October 21, 2015

Phase Four: Content Choices

Thank you for your continued prayer during this season of our life and phase of healing. If you are reading this post for the first time, you may refer to the Phase One for background on our miscarriage story. 

One of the things I focused on during the miscarriage was the positive fact that I was able to get pregnant in the first place. This was a miracle in itself. The surgery to remove the tumor was successful and the diagnoses of only stage 1 Endometriosis was such a blessing. We had expected things to be much worse.

So when the hard news hit, I focused on December and the hope of having another announcement.
When I had to breathe through nightmare contractions, I focused on the fact that my story is not over; I will have another chance to have a child.

Once the fog cleared (of the physical pain at least) my husband and I had the conversation. With emotions at bay, we discussed when we would try again for a family of three.
While other couples may start as soon as her body allows, other couples are not us. Other couples are not in their senior year of Bible College. Other couples are not graduating in May. Other couples are not student workers employed part-time with no health benefits.

Not that it could't be done. But we needed to be realistic and honest.
It would not be honest to send resumes this winter and go to job interviews over Spring Break with the full intention of being a stay-at-home-mom once the baby is born.

So we wouldn't try again until settled where ever God takes us after May.
I've already done the math. I know it will be almost a year or more before I hope to see another positive pregnancy test.

Some days I am fine with this. I just finished midterms and finals will be here in 2 months. We will keep busy with networking and prepping resumes. We have 7 months left to soak up fellowship with classmates and professors. Our schedules keep us busy. And as a young married couple, we have plenty of time.

Plenty. of. Time.


Then there are days when all I see are a the tiny boxes I have to cross off. Three hundred and sixty five boxes. When I can barely make it through a single day.. I think of how many more I have to "make it through" before our family grows. It feels never ending.

While I am so scared to ever trust a positive test, while I will hesitate at every ultrasound, and I know I will panic at every feeling and abnormality. While going through all of this again seems terrifying, I long to be pregnant again. 

I have already heard people say "You have plenty of time." But the irony is that they are the same people that say "Don't tell God your plans!" when I share that we are waiting.

It's smart to be realistic. It's healthy to mourn.
And it's okay to prepare while God heals us.
And it's okay to rest while He moves in your heart.

"He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake."
Psalm 23:3

October 15, 2015

Phase Three: Cruel October

Thank you for your continued prayer during this season of our life and phase of healing. If you are reading this post for the first time, you may refer to the Phase One for background on our miscarriage story. 

I don't believe in signs or destiny. I don't believe that "nature" or "karma" send things my way to reward or punish me. I know why bad things happen to good people. I know why there is hurt. I know why cancer exists. I know why there is death.

There is general pain caused because we live in a decaying world full of sin. And there is specific pain that is caused by my own sin.
Pain is here because sin is here.

But it's hard when that general pain feels specific.
It's hard not to feel targeted, selected even, to go through this very pinpoint pain.


When you have to take medication on October 1st to induce labor of a failed miscarriage only to learn that October is Infant Loss and Awareness month.


It's breathing through contractions only to find out that a few states away an old acquaintance is doing the same, except she is in a hospital room awaiting the arrival of a living child.

Then there is today.
Today I am waiting for the doctor to call with my blood work to confirm that this physical nightmare is complete. That the miscarriage passed "successfully."
October 15th 2015.

Do you know what today is?
Infant Loss and Miscarriage Awareness Day.

When I realized this, I allowed my jaded and sarcastic inner voice take control of my thoughts. Laughing to myself thinking "Oh I am VERY AWARE of what happened. I am very aware of my loss."

But the "awareness" is never for the person who has experienced the loss. What is sad is that as common as miscarriage is, it's not common enough for people to share it. After all even I am resorting to a blog post instead of facebook updates and phone calls.

But why raise awareness? Why take the time to document this wave of pain and dance between joy and grief? (Thank you Angie Smith for that phrase).

Because where there is pain, there is reason for comfort.
Where there is pain, there are questions for why.
And while I understand why there is pain in the world, someone out there does not. And the pain they are feeling, feels...targeted.

The word I have been using is Cruel.
It's cruel to go through a miscarriage.
It's cruel to pay an ER bill for a miscarriage.
It's cruel to lose a life I cannot bury.

Pain. can. be. cruel.

So what do I do when I live in a world with cruel pain?
What balances specific, deep, loss?
What could possibly out last my patience, withstand my screams, and embrace my brokenness?

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." -Psalm 73:26

Phase Two: Lost and Found

Thank you for your continued prayer during this season of our life and phase of healing. If you are reading this post for the first time, you may refer to the Phase One for background on our miscarriage story. 

It's not just the baby.
Its not just the pregnancy, the birth story, the feedings all night, and all that comes with having a newborn. 

It's not just the cute clothes, the cute books, and cute pictures. 
It's not first steps, first words, and first days of school. 

It's not just sport games, and recitals. 
It's not just birthdays, and family portraits. 

It''s not just prom, graduation, and college visits. 
It's not just engagements, and wedding days.

I did not just lose a baby.
I lost a lifetime of memories.

During a gentle conversation last week, a woman shared insight from her own miscarriage. She explained that a miscarriage is not just the mourning of the pregnancy but a loss of everything that that life may have included.

This week those words rang a little too loud in my heart.
I found myself walking in crisp fall weather, singing in worship songs, and giggling with my husband...all the while wishing "Baby O" could be with us.

And yet,

My hope must be in the fact that God exists, and that while loss does sting, Hell has no victory with this life.
My hope is in the fact that while I did lose a child, my child is not lost. But found in the most precious, most holy, most safe of places surrounded by the most powerful form of love from the very source Himself.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, 
but wholly lean on Jesus' name. 

When darkness veils His lovely face, 
I rest on His unchanging grace; 
In every high and stormy gale, 
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way, 
He then is all my hope and stay. 

When He shall come with trumpet sound, 
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone, 
Faultless to stand before the throne. 

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand. 

October 11, 2015

Phase One: Lord I need You

There is no easy way to say this. You are going to be blindsided.

After discovering an ovarian tumor in April, I finally underwent surgery in mid-August. We hoped that this surgery would provide healing and ultimately lead to successful pregnancy in the future.
In early September we found out that it did. We found out that after seven years we were expecting.

I was progressing as normal and began to embrace all the feels and excitement. May would bring all sorts of change with college graduation and the arrival of Baby O.

Toward the end of the month I sensed something was not right.

I remember a very tender Sunday morning at church. I stood for worship and clung my hands around my aching belly. As I read the words on the screen that described how powerful our God is, how He is Able, I could feel that my body was not able. I knew, in that moment that something was wrong. I also knew that there was nothing that could be done about it. So I stood. I held my womb and sang.

“Lord I need You. Oh I need You!”

With each sting and cramp, I held on tighter. I sang louder. There was a blurry line between a heart of worship and a heart of request.

“Lord I need you. Every hour I need you!...”

He gave me a new outlook, right there standing in the dimly lit sanctuary. I can stand and mourn. Or I can stand and show my child a heart of worship. I wouldn’t know how much longer I would carry Baby O, but this baby would know worship. Looking back, I will hold that moment in my heart forever. A tender moment of worshiping with my child.

The following week would reveal that I was in the early stages of a miscarriage. We clung to Philippians 4:7 “peace in the midst of chaos” and God provided. David and I felt so strong and full of joy and peace. We developed a mind set of thanksgiving for God allowing us, choosing us to carry Baby O, even for a month. We were thankful for the opportunity after 7 years of infertility.

"Lord I come and I confess. Bowing here I find my rest."

Another week went by and I would have blood work done to confirm that the miscarriage was complete. The doctor called with the results that instead of decreasing, my blood levels had risen. This means that the miscarriage did not complete on its own.

I would need to labor at home.

"Without you, I fall apart. 
You're the one that guides my heart."

My peace was gone. My contentment was gone. What was seen as an opportunity now only seemed like cruel punishment.

After dinner one evening I went around the house tiding up. I found my most comfortable clothes. Gathered my favorite blanket. Lit my favorite candle. Took my medication to begin the contractions. It wasn’t a room on the Labor and Deliver floor. There were no nurses or excitement. Just me beside my husband working on my Greek homework to pass the time.

"Teach my song to rise to you, when temptation comes my way"

I imagine that as other women breathe through the pain of contractions they stay focused with the coming arrival of their child. Pain in the night but Joy in the morning.

Again, this experience only felt cruel.My focus was to survive through the next contraction. My goal was to be able to fall back asleep before the next wave. I had pain in the night and only mourning.

"When I cannot stand, I'll fall on You"

When we first found out about our pregnancy I quickly went to the calendar to plot the due date and trimester markings. We knew that we would have an ultrasound appointment for the heartbeat right before a trip back home to Oklahoma. It was perfect timing.

It felt like it would be forever before that ultrasound.

Then all of a sudden we were driving to Oklahoma with very different news to deliver.

"Jesus you're my hope and stay."

Like I said, you were probably blindsided by this news. For your sake and ours, we decided to keep this news to ourselves as long as we could. The honest truth of miscarriage is that few people know what to say, and we don't quite know what we want to hear. 

David and I are using this blog as we navigate through this season of healing. Even though you may not know what to say, we will always appreciate your prayers. 

The links for more recent posts can be found listed here.

Phase Two
Phase Three
Phase Four
Phase Five
Phase Six

-Renda and David.