Friday, December 28, 2007

A picture perfect Christmas... almost

Wow- what a whirlwind this holiday season has been, and really, it isn't even over! We still have to go see a bunch of my relatives who just came in from out of town AND New Years AND our anniversary on New Years Eve! Crazy! But for the sake of this post we will just stick to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!

So, Christmas Eve we went over to my Aunt and Uncle's house around 2:30 pm. My grandma had brought my Granny (great-grandma) over from the Alzheimer's home she has been living in this last year so she could see the whole family. She is so sweet and interesting to talk to because she comes up with the craziest stories!! I told her that her nails looked nice (they had painted them) and she told me, "Oh thank you. Don't tell anybody, but the boys down at the pistol range just love them! They don't know what to say! But don't tell anyone- they think I'm at the home!" The pistol range?!?! Too funny! Like she escaping and running down to the pistol range to flirt with the guys! (that is Roman & me, up top)

We had BBQ crab for dinner- my all time favorite dinner!! Basically you put a bunch of crab (in the shell) in this homemade BBQ sauce and let it warm in the oven for a couple of hours- SOOOOO GOOD!! Just thinking about it right now is making my salivate! Yumm! We have it with salad and garlic bread- completely indulgent!

After dinner we started opening gifts. I was really excited because I thought that Roman would be really into it this year, and he was at first! That is, until he opened up one of his toys and then all he wanted to do was play with it, not open anymore gifts! Poor guy, we had to keep taking his toys away from him so he would open up the rest of his gifts! I think he thought he was in trouble! We all got nice stuff though! Actually it was pretty funny because all the gifts I received from my grandma I had specifically picked out and some I had even ordered over the internet for her since she wasn't sure how, and yet by the time I got to opening them I had completely forgotten what she was giving me! The holidays had totally sucked my brain out by that point! Oh man, I felt like a moron!

So, later that evening, once things had died down, we headed home to drop off our gifts and pick up our luggage to head out to my in-law's picturesque lake cabin. Roman fell asleep in the car and when we got there I managed to get him inside and laid down fairly quickly (although he did decide to wake up about a bazzilion times that night- mostly to go potty! I can't decide if this is a curse or a blessing!). After we got him down we (well, mostly Jer) put together this little car track with power cars that follow it. It turned out to be a pretty big pain- you had to get every curve at just the right angle or the cars would jump the track and go fourwheelin'! And of course, what does Roman do Christmas morning but run right through the track in all of his excitement and mess the whole thing up!! Oh well- we had fun! He got LOTS of other cars this year- mostly from the movie Cars which he totally loves! He even got a little "Tow Mater" tow truck that he can sit on and push around the house- it has an ignition and a cell phone which he totally loves! His other favorite toy is a play kitchen! Every morning he runs out and makes me breakfast- how sweet of him!

My brother-in-law, sister-in-law and nephew showed up around 11 and we opened up the family-exchange gifts. My in-laws gave us a one-night stay at a hot springs in Montana which I am really looking forward to, along with tickets to Blue Man Group, which I have wanted to see for quite some time! My nephew got Guitar Hero III, which we played most of the next two days! It really is a lot of fun! I wasn't half bad if I do say so myself! We had a competition where we all had to play the same song and compare our scores- maybe not the best idea since after hearing "Slow Ride" EIGHT TIMES we were all about to bang our heads against the wall! It was still fun though! (I am to the left, Jer to the right- he was really into getting in full character & rockin' it out!)

But now for the REALLY interesting part of the holiday. It was late Christmas afternoon and I headed into the bathroom to find an over flowing toilet containing less than agreeable contents, left there by "someone" (okay, my 9 year old nephew!). Well, for the two days prior we had been able to hear gurgling through the shower drain every time we flushed and as it turned out we had all been slowly glogging up the system- GROSS!! Jer and his dad tried for hours to fix it! The plunged (which only caused things to back up into the tub- completely nasty!!), they went on the roof and tried to snake the system through the air vent- nothing worked! Of course no plumber was wanting to come out on Christmas night for less than a fortune, so we were forced to find alternative bathroom facilities until the next day! We concluded that peeing outside (in the snow, while it was snowing- talk about freezin' your patootie off!) would work for everyone, but what to do about the "other" end. Well, my in-laws found an old porta-potty toilet they had used on their boat, so we set it up in the laundry room (separate from the house) and they decided that everyone could line the bowl with a plastic bag and then throw the bags away in the dumpster!! Needless to say I began praying immediately that I would not be forced to use these facilities, and by the grace of God I made it home without paying a visit to the laundry room! Hallelujah and Amen!! However, I did get a kick out of taking pictures to document the whole ordeal. The first is of my brother in-law- we had brought the porta-potty in to clean it up. The second is of my father-in-law- showing off our new bathroom! Too funny! It was one of those character building experiences (as my mom would call it)!

What ended up happening then, you wonder? Well, they called out a plumber the next day and after a few hours he concluded that there must be a broken pipe, or roots in the pipe, or something. In other words, it was a bigger job than he could handle and after the snow melts my in-laws will probably end up having to have major plumbing work done on the cabin. To top it off, as the plumber was trying to leave his van got stuck and Jer and his dad had to go out there and push!

The even bigger bummer is that Jer was planning on taking me to the cabin for our anniversary next week! My mother-in- law said, "Well you still could." I said, "Oh yeah- that's my idea of romance- no running water and peein' outside! Come on!" Oh well, I am sure we will figure out something!

So that pretty much sums up our Christmas adventure! All in all, it was lots of fun and a nice time to spend with our families. And hey- I learned to play Guitar Hero III! Haha! (Jer & Roman over there -->)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Site up for Believing God Study- check it out!

I thought it would be nice to have a main hub for everyone participating in our online small group study of Beth Moore's Believing God, so I created a little site called Hope & Believe on freewebs. Here is the full link: This is where anyone who is interested in the study can go to find out more about it and where those participating in the study can discuss it (the site has a small forum). I have also included a page for mamas healing from loss and a blogroll so we can get to know each other better. Please check it out and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Micah- my little prophet!

As each day goes by I see more and more reason for the Lord allowing this painful loss into my life. I know it sounds crazy, and almost cold, but I am so thankful for being able to recognize the work that God is doing in me through all of this. I think God gave Micah to me for the short time that He did to be my own little prophet. My experience over this last month has really driven me to the Lord and His word. For a while now I have been stagnant in my walk, feeling no closeness with the Lord, but it wasn't Him- it was me. I had lost my sense of wonder and awe. I had forgotten what it really means to cling to Him and rely on Him for everything. This miscarriage has given me no choice but to rely on Him. He has made it very clear that I can't make my own plans- I need to be walking in His will and His plan for me life.

Micah of the Bible cries out to the people that they need to turn back to God. He also tells them that if they do, God will welcome them back with open arms. God's plea through Micah is simple- "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). God wanted me back- abiding in His Word and spending time with Him. He wants me to appreciate the amazing mercy He has poured out on my life. And what could humble me more than this? Me- the woman who plans everything the way she wants it! He wanted control of my life and this was the way He needed to get through to me.

Micah of the Bible also speaks about the plight of the poor. I believe that the Lord wanted to show me a group of people poor in spirit who needed my help- women who have experienced pregnancy loss. I could never have had the compassion and understanding that I do now if I hadn't experienced this. The Lord has shown me a ministry that is in dire need of help. In recent days the idea has come to me to not only become a postpartum doula but a pregnancy loss doula as well, and I believe this idea is nothing short of divinely inspired. I want to help provide women the one-on-one support and encouragement they need through these difficult times, which is not very available in our culture. Women need support from other women not only in labor but also in loss, especially from other women who have been there.

So thank you Micah my love- you have taught me so much in the little time I had you with me and you continue to teach me in your absence. And thank you Lord for blessing me with Micah and using him to teach me so much. I hope the lessons he has taught me will help many more women as well. Micah's loss is no less painful, but it helps my healing to see God work through it.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Join me!!!

This is a call to all the mamas out there who want a serious Bible Study but have a hard time actually being able to attend one! I recently found this awesome online Bible Study program by Beth Moore called Believing God. The basis of the study is all about strengthening our faith- about believing what God says, not just believing in Him. By enrolling in the online program you are able to watch video messages for each week (one per week for 10 weeks), download homework (5 days a week) and have access to an online study tool library and forum with women from all around the world participating in the program. The program costs $23.95 but I think it will be well worth it- you can always do what I am doing and ask for it for Christmas!! Also, if you don't want to have to print out all of the homework you can buy the member book for $14.95 off the Lifeway website.

So, here is the deal- I thought it would be really fun to start an online small group of bloggin' mamas participating in the study. I don't know, it just sounds like a cool idea, don't 'ya think? It could kind of be like a blog ring of mamas doing the Believing God study. That way not only could we take a deeper look at how the study is influencing each other's lives but we could share our experiences with others. I think this could be an amazing opportunity to form a tight-knit group of bloggin' mamas who are sisters in Christ! I am totally open to mamas without blogs to participate as well! I just think the bloggin' aspect could be an added bonus but I don't want anyone left out who wants to participate.

So, is anyone interested? Post a reply to this post if you are and I will let you know all the details of our group!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hope for healing

And so now the healing process begins. I passed the baby last Tuesday and this past Sunday Jeremiah and I went up and buried the baby on his parent's property. We found a nice spot by some rocks in the middle of a group of young trees. It was a cold and wet evening as we stood in the snow and said goodbye to our baby, but despite the weather it gave me a tremendous sense of closure. After I placed the small box in the ground I began to breakdown. Jeremiah just held me and then he prayed for our baby, for us as a couple and for the amazing son that we already have. When he finished I sang (or tried to through my tears anyway) the chorus to one of my favorite Sarah Groves songs which I typed out in an earlier post. Jer covered over the box and I told him how much comfort I took in knowing that our baby was in heaven with Jesus, and his grandmother, and my grandpa, and Mary and Moses and Abraham Lincoln! We chuckled at that, but silly as it sounds those are the things I have been thinking of. I am glad that our baby never had to suffer burdens or temptations. All my sweet child knows is golden streets and abounding love. And I know there are other mothers in heaven who had lost children during their lives on earth and know my pain, and I know they are watching over my baby.

One of the other things I have been taking comfort in is my motherly intuition. I know when my baby died- it was Friday November 16, 2007 in the middle of the day. I had had the ultrasound that morning and had just received the disheartening news that he probably wouldn't make it. That day he was supposed to be at 9 weeks gestation but he was measuring much, much smaller than that. In my pain and despair I prayed a simple prayer, "Jesus take care of my baby," and I believe that in that moment of letting go Jesus did just that. I also "know" that he was a boy. I just do. All throughout my short pregnancy I had referred to him as a boy and I just know that he was. I named him Micah. Micah Monroe. I only told Jer the name just before we buried him. Jer asked me where I got it and I told him that it just came to me one night. It means, "who resembles God," and seeing as how God will be the one to raise him, it is no wonder that he will resemble Him. I know that many people don't name the baby at such an early loss, but for me it brought comfort and closure. Giving him a name validates that he was a real baby and a real loss and it helps me show him that he will not be forgotten.

My intuition had also been telling me all throughout the pregnancy that something just wasn't right. I just kept feeling that the pregnancy wasn't going to last. As strange is it may seem, this is a comfort to me now because it makes me feel more confident going into a future pregnancy. Of course I will be nervous to get pregnant again for fear of the same outcome, but I also feel that I will trust my instincts and I will know if something isn't right. It is much easier to prepare for something if you see it coming.

Another way I have been coping is through art- however bad and childish it may be! One night I was online reading through the posts on MotheringDotCommune's pregnancy loss boards and someone was talking about dealing with their loss through art. I really connected with this idea because ever since the loss I have been longing for a way to really express my feelings. I will be okay all day long and then night time comes but sleep does not. Almost every day I end up dealing with my grief alone in the dark. So one night I got out Roman's crayons and went to town. My drawings were silly and rough, but you know what, that just didn't matter! It just felt good to be putting color on paper! After I drew some I wrote a poem, and however bad it may be as well, I am glad that I could express myself in this way. It is a part of the healing process for me. I feel more creative now than I have in months. It has re-energized me to sew and knit and eventually I would like to turn my rough crayon sketches into acrylic paintings. All of these things are helping me breathe.

And of course, most importantly, there is Jesus. Oh my sweet Jesus. Ya know, it is strange how an experience such as this can be so awakening. For a while now I have felt very stagnant in my walk with the Lord. I had come to this place of feeling like He just didn't want to hear from me anymore because I never followed through on what I said and all I ever seemed to pray was, "help." But through all of this God has been so faithful. I have heard His small still voice more clearly than I have in a long time. He has simply told me to "Come." I know now more than ever that He loves me, He will comfort me, and most of all that He understands.

Sunday I listened to this wonderful message by Jon Courson on Psalm 47 and it was all about praising God. He outlined these wonderful points about how worship delights the Father, defines our focus, develops our fellowship, defeats our foe and dethrowns our flesh. He talked about how when he is in a bad place in his life and negative thoughts are creeping into his mind, if he just turns his eyes to Jesus and worships Him, He will take over his mind. Psalm 22:3 says that God is enthrowned on our worship, so if we worship Him we our creating the thrown in our lives from which He can rule on. I can't tell you how many times in just the last two days this idea has saved me- when the darkness creeps in I just start telling God how much I love Him and trust Him, and in turn He strengthens me. Psalm 86 has also been a huge comfort and source of encouragement for me- go on, go read it! You will see how good God is!

It is His strength that keeps me going. It is His strength that will help me through tonight as I go to visit and rejoice with a close friend in the hospital who just delivered a beautiful, healthy little boy this morning, and later this week when a rejoice with and visit another friend who delivered a beautiful little boy just last Thursday. My God is faithful and He will give me the joy and strength to be glad for me friends in the midst of my grieving because He knows I can't do it on my own and He will never leave me.

So this is how it happened...

Please beware- the following post speaks very candidly of my miscarriage experience. If this is not a topic you would not like to know all of the details of, you may think twice before reading on.

A week ago today, Tuesday November 27, 2007, I passed my baby. It didn't happen how I had hoped. In situations such as that you want to be able to be surrounded with love and security and peacefully let the inevitable take place. Although I was at home it was not as peaceful as I had wished. At around 11:30 I began to have some cramping and small clots so I decided to lay down with Roman for his nap. When we got up things began to get much more intense. At 3:30 I called Jeremiah to let him know what was happening and that we would not be able to attend my sister-in-law's birthday party that evening. I called my mom and told her what was happening also and called and asked my in-laws to pick up Roman.

Seemingly right after I got off the phone things became unbearable. I was cramping so hard that I didn't want to move at all, but Roman kept asking for snacks and water and I had to get him ready for my in-laws to pick him up. As I was kneeling on the floor trying to get him dressed I began bawling from the pain and knew that I could no longer do this alone. I called my mother in a panic and as she answered I felt things give way and could tell I passing large clots. I managed to get myself into the bathroom and my mom promised to be right there. My in-laws arrived within minutes and began knocking on the door. I had unlocked it for them but they couldn't understand that I was yelling "COME IN! IT'S UNLOCKED!" They stood and knocked for what seemed like forever until they finally tried the knob.

Roman was being such a good boy through all of it. He went to the window just like I asked him to, even though I had only managed to get the poor guy half dressed. By this point my underwear, pants and the toilet were covered in blood and I was still in a great amount of pain. My in-laws couldn't find one of Roman's shoes and almost left with him in his slippers but finally found it as I was yelling directions from the bathroom.

My mom arrived just as my in-laws were leaving with Roman. She came into the bathroom and comforted me through my pain and my tears. I spewed off a bunch of instructions of things I needed her to grab and she quickly fetched everything I had asked for- a metal bowl, a plastic gloves and a large pad like the ones I had used after Roman's birth. After a few minutes the cramps began to become less intense and things slowed down. I cleaned myself up and then went about the task of trying to find the placenta and amniotic sac in the water. I found the placenta quickly and later when we came back into the bathroom and some of the lining had sluffed off, we found the amniotic sac attached to it. I broke open the sac to look for the baby, but only found the yolk sac which looked like a miniature silicone implant. My midwife had said that the baby had been so small that we probably wouldn't find it, plus the fact that it had died 11 days prior and had probably already begun to dissipate, but I still need to look to make sure.

Jer arrived a while later. By this point I was cleaned up and sitting on the couch talking with my mom. Most of my cramping had stopped and I was only passing small clots, although my lower back still ached. We just sat and talked the rest of the evening. My in-laws brought Roman back home after the birthday party and then my dad came with take-out for dinner. I am so glad they were there- their comfort meant so much.

A few days later my midwife called to go over things. She let me know that I would still experience all of the postpartum hormones as I would with a full-term pregnancy and that I would also loose my hair again (I lost about 50% with Roman but she assured me it would be less this time since I hadn't been storing it up for 9 months). She also informed me that I needed to go in for a rhogham shot right away for my negative blood type. My mom took me into my old OB's office that day for the shot and I all fo the sudden became very thankful that I had not had to go through this whole trauma in that cold and sterile office. Having a midwife as my caregiver had made all of the difference in the world. Knowing that she was praying for me and genuinely cared was a great source of comfort.

Thursday through Saturday I ended up being in very intense pain again, and luckily my mom was around most of the time to help me with Roman and everything else. It turns out there was still some tissue remaining in my uterus and I passed it on Saturday evening. I had a few more surges on blood but things have calmed down quite a bit now and I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

All in all, it is not anything that I would have wanted to experience and it didn't go the way I had planned but it has been a very eye opening experience on the whole. My level of compassion for other mothers has grown exponentially and I can see how going through this will help me to care for women in my doula practice. I wouldn't wish this on anyone but I can already see how the Lord is using this experience in my own life to grow me and cause me to rely on Him whole heartedly with no reservations.

Okay, breathe deeply... the hard post is over. Now I can go on to write about my healing process. Thank you to everyone for listening and caring- you will never know what it means to me.