New family member!

Ben and Jess

Though we have 7 children, they are all in heaven, leaving us with empty arms. This has been SO hard for us in these first 3 years of marriage! I’ve struggled with an incredible amount of heartache, and feelings of simply not wanting to go on.

We had been wanting to get a dog for quite some time, but thought we would wait, due to finances and logistics, plus we thought it would be so nice to get a puppy when we have kids, so they can grow up together…but that didn’t really work out.

I’ve been having an increasingly difficult time, so we made the decision to get a puppy now. Due to existing breathing problems, and allergies, we decided to get a 3/4 standard poodle, 1/4 golden retriever mix, for the hypoallergenic and low to non shed factor.

We found a wonderful breeder, who lives a little over…

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Not everyone enjoys Mother’s Day 

It’s here. That lovely day that comes once a year. 

Your husband and children bring you breakfast in bed, complete with a pretty flower in a vase. They climb up in bed with you and shower you with hugs and kisses.

You get dressed in a beautiful outfit and head to church. There, you are asked to stand with other mothers, and recognized for your sacrifice, love, and compassion. You are presented with a flower or gift to acknowledge the beauty of being a mother. 

Your children come back from Sunday School with handprints and beautiful Mother’s Day cards that would make any mama cry, and you can’t wait to get home and display them on the fridge proudly. 

You head outside for family pictures, which capture that intense love for your children in your eyes.

You go home and have dinner with your family and your own mother, or call her, and thank her for the wonderful times she’s given you, for being there for you through heartache and trials and the struggles of motherhood. You feel nostalgic and look at old pictures of you together at mother-daughter events. 

Your heart is full. You love being a mother, and are grateful for your own mother. What a lovely day.

***

Meanwhile, down the street, a girl wakes up, realizes it’s Mother’s Day, and silently, tears begin to fall. 

Her mother was abusive-physically, verbally, emotionally. Her memories of Mother’s Day are filled with horrific fights, yelling, and her mother comparing her and her siblings to other kids in their friend circles, and telling them they are horrible children, and she wished she had other kids. 

Then, after she finally abandoned the family, Mother’s Day at church was unbearably painful, watching other moms receive flowers from their kids. Watching the moms look at their children like they’re their whole world. Clapping for the wonderful moms, while trying to stifle the flashbacks of being beaten and told you’re worthless and hated by your own mother.

Getting invited to the mother-daughter teas and brunches, but not having a mother to go with. 

She wonders, can Mother’s Day please just be over already?

***

The abused girl grows up, suffering pain from the repeated hurtful words and actions of her mother, even though she can no longer physically abuse her. 

She looks for love in relationships, but is continually betrayed and hurt by those who swear they “love” her. 

Broken, hurt, and untrusting, she finally finds her soulmate. The one who loves her, and is not annoyed by having to constantly reassure her of his love. They can’t wait to have children and shower them with the love that overflows from their love for each other.

Over the next few years, they find themselves with child 7 times. 

And 7 times, they lose their baby before getting to hear it cry or coo, or take a picture to put in a cherished photo album.

All of the pain surrounding mothers comes flooding back. 

Not only is she missing the love of her mother, but now she can’t even give love AS a mother.

She sits in church with empty arms, and deals with comments asking why they don’t have kids yet. She feels the eyes that pass judgment on her, thinking she is being selfish by not wanting kids. She handles jokes and passing comments about “when are you going to finally pop out a kid?” and then goes home and sobs. She hears the well-intentioned lines of “at least they’re in heaven,” and tries to be gracious, but she really wants to cry and scream that no one would say that to someone whose 10-year old just got hit by a drunk driver and died. 

She avoids church again, on that day that is supposed to be happy. Because no one seems to notice those who aren’t standing. The ones who are choking back tears of pain, not joy. The ones who have a mother in heaven. The ones whose mothers were not loving and kind. The ones who long for children but can’t conceive. The ones who have carried a child in their body, but not their arms. 

Not everyone enjoys Mother’s Day. 

I’m not saying that those grieving on this day should be a damper on the joy of those who are happy on this day. I’m just saying that it might be nice if they were not overlooked. Perhaps so many wouldn’t stay home and eat chocolates while drowning in a pool of tears if people considered the grief that can accompany this day.

❤️

What is it like to live every day with loss?

A lot of people think they know what it is like to be an angel mom. 

They think the pain goes away. You grieve like anyone grieves their grandma, or even their dog. You bury the dead, you move on.

Baby loss is so much more. Especially when it’s recurrent, and you have no living children. Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Sometimes, time makes it worse. It’s been 2 1/2 years since I lost my first baby. Now I’ve suffered 7 losses, and I’m 30 with basically no hope of carrying to term. I wanted at least 5 kids. Now I’ll be lucky to have one. 

Let me give you a glimpse into the pain that I work hard to hide most days. Not so that I appear okay, so much as so that I don’t completely break down and become unable to function. That, and the fact that people simply don’t understand, and offer the worst, most hurtful advice. 

***
May 3, 2016

Today I was invited to my brother’s baby shower. We now live in a different state, so I had no idea it would be held while we were in town. I felt my world stop. It was going to be hard enough to see my SIL pregnant, with my brother being an excited dad. But a whole baby shower? I’ve only attempted one shower since my first loss 2 1/2 years ago… And I had to leave early, and cried for days. 

I tried to be nice about it, but how am I supposed to explain that with every happy and excited thought I have of my future niece, comes an abundance of pain and sadness at the thought that I should have several children by now…but they are all dead. All seven of them. 💔

How can I explain that I was so excited to find the perfect onesie for them, and excitedly bought it, only to start sobbing with the thought that I should be buying clothes for my babies? 

How can I explain that I’m so proud of my brother, and think he is going to be an amazing dad, but that smile on my face while thinking about that quickly turns into sadness and a pool of tears when I think about how my husband would be such a great dad, but has been continually denied the opportunity?

I can’t explain. I try. But no one understands. I have the worst of both worlds. I have the empty arms of infertility, and the sorrow of baby loss. How am I supposed to cope with the longing to have a child while mourning my dead children at the same time? It’s the most utterly hopeless feeling I’ve ever experienced.

*** 
May 4th, 2016

Today, I smiled at a little kiddo, big puffy jacket on, backpack bouncing as he ran to the school bus. He couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5. How adorable. His mom waved goodbye.

His mom…waved goodbye.

Great, here come the tears. 

How wonderful it must be to have a little kiddo. They’re a lot of work, sure, but they’re so darn fun. 

I hit up a store, searching for sheets. I passed the baby clothes, and swallowed down my tears. Not in public. 

On the way to the register, there they were again. The girly ones were so cute… I haven’t bought baby girl clothes since my 4th loss. I was SURE it was a girl. Before that, the last time I shopped for them was when my little sister was born. Close to 16 years ago.

Ok, I can do this. 

I found some cute outfits, and was so proud of myself for getting over it, and enjoying the thought of my little baby niece in them.

On the way home, my BIL sent me a text saying he wanted to change the Internet provider (he is moving into the basement apartment at our house). I freaked. We had just talked to this sales guy and decided to wait, because we don’t know where we will be in a year…I’m hoping we will be back home, where I can get better medical care and hopefully answers, and help carrying to term. Not to mention, I just can’t handle anything else right now. I know this is a small thing to everyone else, but I’m already hanging on by a really thin thread, juggling work, cooking gluten free due to my stupid allergy, cleaning and moving, health issues and fatigue, and managing bills… Adding or changing anything just sends me into a panic attack. And I’m not a person who has panic attacks. I just can’t handle anything else right now. I’m doing good to make it through the day…bottling up my grief enough to accomplish even one task is a pretty amazing feat for me right now. 

I got home and unloaded my purchases. 

Crap.

Thoughts of what our baby would look like in them flooded my mind. I tried to stop, but I couldn’t help it. Would she have been a tiny baby? A big girl? Bald like her daddy? Or born with hair over her ears like her mommy? Or somewhere in between? Would she have a hint of Asian in her eyes? 

And…waterworks. 

I miss you, my babies. People say God has a reason for everything. Those people have never brought 7 dead babies into this world. In less than 3 years. 

***

May 5, 2016

Today, I checked Facebook as usual…in a weight loss group, women were talking about how they were bummed about their post-birth hips, and they’d never fit back into their pre-birth jeans, even if they lost weight. I know they have no clue, but I wanted to cry. I get it, that’s a huge bummer to them. But I would give anything to have that “problem,” even once, much less several times like them. 

As Mother’s Day nears, I am consumed with thoughts of my babies. My first baby would be turning 2 this month. I’d probably be getting a cute hand-print card for Mother’s Day. Pictures with the kiddo, who I think was a boy. 

It’s hard to force myself to shower and go on with the day, when these thoughts haunt my every waking hour. And frequently my sleeping hours, too. 

***

May 6, 2016

Today, I’m greeted with women posting about their moms, and kids. I don’t have a mom. Which is why Mother’s Day has always sucked for me. No, she’s not dead in the ground, just dead to me. She was abusive in all the worst ways, and finally left when I was 17, and my youngest sibling was only 3. I became “mom” to them, along with others who took on that role. I dread every Mother’s Day for this reason. I can’t even think of her with bittersweet memories, or place flowers on a grave. Instead, I try and block out the memories of her beating me, and screaming “I hate you, you ruined my life!” 

When I first got pregnant, all I could think about was “now I will finally have a reason to enjoy Mother’s Day, because now I’m a mommy!”

And…I am. A mother of 7 dead babies. 

All around me are pictures of women and their babies and kids. Making Mother’s Day projects, attending Mother’s Day functions, it just never ends. I should be enjoying that, but instead, my babies are in heaven, and I’m here mourning them. I may never hold a living child in my arms. 😦

***

May 7, 2016

Today, it’s starting. People posting about their moms and babies, changing their profile pics…

I thought I was doing fine, until tonight, when it all hit me. How will I get through tonorrow?

7 babies in heaven…

On March 2, we got the surprise of our lives…we were pregnant. Again. Not planned. Oops.

I didn’t have much (or really any) hope, but I called the doctor for labs, and started progesterone right away. My HCG quant came back low, but I wasn’t discouraged about that. I had JUST gotten a positive, so of course it would be low. My thyroid came back “normal,” but when I asked them what it was, my TSH had shot up from 0.9 about 6 weeks prior, to 2.4, not optimal for conception, from what I’ve read, and quite possibly the reason I was feeling SO sluggish and purely exhausted. Of course, the pharmacy had to special order my thyroid medication, so I wasn’t able to start that for like 5 days. 

I had repeat lab draws, and tested every day. The tests got slightly darker, enough to show up on pictures. I still didn’t want to be hopeful. The lab draws showed very slowly rising HCG. I knew this baby wouldn’t make it.

Then I got hit with nausea, and thought, maybe this baby will make it, maybe I’m brushing it off, when I should be excited. I don’t want to regret not being excited. 

So I downloaded apps, bought a pregnancy journal, and sipped ginger ale. I started pinning things to a secret board. Maternity…this would affect my traveling this summer, so I had to plan a new wardrobe. And now we would need to designate a nursery room, instead of a guest room. Could we combine the two and just bring baby in with us if we hav e guests? How would this work? 

And then… The cramping. I told myself it was normal. But the tests didn’t darken. Then it looked like they started to lighten. I asked everyone to pray. Prayers flooded in from everywhere. 

I had labs drawn on Thursday, just barely over a week since we got that beautiful positive test that shocked us. The results still weren’t back on Friday. I had the tiniest shred of hope they would be good. 

Saturday, the tests were undeniably lighter. I stopped the progesterone.

Sunday, they were negative. And then came the cramping. 

I didn’t start bleeding until Monday, and was so tired and mentally exhausted from thinking about this for over a week.

The nurse called me Monday afternoon:

“How are you doing?”

“Um…well, OK.”

“Just ok, huh? Are you having any bleeding?”

“Yep. Yesterday I had negative tests, and today I started miscarrying.”

“Well, you’re not actually miscarrying. The doctor thinks it’s more of a chemical pregnancy, since your HCG never went above 50.”

*silence*

I decided not to say what I was thinking, because I knew she was just disillusioned like the rest of the world, to think that life doesn’t begin at conception, therefore, my baby was not a baby. I wasn’t losing a baby, to her. She obviously had NEVER experienced a loss. I hung up the phone and bawled. 

This loss is different, because I didn’t have pregnancy symptoms as soon as I was pregnant. I didn’t have a hunch, or feel pregnant, other than a fleeting wondering if I was. But no strong feelings of thinking I definitely must be. I hoped that because this felt differently, that maybe this baby had a chance. 

I don’t know how to go on after this. 7 is just…so…many. So many dead babies. How do we proceed?  I’m happily married, and I’m tired of trying so hard to NOT get pregnant. 

And I’m 30. People say “oh, you’re still young, there’s time to have a child.” Yeah, maybe ONE. We want 4 or 5. There’s not time for that many. 

Doctors are no help here. Most of them say the same thing… “Wait and see.” Because that has been a good option. 7 times. SEVEN. How is that even possible?? My heart hurts beyond anything it’s felt before. It’s like, just unfathomable, the level of pain. 

But I have to fight to live another day. 

Maybe one day my rainbow will come. It sure is a hell of a long storm we’re stuck in, waiting for that rainbow. It better be a hell of a rainbow. 

When God feels far away

This song has really been speaking to me lately. I’ve got friends dealing with so many struggles and problems, and a recurrent issue is feeling like God doesn’t care, or isn’t answering prayers/there for us during these hard times. One of the feelings that frequently accompanies this, or follows shortly after, is feeling guilty for doubting God.

 I’ve heard and sang along to this song so many times, but the other day, this particular part hit me:

“Every time I fall, there’ll be those who will call me a mistake”

In today’s society of social media, Photoshop, and reality TV, we live constantly comparing ourselves to seemingly flawless people. There is judgment from believers and unbelievers alike if we falter or lose faith. If we doubt God, he must not be real. Or we simply don’t have enough faith.

The truth is, one common belief is that WE ARE HUMAN. We mess up. We hurt, we feel pain, hopelessness, and depression. And we lose faith. We aren’t capable of faith in our own strength. And when this happens, there will be people who will pass judgment. 

IGNORE THEM.

God, however, says “I know, it’s been rough, but I’m right here waiting for you.”

If you feel like a failure because you have doubted God, let me just say… 

YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. 

You are real

God has brought me through some rough times. Repeatedly. And I’ve doubted. A lot. 

But you know what the greatest part is? 

He is RIGHT there waiting. 

EVERY. TIME.

If you are doubting God, or have lost faith, I hope this encourages you not to give up. And if you are scared of judgment, I hope this gives you the courage to brush it off and know that God is the only one who matters. 

❤️

Bring your tired
And bring your shame
Bring your guilt
And bring your pain
Don’t you know that’s not your name
You will always be much more to me
Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I’m not right
But that’s alright

‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

Bring your doubts
And bring your fears
Bring your hurt
And bring your tears
There’ll be no condemnation here
You are holy, righteous and redeemed

Every time I fall
There’ll be those who will call me
A mistake

Well that’s OK
‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And GREATER IS THE ONE living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

There’ll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn’t matter
‘Cause the cross already won the war
He’s Greater, He’s Greater
I am learning to run freely
Understanding just how He sees me
And it makes me love Him more and more
He’s Greater, He’s Greater

-MercyMe

Read this. If you read nothing else today, read this. 

You need to read this. It’s long, but you need to hear it. Somewhere, someone out there needs this today. 
My prayer life has sucked. Life has sucked. When compared to some, my struggles are but a single raindrop in a cloudless sky. Compared to others, I’m in a full-on hurricane. 

But it doesn’t matter what mine are compared to someone else. They are my personal struggles, which I have to deal with.

My relationship with God has sucked.

That’s my own fault. 

At every turn, he has been there, patiently waiting for me to reach out and take his hand, but like the stubborn child I’ve always been, I put my arms across my chest and shake my head, saying “no! I can do this myself! You obviously don’t know what you’re doing, because I don’t like it!”

I started a prayer journal a few months ago, something I hadn’t done in ages. I had renewed faith and was determined to “pray without ceasing.” I wrote down the requests that were heavy on my heart, sure that God would begin to do wonders, and I would be in awe, and fall in love with him deeper.

The answers didn’t come fast enough for me. Hard times hit. Even harder times than I had already had.

We lost another baby in November, and I stopped believing that God cared to intervene in my life, because “he never saved my babies.”

The days and months got harder. 

We lost Grandfather, the wonderful man who became my own grandfather when I married into the family. 

Work, life, bills, sorrow… It all came tumbling down like an avalanche that I could not escape, and I crumbled under the pressure and pain.
Then last night, we watched War Room.

A little old black lady shouted mighty prayers to heaven, interceding for loved ones, praying for generations of people to rise up and claim the power of God! 

I tried to stop the tears, but they fell out of my face anyway. 

I went to bed, and prayed for God to change my heart and help me be a mighty prayer warrior. 

This morning, I found my prayer journal and bible, after a fair amount of searching (if you can’t remember where your bible is, it’s been too long since you read it 😞), and opened up my prayer journal, ready to add to the list, and not be discouraged by the amount of unanswered prayers.

I began to cry as I read the very first request listed in that journal, something that weighed heavily on my heart:

“10/8/15 Grandfather’s salvation”

Grandfather was a private person.

He was also an agnostic.

He knew Jesus at one point in his early life, but something changed his heart and mind, and he no longer loved Jesus, nor followed him. 

I never knew much more until his death, because no one probed much, and he never brought it up.

Then he was dying… And my heart was heavy. I had grown to love this man as my own kin, but would I ever see him again? I hated the image of him in eternal suffering. 😞

I prayed for him. 

The family prayed for him.

Day and night, intercessions were made on his behalf. 

And on December 28, as he lay in bed, ready to pass from this life, questions were raised to him, and it was clear he did not acknowledge the sovereignty of God. How could this be?? Was God simply going to let this man die and spend eternity being punished for his lack of faith? Sure, none of us deserve heaven or forgiveness, but Grandfather was a “good man.” (How human my thinking is. “There is none righteous, no not one.”)

We continued to pray…all day. The family was all together, surrounding him in love and prayer. 

The next day, he was closer to death. The end was near. 

And… Then he professed his faith, and acknowledged that he would do things “God’s way,” something that such a highly intellectual man rarely says. He had told me he could not believe, because none of it made sense logically or intellectually. I begged him to listen and watch for God to reveal himself to him, and he promised he would listen. He said “I listen good!” And so I pleaded with God to show himself to him, show his awesome and mighty power. And he must have, because that man never said a thing he didn’t mean or believe in his life, and here he was, professing Jesus as his savior. 

As he lay in his final moments, he requested “Rock of Ages” to be played on the piano. When it was done, I tearfully asked if I would see him again in heaven, and he looked me square in the eye and said “yes.” I knew at that moment that he believed. I could see the change in his eyes. 

That’s the last thing he ever said. 

In this last month, pain and sorrow and frustration abounded. I forgot this miracle that God worked. The man who was “too smart to believe in God” saw the face of Jesus, his power, his sovereignty. 

And so, I get to update my prayer journal with this wonderful and truly miraculous answer to prayer. And although I may be so feeble that I forget this wondrous act of God, I will keep this prayer journal, and as I pray through it, I will forever be reminded that God DOES answer prayer. 

If you are struggling today, let this be an encouragement to you. I have many “unanswered prayers.” But this request took decades to be “answered.” God always answers, and sometimes it’s not an answer we like. I’m not patient, I don’t want to wait. But his timing is best, and I thank God I was able to witness this answer to prayer, and I hope and pray it remains a reminder to me to continue in prayer.

And go watch War Room.

❤️

The miscarriage story

I don’t know if posting this is a good idea or not. .. Some people may not like reading it,  but the unfortunate truth I’ve discovered is that unless people have experienced a miscarriage or pregnancy loss of some sort,  they don’t understand.  And some people can be very cruel…making me feel like I don’t understand what it’s like to be pregnant or give birth.  Granted,  it’s different.  But not so much that I don’t have a clue.  I’ve experienced those awful and uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms.
I’ve dreamt about baby shoes and tiny fingers wrapped around mine.
And I’ve cried with the hopelessness of a mother who has just lost her child and every dream attached to it,  as I delivered a tiny,  lifeless baby.  My baby.  OUR baby.
I know what it feels like to feel a mother’s love in my heart.  And I know what it feels like to feel a mother’s loss in my heart.
I know how hard it is to deal with the physical pain, and the toll the process of delivering a dead baby takes,  while struggling to deal with the emotions of it all. 
This. .. This is what it is like.  It hurts when people belittle it.

http://www.wearethefamilymorris.com/wearethefamilymorris/2014/7/1/post-48-the-miscarriage-story

The planner

I love my planner.  I’ve had one for ages. .. I keep track of everything in it.
This time, I dared to write my weeks of pregnancy all the way out to my due date, because I truly thought I’d see that day come and deliver me a precious baby like a late Christmas present. 
But as I opened up my planner today. ..I realized I had to erase all of that.  It felt like erasing the life of my child,  week by week.  Visions and dreams of what life would’ve been like at each stage flashed in my mind as I erased each week,  one by one.
Never has erasing something from my planner ever brought so much sorrow.

image

This.

When one of the women is having a heated discussion with her husband in the movie “What To Expect When You’re Expecting, ” she says “I didn’t want one more thing to be my fault! … I can’t do the one thing women are supposed to do. ..”
I lost it. 
This is exactly how I feel. 
Defeated.  Useless.  Broken. 
I just want to adopt because it’s my dream,  and it would mean no more risks of losing a baby in utero,  but I also want to carry a baby to term just so I can beat this thing.