We had a life experience a couple of days ago that opened my eyes in ways I just couldn’t see before. As we sat at dinner with our healthy happy baby boy having a big delicious pizza and a cold beer, smiling and laughing with each other I realized how happy we looked. On our inside we were completely broken and trying with everything we had to hold each other together.
Let me give you a little bit of back story you may or may not know. We have been trying to give Drake a sibling for around 2 years now. When we first got married, we wanted a family immediately! We waited a short while and were blessed with our little miracle child after 3 months of trying. I was actually a little discouraged because it took a whole 3 months!!! I hear people planning their future all of the time, how many kids they want, how far apart, the gender.. well I will be the first to tell you that was me! When Drake was 2 we started trying for another sweet baby! After a couple of months trying we were pregnant.. over the moon.. Our plan was working… at around 8 weeks pregnant we were told the baby was gone, I had surgery (D&C) and we were left heartbroken and without a second child.
I don’t know if you caught what I said a second ago, about it being OUR plan. Well the Lord has spoken to us loud and clear throughout our marriage (and life before) that while He does listen, we don’t get to plan our lives. Now I have a really annoying planner personality. This is a huge struggle for me, but at the time of this loss we had a lot of other BIG life changes happening so we threw up our hands and gave it all to the Lord. We trust his plan for our lives completely.
After about 6 months of trying I could not for the life of me understand why we weren’t pregnant. We had a significant amount of stress in that moment, but still we handle stress in this house like it’s the norm (because it is!! lol). After about 8 months of trying I was officially desperate. I went to my dr and kept telling her something was wrong! I have a baby!! I know I can have kids, why am I not pregnant???? After blood tests, cysts, numerous other tests, they tell me nothing major is showing up. I am ovulating, periods are regular, they aren’t really sure what the problem is. **Well I will tell you, its God’s way of telling me to STOP trying to plan my life and just let him do it!**
I’d had multiple chemical pregnancies, heartache and let’s be honest making babies is in the forefront of your mind constantly. As much as you try to “try without trying” it consumes you (or at least it did me). Without Chris I would be a complete and total basket case. So… after 8 months and a round of Clomid we finally got a positive. We are settled into our home after a crazy year, getting Drake’s shoulder surgery scheduled, Chris is healthy after his scare, we have our church home, community and new friends… Perfect timing for a pregnancy! Think again.. At 6.5 weeks pregnant we lost it. I started showing signs on Thursday and after 2 days of blood tests it was confirmed we were losing another baby. Deep down I think I knew something was wrong Thursday, but we went about our day, met with friends… by Friday I was for sure it was ending. Sure enough after blood work it was confirmed. I came home early, had my fall apart moments and was pretty numb. Chris came home, hugged me, I fell apart again. Drake only saw me cry once and insisted he get some ice from the freezer because an icepack, a popsicle, and fuzzy bunnies on Mommy’s phone makes everything much better. That child has the biggest heart I have ever seen.
We were watching a movie on the couch, Drake fell asleep for nap time and in that moment Chris and I just kind of sat in silence and took it all in. That man.. he knows me better than I ever thought anyone could (Talk about God’s perfect timing, you should hear the story of how we ended up together). We were at a crossroads. Two options. We could stay home for the weekend, watch movies, ice cream, popcorn, wine, beer… the list of my favorite “veg” things goes on.. but we have a little boy who has NO idea something is happening. Don’t get me wrong, he can sense when I am hurting and don’t even get me started on our dog, but to Drake, Daddy was home from work early, and he was ready for adventures!! Chris looks at me, God Bless this man, and says….”Pizza and a couple of beers at Pedlar’s Pub?”………………….He knows my heart! Yes! Definitely!
Drake wakes up from his nap.. we get around, piled into the truck and headed to town. I am going to spare you most of the “female details” but there will be a little TMI because I am me (an over-sharer) and female.
So there we are.. sitting at one of our favorite restaurants, full of people on a nice (HOT) day, getting off work, downtown Bentonville…. packed house. As I sit there I am looking around.. I am not sure what I was looking for. Maybe a look of pity, sympathy but in that moment I got no special treatment. No one knew ANYTHING about my situation. No one knew I had been crying all day, hiding from my child as I did so. No one knew I was currently sitting in a diaper sized pad literally having to go to the restroom every 20 mins and crying each time I went to “clean up”. No one knew. Anything. In that moment it hit me SO hard. When you are driving down the road and someone cuts you off, before you yell, honk or say some start remark under your breath, think about that person. It may be that they are just an asshole person who is not considerate of others, but it could be a mom with a screaming, hangry, sleepy child in the back. It may be a man who just lost his job. It may be someone who has lost a child, parent, grandparent. It may be a new parent who hasn’t slept in weeks. It may be someone who has been trying for years to have a baby , just lost another and is so lost in thought that they aren’t paying attention as they should. The “it could be” list is 47,492,745 miles long. Give a little Grace. Give people a break! You never know what is going on in their lives. We all have something.
If you were sitting beside me in that restaurant would you have known anything was wrong? I was wearing silly glasses made out of those weird sticky molding sticks, looking like Harry Potter, drinking a beer and laughing with my healthy happy little boy and husband on a Friday night. No, you would have no idea that my heart is in about 1000 pieces.
If you look at my Facebook or Instagram from that weekend we look like a perfect happy little family! We ate out, went to church, ate out again, played arcade games at lunch, went to a swimming hole, came home to catch lightning bugs and laughed the entire weekend. That was all real, real laughter, real happiness. What you can’t see is the whole picture, the heartbreak going on behind the scenes. Our family is far away and I try to post a lot of pictures and videos to share, and I think my child is hilarious! BUT I was in no way trying to give anyone a false impression or make it seem like our lives were any different from anyone else’s. You got the highlight reel. This sounds a bit cruel and insensitive, but we had two options. Stay home and harbor on our heartbreak, or go out and celebrate our marriage, friendship and our perfect little boy. We are still mourning and will continue to do so. We will probably try again and pray extra hard, but there is a chance we will get our hearts broken again. My point in sharing our story is that everyone is going through something. Give a little Grace!
Today I was reading my daily “100 Days to Brave – by Annie F Downs”. If you haven’t purchased this DO IT! It will change you! In so many wonderful ways!! Today Annie told me that we claim everything as “mine, mine, mine”. Here are a few quotes that hit me like a mac truck… “Living for self? That’s easy. Living like everything you have is God’s (because it is)? That’s brave.” “It’s God in me, gently asking me if I’m willing to be brave for you and share this story of mine, this story that belongs to Him, like I’m asking you to be brave for others.” “Everything you have is God’s. God has been generous to you. Even if you are unsatisfied or hurt or living through a season of struggle, are you brave enough to believe that God has been generous to you, even if you don’t have everything you want? He has, friend! It’s all His. So be brave enough to steward everything you have in a way that displays God’s great generosity.” Ugly girl cry. Buy this book.
With this post I hope that even if just one person reads it, it will help you. Whatever you are going through you are not alone. If you are struggling with infertility, pregnancy loss, please know that you are not the only one. There is an army of women going through exactly what you are and would be more than happy to talk to you, love on you, pray for you and just live life with you. You are wonderfully and perfectly made and God has a BIG plan for your life. Accept His guidance, HIS plan and follow it. Every month getting a negative, or thinking you have symptoms and telling yourself not to get too excited, but who am I kidding, my boobs are sore!!!! Maybe????? Then the period comes and it’s just gut wrenching. I feel you. I do have a little boy, but it does not make the want or loss any less. Don’t compare you, your body, or your lives to anyone else’s. It is totally not worth your energy! Embrace who you are and who God made you to be. Listen to him and trust that he will show you exactly where you are meant to be. Life is Beautiful. Live yours! Choose Joy! Choose Strength! His Joy=My Strength!