Tag Archives | pregnancy

new mercies after loss

new mercies after loss

This month, we would have welcomed a new baby into our family.

Ever since I took my first positive pregnancy test with Everly, miscarriage had become one of my greatest fears. This past July we had one.

It was a heartbreaking, painful loss followed by a confusing four months of weekly blood tests and frequent ultrasounds. I’ve wrestled with whether or not to journal about this experience in this space. Since I trust that God is the redeemer of painful circumstances I decided it was worth writing down in hopes that others might be encouraged too.

I’m still processing it – and probably always will this side of Heaven –  but God has brought his surpassing peace through the following realizations:

1. My baby lived and is now living in Heaven. 

Immediately following the loss, I felt foolish for feeling grief. After all, we didn’t even get to hear the heartbeat. Was it really a baby yet? These feelings were reinforced by the well-meaning comments I received: “This pregnancy was a practice round”, “The timing just wasn’t right”, and “You were only how many weeks along?” Finally, I went to God’s word for comfort. I searched for any scriptures that spoke about the unborn. There was Psalm 139:15-16:

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret…Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

The best comfort came when I read Luke chapter one and realized that Jesus was Lord in the womb. When the angel Gabriel met with Mary he didn’t tell her that she would carry the savior only after she reached twelve weeks, or at the first moment she felt the baby kick. He told her that the moment the Holy Spirit came upon her she would conceive the Savior. The Lord’s presence was so fully abiding in Mary’s womb that when she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s unborn baby leapt in her womb and Elizabeth prophesied!

Clinging to these truths helped me to move past the awkward guilt of grief and realize that grieving the loss of life was actually a form worship. In acknowledging that my baby lived, I honor God as the creator and sustainer of life.

I have complete confidence that my baby is currently worshiping God in his presence, and I can’t wait for the day when I get to join them!

2. Even miscarriage can be an expression of God’s goodness.

God is still good. God is still good. God is still good. I must have chanted this phrase a hundred times following the miscarriage. It might sound trite, naive, or even overly optimistic, but the truth is that I TRULY, 100% believe it to be true.

The same God who didn’t even spare his own Son – but sacrificed him on my behalf – lovingly ordained my loss. He wasn’t caught off guard by it. He wasn’t too weak to stop it. Because He is completely good and completely loving, I can trust (although I confess I don’t fully understand) that losing our unborn baby was what was best for both of us.

Hard truth to swallow? Definitely. But it points me heavenward. If it was good and best to take my baby to heaven before they could take their first breath on earth, then heaven and being in the Lord’s presence must be immeasurably better than I currently ascribe it worth!

This truth has HUGE implications for my life now: how can I live in fear of what will happen to me, Everly, Mike, or our future children when I know that the best lies beyond? How will we as a family live knowing that what we do now only matters eternally if we’re living in light of it?

3. I can truly rejoice in my weaknesses. 

I believe no experience is wasted – God redeems it all – so naturally, I immediately began looking for ways to make meaning of this loss. I saw how tightly I clung to my ideal family. Since we were engaged Mike and I would confidently tell people that we wanted four kids, born back-to-back. Silly as it sounds (I mean, did I really think I could control that?) I was devastated that this miscarriage frustrated our plan.

Good, I thought. I found the lesson God wanted me to learn. Surely now that I confessed it we can move on and I won’t be such a control freak anymore. But feelings of frustration, disappointment, and bitterness kept creeping back in over, and over, and over again.

I sought reassurance from friends and family. While they encouraged the best they could, none of them were able to give me answers or heal me of my depressing thoughts. I’d take my feelings to God in prayer, but I’d still end up tripping over my feelings again days, hours, even minutes later!

A perfectionist by nature, I found these “failings” really defeating. Words from my sister brought 2 Corinthians 12:9 to mind:

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

I am too weak to process my grief and disappointment. No amount of time or encouragement from loved ones will remedy my weakness. But those unmet desires and pains drive me to the Lord. He is the only one who can satisfy and isn’t bothered by my relentless need of him. In those moments when I trade striving and self-berating for surrender and trust, I experience His strength.

I don’t know what the Lord has in store for our family. We still hope to welcome more children into it, but ultimately, our trust is in Christ alone. If God did not spare his own Son but gave him up for me, he will certainly also graciously give me all that I need today (Romans 8:32). So I’ll stand in that promise for now and I’ll rejoice in what he abundantly gives each moment I’m living.

new mercies after loss

 

 

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Dear Everly: A Birth Story

Dear Everly,

I’ve written so many letters to you, letters filled with prayers for your life and the excited ramblings of your expectant mama. But of all the letters I’ve written to you, this one is by far my favorite. It’s the story of how you came be with us – your birth story.

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

I had hoped that you’d come early, but you kept your mama in suspense and decided to wake me up early in the morning just two days before your due date! The pains began softly – almost so softly that I wasn’t certain if I was imagining them!

Your dad and I decided that it was best to hunker down and try to relax as much as possible until you arrived. Dad made some work calls from home and I tried to nap without much success. I was just too excited to meet you! We read our favorite verses aloud. My favorite was from Psalm 139:

For you (God) formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I couldn’t wait for the unveiling of the beautiful work of art that the Lord had been knitting together inside of me for so many months!

Suddenly those soft pains began to pick up intensity. Short of eating ice cream, I knew the only thing that could make me feel better was a warm bubble bath! So in I went! While I soaked in the tub, your dad played our love song on the piano.

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

About that time, Doula Alyssa arrived. I don’t know what we would have done without her help! She rubbed my back and helped me to get into comfortable positions for each birth pain. When I was feeling weak and afraid, she encouraged me to be strong and remember that with each breath and pain, we were getting closer and closer to seeing your face.

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

Finally, at seven in the evening, we decided that you were DEFINITELY on your way and it was time to get to the hospital. I’ve never seen your dad get out the door so quickly! Before I could even put on a change of clothes he had the car packed and ready. The sun was setting, but we could barely see it through the monsoon storm that blew in just in time to escort us to the hospital!

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

We hit nearly every red light along the way, but finally we arrived at the hospital. I waddled to the door where the amazing Doula Noleen had a wheelchair waiting for me. The nurses checked me and determined that on a scale from 1 to 10, my body was at an EIGHT! It was almost time to push!

I continued to labor in the hospital room. I was getting so tired! I remember thinking, “What if Everly doesn’t come out?!” To help speed up your exit and bring you earth side, the doctor broke my water. Now there was nothing standing in your way!

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

Through the hospital window, we saw fireworks – which was actually quite fitting because firework explosions are the only way I can think to characterize the feeling of pushing! The minutes dragged on for what felt like a painful eternity. But then suddenly – you were here!

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

They placed you in my arms and all I could do was look at you in complete shock and with absolute joy. You were here! After all the months of waiting, I was finally able to see your beautiful face.

Dear Everly: A Birth Story

Dear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth StoryDear Everly: A Birth Story

For so long I tried to anticipate how I would feel once I finally got to hold you in my arms. The love your dad and I have for you is SO much deeper than I ever could have imagined! It’s indescribable!

I pray for you everyday.

I pray that I can be every bit the mom you need me to be.

I pray that our love for you would lead you to the foot of the cross.

And I pray that your days would be full of the joy that comes from loving the Lord and serving others.

I can’t wait to watch you grow, dear daughter. Welcome home!

Love,

Mom

Incredible pictures taken by Alyssa and Noleen.

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What I Can’t Wait For

It’s now July –  my baby girl’s birthday month. Lately, the reality of her arrival has been hitting me in massive waves of excitement! There are so many things about bringing my little human home that I just can’t wait for!

What I Can't Wait For

I’m looking forward to the tangible things.

Like the smell and feel of her brand new baby skin!

And being able to hold and kiss her precious little baby hands and feet. (Does anyone else just lose it over adorable baby feet?!)

What I Can't Wait For

I can’t wait to see which features of me and which features of Mike she uniquely wears. I already know that I’ll marvel in amazement at how God knitted her together so perfectly.

And then there are the intangible things that I can’t wait for.

Like the instinctual ease of holding baby. (I was that teen that fearfully held newborns as if they were ticking time bombs)! I’m looking forward to those mama instincts, or in the very least, what I’ll learn in sick or swim fashion!

I’m looking forward to loving a completely new facet of my husband – Mike the dad. There are moments as we sit talking and dreaming about our little girl when this look of absolute tenderness comes over his face… and I just want to cry!

What I Can't Wait For

PHOTOGRAPHER

And most of all, I look forward to understanding God’s love in a deeply new and profound way. To know that the massive love I feel for my daughter can’t even compare to the everlasting and depthless love of God for me will be SO humbling!

I’ve been carrying our Everly June for almost 9 months now. In a way I feel like we’ve been planning a massive homecoming party for dear friend all this time. A friend who’ve we’ve never met, and yet somehow know so well. A little life who will change our lives forever.

We can’t wait to meet you Everly June! You homecoming party is ready for you. 🙂

What I Can't Wait For

PHOTOGRAPHER

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7 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

7 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

If you’ve ever been pregnant – you’ve been there. The moment people know that you’re expecting, your body suddenly becomes an acceptable topic of conversation.

And scrutiny.

And touching.

Don’t get me wrong! For the most part, I’ve loved the changes pregnancy has brought me and I’ll be the first to want to gush about how excited I am. BUT, occasionally over the past 8 months I’ve received some shockingly rude – and hilarious – comments.

I should preface this list by saying that I know that none of the people who made these comments were ill-intentioned, which is why I can laugh about them! So go ahead and laugh with me! 🙂

1.  Me: “I’m having a girl”. Store clerk: “Ah yes, girls steal all of their mom’s beauty.”

2.  Girl (as she compares me to another pregnant woman standing nearby): “You’re short, so the weight has to go everywhere.”

3.  My dermatologist: “Wow. When you were sitting, I thought you looked small… but now that you’re standing…”

4.  Guy: “When are you due?! You don’t look like you have much more room to grow!”

5.  (Before we knew our babe’s gender). Woman: “You’re having a girl. I can tell because you’re carrying the weight everywhere.”

6.  Fitness instructor: “How are you today, besides being SUPER pregnant?”

7.  Husband: “Sorry wifey. I finished off the ice-cream.”

Ah pregnancy – what a delightful season! Having a sense of humor is KEY!

How about you other mommies? Got any comments that top mine?

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Welcome to Seven Somethings

seven somethings

Welcome to the very first in a series I’m calling Seven Somethings – a collection seven thoughts, favorite things, recent happenings, and anything else I deem worthy to make the list!

My purpose behind Seven Somethings is two fold:

  1. to become more consistent in my writing and posting
  2. to introduce myself on a more personal level to those following!

There’s a lot of great content out there in the blogging world, and it truly means a lot to me that you’re choosing to follow along on this adventure with me.

From the bottom of my heart – thank you! <3

So without further ado, here’s a list of my very first Seven Somethings!

seven somethings

  1. In Over My Head has recently become my anthem song! The lyrics hit me deep with the imagery of meeting the Lord and surrendering fully to Him amidst waves of uncertainty. I’m on the brink of a completely new season of life, and there’s nothing I want more than to be fully submerged in His love!
  2. Wild Tonic is the champagne of kombucha! Seriously, try it and you’ll never home-brew or drink another brand of kombucha ever again! I can’t get enough of it!
  3. Since Hawaii I’ve become OBSESSED with lemonade. Not to mention it makes a pretty refreshing treat in the summer heat. I’m working on perfecting a Hawaiian-style lemonade recipe. Stay tuned: if I can get it right I’ll be sharing it here!
  4. I’m loving this maternity robe from Pinkblush! It’s so soft and gives great coverage for the bump in those moments at home when I just need to be pantless!
  5. Cedarwood oil cures my pregnancy insomnia. No joke! A few drops of this in a diffuser before bed or a little bit rubbed on my toes or temples ensures a good night’s sleep! And it smells SO GOOD!
  6. My goal for this week is to wash all of my sweet baby girl’s clothes. It’s one of the final tasks to be done in preparation for Everly’s arrival. I’m not going to lie, I probably spent a half hour in the detergent section of the store agonizing over which detergent was safest for babes! Experienced mommies – please weigh in!
  7. I’m nervous about labor. All of the unknowns and worst case “what-ifs” come rushing through my mind at times. It’s been a bit of a struggle (hello pregnancy hormones)! But it’s also given me an opportunity to lean into the Lord in a new way.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all of my fears… The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh taste and see that the Lord is good… for those who fear him have no lack! Psalm 34:4-8

I’m reconditioning my mind to the truth that no matter what goes on in the labor process, it is the Lord’s best for me. I know that he will equip me with the exact amount of grace and strength that I need to endure. Meanwhile, I’ll be packing my hospital bag!

That’s a wrap for the very first Seven Somethings!

Happy weekend friends!

 

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