Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tis the Season of Hope......

I have been wanting to write. I have been needing to write. Because writing is like therapy to me and I guess I'm in some need of therapy. But I have been too tired, too busy, pregnant, not pregnant, and engulfed in the holiday season. What a whirlwind of a month!

I would have to say that November and December were like a roller coaster ride that you couldn't wait to get on, couldn't wait to get off, wanted back on, and then wish you never rode. The month has been full of emotions from surprise, joy, excitement, grief, sadness, appreciation, and most importantly hope.  At the end of it all, I'm sure there are some life lessons to be learned and I truly believe all things happen for a reason. However, I haven't been off the ride long enough to be able to decipher all of that yet.

In November, we found out that we were expecting our 4th. baby. Expected, unexpected, planned, unplanned............could be explained as all of the above. That my friends is kind of a long, personal story. But when you have a hard time conceiving babies (another long story) and you are convinced your hormones are out of whack and you are in perimenopause, you find yourself pleasantly surprised when you are pregnant with your 4th. child. It doesn't matter that the 3 you already have are all high energy little boys or that financially it may be a little tight. It doesn't matter that you may have to rearrange some things in your home or that your return to the workforce may be delayed. It doesn't matter that you may not sleep for the next year or two AGAIN or that you may need to purchase some items you thought you wouldn't need anymore. And it doesn't matter how many people are surprised at the news, although it took awhile for me to accept that one. Why doesn't any of it matter?Because your heart has immediately grown larger to make room for the baby you will one day hold, love, and call your own. Your heart has already made room for a new addition. When God allows us the privilege of creating and bringing another human being into the world, you can't help but feel hopeful. There is hope for new beginnings, hope for things to work out just the way they're supposed to, and hope to do better.... to try harder.

A little less than 3 weeks ago, I had a routine doctor appointment. Routine. That's kind of a funny word because there's nothing routine about life. I think it's when we expect "routine" that we get the unexpected. Before I had my appointment with the Dr., I had to meet with the nurse and the billing lady to discuss all the insurance info. Therefore, I spent the first hour and a half filling out forms, collecting magazines, baby info., deciding what tests I would and wouldn't do (mostly wouldn't), and even choosing which hospital I would deliver at.  After two hours of being at the doctor's office, I was finally called in to see the doctor. Weight check, blood pressure, pee in the cup, wait in the room for 20 minutes.....all the standard pregnancy check up procedures. But what wasn't standard was that I was in my 2nd. trimester and when the doctor put the small, cold metal doppler on my tummy.......he couldn't detect a heartbeat. He tried for a long time and I prayed for the sound I had heard a million times before with my other babies, but there was not heartbeat to be heard. The Dr. immediately sent me for an ultrasound but I already knew the truth. Seeing my baby on the ultrasound with no heartbeat was only confirmation of what my heart already knew........ our family would not be getting a new addition after all. On that day, I left the doctor's office with a stack full of prenatal and baby information but with no hope of ever bringing my baby home.

There are dark times in every one's lives. Times when things are just difficult. But I truly believe during the darkness there is light to be found. For us, the baby was a light. It was something our family was looking forward to. And when we had to adjust to the news that our baby wasn't meant to be, there was darkness. But there was still light to be found. Now don't get me wrong. I wasn't immediately looking for the good in this situation and I know there's a reason for everything but I don't even pretend to know what that is. I spent the first day or two close to my bed and not wanting to see or talk to anyone. But by the third day and thereafter I could see the hope, I could see the light. Of course, I have a strong faith and I know that God has a plan for me and when things go wrong I trust that he will see me through. It is incredible the peace that God can provide during difficult times if you choose to rely on him.

We are incredibly blessed to have supportive friends and family. My family received flowers, gifts, cards, encouraging phone calls, and messages. A few people messaged me and shared their own stories of miscarriage and loss. People also gave us space, they weren't overbearing and they gave us space and time to heal. Neighbors and friends brought us meals and most importantly people just genuinely cared. They hurt because we hurt. I think I was mostly touched by people who shared their stories. I think there is so much to be learned from sharing your story. They went out of their comfort zone to let me know that they knew how I was feeling, that they understood, that they were thinking of me because they understood the pain.  I simply believe good things happen when people share a piece of themselves, especially when it is to offer comfort to others.

Anyways, I was devastated when I found out about the baby because it was Christmastime and we had already told our children. I just felt like this was a really crummy time for something like this to happen, not that there is ever a good time. But I LOVE Christmas. So to navigate through the pain during my favorite season at first felt like a daunting task.  But then as the days went on, I realized that this was the perfect time for something like this to happen. It is a time for giving, a season of hope, and a time to be thankful for what we already have. And trust me if you're feeling bad, the best way to make yourself feel better is to do nice things for other people. Christmas isn't about the presents on Christmas morning. I am hoping that when my children are grown they will not remember what presents they received each year. Instead I hope they remember; the  family traditions, the fun things that we did, the year they truly understood the meaning of Christmas and what the birth of Christ means for them, how exciting it is to give, and most importantly how to keep Christmas in their heart all year long.

I don't know what's in store for our family. I don't know why this happened. But tomorrow morning when I go back to my doctor's office for the first time since we received our sad news, I will try to remember that good things can always come from bad, beauty can come from ashes........we just have to lift up our heads, wipe our tears, open our eyes, and move forward.