Friday, June 20, 2014

Old Lines: Our Little Miracle

Monday marked the date of my very first ever positive pregnancy test, two years ago. A short six days later we said goodbye to that baby. I wrote about it and I'm here sharing it again. I'm so grateful that I wrote these thoughts and feelings down. It's so hard to see past the moments of pain and trial. Now that I think about it, it would be possible but highly unlikely that we would have gotten pregnant again and already had a baby. JaiseAnn was meant to be here in our home. She was picked just for us--of that I am absolutely certain. She was supposed to be our first baby. 



 Originally Written 6/29/12

6 weeks ago it was me, Zach, and the dog and life was good. I was fine with that. If we got pregnant, fine! If not, that would be fine, too. "It's all in the Lord's hands" was my motto and I felt I was being so faithful in thinking so.

If it didn't happen, someday we'd start the long road to adoption. Maybe even try our hand at foster parenting. These things have certainly been discussed over dinner with a very easy-going attitude of: things will happen the way they're supposed to.

Three weeks ago I saw a plus sign on a pregnancy test and my life literally changed in that instant.

Six days later we said goodbye to that baby with broken hearts.

Six days don't seem like a lot. Some my dismiss our loss because it was such a brief amount of time. Let me tell you what six days will do to you.

In six days:

-The already peaceful spirit in our home exponentially grew. It felt different in there. There is a power to be felt when a little one is on the way and though it was only a short time, we were not immune to its majesty.

-I started a wish list on Amazon.com. I started researching the best strollers, car seats, and cloth diapers for our baby. Adding them all to the wish list.

-We formalized an exact plan for how we would tell our family and friends and would tear up when we thought about sharing the news.

-We daydreamed about everything: Having my best friend show up to look at our baby and take beautiful pictures. Zach blessing the baby in church with the men in our families (my dad, his dad, our grandpas, my brother). How the house would feel when we brought the baby home. I imagined the entire pregnancy and first year all day every day.

-We made  memories with the baby as we lay in bed at night talking about what we were most excited about, what we were most nervous about, and how it will be to bring that little baby home with a beanie on his/her head, whether we thought it would be a boy or girl.

-We made a place for that baby in our home. We planned the nursery, our possible date nights with the baby, and vacations.

-I started mentally reorganizing closets and furniture and posting things on Craigslist to make room for the little spirit that already had taken up all the room in our hearts.

-I had the blessed opportunity to build a bond.  Something magical that, if nothing else, I'm so grateful I got to experience. Everywhere I went, I had a little buddy...a pal tagging along with me. Everything I did was different. Do I yell at the student who is just staring at the board and not attempting the work? Do I still get pissy in traffic? I started rethinking every action because I was now someone's mother and that someone was already with me.

So, it may have only been six days that we knew about our baby, but those six days were life-altering. Our home changed. Our priorities changed. Our marriage changed. Our dreams changed. Everything changed in an instant...and then everything changed in an instant, once again, with that enormous loss.

I was nervous to post at first because I felt it was too personal. I was nervous to post too fast because people might not find me very genuine, but I wanted to share this. I want to acknowledge this loss, because this was our baby...our first pregnancy...and it was an incredible experience while it lasted and the trial of the loss has still brought enormous blessings our way.

I not only write for me, but I write for someone else who may be going through something similar, either today or down the road. Perhaps it's a woman who, with a prayer in her heart, puts "blogs on miscarriage" in her Google search and stumbles upon this...I can only hope it helps someone else along the way.

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When we first lost the baby, I struggled with trying to mesh how I felt with what I believe. I felt personally responsible, but I believe God has a plan for each of us and His hand is in everything. I felt like Heavenly Father was angry with me for worrying about things that weren't worth worrying about; I believe that Heavenly Father loves all His children and hates to see them suffer and is always there available to comfort and guide them to becoming the best version of themselves. I felt like I deserved this trial; I believe that we all need trials to learn and grow if we will allow a trial to build us rather than break us.

I found it awfully ironic that at the very beginning of the summer I read Kelle Hampton's Bloom and while many things stood out to me, this quote probably stood out to me most of all:

"It's taken me awhile to grasp it all, but I have finally arrived at the grown-up place of life-is-what-you-make-it and there are lots of things we go through that aren't comfortable or ideal, but they could be so incredibly worse, and a simple life of comfort does nothing to change us, mold us, make us into better, stronger, more beautiful versions of ourselves."

I read this and thought, "Oh no! I have a simple life of comfort. What's going to happen next?!" Not exactly the best attitude, I know that. I worry too much. I know that. But in my heart, I knew something was coming. And when it did, I remembered those words along with a million other church talks on trials (as found here for starters).

So, I've been dealt this hand. I've experienced this loss. Why? What do I make of it? What can I learn from it? I don't want the loss of that life to be in vain. How can I make myself a better mother for my future children through this experience? How can I become a better spouse?

I remembered seeing this incredible music video on another blog. It talks about turning your heartbreak into something beautiful. My favorite line is, "It's the price that I paid to see this view."

I'm not done with this trial. I will always be sad about our loss and therefore, I hope to always be learning from it. But for now, I have already learned many substantial things. I thought I would share my new "view."



People are Good

Of course we know this, but we get to see it through different eyes when we are in the midst of the greatest storms. It's why I think one trial is never good enough. Many more will come our way, because we are forgetful. We forget how good people are. Right now, I'm so aware that I am less offended by others, less critical, and more filled with love for the people around me.

Surely that will fade, but I hope I can keep a small reminder of that, because trials really do open our eyes to all the good out there.

Faith Unites People

A lot of people think that religion destroys. There are so many different faiths and so many people believing they are "right" that we overlook the more important aspects like humanity and instead talk about how faith destroys. I've seen it do just the opposite. In times of trial, faith brings people together. Merely having faith in something unites people.

I've had prayers uttered on my family's behalf through this entire experience by many different people from many different faiths. I've had prayers from members of my church, I've had my name submitted to the temple for prayer, I've had non-denominational Christian friends, Catholic friends, and Jewish friends praying for me. I've even had friends that are not of any faith promise to keep me in their thoughts. It doesn't matter. Truly faithful people don't think twice about offering to keep you in their prayers no.matter.what. Through that opportunity to pray for others and to be prayed for. It brings us together. It brings people of all faiths together.

Gratitude is a Wonderful Teacher

I've been practicing choosing gratitude for quite a while now. It has made a huge difference in my life. When we first experienced this loss, we still said our nightly prayers together. First always offering gratitude for all that we do have. And we have so much.

Now that time has passed, we've actually found ourselves thanking our Heavenly Father for this experience. Not for the loss, but for what we've learned. We've thanked Him for the small amount of time that we got to experience that love, excitement, and how it's helped us to grow--as individuals and as a couple.

Being grateful has been the key in helping us learn all that we can through this experience.

The Atonement is Real

My in-laws don't share our exact faith. They share a common belief in Christianity. They have an understanding of Christ and His sacrifice that is inspiring. I leave any conversation with them about religion with a goal to understand and know my Savior more. I swear their motto is, "Give it to Jesus!"

I'm a control freak and I don't know how to "give" any control away. I know that I am not the one in control, but I still don't know how to relieve myself of feeling like I am, if that makes any sense.

The first three days after the miscarriage, I could not handle the guilt. I was filled with sadness but also heavily burdened with guilt. Oh my, the guilt! I felt so responsible. I felt a spiritual and physical responsibility for this loss. I loved that baby and I failed. I cannot begin to describe the hurt. Zach said to me, "Give it to Him, Shar. He'll take it." I refused. I was like a stubborn child. I cried and told Zach, 'I don't know how!" His response was simply, "Pray until you do."

The next morning I couldn't even pray. Although I do believe there is a need for praying properly I firmly believe that any prayer is a prayer. Whether it's verbal, written, in our hearts, etc...All I could do was cry and tell Heavenly Father that I was sorry, ask for another chance, and tell Him that I couldn't take the guilt, but I didn't know how to get rid of it.

After a few days of praying like that, studying church talks, and talking to Zach, the weight was truly lifted. Completely gone. I don't feel responsible, I don't feel guilty. Instead I feel loved and I feel peace. The difference is so huge that I cannot deny it. I cannot deny the power of prayer and the power of the atonement.

I not only know but I now understand that the atonement replaces guilt with peace; it replaces hatred/anger with love. As many times as I've heard that the atonement can transform--this was the first time I truly experienced it, and it's an experience that I'm not likely to forget. I truly felt a weight lifted from my soul.

Oh, How I Love My Husband

I've also learned so much about my husband. He's even more incredible than I knew. I regard him with a different kind of respect and even a reverence now.  There are no words to explain how good he's been. How patient, understanding, caring, and how strong he's been even though this is his loss, too. I have never needed anyone the way I've needed him the past few weeks. And he has been there without fail in a bigger way than I can describe.  Our relationship is stronger and even better than it was. We are even more ready to become parents.

There is nothing I would love more than to start showing next month. To be planning in every possible way for our baby to join us. I will forever be sad about the loss of our "Surprise February Baby." I am grateful for a faith that helps me to find peace and to learn from a difficult experience. I'm grateful to others who share their experiences with trials and set an example for me. I'm grateful to friends and family who went out of their way to make us feel loved. We lost a lot, but we've gained a lot, too. And that's something to be happy about.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this, it is so heartfelt. Hugs.

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  2. Way to pull at my heart strings... I am so impressed with your strength and your courage and your honesty and just YOU in general. I can't even imagine the feeling of loss you must have been burdened with but I am so IMPRESSED with how you handled it and how you learned and are still learning from it. It especially touched me when you shared about how JaiseAnn is supposed to be your first child here on earth. That is such a mature perspective. It is taking me time - A LOT of time - to understand why we have trials and struggles but, I agree with you, they are for a reason... even if we don't know that reason yet. Prayer (when I'm humble enough to do it!) has been the most helpful for me too, in all its forms. Another rambling comment from me - I just want you to know how much I appreciate this.

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