Tag Archives: Miscarriage

Getting Ready

Alright so I got into the Dustbowl Arts Market again this year, Saturday April 27th in downtown Norman, Oklahoma.

Last year I was stoked–but this year, the timing couldn’t be worse. I am not inspired to do a whole lot of anything. I’ve got custom projects to get done and the only thing my brain has going for me in the motivation department right now is a deadline of, oh, this weekend.

I’ll knock it all out on time. I will. In fact, it’s good for me to be forced to do something by a certain date. It’s good for me to be busy at all.

That said, I did end up taking kind of an easy route in preparing for the Dustbowl by ordering some prints of several old paintings. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time; I’ve only recently found a printing company that I’m happy with, and when these puppies came in the mail, I actually leapt for joy:

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I’m excited about the Dustbowl. I’ve got original paintings, and different-sized prints, and I’ll be able to take debit cards and credit cards. Things are going to be different this year–not that they were bad last year.

Last night I slept for more than 3 hours. There are significantly less tears today than there have been all week. When people ask me how I am doing, I tell them that I am fine. And I am, kind of. Moving my feet to walk and moving my mouth to speak, and remembering to breathe. Tired but not sleeping. Raw.

I think people know that’s what I mean, because really, how could someone be any other way? I love my family and friends and I know they understand. Of course I’m not fine. I’ll get there eventually, but today is not that day.

I don’t know why I can’t just force my body to believe everything my mind tries to tell it. I keep going back to that day and wondering “How could there not be a heartbeat?

Why am I still asking that question?

Today as I was driving back from dropping the kids off from school, Sam Cooke came on the radio and I got a picture in my head of me dancing with my baby, just like I had done with my other babies to that same song. A thousand sighs. I tell you, a piece of my heart is just gone and I’ll never get it back. I wonder if my baby can see us, because I sure wish I could see my baby.

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Brave Face.

My husband knew better than I did what would happen once all the effects of the anesthesia wore off and the mental busyness of the past week settled down.

I had my first official really bad day this weekend, during which all I wanted to do was lay in bed and sob silently, and be held, and listen through the open window to birds chirping and my kids playing. No television. No books. No phone calls.

All that talk about bible verses and Jesus holding my baby? Of course they’re still relevant, but they don’t seem to have quite the impact they did 5 days ago; my body is just bound and determined to cry it out. No more chin up.

In church I hear the words “Give it up to God; just give it to Him.”

How? I confess I don’t quite understand that phrase, at least not in this instance.

I say this because I think it’s easy for people to get the impression that God takes pain away completely; that I am strong and calm and rational even in the face of tragedy–I’m very much not. I am comforted, but I still cry and I still want my baby. It sucks and it hurts and I still ask the questions that I feel like I should already know the answers to.  It doesn’t matter if I ever have another baby or adopt more children–I wanted this one.

The medicine wears off. The fog lifts. My body heals up. My family moves on and life does not slow down. But it feels like this loss will hurt me forever.

Yesterday I cried even in my dreams. Today I only cried in the shower. Tomorrow I will go to work, make dinner, clean the house, and take Merrick to t-ball practice. Maybe I’ll paint a little bit. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll have another down day. Maybe it won’t happen for another month or so.

I know there’s something to come out of this besides unbearable sadness and disappointment. I know that God has a plan and that He is with me, leading me and loving me, through this time.

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


Overwhelmed.

I’m having a little trouble processing–not only what happened at the hospital today–but the sheer uplifting kindness we have received from people who we now consider to be straight-up family. I’m going to brag on my church peeps right now: Caleb can send a simple 2-worded text to a single person, and within 60 seconds, our immediate needs are met by about 25 people, right along with 100 other needs we didn’t even know we had.

No words of gratitude can express how we feel:

  • for the e-mails, texts, messages, phone calls, visits, and prayers.
  • for the cookies (oh the glorious cookies!) and the Shari’s Berries (oh the glorious Shari’s Berries!) and the Easter dinner and the lasagna and Texas Toast and pie and Cafe’ Du Monde Coffee.
  • for the books, music, jewelry, flowers…and picture text of a grown man (who shall remain anonymous) hamming it up in some poor little kid’s ex-pajamas.
  • Wow.
  • I needed that laugh like you wouldn’t believe.
  • for the offers of meals, of babysitting, of kid picking-up/dropping-off; for the offers to clean our house (you know not what you say), to take us out to breakfast/lunch/dinner/coffee/shopping/walking/ridiculous you people, just ridiculous.
  • And perhaps most touchingly of all, for the offer of a dear, dear friend to come out and plant something for me–flowers, a tree–whatever I’d like–in my yard. This beautiful wonderful woman can at times barely walk without assistance. I would be so lucky if I ever learned a smidge of anything at all from her.

I’ve left out about 3 million people who God has surely used to help heal our broken hearts, mainly because it’s 10:00 p.m. and I’m highly doped up.

But I thank you all, so so much.

I will spare the long dramatic version of today and instead tell you what I know. Our baby died at 13 weeks. We found out last Thursday. We scheduled a D&C so that my body wouldn’t go all chainsaw-massacre at home in front of my kids. It’s supposed to be a simple procedure and we expected to be in and out of there before 10 a.m., settling into our weekend early with a day or two of little-to-no light spotting.

Call me Bad Luck Brian.

Or we could legitimately go with "Tough Sh#! Toni". Clearly. Word to your mother.

Or we could clearly go with “Tough Sh#! Toni”. Clearly. Word to your mother.

We came. We saw. We got IV’d. And truthfully I spent the next 8 hours sleeping and/or feeling sloppy drunk (and loving it). Caleb? Not so much.

According to my poor traumatized husband, I bled, and bled and bled. And then I bled some more. And I had a fever. And this was apparently cause for great concern. And I didn’t even realize that something might be wrong until a wicked nurse came in and shot me square in the thigh with a needle the size of friggin’ Saskatchewan, which I did not like one single bit.

And I got admitted to the hospital for real, and I got a bigger room with a comfy bed, and a cable tv which was not too shabby for Toni.

And then I dreamed that a bunch of old men in clackety shoes were praying for me–loudly, and all at the same time. And then my husband left my side for a minute to go find food for the first time since yesterday afternoon. And I made one loopy phone call to my mom to tell her everything went fine.

And then suddenly, everything was fine.

And I got home at 5:30, took some drugs, and ate some cookies.

And that is my version of how it went.

But you guys: my husband is shell-shocked, bless his heart. His eyes tonight looked so tired that I wanted him to lay down and go to sleep, so I could just rescue him by handling everything else. I still don’t know all the details and that’s probably for the best. But the most important thing I know is this: we were so loved, and cared for, and watched over.

People ask me how I can be so calm; they are saying things like “I would lose it, I would fall apart; I hate that you are going through this, it must be awful”. And yeah–it’s awful. All I can say is that when you are walking with God, you don’t have to wait for the light at the end of the tunnel to appear. God is your light, all the way through the longest and darkest of tunnels. This has never been truer for me and I hope for my husband and children as well.

Please continue to pray for us as we rest up this weekend. Though I am feeling super-awesome physically in comparison to the last week, I now know better than to assume there’s nothing else that could possibly come up. Plus, it might just be time to consider that certain body parts are on the fritz; Well done, good and faithful uterus! You have served me well:

Yay.

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Emotional Ramble About Hard Stuff.

Last night I had a nightmare that Beautiful Mom came and took my baby. Just walked right into my hospital room, and whisked that little one from my arms.

Beautiful mom is taller than me. She is prettier than me. She is skinnier than me. Beautiful mom has long straight silky hair instead of the rat’s nest that lies on my head. Her hands are soft and she does not bite her nails. Beautiful mom went to college for 100 years and she’s a doctor with a side degree in business, and a booming career in modeling for toothpaste commercials. Beautiful mom never loses her temper, never burns dinner, and never forgets a load of towels in the washing machine for 3 days.

Okay, 4 days.

I know it was just a dream, but I woke up with slight feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Did I do something wrong? It’s hard to get past this; especially after I read things like “with late miscarriage, the health of the mother is most often to blame,” in popular pregnancy books. What–did I not eat enough broccoli?

I quickly talked myself down from that cliff. I trust God; and for reasons that I might never understand while I live on this earth, He called our baby up. He or she will only know happiness and joy, forever. He or she will never ever suffer, not even a little bit. I’m glad for our sweet baby, who is safe in heaven with my grandparents and my dog. (Say what you will about pets not having souls–I will call you a bold-face liar. And then I’ll probably punch you in the face.)

I am honestly okay. I am sad, and I am hurting, but I have a great peace about this whole thing–more peace than can possibly be natural during a time like this. I can only attribute that to the prayers that have been sent our way. I truly believe that God knew best in this situation. He takes what was meant for bad and uses it for God. He keeps His promises.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

–2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Months ago when I said that God was on-board with making our family more awesome: He has done that. We have pulled together and leaned on each other over the past week; we’ve talked about the hard things and we’ve laughed over the little things and I have treasured every minute of it.

Months ago when I said I would be content no matter my circumstances: I am content. I trust God. This doesn’t mean I am not sad or that this doesn’t hurt–because it does hurt, more than anything. But we have not been wronged or cheated; our lives are far from wrecked.

Months ago when I said God performed a miracle by giving us a heartbeat on a day when I had nothing but my small prayer to believe in: that miracle has not been taken away. It happened. We promised God we would be grateful and we would love the life He had trusted us with–even if we only got to keep it for another week, or several more months, or many, many years. We are grateful because it was a life and it was beautiful, and it changed us.

Our faith has grown even in this short period of time. My relationship with my husband has strengthened. We have gotten closer to our church family. I’ve been able to have meaningful conversations with Mia about Jesus and trust and salvation–all subjects that may have taken years to bubble up inside her questioning young mind.

God is fair. Even last Thursday, that terrible day, God was taking care of us: Caleb wasn’t supposed to be in town–he decided not to leave. He wasn’t supposed to accompany me to what I felt was a bullshit appointment–but he decided to come anyway. We were going to take separate cars, but at the last minute we felt like riding together. We almost refused the ultrasound because we felt it was unneccessary and expensive; the doctor’s staff talked us into it. And together we learned of our baby’s passing, by the gentle explanation of a kind doctor in the quiet darkness of a private room–and not through a traumatic bloody midnight visit to the ER.

Maybe there was something wrong. Maybe our baby was terribly sick. Maybe our baby wouldn’t have made it to September. Maybe this pregnancy was meant to teach us a valuable lesson. Maybe this experience was meant to push us in another direction.

We just do not know yet.

I’ve been reading a wonderful book called “Kisses From Katie”, by Katie Davis. It’s about a teenager that moved to Africa and ended up adopting 13 kids and staying there forever. One particular quote stands out to me and I have to share it, because it fits so perfectly not just with what I’m going through but with everyday things:

“I believe that God totally, absolutely, intentionally gives us more than we can handle. Because this is when we surrender to Him and He takes over, proving Himself by doing the impossible in our lives.”

I have never, never thought about that before, but it makes so much sense. This suck-fest that is late miscarriage is most certainly not in my power to endure, at least not with any amount of calmness. God is giving me more than I can handle, way more. But He’s also provided me with about a hundred people who have enough wisdom and enough love to see our family through it. I have to choose to thank Him for what He is doing in our lives–because I know without a doubt that our future holds something more wonderful than I could plan or imagine.


The worst day.

Yesterday was not real. I never actually woke up, in a great mood, feeling frisky and looking fly. I did not go to the doctor on a sunny morning with a skip in my step and a song in my heart.

I am so tired but my heart is screaming and I feel like I am walking around in a dream. Today I hear thunder, loud and rumbling and it is going to rain so hard.

Our baby died.

At 13 weeks–one week ago today. The odds of a 2nd trimester miscarriage are slim to none.

I had only gone to this high-risk pregnancy doctor just as a precaution, because of silly things like craniosynostosis, and this was just a getting-to-know-you visit. But within 20 minutes I wanted to shout at him, I wanted to plead with him to check the ultrasound just one more time: “Are you sure? Positive? You do know we are here for just a check-up right? If my baby has ‘passed away’, as you call it, then how come I can see its head? Its little belly, little legs and arms…how come I can count its ribs?

“If my baby died, then how come I don’t feel awful and crampy and bleedy? How come I am still fat and sassy, pregnant 14 weeks tomorrow? Don’t you know that I just heard its heartbeat last week at my regular doctor’s appointment? Don’t you know that I talk to this baby everyday all day, and I take my prenatal vitamins every night? I pray, and I thank God. And we were supposedly ‘out of the woods’ at this point. How did this happen? How can you tell for sure?”

I wasn’t angry, with him or with anybody.

But I am shocked.

I don’t know why it happened so far along, I don’t know how. I just want one more picture.

I can’t tell you how thankful we are for our family and friends right now. I could say words like supportive and sympathetic, helpful or kind, but words can’t describe how cared for we are by our church family. Well, maybe a few words: bear hugs and tears from the biggest and strongest of grown men. Choked-up condolences from my sweet, sweet friends. A small group of beautiful 3rd-grade girls surrounding and praying for my 8-year-old daughter as she cried. The same people who held their breaths as we went through that first trying month of pregnancy, the same people who celebrated our good news–those same people were truly grieving right long with us last night.

I’ve never felt more loved yet broken at the same time. Last night was some serious church.

I’m thankful for the comfort that they gave us; I wish there really were a bible verse or a hug that would take it all away and make it even a little easier.

But it’s just not.

Not at bedtime, when I go back and forth, from child to child, cradling them and soothing them and praying with them as they cry themselves to sleep.

Not when I wake up in the morning and put on maternity pants, and stare at a pile of donated baby toys.

Not when I see my husband cry and make a fist at the steering wheel in the car.

You guys this is so hard and horrible. I know people go through worse things and I know there are starving children and people who need Jesus’s love and life goes on and there’s work to do.

Time has just stopped at my house.

But I know it will get better.

Caleb, in an attempt to speak words of wisdom to Mia this morning, quoted one of my favorite poems–the one about footprints in the sand. During times of troubles, our Father carries us. And so I think of Him, and I think of how much no parent likes to see their children hurting. We just want to scoop them up and carry them and dry their tears and make everything better. Their pain is our pain. And for God, nothing could be more true–He knows what it’s like to lose a child.

Because Jesus was His baby.

His precious, precious son; and God had to watch Him suffer, and He did that because of me and for all of us.

And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is cradling our baby right now, and that one day we will get to scoop up all our children and kiss their faces.

Caleb and I just want to thank everyone for…everything. It means so much to have your love and support and that we’re not alone. And we’ll be okay.


Contentment

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother‘s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. Ecclesiastes 11:5

I had the best weekend ever. Starting Friday I enjoyed an easy drive down to Falls Creek with my good friends, a delicious meal, and hard-hitting testimonies by women I love and respect; I listened to a room full of beautiful voices sing songs that gave me chill bumps; I stayed up late and watched my friends embarrass themselves during a game of charades. I got to sleep on the top bunk. I went hiking with my best friend to some formerly scandalous place called “The Devil’s Bathtub”, and I had the privilege of listening to our women’s retreat guest speaker deliver a powerful and touching message.

I ate fried pie. I saw how cute downtown Pauls Valley was. Checked out some country back roads and marveled at some particularly majestic-looking horses in the mist. My house was clean when I got home. Caleb did more laundry in a 12-hour period than I think about doing in an entire week. A delicious stew was in the crock-pot. The kids were delighted to see me. Caleb let me take a nap.

I. Am. Blessed.

And then I spent last night in the emergency room, crying and waiting and clutching my tummy and hoping and praying that my little baby was alright.

Not again, God.

I still have a back ache. I still feel sick. I still don’t have all the answers that science should provide.

For now, the little punk baby is fine. But I will not lie–I am scared. The thought of a threatened miscarriage–another lost baby–was enough to send me over the edge.

But I didn’t go there. Maybe it’s because I’m coming straight off the serenity of a spirit-filled Saturday. Maybe it’s because of the fervent prayers of our friends or maybe it’s because my husband insisted I listen to the Angel Armies song on the drive back home. I am at peace.

My body is not failing me. God is not failing me. I’m no less of a mother or a woman if this baby doesn’t make it. And my baby is not lost.

I don’t take this lightly, but I know that whatever happens, it will be okay. I want to share some notes I took at the women’s retreat I went on this Saturday that seemed so well-timed and appropriate; forgive me if I straight crib from our guest speaker’s lecture.

Happiness vs. Contentment

God does not guarantee us happiness. The bible tells us that there is a season for everything; there’s a time to cry and a time to laugh. We will be happy and we will have sad times. There’s a huge difference between being happy and being content; happiness hinges on our circumstances. I was sooooooo happy when I found out I was pregnant. I gave so much thanks to God, that He was probably all “Enough already with the thanks!”

I was so happy.

Contentment, however, is found in every circumstance, and it is tied to God. Circumstances change, but God never changes.

I might not be happy right now, but I am ok.

Philippians 4:13 says this: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Mia calls it the Bethany Hamilton verse, and it is inspiring. We seldom pay attention to the verses that precede it and this is what they say:

Philippians 4:11: “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or a little.

For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Even find contentment in times of suffering?

Yes.

I’m not guaranteed happiness and I’m certainly not entitled to it. I be a sinnin’ fool just like everybody else and what I deserve? Is to die. But God has blessed me so graciously, with so much–including this beautiful baby’s life, whether he or she is with me for just a few weeks longer, or whether he or she lives to the ripe old age of 102.

I don’t ever want to let any of my children go–I almost cannot bear the thought of losing another baby. It’s physically and emotionally painful, and it’s hard, and sad. But God gave up His only son for me.

I don’t deserve everything that God has given me. I am so very grateful. I might not always be happy, but I am going to try to be content no matter my circumstances.

If I miscarry, then God will use our family to show His healing and His strength.  If this baby stays with us, what a blessing! And what a testimony to the power of prayer and the importance of the family of believers that God gives us.

For the calls and the texts and the prayers and our emergency room visitors, our entire family thanks you and is thankful for you. We are going to lay low today and just love on each other and recover from a long night.


My Lucy

 
I’ve been dreading writing this post. But, due to several public appearances my husband, my children and I have had to make this week, plus inevitable fact, I probably need to throw it out there. We lost our little baby.
 
I have never been more devastated.
 
I don’t even know what to do with myself.
 
I had this excruciating lower-back pain last week, followed by a tiny bit of spotting. Caleb insisted I go to the doctor, so on Monday, she checked me out and gave me some grim news. And while a lab test came back favorably that day, a follow-up test showed that my hcg levels were going down–further confirmation of what my doctor was telling me all along.
 
I didn’t believe her. I really just didn’t–I was sooooo hopeful. I really thought I was finally going to get my Lucy.
 
I’m still trying to make sense of it. I’ve been praying for peace but it’s not happening. I’ve been poring over my bible hoping that some verse will jump out at me and make me stop crying–the only thing I’ve been able to come away with is that people in the bible? Were kind of scandalous. And if a woman couldn’t have a baby, well then her slave had a baby for her.
 
I don’t have a slave. And where is my peace?
 
Is it because I couldn’t give up coffee?
 
Is it because I talked schmack about my dog? (Who, by the way, has not left my side since it happened. I like him a little better now.)
 
Is it because we can’t fit another kid in the backseat of our car?
 
Or was it because we were so excited and confident and told everyone less than 24 hours after I was done peeing on the stick?
 
Are we being punished, or was there something wrong with our baby? What, was it craniosynostosis? A deformity? A disability? I could handle it, God! I promise!
 
Is it because there are millions of children in the world who need loving homes, and since I’m adopted, it’s time I return the favor?
 
 
The little kid part of me won’t stop saying "It’s not fair. I want my mom. And my dad, and my sisters. Everyone else is getting their baby." But the grown-up Toni quickly repeats what everyone else has been saying to her: "It’s alright. There’s a reason–there was probably something wrong with the pregnancy. You have 3 beautiful, healthy, children. You guys can always try again later."
 
But I know that I do not have the mental energy to try again later, much less go through this again.
 
I also know that I do have 3 beautiful, healthy children, and that if it weren’t for Merrick, running around the house with a laundry basket on his head, singing "I like to Move it, move it!" at the top of his lungs while Mia chases him throwing balls at his head, giggling her brains out, things would be unbearable around here. Cheyenne’s sarcastic jokes make me laugh. She has been such a huge help this week.
 
And Caleb? He’s doing alright. I think. Words cannot describe what a wonderful, supportive husband he is, just when I thought that he couldn’t be more perfect. I have fallen in love with my husband all over again, and more intensely than ever before–and not just because he’s doing the laundry.
 
And while I might not have my mom, or my dad, or my sisters, or my baby…I do have my family.
 
God has given me everything I need for right now.
 
 

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