Quiet Hand, Part II {Kite Flying}

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{This is Part II in a series of posts covering the story of my second miscarriage.  I call the series “Quiet Hand” as I am often reserved to share pieces of my life story.  However, the truth is that beneath this often perceived shy girl there’s a deep well of words which given the opportunity, bubble to the surface.  We all face loss in our lives — loss of a loved one, a job, a life dream, a relationship.  While I’ve hesitated and wondered how to share my loss(es), after this most recent experience I’ve never been more sure of giving a voice to the often silent grief of infertility and pregnancy loss.  Sure, my loss may pale in comparison to what others have lost but it’s the road God’s asked me to walk and I’m happy to share it with the hope that these words and this one woman’s journey through the fire will bring an ounce of comfort to anyone suffering.  Read Part I here.}

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QUIET HAND, PART 2 — Kite-Flying

I wish I could say that I offered up a couple prayers and snap! crackle! pop! all of the worry and anxiety disappeared.  Leaving the ER bathed in ultrasound gel and with unexplained abdominal pain — other than  pregnancy side effects — was disconcerting to say the least.  I arrived home to an empty house; my husband still in New York, my son at his aunt’s house.  Sleep finally called and the diagnosis of a small bacterial infection came the next morning.

Normally, a small infection is no big deal but when you’re pregnant and all too familar with miscarriage you can’t help but escape an itching case of the “what ifs?”  Even the most Postive Prayerful Petunia, whom I strive to be in most situations, is simply Petunia in her most human state.  A litany of Bible verses crossed my mind.  ”Cast all your anxieties on Him…be anxious for nothing…” Good scriptures that bring comfort and peace in times of pleading with an often anxious heart.  Yet the fight was fierce.  Negative Nancy, in all her doubting glory, danced on my other shoulder.  

Trust is a little (or a lotta) bit like kite-flying.  All I could do was unwind the kite string and submit my beautiful diamond to the windy bright blue sky.  Just run with it and enjoy the course of exhilirating dips here and there, trying to swallow the underlying fear of a plumetting nose dive that you can do nothing to stop.  

Early the next week another ultrasound declared our young pregnancy as “viable.”  The handy dandy pregnancy fruit comparison told us he or she was about the size of an appleseed.  We walked out with a due date in the early fall and a request to come back in a week for one more “good” ultrasound.

So we waited some more.

Cautiously optimistic,” my husband would say.  Almost instaneously, fatigue and all-day sickness washed over like waves with both an undertow and riptide.  Although not obvious to the naked eye I felt like the ugliest color of green in the crayon box.  I took these as signs that all was progressing normally, ate crackers and sour candy, took prenatal vitamins, and drank fizzy soda water and Coke.  I even purchased some maternity clothes for good measure.

You bet I was going to allow that kite to flap in the wind.

Nervous butterflies followed me everywhere including the dark room of the following ultrasound.  About a minute after inserting the probe, a blinking white ball of a heart appeared on the grainy screen.  A heartbeat!  I’m not sure when you believe life begins but I can tell you that seeing your pea-sized little blob of a guy or gal and hearing his or her beating heart, well, there’s not much else in this world that can take your breath away.  We loved that blob of a baby from first sight!

“It may be that the heart is kickstarting,” our doctor would share several minutes later, slightly concerned with the slow, erratic heartbeat the tech recorded — the first in the 50s and the second in the 120s.  ”It’s still early.  These cases are 50/50 and can go either way.  I’d like to see you in another week.”

So began another week of waiting, releasing yet again our baby up to the Heavenly Father.  Let your will be done is a scary, vulnerable thing to pray yet equally freeing as I cast off the weight of blaming myself for any possible future outcome.  People say not to Google medical issues but I found myself burning the midnight oil researching outcomes of low heartbeats and success stories on various pregnancy forums and medical journal articles.  Two words kept creeping up on the glaring white screen: embryonic demise.

C’mon little kite, stay a flyin’.

To be continued…

Glimpses of Grace

  • Several opportunities to see our little Sweet Pea “on screen.”
  • Our 5-year old son did not know anything but somehow was in tune asking about all things baby-related.
  • Reminders of God’s sovereignty

Quiet Hand, Part I {First News: Sweet Pea}

{I’ve long wondered what my “story” is.  Like many children, from an early age, I immersed myself in fictional stories and the inner worlds of their characters.  Today, I’m drawn to character — fictional and non-fictional.  What makes people tick?  What are their thought processes?  What compels them?  How do they deal with difficult situtations?  Often the listener in conversation, I delight in hearing others’ stories especially those with real skin on.  Perhaps this is the result of moving around a lot as a kid and assuming the role of the observer?  Or maybe it’s simply the way I’m wired.  Either way, just like when I was a kid in school, when I do have something to say or add to the conversation, I’ll raise my hand.  

With the encouragement of several close people in my life, I am raising my hand and ready to write (share) my story.  I tried in the days following our loss, but the words did not come.  They’re here now.  I’m not frantically waving “pick me!  pick me!” but rather raising what we call in teacher-speak a “quiet hand.”  My hope is that just as I searched and scoured books and articles for stories of those walking a similar road, there’s a soul out there that may read this and be encouraged.  This is a story of loss and sorrow, one of tears and fears, but one of deeply-rooted joy in the most unlikely places.  

We all have ways of being brave and courageous; choosing to raise my timid hand, open it and allow others in and risk sharing personal pieces of my heart is mine.  Thank you for walking with me in this journey and whereever you are on yours, I pray you’ll find comfort whether it’s in these words or elsewhere.  You are not alone!

I’ve decided to break this up into several segments and conclude each with “Glimpses of Grace” – positive things that struck me in each part of our journey.}

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QUIET HAND, PART 1 – First News: Sweet Pea

“They told you, right?” the doctor leaned over the side of my hospital bed in the corridor of the emergency room, arching her back to avoid collision with the barrage of patients, EMTs, and tear-streaked family members looking for loved ones’ rooms.  It was a “doozy” of a night with some rough cases I overheard at the nurses’ station…

Um, no.  I mean, I did pee in a cup and was a couple days “late.”  The thought of pregnancy crossed my mind as quickly as it left.  Given that a couple months prior my husband and I sat across from a fertility specialist (after years of trying) who told us (very kindly, mind you) we had about a 1-3% chance of conceiving on our own.  And that was after months of testing and difficult diagnoses.  We both had strong convictions to not pursue her recommended treatment (that’s another story) and over the holidays had shared our decision with our families.

“It was positive.”  The doctor relayed flatly and explained some tests she wanted to run to rule out the causes of the intense side pain that had placed me on a Friday night date with my Stand-in Husband at the local hospital.

(My real husband happened to be in New York City for his intensive grad class weekend, completely clueless that I was 1) in the hospital or 2) knocked up.  I wanted to wait until we had more information before calling him so he didn’t worry, take the first train out of Penn Station, and fail his class).

Talk about picking your jaw up off the floor.  Think of every possilbe cliche to describe surprise, shock, and elation and insert them here: ________________.  The doctor’s back was to my Stand-in, also know as my sister-in-law, who had graciously dropped everything to go on said date.  I will never forget the happy tears in her eyes and the way she cupped her hands over her mouth when I spilled the news across the hall.  I will always remember that moment; she was the first person to find out and would carry the responsibility of keeping the secret of our beloved Sweet Pea until we were in the “safe zone.”

Part 2, Kite-Flying

Glimpses of Grace:

  • That we were even able to conceive given our single digit chances and a long season of trying.  ”For with God nothing will be impossible.”  -Luke 1:37  God is outside of statistics!
  • Despite my husband being out of town, my sister-in law and her family were available to help.
  • The way my husband and I were unified in our beliefs and convictions.

Feltboard Easter Story {with printable template}

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Thought I’d pop in to share the felt board story we’ve been using the past few years for Easter. This year I’ve updated with the corresponding Jesus Storybook Bible pages based on Luke 22-24 & Mark 14-16. Have your child place the pieces of the story and read along using the JSB or any Bible beginning in Luke 22 or Mark 14.  Alternately, you could retell the story using the condensed summary see below.

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Felt Resurrection Template <—-Click to download.  Print & cut then trace onto felt (colors indicated.)

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Note: Felt is ideal but you could also use construction paper or cardstock. I tried to make the templates as simple as possible and interchangeable for future Bible stories.  For example, the Mary template could be used for other women in the Bible and the Jesus template could be used for other male figures in the Bible.  Some glue may be needed to assemble pieces.

 

New Life

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“The nice days.”  My little boy excitedly responds when asked what comes to mind when he thinks of spring.

“Anything else?”  I prompt.  ”When you look out the window, what do you see?”

“Flowers.”  He goes on to list his bike, a construction crane, and various other items strewn across the grass.

All signs of…life.  Dashes of new color and fresh fragrant smells greet the senses and invite children outside to play.  Eggs and crosses and bunnies decorate our homes as we anticipate this “season within a season” we call Easter.

There are many reasons to celebrate life.  My prayer is that we pause between the bites of brunch and chocolate eggs to remember the empty tomb and how Jesus died so that we might have life!

Here is a peek into the life of a boy named Judah –  a video that certainly will light up your day and stir your heart.  Enjoy!

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  John 10:10

Winter Blues

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Have you seen them?

Sandwiched between dreary-doldrum days they pop up here and sometimes there.

Just when the gray threatens to swallow us — whole — they break through.

Even in the season of crippling cold and brittle bones

These glimpses of hope — these cyan beauties — surprise and delight.

Winter Blues.

Not the kind of miserable melancholy that binds and casts us down

But the brilliant steel-blue that eagerly meets the landscape of stark white

Illuminating, inviting:

What if we look at winter blues in a brand new light?