A Tale of Miscarriage: Sharing in Joy and Sharing in Grief

I prayed for my baby.

My family, friends, and I prayed for this baby.

My baby.

The decision to have another child had come easy. Taylor and I thought we had wanted to wait until the next year to try for a little one. We thought maybe we needed a bit of a break, but on the way home from a family beach trip, I had this overwhelming sense that it was time. I looked over at my Tay and told him. I knew he had wanted to wait so I was unsure what his reaction would be. Would I need to wait awhile until he was ready?

His reaction was classic Taylor: simple, secure, and full of hope and love. He thought for a moment, smiled, and replied with a “Let’s do it”. He was ready, my partner in adventure, always willing to grab my hand and jump.

We sat silently for a moment relishing in our excitement over a new bundle. Boy? Girl? Who would this number 3 be?

I could not contain the excitement when I saw those two pink lines. Like I did with the other two, I told everyone within a matter of days.

A baby.

My baby.

Our baby.

Holden would rub my tummy and tell me it was a “Baby Doy/Dirl”. My family and friends all rejoiced with us when we told them the news. A prayer had been answered.

A baby. Living. Growing. Baby.

The morning I began the process of losing my baby I had a playdate planned at my house with a large group of women. My mom was in Mexico, I was on the verge of a panic attack, and I was minutes away from welcoming women (some who I did not know too well) into my home.

I began to text and call. Friends came to play hostess and make sure that Taylor was able to take me to the hospital. My sister in law came and told me she would stay as long as she needed to to watch the boys. My pastor’s wife called and prayed with me. My aunts left work and drove to the hospital to be with me because my Mom was out of the country. My sister left school and did not leave my side those next few days.

That whole weekend felt like I was frozen in a space of impending doom. I started to miscarry Thursday and did not officially find out I had lost the baby until Monday. I attended a lifelong friend’s wedding that weekend and enjoyed visiting with old friends while trying to ignore the fact that my heart was breaking.

It was a beautiful wedding.

I had been looking forward to that weekend for a very long time. It definitely provided the distraction I needed while I was waiting on the official diagnosis. I prayed fervently. I begged everyone I knew to pray. But deep down, I knew.

Spontaneous Abortion.

My body had betrayed me. I felt like I had been robbed of my innocence. My blind hope raped. Something precious had been stolen from me, and I would never be the same. I was angry. I was sad. I was anxious. I hurt.

I cried out to the Lord… and He answered.

He answered by carrying me through the fire.

I cannot explain it, but at times I felt like I was sitting in a dark, cold pit, seemingly all alone, and then suddenly there was warmth. I was being hugged and comforted in the midst of my despair.

In Psalm 34:18 it says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

I know this to be true because I experienced it.

He answered with the big hug that was my community. 6a06eca627b15cf92a6bb9aea7ec8467

My parents spent time with the boys, Tay, and I. They got me a necklace in memory of my baby. One sister in law took me shopping and the other bought me wine and candy. My sister sat in bed with me an entire day. My other siblings called me often. My father in law held me and prayed with me while I cried. My mother in law offered to watch the boys. After returning from their honeymoon, my friends brought me wine and flowers. Out of state family emailed, called, and texted condolences.

The same women who had prayed for my baby now prayed for my heart. Calls and texts to check in… they listened to me. They offered to take the kids. They sent handwritten notes. They hugged me. They brought me flowers and chocolate. They shared their stories of loss. I even made new friends.

They VALIDATED my loss, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Just the other day a friend hid a present in my trunk and when I opened it I found a handmade sign that I had been wanting, but didn’t possess the talent to make it or the money to buy it.

These people were the hands and feet of Jesus for me.

They had shared in my joy and now they shared in my grief.

Because I told.

Because I told them about you, my precious baby.

My precious little one, you were known. 

I wait anxiously for the day I get to hold you. I don’t know if I will get to count your toes or your fingers, but I know I will know you.

We loved you for seven weeks in my tummy and forever in heaven.

My little bean.

My little one.

My momentary hope.

My forever love.

My baby.

 

 

 

 

Author’s Note- I realize that some people are very private or they keep their community small and thats ok! Please understand that this is a post to thank those who have loved me well, as well as a post to let women know that it is ok to talk about a pregnancy before week 12. But guess what… if that is outside your comfort zone that is ok too! Tell a few, tell a lot, you are the boss.  In summary, my personal opinion is that, in my experience, it is important to have a couple people you can tell (a spouse, a relative, a friend) so that they can love, support, and rejoice with you in the early stages of pregnancy no matter what the outcome.

Also, there is something I have observed in my own, as well in others, dealings with grief. I have found that there are always people who say awkward, non comforting things or people who don’t say anything at all. Shoot, I have been one of those people. I would encourage anyone that is grieving to give grace. Some people don’t know what to say, have a hard time with grief, don’t understand, or just don’t know. That doesn’t mean they love you any less! If it bothers you greatly, talk to them about it. Ten bucks says they never meant to hurt your feelings. Better yet, just let it go. There is no reason to add more hurt and a little bitterness to your plate. Love always wins. Grace always wins.

And if you need a friend or someone to talk to, I am always here. 

 

 

 

 

The Talent That Should Have Stayed Hidden: Annie’s Tale of Yodeling

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My eighteen year old sister Annie is tremendously talented. She is classically trained in the piano and violin. She takes voice lessons. She does worship at our church. She is fluent in sign language, and has translated for different events. When she was 8, she attempted to teach herself french. I think she has a 5.0 in high school. You get the point. She is awesome. So when she told me she was going to write a college entrance essay on a talent… these are the things I thought she would talk about. Then she told me she wanted to talk about her not-so-hidden talent. I knew this was going to be good.
You see… Annie yodels.
And since she is the youngest of four, we have made sure that everyone knows about this secret talent since she was little.
Here is that story in her words:  
A talent is usually thought of as an ability a person is proud of. This, unfortunately, has not always been always been my experience. In my oh-so tragic case, I developed a talent when I was too
young, too naive, to know it would plague me my whole teenage life.
Growing up, my world was filled with music. I started playing the violin when I was six,
followed by the piano at twelve. I grew up in a large Scandinavian family that often gathered
together. At each one, my grandma would sit at the piano and play old folk songs as her children
and grandchildren would all gather around and sing along. We would sing, and a select few
would yodel.
I was fascinated by the sound of yodeling. How they could crack their voices so
fast and with so much control, over and over, incorporating harmonies into their melodies,
flawlessly flowing from one riff to the next. It was so different than any other form of singing I
had ever heard. So I decided I would learn it. I would learn to yodel.
I downloaded a yodeling song, sat in my closet, and practiced flipping my voice. Yodelay-
*crack*-hee-*crack*. I tried to hide from all my older siblings, but there was no hiding the new
sounds I was making. Not only did they have to hear me screech away on the violin, but now I
was practicing yodeling, a sound that resembled a young boy in the trenches of puberty
attempting to sing a tune.
Finally, when I was probably twelve, I had done it. I had learned to
yodel. In the euphoria of my accomplishment, I remained blissfully unaware of the pandora’s box I had opened.
Every time someone came to the house to visit, a well-meaning family member would
have to mention my unique talent. “Did you know Annie could yodel?” followed by a “Annie, you
should show them.” This was the moment I always dreaded. The moment I just wanted to stick
my head in the sand and disappear.
“Great, now they too will see me as the awkward youngest child who obviously has no friends so she taught herself to yodel”.
It had seemed cool to me when I was ten, but not so much as a prepubescent teenager. Furthermore, as the youngest of four, I had become the showdog to all my sibling’s cool high school friends and their families.
Relatively shy and quiet, I turned about every shade of pink as my big sister would instruct mescreen-shot-2016-10-20-at-8-41-00-am
to yodel for all her friends on the football team. Even when all my siblings went to college, this
talent still followed me. Somehow my boyfriend’s family learned I could yodel, and all was lost. I
was soon yodeling at every one of their family gatherings. I am not exaggerating about this.
EVERY. ONE.
Just the introduction to his immediate and extended family that I had always wanted.
“Meet my girlfriend, Helga the Songbird, want to hear her yodel?”
People think they know what yodeling sounds like. They think they are prepared, but I am
telling you they are not. The look of complete bewilderment and surprise has never failed to
grace the faces of those watching my timid performance, always followed by a display of delight
and laughter. Though it felt slightly painful and very humiliating, people always seemed
pleasantly surprised and impressed by my yodeling.
These many experiences of feeling like a carnival act may have felt mortifying in the
moment, but they have shaped me into the woman I am. I learned to embrace a unique part of
my heritage. I overcame my timidity and fear of standing out. I have grown to be much more
confident and secure in my individuality. But above all, I learned not to take myself too seriously.
Helga the Songbird reigns forevermore. 

Monday Mom Talk- No Pants, No worries

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-8-06-01-amFor this Monday’s Mom Talk, I want to talk about pants.

I have decided that my boys will grow up believing that one of the greatest injustices of their young childhood was that their mother made them wear pants. How two children 19 months apart can both hate the same thing so passionately will forever boggle my mind.

Have you ever tried to put pants on a baby who hates pants?

Imagine trying to stick a live fish you just caught into a sock, and that should give you a pretty good idea of what I go through every morning. You would think that having to somehow change a diaper while pinning the boys’ hands down so they don’t grab themselves would be punishment enough, but no, the changing table gods have decided that I must also have the pleasure of trying to get two flailing legs into two separate holes every time we go out in public.

There are times I have seriously contemplated leaving the boys looking like mermaids, with both legs in one pant leg, all day as punishment for defying my outfit choices. But I am merciful.

The other day my husband walked into a restaurant ahead of me with the baby. I was getting something out of the car so it took me a minute to walk in. When I walked into the restaurant, looked around the room, and found my family, what did I see? I saw my child sitting pantsless in the high chair.
The dialogue went as follows:

“Why is our child not wearing any pants?”

“He didn’t want to.”

Ya I bet he didn’t.

“So… Why is our child not wearing any pants? Furthermore, why is he pantsless at a restaurant? He looks motherless.”

“Someday he won’t be able to go out in public and not wear pants. Let him enjoy it now while he can.”

What?

That’s a thing?

I had only one response to this statement.

“Soo you wish you could still go pantsless in public?”

All I got was a smile.

 

 

 

How about you? Do your kids struggle with any particular clothing item? Do you? 😉

Panic! At the Library: A Tale of Dinos, Naps, and Fiction

In the weeks following my loss, I have made an effort to try and stay busy with the kids. In doing so, I have rediscovered an old love: the library.

On my drive to this magical place I daydreamed about my kids quietly thumbing through picture books as I sat cross legged next to them immersed in a book of my own.

Peace.

Quiet.

Escape.

Library.

All things I needed in my life.

Except who was I kidding? And what imaginary children was I envisioning?

On our first trip, we were all in awe of the kid’s section. I had never been to such a magical place. My boys excitedly ran around and pointed at all the teddy bear and pumpkin decor. We all squealed with delight when we realized that they had a toy section with dinosaurs and puzzles. Books, dinos, and happy kids? Sign me up. I only spent about half the time there chasing the boys through the book stacks so overall we were doing pretty good.

Every so often I would sneak a peak at the adult’s section of the library, daydreaming of being alone with those books. But today was a day for the kids, so we played and attempted to read in the big hot air balloon that was the kid’s room.

Take Two.

I was having a rough day, and Holden had just woken Hudson up from his nap. Irritated and not feeling like being home, I made the bright to decision to load them up, un-napped, and head to the magical place called the library. “For toddlers, they did decently well last time… why not?”

Why not? HA.

Hudson started crying the moment I got him out of the car. That should have been my sign. But like the Xena Warrior Princess that I am I continued on.

Who wouldn’t want to take two cranky toddlers to the quietest place on earth? I did not care. I needed to find a book for myself.

The kids darted for the kid’s room as soon as we entered the library. I looked longingly at the stacks of books. Somewhere in there held a novel with my name on it. I couldn’t wait to disappear into its pages.

These thoughts were interrupted by Hudson screaming at the top of his lungs. Someone had stolen his dinosaur. Panic ensued as that child started screaming. The silence that engulfed the library was now filled with sounds from a horror movie.

Quickly the other mother and I separated our screaming toddlers and gave each other the “I am so sorry” glare and our kids the “I will destroy you if you don’t be quiet” glare. It is an interesting procedure, tying to silence a screaming child without uttering a sound yourself. Kids really need a mute button, but I digress.

After this incident, nothing I did could get Hudsy to calm down. The kid just needed a nap, and I, in my determination to get a book, was ignoring the signs.

In my effort to calm Hudsy, I had lost track of Holden. While trying to tried reading Hudsy a book, I was interrupted by the sounds of Holden methodically taking books out of the bookshelf and throwing them on the ground. He was in search of a “racedar book”.

I could no longer ignore that we were the worst library attendees. Ever.

So I did what any mother would do. I took a deep breath, I picked up some kids books, and headed for the main desk. My kids started to sob. Why would they want to leave this magical cave of silence where they could hear themselves so well. I had interrupted their growling and roaring contest. Bad Mom.

As I was desperately dragging my children to the front, I saw that the library had some fiction they had featured on the wall close to the desk. The heavens parted, and I knew this was my chance. I desperately began to look at covers. I almost started to look for descriptions of the books when my kids started to play with the ropes in the library line. Time was of the essence, and I knew I had to move fast. I grabbed a couple novels that either had cool titles or cool covers.

Like a ninja, I practically threw the kid’s books and my newly chosen books at the poor lady, all the while grabbing my kids off of the ropes.

The whole time she was trying to do her thing I was desperately trying to silently scare my children into obedience. I have never willed fire out of my eyes before, but at that moment I wished that my children could see dangerous things in my eyes.

Finally, we were checked out, and I made a dash for the exit like a thief in the night.

Never again.

Later that night, I sat down to enjoy the books I had grabbed. It was then that I discovered that I had accidentally grabbed some highly pornographic erotic fiction.

I hope that the librarian got a nice giggle out of that in between checking out “Big Boys Use the Potty” and “Diffendoofer Day”.

Lesson learned: Next time Mommy wants a book for herself she is going to go by herself, or she is going to buy herself a kindle.  

 

Miscarriage: A Marriage Letter

Dearest Tay,

The other day I stood at our open refrigerator, staring blankly at the neatly arranged meals you made for me, and I began to sob.

I have cried a lot this past month.

You and I, we never knew there were different levels of crying. Last month showed us what it is like to grieve and cry from the deepest recesses of our hearts.

There is a cry that comes from deep within the soul. A cry reserved only for the bereaved. It takes you out of your body, and you wonder who it is who is making all these sounds.

And you wonder how to comfort them. But it is you.

Miscarriage.

A word that sticks to the top of my mouth like peanut butter, dries me out like a mouth parched for water, and pierces my soul in a place I did not know existed.

A word you and I share.

A loss.

A trauma.

A baby that was ours.

A tiny hope, a little spirit, a piece of you and me.

You and me.

We survived.

It is a pain that takes you to a place where there are no words.

Thinking back and attempting to tell the story feels like falling. Falling and grasping for the words, but all that is left are colors and feelings. Even now, I struggle to put my thoughts to pen. Sometimes there is only darkness.

But in the darkness you were there. You and my Jesus.

And somehow, amidst the pain, I felt as if I was being carried… as if I was being hugged. The Lord tells us He is close to the broken hearted, and oh how we know that is true. He was there, but He also gave me you.

You.

Going to work. Picking up clothes. Washing dishes. Bathing kids. Making meals. Grieving. Holding me. Loving me.

After a week of all of this, you sent me out that day wanting me to have time with a friend. Wanting me to have time for me. And I came home to swept and mopped floors, folded clothes, clean sheets, and happy kids.

So when I saw that you had cooked and shopped and arranged my food for the week so I would not have to worry.

I broke.

Because..

You.

Kind. Caring. Selfless. You.

Amidst your own pain, you have carried me when I could not walk, and I will forever be grateful.

I love you.

Forever Yours,

Shelbi

 

— Miscarriage is not often talked about so I will be writing a miscarriage series as I process through my thoughts and feelings. This will not be every week. I will still be posting my funny stories and life as we know it in our home. I am just hoping that I can bring some hope, some companionship, and some understanding to those who have experienced this type of loss. Love you all so very much <3

 

 

 

For the Love of School- A Tale of a Flying School Bus

My oldest son is now three and has been asking to go to school.

This request is strange to me because for as long as I can remember when I try to teach him his ABC’s and 123’s, instead of repeating after me, he makes loud vomiting or choking noises.

He would much rather take apart all his toy cars and play on his “pirate ship” in the backyard. So, instead of the school that he is clearly not ready for, I put him in a weekly church program that he loves. They send home memory verses and some coloring or counting activities to do. “Here’s his chance to have school,” I thought.

Wrong.

When going over our memory verse he has started panting and breathing heavily like he has just run 10 miles and is exhausted.

When we go through his little booklet to read and count, he pretends to be a variety of animals so that he doesn’t have to participate for longer than he desires.

At one point he knocked his dry cereal off the table, became a dog, and pretended to bark and clean it off the floor.

My husband says Holden gets his love of school work from him.

The little booklet would only take *maybe* ten minutes with cooperation. Ya ok, so much for wanting to go to school.  But still, he continued telling me he wanted to go to “dool”.

“I do not think school means what you think it means bud. If you want to go to school we have to try to learn to count and not pass gas in response to someone showing us how to.”

Then one day the light bulb went on for me. I finally realized what my little imaginative son was talking about when he asked to go to school.

He was watching “The Magic School Bus”. Once again he asked to go to school, and as I looked up at that school bus flying in the air, I knew what to ask. “Holden do you want to go to school or do you want to ride the school bus?”

“YAAAA!!”

“Ride Dool Bus!!”

“Ride flying Dool Bus!”

Now the world makes sense.

There won’t be any preschool for Holden this year. We will continue to work through the pretend and the growling and the bodily functions to try and learn according to his interest level at home. And you know what? I’m enjoying having my boy here at home running around pretending to be a lion or a bear, dissecting toy car parts, and sailing the seas on his playground. Because if I am honest, I am not ready for him to go to school yet either.

Now I just need to find a flying “dool bus”. 

A Story of the Fight

I sit in my backyard and watch little legs move as fast as their owners can will them. Growls, roars, and grunts fill my ears.

Today my boys are a knight and a ninja turtle.

One is garnished with a shell on his back, no underwear, and a sword in his hand, while the other stands in his diaper wielding only an old broomstick.

The squinty eyes, scrunched noses, and little glares tell me they are prepared to battle.

The ninja turtle starts across the yard, raises his sword, and releases his warrior cry. Three year old Holden the Mighty takes off in a full sprint towards his target, his one year old brother Hudsy the Fearless.  Hudsy, a whole year and a half, holds his ground with his broom stick in the air, roaring back as he waits for his brother’s first attack. It comes, and Hudsy is surprisingly able to hold his ground. Both of the warriors yell and roar at each other as their respective weapons clank together. Eventually, Holden is able to hit Hudsy’s broom out of his hand. Holden immediately sprints away, and raises his sword high. His victory chant carries throughout the backyard. It is a guttural roar that is indecipherable to all but his little mind. He has won. He begins circling the yard and throwing his sword in a fit of joy.

Hudsy, undeterred, retrieves his broomstick, and stands again. The next battle will begin again shortly.

This is what much of my day looks like.

I watch their little minds turning as they explore, fight, and play pretend. It is fascinating watching  passion, aggression, and joy all fused together in tiny 14516384_10153809218755824_2092126855747553608_nbodies. This is who they are at their purest form.
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Two little warriors.
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Furthermore, I am astonished at how much of their little personalities I can begin to decipher as I watch them play pretend. Holden is passionate, aggressive, but cautious. His attacks are swift and precise. He will retreat quickly if things are not going his way or he thinks he is going to get hurt. He is smart and calculated and will act accordingly. You have to earn Holden’s trust. Once you do, he comes out of his shell and overwhelms you with his kindness and love.
 .
Hudson has absolutely no fear. Not only will he stand his ground as a massive three year old charges him, but when that three year old runs away from him he will go on the offensive. Hudsy will never back down. In all areas of his little life, with loving others and with play, he jumps in without apprehension or fear of consequences. He is aggression without fear. He is love without boundaries.
 .
I watch my two little men play and pray that I can help funnel and filter these strengths as they grow older. I want them to be allowed to be rough and tumble boys mixed with the sweetness I know and love.
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I want them to stay secure in their warrior spirits.
So often our society tries to suppress little boys and make them and mold them into little beings that they are not. I don’t want to do that. I want them to be well behaved, but I want them to be free to be themselves too. Right now I am able to shelter them and help them grow, but each day brings us closer to them stepping outside, slowly but surely, from this Mamma’s watch. But for now I am content to watch the epic battles they create.
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I watch and pray that my little warriors will always fight.
Fight for Truth.
Fight for Justice.
Fight for Love.
Fight for Faith.
 .
I watch them, drink them in, and I promise to fight to0.
Fight for Joy.
Fight Complacency.
Fight for Love.
Fight for Truth.
 .
Fight to Thrive. 
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But that, my friends, is a story for another day.
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