Wednesday, October 15, 2014

loss.

I thought I would never do this. I told myself I would never do this. I thought I would never take something so real and so personal and so heartbreaking, and then make it so public. But I know that one of the only things that helped me going through the heartbreak was that there were other people who were willing to share their story and allow me to know that I wasn't alone. So, in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, and against my better judgment, here is my story that I wrote and said I wouldn't share. But I realized it does' thane to be a secret and someone else may need to hear. To hear they aren't alone, to hear they aren't stupid or overly emotional because their heart feels broken and feels like it may never mend. I'm not one to share a bunch of personal business with a big crowd, but I know how thankful I was that there were people willing to share their heart. So here's mine.

On January 3, 2014 we were filled with complete surprise and joy to find out we were pregnant. It was completely unexpected but we were so happy and could not wait for our family to grow. I began having some problems at about 6 weeks and was uneasy about the pregnancy. I had an early ultrasound which showed the baby had a heartbeat. We had a follow up ultrasound that showed the heartbeat had increased and the baby was growing. On February 1, 2014 we told our families we were expecting. Then on February 6, 2014 my world fell apart. We went for a follow up ultrasound and there was no longer a heartbeat. The ultrasound tech wouldn’t let me look at the screen and she was silent. I knew. I knew that we had lost our baby. I was 8.5 weeks. Up until this point in my life I had not really known much heartache. I had never had to deal with tragedy of really any kind of  significance. I had an easy life. At that moment my first thought was not to praise God. It was not understanding that God had a bigger plan.  It was anger and frustration and severe disappointment. It was heart break. And I didn’t know how I was going to go on. I felt like I had lost a piece of myself. I didn’t feel like anyone understood. I had a D&C the next day. I recovered fine physically, mentally I was  a wreck. I didn’t feel like I had the energy or desire to be a good wife to Jacob or a mom to Jake. I’m not sure how many days Jacob completely took care of Jake by himself. I know I stayed in bed for 2 or 3 days all day and just cried. I went back to work that next week and I can’t explain how hard it was to keep it together. I felt like a few days before I had a sweet life inside of me, and now it was just gone. I had a hard time dealing with what happened to my baby, and what happened to it once they “took it out of me.” I was completely broken.

Well-meaning people tried to give comfort by explaining what they thought the cause of miscarriage was. I heard that this baby was “too good for this earth, so it went straight to heaven.” I heard that “God needed another angel with Him.” And I heard that “there was probably something wrong with the baby and that’s just nature’s way of dealing with it.” The honest truth is, God doesn’t need my baby in heaven with Him. The truth is that if there was something wrong with my baby, I would have loved it anyway. It wouldn’t change my feelings for that child. The real truth is that the real reason this happened is because we live in a broken world. We live in a world wrecked by sin, and because of what happened in the Garden all those years ago nothing is perfect anymore. And until we are with Jesus the result of that first sin is a fractured and broken world. And broken is exactly how I felt. I felt empty and hopeless. And scared for the future. I was paralyzed by fear.  I can’t even count how many nights I cried, and how many times I told Jacob  I would never be ready to try for another baby. I thought this was it for me. I thought I could never have the peace or strength to want to try again. I knew I couldn’t go through it again.  But God was teaching me that I’m not in control. He knew what I needed more than I did. And now we are pregnant again.  And I am scared to death. And most days I worry that I will have to go through all the pain again.  But I know that God is in control, and I am not. And I am trying to enjoy the moments I am given with this little life.

We named the baby we lost. We named her Anna.  I say “her” because I just knew she was a girl. Anna means “God is gracious.”  We named her Anna because we felt like we needed that reminder. I needed that reminder. I needed to remember every time I thought of her that God IS good, and He IS gracious. Even when I don’t feel that way. Even when I feel like it is unfair and my heart is broken, HE is showing grace to me. We planted a tree in her honor just outside of what would have been her bedroom at our home so we can tell her brother about her when he is old enough to understand.

I know that this will be something I deal with for the rest of my life. September 13, 2014 was her due date. And it was a hard day. But the new little life inside me as well as Jacob and my sweet Jake helped make it better. She was my child from the moment we found out she was growing inside me, and she will be my child forever. And I know we will meet her in heaven on day. I routinely think of her during sermons, worship, driving in my car, going to sleep at night, and honestly every time I see a pregnant woman or a new baby. Even though another one is on the way, this child will never replace the one we lost. No child can replace that hurt in a mother. It is hard to understand unless you’ve been there. And I felt like no one really understood, and sometimes that made me bitter and mad at others for just “not getting it.” I know I can’t expect other people to understand, but God does understand. I had someone tell me right after the loss, that there is no “right way” to grieve. I believe this to be true. What others see as possibly insignificant may be completely wrecking your world. And that’s how I felt.

There were a few songs that really helped me through this time, and now they have such meaning to me. 
OCEANS
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
                    I am Yours and You are mine


     HOPE NOW
If everything comes down to love
Then just what am I afraid of
When I call out Your name
Something inside awakes in my soul
How quickly I forget I'm Yours

I'm not my own
I've been carried by You
All my life

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

When my life is like a storm
Rising waters all I want is the shore
You say I'll be ok and
Make it through the rain
You are my shelter from the storm

I'm not my own
I've been carried by You
All my life

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free
You've become my hearts desire
I will sing Your praises higher
Cause Your love sets me free
Your love sets me free
Your love sets me free

If everything comes down to love
Then just what am I afraid of
When I call out Your name
Something inside awakes in my soul
How quickly I forget I'm Yours

I'm not my own
I've been carried by You
All my life

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

When my life is like a storm
Rising waters all I want is the shore
You say I'll be ok and
Make it through the rain
You are my shelter from the storm


GOD IS GOD
And the pain falls like a curtain 
On the things I once called certain 
And I have to say the words I fear the most 
I just don’t know

And the questions without answers 
Come and paralyze the dancer 
So I stand here on the stage afraid to move 
Afraid to fall, oh, but fall I must 
On this truth that my life has been formed from the dust

God is God and I am not 
I can only see a part of the picture He’s painting 
God is God and I am man 
So I’ll never understand it all 
For only God is God

And the sky begins to thunder 
And I’m filled with awe and wonder 
‘Til the only burning question that remains 
Is who am I

Can I form a single mountain 
Take the stars in hand and count them 
Can I even take a breath without God giving it to me 
He is first and last before all that has been 
Beyond all that will pass

Oh, how great are the riches of His wisdom and knowledge 
How unsearchable for to Him and through
Him and from Him are all things

So let us worship before the throne 
Of the One who is worthy of worship alone




Wednesday, June 19, 2013

jake's nursery

This is literally the only room in my whole house that feels "finished." The rest is a work in progress, and I seem to be rearranging furniture, pictures, decorations weekly. We finished Jake's room completely the day before we went to the hospital. I laughed at the time because I thought "we won't even be using this room," and it's the only one I wanted completely done before he came. We do, in fact, use it quite often! I was surprised! We change him in there, and of course all his stuff is in there. He will probably start sleeping in there pretty soon, but for now he still loves his hammock in our room! I love the way his room turned out! 




Changing table that was supposed to be a vanity in our bathroom! It was left over so Jacob's dad put a top on it and we painted it a couple days before I was induced :)





Found these printables on pinterest and made them into the cutest little name cards!

Old dresser I found at an antique store! Loved the chalkboard drawers!



We played this song at our wedding

The crib we painted a few days before Jake was born :) The bedding is from etsy and crib sheet from aden & anais

We saw this old truck at an antique store a few days before we found out we were having a boy. We went back the day after we found out and got it - this was the first purchase for his room!

I love this door! It's great to keep the dogs out but still be able to see in his crib once he starts sleeping in there.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

the One you need.

Last night I was talking to one of my favorite friends. We were talking about babies, and planning for families. I am a planner, that's no surprise. I like to know what's going to happen. But having a child has changed some part of that in me. Before I had Jake, it was important to me that my whole life was in order before I brought a child into this world. I had always heard that you "never really feel ready" for a child but I couldn't believe how that could be true. But I can assure you, up until even the morning of my induction I did not feel ready. I cried on my way up the elevator to L&D because I still wanted more time. I wanted more time to get my house ready, more time to spend with Jacob before our whole world changed. Now looking back I see how selfish that was. Now I want more time with my baby. I want him to stay little, to never grow up. And more time to just sit cuddling him every day. I want to make everything perfect for him. I also realize that's selfish too. I know I'm going to have to learn to have open hands with him. To allow plans to be messed up, schedules rearranged. To give him the freedom to grow up, even though I don't feel ready. I love every second I spend with him, and with my husband. I am learning - very slowly - that I have to soak up every minute of life with my boys, and not wish it away by worrying about not having everything planned, perfect, and "ready."



I absolutely love this song, and couldn't imagine putting this into words any better. To me, this is the essence of my "mommy heart." 
------------------------------------------------------------
"I wish that I could be your everything
Be the one to give you all the things you need 
Sometimes I'm gonna let you down
But there's someone if you just believe
Be your hero like He's always been for me
Darling, Jesus is the One you need."
{Shane&Shane}

{mommy & jake}

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

3 weeks

my baby is 3 weeks old today! i absolutely cannot believe it. time has flown so fast, and we are just loving every single minute of having this little guy around!





Tuesday, April 23, 2013

{our birth story}


So keeping with the theme of me thinking I can plan everything and exert some kind of control over the situation, I went into labor and delivery thinking I would not have any medication, no epidural, and would have a completely “natural” delivery. I had done my research, read books, practiced exercises, and had the support of my husband. What else would I need?

I was even prepared to try to handle the Pitocin without medication even though I knew it would make my contractions much harder and more intense. I was hoping for no Pitocin, and my doctor was willing to just “break my water” to see how I would progress. I was still not happy about being induced. I had this overwhelming sense of fear that something would go wrong. I kept thinking… If I get induced I might not progress which could lead to Pitocin at high doses, and if I still don’t progress I might end up with a c section which I really didn’t want. Then I worried that since Jake was 2 weeks early his lungs might not be totally mature and he might end up sick – or even worse – be in the NICU. This is what went through my head for the past 2 months every time we talked about induction. And my worst nightmare came true. And it was worse than even I could’ve imagined. And somehow God took a mess of a situation, gave us a healthy baby boy, and showed us to appreciate every second with him.
It has been 2 weeks since Jake Barnett was born, and his due date is actually today. Until this point I have not been able to talk about his birth without many tears. I did, however want to write it all down, to have it in case one day he wanted to know. I will probably choose not to talk much about it after this, and Jacob has already said he doesn’t ever want to relive it again.

I went in the hospital at 7:00 am on April 9, 2013. I was given a cervix softener to start my contractions at 8:30. I began having fairly regular contractions at that point, and my water was broken at 10:00 am. My idea of laboring in the hospital was not to be confined to a bed, but after my water was broken I was not allowed to move at all. I had to lay relatively flat on my back for the duration. I labored from 10:00 am until probably between almost 3:00 am. Pitocin was started at some point in there, I think around noon, but the details now are unclear. I labored with Pitocin and without an epidural between 10:00 am and 11:30 pm before I was completely exhausted. My doctor did not think I was going to have enough strength to push and I wasn’t progressing, so he highly recommended the epidural. As much as I didn’t want to, and through many tears, I took it. From 7:00 until around 1:30 am I pretty much slept and although I could feel my contractions they were overwhelmingly painful. Around 1:00 or 1:30 I started having uncontrollable chills and vomiting. I spiked a fever, Jake’s heart rate went up, and my blood pressure bottomed out at around 70s/40s. The hospital will only allow a woman’s water to be broken for about 18 hours max before c section is imminent. At 16 hours I had never felt so bad in my life. My fever was up and the vomiting was getting to where they had mentioned being concerned about me rupturing my cervix from the pressure. It was at this point Jacob talked to me about asking for a c section. I knew the baby was in danger and I had never felt so sick. My doctor came in and said we could wait 2 more hours, but I was only at 5 cm and I didn’t think I would progress any more. Plus, Jake was showing signs of exhaustion and I definitely was too. I asked for a  section and at 2:53 am Jake Barnett was born.

This is the part I don’t like to remember. I really just slept through the whole operation. Then I heard the doctor say “he has a lot of hair.” I saw the top of my baby’s head. Then he handed him to the nurse and I heard her say “he isn’t breathing.” He looked blue, and they were trying to get him to respond. I heard her counting minutes and call for the NICU team to come. I panicked. I heard the anesthesiologist say “I need a little versed, she’s getting pretty anxious.” I remember seeing the NICU team bagging Jake and then I heard him cough and though all must be alright now, and then I was out. Jacob stayed by me the whole time. He got up to see Jake for a minute, but it was really tough on him too. He is the strongest, most supportive man I know and I honestly don’t know what I’d do without him. I have never experienced so much love and support in my life. I didn’t see my baby again until the next day at noon. No mother should ever have to go through that. I had this perfect picture in my head of how delivery would go, how I would hold my baby immediately, I would nurse him, and we would take our first family picture right there. I did not anticipate this.

Jacob and our families got to go to the NICU to see him that night while I was still out after the surgery. Jacob went back to see him every couple of hours while I was still out. Jacob showed me a picture of our son for the first time the next morning. He had tubes everywhere and to me it was horrifying and at the same time the most beautiful little person I’d ever seen. The neonatologist came to visit us that next morning before I got to see him and basically told us that “he thought he would probably be OK, but the next 48 hours were critical.” We later found out he was just a very pessimistic person, but that is not something you want to hear about your son you have yet to see. I saw him for the first time at noon on April 10, 2013. He was perfect, my little sweet pea.  That was the first thing I ever called him.
The NICU nurses and staff were fantastic. I don’t know what we would’ve done if they hadn’t been so good to us. They were informative, supportive, and comforting. They helped us and taught us so much. They took care of him like he was their own.

They weren’t sure if his respiratory distress was due to pneumonia or just immature lung function, but I suspect it was just immature lungs. After all, that was my fear all along. He was on CPAP at almost 40% and tachypnic for a couple days. Then he was finally switched to comfort flow oxygen for the next few. He wasn’t able to eat by mouth for 5 days so he was fed through a tube. The nurses were fantastic and knew we wanted to breastfeed so they allowed us to bring milk as I could and they worked with us so much. He never had to have formula which I was thankful for. They gradually took him from CPAP to oxygen, and from “minimal stimulation” to normal stimulation. At that point we were able to hold him, and they would occasionally let us change his diaper. They finally let me try to nurse at the end of day 5 and Jake did so great. I was afraid it would be a long, hard road for us because he hadn’t eaten by mouth at all. He got jaundice around day 4 or 5 and had to stay under the light for 24 hours. That resolved without any issues. His lungs continued to improve and by day 7 they let him room in with us. We finally had our baby all to ourselves. And we got to go home on day 8.

I wouldn’t wish that road on anyone. I would have loved to have my “perfect delivery.” But I appreciate my baby more than I ever could have without walking that journey. I love him with all my heart. I understand how fragile life is. I am thankful every time he is able to eat and breathe at the same time (something he couldn’t previously do). His cry is a reminder that he can breathe. I love his little fingers and toes, his head full of hair, his eyes that look at you like he is deep in thought and understands everything you say, and his sweet little lips. He’s my sweet pea, and I can’t imagine a day without him. I am so thankful, and once again understand that my God is in control, and I am not.

*{About his name}*:: Obviously Jake came from his sweet daddy, Jacob. I love Jacob more than life itself and loved that our sweet boy would be named after his dad. Plus we loved the little “country boy” feel of the name Jake. His middle name, Barnett, is my grandpa’s middle name. My papa is so special to me and we wanted to honor him. I would love nothing more than for my son to end up just like the 2 men he is named after. 
















Monday, April 8, 2013

why i love being pregnant.


I have loved being pregnant. Tomorrow I will be having our baby boy, and I just needed to reflect on this whole process to hopefully give myself a good perspective on the next weeks to come.

I truly have loved every second on pregnancy. I know some of you hate me now, but hear me out.

I am not just one of those “lucky ones” who has had an easy pregnancy. In fact, I had HORRIBLE morning sickness. Vomited 3-4 times a day. I have contracted everything I come in contact with at work – have had strep 3 times, the flu once, 2 upper respiratory infections, and most recently either bronchitis or pneumonia which ended up in 2 broken ribs. I went to the ER with severe abdominal pain at 20 weeks, and have 6 kidney stones. I have been admitted to L&D for monitoring for blood pressure and have had to see perinatology. I have refused induction 3 times and have nearly caused my OB to have a heart attack.

Do I wish I could still see my chubby little toes? Or take a leisurely stroll around target without getting winded? Sure! Would I have preferred not to have “morning” sickness 24 hours a day for 3 months and vomit in every parking lot in Longview? Well, yea! Is it getting old sleeping on my side, or just not sleeping at all? Of course.
But would I trade any of that? No.

And here’s why.

Before Jacob and I ever even dreamed of becoming parents I made a promise to myself that if that time ever came I would not complain. I would not whine, and I would treasure every second of pregnancy. Why?
Because I know too many good, loving people who never got the opportunity to have children. I have seen their heartache and longing for a baby and I know how blessed I am. I know this was nothing of my control and I am certain that it is a gift to be treasured. So I chose to treasure it. This does not mean I have never complained. I have had a couple of break-downs, I have cried to Jacob that I don’t think I can vomit one more time. But overall, I choose to love it. And I believe that the choice is what has made it fun, and bearable. I went into this journey knowing the possibility of being sick every day for 9 months, gaining a lot of weight, and feeling tired exhausted. And I think that because I told myself that was my new normal, I accepted it and I really have had fun being pregnant!

I also decided that I would love pregnancy because I never want my child to feel like they took something from me, if even for 9 months. I never want him to feel like my life was somehow better before him. I want him to feel like our lives were made better because of him – even from the time he was in my womb. I want him to know that he is a blessing. And I am earnestly praying that God keeps this in my mind through all the sleepless nights, unconsolable crying, and temper tantrums. I pray that I never take one single day for granted. And I will try my hardest not to complain about “being so tired because my baby kept me up all night.” I know this is a lofty goal, but this is what I am aspiring to.  I am trying to accept – even before his sweet arrival – that there will be many sleepless nights, frustrations, and many unexpected crises so that when that time comes I can also accept that as normal and learn to love that process too. I want to find joy in my son, and I never want him to hear that his momma felt anything but love and gratitude for him.

So as I prepare for the birth of my son tomorrow, I pray God keeps all these things in the front of my mind, and that I would always remember what a blessing he is.