Breaking the Silence- Our Story

Standard

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day was yesterday, and October has become known as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. So, in honor of the awareness month I’d like to take a turn at “breaking the silence”, and sharing my husband’s and I’s story.

In July 2014, Frank and I had learned we were pregnant with our second child. On Tuesday August 5th, 2014 as I was preparing for work, I started having severe cramping, and then I starting bleeding a large amount. I had a sinking feeling. I just knew. I was having a miscarriage. I didn’t need the doctor to tell me. I just knew. I got a fellow nurse to cover the class I was supposed to be teaching, and my husband and I went to the OB/GYN that morning.

When we saw the doctor, he didn’t give us false hope, but he wasn’t negative either. He explained that some women bleed early on in pregnancy, and we won’t really know anything until I had blood work done. We drew blood, and my amazing husband took the day off to spend with me. I was to come back on Wednesday to draw more blood work.

Wednesday morning came, I worked in the morning, and had an appointment to draw my blood again just after lunch. As I already said, I knew I was having a miscarriage. I didn’t need the blood work to confirm it. But what i didn’t know was that Wednesday August 6th, 2014 would be one of the hardest days of my life, and a day that I have never felt so alone.

I went to the doctor appointment alone. Frank offered to come, but I knew he had just taken and entire day off to be with me, and he still has a job he needs to do. So I told him to stay at work. As I walked into the doctor’s office, I didn’t even consider how many pregnant people would be there in the office. I checked in, unfortunately, I was about 15 minutes early. As I sat there, watching all these pregnant women around me, I couldn’t help but cry. Here I was sitting in the waiting room with tears rolling down my cheeks, because why did all these women get the joy of having a child, but I lost mine???? The Medical Assistant for my doctor is amazing in every way. She looked through the glass and saw me crying. She called me back. It’s not her job to draw blood. It’s the lab techs, but she was at lunch and the MA knew how I felt. She didn’t need to ask, because she has once had a miscarriage too. She said “I can draw your blood. It’s not a problem.” She took me back. She looked me in the eyes, and said “You’re young Stephanie. There is still time. You will try again.” At that moment, I thought “Hell no. I can’t risk feeling like this again.”

I quickly left the doctor’s appointment, got in my car, and I bawled my eyes out. Now, if you know me at all, you know that I have a ton of family that lives near me, and we are all very close. I have a constant support system, except for this Wednesday. You see, first off not many knew I was pregnant, so that’s a hard phone call to make “Hey, I was pregnant, but I miscarried, and all I need is a hug.” —not exactly the phone call you want to make. Now, my grandparents didn’t know I was pregnant, and they are someone I could of gone to, but they were in Florida. Frank was at work. My other grandmother had just broken her hip and was in the hospital, so my mom, fairly so, was with her sisters at the hospital waiting for my Mima to get out of surgery. So, I called my dad. He answered, but said he wasn’t home. He offered to go home, but a huge weakness of mine is admitting I need help. So, I lied, I told him I was fine, and never mind. So, I went home. It was just Maddy and I at home, and I felt so, so, so alone. I have never felt like I needed to just be held, and there was no one to hold me. My poor two year old probably thought I was crazy. All I was doing was crying. To top it all off Frank had to work late, to make up for being gone the day before. In fairness to him, he had no clue how much I was struggling, because like I said I don’t like to admit when I need help.

Have you heard people say God meets you in your darkest hour? Well, He did. I clearly remember sitting in the bathroom while I bathed Maddy thinking “How can no one be here for me when I need them most?” And God whispered, “I’ve been here the whole time. I’ve been with you all day today. I’m right here.” I just broke down harder, I started praying fervently. I asked for forgiveness. I asked for God to just hold me.

I learned a huge lesson that evening, I learned to lean on God.

Learning to lean on God is not a quick process, and neither is grief. It took several months to stop being sad. The hard part about this sadness was no one wanted to talk about it with me. I didn’t want to talk about having a miscarriage, but I did want people to remember the child I had lost. I’m sure many didn’t ask about it, because it’s a sensitive topic, but I didn’t want this child to just be forgotten. It broke my heart, because I loved that child as much as I loved Maddy.

The doctor encourages you to try again in 3 months after the miscarriage. I’ll be honest, this was a hard leap of faith for me to take. I didn’t want to try again. How could I allow myself to be that vulnerable again?! What if I lost the next child? I spent a lot of time in prayer about it. Through that prayer, I knew God had more than one child planned for our future. So we started trying. Three months passed of us trying, and we still weren’t pregnant. This let down was almost as hard. Frank and I both discussed having feelings of inadequacy. We were discouraged. I read, and re-read the verse Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” After the third negative pregnancy test, Frank and I decided we would try one more month, and if we still weren’t pregnant we would seriously consider adoption.

Then, January 2015, I had a positive pregnancy test. Finally. Joshua 1:9 would become my rock for this pregnancy. I would have to learn to be courageous. Fears of losing this child were all to real. God would help me learn to live in the present, because we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. I would constantly tell myself “I’m pregnant another day. I got to know this child one more day.” God was helping me grow in a big way.

September 28th 2015, Libby was born. Our amazingly perfect second daughter, third child. I didn’t get the pleasure of meeting our second child but! I wouldn’t change having Libby in our lives. Plus, I can’t help but think God has huge plans for her. He will do great things with Libby on this earth.

Now, I know there are many women out there, some I know personally, who have experienced multiple miscarriages, still born births, or even tragic losses of infants. My heart goes out to each of you, because I think you have felt loss even deeper than I have, and I can’t imagine your pain. Please know that I pray for you. My God is a good God all the time, and there is a plan. I promise.

A Wave Tossed in the Wind: Conclusion

Standard

Just over a year ago, I wrote a post titled “A Wave Tossed in the Wind”. This post was honestly one of my more raw and emotional posts. Even when I re-read it now, my heart aches for the girl who was writing it. It didn’t have a great ending. I wanted it to have a great one. So, a little over a year later, the ending has arrived!

After initially writing the post, a lot of stress was lifted off me. It was after I wrote the post that I was truly able to take a step back and see God’s bigger picture. It was me learning to just trust again no matter what. Let me tell you, the moment I did that God placed people and circumstances in my life to gently remind me: you made the right choice. God put two sweet ladies in my path to check in on me, and to help close the chapter I left behind. They might not even know how important their words were, but God used them to speak to me, and for that I’m ever grateful. It was a great reminder that God was still present while I felt I was in the middle of the storm.

A year later, I can definitely say without a doubt , I do not regret the decision I made. God’s plan was bigger than mine. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9). This verse  is truth, and it was spoken out through my life.

So, if you’re struggling, if you’re the one in the middle of the storm, if you’re the one who is doubting like Peter, please hear me when I say, God is near.

Keep Searching

Standard

Think back to your school age years. Remember the kid that loved sports? How about the kid that loved books? What about the kid that loved music? Remember them? Maybe one of those was you. None of them were me. I’ve always struggled finding something I was passionate about. Finding something that helped relieve stress instead of create it. I feel neutral to all of it. I participated in gymnastics for a long time during my childhood, but I wouldn’t say I was passionate about it. So coupled with struggling to find my passion, comes with being stressed out. A lot. I don’t have that release…or I didn’t find it until recently.

I love to write. I don’t care if anyone is reading my blog. It’s just a simple way release to my emotions, happy or sad. It’s just something I truly enjoy doing, and would love to do it more often. It’s something I look forward too.

So this blog is simple and to the point. If you haven’t found your passion, if you don’t have a way to de-stress, then keep searching. You’ll find it. You may have to push yourself, and try something new, but you’ll find it. I promise.

Happy searching.

SoapBox Series #2: Women’s Rights-Not what you think

Standard

A topic I feel extremely passionate about is women’s rights, but probably not in the way you think. Don’t worry, this will not be a history lesson, or a male-hating post. I promise.

I want to explain what these women were fighting so hard for. They were fighting for the right to have a choice. A choice. Not a mandate or requirement. They were fighting for a woman to be able to choose to vote. Not require her. (Although, you really should vote.) They were fighting for women to have the choice to be in the workforce. Not mandate her to work. Women today are still fighting for equality, but let me tell you that equality does not always look the same. What works for one woman might not work for the other. However, they are equal. A woman can stay home, raise children, cook dinner, and maintain the house, and she is just as equal as the woman CEO of a large company. They are equal. Both women should have the right to choose what they want to do.

Sadly, many feel our culture has made so many advancements in women’s rights. In fact, some think we might even live long enough to see a female president. I am arguing that we have not made as many advancements as we think, but instead have become a culture that is just as enslaving as it once was. We’ve just changed what it looks like. Instead of a culture that makes women stay home and not have a voice or opinion about anything, we are becoming a culture who makes women work in the workforce, and feel the need to have an opinion and a voice about everything. This is just as harmful and just as restricting.

I am a working mother, and that is strictly due to our financial situation. If we could manage to have the life style we have without me working, then I would stay at home. No question. However, even when I’ve considered this option, many have been quick to be judgemental. I’ve heard things from “You’re too smart to be a stay-at-home mom” to “You wouldn’t just throw your education out the window like that, would you?” Since when did we become a culture more worried about the status of our job, then raising well-rounded, healthy children?! This post ties slightly back to SoapBox Series #1, in that I recognize I love spending all day with my chid, and I realize some women are not built for that. But wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to choose with out the judgemental comments and glances? See, I’m one who can take it, and am one who doesn’t have a problem confronting you about this topic, but what about the other women out there struggling with the thought of staying home? Who is fighting for that woman? Well, I am. If you are a stay-at-home mother, then I admire you. You have learned patience in a way others don’t even know. You most likely multi-task better than any project manager, and you likely keep your clients and employees (children) happier than any CEO. I will even argue that your blessing from your job are far greater than a six figure salary. I applaud you, and I see you every bit as equal as the well-known business woman. If you are a working woman, then please know I respect you too. In some fields it is tough to be a woman out there, and many of you hold those jobs and do it better than anyone else.

Now, if you’re a woman, please know you have the right to choose. No one can make you do anything. If you’re a man, then please let the women in your life know that you support her no matter what her choice is. And then, just maybe then, we will become a country that our foremothers (is that a word??? Spell check doesn’t think so.) once dreamed about.

 

SoapBox #1: Children as a Negative

Standard

Have you ever had someone say, “Oh, trust me, you’ll be begging me one day to watch her/him?” or how about “I’m sure you want a break” or even the polite “it’s just for a night/weekend. You can stand being away from him/her for a day or two.” I know these sayings are often said with love and good intentions, but they get on my last nerve. Here is a crazy concept: I like my child. I want to spend every minute I can with her, especially since I’m a working mom. I enjoy her. I get your children might have driven you crazy. I get not all people are built with a patience for children, but I am not that mom or that woman. I love kids. I’ve always chosen a profession surrounded by children. So, I don’t ever want to escape my own. Let me be clear: I am not judging you if you are the mom that wants a break. God built us all different, and I am not one to judge. I just want it made clear that I don’t WANT to ever be without her.Now, there are times that it is necessary for me to be without her: work, certain social functions, date night with the hubs, etc. However, even in those moments, although necessary, I don’t want to be without her.

I feel like our culture is slowly turning a negative side to having children. Have you read the most recent FB posts or blog articles? They are always directed at how to “survive” or “things to do before having children.” There is some good in these articles. It’s even refreshing when someone can be open and honest with you about something difficult like raising a child, but the whole experience is not a negative one. Negative is how those articles leave you feeling. I am here to tell you that having a child is one of the biggest blessings God has ever blessed me with. Is it hard sometimes? Heck yes! Do I need help a lot of the time? Yes! But I love her more than I can explain, and it gets on my last nerve to hear people talk so negatively. It also breaks my heart. I’m sorry you aren’t feeling the same overwhelming joy and love I have for my own child, and I hope you find it someday. However, in the meantime, I love my child. I love spending time with her, and no I don’t need an escape.

A Wave Tossed in the Wind

Standard

“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6

When I read that verse, I read it as truth. I believe it’s truth. Yet, my actions do not match my beliefs right now. 

If you’ve ever heard Christianity taught at some point in your life, you have most likely heard the story of Jesus walking on water, and calling Peter out to Him (Matthew 14:22-33). Peter is quick to trust God and jump out of the boat. Then, he doubts. So he begins to sink. Peter in a fraction of a second became a wave tossed in the wind. The one thing he trusted less than a second ago, he all of a sudden doubted. His faith turned to doubt in the blink of an eye. The good news is Peter cries out for Jesus, and Jesus quickly pulls him back out of the water, and the storm subsides. 

I have never been able to identify with Peter in this way, more than I do now. A few months ago, an opportunity was made available to me. I prayed hard about it, tried to set my emotions aside, and trust in what God had planned. So, I took the opportunity. God had clearly opened this door. A few months later, I’m in the middle of this opportunity, and all I can think about is how much I regret my decision. Isn’t that funny? I was so confident and quick to trust, but the moment the storm started I felt doubt. Let’s be honest, I don’t just feel doubt. I am doubting in God’s overall plan. So, the result? I’m sinking. I’m a wave being blown and tossed in the wind. 

I’ve felt this way for weeks now, but waited to write the blog. I wanted this post to have a great conclusion. I wanted to be able to tell you about how I cried out for Jesus, and now I’m walking on water again just like Peter. But the truth is, I have not made it through the storm. I am crying out to Jesus, and He is there, but the storm around me has yet to stop.  However, I know it will eventually die down, and I will once again find myself at peace. Until then, I will meditate (I hate that word!), on this: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LOrd, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Confessions

Standard

I’ve been thinking of this blog for several days if not weeks now, but have failed to write it. Again, not because of time, but if I type the words, then it will be real. It will be a problem I now acknowledge publicly, and I will have no choice but to attempt to fix it. I take that back. I guess I could choose to keep living on with my sin, but what good does that for me or anyone else? Nothing. Besides, repent means to turn away from. So acknoledging the sin is not enough. I must face it and turn the other way.

So… the confessions… here they go. God has really pointed to two sins in my life lately that I’m really struggling with. The first is having a trusting faith (is that redundant?), and the second is gossip. I feel many read those confessions and say, “Who doesnt struggle with that?!” But here is the thing. I’m not just struggling with them. I’m allowing those sins to win. I’m allowing them to take over my life. That is the problem. Sure. Everyone struggles with sin daily, and always will while on earth. However, when you are not confronting those sins, and allowing them to run amuck in your life, then that is not just a problem. It is a huge problem.

I don’t feel I need to go into detail with the gossip. I’m sure everyone gets the point. However, I would like to go into detail about having a trusting faith. Having my daughter has grown my faith in many ways. For example, I love her with everything I have, and it’s a different kind of love. It’s a love only other parents can comprehend. What this love has taught me is: that’s exactly how God feels for us. He loves each of us more than I love my daughter, if that’s possible. But where my faith has struggled is trusting God with her on a daily basis. Even typing that I feel odd. How can I know he loves EVERYONE that much, but not trust Him to look out for her everyday when I’m not there. How prideful? How shameful of me to sit here and think she’s better off with me, then with God. Deep down that’s not how I feel. I know, if she could only have one of us, she is better off with God. There is no contest. I can only offer a very small fraction of what God can offer her. But, my actions and emotions would tell you the exact opposite. I stress about leaving her in the church nursery. I stress about her having to start daycare this month. I worry that I may die younger than I plan on. All of these worries, just reveal what is lacking. What is lacking is a trusting faith. And that’s hard for me to write/read/hear. It’s hard to hear that I admit to not trusting God with everything I have. It saddens me. But hopefully this is just the beginning of me learning to let go and let God.