Let me preface this…which I usually don’t do…but I feel the need here to say usually I will not blog about things so personally specific to me in nature. I love to write and I’ll be updating this site a LOT more regularly. It’s therapeutic for me just like running…good for my body and soul. So I feel like I have a ton to update on to get up to speed with my thoughts. And I’ll start by telling the most important story to me right now, and it’s a long one, so put your feet up and grab a box of kleenex (well that’s what I’ll be doing at least) and I’ll begin from the beginning…well, kind of…so two days after Thanksgiving I found out I was pregnant. It was an amazing thing. Doug and I had decided to put things completely in God’s hands and see what happened…and here it was, a HUGE, unexpected blessing to us, especially to happen so quickly after ALL we’ve been through in the past year. It was a sign of hope, dreams, new life for us. Doug was thrilled, if it were up to him we would have started trying the week we were married…and I was elated, filled with hopes I never knew I had. All of them, now growing within me, after all I had been through emotionally in the past year, I was still capable of doing something amazing. So we counted down the days until our first OB appointment…texting each other with excitement, dreaming already about furniture and clothes and how to tell our closest family and friends. Appt day came and we couldn’t see anything other than the gestational and yolk sac on the ultrasound but we were filled with hope. I was happy and healthy and we decided to go ahead and share the news with some close friends because we were bursting at the seams inside, even though we had to keep it hidden on the outside, for obvious reasons of the novelty of the situation. We told some close friends and family and they were all elated, beginning to think their own thoughts and begin their own plans and had their own excitement for us. We would be having the first grandchild for our parents, the first niece or nephew for my brothers and sisters, and we would be buying our first house soon-what a wonderful Christmas gift.

I’m learning that I’m very much of a control-freak I guess you could say, which goes hand in hand with being a perfectionist in some areas as well. I had been taking prenatals for over 6 months, eating well, staying in shape, my vitals were straight out of a text book but still I had my worries…and on December 23rd, the day before Christmas Eve, my worst fears became my very harsh reality. We waited things out a bit then headed to the ER, which I found to be mostly uninformative and mostly further stirred up my emotions if nothing else. We rode home that Christmas Eve morning with heavy hearts and I think I cried from the time we left the hospital until I feel asleep that night. And again in the morning when I had to remember that everything we went through the previous night was in fact real.

We had another OB appt already scheduled for the following Thursday, December 30, the day before New Year’s Eve, at which date I would be 7 weeks, 7 days along which they should definitely be able to see something on an ultrasound. I had hopes. My grammy used to say “never give up” and that thought came to me on that Thursday before my appointment…so of course I thought, maybe there’s still hope, maybe I should still be hoping that our baby is ok and this is all just some freak mistake. It has to be, right? We deserve something good in our lives, not yet another setback and heartache. Well, I’m sorry to say that wasn’t the case for us. The sonographer at the OB was not informative and she told us our worst fears all over again, that we were too far along for us NOT to see something…that this was not a viable pregnancy. Waiting in the waiting room between sonogram and the dr, my mind didn’t want to take it all in, didn’t want to face it…although who was I trying to kid? I already knew all of this was impending. The dr visit just confirmed it all. But when a bond has already been formed, there is nothing more heart-wrenching. It doesn’t matter that the bond was only emotionally formed to our little ball of cells that would someday become our child. It was all very real to me that at the point of conception, God had something beautiful planned. In between those exam rooms I couldn’t look at my sweet husband. The man who can see through to my soul, who knows me inside and out, through the good and the bad. Because he is the one who can melt my heart with just a smile, and I couldn’t look into his eyes and see his broken heart, and mine reflected in his eyes as he would look at me with sorrow. The dr that day wanted us to immediately schedule the D&C to help my body rid itself of the contents of fetal tissue that would not continue developing into our baby and to move on. I wasn’t ready to make that decision, and I am a believer in doing things as natural as possible, after all, God created our amazingly complex bodies to handle these things, right?

Our baby never developed after about 5 weeks or so. But my body wasn’t recognizing this yet…and it wouldn’t on it’s own for another 3 weeks. 3 long weeks of knowing the absolute worst, but yet somehow, some way, holding on to one very last, very small inkling of hope and possibility. The worst during this time, on top of knowing the news ourselves was calling my sweet family and dear friends and telling them the news. It just hurt so much to have to think about it, much less call others and try to even speak of it. Praise God for prayer and support during this time, because I just don’t think I would have survived without it…even though I couldn’t feel it at this point.

I went to a different OB since my body wasn’t processing things naturally. This time we were prepared to make the decision to move on with our lives, to leave all of our hopes and dreams behind. The sonographer was understanding, gentle, and encouraging. The dr came in and when I would have been almost 11 weeks along, she gave me my options and we knew the one we needed. This appointment was on a Wednesday afternoon. We left and I was numb. And the next few days were pretty surreal. Thursday was a crazy day at work and on top of that I had health insurance coordinators, hospital pre-op and billing, and my new OB’s office confirming everything with me. All while I had the anticipation of starting a new Bible study that night with a wonderfully amazing group of women. Women who were all either pregnant or who had just had a baby in December. My heart was broken in so many ways. I hadn’t known how to pray, what to say to God, in a number of weeks. My eyes constantly wanting to burst into tears at every moment they had the chance. But I had to be strong. Had to be obedient and persevere. After all, only a few people knew the truth of our situation. God knew. He knew everything. And through the next few weeks, and even now and tomorrow He would be the only reason I would survive.

At Bible study the girls were excited just learning of B’s pregnancy, and that they were having a boy; as was V, and A had a six week old boy at home. Doug and I wanted a boy. We wanted a healthy baby, of course, but our dream was for a boy. So with only B having knowledge of what I was going through of course the statement was made that Doug and I were next and needed to jump on board. This, the night before my D&C to end the physical part of what I was going through. God knew that I would go through this. He knew I would cry before and after this meeting. And He knew that His holy word was exactly what I needed in my life, especially now. Friday came and I can honestly say that there is VERY much such a thing as “kinda pregnant”. My body was very much pregnant, with hormones and all, my blood confirmed this. But my baby wasn’t there. All I could do was pray and repeat the Lord’s prayer over and over. I didn’t have any words for God. I trusted Him and I believed in Him, but what could I say when we prayed for health and protection over our pregnancy, a pregnancy we had entrusted to Him, and then one that had been taken from us. I didn’t want to hear about timing…it WAS our time, but it was taken from us. It wasn’t an accident that we were going through this. It wasn’t JUST a medical procedure that I was choosing to have. The questions at the hospital, over and over…what procedure are you having done? How far along would you be? I answered them all without a tear, but my heart was breaking, my chest was hurting from the pain of it. I held up until they wheeled me away from my husband who was to wait for me in the waiting room, and the nurse wheeling me to the surgery room asked if it was my first pregnancy. I answered yes, and with that, the tears began. I thought, how could she ask that? She wasn’t one of the ones with the clipboard. All I could do was hang my head as she wheeled me on the gurney down the sterile halls past the hospital personnel who looked at me with sympathy in their eyes, wondering why I was upset. As the anesthesia kicked in, I was repeating that Lord’s prayer…all the while entrusting my life to Him, knowing that His will would ultimately be done.

I woke up seemingly minutes later, crying. That’s how I came out of it. Apparently I had been crying for a few minutes before I regained consciousness because the nurses were talking about anxiety rather than physical pain, although I was in both. I was amazed at how relatively quick it all went. And how routine it all seemed in a weird way. Not for me of course, but for the professionals. Everyone was nice and compassionate. I was thankful for the good pain meds. And for being able to see my husband. We went home and for a few days I was okay. Just trying to get through the physical of it all. And then I had to deal with the emotional. The emotional that I didn’t know would hit me all the time. Little things would set it off. Little thoughts.

This plight is seriously way too much for anyone to have to deal with. Why is this happening to us? Why me? Why is my body empty of life, when it shouldn’t be? I would be (insert amount of weeks here). I did everything right when other girls, some of my very own friends, never even thought of a prenatal visit to their doctor or a vitamin. WHY? I want to be normal, I want to be okay, I don’t want to feel like I’ll burst into tears at any moment, with any thought. But what is “normal” anymore? There isn’t a normal for us now. And I do have to experience these things. I have to give myself the grace to live each moment and to accept it. I have to understand that it is a wonderful thing that it does hurt this much, because it means that I loved my child…no matter how long he or she lived, whether it for a day, or an hour, or simply a moment no longer than the blink of an eye. That is something I cannot explain. Why this type of thing impacts a person so much. Something you cannot even see, something you’ve never held or touched or kissed. But that you’ve hoped for, longed for, prayed for, lived for. I know this sounds dramatic, but until you’ve experienced it is impossible to fully understand.

My eyes have been slowly opened through all of this and I will continue to post more on what I’m learning because it helps me to deal with it. When I heard those words in my head to “never give up”, I thought it meant I should hope for my little one. But I realize now that it was for this time. My grammy knew what was coming. She knew what I would be up against and she had faith in me, to remind me of her words spoken to my heart. That while I would feel worthless, that my body could fail me so terribly, that my mind could get so dark, that I could have hope to carry on. That I could open up and accept the support from others. That I was stealing the blessings of others if I didn’t let them in to care for me and to love on me. I was terrified that opening up would mean having to face it and it would make it more difficult for me and that it would drain me. Those are lies. Lies I almost believed. But I finally chose not to. I chose life and hope and peace that could only come from the Father who loves us so much, even when we deserve it the least.

I chose to “rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:4-7

And I learned that to “rejoice in the Lord” does not necessarily mean what you’d think it might mean. When I think of rejoicing, I guess I’ve always thought of gladness and being grateful for whatever it is that you are rejoicing for. Which is true. But rejoicing also has to do with JOY. And joy and happiness are two very different things. I can have joy in my heart, even when it is so far down, hidden away, I can choose to embrace that part. To “rely not on my own understanding but to trust in the Lord with all of my heart and soul” (Proverbs 3:5-6). That’s not to say I’ve mastered this…it’s not to say that I didn’t sit in the Ingle’s parking lot two nights ago and scream to God in my sadness and confusion as to why we are having to go through this. But somehow after that night, after my prayer and petitioning, God has shown me so much love and comfort. I still want to cry…a lot…but I’m beginning to see more light each day. And believe in God’s plans for me. My eyes are being opened to the lies in the world around me. That the enemy will do everything possible to lure me away…to make me question the goodness and the greatness of our God for allowing me to go through this. That the enemy will make me question our financial decisions. That the enemy will present me with situations where life has truly been unfair to me in the case of my workload, salary, living situation, finances, car troubles every other week (no, really, ever other week), etc.

And that tonight, in the middle of another broken down car situation which could have turned my night into a nosedive for disaster, but I chose to believe. I chose to praise Him in the storm. I chose to speak from my lips the truth of His word. That yes, right now I am going through the fire, but that He is with me through it all and that through these fiery trials that, believe me, I am praying will end soon, my faith is being refined ” and through my faith, God is protecting me by His power until I receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.” that I can “truly be glad and know that there is wonderful joy ahead, even though I have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that my faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold- though my faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when my faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring me much praise and glory and honor on the day (oh what a glorious day it will be) when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:5-7 Tonight I spoke that if I have to live the next 60 years through trial upon trial that for the glory of my God to be revealed I will do it. (And then I immediately prayed for the protection of my family and friends- lol). But to know that God works everything for good for those who love Him is enough for me to trust in His plan and praise Him that “just as heaven is higher than the earth, that His thoughts are nothing like my thoughts and His ways are nothing like my ways, that they are much higher and greater than I could imagine” Isaiah 55:8-9.

While tomorrow I may wake up feeling one way or another, one thing is certain and I’ve taken these 3000 words tonight to say that my God is greater, stronger, and higher than anything that I’m going through, than anything that hurts me, than anything the devil can plant in my mind. That I know my God cares about me and the lies are all dust compared to His love for me, even when I deserve it the least. I know “not to be afraid; as the very hairs on my head are all numbered, I am more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” Luke 12:7 God cares and if He is on my side, I don’t need the lies of this world to twist my mind and bring me down.

Praise God for His ever-faithful truths and promises from His word.

Writing from a place where peace has been found,

Valerie

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