Friday, 21 December 2012

Reward

Each year, at the start of the year, I think about what I would like to achieve by the end of the year - what my goals for the year are. It is something we used to be encouraged to do in our church small group and it is something that I have carried on doing. I have looked over my goals for the past few years and have thought about what they have meant to me. I am definitely an 'achiever'; I am determined (my friends might say 'stubborn') and like to see things finished well (my friends might say 'obsessive'). I rarely reach the end of a year without accomplishing my goals - or at least being well on my way to accomplishing them. But the past 3 years have seen a new goal work it's way on to my list. 'Get pregnant/have a baby' have been interspersed with my other goals. At the start of 2011 I noticed that my other goals were becoming less and 'baby' was at the top of my list. At the start of this year there were no other goals. Simply 'have a baby'.
There was one occasion last year and two occasions this year in which I thought I would achieve my goal, my dream, but one ended in a stillbirth and two ended in early miscarriage. Throughout the year I have seen my desire for a baby not diminish, by any stretch of the imagination, but begin to be matched by old goals, old passions and old desires. I am seeing things that I had buried with my overwhelming desire for a baby being brought to the surface, raised to life and set alight again.

At the start of this year, a prophetic word was given at my Church. You can read all about it here:
http://www.daveconnolly.org/2012/02/a-word-of-encouragement/
I have referred back to this blog post many times throughout the year with differing emotions. At times it has spurred me on and at other times it has made me yell at God 'where is my reward?'. I have spoke it over myself time and time again. After all, I am a member of the Church - the word related to me too, right?

As I sat in tears in the hospital at the time of my second miscarriage, waiting for the doctors to decide whether I needed to be admitted for what they thought was an ectopic pregnancy, I begged God to get my out of the situation. I bargained with him saying that if my baby was alive I would use the situation to glorify Him. I promised. And then the scan revealed that the baby was dead. Again. I felt deflated. Back in the cubicle I prayed again that God would show me how to get out of the situation that I was in. I told Him that I couldn't do it anymore. I asked Him to take it from me and, for the first time, I gave the situation to Him. I handed Him my desire for a baby and asked that He would show me what to do. Almost instantly a burden was lifted from me and over the next few days I saw my passion for fostering increase ten fold. I knew that that needed to take priority. I used to work with parents, delivering adult learning and providing support to help prevent family break up, and that passion was fired up again.

I'd like to say that that was it; that the desire went - that I gave it to God every day since but that would be a lie. There have been days, sometimes many days, since when I have felt myself slip back into that place of despair. I have needed my friends more than ever to keep my going - to remind me of how far I've come. I have cried many tears and willed my body to slip out of infertility and work as it should and then after the wave I'm ok again. But in these months the two things that have remained as really strong desires within me are the fostering and working with parents. I am beginning to relearn who I am.
And so, back to Dave's blog. I have been reading it again over the past few days and these words are going over and over in my head:

‘I have seen your perseverance,

I have seen your standing in the time of trial,

I have seen your standing in the firing line of the enemy,

I have seen you when you’ve just been holding on and just hanging in there,

I have seen your wading through the quagmire,

I have seen your faithfulness and your diligence,

I have seen you holding on to the word of God when your circumstances seem to laugh in your face,

But now I say to you,

My son, My daughter,

My church of Frontline -

But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.

2012 is the year of reward........

I would love a baby. I really would, but that is not the reward that God has chosen for me this year and there are moments when that thought is beyond painful. But He has given me another reward. He has begun to restore me and help me become the person he has designed me to be, again.
My husband and I have been approved as foster carers within the last couple of weeks and were told today that we have been assigned a social worker and to expect our first placement early in the new year. I have just completed training to facilitate parenting courses and am so excited about it. I can't wait to begin working with parents again and seeing lives transformed.

I had no goals at the start of this year, apart from wanting a baby. God has gently shown me that he has a purpose for me, other than just being a mummy to my own children. Inspite of my stubbornness he has provided opportunities for me to see new goals, new desires and new dreams. I really believe that this is my reward. And I will try and wait patiently for my own baby to come.

Please God, help me to see what you have done for me this year and how far you have brought me. Help me to know that my plans don't always coincide with your plans for me and that that's ok. Help me to know that you have a plan and a purpose for my life - a reward for me - and help me to trust you. Amen.

What is your reward??



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Sunday, 9 December 2012

Reindeer pops...

Pretzel antlers and m & m noses. Very cute!


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Saturday, 1 December 2012

A New Chapter?

I've been building up to writing this post all week. I'm trying my best to answer questions - questions of our own and questions of people around us. With our fostering assessment nearly complete and our fostering panel approaching I'm trying to work out what the priorities are in our lives now.

Nearly three years ago a heavily pregnant lady asked me if, as a childminder, I would be able to look after her unborn baby when she returned to work. I explained that, at that time, I had no vacancies as a childminder but that I had a waiting list and would add her to it. I also explained that we were wanting to have another baby and, if that happened before she returned to work, that would need to take priority. I advised her that, although I would love to care for her little boy, I felt that due to my waiting list and our plans she may be better considering other childcare options. That is my marker for the beginning of the chapter in our lives we have been living in recently. I need to allow the page to turn and a new chapter to begin.

I know that, physically, the chances of us having another baby are incredibly slim simply from an infertility/PCOS point of view but when I factor in all of the problems I have in pregnancy and my inability to carry to term I realise that the chances seem next to nothing. This makes me wonder why I cling to it and why I struggle to move on. The other day a friend encouraged me to look back over the past year and see how far I have come. Apart from the grief and pain and how far we've come from that perspective I know that this time last year the desire for another baby was overwhelming. It filled my every waking and sleeping moment and dominated my life. I set myself deadlines for pregnancy and when those deadlines weren't met I would regress to a point of uncontrollable grief. A year on and I'd be lying if I said I didn't want another baby. I still think about it - a lot. I still dream about it - I can't control my dreams - but they are becoming less suffocating. I need to take stock and look at my life. It has been on hold for the past three years or so. A constant stream of hospital appointments, investigations, waiting and disappointment. And, apart from the improvement in our emotional well being, physically we are no further forward. We're three years older and our son is growing up infront of our eyes. I don't want to miss any more of what God has in store for us because I'm waiting and pinning all my hopes on something that may never happen. That said, I am not willing to let go of that dream - I just need to start a new chapter.

So that brings me to what is taking priority in our lives at the moment - the fostering. For the past seven years it is something we have spoken about on a regular basis. I have worked with Looked After Children and 'at risk' children and have desperately wanted to make a difference to many children's lives. Apart from a moment of panic when Emilie died, adoption has never come in to the plan. I am often asked why we want to foster over adoption and to be completely honest I don't know if there is an answer. I know that we can't pin things on 'a feeling' or a 'gut instinct' but this is truely what we feel is right for us. I am not naive - I know that the children we look after will not be our children. They will be heading back home or to their adoptive families and at some point we will have to give them up. How we will find the strength to do that I don't know but I know that it is the right thing for us at the moment. I often think about how amazing it will be to have played a part in influencing that child's life. In supporting them in making that transition to their final point of care. In keeping them safe when that may not be something they have experienced. And if I know that we have done all of this to our best ability then giving that child up so that they can continue to their next chapter will be something that I know we will be able to do. Not without pain but with the knowledge that that child will be moving forward and that we will have played a part in changing their lives for the better.

This is what is taking priority at the moment. This will hopefully be our new chapter and if we are deferred at panel we will return at the advised time and try again. I don't know what will happen if I get pregnant again. All I know is that fostering is our long term goal as a family - with or without more children of our own. I'm looking forward and trying hard to trust that God is in control. I can try to control things as much as I like but untimely it is not for me to do. The answer to the question is we feel that fostering is what we should be doing now and long term and we're not willing to put our lives on hold for that 'what ifs' any longer.



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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

My path

I've been feeling quite overwhelmed recently by the inexorable passing of time. Weeks are flying by and merging into months and babies are being born left, right and centre. And here I am still suffering from amenorrhea - the absence of menstrual periods and, as a result, the absence of ovulation which, obviously, is what is needed for pregnancy. I feel ok about it. Today. Last week was hard. No two days are the same, I find, and some days I am much more able to deal with things than others. I'm starting to get my head around the possibility of never having another baby. Of never experiencing pregnancy again. I can't accept this - I would love another baby and would be lying if I said I wouldn't. However, if I live every day focussing on the fact that I may or may not get pregnant I could possibly lose my
mind. For me to isn't even 'month after month' of disappointment. Instead it is a constant state of waiting and hoping that something might happen and, as it happens, I haven't experienced 'unstimulated ovulation' - ovulation without medication - for nearly a year. It's scary when I say it like that. So I sometimes wonder what is the point of hoping any more? But then I was reminded of a story at Church on Sunday. The story is of Abraham and Sarah. They were childless and old (very old!) and Sarah was infertile yet God had told Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. Impossible, when they had no children.
One day they were visited by three people who told Abraham that they would return this time the following year and Sarah would have a son. Abraham and Sarah thought this was impossible. Sarah even laughed at how ridiculous it sounded. They had tried to solve the problem themselves prior to this and Abraham had had a son with Sarah's servant - but this had caused them further problems. Now here they both were, incredibly old, and being told that they would have a son. I can't imagine how that must have felt. And sure enough, against the odds, Sarah became pregnant and had a son - Isaac.
I think about women who've come before me who have experienced infertility and baby/infant loss and how difficult it must have been for them to watch person after person announce pregnancies when they remained childless. I wonder how it must feel when they finally come out of that position of infertility and loss and finally have their baby. I don't know if this is something I will ever experience. I do know, however, that other doors are opening for me. I don't know if we'll be approved for foster care at this time or not, but I know that we both feel very strongly that it is something we should be perusing at the moment.



This week a friend quoted a verse from the following passage on Facebook:
John 18 "Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
It is a passage that was used in a conference talk that I attended earlier this year. I have spoken with friends about it a number of times since. I'm not sure what feelings this evokes in me; It makes me quite emotional every time I hear or read it.
There was a time, not so long ago, that I felt life was a lottery system. That God would dole out good things to some people and pain to others and I even questioned what I had done to deserve the pain. There are still times when I get angry. When I wonder why I have to endure this every single day but there hasn't been a time that I haven't felt God's presence in the situation. I know that this path is hard and I sometimes hate it but it is my path. Putting it simply, I have learnt the hard way that there is nothing to be gained from trying to follow a path that isn't meant for me. When I think about the months upon months that I have stressed about getting pregnant it now seems ridiculous to me. I knew that I suffered from infertility and have known for years yet I treated myself like someone who didn't, expecting to fall pregnant quickly and easily and then becoming angry at myself and at God when I didn't. Yet I carried on with this frame of mind. I can see now that this wasn't the right thing to do - the right thing for me. Yes, I still want a baby. Yes, there are still some days when it is all I can think about, but those days are becoming less. I have my own path to follow and at the moment I feel that this path involves foster care. I don't know if I will ever fall pregnant again - and even if I do, with the problems I have there are no guarantees that I will have a baby at the end of it. I am gradually learning that obsessing, comparing, worrying and reading up on the problems I have will change none of this. God knows what the desire of my heart is and I need to learn to trust him and follow my own path.
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Saturday, 20 October 2012

Rainbow breaking through...




On Sunday I taught at our church's Kidzone - like Sunday School. We started a new topic; 'Heroes of Faith' and I taught on Noah. All week Sam has been asking about Noah. He has a couple of Noah's ark toys and so learning about Noah has got his attention! He has been asking alot of questions about the significance of the rainbow. It had fascinated him and there's no doubt in his mind that God keeps his promises and the rainbow is a symbol of that.
Fast forward 30 years or so - do I still have that childlike faith? Possibly not. I've been struggling the past week or so but am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel now. I'm finding that the times of real struggling are getting fewer and further between and are easier to recover from, but they still hurt. Sam's asking about the significance of the rainbow has got me thinking. There are times when I feel that God doesn't keep his promises because here I am suffering from infertility and having lost three babies in the space of a year, and missing my beautiful Emilie. But then I remember that God's promise was never that I wouldn't suffer - it was that in my suffering I would know that he is near. This is one of my favourite verses: 'When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.' (Isaiah 43:2) and I can list many verses that promise me the same thing:
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.";
Psalm 23:4 'Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.';
Isaiah 41:10 'So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.'..... And the list goes on.
I can honestly say that I truly believe that God has kept these promises and know that, inspite of how dark things have got, he has been the one constant throughout all of this. There is a term 'rainbow baby' which refers to babies born after a stillbirth. For me the symbol of the rainbow has another meaning. Like the people in Noah's time and Sam with his childlike faith, the rainbow reminds me that no matter what, God is holding on to me and won't let me go.


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Thursday, 11 October 2012

.....and weep with those who weep....

Romans 12:15 (NLT)
Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.......

This is a difficult post to write but something that I feel I need to share. Anyone who has experienced any form of infertility and/or pregnancy/infant loss will be aware of the term 'marker baby'. A marker baby is a baby due or born at the same time as your baby was due/born or your IVF/IUI procedure baby was due. I have many marker babies for Emilie and marker babies for my first miscarriage who have just been born or are due imminently and I adore them. Don't get me wrong, it was initially very hard, but in time and with the support of my friends I was able to bond with and enjoy these babies. The support aspect is vital though. There is no way someone can experience infant loss, or pregnancy loss, and be instantly truly happy and accepting of other peoples situations if the news is not shared in a sensitive manner or if the truth is blurred. There are now marker babies for my second miscarriage growing and developing and there is a very selfish part of me that wishes it was me. Seem good friends of ours are expecting a baby at the same time as I was and they came to dinner to tell us the news. I could tell that it was hard for them to tell us. My friend wrote me a letter - which I treasure - talking about how much she valued our friendship but understood if we need space at any point. Over the past year they have truly wept with us and have sat in the dust with us as we experience the pain. We are able to rejoice in their news with them and, even though there may be difficult times to come, we know that our friendship will survive this.
Each time someone announces a pregnancy I feel a real need to rejoice with them and have started to even feel that this is my duty as a Christian. I think that this is a dangerous place to be. I was reading Roman's 12:15 and there it is, written down for me: "rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep". I have found rejoicing very hard over the past year but have tried my best, as have our friends tried to weep with us.
I often think the rejoicing is easy, isn't it? If people around you are happy their happiness rubs off on you. It's infectious. In the same way if people are grief stricken their sadness can rub off on you too. It's an uncomfortable feeling and the natural thing to do is to want to get away from that grief. Why, after all, would you want to feel that way? I know that our friends have stepped out of their comfort zone to weep with us even though it is uncomfortable for them. For this I am so grateful.

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Thursday, 20 September 2012

Autumn

Autumn is my absolute favourite season. I love the weather, the colours, being able to wear my boots, going out for walks, the evenings drawing in and autumn TV schedules! This year I've felt a sense of emptiness as autumn draws in and it's dawned on me why today. I love this time of year and remember taking Sam out conker hunting this time last year. This week actually and possibly even this day. I was so tired and run down that I drove the short distance needed to find conkers and didn't stay long but he loved it. It is one of my last memories of doing something nice before Emilie died.
This week, on the way home from school, we noticed empty conker shells along the road and my heart physically hurt. I felt like I couldn't take any joy in the beautiful colours around us and the excitement of autumn activities. For the first time in memory I felt like staying indoors and ignoring autumn as it creeps towards us. And then I spent some time reflecting this afternoon....
Emilie's birthday is now less than a week away. I'm trying to call it her birthday as the word 'anniversary' seems so formal. She was born - she had a birth-day and we have decided that we'd like to celebrate. We are going away as a family for the week and I have bought ingredients to make a yummy cake. Sam has asked to make a card. And why shouldn't we celebrate? We had so many hopes and dreams for her and even though we don't get to see her achieve them she was still our daughter - she still brought joy into our lives - and we don't want the day to go by without remembering that.




Because of Emilie we have learnt what is important and spend more time together as a family. We have learnt who our friends are and have developed and built on some amazing friendships over the past year. We have learnt a lot about ourselves and have realised that our marriage, and each other as individuals, are a lot stronger than we could have imagined. Most of all, though, I think that we have learnt to appreciate what we have and in all honesty that's possibly only happened fully since the last miscarriage. I thought that miscarrying so close to Emilie's anniversary would finish us off but instead we've come back fighting, stronger than ever and ready to move on with our lives.

So, back to autumn. I think that this time of year is always going to evoke painful memories but I don't think there is a more beautiful time of year to remember our daughter. There is a temptation to see autumn as a time of hopelessness with only a long, cold winter to look forward to and I think that's where I was earlier this week. But I stumbled across this quote this afternoon: "IN AUTUMN'S vibrant colors there are reminders of summer's fullness of life , of winter's impending bleakness, and of the prospect of spring not far beyond. Autumn compels us to think about life's transience and continuity all in one..." (Allen M. Young, Small Creatures and Ordinary Places). Since Emilie's death, one of the things I've found the hardest is how quickly life seems to go by, how we seem to have been in a constant state of pain and how other people's lives have whizzed by around us. This is always going to be a difficult thing for us, I think, but I have realised that we can't stay in this place of grief and waiting forever. Life continues and so do we need to. Maybe our time to solely mourn has passed (although we will always desperately miss Emilie and nothing will replace her) and now we are entering a new season and a new time with new challenges and new rewards...

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NLT)
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.





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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Another day - another miscarriage...

Well, it's been a while since I posted on here. The reason for this is that I found out my IUI had worked but didn't want to 'go public'. We were elated. It seemed like such perfect timing - just in time for my miscarriage due date and Emilie's anniversary in a couple of weeks. It separated this pregnancy from my other losses perfectly and seemed to be making the (difficult) month of September more bearable. Things seemed to be going well; I could feel myself growing and I felt sick and exhausted. Beyond exhausted actually. And then the bleeding started. Again.
I tried to ride it out and wait until my scan appointment next week but the pain became so bad that I couldn't ignore it and had to go to the EPAU.
I cried uncontrollably and the medical professionals filled up with me as they prodded my stomach, noted the amount of pain I was in, noted the amount of blood around my cervix and the fact that my cervix was open - and swollen. They then began to act very quickly due to the risk of ectopic pregnancy. I was told I'd be admitted until I could be scanned but thankfully an emergency scan spot became available. As I waited for my DH to arrive I was ushered out of cubicles and towards my scan before having a huge breakdown in the corridor. I couldn't go for a scan by myself and suddenly began to lose the plot. I am so grateful for my maternity hospital. The staff are amazing and I was escorted down to the scan room by a lovely nurse before DH arrived. I informed the sonographer of my history to forewarn her of any possible breakdowns I might have but managed to hold it together pretty well. An onlooker might think differently!
She scanned for what seemed like an age before confirming that, thankfully, it wasn't ectopic but judging by the size of things I had lost the baby in the past week or so.

So now we're back to waiting.

I listened to this song last night and wanted to post the lyrics. This is how I feel...

JJ Heller - 'Your Hands'

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That you would take my pain away
You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crooked lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking, heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave your hands
When you walked upon the earth
You healed the broken, lost and hurt
I know you hate to see me cry
One day you will set all things right
Yeah, one day you will set all things right

When my world is shaking, heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave your hands

Your hands that shaped the world
Are holding me
They hold me still
Your hands that shaped the world
Are holding me
They hold me still

When my world is shaking, heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave you
When my world is shaking, heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave
I never leave your hands




Sunday, 5 August 2012

Pin Cushion

So I'm feeling a little bit like a pin cushion having had 2 weeks of Menopur injections to try and stimulate my ovaries. The good news is it's finally worked and now we're trusting that the medics know what they're doing in timing the IUI procedure. So much trust is needed and I don't have much left. Last week someone said to me that it is God I need to trust as he has the final say. I'll be honest, I'm finding it really hard. So much has happened over the last 2 years or so to challenge my trust and I find myself asking 'why?'.
My community has been rocked over the past 2 months with the critical illness of an 8 year old boy. The doctors have now said that there is nothing else that can be done for him yet his parents and friends still cling to their faith knowing that God is bigger. I don't know what the outcome of the situation will be but I do know that Jesus said (Matthew 5:45 (NLT))
'...he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike'. We were never promised an easy ride but we were promised that God would be with us in times of adversity and difficulty.
(Isaiah 43:2 (NLT))
'When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you'. I am completely in awe of the little boy's family's faith and trust in God.
Recently I have found my prayers changing from begging for pregnancy to reminding God what the desire of my heart is and asking him to allow what's best for us to happen. I have wanted to be a mum for as long as I can remember. I work with children and I sometimes prefer being around children to adults (!). It's who I am and what I do and everyone knows that. Had Emilie survived we would probably be looking into foster care by now which is something we've always wanted to do; we have been desperate to make a difference in the lives of children who need it. So, we have made the decision to look into foster care now anyway regardless of where we are in the treatment journey. I feel like we could put our lives on hold forever but for us it's been over 2 years of waiting and hoping and I feel that we're ready to move forwards. Don't get me wrong - the desire of my heart is still to be pregnant and have our own baby but foster care has always been the long term plan for us. And why wait?...

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Over the Edge...

Today I did an abseil! It has been in the diary for a couple of months and I'll admit, as much as I love outdoor pursuits I was kind of hoping I'd have a reason not to do it in which case John would have done it in my place. But all that said, I'm so glad I got to do it! I've had a really difficult week this week knowing that my treatment hasn't worked again but knowing that I'd get to do something that I wouldn't be able to do if I was pregnant has been a little light at the end of the tunnel!
You can find out more about the amazing work 'Streetwise', who we were fundraising for, does here: http://www.streetwiseproject.com/ and you can sponsor us here: http://www.justgiving.com/Streetwiseabseil
And here I am - a dot on the edge of a cliff face!

A friend came to see me last night to have a catch up about how I was getting on. We chatted about Emilie, about heaven, and about how much I long to see her again. We talked about how I feel when I see Sam devastated because he has lost or broken something and how much I long to make things ok for him. She reminded me that God feels exactly the same about me, even though it sometimes may not feel like it. She encouraged me to defer God's promises for my life back to him and to focus on his character not as a punishing, vengeful God but as a loving father. I found this last night when I couldn't sleep and it reflected perfectly what my friend had spoken to me about so I wanted to share it:
My Child,

You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.
Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.
Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.
Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb.
Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented
by those who don't know me.
John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.
1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.
1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.
Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.
Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.
Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.
Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.
Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.
Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.
Revelation 21:3-4

And I'll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.
Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.
John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being.
Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.
Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.
1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.
Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.
1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.
Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.
Luke 15:7

I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.
Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…
Will you be my child?
John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you.
Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God


Thursday, 21 June 2012

Memories...


Today marks a year since we found out we were having a little girl. And here she is...




Not a day goes by that I don't think about her or miss her. I miss everything about her and even find myself missing the 'should have been moments'. She would be 9 months old next week and should be sitting up, crawling and keeping me on her toes in the way her big brother did. But I don't have those memories. Instead I have memories of her mannerisms and personality when I was pregnant with her; Her sheer defiance at remaining in the uncomfortable positions she would curl into; Her fighter spirit to survive as long as she did in spite of all of the problems she had; her dainty little fingers and toes and the way her tiny mouth looked; the way it felt to hold her. I remember the joy I felt when I found out I was having a little girl. I made a dress for her a couple of weeks later and bought tiny pink outfits that sit unworn in her memory box.





We decorated her room in a jungle theme and the 3 of us made a handprint tree for her - our stamp on her room.




These are the things that I want to remember - not the trauma of the day she died or the despondency of the weeks and months to follow, but the special memories I have of my beautiful little girl. Every day that goes by is a day less for me to wait to see her again. I can't wait until that day.




I really hope that one day we can tell her baby brother or sister about their amazing big sister with a fighting spirit. I long for that day too.....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 14 June 2012

"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts.....and my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine."

Today a friend lost her baby at 16 weeks. Why does it happen? I can't stop thinking about her and what she will be going through over the coming days, weeks and months; of the wilderness she and her husband will feel. But because of what I've been through I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Each day we get up and make that decision to carry on. To move forward. We're still standing somehow and I know that my friends will get through too. But it's the pain they'll be feeling now that seems unbearable and overwhelming. It is like running a series of marathons. You wake up knowing that you have to carry on but everything in you screams for you to stop. The pain and fear are overwhelming and the desire for it all to stop is crippling. And that's where they'll be right now.
I often ask God why He allowed Emilie to die and last night, before I knew about my friend's baby, I cried myself to sleep for the first time in ages. I got angry at God and asked him why he was letting me go through this. Why aren't I pregnant and why does my fertility treatment not seem to be working. I was reminded of this verse: '"for my thoughts are nothing like your thoughts" says the Lord "and my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine."'. This blew my mind. I don't know why we have to go through these trails but I do know that God is in control. I don't know why he allows such terrible things to happen but I do know that he has a plan for my life and this is only a snapshot of it. Whilst right now this will be no comfort to my friend, because of Emilie's death I have an understanding of how she will fenland what she will be enduring that I wouldn't have had otherwise. I know that, although the pain never goes away, things get easier - your capacity increases. I hope that this will be some comfort to people reading this who are in that wilderness time. I don't know the answers and I wish I did but I trust that one day the situations will be turned around.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 25 May 2012

Breaking through

The sun's been shining the past few days and the weather's lovely and warm! Isn't it funny how this weather can make you feel so much better?

Or maybe it's not the weather at all? I attended a conference at the weekend. The title was 'what's your story?' I was absolutely dreading it and even entertained the idea of not going at all. I don't know why. Was I scared of breaking down, of not being able to hold it together or of being completely closed and angry and getting nothing from it. I'm not sure but I really didn't want to go.
I have amazing friends who I spoke to about my concerns and I knew that I could trust them completely and not have to worry about being honest in front of them. This is something I often worry about - I worry that my pain will make other people uncomfortable and they'll isolate themselves from me. This didn't happen though.
One of the speakers at the conference had lost a baby boy in very similar circumstances to Emilie's death. Her story and the way she dealt with things had a massive impact on me and something has clicked in me this week. I am still desperate for a baby. I still want to be pregnant now and pray for a miracle but I feel strangely at peace with the way things are at the moment.
I'm thankful for my amazing friends, for my husband and beautiful little boy and for this gorgeous weather. I'm thankful for all the amazing people God's put in my life to support me through this!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Another knock...

We found out today, for certain, that our fertility treatment hasn't worked this cycle. It's so hard to keep getting back up after being knocked down so many times. I have been thinking about this this week - a friend shared it with me:

Psalm 143:4-6 (NLT)
4I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear. 5I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done.

I know it's true. I can see what God has done. I have just come back from taking Sam to the toilet before bed. I had to prize a butterfly hand puppet off his hand before lifting him out of bed and it made me smile. As I lifted him up, I was struck by what a miracle he is. The news at the hospital is so unbelievably bleak at the moment that I can't understand how I possible got pregnant with him and how he survived the pregnancy. I look at photos of Emilie and wonder at the miracle of getting pregnant with her naturally. And that brings me back to today. Hearing the words from the sonographer 'looking at the results from your scans there's no indication that this cycle will be ovulatory. I think we need to call it a day and cancel this cycle'. What a blow. Back to square 1 and needing to increase my meds. It feels like it's not what I need at the moment at all. I know that I'm overcome with fear, this is completely out of my control and that scares me. I am scared that they'll have cancelled this cycle too early & that I would have ovulated. There's no way of knowing if that will/would happen and that makes me feel uneasy. I am struggling to trust the medical professionals and I'm struggling to trust that God knows what is best for me. I need to cling onto that scripture and remember what God has done. Heaven seems completely silent for us at the moment so remembering and clinging is all I have left.

Monday, 30 April 2012

On the roller coaster...

Sometimes I feel like life is running away without me. I can't fully describe the feeling but it's almost like my life has ground to a halt whilst the rest of the world carries on on around me. I have lost count of the number of people I know who have had babies, announced pregnancies or both, since Emilie died and whilst I'm happy for them it highlights my pain more profoundly. Because I have Sam, I spend alot of time around babies and young children that I don't know at groups and children's play centres and because I love my friends I spend time with their babies and children and enjoy doing this. It's the babies I don't know that I struggle with-the ones that I have no relationship with yet find myself staring at when I see them. I find myself desperate to tell their parents that I have 2 children. That my daughter would be their daughter's age. It's almost as if I feel the need to validate her existence - to prove that she was here.

The need to validate Emilie's existence is a very real one and is something that other people who have lost children have told me is normal and healthy. I think there is sometimes a lack of understanding, when families lose a child, that the loss isn't just of a baby or child but of everything that that child would do/achieve over the years. It's a loss of every photographic memory, every grazed knee, every school play and every birthday. We have some friends for whom this is too painful an experience and they don't know what to say/do so they have backed away from us. My understanding is this this is completely normal when someone has lost a child. People get so overwhelmed by the feelings and are so unsure how to approach the person that has suffered the loss that they find it easier to keep their distance. I can see how isolating this could make people feel - especially if they have no living children and find themselves suddenly detached from a group of friends with children. Our lives have changed completely and there are some days that the loneliness I feel from going through this isolating situation completely overwhelms me. We are very lucky though, to have other friends who have carried us through this time. They have been happy to listen to us, cry with us and reminisce with us. If our situation has upset them they haven't let on and I don't know how we would be surviving without such wonderful friends.

The sense of isolation we feel is lessened, not only by our wonderful friends but also by having Sam. He gives us a reason to get out of bed each morning and we can structure our day around him. I sometimes wonder what I would feel like if I didn't have Sam. A lady I have met since Emilie's death had suffered from infertility for 10 years. She then became pregnant with twins. She lost one twin in the second trimester and the other twin died at 36 weeks. My heart breaks for her. Sam has pulled us through this experience so much and I can't comprehend what it would feel like to not have him. I can't imagine losing your first child in this way but he is his own person-he is not Emilie and in the same way no baby we ever have will replace her. She would be 7 months old now and would have her own personality, likes, dislikes, skills and behavioural traits.

I find myself torn between wanting this roller coaster to slow down so that I can get off and reorientate myself and wanting this painful time to be over and done with as quickly as possible. I don't want to spend my time focussing on fertility treatment and grief to such an extent that I miss out on moments with Sam. Every time someone announces a pregnancy I genuinely do feel happy for them but have a silent thought of 'I hope the next person is me'. And then it's someone else's turn... I hope and pray every day that sometime soon we'll have our good news and can join in with the life that carries on around us.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Distractions.....

I've found quite a helpful distraction in the form of making 'cake pops'. Obsessed much.....?





We've also had a bit of a shift around in the playroom this week. When I was pregnant with Emilie we bought a sofa to go in there so that I could sit in there with Emilie and Sam comfortably. The sofa has become a kind of symbol of what we don't have. It took up valuable floor/toy space for Sam and we didn't really need it at present. So this week we moved it upstairs to Emilie's room to act as a bed settee. This also meant that we had to shift Emilie's room around a bit to accommodate it. It doesn't look quite as much like her room anymore which makes inevitably having to go in there somewhat easier. I definitely think this was the right decision and a positive step forward.....

Friday, 13 April 2012

Happy Days...

We attended the fertility clinic this morning. Sam had to come with us and it was the first time he had been to the hospital since the day Emilie died. I forgot about the significance of this as I've been goodness only knows how many times since her death. I briefed him before we left and he seemed ok about it until a few minutes before hand when he pointed at a photo of Emilie and asked 'are we going to give that photo to Emilie today?'. Following discussion it became apparent that he thought we were going to the hospital to see her. What a confusing time for a 3 year old-I sometimes under estimate the extent of his grief and the effect that all of this is having on him. He was very clingy at the hospital and very quiet on the way home. I wondered what must be going through his mind...?

We followed the appointment up with a visit to see a friend who moved away last year. She has also suffered a number of pregnancy losses and seeing her children playing with Sam made me see what wonderful siblings they will make when they get the chance and how much Sam longs to have siblings to play with. They spent ages rolling down hills, playing in the park and playing hide and seek. How wonderfully uncomplicated the lives of children are!

It is days like today that I am reminded of how lucky I am and how thankful I am for what I have got. It's days like today when I can see that glimmer of sun through the grey clouds.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Longing

For 32 weeks he waited patiently to meet his baby sister,
He knew her by name,
He cuddled her tiny bump and gave it kisses,
Saying 'goodnight' to her each night.
He carefully chose out toys for her to play with and put them to one side,
For the time when she would be here for him to share them with her.
He ran around her room each night at bedtime,
Basking in his own excitement.
He saw her everywhere,
She was constantly at the forefront on his mind,
On billboard images of newborns and on TV ultrasound images,
Certain that HIS baby sister was special enough to be shown publicly.
Proud before he'd even met her.

And then came the news that his baby sister had died,
He was there to witness it,
Too young to understand what was going on around him,
But old enough to know that something was wrong.
A fuss was made of him,
He got biscuits and juice,
Coo'd over by the midwives and doctors,
Whilst his parents endured unspeakable pain.

Days of confusion followed as he was passed from friend to friend,
He looked through photographs of her and asked questions that only a 2 1/2 year old could ask,
'Why did we leave her at hospital?'
'Did she have a poorly tummy or a poorly head?'
'What does died mean?'
'Where is heaven?'
'Will she come back next week?'
'Maybe we can get another one?'
We swallowed our pain to answer his questions as well as we could.

Then the eating stopped and his behaviour changed,
We watched as he lost weight,
And became a more withdrawn, more sensitive version of his former self.
He saw babies everywhere,
And withdraw from them,
He asked where his baby sister was,
And why he doesn't have a sibling.
The confusion carries on.

He misses and mentions her daily,
He asks if he can have a baby in his tummy,
To solve all our problems.
He prays for a baby,
And asks what they will be called,
He has a simplistic understanding of hope,
And truly believes that he'll get what he asks for.
We strive to have that childlike faith,
But our experiences cloud our vision,
I long to give him that sibling -
To watch him play with and care for them.
What a great big brother he'll make....
One day.

Friday, 6 April 2012

A great resource!

This is an excerpt from a great link that I had to share! I really hope that this can give some insight into how to support couples who are going through similar experiences to us.

(from Hannah's Prayer charity website:http://sites.radiantwebtools.com/?i=5455&mid=7)

HOW TO ENCOURAGE YOUR INFERTILE OR BEREAVED FRIENDS
September 5, 2010

"An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up." ~ Proverbs 12:25 (NIV)

When someone is going through the challenges of infertility, and pregnancy eludes them month by month, or when they are blessed with the joyous news of a coming child, only to have that baby slip too quickly from this life to the next, they turn to family and friends in hopes of support and comfort. Usually those people want to help but simply don't know how. They often hurt the grieving couple unintentionally by either saying the wrong things or saying nothing at all and expecting them to "get on with their lives" as if their hearts weren't broken. Below are some resources for friends and family members of these hurting couples.

Simply being aware of your loved one's pain and recognizing their grief is an important step!

"Helping a Loved One with Infertility"

Suggestions:

Unless you are a very close friend, don’t ask specifics such as, “What day do you have the pregnancy test?,” or “What day will you do the artificial insemination?” Simply saying, “I’m praying for you,” “We’re thinking of you,” or “Please let us know if there’s anything we can do,” are all appropriate ways to show your interest without putting her on the spot.

If possible, do not surprise her by making a big announcement that you’re pregnant. While it is appropriate for you to be excited and want to share your news in a big way, consider telling her privately first and letting her know when you plan to share your news.

Do not ask her any questions about infertility around other people.

The childless couple may feel “out of place” at child-centered family events like family vacations, Easter egg hunts, children’s birthday parties, etc. Absolutely invite them, but don’t make them explain why they declined the invitation.

Offering to ride with her or drive her to appointments would be appreciated. People often have to drive over an hour to the nearest infertility clinic.

If you say something to her and think later that maybe you shouldn’t have said it, call her and apologize. It will mean al lot to her.

Definitely invite her to baby showers and let her know when a baby has been born, but don’t expect her to attend those events. Besides feeling very uncomfortable herself, she may feel that her presence will make others uncomfortable.

Sometimes a woman going through infertility will not want to talk about it. But she still needs to know people care. Calling and leaving a message saying, “I hope you’re doing OK. We love you and are praying for you. Call if you want to talk,” is very considerate because there’s no pressure for her to call back yet she knows she hasn’t been forgotten.

Sending “Thinking of You” cards are nice. Here is an example of a note: “I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you and praying today and especially over the next three weeks. As I was thinking of you this verse kept coming to my mind and I think it is meant for you. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope an a future!” Jeremiah 29:11. God’s plan is to give you hope and not harm. Know that you are loved and cared for deeply!

Acknowledging that Christmas and Mother’s Day are difficult days is appreciated - but this is a tricky one. An example follows: at a family Christmas, my sister-in-law privately walked over to me and handed me a gift bag. It contained a children’s book with a written note on the inside cover: “This is a bedtime favorite of our girls. We hope it will be for your little one very soon! We love you and keep your baby-to-be in our prayers!” It meant so much that she took such a bold step to acknowledge our pain, but did it very privately so we were not put on the spot. She realized that while everyone else was happy and excited, we were struggling.

There are lots of books on infertility and miscarriage that can be helpful. Buying one and mailing it, along with a simple note, to someone you love who is experiencing infertility would be a very nice gesture.

If you know she has just had a negative pregnancy test or is having an especially difficult time, sending flowers with a note saying, “We love you, “or “We’re thinking of you,” is always a good idea.


Things to Avoid Saying:

“Just don’t think about it so much and it’ll happen.”
“You’re lucky. We would love to have some time without our kids!”
“If you wouldn’t get so stressed out about it, maybe...”
“I know exactly how you feel, it took us two months to conceive.”
“You can have a couple of my kids!”
“I’m having another boy. I was hoping for a girl.”
“This was an accident. I didn’t want to be pregnant in the summertime.”
“I can just lay in the same bed with my husband and get pregnant!”
“Maybe God doesn’t want you to have children for some reason.”
“Do you just not want kids?”
“Have you tried....”
“You’re Lucky, you don’t have to take the pill.”
“How much does it cost to do......(in vitro, artificial insemination, etc.)”

http://sites.radiantwebtools.com/?i=5455&mid=7

Monday, 2 April 2012

Is where I am exactly where I'm meant to be?


I've been trying to get on with lifea bit more over the past couple of weeks.  I've tried to 'enjoy' where Iam at the moment believing that this is where I'm meant to be right now andhave been trying to work out what that looks like.  The truth is that thisisn't where I want to be and sometimes it becomes incredibly difficult to seeany good in what's going on at the moment.  I often find myself saying'there's good days and bad days' and truthfully the good days are getting morebut there have been an awful lot of bad days recently too.  Emilie hasleft such a gap in our lives and it's really difficult to work out how thingslook now.  Sometimes I feel like the world is carrying on around me andI'm stuck in a state of limbo watching it all go on but being unable to moveforward myself.  I'm still clinging onto the hope that the seasons willchange soon and things will begin to look up for us but in all honesty, witheach day that goes by, my hope seems to diminish and I feel lower than the daybefore.  
I guess I'm wondering if this is where I'm meant to be at themoment how can I make the best of it?  How can I prove that I'm notdefeated and I'm keeping going?  How can I use what's happened to me forgood?  How can I trust that God knows what he's doing and has a plan forme when everyone else around me seem to be getting their rewards and I'm stillstuck in the place I was 2 years ago having taken 2 steps forward and 100 back? I really believe that God has a plan for me but the length of time I amwaiting for it to come to fruition is intimidating me and I know thatI'm becoming disillusioned.  
I have been listening to this song alot recently.  It is froman album called 'Beauty Will Rise' that a friend recommended to me.  Ilove the lyrics and it is becoming my prayer.


We planted the seed while the tears of our grief soaked theground
The sky lost its’ sun and the world lost its’green to lifeless brown
Now the chill in the wind has turned the Earthhard as stone
And silent the seed lies beneath ice and snow
And my heart’s heavy now, but I’m not letting go
Of this hope I have that tells me

(Chorus)
Spring is coming, Spring is coming
And all we’ve been hoping and longing for
Soon will appear
Spring is coming, Spring is coming
It won’t be long now
It’s just about here

Hear the birds start to sing
Feel the life in the breeze
Watch the ice melt away
The kids are coming out to play
Feel the sun on your skin
Growing strong and warm again
Watch the ground
There’s something moving
Something is breaking through
New life is breaking through

Repeat Chorus

Spring is coming (Out of these ashes beauty willrise)
Spring is coming (Sorrow will be turned to joy)
All we’ve been hoping and longing for (All we’vehoped for)
Soon will appear (soon will appear)
Spring is coming (Out of the darkness beautywill shine)
Spring is coming (All Earth and Heaven rejoice)
It won’t be long now (Spring is coming soon)
It’s just about here (Spring is coming soon)

A friend told me that she can't wait until we are able tosit, as a group of friends, and pass my baby around - for me to show him/heroff.  I can't wait until this time either but at the moment it seems asfar from reach as it is possible for something to be.  I can't wait forthis season to change and for new life to break through in our pain.  Ican't wait until I can look back and say 'it was all worth it, I have noregrets and this is the perfect timing for this to happen in our lives'. I just hope that God's perfect timing isn't too far away.....

Saturday, 10 March 2012

What is Grief?

This is a post I wrote a week or so ago. I have umm'd and ahh'd over whether to post it or not but after a couple of particularly hard days I decided to go ahead. Sometimes I struggle to put things into words when speaking with friends and find it easier to do in this format. So, here goes...

A few months ago I had no idea what grief was. I have experienced people dying, both young and old, before and have been very affected by this. I've had relationships break down in the past and have dealt with close friends moving away. But nothing could have prepared me for the sense of grief that I have felt over the past few months. It's so hard to put it into words when people ask what it feels like or how we're doing but I found this poem that does it perfectly. It was read out at a cathedral service we went to which was held for parents who had lost children:

"An Ugly Pair of Shoes"

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in this world.
Some woman are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don't hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

Author Unknown

I often get people saying to me 'I just don't/didn't know what to say to you or do for the best. I think until you are in the situation, and I truly wouldn't wish it on anyone, there is no way of knowing what the best thing to do is. I've found a few things to be really helpful and if you're reading this having had a friend/family member go through losing a child maybe this could help?

Remember to think before you act. Grief can make people incredibly vulnerable and sensitive. Insensitive actions/comments can feel infinitely worse than you might think and can bring grieving parents back down to 'rock bottom'.

Being avoided by people can be really hurtful. I feel it's important to acknowledge the child that's died rather than avoid the subject. Emilie meant the world to us.

Even if someone looks ok, it doesn't mean that they are! Make up and nice clothes can cover up a multitude of sins ;-)

It's been nearly 6 months for us now. The grief is just as strong as ever, we've just learned to manage it a but more. That doesn't mean we're ok or it's time to move on, it just means out capacity to cope is improving.

People have made such a fuss of Sam and this is possibly one of the things we are most grateful for. He has experienced loss too and desperately misses his baby sister. Knowing people love him and enjoy being around him really gives him a boost . We have a few friends who he adores; one couple in particular who don't have children yet; and seeing him with them, being made a fuss of and being his happy little self is incredibly special!

I guess what I'm trying to say in all this is there's no 'right' way to respond to us. Nothing is going to bring Emilie back or lessen our pain but knowing that people love and support us and are willing to share our pain means more than you could know.

So... I hope you'll forgive this self indulgent post. The poem spoke to me so much and in such a way that I felt compelled to share it. I hope it can put into words what I can't.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Hope in the Waiting


'Hope' and 'Waiting' are two things I've been thinking about alot the past week. I've spoken alot about the Biblical definition of hope and what it means to me at the moment but the thing I really struggle with is the waiting. I'm trying to be patient and I'm trying look to God when I'm struggling but it's hard. Last week, with some support, I decided to take a break from doing the ovulation tests. I was becoming completely obsessed and thoughts of testing were filling my every waking moment. I even know that, as I have PCOS, the results of the tests can be adversely affected but all I could see was the negative results and that was it. All of a sudden, each morning, every ounce of hope was taken from me as the kits read negative and I wasn't able to see past this - I had no idea how I would possibly get pregnant.

I have found stopping taking the tests incredibly hard. The first couple of days if I was sat down doing nothing I would would struggle with not being able to go and take a test and I would find myself trawling the internet searching for other people for whom tests had consistently read negative. On Monday I had a moment of realistion - looking at pregnancy forums, speaking with other women with PCOS and comparing my cycle to theirs was not going to make any difference. I was diagnosed with PCOS nearly 7 years ago - I know that I have very long, irregular and often anovulatory cycles; this isn't something new so I should have realized that no amount of obsession was going to make any difference. As a result I've decided to try and look at positives in this situation: I know that I have got pregnant 3 times. It possibly hasn't been in our timing but it has happened. I know that I have a happy and healthy 3 year old. My pregnancy with him was far from normal and very stressful but he is here and is fine! I know that, apart from the miscarriage, I have been ok in 1st and 2nd trimester and have only had real problems in 3rd trimester so if I can get pregnant and get to 28 weeks I'll be doing well and the baby will stand a very good chance by then. It's just the getting pregnant stage that I need to get through....

...And this brings me back to the waiting. Until I'm pregnant there is nothing I can do. We feel like we are in a constant state of limbo - a constant state of waiting and hoping, hoping and waiting. That's when I came across this blog: http://www.hopeinthewaiting.com/. It is written by a lady who, after 3 years of infertility, suffered a still birth, late miscarriage and 2 early miscarriages. Yet she is still able to say "My story has been filled with unbelievable heartache, but I choose to trust and believe in a God that knows how the story ultimately ends. I have the amazing privilege to be a mom of 4 children. 2 in heaven and 2 on earth. I wouldn't trade that for the world." God know's how our story ends and I need to trust that His timing is perfect, even if it's different to my timing. I just hope He doesn't make us wait much longer - He's really making my work on my patience and address my OCD ! ;)


Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Hoping for Spring

Even though there are little signs of spring everywhere, I still feel like we're in the middle of winter.  Everything you read on miscarriage says that you're more fertile straight afterwards.  It sounds like it kicks your body into action.  Only with me that doesn't seem to be happening.  I actually dread to think how much money we've spent on ovulation kits and fertility monitor sticks over the past 18 months or so and every day the reading is 'low fertility'.  It's like a kick in the stomach every single day and I keep wondering how long we can keep going with it.
I have recently got a tattoo on my back with the word 'tikvah'.  It's the Hebrew word for 'hope' the meaning of which originates from the idea of things being bound together by a cord or rope which endures when being stretched or teseted.  The concept of this sort of hope is trust being placed in an unbreakable promise.  The idea of hope in the Bible is to wait expectantly, with confidence and this is what we're trying hard to do.  I have to be honest through, and this is getting harder and harder for us.  We truly believe we will have a baby but we've been waiting for a very long time now and I can see the age gap between Sam and another baby getting bigger and bigger.  Our original plan was to have our children very close together - this isn't going to happen now and we can see that Sam is desperate for a sibling as we are.

As spring is approaching, though, I am seeing little signs of new life everywhere and my garden is starting to come back to life.  These signs are giving me tiny streaks of hope.  I desperately hope that we will get our sign of new life very soon...


Saturday, 25 February 2012

Not the end of the story...

Not one of my posts but just had to share this!

http://www.ucb.co.uk/index.cfm?itemid=88 (UCB word for today 27/2/12)

'Satan's plan was to infect Adam with the virus of sin before his first son was born; that way he could get all the rest of us. And it almost worked. Cain, Adam's first son, murdered his brother Abel. But God wasn't finished. 'Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, "For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel.' 'For everything you've loved or lost, God has something else. For everything that's been stolen from you, God has something else. Your 'seed' is your future, and God has another one in mind for you. The situation you are in right now is not the end of the story; God wants to write a new chapter. The devil knew God had a plan for you; that's why he tried so hard to wipe you out. He doesn't want you to live long enough to fulfil it. But the fact that you're still here and able to read this says he failed, and that God's not through with you! Notice the word 'appointed.' There's an appointment on God's calendar with your name on it. 'God has appointed another [future] for me.' There's something good just over the horizon - something for your life, your marriage, your family, your career, your ministry. God has an appointed task for you to accomplish, and appointed blessings for you to enjoy. He has called you with an 'eternal purpose' and He will bring it to pass.'

What a great thought!.....

Thursday, 23 February 2012

A few people have spoken to me about this week's episode of 'One Born Every Minute' as there was a lady who was pregnant following stillbirth.  I used to love 'One Born Every Minute' - it was one of the highlights of my week, sad I know!  Now, even the name of the show upsets me, let alone the content, so I have to admit I haven't been ale to bring myself to watch the episode.  I have, however, found a video of the lady in question talking about her stillbirth and I wanted to share it. https://lifebegins.channel4.com/explore/birth/video/sarah-s-talks-about-her-stillborn-son I think it's great that the show are covering this issue.  In previous series' they've always had an episode based in the NICU but it shows a very small part of the story and, as much as I loved the show, it is often a hard watch for people who don't have normal experiences.  I don't want stillbirth to be a taboo subject.  Like Sarah in the video I want the opportunity to talk about Emilie as much as possible.  My friends are really patient with me and let me talk about her birth when they talk about their birth experiences. They know that I love her, she will always be my daughter and although the days surrounding her birth were the most traumatic of my life, I would never trade the time I spent with her.  I got to give birth to her naturally.  Sam was born my c-section and I didn't get to hold him - he was resuscitated and whisked away to NICU straight away so chances are, as a result of my complications, this will be the only chance I have to give birth naturally and hold my baby.  I will not stop talking about that incase it makes people uncomfortable or upset.  The opportunity to give birth to her was so special and I will always treasure that experience, knowing I did the best for her I possibly could.  Thank you 'One Born Every Minute' for highlighting this.....

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Choose Joy

I stumbled across an amazing blog this week. The link is here: http://gitzengirl.blogspot.com/2008/11/define-joy.html
It was actually by pure accident I stumbled across the blog. I followed a link from another stillbirth blog where the writer was questioning God's will in allowing such things to happen - she was searching for answers and she'd linked to the above blog. The author is a lady called Sara. She had an autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis and she died the day before Emilie did as a result of the disease. In her 'about me' section of her blog she says: "My life is a difficult balancing act, but I am not being flippant when I tell you that I have a good life. I have a home, friends, love and support. I have that cute dog I've talked about at length and I have the time to really be there for people when they need me. This is not the life I imagined for myself, but it's the life I've been blessed with and I won't take a moment of it for granted." What an amazingly brave thing to say! There is too much on her blog for me to talk about but I have been really touched by it and am so sad that I can't let her know what an impact her words have had on me this week. She talks alot on her blog about the issue of 'free will' and inspite of her excruciatingly painful illness her faith doesn't seem to waver at all. She says "I think free will allowed two people to fall in love and have a child, and their genetics combined to create me. And in those genetics was a disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. Just like others may have heart disease or diabetes or a myriad of other illnesses... it's just luck of the draw. But I think God, after allowing that free will, then helps us to see that we can make beautiful choices out of difficult situations. He may lead me to the best ways to cope, He may lead me to comfort, He may lead me to serve by helping others... but choosing to follow His lead is my choice through free will as well".
This is something that I have been thinking about alot at the moment. I am reading a book called 'God on Mute' by Peter Grieg which talks about the issue of unanswered prayer. I thought the book might make me angry, but it doesn't. I'm finding it really comforting and faith building. When Emilie first died, I couldn't see how anything good could come out of the situation. I was hurt and angry - infact that doesn't come close - I don't think there are words to describe how I felt. Even now, I feel pain each morning when I wake up and each night when I go to sleep. It's unimaginable. But 5 months on I can see God working through the situation. I might not always be able to hear him or feel his presence but somehow I know he's there. Although some friendships have struggled since Emilie died with people not knowing what to say or do, most friendships have been cemented and I feel a real sense of belonging and community which I have never felt this strongly. I have been forced to work out what is important in my life and, although my life is unrecognisable from before Emilie died, I wouldn't change it. I like the way my life is panning out (taking the dead babies issues out of the equation, of course!) and I honestly don't think I'd go back to how my life was before she died. I can't wait to meet her and tell her that she truly changed our lives for the better. Last week a lady spoke to me telling me that when she'd had a miscarriage she found it really hard to verbalise her feelings and that my blog is helping her to do that. I've had many friends suffer miscarriage in the past and one friend who went through a neonatal death and then a stillbirth but I've never known what to say or what to do. Now I can see ways to support people and want to be able to do so. I can think of ways that I can use this experience to help other women......
So I guess what I'm saying is that 5 months on, I can see good things coming out of the situation but that doesn't mean it doesn't still hurt.


I realise now as well that joy is a very different thing to happiness. You can be joy filled without feeling happy or elated. I am not happy that Emilie or my other baby died. I am not happy that I've been forced to restructure my life and put career choices, hopes and dreams on hold and I'm not happy that Sam tells me every day that he misses Emilie and wants to know, rather forlornly, why he doesn't have a baby brother or sister. BUT I am filled with joy when I think of meeting Emilie again; I am filled with joy at the thought of having another baby and finally being able to give Sam that sibling; I'm filled with joy at the thought of being able to help and support other women when the time's right. I'm trying hard not to focus on how bad things seem but instead want to think of ways to turn things around so that I can say 'this is what you threw at me - and look what I've done with it!!' On a bad day I might feel less able to do this but thankfully the really bad days are getting less and I'm able to look forward a bit more.

I wanted to finish with something else from Sara's blog, and with one of her illustrations. What an amazing women she was!
"Joy: the unwavering trust that God knows what He’s doing and has blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of it… not despite what’s happening in my life but because of it. When everything earthly feels heavy He gives me an internal lightness that can’t be touched." http://gitzengirl.blogspot.com/2008/11/define-joy.html





Monday, 13 February 2012

Meant to Be?

I'm feeling pretty fed up. And impatient! Is it really possible to run out of patience? I categorically think the answer is 'yes'. I've said before, but so much of the past two years I've been waiting and I have no waiting left in me. Why do these things take such time? I've stopped bleeding and am starting to feel a bit more human but pregnancy tests are still reading positive. Surely that must be one of the cruelest parts of the whole ordeal? You spend months on end wanting for a positive test and now I just want it to read negative so that I can move on. I know my levels are coming down dramatically but until they're gone my body can't move on. I just struggle to comprehend what an unbelievably cruel situation this is.

I bumped into an old colleague this morning. I hadn't seen her for a while and last time she'd seen me I was heavily pregnant so naturally the questions started rolling. I told her what had happened and I could tell by her response that she was horrified. She then asked if I'd try again at which point I explained that 'actually I had a miscarriage last week'. Her immediate response, without batting an eyelid was 'oh, well it's obviously not meant to be, is it?'. What a thing to say!! Anyone who knows me will know the response didn't go down well and I retorted with a snappy 'I certainly hope it is meant to be' and explained that we want a baby more than she could imagine. It got me thinking, though... One of the things I'm struggling with at the moment is how many unplanned and unwanted pregnancies there are that don't end in miscarriage or stillbirth and here we are, desperate for another baby, and it's seemingly impossible for us to have one. Do those parents deserve their babies any less than we do? Or are their babies meant to be and mine aren't? I just don't know anymore. There's a part of me that feels having a baby is like a lottery system, there's no certain outcomes and no sure chance of having a baby at the end of it. But then there's a bigger part of me that is clinging to the fact that Emilie and our other baby WERE meant to be, they both had purposes and their lives weren't in vain, no matter how short they were. There is a part of me that hopes some of their purpose was to make me a stronger person, to make me reassess what is important & prioritise my life differently and to increase my capacity for hope. There is a part of me that is desperately hoping there is a little person waiting for us who exceeds every expectation we could have ever imagined. I just hope we don't have to wait much longer for them-this month would be nice ;) .