This blog is small glimpses into my heart and soul - attempts to be transparent with friends, and sometimes, to myself. This is my safe place, where I can come and be purely Ness.

Family: If you found your way here, please do me a favor and don't poke through my closets, ok?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Have You Thought About Stopping?

Had a recent online conversation that went like this:
"How many is this?"
"Have you thought about stopping?"

I'm pretty sure it was said out of some level of concern for me, but really? The question is somewhat thoughtless, both the obvious "not thinking about how it might make me feel" thoughtless, and the less obvious "not thinking about the human body and how it works" thoughtless. You can't get to this place without thinking about stopping. FIVE miscarriages. Each one heart rendering pain. You know pain is the natural deterrent. Pain is your body sending messages to your brain, "Stop doing that!" That's why so many people think spanking is a good discipline option. They want to take advantage of the "avoid pain" function of the brain. So when you repeatedly go through something that causes pain, you at least consider the option to stop doing what is causing the pain. 
So, of course I've thought about stopping. Every time I lose a baby, I think about next time, and that it could happen again, and maybe I just shouldn't try. Sometimes, it's just a brief thought, sometimes it's a serious consideration of where I'm at and what I want. 
Way back when, I'd thought that four would be a great number of kids to have. I loved the idea of it working out to have two boys and two girls. Everyone would have a sister and everyone would have a brother. Perfect. This journey has made me question all of that. Maybe we will go on to have four, but maybe we won't. Maybe we'll finally be blessed with another one, and then we'll decide to stop and not go through all of this pain again. I don't know. 
Right now, I'm not stopping. This is hard. It hurts like hell. But, I want another baby. I want a sibling for Bug. I'd love to have a daughter for Boy (although I'd be quite happy with either gender). And, I just simply want a baby, in a way I can't really explain, in a way that you can't really understand unless you've been here. Sometimes I feel a bit selfish when I think of the other ladies I know who haven't yet been blessed with a child to hold and are struggling to have just one. But it doesn't stop me. I want another one. I just do. Despite the fact that I have one - a great one. Despite the fear. Despite the pain. I'm not stopping. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Like a Breath - Losing Aliento

Last Tuesday, I started spotting, then bleeding, and Wednesday I passed a tiny piece of tissue that I knew had contained the life of my child. Honestly, I didn't think it would hurt as much as it did - does. I wasn't totally sure they existed, and I'd had a week to get used to the idea that I was losing whoever might be there, but the ache... It just goes and goes. I think the outside sees me as doing ok if a bit grumpy and short, but I'm not ok. I'm not. It hurts and hurts and hurts.
Things are not going well around here. I'm down and on edge, because of losing another baby and dealing with my FIL being sick, and Boy is on edge and down, because his Dad is really sick and he's lost another baby. (They are reverse for him and that's ok.) We're just barely supporting one another. Thankfully, Bug seems to be doing ok - nursing a lot more, but if that's all it takes for his world to be alright, we can nurse as much as he wants.
I couldn't handle telling all of my family in person (parents, four siblings), so I sent them a mass email. Every loss seems to get less response - one phone call from each sister and mom, one short question from a brother ("Have you thought about stopping?") For them it's just "again." "This thing that happens to my sister." Sometimes, even I think I should be getting used to this by now, and I'm surprised by how much it hurts, but it's just impossible. You can't get used to it.
What do I do with this pain? How do I handle this? I want to tell people, to get support, but not having any close friends, I'm not sure who to tell. I don't even know how to tell anyone. What do I say, "Oh, yeah, by the way, I lost another baby last week...?" There's no conversation intro for this. I felt desperate to talk with someone, someone who'd been down this path, so I posted a request on Facebook, knowing that I have "friends" who've been through this, but I got no response. Finally, in my need I sent a private message to a few ladies I know who've lost babies, and asked if any of them would be willing to meet with me. It shows how desperate I feel, because this is very out of character for me to contact people I don't know that well, to share intimacies with them and ask them to share with me. Thankfully, they were gracious to me and hopefully I will be able to connect with one and feel some freedom from this burden - this "secret" that I can't shout to everyone, even though I really want to.
Where is God in all of this? Really, I'm not sure. I don't feel "unloved" or "abandoned," but as the feelings that remind me so much of my depression surround me, I'm having a hard time connecting to him. I know I need to put more effort into that, time in scripture and not just the hasty, needy prayers I keep sending up, but I just. don't. want. to. Except maybe right now... when I don't feel like I have time. Maybe, he'll come and find me.

Baby, I love you. You'll always be mine. You have good company with your siblings there, and Jesus will hold you when you need holding. Wait for me. I will come to you.

Aliento (breath) 
 LORD, what are human beings that you care for them,
   mere mortals that you think of them?
 They are like a breath;
   their days are like a fleeting shadow.

Psalm 144:3-4

Monday, March 14, 2011

Today's Story

I've only just started talking about this to people today, because I haven't really known what to say. I think I might be pregnant. But - I really don't know for sure. My cycle was really different this go round and Boy and I decided just to take a test, even though we didn't think there was even a chance of a positive at that point - if I was pregnant, I was, at most, a week past ovulation. (I normally know when I ovulate due to intense pain, but still hadn't experienced it yet. I had all the lead up to ovulation symptoms, but then nothing. I figured there was a chance I slept through it this time, since I've been so exhausted lately.) So, we test... and nothing. Ok, expected as much. Assuming that something delayed ovulation, and I'm still waiting.
A hour or two later, I come back to the bathroom and take another look at the test (know I'm not alone in this), there faintest of faint, is a line. Well, technically this is not supposed to count. They say not to read the test after ten minutes - evaporation lines can happen, but my experience with these tests have never shown evaporation lines. We decided to try another one - same deal. I'm beginning to realize that I'd been experiencing a few things that generally only happen to me when pregnant - pain while nursing, leg cramps, etc. At the same time, a dull ache begins in my lower back, the kind of ache I get in the days before I miscarry. Now I'm just in a cloud. Am I  pregnant? Not? Pregnant and going to miscarry again? How much of this is simply psychological? I mean, the back pain started the moment I showed Boy the faint line.
Ok, let's give it a couple of days and try again. This time we decide to have have Boy do a test, too. A control group of sorts. Two hours later mine shows a faint line, his nothing. One hour later, his shows a line even fainter than mine. I say line, but they're really more shadows. If it's possible to feel more confused, I do. I tested twice more since then, two days apart each time, and gotten the same results. I know that "officially" these are not positive tests, but then why has my body felt this way for the past week and a half? But if they're positive why did Boy's test turn up a line? But, if they're just evaporation lines, why have these test never shown one in the past? (Believe me, I've checked.)
Here's one of my biggest problems right now - I don't know if there is any way for me to confirm that I'm not pregnant. I feel like I am, or was, anyways. I could be miscarrying and have it start the same day I would normally expect my period. On the other hand, I may never be able to confirm more than this that I am pregnant. I may never get a stronger test line, and, well, a miscarriage could start the same day I would normally expect my period. For some, this might not be a big deal. Don't think about it too deeply and when the period shows up on time, or a day or two late, assume that's it and move on. No pregnancy, no worries. This is basically what my sister said she'd do, when I tried to talk to her about it. But see, it just doesn't work that easily for me. I've had too many babies this way. If there is a baby there, they're mine. They're important to me. I want to name them, remember them. How do I do that if I'm not entirely sure they exist? But, how do I not do that, if I think they do? To not name them, write their dates down with all their siblings, tell my parents... I'm not acknowledging them, I'm ignoring them, disowning them. I can't do that to my baby! On top of that, how do I tell my family? "Yeah, so I'm pretty sure I was pregnant and miscarried, so I named them            ." My one sister has basically already said she wouldn't take it seriously.
My heart aches. I hate waiting periods. I hate not knowing what is going on (with pretty much anything). When I tested this morning, Boy and I watched the pink flow across the viewer, and for a minute saw a line come into sight. I was so happy. I knew it didn't mean that I wasn't miscarrying again, but it meant I could know. I could be sure of the life there and I'd know where I stood. But then, as the pink faded away to leave the control line (dark and strong), the test line faded too. Again, it's shadow showed up two hours later, but I still don't know what that means...

After that first shadow, I panicked. The familiar stab of fear shot through my soul. Pregnant? What if I lose them? What if I lose them? I cried and prayed, occasionally on my knees, hoping that God would see my earnestness and my humility before him. As much as I was asking him to let my baby (if one currently existed, or when the next one did) live, I was also asking how I would get through this again. Asking for simply the strength to handle it, to handle a pregnancy and the fear that would go with that; to handle another miscarriage, if that's what life held for me. I searched scripture - mainly the Psalms, like so many troubled souls before me - for comfort. I no longer search for words on what the outcome will be, or reassurance of the outcome I want. I simply want to find strength to get me through whatever happens. I want to find peace and the assurance that God is actively loving me no matter what my circumstances are telling me.
Eventually, the frantic, on edge feeling wore down, and I felt, not quite peace, but enough calm to move on with my daily life. Since then, God continues to give me a sense of calm about it all. It's not constant, but the emotions are more sadness and confusion than fear and panic. For that I'm thankful. I don't know what will happen when I finally get a reliable positive test, or the pre-peroid/possible miscarriage starts, but today I'm holding on.

All of that huge post is has been my life's background chatter for the past week. Today has added more to the pile. It's a very gray day here today. The sun is shining (thank God for sunshine) outside, but inside our house is a gray cloud. Last year, FIL had a malignant melanoma removed from the back of his shoulder. Today it was confirmed that the cancer had spread to his liver. As of yet, we don't have a definite prognosis or treatment plan, but it doesn't look good. Boy doesn't know how to process the likelihood of his father's life ending. A few hours after that news, Boy received a rejection letter from the last church he had an application out too, the last church with a position available that fit him and our family. Now what?
Matthew 6:32-34 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

List of Love

In an effort to see and recognize God working in my life and reaching out to me with his passionate love, I've decided that I need to start writing things down - making a list a blessings and love filled moments in my life. Writing them down will help me to take the time to think about them, to process them more deeply in my memory, and give me something to look back on when I need reminders.

This is my list for this weekend:

The sunshine through my window.
The blessing of Bug in my life.
Someone yesterday heard my story and told me they'd been praying for me that afternoon.
Another one I barely know, told me that they would pray for me as well.
I read an excerpt from the The Jesus Storybook Bible (Go ahead. Read the "first pages" section. Amazing. We are so buying this book.)
It's a rare Sunday that I feel I can honestly sing the worship songs at church. This was one of those days. This weekend has been a step forward for me.
The way my husband intimately prayed for me at our Bible time.

All of these things made me feel the love of God reaching out to me or gave me a sense of peace I don't often feel. We are heading into what could likely be a few rough days. Hopefully, I will continue to feel God's love surrounding and carrying me.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Story

I used to know that God loved me. I was so confident in it. I knew I was cherished, treasured; deeply, passionately loved. That knowledge flowed through me like power.
Those that know my story (or that have never been connected to a pet) may find the next part of my story frivolous or shallow. I had a cat. I loved this cat. He cheered and comforted me when little else could. He was a sleek beauty that cuddled up with me. Then, I lost him. In mid-January, in Ontario. My heart broke, and every time I thought about him being out in the (literally) freezing cold it broke a little more. I prayed. And prayed. I searched scripture for comfort. This was my baby. I was so desperate for him to come home, for someone to find him. I believe God would return him to me. I believed God had shown me that my precious kitty would come home.
When Dodger didn't come home that was the beginning of my faith anchor coming loose. Shortly after that I went through a two year bout of depression. I've met a few other Christians who've dealt with depression, and none of them have made it through without losing, to various degrees, their connection to God. It was the same for me. I couldn't find him anymore. The God I'd felt so close too, became far away. I tried and tried, but I simply couldn't feel him. I used to see his love in the sunset, the wind, a bird singing on my porch. I saw him all around me and though out my life. Now the connection had withered away. I didn't know where God was.
When my body finally regained it's equilibrium, and I could function normally without anti-depressants, I worked on regaining that connection. I desperately wanted it back in my life. I wanted the peace and strength I had received from it. But, I could never quite figure out how to get there again.
When I began to miscarry my first child, JJ, I worried that it would destroy what remaining faith I had. It didn't. I knew that God hadn't caused the death, and that he could carry me through the pain, even if I couldn't feel him.
That fist miscarriage threw my body into upheaval. I went through months of hormonal caused intense anxiety, and constant pain in my side (which made the anxiety worse).  The pain was finally (stupid doctors) diagnosed as endometriosis, and as much as possible was removed reducing the side pain, and thankfully, my debilitating period cramps. Now I just get pain side pain when I ovulate, and pain killers actually manage the cramps.
All through those anxious months, Boy and I kept seeing bunnies (real, live bunnies) in unexpected places. I don't remember why exactly, but they became our signals from God - the he was with us, and loving us just as greatly as ever. The bunnies continued to show up throughout my (worry and fear filled) pregnancy with Bug. (It's fitting that his nursing/sleeping friends are two little stuffed bunnies.) There were also run-ins with people I hadn't seen in forever, and friends in unexpected places with just the right words, that made me think God was watching out for me and baby, and that maybe things were going to be ok this time.
My relationship with my heavenly father was healing, but never returned to it's previous security. I've become overly cynical, and critical of Christian platitudes. I used to be free and excited in worship. Now I question those who are overtly exuberant. These feelings have become more ingrained as I've lost three more children over the past year. I get frustrated at Christians who say things like, "God shows his love by bringing trials," and I wonder whether they've ever experienced great grief or trauma. Would they still believe that statement? I don't. I believe that God shows his love, not by bringing us trials, but by bringing us through the trials this crappy world is made of.
This is my story. This is my struggle to get back to believing God and the promises he made in his word. I continue to seek him and to pray for the healing of my bruised and broken spirit.

Change of Direction

I originally started this blog to talk about parenting, specifically attachment/natural/instinctive parenting since I didn't have anyone in real life to talk to about it (except of course, my very patient husband, who listens to me rant about the same things over and over). Lately, (as I'm sure you can tell) my urge/need/ideas for writing in this area have somewhat dried up (I do have a vaccination post that I'm sort of, vaguely working on, and may finish someday). Instead, I'm finding that I need a place to write about my journey of heartbreak through miscarriage, and how it's affecting my emotions and my faith.
I know that most of my readers came here for the parenting writing, and that talking about faith (specifically "I believe in Christ and salvation" kind of faith) may not be your cup of tea. If you decided to stop reading, I will be sad to lose you, but I wish you the best and you can find other excellent blogs in my "Friends" page. I will probably still post about parenting and related issues when the drive hits me, but as recent history has shown, it may not be very frequently.
Love to all, and I hope you'll hang around for a while yet!