Thursday, April 6, 2017

Infertility and Miscarriage: My Thoughts

I thought I would be 40 weeks pregnant today, not 21.

Grieving a child you never met is a process I'm still figuring out. Being pregnant soon after a miscarriage brought excitement that I should never feel guilty about, but it overlaps two concepts in my brain. I don't constantly think about my second child anymore because I'm about to have, Lord-willing, a second-born child. That does not- in any way- make that second pregnancy less important. If anything, I continually remind myself that my husband and I had the privilege of loving a child with a very short life on earth in a world where innocent children don't have complete protection in the womb. We waited over a year for that child, and we waited a year and a half for our little girl who is about to be born. We have learned God's sovereignty through the whole process.

Although miscarriage and infertility effect many homes, supporting families who are suffering is still difficult. Many families suffer silently, others share the struggle with a select few, and some find solace in sharing widely for others to comfort them and join in their road to healing. It is not for outsiders to choose or condemn how a family chooses to give or withhold details. But what can others do?

1. Stop assuming everyone is fine.
We all know the question "How are you?" can be said without care. Too often it is just something we say. But it doesn't have to be. Everyone is facing some kind of struggle, whether big or small. We need to stop taking fine as an answer. There needs to be a willingness to ask for prayer (and it doesn't have to be specific), and there needs to be a genuine person asking. If you know someone is suffering, instead tell them that you are praying for them- but only if you truly are. Prayer is something we all need.

2. Stop asking questions about having children.
To be honest, for one year solid I had people asking me every week about having a second child. There were jokes, questions, insinuations, and remarks. Some were genuine and innocent, but I wanted to hide from people- and sometimes, I wrongfully did hide. I wish people would have commented on other things instead of making me feel like having one child was incomplete- like what a blessing it was to be a mother. I felt like God had brought me far in my contentment with the size of my family, and then I would have a talk with someone and feel like I was falling back again. We need to affirm the blessings in other people's lives instead of trying to know the next juicy gossip topic or delve into subjects that have a high probability to make someone uncomfortable.

3. Build genuine relationships.
I already touched on this, but be actively building relationships filled with openness and love. If someone knows you to be a wise and loving person, he or she is more likely to share and confide in you. It should be no surprise that someone never told you of a deep struggle in their life if the only things you talk about are local news and the weather. If you do know of someone going through a trial or grief, find ways to encourage and build up your friend.

4. Give real hope.
At times that I did share of the ongoing painful situations I was facing, I received a mixed bag of bad advice and misplaced hope. I slowly learned over time that my hope could not be in having a child. Even if I received that child, I would find that true joy cannot come from anything on this earth. God gives us blessings, and we can be joyful with the things and people God places in our lives, but unless we find our joy in Jesus, we will never truly be satisfied. And that hope does not disappoint. It is the hope of eternity with Christ that can comfort every believer. Share that with anyone suffering, especially if it is a trial you have never faced. Tell them that you will pray that the love and hope of Christ will comfort them in their distress. Those who pointed me to Christ glorified God and left me encouraged to keep fighting for joy.

This list is not exhaustive, and my experience with miscarriage and infertility is my own unique situation. My fears and anxieties over my children still exist, and I still have to fight those emotions daily. I want this to be an avenue for us all to be unified in the body of Christ and open up discussions for growth in our relationships with one another.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Every woman is somebody's daughter

The posts about leggings and yoga pants have finally calmed down on my newsfeed. I've been looking forward to this time! If you missed out (which you really haven't), videos of women venting and articles discussing the ethics about such clothing have circulated quite a bit. Although you can probably claim correctly that I have been slow to write on this subject, I purposefully opted out until now.

You see, as one who has grown up in many Christian environments, I have literally heard it all. I have been a model example in some churches and schools, and I have been deemed irresponsible and inappropriate in others. I have sat under lectures comparing our purity and modesty to a gift-wrapped box and preached about the evil nature of jeans on women. Sadly, I am not exaggerating one bit.

The subjects of purity, modesty, and beauty changed dramatically when I became a mother.

When I see and hear a women ranting about the leggings on another women, I remember another situation where I literally experienced the same thing when I wore leggings to school. It just wasn't as witty as the trending videos. Thankfully it didn't destroy me or even bother me, but only because God helped me through it. Now, imagine your daughter being the cause of a viral video. Imagine the source coming from a classmate. Why do we disconnect these thoughts? Every woman is somebody's daughter. Every person is an image of God. Despite our nature as image-bearers, our image feels delicate to us. If we truly felt the confidence God gave us, these destructive videos and articles would not effect us. We are in a fallen world, though, so they do.

I know several of my friends have shared these things- so many, in fact, that I cannot number them or point them out. I do not want anyone apologizing to me. Instead, I'd rather you just evaluate why you post things before you choose to do so.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Finding my inner superwoman

Fighting the "mommy wars" is getting tougher for me. I will admit it. Scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest breeds my sinful tendency toward discontent all too easily. I sadly have to take frequent breaks or else my heart gets overwhelmed. I have many friends whose honesty only encourages my soul, but I have many whose lifestyle intrigues and ignites my desire for more. The fault lies within myself; I am desperately wicked and have no need for people to sin for me.

My problem is that I see beautiful superwomen around me and not in myself. Oh wait, nope. I see myself instead of God. Blame shifting is much too easy. Society would probably say that I don't have enough self-esteem, but I can only guess at that (I'm not much of an expert on society). I do know, however, that God desires more for me than to find peace and satisfaction in who I am. He has a much more beautiful portrait in Himself. The God of all creation and life finds perfect companionship and contentment in Himself, yet He loves me more than I'll ever know and has indwelt me with His Spirit. He has chosen me as His child. The Gospel frees me from "Mommy Wars" of comparison and discontent because I can find total satisfaction in Him. 

I am a broken person. I do not have perfect health, I do not have tons of money, I don't have a huge home, and I don't even have a paycheck. But when I look at Christ and realize that He has equipped me for my purposes each day, I am complete. I have no need to be a superwoman.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Look for that encouragement

Today is just one of those days. Zoey did not sleep well last night and won't sleep well today. Every project I start, I can't finish. I have a whole colony of ants invading my kitchen. Overwhelmed? Just a tad.

Sure, when I look at that perspective how could I not be discouraged? I'm tired, and I don't have things my way. Encouragement is close, though, and I choose not to look at it.

Encouragement knocks everywhere. Your Bible, your husband, your child, your home, your wallet (yes your wallet!), your neighbor, your family, your life. We don't have it as bad as we think. Sure some bills might not be paid, and your child may not be sleeping well, but you have food in your kitchen and a little one to make you smile! Some people's lives are definitely harder than others- I cannot argue otherwise. I know moms whose children are really giving them are hard time, and I know wives that long for a child to make their days crazy joyful. When we look at our blessings as difficulties we will nearly always be discouraged. Turn those complaints into thankfulness. Are you thankful for your job simply because it pays the bills? There you go. Are you thankful for your family? There you go. Are you thankful for your peanut butter and jelly sandwich? There you go! We'd much rather have a steak, but don't let your mind wander there.

My husband reminds me of a verse so often that sometimes I can hear him say it in my head before he does verbally,

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

This blog post is obviously rushed, but I needed to "preach" it to myself and thought I'd share it so that I was accountable to it. Choose joy and thankfulness! It's about time I do. Well, my daughter is starting to wake up, so now is my time to act upon this encouragement I had so readily available to me. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Zoey Means "Life"

                Zoey’s labor and delivery was filled with so many emotions for me. You can only prepare so much for such a big day because even the smoothest pregnancies can result in a complicated delivery. One of the biggest helps for me was praying that I’d be flexible with what would be best for our little Zoey instead of what I wanted. Anyway, now I’ll answer some really common questions.
Did I have the natural birth that I wanted? Not completely- I had an epidural for part of it. I wanted to make it to active labor before I got one, and I ended up getting the epidural part way through, but I let it run out before I started pushing. Does that mean I am weak or a bad mother? No, and neither do I feel bad that I got one. My contractions were so close together that I had no time in between to prepare for the next wave of pain. I knew I needed some relief or I wouldn’t have strength to push. I was in labor for about 20 hours, and I had an epidural for about 5 of those hours. The nurses kept joking that I had both a natural and a medicated labor! My biggest goal for this aspect of labor was not to use pitocin, a drug that makes your contractions stronger but can put your baby at a stronger risk for fetal distress. Since I was pushing for so long, the nurses offered it so that she could come out faster, but I declined and am still glad I didn’t even though I pushed for over 2 hours.
                Big question of the day- did I scream at Tyler? No. He was my biggest help and support by far. I couldn’t have done it without him, even though the nurses were amazing. He was everything I needed and then some. I snapped at the doctor, but besides that I just screamed when I was pushing! I think I freaked Tyler out a bit from that…
                Was it painful? Um, yes. I don’t think any mother would say otherwise, but I could be wrong about that.
                What was the worst part? Well, in retrospect I think the very last push, but it was met with extreme joy, so it was over pretty fast! Other than that, recovery was actually very hard because I didn’t expect that to be difficult. Going into active labor comes in at third.
                Becoming a mother is not something that happens in a day. I think God made pregnancy lengthy for a reason! Although I don’t miss being pregnant, it really was essential preparation for me. I kept thinking about the verse John 16:21, “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” I was very curious to see how this would play out in my life, and now it has such a different meaning for me! I cannot describe at all how I felt when they put that slimy and warm little girl into my arms. I always wondered why moms didn’t mind the gross slime, but now I know that you don’t even think about it! You just want to cuddle that little being! I have taken care of many children in my short life, but none have been such a joy as this little girl (and some of those children were extremely fun!).  In Greek, Zoey’s name means “life,” and her life has given our lives such a different meaning.
Now, the detailed version. If you'd rather not hear labor and delivery details, I've given you fair warning, but I promise I'm not that disgusting!

Zoey’s birth story doesn’t start out very dramatically, but don’t worry- there’s plenty of drama and suspense throughout the rest of it to keep it exciting…all at my expense, but all totally worth it!

September 19th
1:00 pm- I started realizing that I was feeling contractions, so I started timing them and found out they were about 15 minutes apart and not very painful.

3:00 pm- My contractions were now 10 minutes apart, and I had to decide if I would call Tyler to come home or let him stay at work and hope that I wouldn’t need him when he was in the middle of traffic. I knew that Tyler would rather have me call, so I did and asked him to come home at 4. Boy am I glad that I did!

4:30 pm- Tyler got home and my contractions were about 8 minutes apart and still not painful. We decided to just relax and watch a movie. So of course we were mature adults and had supper in bed and watched Emporer’s New Groove on Netflix. My contractions started to get more intense and closer, so I just tried to stay as comfortable as possible.

7:30 pm- I was starting to get anxious from just sitting around, and my contractions were 6 minutes apart from our calculations, so we decided to get all of our stuff together and go to the hospital.

8:30 pm- We arrived at the hospital, and the nurse brought us to the assessment room where I found out that I was 3 cm dilated and having contractions that were 2 to 3 minutes apart. I was originally 2 cm so there had been some progress, and we were really excited! She had us wait an hour to see if there was more progress, so we hung out in the room expecting to get a labor and delivery room really soon. Well an hour went by and there was no progress, and the doctor on call and the nurse wanted to send us home! To say I was dismayed is an understatement- I was crushed. I felt like this was the real deal, and that I would be progressing fine. I told Tyler that I could not go home- I just knew that I couldn’t. So after tears and long talks, the nurse said that we could stay til midnight, and if there was still no progress we agreed that we’d go home.

September 20th
12:00 am- After walking as much as I could to see if that would help, the nurse checked me, and I was 4 cm! We were so relieved. A few minutes later they brought us to our labor and delivery room, which felt like heaven at this point. I wanted a nice long soak in the tub and a much better bed. My contractions were getting much stronger, and they were still 2 to 3 minutes apart. The tub felt good, but I was not feeling okay anymore. I was starting to have a hard time breathing and walking through the contractions, so I took to my bed (which no longer felt comfortable).  The nurse came in around 1, and I was 5 cm. She said that whenever my water would break, it would BREAK. And BREAK it did at 1:30! It was gross! After that, I knew I needed an epidural. My contractions were so much more painful, and they were so close together that I was throwing up and shaking uncontrollably with no relief in between contractions. (Contractions are better if you can relax, but the shaking was keeping me from being able to relax.) The anesthesiologist was in the middle of a c-section, so I had to wait until 3:00 to get an epidural. It was the hardest hour and a half of my life (well, until later lol).

3:00 am- The best time of the whole pregnancy- sweet relief. For the next 5 hours I progressed about 1 cm an hour roughly.

6:30 am- I had my last dose of epidural because I wanted to be able to feel the contractions when I was pushing.

8:00 am- Fully dilated! We thought we’d see our sweet baby girl in the next couple hours. The nurses decided to see if she would naturally descend a bit more before pushing, but we couldn’t wait anymore- I had to push.

10:00 am- I was pushing…and pushing…and pushing. At first I was a little hesitant because I didn’t feel the “urge” to push like people say you do. But then I was so ready to see her that I gave it all I could. But then I just kept pushing! I was starting to hyperventilate so Tyler started giving me oxygen in between pushes. Then I started going numb in my face and hands, which made the nurses worried (although they said they weren’t concerned, you don’t call a doctor in unless you are). That made me concerned, too! They decided that they had no idea why I was all numb, so then they focused back on pushing. I had about 5 or 6 other nurses come in recommending different pushing positions, and I ended up with a big bar over my bed. I put my feet on either side and then they wrapped a sheet around the middle that I pulled on. Odd, but it worked best for me. Then the doctor came in about 2 hours into pushing. Ugh. She came in demanding that I push when I feel a contraction and ordering me around very rudely! I wanted her out. The nurses were doing perfectly well, and she was being mean. So I said something snippy, and she left. Finally about 20 minutes later our daughter’s head was half way out, and they made me stop so that mean doctor could deliver her! I waited about 5 minutes for her to come, and I couldn’t wait longer. I kept pushing. Which made her more angry. Lovely doctor. Then about 10 minutes later I had the most excruciating pain of my life, and my little girl was suddenly in my arms! For some reason, it shocked me. Tyler said my face went from extreme pain to ultimate happiness in about 1 second. She was so beautiful, and she was ours. I will never forget that moment. Ever.

11:48 am- Zoey Mae Eason was born into the world :)

                                                                  First day photos

Our little family

So much beautiful hair!

My favorites :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Transition Stinks (And so does this title)

Writer's block and reader's block? I didn't think that was possible, but I have both. I have started to write about 5 posts since my last published one and never finished any, and I have picked up even more books only to slam them down in frustration. Could this be a pregnancy symptom? I'm positive someone has claimed that somewhere. I fervently agree with my husband- if there's a symptom out there, some pregnant woman has claimed it as a pregnancy issue.

Are you like me and completely abhor transition? When you know a big life event is about to happen, but it isn't yet? I should be a pro at that by now. I mean, I've had many life events in the last 5 years alone, but I still fail miserably at entering a new phase of life without discontent or sub-par performance during the current phase.

The difficult thing is that I don't know our daughter's birthday. Due date, schmue date. Hers is September 26th, but I'm a fan of odd numbers so I'm hoping for different anyway. My birthday is on the 9th of the month and Tyler's the 25th, so maybe she'll follow the family tradition- who knows? The main point of this rabbit trail is that usually I know the date of my "new life phase" to get me through my scheduling and to-do list extravaganza.

So, if I'd connect this to something in the Bible that would teach me how to handle this, who would be the obvious example? Christ and His ministry before the cross. I'm not feeling quite up to comparing myself to Christ tonight, so I'm going to go with Paul. I just read about his conversion in Acts 9, and I love reading it every time I come to it. Paul had stores and stores of knowledge about the Bible in his head, but God put him through a time of transition where he traveled from place to place and received good and very bad feedback. I'm sure his time of transition from persecuting the church to expanding the church was beyond difficult.

I know this is a simple thought, but with my heart tonight, simple is all I can give. God is really stretching me and teaching me and rebuking me right now. I don't want to lose heart during this time, and I need your prayers if you think of me!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Flutters? More like punches.

It's been a while friends, but as always I have good reasons.

Pregnancy took a sick nose-dive at 6 weeks and steadily sucked the life out of me and gave it all to our little one. Well, that's what it felt like at least. It's a lot different being sick when there is a purpose, but it's still difficult! Around 12 weeks I started getting more energy and at 14 weeks I started being less nauseous. I still have days that are extremely hard, but being a mother is such a privilege. Tomorrow marks 16 weeks, and I say with all seriousness- time is going fast!

In the last week I felt this rolling nudge in my 'stomach', and I tried not to get too over-anxious about thinking it's the baby moving. Then, another day I felt the same little 'flutter' as many people call it- it didn't seem like a butterfly touch to me! It was around the same time of day, too- a few hours after supper when I had been resting for a while. Two days ago I felt it again, and that's when I knew. It was our baby! Tonight as I sit here typing this, I feel like I can sense a little movement again. Makes me wonder if we've got an active little boy (especially with my raging appetite!), but a spunky little girl sounds fun to me, too!

I know I have not had a difficult pregnancy so far, and yet I know that some people do much better than me (and it's still hard not to be jealous). This is the perfect time for me to learn new wonders about God and to be humbled by His grace, no matter what kind of pregnancy it turns out to be. My husband reminds me almost every day that yesterday is done, and we don't know if we have tomorrow. What we do know is that God has given us today, and it is our responsibility to do it right.

Our journey as parents is starting it's course. In about 2 1/2 weeks we are moving to a bigger(better) apartment, and hopefully in 3 or 4 weeks we will have our first ultrasound! Please keep us in your prayers. Parenthood is a noble responsibility, and it starts before birth!