27 July 2011

Counseling & The Promise

In my previous blogs, I described our first pregnancy and resulting pregnancy loss. To continue...

During the 2-3 months after we lost Angel to a miscarriage, I spent a lot of time reading, praying, journal-ing, and searching for some way to feel ok again. I was confused because my husband and I felt like our future would involve lots of children. Were we supposed to adopt? Were we called to run an orphanage? Why did we see ourselves surrounded by children if God wasn't allowing us to have any?

I had been saying for years that I wanted 6 children, and we already had 6 names picked out. 4 boys and 2 girls. I believed it would happen before our miscarriage....


I spent a lot of time questioning and doubting God. And I often expressed my anger and frustration to Stan. One day while I was crying and shouting about how God didn't love me enough to give me children, he told me something that stunned me. He told me that I needed to find someone else to talk to about my issues with God. My constant doubt was causing him some problems. Since I had alienated myself from all of my friends, and I was afraid they would judge me, I went back into my wallet and pulled out the name and number of the counselor my OBGYN had given me. The counselor specialized in pregnancy loss and infertility, and talking with her did help.

The point of telling y'all about the counselor is just to let you know that sometimes you have to ask for help, and sometimes that help comes in the form of a trained professional. I needed some help organizing my thoughts and feelings about what had happened to my family.

The Promise

While reading a Christian self-help book (not sure which one because there are SO many out there), I came across a passage of scripture I had never noticed before. The scripture is 1 Samuel 2:21. Basically, Hannah in the Bible was infertile and literally BEGGED God for a son. She promised God that she would give her son to Him if he would bless her womb. She delivered Samuel and took him to the priest once he was weened. She made robes for him every year and visited him at the temple, and every year, the priest would pray for God to bless her with more children. Then comes verse 21:

21 And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters.

So, including Samuel, Hannah had 4 boys and 2 girls ...

I had never seen that before! and I already had 4 boy names and 2 girl names. In fact, I had a picture frame with six spots in it and our children's names in place of pictures. That is how much I believed in our six children before our miscarriage. Why was I now discovering this passage of scripture I didn't know existed?!?  I got my hopes up that that was actually a promise from God that we were going to have our six after all. But then, my doubt jumped in....

Until ...

Shortly after that, a friend of mine called me and told me that she discovered the same passage of scripture, and that she felt that it was a promise from God. Yet, I still doubted...

Until ...

About 2 weeks after, a friend of mine that I hadn't spoken to in about a year called me to tell me that she had a dream about me and that in the dream I had 6 children. She didn't even know that I wanted 6 kids or that I had had a miscarriage.

And now I believe that God has promised me six children and that we will eventually have six kids, whether by birth or adoption. Here are their names:

Abigail Nola
Samuel Christopher
David James
Naomi Virginia
Elijah Joel
Caleb Jonathan

20 July 2011

Losing Control

In previous posts, I described our first pregnancy and resulting pregnancy loss. To continue...

A major effect that our loss had on me was that I learned how very little control I have. I can do everything in my power to make things work the way I want them to, but that doesn't mean I will get the outcome I desire. God has a plan for my life that I don't know or understand, and while I don't believe He caused our pregnancy loss, I do believe that He knew it was going to happen and chose to allow it.

A friend of mine told me a story when his first child was only a few weeks old. He had put his beautiful little infant in her crib, and as most parents are, he was concerned about her safety as she slept. After he was leaving room, he found (and killed) a very large spider heading toward her crib. He started thinking of all of the things that could have happened if that spider had gotten into her crib with her. The anxiety of being in responsible for her safety was becoming overwhelming. At that moment, he realized how little control he had over every little thing that could happen, and he felt helpless to protect his little baby from all of the possibilities. He felt out of control, but he also felt liberated by the complete and utter dependence he had in God to take care of his family.

After we lost our first child, Angel, I thought a lot about what I could have done to change the outcome or what I may have done to cause the loss. I begged God to help me understand why He had let this happen. I asked pastors and other people who had lost a baby why God allowed it. I couldn't move on until I knew how to prevent another loss and until I knew that we would have children. I was tormented by guilt and anxiety.

I was losing control. My plans were shot, and I couldn't control what happened next. I was angry that God chose to stray from MY plans for my life. But guess what? God gives us the desires of our hearts, which means that he gives us those Godly desires in our lives. It doesn't mean he lets us write out a structured plan for our lives so he can follow OUR road map.

God is in control? Isn't that liberating?!? Who can do a better job taking care of my life than the creator of all? Isn't it also a little terrifying, though?

1 Peter 5:6-7 says:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (ESV)

I was trying to make myself 'bigger' than God by controlling my own life. But I am (still) learning that my anxiety is actually just my struggle to let go and hand it over to God, who is much more capable than I am.

It was terrifying for me because I was so used to doing things in my own strength. But over the months after we lost Angel, I realized that I really don't want things to be in my control! If I had really been in 'control' of everything in my life, that means that it was my responsibility to keep Angel's heart beating. Then wasn't it my fault Angel died? God made my body, and he made Angel. He could have rescued my baby, but he chose to take him or her to worship Him in heaven.

It was NOT my fault. God is in control.

This Tenth Avenue North song really helped me get through that scary time when I was realizing how little control I have: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66njprg_fq8

11 July 2011

The Joy of the Storm

When I was 13 years old, I was introduced to the concept of the joy that comes after every storm in life. At that time, I believed that concept was true in regard to all of our storms. God could take any circumstance and turn it into something good, right?

Then I grew up and was hit by the biggest storm I could have ever imagined... There would be no joy in my storm. There could be no purpose in struggling to get pregnant and losing a child.

I was angry and filled with fear. I would find any excuse to disagree with scriptures that "proved" that God would make something good out of our loss. I would actually get angry when I read something that promised good because nothing good should come from my baby's death. God had simply let us down. We were forgotten and ignored.

But I was also searching for a reason. I needed to understand why! What good could come of what had happened? I read books, prayed, tried doing a study of the book of Job.

The only thing I could come up with was that God was going to use me to minister to another mourning mommy who knew the same loss. And that WASN'T fair! There were so many other women who had been through this! Why did God need one more of us to minister to other women?!?

However, in February 2009, almost three months after we lost Angel, I came to a realization: My husband LOVES me. I mean, not just the infatuation love that you have when you fall into "love". He truly LOVES me. The kind of love that took care of me physically and emotionally for months when I didn't care enough to take care of myself. The kind of love that sacrificed what he really loved doing to spend time with me laying around watching movies and TV series on DVD. The kind of love that ignores the absence of sexual attention I was able to give him while I recovered.

He loved me like that after I tried to leave him ...when I was completely unlovable ... and while he was also hurting because of the loss of our child. And he still loves me like that.

I had read about miscarriages ruining marriages before lost Angel, and I was so afraid of how our loss would would affect our marriage. But God used the time I was recovering from our miscarriage to restore our marriage.

It took me about a year to really admit to anyone that God had used the loss of our child to heal our marriage because I was afraid that people would blame us for having marriage issues before we got pregnant. I had that fear because I believed it we were to blame, at least for a while. I now have a much better perspective on it though. I do not believe that God caused the miscarriage to heal our marriage, but I do believe that he used that terrible thing in our lives to make our marriage something much more beautiful than it was before we got pregnant.

The Joy of my Storm was the healing of my marriage. The storm still sucked, and it still hurts to the core of my being. There is still a part of me that is with my Angel in heaven. But at least something wonderful came with all of the bad.

07 July 2011

Parallizing fear

In my last few posts, I have talked about losing our first child, Angel. To continue...

After we lost Angel to a miscarriage, I was overwhelmed by a blur of anger, sorrow, confusion, but mostly FEAR. The day that I described in a previous post, when the baby left my body, was sobering. The moment I knew for sure that our baby was gone and that all hope was lost, I was actually hit by a sudden wave of calm. I don't understand it at all, but I was just stunned to silence. There was nothing left to beg God for. There was nothing I could do to save our child. There was no hope. It was just ...over.

For the next 24 hours I experienced excruciating craps and bleeding. In fact, there was so much pain and blood, I was convinced I was bleeding to death. I called the doctor several times, and after heavy narcotic pain meds and assurances that it was normal didn't calm me down, he scheduled a D&C.

The couple of days that I waited for the D&C were very lonely. I felt like God had abandoned me, and while my husband was always there and always doing an amazing job taking care of me, I had closed myself off emotionally to him. I wanted so badly to be a mother. I wanted so much to meet my baby. I remember asking God several times to take me so I could be with my baby. In fact, I was afraid I was never going to wake up from the D&C, but I would have welcomed it that day. 

After the D&C I became terrified that I was going to get an infection from the procedure. And if my uterus got infected, I may never be able to have more children. So I went in to see the OBGYN 4 times in the following two weeks because of pains and cramps and fears. On the fourth visit, my OBGYN gave me the contact info of a counselor who specializes in pregnancy loss and infertility. I was embarrassed, and I didn't call the counselor, not yet anyway.

My fear grew and grew and grew to a monstrous size. I would sit by the phone while my husband drove to work, afraid he was going to die in a traffic accident. I called him at work very regularly to make sure the chemical plant he worked at hadn't blown up. I worried about my parents and about my cat. I was afraid of a forest fire burning down our house. 

My fear grew as my trust in God shrank. While pregnant, I had prayed every day for God to take care of my baby and He chose not to. He could have... but He didn't. So why would He protect my husband and my home? Why would he take care of anything I cared about? Until Angel died, I knew that God would protect and care for me and my family, but with the loss of Angel went the loss of that confidence.

God has a plan, and He is in control. "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." But unfortunately, He still lets bad things happen to His people. And He let a bad thing happen to me and my husband.

In reality, the whole experience helped me to understand how little my plans and desires really mattered. It showed me how little control I really have.