Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Shutter Release

About a week ago, I was thinking about giving up my photography "business." Just the mere thought of taking pictures, editing them, and turning them around to the customer on a given time line was enough to make me cringe. ...I know, that's awful... right? Now, I don't know if the stress of the business is really starting to get to me, or if it's just the "depression" talking... because to be honest, I haven't had much motivation to do anything productive lately in my free time.

But, alas, I had an outstanding appointment set up with a friend of mine to do pictures of her family last night, so I sucked up my lack of motivation and headed out the door with my camera... and something happened when I brought the camera to my eye. I felt something inside me come back to life (as cheesy as it sounds) and with each release of the shutter, I was feeling some of the emotional walls crumbling away. It became therapeutic... and our one-hour session turned into two hours before I even realized it. I think I might stick with the photography for a while, after all. I'm feeling the need to have a mini-photosafari... just head out one day on my own with nothing but my camera and see what magic I can capture.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ressurection Power

Today is Easter Sunday. I am so thankful that I have the ressurection power of Christ living in my heart and working in my life. Because Jesus died on the cross for my sins and was ressurected from the grave, I am granted the gift of hope. I am able to know with 100% certainty that my loved ones who have gone on to be with the Lord, including my angel baby, are enjoying a heavenly eternal life with my Savior. Where on Earth would I be right now if I didn't have that hope? I cannot imagine going through everything I've experienced over the last couple of months without the gift of hope that I have because of my faith. Now, I can only pray that all of my friends and loved ones (and even strangers!) come to know my God... that they are able to fully realize His love for them and accept Him into their hearts and invite Him into their lives. The only way to experience eternal life with God and our loved ones who have gone on before us is through the acceptance of Jesus Christ, and it's never too late to make that commitment to Him.

Besides, I hear that there's a pretty amazing little boy (or girl) in Heaven who probably looks a lot like Jason and I... and I just know you're going to want to meet him/her one day! Get your hearts and lives right with God so that you'll be able to meet your Savior and our precious little one some day.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Glimpses of Heaven

They're everywhere. Babies, pregnant bellies, prenancy announcements... everytime I turn around, someone is sharing some sort of baby-related news. Just in the past three days, one friend has announced pregnancy, two friends had sonograms that revealed that they are having baby boys, and two other friends gave birth to happy, healthy, bouncing baby boys. Being flooded with baby news, I'm actually feeling my pain beginning to subside a little bit. It's like with each new piece of news, it's getting easier and easier to handle and not stinging quite so much.

I am also feeling my body trying to warm back up to a normal cycle again. It's been 35 days since the procedure the caused the pregnancy hormone to begin to fall, and once the hormone is gone completely from your body, the pituitary gland can begin to release the hormones that cause you to ovulate and have a period again. I've been feeling crampy, craving chocolate, and spotting a little (sorry for TMI!), so I know that "Aunt Flow" is preparing to make a visit. I think that in a way, when I do see that my cycle is getting back to normal, I might begin to feel a little more "normal" myself.

Exercising has been a great mode of therapy for me. I think I may have began my career as a runner the other night as I was half a mile from the house on a brisk when I suddenly began to hear thunder rolling in the distance. I started running toward the house, and while my legs were shaking and my muscles were burning by the time I got home, I felt almost dizzy with adrenaline from running so hard... and I can see how that feeling might easily become addictive. Sometimes I walk with a friend and other times I walk by myself. Soemtimes I just feel like I need to be by myself... especially if I've had a rough day. That exercise time becomes therapy time for me to talk to God and take out my frustrations on the road. At the end of our development, there is a public road that extends towards a farm... and I love walking/running to the end of this road and back because it's so quiet (except for the occasional "moooo" from a cow) and beautiful. I've snapped a couple of pictures on my phone of especially tranquil moments that reminds me that God is real... Heaven is real... and my baby is in the arms of Jesus.

When I see glimpses of God's beauty in moments such as these,
I can't help but think and wonder,
"What does this look like from the other side of Heaven, Baby?"

Dear Baby,

This is your Mommy. You've been in Heaven for a couple of months now, little did we know. I have dreampt about you many times. I wonder if you wonder about your Daddy and me like we wonder about you... or are you too busy playing with your Angel Baby cousins or chasing heavenly rainbow butterflies or hearing stories and lullabies from Jesus and the angels... or maybe you're walking hand-in-hand with Nanny at her new place of Tranquility that I'm sure she's found in heaven. Regardless of what you're doing, I hope that Jesus has whispered my special messages for you in your ear like I asked Him to. I hope he told you how much I love you... how much I can't wait to hold you one day... how much you have been loved since the moment we found out you were in our lives. I love you with all my heart... to heaven and back...

Hugs & Kisses, Mommy

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Biggest Lie

The biggest lie that I've ever told, and that I'm really getting quite good at telling, is my response to the classic question: How are you doing?

My answer: Fine. <---Biggest Lie

I'm not fine. I'm not okay. It's been one month since I had a miscarriage and my heart is still heavy. It doesn't exactly help that the one month angelversary of my baby is sandwiched between two huge milestones for two close friends who are pregnant (a baby shower on Saturday, a gender reveal sonogram tomorrow). I'm so conflicted, because I put on the happy face and do feel excited for them... but with every ounce of happiness that I feel for them, I feel an additional two ounces of sadness for my baby that I lost. I wish I knew how to separate these feelings... I wish I could feel happiness for my pregnant family members, friends, and the new mommies in my life without feeling intense sadness at the same time. I just haven't figured out how to do it, yet.

When people ask how I'm doing, I'm not always so sure that they're sincerely concerned with how I am. Sometimes, I think they're only asking so that they will have the comfort and peace of mind knowing that I'm "doing fine." It makes others less uncomfortable to be around me if they think I'm doing alright. So instead of really opening up and answering their "How are you doing?" question with an honest response, I just say "I'm fine" and they smile, pat me on the back, tell me that they knew I'd be okay, and then quickly change the topic of conversation to something more palatable. ...Little do they know.

How am I doing? Do you really want to know? I cried three different times today. I feel intense envy towards others who are experiencing perfectly normal pregnancies. I am incredibly irritable and moody. I can't stand the sight of myself in the mirror. I spend way too much time researching every ailment that I've experienced over the last four months to see how they impact fertility/pregnancy/miscarriage. I have cleaned and scrubbed and dusted my house more in the last 4 weeks than ever since we've been married... anything to stay busy. I dream of running away. I love walking/running in the rain (and we've had plenty of it lately) because I can cry all I want without knowing where the raindrops end and the tears begin. My heart still hurts. Badly.

I am functional though... I'm just going through the motions every day. I get up, go to work, come home, make dinner, exercise, go to bed, and do it all over again the next day. I'm getting pretty good at putting on a front to appear that I'm doing alright. I just want to really, genuinely feel happy again.

I do experience the comforting embrace of my God when I turn to Him... and everytime I start to feel resentful or jealous of others and their healthy pregnancies/babies, I start praying for these babies and their mothers in an effort to redirect my negative thoughts... because I know that these feelings are not from God. I honestly, seriously want to feel nothing but happiness for them... but it's so hard. Just feeling overwhelmed with sadness right now... and maybe I'm just being super emotional because today marks one month since the miscarriage, but I can guarantee that these feelings are real.

Please keep praying for me.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Double-Edged Guilt

One of the strongest emotions (irrational as it is) that I've encountered through this ordeal of losing my baby is guilt. I continue to struggle with "What If" thoughts... and those particular thoughts really have a way of making you feel bad. What if I had found out I was pregnant sooner... maybe I could've made healthier changes to my lifestyle to be a better "incubator" for my baby? What if I had dealt better with the stresses of my life in January (losing my Nanny, unpredictable job situation)? What if I ate or drank something that was on the "No-No" list for pregnancy before I knew that I was pregnant? What if I had been at a healthier weight before I got pregnant?

Believe it or not, the last "What If" question that I listed about my weight has been one of the heaviest questions on my mind - no pun intended. When I was in the prep area for my surgery (D&C), my doctor came in to meet me and see if I had any questions before I was wheeled down the hall to the operating room. Although I was feeling numb for the most part, I still wanted to know, "What did I do or what didn't I do? How did I cause this to happen?" ...And his response to me was that it's difficult to say why it happened and we'll never know why it happened... but he went on to tell me that I do have a risk factor for miscarriage: I am overweight. Of course, I think my heart skipped a beat when he made that statement (not because it's a shocker to me; I've never been "little" and the word "skinny" doesn't describe anything in my wardrobe)... because I immediately began to think, "Oh my God. My weight could have been a precipitating factor in my baby's death." The doctor went on to explain to me that I should view the miscarriage as a "blessing" or "motivator" to lose weight and get back into shape... And one day when I'm thin and healthy, I can be thankful for this event in my life that caused me to get my act together. Now I have made several changes to my eating and exercise habits... but honestly, I'd give anything to have my baby back. I would even be content with carrying around 30 extra pounds of baby weight if it meant I would get to have and hold my baby in this lifetime. But instead... I'm down 15 pounds and the pants that I've kept in the back of my closet because they haven't fit in two years are starting to make a reappearnce... my face is thinning out a little bit, and that double chin is more like a 1.5 chin now... and I know that all of this should make me happy, but I just keep thinking, "None of this matters. No amount of weight loss is going to bring my baby back."  So yes, to sum it all up, I'm feeling incredibly guilty about my weight and how it could've had a possible impact on the loss of my baby.

I will assure you all, though, that the changes that I've made to my lifestyle are healthy. I've cut out all fast food, junk food, and I'm avoiding salty foods like the plague. Instead, I'm eating lean meats (lots of chicken and fish), nuts/seeds, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products (yogurt & milk), and fewer carbs. I'm exercising at least 4 times a week for approximately 30 minutes. Honestly, I don't miss the "junk". I still allow myself dark chocolate in moments of crisis (2 Hershey Miniatures, to be exact... nothing over the top) and still enjoy going out to eat on the weekend with my Hubby... but just being more conscious about what I order and how to balance it all out. My goal is to lose 30 lbs, so I'm half-way there. I think that a lot of what I've lost so far has been sheer water weight because of the rediculous amount of salt that I had in my diet. At the hospital almost 3 weeks ago, I barely could get my wedding rings off my finger before surgery (they HAD to come off... that was all there was to it). I was so swollen with extra fluid... and now, they slide right off without ease. All I can do at this point is try my best to get into better shape for the next pregnancy (whenever that may be). I guess I'm trying to improve my health in an effort to honor my angel baby, but also in respect for my future children. They deserve a healthy mother.

...Which brings me to my next topic of post: The dreaded question. When are you going to start trying again??? First of all, my friends, we weren't trying to get pregnant in the first place. It just happened. It was God's timing; not necessarily my/our timing. And to be quite honest with you, I had a lot of major stressors at the beginning of the pregnancy due to financial worries - no health insurance, a temporary job, etc. I would really like to continue improving upon my health by losing more weight and I would really like to get a teaching job for next year, complete with a nice salary and premium benefits before we start "trying". Those would be the ideal circumstances. ...But we have faith that God will provide children for us someday, somehow when He feels the time is right. I guess it's just a matter of "wait and see."

I talked earlier in the post about my guilt surrounding the miscarriage of our baby. While that guilt is awful to contend with on a daily basis, I've found that another form of guilt is beginning to emerge: I feel guilty for going on with my life. I feel so guilty when I go about my work day and become so engrossed in what I'm doing (because I love what I'm doing) that I totally forget about the fact that I've lost a baby. I feel guilty when someone tells a joke that normally would've made me roll on the ground in fits of giggles... and now, I try to stifle that laughter because HELLO, I'M A GRIEVING MOTHER! I almost catch myself covering my mouth when I begin to smile or laugh because I have lost my baby, and no joke or beautiful thing should make me want to smile and laugh right now... but I can't help it. And I feel so guilty about the fact that I'm moving on with my life. I'm pretty sure that my angel baby is in heaven right now hearing stories about Jason growing up from Grandma Caudill... and I'm sure that Nanny and Pappy have told the baby about me and what I'm like... and I feel confident that the baby would probably want me to go on with my life and stop all of this grieving... but I just feel so guilty for even believing in the least that I can actually get over losing my baby.

Through all of this... I have to say that my husband has proven to be more supportive and understanding than I would've ever imagined. When I found out I was pregnant, we instantly grew closer to one another... our relationship went to another level. And when I lost the baby, I was afraid that we would take a step backward in our relationship... however the opposite has happened. In fact, I feel like we've bounded through two new levels in our relationship through all of this. Granted, we've grieved in two totally different ways... but God has still brought us closer to each other through this. There have been days when I come home from work and just tell him "I need a hug," and he'll hold me till I'm alright. There have been nights where I listen to music and cry thinking about everything, and he'll speak Truth into my heart and remind me to turn to God during this time and not away from Him. He's been my rock through it all... and I'm so thankful to have him as my husband. He's going to make a great Daddy someday, he really is.

Friday, April 1, 2011


The Numbers Game:

15 - Number of days since losing my baby.
14 - Number of pounds I've lost.
11 - Number of family members and friends who are pregnant or just had a baby within the last two months.
10 - Number of people who have been in my shoes who have reached out to me.
9 - Number of times I've almost lost my composure in public because I overhear people complaining about their pregnancies or children. I'd give anything to be in their shoes.
5 - Number of days I haven't cried on the way to/home from work.
3 - Number of close family members, including my baby, that I've lost since January.
1 - Number of holes in my heart (and it's a really big one).
0 - Number of days I haven't woken up and absentmindedly touched my belly, expecting to feel a baby bump.

...But who's counting?