Pregnant Again!

Ginny is a big sister! That’s right. We are pregnant again! I am 14 weeks along with a baby due in July. We are very happy and hopeful but also scared and feeling every emotion.

The doctors told us I needed to wait at least 6 months after Ginny’s stillbirth to be physically ready. Sometimes that 6 months felt long. I had the instinct and desire to care for a baby right away. My empty arms ached to hold my child ASAP. But I knew we weren’t emotionally or mentally ready for another baby. The 6 month mark came and went. We still weren’t ready. 

As a couple more months passed, I realized we should either get pregnant before the end of the year or wait until after Ginny’s birthday in February. I had so much anxiety during the first trimester last pregnancy. I knew it would be too hard to be in the first trimester during her birthday. I wanted to be into the 2nd trimester before February came. Toward the end of October, we decided the time was coming to start trying again. I prayed…

Oct 18, 2019

Dear Jesus, 

Please be with us on this journey to try to conceive. I know you are. 

Please let everything happen in your timing. 

You know our hearts. You know we want to bring a healthy baby home and watch him or her grow into adulthood, knowing you. 

But you are the creator and sustainer of life. Your will be done. 

We know your purpose and understanding are greater than ours. We trust in you. Whether you give or take away, blessed be your name. 

Help us to serve you in joy and pain. 

Help us not to fear or be anxious. Help us to celebrate and rejoice in all and any life. Let our previous loss and despair not steal joy from our hearts of our future children. 

Help us to always remember and honor Ginny. Please let her know we love her so much. Guide us as we teach our future children about her and about eternity. Thank you for hope. 

Give us wisdom in decisions. Guide our paths and help us remember you are in control and not take on more than what is ours. 

Help us enjoy the journey and have love and hope in our hearts and minds. Thank you for your grace which is sufficient.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”1 John 4:18

Amen.

On November 17 I took a positive pregnancy test. Daniel was with me. We looked in disbelief at the two lines and then the digital “yes” of the second test. We are very blessed and grateful to be able to get pregnant right away. We couldn’t believe it! Although we should’ve predicted it because that’s what happened with Ginny too. We were excited and happy, but we also needed time for it to sink in. We told our families and asked them to pray. They were all so happy. 

The next morning I opened my Bible App and read the verse-of-the-day as I do everyday. On Nov 18 the scripture was, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” 1 John 4:18. God reminded me of my prayer exactly one month earlier. 

Before I was pregnant, I thought I would want to announce right away. I thought I would just want to celebrate every moment of this new life with as many people as possible. But when I actually became pregnant, something was holding me back. It wasn’t a fear of loss, although I had that fear. I knew I would share my journey no matter what. I think what was holding me back was the “Congratulations.” It is the appearance that everything is okay now, that we are all better and moved on. This new life is wonderful and miraculous and joyful, but it doesn’t take away the pain and loss of Ginny. It’s so complex.

And then there are the triggers. My heart breaks a little when I think of buying baby items or decorating a nursery. Those are still triggers. That’s why I was resistant to telling people.

When someone asks, “How are you feeling today?” in a cheery voice, I think… How am I feeling today? Do you want me to describe my pregnancy symptoms? The symptoms that I scrutinize to assess the health of a person the size of an apple seed? This apple-seed-sized person who I am entirely responsible for and yet have entirely no control over? How am I feeling today? I feel like I miss Ginny and I love Ginny. I feel like I am scared for this baby and I love this baby. So…  “I feel fine.”

I don’t know where to look.  If I look at baby stuff and make plans for the future, I am surrounded by what we don’t have with Ginny. That breaks me. If I look to the baby loss community that has comforted me so much in the last 11 months, I am reminded of the very real possibility of another loss. I’m in this in-between place, and it all depends on my mood. I may need to change topics quickly if I feel a shift. 

So far I’ve had three different kinds of days: 1) I feel hopeful and am so happy to be pregnant, 2) I feel pretty certain we will lose this baby. On these days every time I go to the bathroom I half-expect to see blood, and 3) I almost forget we are pregnant. It doesn’t even seem real yet. Is this really happening? 

I know people want me to be positive. I want to be positive, but I’m not going to pretend. It’s not a “fake it ’til you make it” situation. It’s not an “overcome it” situation either. It’s a “trust” situation – it is a “trust either way” situation. I’m going to do my best every day. Some days I will feel like celebrating. Some days I will feel like crying. It’s complicated. Thanks for being patient with me. 

The baby is no longer the size of an apple seed. According to the internet, he or she is the size of a peach. 🙂 It is finally starting to sink in that I’m pregnant again. I’m finally starting to entertain the possibility of bringing this baby home. I’m very grateful. I do want to celebrate together, through my rawness. 

I am excited to share this journey with you! I have so much to tell you about my first trimester, my prenatal care, ultrasounds, finding out the sex, naming the baby, and all the feelings along the way. We have a long way to go. Thank you for your prayers and support!

Woodwork / True Love

Woodwork by Sleeping at Last

i hear your heart
as it beats beneath
the sound of crashing cars.
as the sirens pour
into every street
surrounding us,
our world caves in on us
and makes us new.

all our love came out of the woodwork.
all our strength came out of the woodwork.
we only notice light
when darkness crashes against it.
we only notice light
deep in the woodwork.

i still hear the song
as it rings beneath the sound
of shattered glass.
in the aftermath,
the melody, it carries on
while we come undone,
and makes us new.

all our love came out of the woodwork.
all our strength came out of the woodwork.

we only notice light
when darkness crashes against it.
we only notice light
deep in the woodwork.

it’s a cruel, cruel trick
how we find ourselves
when we lose everything else.
like a train wreck,
the sound of your breathing hits my ears.
our world reappears
and it breaks us new.

all our love came out of the woodwork.
all our strength came out of the woodwork.
all our trust came out of the woodwork.
we only notice light deep in the woodwork.

I loved this song before losing Ginny, but after losing Ginny it became so much more real to me. The song is about how love, strength, and trust “come out of the woodwork” during a difficult time. It’s a beautiful idea, and it is so true. 

My love for Daniel grew so much deeper during our loss. In the whirlwind of shock and grief, we clung to each other. God drew close to both of us at once; it was so obvious. He pulled us together in love. 

I don’t know what I would do without Daniel. He takes such good care of me. In the first days after Ginny’s birth, he followed me around the house to make sure I was never alone. He was always near if I needed a hug. He knew me well enough to know that’s what I needed.

We listen to each other and try to be aware of what the other needs. When one of us has a wave of grief hit, the other is there to talk to or distract or just hug. When we both are heavy hearted, we are there to cry in each others arms. Knowing we have each other really does give us strength to get through this. 

I knew Daniel was an amazing husband, but I had no idea what an incredible man he really was. In the darkest, hardest moments, he was everything. Even though we have lost so much, I can’t help but feel blessed at how much love we have. 

We aren’t an anomaly. At my job, I have the honor of interacting with families going through serious illness or injury. One thing that has stood out to me so loudly is how much love there is. I witness true love. It’s not a fairy tale “true love’s first kiss” kind of love. It is far more magical than that. It is the “in sickness and in health” kind of love. True love. True devotion. People who care for each other in powerful and meaningful ways. They make each other laugh, encourage each other, do everything together, and serve each other so well. When one becomes weak, the other is there lifting them up. It’s heartwarming and inspiring. 

I’m sure that love is always there, but it does have a way of coming out of the woodwork when we need it most. It’s healing and hopeful and amazing. I’m so grateful for it. 

Joy

One of my main hopes for 2020 is for more joy. The kingdom of God is about peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). The pain of 2019 has lead to an expanded understanding and appreciation. That all yields joy, but on a daily basis, I need reminded. Each day I wake up to our loss, all we don’t have, and the uncertainty of the future. After those thoughts creep in, I need to shift my thinking and remind myself of what we do have and what we do know. What we do have – love, lots and lots of love. 

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” Psalms 126:5

I think of the moments I feel the most joyful. I get a rush of joy in my heart when I feel the sun shine on my face. I’m not sure why, but for years the sun shining on my face has reminded me of God’s love. I get such joy at that thought! 

I also have the most joy when spending time with Daniel and others I love. Eating together, playing games, joking around, or snuggling on the couch are all things that bring me joy because I have so much love. 

For me, love brings joy. So I’ll focus on the love in my life. When I focus on my love for Ginny, my grief is joyful. When I focus on the love of God & family and eternity in heaven, my future is joyful. When I focus on the love of those around me, my day is joyful. 

“And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

It’s okay to need reminders. It is easy to slip into fear or to slip in to sadness. It’s okay to feel those feelings, but it is also okay to remind yourself of love and joy. And it’s okay to experience it all. I feel like I experience it all within an hour sometimes. 

I want the core of my life to be love though. I want joy to burst at the seams of every area, even my grief. That is possible. It is possible to be full of joy and grief because it all comes from love. And my grief is not a hopeless grief. My love for my daughter is still alive in me, and my daughter is still alive in heaven. I can have joy in that! I do have joy in that!

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

Helpful Resources

I couldn’t have made it through this past year without the love and support of family and friends and lots of prayer. I also found a lot of help and comfort from several other resources. I wanted to share those here. I cannot explain how valuable these books, podcasts, and songs have been to me. When I am feeling despair, they point me back to hope and love. I’ve read a lot over the past year, but these were the resources that stuck out to me. I really hope others may also find support through them. I’ve bolded the ones that were particularly impactful.

Books: 

  • Loved Baby by Sarah Phipott, PhD*
  • Anchored by Erin Cushman*
  • A Grief Observed by CS Lewis*+
  • It’s OK to not be OK by Megan Devin+
  • Inheritance of Tears by Jessalyn Hutto*
  • 7 Lessons from Heaven by Mary Neal MD*+
  • Once More We Saw Stars: A Memoir by Jayson Greene
  • Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman*
  • The Unspeakable Loss: How do you live after a child dies? by NIsha Zenoff, PhD

Podcasts:

Blogs: 

There are so many wonderful blogs about grief and baby loss, but these are two that I find extremely helpful.

Music: 

Instagram Accounts:

*Faith-based; +General grief, not only baby/child loss

There are so many amazing resources out there, and these are just a few that I stumbled upon at my local library or googling around. If you have some other helpful resources, please share them in the comments. 🙂

Hope for 2020

2019 was the biggest year of my life. I felt emotions I didn’t even know existed. I started out thinking it would be the best year yet, and I ended up being proud I survived. It was the hardest and most painful year, and yet it was the most enlightening and transformative. Today I’m not who I was January 2019. 

Now 2020…One of my lessons of 2019 was that I have no control so it’s hard for me to think about making plans for 2020. I know whatever plans I make will likely not go to plan. Even so, I can have hope for 2020. I hope for more joy and more peace. I hope that I keep growing and learning. I hope that the path God has for me continues to become clear.

My hope for all of us is that our love and kindness strengthen. I hope that bitterness and fear fade away. I hope we remember that in both life and death we are not alone. I hope you know you are loved. 

I hope we all have a big year in 2020 but big in the greatest way. I hope for a big, life-giving, love-flowing year!

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11