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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Perspective

   This time last year I was a sleep-deprived, constantly nursing, living-in-a-fog mother who didn't have to look too hard to find evidence of the house falling apart around her! When the question would come up, "Are you going to have any more?" or "So, are you done yet?", we would answer that we would love to have as many as God would be pleased to give us but what we really meant was that we would love to have as many as God would like to give us as soon as we felt like we were up to it again ;). While the thought of decades of waking up every morning at the same time to take my temp (along with all of the other fun stuff that constitutes "natural" family planning) didn't really strike me as pleasant, it didn't seem quite as overwhelming as the thought of a baby every year.
   By about Christmas time we found ourselves at a point where we realized that our actions in this area just weren't lining up with our beliefs. Did we believe that God was the author of life? If He cares for the sparrows and clothes the lilies of the field, would He not provide for future children that He chose to author? Did we believe that God opened and closed the womb or not? Would God ever give us a baby we *shouldn't* have had?! Of course not! Oh, you can be sure we did the math ;). I could very possibly have nearly twenty fertile years left and nursing has never really given me much of a break before. At a baby a year... well, that adds up very quickly! Nevertheless we felt that the decision that best fit our beliefs was to give it up to God, to offer my womb as a "living sacrifice" and to get ready for baby number five who would surely be on the way in the very near future! I remember one day when Andrew was about three months old and I (once again) hadn't gotten a shower by three 'o' clock in the afternoon. I wanted more children, even many more children, but I was feeling so overwhelmed right then and I asked God to please give me at least 18 months between babies. My fertility returned the day Andrew turned nine months old, an unbelievably long break for me, and I just knew we would be expecting a baby by the end of that month and I was even looking forward to it. Well, the month passed, there was no baby news and I was convinced that He was in charge. After another month passed I began to realize that I had been ungrateful for the ease with which we have always conceived when I had prayed for a "break" and I prayed again thanking God for the gift of the fruit of the womb, both present and future gifts. Lo and behold, just a couple of weeks later I *knew* we had been blessed with a baby. Soon afterward I also knew that things weren't quite going as they should. I hadn't even tested yet so I did, to confirm what I already knew, and that started the roller coaster that was the month of September.
   I feel as if I have lived on the computer for the last month. I have researched every aspect of miscarriage imaginable. I didn't know that you could bleed for *months* after a miscarriage if you decide to go it naturally. I didn't know that your cycle won't return until your hcg levels return to zero, and that that could take months as well. I never knew that you could have pregnancy symptoms linger so long, which makes you feel like you are going out of your mind as you consider the possibility of a misdiagnosed miscarriage which happens often enough that there is actually a forum at www.misdiagnosedmiscarriage.com dedicated to spreading the message that Doctor's aren't God so don't do anything permanent (like a D&C) until you are convinced there is no alternative. My own mother was diagnosed with a miscarriage though she was still pregnant (she likely miscarried a twin). I have to admit that stories such as these have kept me hesitantly hopeful, especially now that the bleeding finally appears to be stopping and yet my numbers still haven't returned to zero (I've been monitoring them with hpt's) and I am still experiencing pregnancy symptoms.
In my head I knew that in giving this area up to God and opening ourselves up to receiving many children it was likely that we would eventually have to give one up before we were ready, but in my heart I don't think I really believed it. To be honest I still find myself holding onto hope that just maybe it was this or that and I will one day wake up from this nightmare and still be pregnant, stranger things have happened. But, I have come to the point where I realize that my God still reigns. If this is what He has for me right now I can accept it. It is very sad to me to think that I will never again have all of my children together with me here on earth but I also know that all of the days of my life were known and written down by my Father before even one of them had yet been and that I do not walk this road alone. I don't have to sit and let this consume me, as is so tempting to do, but rather, even this can be used to strengthen and grow me into the wife, mother and daughter of God that He would have me to become. While I would never have chosen to see life from the perspective of a mother who has miscarried I can already see that this experience has produced fruit in my life. I look at my children and I realize that they were once just as vulnerable as this baby was. What a miracle that they are here with me now! And yet, even today I can't be guaranteed that they will be with me forever. How urgently that makes me feel the importance of making every moment count with them! I am now eagerly looking forward to more babies no matter the spacing. As unlikely as it is, I would gladly have twenty more children if the alternative is no more. Besides, I hear having babies keeps you young ;)! Also, I will now have even more compassion for others who have traveled the road of pregnancy loss.
I know I have been on the receiving end of many of your thoughts and prayers and your comments, emails, phone calls and other correspondence have been a tremendous blessing to me. Christine, a dear friend and frequent commenter here, sent me a beautiful card and a handmade bookmark in remembrance of our baby. I have put that bookmark in my Bible as a reminder of what my Savior has carried me through and as a reminder that my citizenship is not of this world, I will see my little gem one of these days. Thank you so very much Christine!
   As I have already mentioned, we aren't through this thing yet. There are still some issues and I'll likely have to make an appointment to figure out exactly what is going on. If you feel so led, I would really appreciate prayers that there are no problems that require surgical intervention. I am emotionally and physically drained and so ready to feel "whole" again. My dear husband has been so patient with me, he is truly a blessing!
   You know, the Bible never says, "And God cursed _____ and _____ conceived...". On the contrary, being fruitful is always portrayed to be a blessing, even while being held in slavery and captivity in pagan lands. This baby was a blessing no matter how short its tiny life ended up being and baby number six will be a sweet, eagerly accepted gift as well. Lord-willing, I'm really looking forward to someday being a sleep-deprived, constantly nursing, living-in-a-fog mother once again ;).

7 comments:

  1. Oh, Shelby. My heart breaks and swells both for you. You've been on a rough road, but there is hope yet! Isn't that the message of Christ in a nutshell?

    We'll be praying.

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  2. Dear Shelby,

    Thank you for sharing your heart here. You have been in my frequent thoughts and prayers. Big hugs!

    In Him,

    Christine


    www.christine-mary.blogspot.com

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  3. Thank you so much Christine! You have been such a blessing to me. I can't begin to tell you what your gift meant to me :). To have something tangible in remembrance of our baby was priceless to me :). Thank you so much.

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  4. That's right Anna :)!

    Because the one and only Son of God died on the cross for us we now have HOPE :)! Whosoever believes in Him and accepts His sacrifice on their behalf have the promise of eternal life :). And that is why I will see my little one one day, no matter what.

    The pretty dramatic drop in numbers leaves no doubt that there was a miscarriage but I have to wonder if their isn't another one still there...maybe? I'm not getting my heart too set on it because I know how unlikely it is but I never had the gut-wrenching pains that the midwife said I would experience (though there was some slight cramping, I get that in a normal pregnancy too...) and with the other things going on, I just have to wonder...

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  5. When I had Desiray I got a Bible study called "Threads of Hope, Pieces of Joy". It's a pregnancy loss bible study and there are not many out there. I highly suggest it. I never compltly worked through it as a study but it has a story that goes along with it that is an absouluty beautifull metefor for the mother who has experienced the loss of a child. I still like to go through just to read the story and reflect on how it touches my life.


    Loss of any kind in our lives is tragic and even more so when it is the loss of one so little. I think the pain and grief is magnified even more becasue it is still a little grieved event in our society. There is nothing to remind the rest of the world that that little life once was so we as the Mother who was left behind are expected to put it behind us so quickly when infact there will always be a place that is not compltly filled where that child once was. I think the pain is even greater when you do not have solid answers as to why this has occured (in a physical sence).


    There is not a day that I do not at least think about my little angles, but most days it is with a smile on my face than with tears in my eyes.

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  6. Forgot to sign that last comment


    From me


    Mary Jo


    (The slightly absent minded cause I got so much going on)

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  7. Thank you Mary Jo. I just went and ordered the study you mentioned. Your comment was so beautifully put. Between not knowing what all is going on physically and mourning the loss, I still feel as if my life is on hold. I told Lee a few days ago, "I've lost a child and the world didn't even slow down :(". Since it was "just" a miscarriage Lee was still needed at work and I had to keep up a sense of normalcy at home. How blessed I am to have littles who love to curl up together on the couch with a good book as well as I do ;). I can accept this if this is what God has for me right now, it's just so very sad :(

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