A Tale of Miscarriage: A Mother’s Day Due Date

 

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I thought about you yesterday.

It was your due date. And it was Mother’s Day.

You were going to be my best Mother’s Day present ever.

Instead, I cried every day of the week leading up to it.

I watched as several precious babies were born. I saw the pictures of their Mamas tenderly kissing them. The instinct to love and to hold and to protect written on all of their faces. I longed to hold you and to kiss you and to know who you are… who you were. I wished I could have kept you safe.

I wished I could go back to a time when I thought everything was in my control. That I could keep all my babies safe.

I hold my tummy as your brother kicks, and I repeat scripture… fighting to keep the anxiety at bay.

I look at your brothers, and I try to take them in, to cherish them as I watch them play. I pray for long, wonderful lives, and fight the fear again.

No one talks about the anxiety.

In some sense people know it hurts, but they do not understand the panic.

How one can be happy and hopeful and good most of the time, but suddenly a flip is switched. And you begin to walk around feeling like you are on the verge of a panic attack… fighting to stay in control of the irrational fear, and wondering why you cannot seem to control your emotions and get a grip.

What was the trigger?

For me, every time I feel this way I realize that the next day I have an appointment to check up on your little brother. It seems this is how my body must deal with my mind’s subconscious reaction to a deep trauma… to a deep loss.

I have cried silently in my car after most of my appointments, drowning in the relief that your brother is doing well.

I take these moments, and I let myself feel them. I try to fight the fear by acknowledging where it comes from.. by facing it head on. Sometimes this works.. sometimes it does not.

To be honest, it is a coping mechanism I have learned from a long time struggle with anxiety. I determined long ago that I would not be a slave to fear. And even now, I refuse to be a mother and wife consumed by anxiety.

Most people think I am a laid back Mom who just rolls with the punches. Easy going and calm.

And I guess am.

But this person.. this mother… I fought to become her. I still fight.

And I will fight for this abundant life that the Lord has given me. That he promised.

I fight to stay present in the joy of today.

I fight to let tomorrow worry about itself.

I fight to let go of things that just do not matter in the grand scheme of things. 2f7978365792028ed083d2530e355169

I remind myself that I am more than a conqueror through Christ who strengthens me. I am the strong Mom and wife my men need.

So this Mother’s day, after a week of crying, I chose to enjoy your Daddy and your brothers. I chose gratitude. I missed you more than I could ever put into words. I could not even speak the words “baby’s due date”, and those around me did not ask me to.

I chuckled as your brothers played “good guy” vs “bad guy”. I smiled as they pretended to be puppies and then dinosaurs and then robots. I listened to their roars, grunts, and loud laughter. I gave kisses and received them.

I watched your Dad with them, and thanked Jesus for giving me such a wonderful man. He wrapped me in his love. Flowers, new diaper bag, grocery shopping, clean car, laundry complete, all yard work done, favorite coffee, meals and snacks prepped for the week, and all with a smile on his face. How is he real? How is he mine?

Your Dad never said anything, but I know he saw me crying this past week. At night, he would climb into bed and just pull me close to him without saying a word. Just knowing.

There is nothing like it in this world… to be fully known and loved.

And that is what I can give you sweet baby.

You are known. You are loved. And someday we will meet again.

But for now your Mamma is going to enjoy every second with her sweet family here on earth.

I promise to laugh in the morning as I reminisce on your brother peeing all over your Dad and I that night. Chuckling as I look down on the blanket we used to cover the pee stain so we could just go back to sleep.

I will take a deep breath and smile when your brother asks me “Why?” for the 82435679183456014 time.

I will do my best to be thankful for housework because the only reason it exists is because of the many blessings I have been given.

I will fail more times than I can count, but I will walk in grace.

I guess that is what you have given me this Mother’s Day… a resolve to begin anew. To embrace the messy chaos of life, and be grateful.

So I will do my best.

And I will miss you and love you with a smile until Jesus calls me home.

 

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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. 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Life is in the Blooopers

I feel like if my life were a movie, most of the movie would be the blooper reel.

Scene 567649: Shelbi is sittiing down in her home enjoying Bible study with her friends. Children can be heard indistinctly playing in the backyard. Lovely. Shelbi suddenly hears son yelling for her. She gets up and walks towards the call. She walks into the kitchen.

Son has pushed kitchen chair up to the counter and proceeded to dump entire jug of apple juice on his head. Children can be heard clearly now screaming and running loose in the backyard. The fences have them contained. Baby has face pressed against sliding glass window crying for someone to let him in.

“Mommy, look my haircut! Mommy look!” Apple juice everywhere.

End Scene. 

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Scene 809356: Shelbi takes her sons to a play area in the middle of the mall. She sits and watches her sons play. Baby needs some attention so she takes her eyes off oldest to attend to the little one. When she looks up she sees her oldest taking off his pants and stripping down in the middle of the playground. This is oldest sons newest past time: stripping. Apparently pants are now a nuisance when it is time to play. Her son is now naked in the mall. Awesome.

End Scene.

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Scene 896731: Shelbi is enjoying time visiting with her childless friend. They are deep in conversation. Her baby walks by. The smell of poop lurks in the air. Friend makes a face. Shelbi ignores and keeps talking. Baby walks by again. Shelbi still ignores. Baby sits next to friend. Friend cannot contain herself and asks if Shelbi is going to change diaper. Conversation ruined. Diaper gets changed.

End Scene. 

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Scene 098732: Shelbi is sitting downstairs enjoying a moment of not being touched. Dare we say all is peaceful? All is well. Is that quiet she hears? Shelbi rushes to look for children. Shelbi finds both in upstairs bathroom. Oldest child is sitting in the sink, fully clothed, toothpaste tube squeezed out, and has the water running. He is brushing his teeth. He is soaked. Youngest is throwing everything that he finds into the toilet.

“Mommy teeeeeth!!”

Peaceful moment is over.

End Scene.

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My life is about constant interruptions of what would otherwise be a peaceful, angelic scene.

I guess life is in the blooper reel. And now that I think about it, the bloopers are always my favorite. 

 

The Compliment

1d6ef9da0663b932627fdf1c74e9868eThe other day I had a fellow Mom tell me she struggles sometime with the craziness of mom world and that she thought I was always so put together and that I seemed like I had this whole Mom thing down.

As she was talking I would like to give you a rundown of my thoughts:

“Is she serious? She knows who she is talking to right? As of this moment I am trying to remember if I brushed my teeth this morning or if I left the straightener on and my house is burning down as we speak. My kids are currently wearing hats, not because it is a cute thing to put on them, but because I couldn’t get them to let me brush their hair. Speaking of hair, this morning I threw baby powder in my hair because I haven’t showered in three days and I needed to hide the grease. And to top it all off, my children, as per usual, are wearing mismatched socks.

Shoot, I can’t even match my own socks who are we kidding?

I mean I lock my kids in my room while I get ready because I am afraid of them falling down thehousework-or-fire_large stairs. But the result of this brilliant idea is having them throw my makeup in the toilet, chuck all of my cupboard items out of the drawers, and pretty much destroy my room. And then, because I am so exasperated, I just take the kids and leave without cleaning up the mess they made.

Does she know I am wearing toilet mascara?

Also, yesterday at the gym I had to go get an employee to break out the lock cutters because I absent mindedly threw my keys in my locker and then proceeded to lock said locker.

I have it all together? What?”

You know what the funny thing is my friends? I always thought she had it all together.

After I got through the torrential downpour of thoughts about how she was so wrong, I thought about how even through all the craziness, I really do enjoy being a mom. I really do love my kids. I mean I keep them alive and loved right? Apparently love really does cover a multitude of sins.

So in the end, instead of being so hard on myself, I decided to be gracious, say thank you, and compliment her on all the positive things I think about her. Because through all the craziness, I know she really loves her kids and being a Mom too. She is a good mom. And you know what,  I am a good Mom too.

Maybe that is just what we all need.

To accept and receive the compliments given to us… To tell others that they are doing a great job… To give ourselves a little grace…. And to just laugh at the craziness of life.

From now on if I think something nice about someone, I am going to tell them. Because maybe they will be as shocked as I was, and maybe it will brighten their day. So no I don’t really think I have it all together, but thank you fellow Mom for making me feel like I am doing something right. I will make sure to pay that compliment forward.

Talking About My Joys and Taking Back Motherhood

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I have noticed a trend in parent world. We write about things that are tough. We write about how hard life can be. We write about things we find funny…. Gross things we find funny, but no one else does. Often, in our writing, we tend to leave out all mush and gush (for the most part). I mean if I tell you I think my boys are possibly the sweetest, kindest little beings on this planet with the faces of angels… you are going to gag. The thing is I actually do feel this way a lot, but it doesn’t really work for purposes of humor. And with all this being “real” and not “fluffy”… I have traumatized my sisters.

And I quote: “This is not making me want to have children.”

A feeling I think they should have for a while, but I mean, I want them to know it is not all diapers and being perpetually sleep deprived. Sort of. Furthermore, I have noticed that this sentiment is also found on the World Wide Web. On many public forums I have noticed that more and more people are getting a bad taste in their mouths for parenthood.

Sidenote: I actually think this is a direct result of our culture’s view of sacrifice and selflessness. Traits that actually make your life better and make you happier, but that is a topic for another day.

I think in an effort to be real many of us have focused so much on talking about the hard stuff that we forget to speak about our joys. So without further adieu:

A Few Reasons Why I Love Being a Mother

I love the tiny cuddles and wet kisses that will one day turn into big, strong hugs and quick cheek kisses. There is nothing purer then the adoration a child has for his mother (and father). Nothing. To be loved wholly and entirely as you are, Jesus is the only one that trumps that. And on the flip side, there is nothing stronger than the love a parent has for a child. Which brings me to my next point:

Children teach you to love. I remember giving birth to my first son and feeling completely overwhelmed. Never in my life had I been so flooded with emotion. I could not even feel it was so much. Too much of everything. Of joy. Of fear. Of pride. Of love. I couldn’t decipher one from another. But when I came out of my haze, I stared at a perfect little being. I wondered at all that he was. The mystery. The smell. The tiny toes. The smiles. And a strange thing happened. Flowers smelled sweeter. I loved my husband more. I loved my mother more. I saw beauty in the everyday. I looked at animals that I previously ignored (I know I am a terrible person), and I found myself making squeaky love noises at them. I grew so much as a person that first year. Yes it was hard, but it was also so good.

And then my next son was born. Whatever hard part was left in my heart melted into a puddle. I didn’t have the haze I had with my first son. I could decipher the feelings. I knew this love. With his birth my ability to love grew by two more tiny hands. Living a life that is not just about me has given me new purpose and made me happier. Learning when to sacrifice and when to take care of myself has made me stronger. I have learned to be a teammate with my husband. Loving and caring for my little ones has spilled over into my relationships with others. I find that I have more compassion and more empathy. I recognize that everyone is someone’s child. Children have changed my character. They have made me a better wife, a better daughter, and a better friend. I care about people because I care about my people. You can’t have love completely encompass one part of your life and not have it spill over into other areas of your life.

Joy. SO SO SO MUCH JOY. Joy that makes you a crazy person. Joy you cannot explain. Ridiculous happiness that makes no sense. Holden said “Mama” for the first time, and I almost cried. Watching them do anything for the first time is a tear jerk moment. I mean look at all these parents with their video cameras and phones. They cannot get enough. And if you don’t have a 1509650_10153378807330824_3729871436344178622_nkid, you don’t get it. Parents look absolutely ridiculous. But I tell you, you have not lived until you get home from being gone and a little face peeks out the door and takes off in a full sprint towards you with a big smile on their face. Joy people.

Forever friends. My kids are my people. Just like I am my parent’s people. We get to do life together. How awesome is that? We as people are made for relationships, and the family structure gives us that. I could travel the whole world, own my own company, own a country, and I tell you that at the end of my life all that will matter to me is my family.

I once heard it said that saying “Why have kids when you can just have nieces or nephews, and send them back?” is like saying “Why fall in love when you can just be friends?” Is motherhood all giggles and smiles? No. Have I always felt so optimistic? No. Do I think everyone needs to have children? No. Love is not always easy, but it is always worth it.

So my little sisters, my readers, and the skeptics online, do not fear having kids. Children bring unimaginable joy, growth, and love.

Now excuse me while I go clean up the absolute destruction my kids caused while I was writing this. I did not want those DVD’s in the shelf anyways. Oh… joy.1779704_10153378806535824_4037883357466843504_n

All Day Long I Chase You

“You will never have this day with your children again. Tomorrow they’ll be a little older than they were today. This day is a gift. Just breathe, notice, study their faces and little feet. Pay attention. Relish the charms of the present. Enjoy today, it will be over before you know it.”

To my Holden:

Tonight I looked at you my little boy. I mean really looked at you. I took in all your features. Your perfect blue eyes. Your porcelain skin. Your dimples that you got from your Daddy. The little cleft in your chin. When did you get so big?

Who are you little man? My little mystery I wait to fully know.

I watch you, and I think about how all day long I chase you.

I chase you across the yard as you run as fast as your toddler legs can carry you.

“Ready, Set, Go!”

And off you run to explore the world with your Tonka trucks.

I chase you across the house.

This usually involves Mommy trying to put a diaper on your naked buns. Or frantically trying to grab a breakable item from you. Or running to grab you before you jump on your brother.

I chase you across the park.

Why play at the playground when you can run to the parking lot and check out the cool motorcycle, or as you call it, “metersickle”?

All day long I chase you. And all day long you wait for me to catch you.

But I have a confession. Sometimes I am not watching. Some days I never catch you. Not really. Sometimes I go a whole day, and I feel like I have barely seen you.

I don’t like when I feel this way.

Distracted. Tired. Bored. Out of touch.

I hate when I feel that way.

I think it comes with the territory of being a stay at home mom. This fight to be present.

Sometimes me, you, and your brother just survive the day. I get so busy trying to keep up with you two I don’t take the time to engage with you. My little man full of spunk and will.

Or I choose to engage with people who aren’t even there.

I can tell you are disappointed when I don’t pursue you. When I spend time on the computer or the phone instead of learning about you.

And I am sorry.

As I write this you are laying in your bed sound asleep. You had a day full of dirt and trucks, just how you like it. You enjoyed a nice bubble bath with brother. And as I watched you, and looked at how much you are changing, I made a decision.

No more social media on my phone. No more researching articles. No more mind numbing distraction.

I chose to stay at home so I didn’t miss a thing. And technology is starting to get in the way.  

I do not want you to remember me as a Mom constantly distracted by her phone. I cringe thinking of the times you have slapped the phone out of my hand.

I want you to remember me as a Mom who played with you. A mom who laughed with her friends over coffee. A wife who giggled and loved on her husband. A mom who loved to read. A mom who helped you learn new things. A mom who loved to be outdoors. A mom who pursued her little mystery of a boy.

I want to take all of you in, you and your brother, and remember these years with you.

I know I am not perfect. I also know that I need my own time, but I promise you I will be present. I will be here for you.

So run fast little boy, Mommy’s gonna catch you. 

 

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