Saturday, December 14, 2013

30 for 30

2013 has been rough for us.

Many of you know this if you walk through day to day life with us, as Grant and I agreed a long time ago that we would always share our struggles openly so that we had appropriate support, love, and guidance throughout life's imminent trials. We really believe in the necessity of a strong community to walk through the goods and bads of life with you, which is a lot of why we choose to lead a "community group" through our church.

But if you aren't in our day to day lives, I never felt the need to share. I'm not really the kind that shares my every life's detail on facebook/blogs. However, it occurred to me tonight that maybe someone else that isn't in my immediate lifeline needs to hear my story. And so share I will.

I am supposed to be 9 months pregnant right now. I am also supposed to be 15 weeks pregnant right now. But instead, I am not pregnant. In fact, I just had 15 vials of blood drawn on Friday to try and figure out why I can't seem to stay pregnant. I have had two miscarriages this year, both at the end of my first trimester. I had two D&Cs this year, exactly 6 months apart to the day, one on May 22nd, the other November 22nd. December 19th is supposed to be my first baby's due date. December 19th is also one month exactly from when I found out we for sure had lost our second baby. December 19th will be a difficult day.

We know God is writing our story. But honestly, after this second miscarriage, trouble recovering physically from this second D&C, and less support this time due to other strife within my family and holiday distractions, I have been struggling to hang on to this promise the last few weeks. I have been at a loss of where to go from here. What to do now. I have felt very alone. I have been an emotional roller coaster. And then today, God spoke to me in an unusual place to help calm my crazy heart.

We were watching a 30 for 30 episode tonight and I had an epiphany through the life of Maurice Clarett. If you know who Maurice Clarett is, you would not find a correlation between recurrent miscarriages and the story of a troubled athlete let go from Ohio State for something silly, which spiraled him into a world of drug dealing/alcohol that led to 4 years in prison. But this story touched my heart. I related to Maurice and how lost he felt after not being allowed to play football. The only other time I have felt truly lost in my life was when I blew my knee out end of junior year of college, had two surgeries and couldn't really contend in track anymore. I thought being a successful athlete was my purpose at the time. And I feel lost now, perhaps because my heart's desire is a baby and I thought that being a mother should be my purpose right now.

But my epiphany truly occurred when Jim Tressel was talking about Maurice. Jim Tressel, Ohio State coach in the early 2000s explained Maurice's situation as: "Your goals constantly revise based upon your circumstance, but your greater purpose, your true reason for being, always supra cedes." Maurice's true reason for being supra ceded his bad luck and poor choices. It supra ceded his desire to be a player in the NFL. God had a greater purpose for him. He is now out of prison, a good father, a motivational speaker and working with Jim Tressel to empower young athletes to make good choices.  His life now is much more influential than his life could have been as a successful football player and I pray he chooses to let God continue to use him.

My greater purpose in this chapter of our lives will supra cede as well. It may mean I won't have children of my own blood, which could become a beautiful story. It may mean I do have a child in the near future and appreciate that child all the more after losing two this year. I don't know. But it was a great reminder that God is always working in our lives, in good times and bad, and always has a plan of where our lives will go if we trust in Him.

So thanks ESPN for this 30 for 30. Who knew it would touch me with my very unrelated (as it seems anyway) story. I will try to remember these lessons as we walk through the next few months, mourning the loss of two children in 2013 and trying to figure out what 2014 holds for us.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

De Ja Vu

6 months ago exactly from today, on May 21st, I found out that we had lost our first baby. Things had looked fine up to that point. Healthy ultrasound two weeks prior, healthy heartbeat, baby measured correctly. And everything just stopped at 11 weeks along. 6 months ago to the day tomorrow, on May 22nd, I had a D&C. It was horrific and tragic, but we chose to see it as a blessing. We believe that miscarriage occurs when chromosomes don't add up correctly, therefore, they are a blessing as the pregnancy stops before the baby progresses on too far and then later wouldn't survive or would have severe deficits and deformities.

Tomorrow, 6 months to the day after our first D&C, I am having another D&C.  I am almost 12 weeks pregnant, only things never looked right this time from our first ultrasound on. The pregnancy felt right - I have been very sick and tired, and with all the typical pregnancy symptoms. My HCG and Progesterone levels have been rising correctly. But the baby was not progressing normally on the ultrasounds. The baby was measuring behind. For the last three weeks we have begged and prayed and pleaded with the Lord to work a miracle inside me and provide us with a healthy baby. Prayed our dates were just off or we just had a little "late bloomer". On Tuesday, we found that His answer was not the answer we were hoping for.

A friend at work, who has also suffered multiple miscarriages and eventually had to go to other routes to have a child, was talking with me today. She said to me that she felt fertility problems of any kind, and definitely recurrent miscarriages, were a different kind of grief than most grief in this world. If you have gone through similar struggles, you would understand this. It's not just one event of grief, the miscarriage, the loss, but it's the little grief, the constant little things that cause recurrent grief over and over. It's the dates that you remember (I would have been this many weeks along, I would have been in this trimester today) every week from then on. It's the grief every month from then on, trying to get pregnant again and mourning the losses of your first tries all at the same time. Mourning when you aren't pregnant and mourning when you are. It's every baby you see or baby things you see in the store (or at work for me). It's every time you see a friend or a loved one get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy, when yours just won't work right despite every effort. It's the due dates of your lost babies (for me, December 19th and June 14th will forever be hard days).

God doesn't promise us a life without grief or hardship. He doesn't promise us children or that things will always go the way we plan. This is hard for me as a planner. And this has not at all been my plan. But He does promise that He has a plan for our lives, whether it matches mine or not, one with a hope and a future. And He does grieve with us (I love the story when "Jesus Wept" as he heard his friend Lazarus died, even though he knew that Lazarus would be revived from the dead later).

Am I sad? Yes. Do I wish this were the way things happened with my life? No. But I also know that trials in life bring me closer to family and Christ than any other time. While we go through this again and are obviously devastated, we know God is writing our story. We know He has a plan and will see it on to completion, whatever route of having children His plan may be. And we know that the day we do have our first child, in whatever method that may come, will be ever sweeter because it has been so much work and tribulation getting there.