. I wanted God’s will for my life. I wanted my life to be so much richer than anything my tiny perspective could dream up. I promise you this: God is answering my prayers.

It hurts so bad, but I have never been more sure in my life: as this blog’s verse truthfully claims, He is working ALL things for good in my life, according to HIS purposes.

It’s not my place to guess why this has happened to us, or why your life’s struggle has happened to you. Certainly terrible things happen to us all – such is life on this marred earth. But, I will say this, no matter the why, God is near me. He is answering my prayers for my family through our struggle. He is providing joy and peace – oh what peace! – through the pain.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:18

I want to encourage you today, whatever it is that you’re dealing with, that you don’t have to despair. Cry out to the Lord and know Him. He is near.

Finally, I leave you with a song about blessings. This world would tell you that blessings are only good things, but the Lord our God will always overcome evil with good:

Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if trials of this night, are Your mercies in disguise?

You’ll just have heaven before we do

I had a blast from the past experience a few days ago. I follow John Piper’s Desiring God page on Facebook, and featured that morning was a video called “Miscarriage and Jesus.” It was a short, five minute clip of Christy Nockels speaking about her back-to-back miscarriages more than 10 years ago.

Watch it here:

Christy Nockels – Jesus Is the Greatest Joy from Desiring God on Vimeo.

In the video, I hope you caught the title of the song she mentioned – “Glory Baby.”

That’s my blast from the past. When the song first came out, I remember listening to it on the Watermark CD I owned. In fact, all these years later, I can still sing right along with the music. I honestly don’t know that I connected that song with miscarriage or with the loss of a newborn when I was younger. I can imagine I thought it was a sad, pretty song but would be surprised if I thought much more deeply than that.

Life changes things.

Now I’ve added it to my repertoire… My playlist, so-to-speak. It might be hard to understand, or maybe it’s not, but sometimes I just want to remember, no matter if remembering brings pain or not.

“Glory Baby” is a wonderful way to remember.

Glory Baby, you slipped away before we could say, “Baby.”

This opening line makes my heart hurt and rejoice a the same time. It hits so close to home for me when remembering Pepper… And yet this lyric reaffirms our babies’ lives. They were real. They existed. They just slipped away too soon.

Baby let sweet Jesus hold you ’til Mom and Dad can hold you. You’ll just have heaven before we do.

I was preparing to write this post when the grief came anew. For the first time, I imagined our three heaven-born babies as children instead of babies. And, for the first time, I imagined them together.

Why I had never thought of our babies in heaven together, I don’t know.

“Hey Babe?” I asked Chris with tears streaming, “do you think our babies know that they’re siblings?”

He reassured me, and for the first time I saw our family divided. There are as many of us there in heaven as there are here on earth. The realization broke me in half the way I felt our family has been broken.

I wonder what sweet Jesus has named them. I can’t wait to meet our Glory Babies and hold them, too.