Pregnancy after loss

22179897_1634663459919566_6456606302854492614_o

My rainbow baby

Today is pregnancy and infant loss awareness day. I have to admit in the past I didn’t give much thought to this day. I knew people suffered losses and actually can tell you stories of people who have lost babies or who have miscarried, and have shed tears for those moms and those babies. As I write this, their faces come to my mind, but never did I think I would become one of those moms.

I didn’t even want kids when I got married and my husband was ok with that. Then we got pregnant with my first and I was super excited. After we had our first I was ready for a second. We decided to try earlier then we usually would because we had heard of second child infertility but we conceived right away and baby two was born 20 months after baby one. The I had to convince my husband for a third but all was well and we had a third 3.5 years after the second. Well, then came time for a fourth and really my husband had his reservations, but I FINALLY convinced him. We were able to get pregnant right away and I was due on his birthday! We had the 8 week ultrasound and everything looked good. Went in at 10 weeks and all was well. Next appointment was at 14 weeks and NO heartbeat. All my kids were with me and I was devastated. You can read more here. There were some blessing that came out of my miscarriage though.

  1. I was able to miscarry on my own at home without any medical intervention which was my wish. As a result I was able to see and hold this tiny little life. Although this was an incredibly difficult moment, it was AMAZING to see how God knits together a child in my womb. The teeny tiny fingers that were the size of string, the tiny little arms and legs. All of it just perfect.
  2. I realized I was not alone. As I told others I was SHOCKED by the number of people that also had experienced miscarriage or lost a child. It also gave me the opportunity to relate to people that I could not have before. This is a unique experience and although we may think we know what it may be like or can imagine… you really can’t.
  3. It brought my husband and I closer together and made us truly appreciate all we have.

One thing that isn’t talked about often that goes along with miscarriage is what happens when you get pregnant after having experienced a miscarriage. We decided we still wanted to try and have another child but now I was getting older. We knew that we might not be able to have more and we didn’t want to go through the ups and downs so we talked about putting a date on it. If we aren’t pregnant by X, then we stop trying. Usually we got pregnant right away but after the miscarriage we did not. Each month was a disappointment and I started to get a TINY glimpse at how people that cannot conceive or who have trouble may feel. Each month I would “feel” pregnant and each month I was not. I had given away most of our baby stuff by then and was ready to give up the rest and just be done. A full year and one month after my miscarriage we were pregnant. I didn’t realize the panic, anxiety and intense worry that would come with this pregnancy. I never dreamed it would be such a big deal.

I started to worry about if it would happen again. I reasoned that I didn’t even want to go to the doctor until 12 weeks because what was the point? There is nothing they can do. And what if I miscarried again? Around 8 weeks I started to not feel pregnant anymore and completely panicked. I called the doctor and they encouraged me to come in. It turned out they had an appointment that same day. I was so nervous getting that first ultrasound and there was our baby, healthy and with a heartbeat. I completely lost it and started sobbing. There was a wave of relief yet this was only the beginning. I had lost the other baby at 11 weeks 5 days but didn’t find out until 14 weeks. Each day I was wondering what was going on inside me. Finally at 12 weeks we heard the heartbeat and my blood pressure at that appointment was 165/110. This prompted much worry by the doctors which caused them to want me to go on medicine, monitor my BP, and have extra appointments, which stressed me even more. We heard the heartbeat and again I sobbed! I had no clue how emotional this pregnancy was going to be. I kept thinking at every turn I was going to lose this baby! The doctors encouraged me to call any time and that I could come in and hear the heartbeat. There were a few times where they couldn’t find the heartbeat and so they would go and get the handheld ultrasound and I was panicking because it felt like the same circumstances that surrounded my miscarriage but then I would see it on the screen.

A big hurdle was the 20 week ultrasound when we could see that baby was ok and then when I could feel her move then I had more peace of mind. If I was worried I would eat some sugary food, drink water, and lie down. Then I could feel her and know she was alive. She was born healthy and happy Aug 22, 2017 and she was perfectly healthy. There are days that I still wonder if she will remain alive. I know it’s lies that satan puts in my head but these are real struggles and I know I’m not alone. I had reached out to a friend who was also pregnant after loss and she helped me get through my pregnancy. I tell you all this because I know there are other women out there that are pregnant after loss and it is so difficult! The mind games you go through are tough but know you are not alone and there are others that have gone though it. Take one day at a time and reach out to others for help and support.

Jessica

Advertisements

Whoops! I did it again!

compare-643305_1920So I just had a baby. On 8/22/2017 we welcomed our fourth daughter into the world, Isabella Theresa. I’m fell instantly in love but one thing was wrong. I immediately started comparing myself to others again.  I’ve been induced 3/4 pregnancies! Kayla, (my last before Isabella) I went into labor on my own and things went very smoothly and I felt so great afterwards. I even started jogging the next week. But this time things were different again. I was induced at 37 weeks. I could have opted for a c section but have been that route and knew what recovery was like. I starting beating myself up over things I couldn’t control. When the doctor told me Monday, August 21 that I had to go to the hospital I started sobbing. I was so upset. My blood pressure had been high in the office from the start but I would take it at home and have normal readings. They kept checking and testing and everything was fine until Monday. They found protein in my urine which meant I had preeclampsia and needed to have the baby right away. I was devastated.

I see women who bounce back fast from labor and delivery and look like they have very few issues. I can relate because after Kayla I had few issues and felt wonderful. When you are induced, have back labor and either you water breaks early in labor or they break it early, it is a completely different ball game. I had to remind myself to have grace with myself and that is a very humbling thing. I’m prideful! I don’t want to have to ask for help! I want to be able to do life on my own. I feel like I’m bothering others and I can’t possibly return all of the favors! There are simply too many. BUT I had to ask for help. A friend organized a meal train and people brought meals. We had very few clothes for the baby, so friends brought clothes. I was told by the doctor to take it easy and not even go for short walks. She just wanted me resting because my blood pressure is still high. I have to go in and get it checked weekly for the next 6 weeks! The funny thing is I look fine. I look capable. My heart is overwhelmed by how kind and loving people have been. A friend brought me the groceries I needed. Another brought me personal things I needed. Several people brought meals, gave clothes, called, stopped by. There were days I was literally sitting on the bathroom floor crying because I felt like I was going to pass out.

What I need to realize is people want to help. I always want to help people but I don’t want to do something that they don’t need so if they just say “Can you……” and lay it out specifically it goes much better. They are satisfied because they could help and I’m happy to get the help! People aren’t keeping score either. They don’t sit here and think well I did that for her and she didn’t do anything for me. I think everyone realizes that people do what they can when they can. Sometimes I can provide help for someone and they can’t ever help me in return and that is ok.

Where are you needing to ask for help? Do you want something in return? Where are you comparing yourself to others? or maybe this isn’t a struggle of yours?

Jessica

You will NEVER be good enough

I sound so cold and harsh don’t I? Growing up I always thought of myself as a “good” person. I was nice to others. I didn’t do the “bad” stuff other people did. I worked hard in school and got good grades. I did the “right” thing. I also always put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect. I don’t like making mistakes. There was one problem will all of my thinking. I was NEVER going to be good enough. No matter how much I tried my best efforts would always fall short.

It took me a long time to realize this and what it fully meant. By whose standard was I “good?” What exactly does that even mean? How good is good enough and who is the judge of what is good and what isn’t?  Who is good enough? From a secular perspective, we can argue this point a LOT. We could go rounds and rounds and never quite agree. However, the answer from a Christian world view is quite different. You will NEVER be good enough. That is the point.

“We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” Isaiah 64:6

We are ALL sinners and all fall short of the glory of God but we like to categorize sin into degrees of bad. Really no matter the sin, it is all the same to God and this is a TOUGH pill to swallow. So the murderer is as sinful as the liar? The rapest is as sinful as the gossiper?

Once I got over my pride and realized I wasn’t all as great as I thought, there was a peace in this knowledge.  There was this acceptance that came with this knowledge and a certain amount of freedom in my mind. Talk about taking a weight off my shoulders! I cannot nor will I ever be good enough. I can’t earn my way to heaven or earn favor. I can never do enough good in this world to get into heaven.

Romans 3:23 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:10 10As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;

Romans 5:12 12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned-

So what happens to us as imperfect people in this fallen world? We go to hell. BUT there is another way.

Romans 6:23 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There is Jesus! Even while we were sinners and God knew we would sin, He died for us. He took our place because what we really deserve is death. See we really don’t deserve anything.

Romans 5:8 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

So what can I do? You can admit that you are a sinner and ask Jesus to forgive you for your sins.

Romans 10:9-10 9If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is LORD,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Does this mean you are going to be perfect? NO! Does this mean you won’t ever sin again? NO! So what does this mean? It means that you recognize you are not good and will never be good enough. You need help and that help is Jesus. This doesn’t mean life is going to be easy or that you won’t have any issues. When you mess up or sin you should feel the conviction of the holy spirit and feel that something is not right. Whereas before maybe you didn’t feel bad and kept on doing it. Take heart and REST! You cannot be perfect and there is no point in trying. Have peace!

Jessica

 

Do they deserve less?

Over the years we have encountered more and more missionary families. We have also run into more and more families wanting to be plant churches. Of course all of these families need to raise support in order to do missions, plant a church, etc. You get the idea. Well, it wasn’t until we were doing our own mission trip and raising support that my own attitude was revealed.

We all like to have what we want. Maybe some people like nice houses, others like nice cars and yet some value vacations. We all have an area in life that we spend more money in or make a priority. Some are called to plant a church or go into the mission field and many times that involves relocating. Do these people deserve to live a life any less comfortable than the ones we live? I find myself thinking that a pastor should live in a small house and drive a used car and not have any luxury items. I mean after all they are a pastor!

Why is it that we feel certain positions in society should get more status? I found myself looking at families in mission field or pastor’s families and wondering why they drove such a nice car or wore such nice clothes. Should they really be allowed to take their family on a decent vacation? It was like I expected them to live in poverty in order to have the correct spiritual life. It comes down to they are just people like you and I. Sure the bible holds them to a higher standard because the pastor will have to answer to God in a different way then I will since he responsible for teaching in the church, but does that mean he shouldn’t have nice things? It comes down to the heart. Sure if he was spending all of this money on luxuries instead of tithing then we have a problem. But if they are spending responsibly is it an issue? Maybe they even got some of the things we see as a gift.

We had missionaries at our church in Michigan that basically spent their entire lives in Africa. They would pack their belongings among toilet paper as to not waste any space in the box and to have it when they arrived. They really had to think ahead and lived very simply. Absolutely nothing wrong with this at all. Even as I went to their house once they retired in the United States they lived very simply. I guess they just realized what they needed and what they didn’t.

So a few thoughts to challenge ourselves:

  1. Do you look at people in spiritual positions and think they should have less than us? Where do we draw the line? What is too much and what is too little or too luxurious?
  2. What do we have in our homes currently that we don’t really need? Where are we spending money in excess? What could we get by without and give that money to someone else or to a need or cause?

Maybe you don’t agree with me and that’s ok. Share your thoughts anyway.

Jessica

It’s not OK!

My daughter, Kayla, soon to be 5, was at swim lesson and had wandered away from her classmates and over to say hi to me and her sister. I prompted her to go back to her class and her teacher was looking for her! After class I pulled Kayla aside and told her she needed to go apologize to her teacher for not following the directions and for wandering off. Kayla did and her teacher responded telling her it was ok and that she was just concerned about her safety. Now I have responded in a similar way several hundreds of times over saying, “It’s OK.” It wasn’t until recently and with my husbands help that I changed my response.

It’s not OK! She certainly should not have walked off no matter what the reason was but see we don’t know what to say when someone says I’m sorry. My husband, who always has the brilliant ideas in the family, has taught our girls to say “I forgive you.” Even when I start to come up with a difference response he will prompt me to say “I forgive you.” Really no explanation or anything more is needed. Forgiveness does not equal forgetting but it does mean that there is reconciliation. Just like we go to Jesus with our sins and ask for forgiveness. God doesn’t tell us that our behavior was OK. The bible doesn’t say “Oh, don’t worry about it.” It was wrong. It was sinful and we deserve punishment but we are forgiven.

How do you respond when someone is asking for forgiveness?

Forgiven

I’m the one who held the nail
It was cold between my fingertips
I’ve hidden in the garden
I’ve denied You with my very lips

God, I fall down to my knees
With a hammer in my hand
You look at me, arms open

Forgiven, Forgiven
Child there is freedom from all of it
Say goodbye to every sin
You are forgiven

I’ve done things I wish I hadn’t done
I’ve seen things I wish I hadn’t seen
Just the thought of Your amazing grace
And I cry ”Jesus, forgive me!”

God, I fall down to my knees
With a hammer in my hand
You look at me, arms open

Forgiven, Forgiven
Child there is freedom from all of it
Say goodbye to every sin
You are forgiven

I could’ve been six feet under
I could’ve been lost forever
Yeah I should be in that fire
But now there’s fire inside of me
Here I am a dead man walking
No grave gonna hold God’s people
All the weight of all our evil
Lifted away forever free
Who could believe, who could believe?

Forgiven, Forgiven
You love me even when I don’t deserve it
Forgiven, I’m Forgiven
Jesus Your blood makes me innocent
So I will say goodbye to every sin
I am forgiven

I am forgiven

 

A Year Of NO!

I recently, well about a year ago now, was invited to attend a book club. I have to say I have read only 1-2 of the books! I’m not a stellar member. I tend to read self help books or fluffy books. I was hoping that the book club would help get me out of my comfort zone. I tired but I ended up not finishing several of the books! Anyway, someone had told me about a blogger that posts what books to read that year and so I took a peak. Her first suggestion was Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I got it from the library and I eagerly dove in. It’s been a great book. All about a women who wrote TV shows and was always saying no to everything and even the most amazing opportunities and so she decided for a year she would say yes to everything.

As I was reading the book I thought, “I say yes to everything already.” I have the opposite problem. I say, “yes” so often that I neglect my family and myself because I put others before me. As noble as that sounds there is a point where it is not helpful. Seriously, what if I said, “no” for a year. If each time someone asked to watch their baby, or take their kid somewhere or go out. What would happen? The thought frightens me. I hate telling people no. I feel like I let them down or I’m not helpful or they will think I am not caring. But each time I say “yes” to another thing I’m really saying “no” to something else. As she rightly points out in her book no one is doing it all. If we are saying yes to homeschooling, I’m saying no to re-entering the workforce. If I say yes to helping out a friend by watching her kids, I’m saying no to getting much done around my house. Not even the most put together women does it all. No one can. We are only human.

Where do you need to say “no” or “yes” in your life? Sometimes are friends encourage us to do one or the other but no one really knows are individual situation so be sure to do whats best for you and know when its a needed push and when you need to stand your ground.

Share with us how you protect your time while still loving others!

Jessica

How do you love your enemy?

Matthew 5:43-48 English Standard Version (ESV)

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

If you have hung around in Christian circles for any length of time you know the above verse or have at least heard it. You also know that this is a difficult task. If you were to ask me who my enemy was I could not come up with a single face in my mind or someone that just irritates me to the core. (That was written 7 months ago and since then I can say I have acquired a few “enemies”) But as a teacher there was always a kid or two that really just rubbed me the wrong way and so I got to thinking about how can I love those kids in my classroom that drive me crazy. Well, let me tell you in all those years of teaching I just stuck it out and didn’t worry about “loving” them. I simply dealt with them. I realize now that we need to pray and that is important but I think there is another step we can take and this is where it may be hard.

Get to know them. And I don’t mean just say hi and smile at them. Although that would be a nice start. I mean actually engage them in conversation. Invite them over for dinner or go out and try to have a conversation with them. Don’t focus on what makes you angry with them. Try to truly learn about them and their personality. What it is that makes them your enemy? Easier said then done right?

The reason I write this is because I have found that sometimes when I first meet someone I don’t really care for them or maybe we don’t click. Then before I know it they actually start to annoy me and upset me by things that they say or do. Then as time goes on and I begin to understand the person and where they are coming from something starts to happen. I start to like them and make connections with them and understand them better. I understand this is very difficult. Even has a write this I think, I don’t even want to see these people that are my “enemies” but I also need to see them as God sees them, as sinner just like me. I am not “better” than they are and they are not better than me. I believe people are the way they are because of life experiences. That doesn’t mean we should allow these people to walk all over us or take advantage of us. Sometimes the only thing we can do for them is pray. But knowing their past can help us to sympathize and possibly even help them and point them toward Christ.

What are some ways or suggestions you have to love your enemy?

Jessica