church

20140404-113717.jpgI am curiously amazed and thankful at how church-like of an experience yoga has become for me. As long as I have been on this earth I have not found connection with the many steepled buildings I’ve stepped into. I went because I was “supposed” to, but it was not church for me. However, I have not been without church and without fellowship and without worship. I have found and continue finding these things in the people and places and experiences all around me, every day. Now, breaths are prayers, flows are worship songs, and I spend the entire class in conversation with my God.

When I leave, limbs are pliable, heart is warm, and eyes bright & wild. But I enter the studio heavy with baggage, although sometimes my excitement to begin masks the fact that I’m carrying anything. It always hits me though, on that mat. As I begin to focus on my breath God reveals to me what is in my heart. Usually, it is no surprise to me and I welcome the next hour or so to help me focus on and work through it. But there are times, like today, that what He has to say catches me off guard. I feel dizzy with the realization that what I was bringing to the table wasn’t the heart of the matter. I have been halfheartedly praying for patience, believing that to be the answer to the restless stir inside of me. But as it turns out, I am not ready for patience at all. Because I am still very much freshly wounded and angry and frustrated and wanting. I have been praying for patience but what I need is comfort.

I am not used to asking for comfort. I am used to asking for whatever tools I need to complete the job at hand on my own, which is why I asked for patience to get me and us through these next months or years or whatever is in store. I am used to fixing things. For myself and for other people. I am not used to handing over myself to be fixed. I am not used to presenting my problems to others and admitting that I need help.

So, of course that is the very thing that I need to do.

I am hurting and I am angry and empty and sad. I pass by my reflection and quickly glance down to the soft curve of the lower belly and I just feel empty and alone.

I am asking for comfort and I don’t even know what that means, or what would be helpful. I do know that phone calls are too much for me to take on, so that is my only real request. If you pray (to whom does not matter) then please say a prayer for me. I humbly ask for any way you see fit to brighten my day and send me love, because I’m having a hard time doing it on my own.

Even now as I sit here typing this out on my phone in a parking lot, I am tempted to erase it all and nobody would be the wiser. But I’m going to ignore that temptation and practice my hand at asking my friends for help.

life after miscarriage: one month later

Life is good, and God is better.

IMG_7653(This is our beautiful redbud tree, a gift from a dear family friend in honor of the little one we lost.)

Like all large moments in life, one month feels both entirely too long and too short to encompass all that has happened. I feel as if I have aged eight years and the person I was just four months ago is already a very distant shade of who I am now. We still go about our day and talk  with family plans very much at the forefront. I know for some people it’s better for them to give their hearts and bodies a break, for a multitude of reasons. For us this whole experience has very much solidified how badly we want to be parents. That we are parents, but with an empty room in our home. That we want to immediately continue that pursuit. There are times when we see, hear, or say a certain something that stings a little and makes us pause, but we just grab a hand and give a sad smile before moving forward. A great place of comfort and solace and laughter for me has been Allana — a friend that I found through here and in the short time we’ve been writing each other has already become very dear to me. The similarities between our lives and struggles and thoughts and plans and beliefs and hopes are eerily close despite her being in Amsterdam while I am in Atlanta. There are some moments when you’re able to see just a glimpse of God’s plan for you so clear and sharp; meeting Allana was one of those moments. Thank you, friend! I am as hopeful and wanting for your future as I am for my own. (:

IMG_7655It’s been helpful to throw myself into activities and projects like yoga and sprucing up our backyard. The grand majority of the time I am really happy and (while the tiniest bit scared) excited for what’s to come. I have to admit though, I do feel obligated to express that happiness as if to put those around us at ease. I’m finding that much like a wedding, pregnancy is not just for the couple but for everyone around them as well. It follows that the grieving of a lost pregnancy is the same. Taking on and bearing the emotions and reactions of other people is something that, as an introverted middle child, I’ve done my entire life and this was no different. As tiring as it was/is at times, I don’t say that to paint it as a negative or painstaking thing (and certainly not to paint myself as some martyr)! I say it to admit and be honest about the fact that I’m not handling everything with perfect grace and a warm heart. I bring it up because it’s something that I’m learning about myself; in my efforts to be someone who is strong and capable I do not yet know how to unload my burdens to the people who want to share them with me. I know only how to pick up. With every heartfelt word or embrace, I tell myself I must add theirs to the pile. And it gets heavier. I’m not sure where to go with that from here. Perhaps that’s why the rest of the world moves on shortly after loss. They have to so that you have room for your own stuff.

IMG_7658Those weren’t exactly the words that I set out to give to you guys today. But here they are just the same. I want to challenge myself to be honest and open. But, I don’t know where the line is — the one where the dam has given out and I’m asking too much of the people who want to help me. And so I hold back everything just in case.

This has to be a step though, right? This public writing space of mine. This has to be movement in the right direction.

IMG_7673I don’t know if with our next pregnancy we will carry to full term and deliver our healthy baby. I don’t know if we’ll have a family biologically at all. But I do know that we are parents. And that God has picked out a soul and a body for that soul. And whether they are on their way or already here on this Earth, we will have the rest of our family home one day.

IMG_7659(I opened this fortune the night before our ultrasound. I don’t normally keep them but something prodded me to tuck it into my pocket that night.)

peace and quiet

I took a few days off from work this week so I could have some time to myself. I was feeling so exhausted after the onslaught that was this past weekend and as comforting as everyone has been, I needed to be away from it all for a bit. I gave myself permission to basically do whatever I wanted without holding it up against a scale of productivity as I often do. And so, this week has consisted of a lot of book reading, tea drinking, trashy television show watching (Are You The One on MTV… it’s a sickness), Pinteresting, strawberry eating, dog cuddling, yoga class-ing, and one too many PayDay bars.

IMG_7457-1I’ve had a lot of up and down moments. I’ve been saying, “We’re trusting in God’s plan for us,” and I realized what I really meant by that was, “I’m counting on our next pregnancy to happen quickly and without complication and God had better be on board with that plan.” I’m very solution-oriented. And when there’s not an answer to a problem or a coherent set of steps for me to take, I become anxious. It’s hard for me to process my emotions into neat little boxes when the best solution I can come up with is, “Well.. we’ll wait and see.”

Tuesday night I finally got around to using my birthday present of a set of yoga classes. I chose a yin yoga class which is a style of yoga where the poses are held for around five minutes each. The instructor announced that she’d like for the intention of our practice to be struggle and more specifically whatever it is that we are currently struggling with. I would have bet the meager contents of my bank account that she was inside of my brain reading my thoughts as she went on to explain the strength gained from and the importance of settling into the discomfort of holding a pose for such a long period of time. She talked of not fighting against your threshold but accepting it and breathing through it. Tears burned their way down my cheeks and I thanked the lights for being so dim. I breathed and fidgeted my way through a lizard pose and thought to myself, “This hurts. This hurts and it’s also exactly what I need to be doing.” The parallel between my practice and my life became glaringly obvious in that dark room. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve told Andrew, “I wish I could just skip these next few months and fast forward to the next part.” But I can’t do that. God needs me here and I need to be here. I’m reaching my threshold and I can’t get up and walk away from it.

I have to breathe through it.

unreal

Wednesday night, I went to bed thinking that about the different details I’d include in my “bumpdate” at 11 weeks along. I wanted to tell you about how I can’t stand the sight of soda (Coke Zero) but that I’m drinking lemonade all day. And that I’ve had an intense craving for those gross little microwavable personal pizzas.  After the last seventy-two hours though, it seems a bit silly that anyone would care about what I am or am not eating.

But now, I have to tell you about how I’ve replayed every agonizing second of our ultrasound appointment over and over again in my mind. Silence hangs and I stiffly nod and I’m screaming inside. As my doctor informed us that our baby stopped growing at 9 weeks and 4 days, I tried to think back to what I was doing the day he left this earth. But as some sort of self-preservation, my brain kindly won’t let me. I left Andrew to call our parents as I retreated inside myself and willed my worst nightmare to end me with it. The rest of the day crawled by and we spent it lying next to each other stuck between wanting to run away and not being able to move. When we laugh it is too loud and too much, like sunlight through curtains. I thought relief would come with nightfall; instead I searched for signs of my body betraying me for a second time and forcing me to naturally miscarry before our D&C the next morning. To my undying thankfulness, it did not.

When I awoke from the anesthesia, I looked around for my bearings (clock, IV, unknown beeping) and sank back down with the thought, “He’s gone.” Unable to speak, I simply grabbed the hand of my doctor and squeezed my thanks. He reassured me he’d see us at the midwifery soon. And when he turned to walk away I wondered how many women he’s seen crumble. The nurse compliments the green-eyed cow on my shoulder and asks me advice about his camera and I smile a bit, knowing that the bones of who I am are still there under this hospital gown.

IMG_7442Now back at home, I’m struggling with my identity. We have to hesitate before speaking lest we need to correct ourselves. Andrew and I slowly realize how many words we say and plans we make that are oriented around me being pregnant. Which I’m not anymore. I am not pregnant – I am a broken shell, fragile and jagged. An egg cracked open with the contents spilled out. Comfort pours in from loved ones and I use these words as a wall to steady myself against during the day and again at night as a blanket pulled up to my chin.

I thought these words would come easily once I sat down to share them. I’ve written them in my mind a hundred times over the past few days. But now I am stuck and they are awkward and inadequate.

I miss him. I miss his presence in my body and I miss the potential of the person he was going to be. He is gone too soon.

IMG_7447 “Once you are real you cannot become unreal again. It lasts for always.” –The Velveteen Rabbit