Tag Archives: pregnancy

My Goodbye Moments

Its so far out of town you think you’ve missed it. But then we get here.

Clicky clack shoes on the road as we both walk from the car, the only noise until my not so silent tears fall down my cheeks. This is when they start.

Looking down at our feet and entwined fingers, the orange catches my eye; it is so much brighter swinging over the black of the road.

Except for holding Daniel’s hand I wish no one to attempt to invade my space or heart right now. Greet me if you wish, but you can’t penetrate my shield in these moments. I am here for a reason, a purpose and this is my last chance. Like a fierce mumma bear protects her cubs, I’ll fight for these moments.

They are a precious gift. Moments to freely celebrate life and acknowledge the death of our dear precious one; others have moved on from this life altering event, simply because its not their life. Though the grief is yet to fade for us.

Grief is so isolating, in so many different ways. It is a wicked dictator. The battle for control of the mind is intense and exhausting. You so wish to not be alone through it, but you can’t invite anyone in as they have to decide to push through the darkness. It is difficult for everyone.

These moments today at the “pregnancy loss memorial service” are a chance for the final goodbye I didn’t know I’d been holding tight on my lips.

With Emmanuelle I walked into the florist knowing that a sunflower was exactly what I wanted… today I walked back into the same florist and I didn’t know. I wanted orange but I didn’t know, nothing was right… then I chose a chrysanthemum. It was perfect.

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I didn’t want to sit down. I didn’t want to meet the chaplains. I had no energy for ‘polite.’ These were my moments, to be raw. To allow my grief to be seen. To not be a tightly shut bottle, all held together. This was my space where I have all the permission I need to be a grieving mother. To sob like I have more dead babies than alive babies. To not be ok, to feel. To be so broken, but stand strong because I’m also not.

I knew what the service would be like; I knew most of what they’d say.

That God loves all he has made…. knit me together in my mothers womb…leave in your safekeeping…. joy into mourning….we ask you today for courage and strength.

 

We laid my chosen bright orange flowers.

We looked up and saw a rainbow. It hadn’t even rained.

We released our balloons.

We turned and walked away. Daniel still held my hand. Our shoes clacked, but once again my arms were empty. I can’t go to one of those services again. I don’t think I’d survive. Daniel says to me, “Last time Yvette, last time.”

This is when my tears stop. For now at least.

But my love for Steven James never will.

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“How very softly you tiptoed into our world, almost silently, only a moment you stayed. But what an imprint your footsteps have left upon our hearts.” — Ferguson

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Risk in Adventure

 

“The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.“ 

Alvin Toffler

I finished high school and spent four years at bible college- I could argue spirituality, biblically and theologically quite well, in fact sometimes I opposed just for the fun of it. From a twenty-one year olds perspective with such little life experience, I had certain faith in a big God despite any circumstance. Then when we lost Emmanuelle I had to unlearn and relearn so much of what I thought I knew about Jesus. In most ways it was easy to accept the sovereignty of God and place our grief and loss in His hands believing it was a safe place. Yes there was hurt and confusion, but sovereignty; who can expect to fully understand that? The ending of hope and beginning of faith.

I spent months and years relearning what I knew about Jesus; to truly profess His goodness from the deepest darkness and valley. Relearning my understanding of sovereignty, faith, trust and goodness in the storm. My whole worldview, my faith and really my whole person became totally different, I changed. It has taken me years to chisel out of the cement casing of grief; a place devoid of my own identity and all joy to finally feel the light and live in the world again. But in that place I knew and trusted Jesus, so I emerged with Him as I had found Him there.

My struggle now is how much can I unlearn and relearn about Jesus…. again? I did that once before, through grief and so many questions without answers. Now, to move forward from here, I have to unlearn and relearn once again. But they are fresh wounds, some are still scabby….

In your first pregnancy your body doesn’t know what it’s doing, the uterus is stretching for the first time and it takes time. With our first I was smaller at 15weeks then I was at 7weeks with Steven (five pregnancies later). My body remembered what to do and did it.

For my pain and wounds, it is fresh, and gushing blood is what they remember how to do. I’m afraid to open those wounds and lose too much.

It was easier to unlearn about Jesus after losing Emmanuelle. Then relearn after months and months of longing and trying for another healthy child. To throw out what I used to know, keeping only the foundational truths, and spend over two years building upon those foundations with completely different perspectives and heart state. To so soon do that again, I’m afraid.

 

When Daniel and I were dating we talked and dreamed of a life that was anything but ordinary, we dreamed of an adventure. We craved travel, new things, hard things that would make us grow, children, joy, life, obedience to Jesus no matter the cost. We desired adventure.

Last week my friend shared this picture on his Facebook:

Pretty much, no matter how bad it got- broken bones, getting lost or attacked by a bear- so long as you didn’t die it could be counted as a good adventure.

I don’t know that I really want to put my life in a questions flow chart like this… I fear the questions being blunt and compartmentalized. Never what we imagined or hoped, but life has certainly been an adventure so far!

I think that is part of the struggle, once again we’ve been blindsided with pain, something contrary to our resolved belief. There is disappointment in the unexpected. Do I fear unlearning and relearning again? Do I fear adventure? Do I fear getting suffocated in the cement of grief? That cases me in a moment of time the rest of the world long leaves behind? Every new day brings so much uncertainty as I strip back what I’ve had to unlearn and relearn.

So what do I know is foundational? God is sovereign. God is love. God is faithful. God is good. God is there.

Now, deeper than ever before, those truths have to soak again.

 

What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord…when they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessing… When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings…you keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle…. I waited patiently for the lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on solid ground, and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing.

Psalm 84:5-6; 61:2-4; 56:8; 40:1-3

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 Joy 

You never expect the betrayal. The failure. The frustration or pain. The anxiety. The longing. It’s your body you should be able to trust it to just work and do it right. The miracle of conception is intricately incredible; yet somehow it just happens. God is so clever in his creation of humanity… Except for when it doesn’t work like that.   

Miscarriage, pregnancy loss, acrania .. You lose all trust in your body to do what it should competently be able to do. After you’ve experienced this you lose the joy that is associated with pregnancy and childbirth. Fear, anxiety, worry, concern all rooted in this lack of trust for your body; its failed you once what’s to stop it failing you again.     

The robbing of pregnancy joy is one of the meanest things. It affects relationships; infertility, recurrent miscarriages, pregnancy loss, long journeys to conception, health concerns for mum and Bub, super fertile couples who never have a worry. How do women communicate over so much variation of experience?     

But what is perhaps meanest about pregnancy no longer having instant easy joy- is that it isn’t just pregnancy that you struggle to find joy in. When successful (even the fact you talk like that) it’s child birth and the new life also. It’s sometimes almost effort to find joy in your newborn, not from lack of love, but you have to fight through the fear and memory of storms and death. 

  
 
It’s hard to forgive your body for failing you. But then you have a healthy child after your storms and grief and longing… And slowly but surely this is the deepest healing that takes place and then, joy. But in a different experience, not because everything just happened as it should. But because you survived pregnancy, conquered fear and relearnt how to open your heart to baby love again- and in some ways it’s a deeper more beautiful joy than you ever knew possible. 

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miracle diary | birth

a journal of our miracle journey…
an insight into how the pregnancy miracle is different after you’ve sailed through storms.

 

(if you missed it, you can read part one twothreefour, five, six)

Thirty-five weeks |

Had another trip to hospital for monitoring… all is ok. We are booked in for an ultrasound in a few days to check the levels of fluid around bub.

My husband gifted me with pampering and a maternity shoot for Christmas. This is one of my favourites.

 

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Thirty-six weeks |

An ultrasound at this point is unbelievable! Honestly… up until now our latest ultrasound was at 20 weeks with big brother. But the detail – the lady told us bub had hair, we could see a beautiful little nose and lips. I suggested to Daniel we could find out if it was a boy or girl… but we did not. I was excited on the day to see details and beauty.

The next day I was not. I woke from bad dreams.

The following day was even worse. I had prepared myself for birth being when we see the finer details of our baby; eye and nose shape, long legs and if they had mummy’s or daddy’s toes…when they were in my arms and safe. But now I knew details and had a picture to imagine that was really their face, they became a person and they were still in my womb, which for me is such an unsafe place.

Emotionally I was not ok. It was no longer an imaginary face that I was fighting to keep alive. Which also meant if there was loss, it was not an imaginary face we were losing.

 

Thirty-seven weeks |

We braced ourselves on the Friday (37.1) for Tropical Cyclone Marcia. As we hid in our walk in wardrobe, as the bathroom was on the side of the house lined with a bush land of tall gum trees; we lost power (four days) and phone service (three days)- Daniel and I are so thankful the Braxton hicks that were like no Braxton hicks I’d felt before didn’t eventuate into anything! It was worrying for a while there, especially as we physically would not have being able to get to hospital and had no way to contact anyone.

I laid there at night, at who knows what time, all the windows open with no breeze at all, a wet washer on my belly and Daniel fanning me with a piece of paper ready to have a giant pregnancy melt down! But everyone was in the same boat and there is nothing that could be done to help me. Silent tears were shed that night.

Come the Sunday lunch, recovery had started and Daniel and I were active in feeding all the emergency services. Each meal someone would ask me if baby was coming… I won’t lie, I was hoping to work baby out. No luck, but at least I kept myself busy.

 

Thirty-eight weeks |

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First full week of maternity leave; I spent it feeding the emergency workers for the cyclone. With a few hundred people getting fed each day, my wonderful husband coordinated service teams and worked very long hours! I would help for a meal or two each day.

My mum and dad arrived, to help me with big brother while Daniel was so busy helping others. I don’t have words to describe how thankful I am for my parents.

 

Thirty-eight and five |

Nothing can prepare you for birth of a rainbow baby. No matter how much you think about it and prepare your heart. A birth after loss… I don’t want to describe it to you. The last time my body did this physical act…well, our baby never took a breath.

Birth is a team effort; I’m so thankful for continuity of care as our wonderful midwife knew that there was so much more than the birth of a healthy baby happening in that room. She could not have cared more perfectly for us than how she did.

My dad capably looked after biggest brother. My mum is the perfect support person; she doesn’t interfere but just loves as she does and is there. I’m so thankful she’s been there for the birth of both our children.

But my wonderful husband, I have no words; I couldn’t have done it without him. I know everyone says that, but he was my strength. When physically, emotionally and spiritually I was spent, he held me up, he didn’t let me crumble. He is literally how I survived this birth. Plus I like that he is the one who has caught both our boys. That’s right, I’m a Mumma of two precious boys.

 

Our boy is six weeks old today.. and I thought it was time to close this diary.

I could have used a nice posed photo. But I’ve tried to be honest in this miracle diary. Thought lets face it, with the amount of genetics it takes to make a baby, all pregnancies are miracles. I’ve tried to be honest about how I felt; how I struggled, how some days were tough to believe and hope in a life even though I felt it all day long, how emotionally a baby after loss is one of the toughest things any parent will go through, how there is joy and hope but how it is different.

So my last piece of honesty- this first moment- when our baby boy, crying and breathing is placed in my arms. This picture describes what words can’t.

 

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“Rainbow Babies” is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.

Author unknown

 

 

 

 

 

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miracle diary | part six

a journal of our miracle journey…
an insight into how the pregnancy miracle is different after you’ve sailed through storms.

(if you missed it, you can read part one twothreefour, five)

 

Twenty-five weeks | 

After 30 hours of abnormal pain feelings… tests were done for early labour. Time spent in hospital was not a highlight. I remember ringing my mum on the forty minute drive to the hospital, it hit me, the baby could be coming, something could be wrong. Admitting it to my mum with a blunt refusal to believe that it was really bad. Doesn’t mean the tears didn’t fill my eyes when I did. I know what happens when things go wrong, babies don’t survive, and I couldn’t admit there was something wrong.

Though  we worry, we stress- I’ve never really seriously entertained the thought that we would lose this baby. I’m on a wobbling balance board that I just get scared of the wobbling rather that lean too far one way or the other. I try each day to keep balanced, looking ahead rather than to the pit of despair below.

I also wish that doctors would learn… A guy walked in said all these scenarios. Then another man came in later and told me the complete opposite of the first, why? – The first was an intern and guessed. Walking in saying you’re a doctor means something. Ok maybe that’s harsh. I suppose my bias towards medicine comes out sometimes. Anyway- baby is still inside and all ok.

 

Twenty-seven weeks |

I exercised and I made the comment that perhaps I’m getting too big for this… I’m feeling massive. I’m feeling pregnant. And I’m feeling exhausted. I don’t go to boot camp anywhere near as much as I did before, but I can’t give up. I worked too hard for too long to give up. Plus I actually feel good to still be exercising. And after a class, I never regret it.

One of the ladies asked me about baby, how do I still exercise? Do I know what I’m having; am I excited? I think I commented I just want a heartbeat, a healthy baby. People who don’t know me don’t get that. They don’t get why a heartbeat, why simple life is most important, more important.

My trainer- who is brilliant and understands herself- asked me how my worry levels are going. I appreciate her so much. Worry comes and goes. Concern comes and goes. As I feel more movement and kicking it helps with the worry. But there are moments, overwhelming moments. I can’t describe it, but it’s overwhelming.

 

Twenty-eight weeks | 

I made a decision; this baby is going to be ok. This baby will be born; this baby will live, because at some point you can’t live in fear anymore. I can’t live in fear anymore. I want to be excited about this baby. I want to feel joy. Pregnancy is tainted and will always be, but I can choose how much.

This is real; this miracle is real. I want to find the joy in that. I don’t want to miss it. We can be excited.

Doesn’t mean I can feel it right now, but I’m trying. Its not always easy, but I’m trying.

 

Thirty weeks |

Me pregnant this time and with big brother…..what do you think?

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Things are not the same.

In the space of 48 hours two different couple friends of ours lost precious little babies. Both so longed for, both prayed for, both so wanted.

I can write about our miracle journey…. But I wish I didn’t have to have a miracle journey. I wish the term rainbow baby didn’t exist. I wish a pregnancy grief storm wasn’t an option.

Our heart broke alongside our friends, with raw understanding.

My heart broke.

 

Thirty-three weeks |

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I weighed myself at my parent’s house at Christmas time, according to their scales I put on ten kilos over the three days of Christmas. It was not a good feeling, I came home, and its ok I hadn’t actually put on any. I wish weight and body image wasn’t such a big deal in pregnancy.

So I’m on a stupid no junk food challenge, does that contradict what I just said? I asked Daniel to do it with me, worst idea ever! He’s suffering with me keeping me accountable and we haven’t caved yet.

I really mean it (well maybe) when I say it was my last boot camp yesterday; I’m very sore today! Slowly starting to put together the hospital bags, need to do that faster.

Grief is freshly around us, and our own excitement cant quite bubble through our own experiences just yet. But as baby plays my ribs like a xylophone, keeps me awake at night- I hope.

Hope for a life for our miracle.

Hope for a miracle for our friends. Hope for love to invade darkness. Hope for joy to find those around me that are without it. Not just from baby stuff… but from life stuff. There is so much going on in the worlds of people I love; depression, life changes, childbirth, loss, struggles, unanswered prayers, and new beginnings.

I might not be great at excitement or joy, but I can hope. So today, I will do that. I choose to hope for me, and I choose to hope for you.

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my membership has changed…

No one wants to join in the first place, there is no joy or celebrating when you do. You don’t really understand unless you’re in it. And when you are that doesn’t automatically mean you get it all, but you get some, because it’s always different. It happens in different ways for different reasons…. But it always sucks. It’s the “I’ve lost a baby club.”

Miscarriage sucks. Pregnancy and infancy loss sucks. Infertility sucks. The fact that there are women and men in the world with hearts made to be parents who only get to have empty arms – either from loss or knowing nothing but longing sucks.

Every day you feel it. Everyday you know it. When you’re in you become a lifelong member, its forever that you know. Forever that your heart feels it. At varying levels on different days or different times of year, but your heart never stops feeling it.

I don’t want to speak for them- so I’m not- but I’ve noticed that there is similarity between those who experience loss, and those who would just like a chance, those who struggle with infertility. There is a common bond of longing and desire for a little baby to love.

Last year was a year of longing and loss. Rising hopes to be robbed and replaced with devastation. I knew where I fitted in the club… full of longing and dreams. But now- we are blessed beyond our dreams with a precious little baby growing within. That changes my membership.

Women who totally understood me and I could have conversations with, now because of this joy, I’m on the outer. Because I’m now experiencing what we all pray for. I had a conversation with a lady who I hadn’t had a proper conversation with in a few months… why? I asked her…because my pregnancy was difficult for her. That’s when I realized- my membership has changed… I remember the loss, so very vividly. I remember the longing and disappointment you some how learn to keep breathing through. But I don’t live it now.

I try to live in joy. Our joy is constantly affected by our pain, by our feelings of loss and its so confronting-ly internal, deep within our hearts. I struggle to articulate it to Daniel- who will be closest to ever understanding my journey, as it is his also.

I am in a club; a club no one wants to be in, a club of pain and brokenness, unspoken understanding and yet to be answered prayers. Somehow we made it through the storm, and are now blessed with joy. But it is tainted joy- this precious miracle life is not tainted, but our pregnancy experience is forever affected by our lifelong club membership.

Once you’re in you’re in…. but it is different now. And friend, if you’re membership has changed- its ok, mine has too. Don’t feel like you have to escape the club, because you can’t. Try though, to remember and be conscious of those in it. Even though you may have joy out of the storm now, you still have a better understanding than those who have never joined. And all of us in the club, we always need more people to understand.

 

To my others friends:

My friend Elisha writes over on a blog called “waiting for baby bird.” The encouragement I have found in this little place has been deep. She will be a great blessing to you…reminding you that you are not alone. And making you laugh with her “laughing your way through infertility” Monday posts- things that only those trying to conceive can comprehend.

 

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Miracle Diary | Part Five

a journal of our miracle journey…
an insight into how the pregnancy miracle is different after you’ve sailed through storms.

(if you missed it, you can read part one twothree, four)

 

Twenty weeks |

The day before twenty weeks was Emmanuelle’s birthday. It was a bizarre day, and this week has been- unexplainable. Or maybe it is, but I don’t really care to try. Emotions are high and pregnancy just makes them even worse. Half way- less to go than what I’ve done. Especially (fingers crossed) if this baby is early like their biggest brother!

 

Twenty-two weeks |

One thing you forget about pregnancy is baby movement. You don’t forget how it feels. But at the start each kick and movement is a big deal, it stops you for a moment. It’s a rushing feeling of relief and joy. This week, I’m feeling so much more and it seems to be constant. I forgot it got to this place, where you feel everything- a continuous reminder that there is a little baby growing inside of you.

But mostly –I’m thankful for it. Because I still worried. Worried the ultrasound was wrong. Worried my womb would turn against the baby. Worried that there was something wrong. I know movement doesn’t mean all is ok. But it does mean the baby is still alive. Fear of death, its not a nice feeling- and you can’t imagine it unless you know. And if you do- I’m so sorry.

 

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Twenty-three weeks |

I’ve realized this week my club membership has changed… I’ll write more about this in another post after this one.

 

Twenty-four weeks |

Nearly every morning this week, our big boy has told me he doesn’t want to wait- he wants the “baby to come out the tunnel now.” I never taught him this, but we’re just going to go with it…. I try to tell him the baby will come after Christmas, but he’s reply is- “No! Baby now!”

I don’t think he is going to help the impatience a summer pregnancy will bring as the weeks go on.

If I was to type without a filter – and this is probably how pregnancy feels regardless of loss – I just am feeling fat and hot at the moment. Weight never seemed to be an issue in my first pregnancy… it could be because it was my first, and everything was yet to be stretched, I was also a twenty-two year old. Now its fourth pregnancy and a twenty-five year old body… its so tough not to get discouraged. I’m carrying so differently this pregnancy- our boy was round and all over- while this baby, my tummy is just like a really low kangaroo pouch. And you have the thoughts I’m growing a baby…blahblah. I’m sure you know the encouraging things people say if it’s you. But sometimes that just doesn’t cut it.

What does help me, well what I try to think about- is my body is changing in the best way to be the growing space for this baby- and if that means all my weight needs to be in my thighs and backside no matter what I do well apparently that’s where it will go. I still am exercising, and I’m not eating too badly…. Once I hold this precious baby in my arms I don’t think I’ll be worrying about the numbers on the scales quite so much.

But for now, at nearly 25 weeks pregnant, its 7:21am and I’m the only one awake because I haven’t been able to sleep for the past nearly three hours- so I’m going to sneak a piece of chocolate. Toast would make noise which could wake someone see, I’m just thinking of those sleeping.

ssssh… don’t tell anyone.

 

 

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