Monday, May 3, 2010

Refiners Fire

Why am I writing this?
Because there is more healing every time I talk about it...
Because It has been eating away at me like it needs to get out...
Because God is good no matter what,
He has a purpose and I need to remember that now...
and this is how I learned that...

How do I begin?
Daniel is ten months old now...

He still seems so little to me, partly because he still loves to cuddle, partly because he is bald, and partly because his brother and sister make him look little...

So I'm not yet itching to have another baby....

I realize this is normal for normal people, 
I think most people don't want another baby until the previous child is two or older...
and that is assuming they want another child at all, let alone three, or in our case four.

I wanted another baby very quickly after we had Isabella.  
Not immediately.
In fact right after I had her I was in such pain and shock that I was actually worried that Tom would be mad at me because I changed my mind...I didn't want anymore children...

For the first few days after her birth that was really how I felt.... 
I felt that way all over my aching, unrecognizable, leaking body.... 
was that last verb too much info???

I don't care...
No one had warned me...well... they may have tried but it didn't sink in.
I wasn't prepared.
and now you know how I felt... blindsided!
But I digress.

So after I got some sleep (and fell quickly in love with my daughter) I realized I would probably never do anything more worthwhile in my life than have and raise this little girl, and amazingly I wanted to do it again.

(I don't say that lightly, whatever I could do.. write the next great novel, make great works of art, win the Nobel peace prize... its still nothing compared to this motherhood thing.)

We found out Tommy was coming the day after Isabella's first birthday.
Bella was 20 months old when Tommy was born.
And we were thrilled, over the moon, a boy and a girl.
Tommy's birth was easier,
I knew we would have more children eventually.
Life seemed perfect as it was though and I intended to savor it for a while.

And then we got the shock of our lives, I was pregnant again 12 weeks after we had Tommy.

The bottom fell out.
I was sure I would never be able to handle three children so close together.
Understandably I hadn't even learned how to handle two.
I would be giving birth again the same week Tommy turned one.
As silly as it seemed I was upset I would take the spotlight off him, I wanted all my kids to have the same things, most of all the same milestones. I wanted Tommy to be celebrated on his first birthday the same way Isabella had been. I already felt like I was failing them all.
It was getting hard to remain calm.

Then I wondered what people would think.
Somehow the number of children we have and how close together we have them has become a thing that is debated in a public setting. I'm certainly guilty of asking people how many kids they want.
It seems like an innocent question but sometimes its hard being on the other end of it.
There are probably as many answers as there are people...

We are leaving it up to God.

We want at least five.

We want to wait until we can add on to the house.

We want another one... but we've lost two since our last was born.

We've been trying but we can't have any children.

We are done.

We are done... maybe

See how complicated this can get?
Here is my honest answer...

I want a lot of kids... I don't know that we'll ever know that we are "done".
Right now we are taking them as they come, one at a time.

I feel like this answer does not really please anyone...
let me explain.
It seems there are a few points of view on this subject where the church is concerned,
do we leave it up to God or do we believe in birth control?
What kind of birth control?
Of course nothing that would end a babies life after conception... but what does that include?
Can the pill cause miscarriage?
Possibly even before you know your pregnant?
As far as I'm concerned the jury is still out on that.
I've heard both yes and no from many different people.

I don't judge anyone who uses it,
I might be worrying for nothing, but I'm just not comfortable with it.

But I know that many people think that is crazy
So when I was twenty four I tried to answer in a way that would seem uncomplicated
rather than attempt to tell the truth. 

Well.... being pregnant with a 3 month old and a 23 month old speaks louder than words.
And obviously even I didn't "plan" on having that many that fast.

But God laughs at our plans.. He has his own.

So I let my emotions carry me away. I didn't pray or lean on God, I cried.
I told my husband over and over that I couldn't do it.
I said things I will forever regret about not wanting another baby so soon.
I knew I would love this child too, but I didn't feel that yet. All I felt was fear.
Fear of judgment.
Fear of pain.
Fear of responsibility beyond what I was capable of handling .

I calmed down at some point but I never felt the way I did when I was pregnant with my other children.
I would randomly have a fit of tears and panic. My heart was not in the right place. I'm not saying fear and worry aren't normal emotions for me to have had... but I didn't turn them into prayers.
I let myself wallow in them and turn them into pity and depression.

On our 3rd anniversary we dropped the kids off at there Grandparents for the night and we headed out for a date. We were going to hear the heartbeat for the first time and then to dinner. 
I remember not being at all concerned that they couldn't find it,
we were only eight weeks in and that was normal.
I was just disappointed since it would have been a nice memory for our anniversary. 

Little did we know at that point we had already lost him.
When we found out at 13 weeks by sonogram that there was no heartbeat,
we also found out that he had stopped developing around eight weeks.

It was a Friday in June. My doctor told me to take the weekend and think about what we wanted to do.
 D & C or a "natural miscarriage".
I had no idea what all that really meant.
We cried and tried to calm down. It was easier to be calm in front of the kids

This picture was taken of them that weekend. Its funny how you can't forget things like that.
I went to bed that night and lost it, I cried forever.

I woke up the next morning early and in pain.
No choice. It was time.
I am not writing this to upset anyone but I never knew what people meant when they said they had a miscarriage. I thought maybe a bad period?
Maybe worse.. but early on I guess I though "how bad could it be?"

I didn't know what was about to happen, I just had awful cramps so I got in the shower.
What happened next was like a mini labor and delivery...
ten times more terrifying with none of the joy... in my bathroom.
I screamed for Tom. there was so much blood and it wasn't stopping.
Tom called 911 and then his little brother to come watch the kids.
He was just a few miles away and was there in minutes.

I was rushed to the hospital, and they stopped the bleeding,  and sent me home.
I went on with my day, even to a graduation party.
We didn't tell anyone but our parents and the older siblings because we didn't want to ruin the day for the younger kids.
It was hard to pretend, but in some ways it was easier too.

We got home that night, and got the kids to bed.
Moments after they were in bed the bleeding started to get bad again.
Even in this I feel that God is so good...
they were in bed when it happened that morning,
and now they were in bed again... they never saw anything, they were never scared.

I however thought I was going to die, I had never seen so much blood.

My mom flew to my house to be with my kids. I don't know how she got there so fast.
I thank God for her because at least if I knew nothing else I knew my kids were safe.

This time Tom rushed me to the hospital, we knew we could get there faster than an ambulance.
When I got to the waiting room the receptionist didn't understand what was happening...

I kept trying to explain that we had been there that morning, we had already lost the baby.

She told me to sit down and someone would call me back.
I pointed to my feet and said I probably shouldn't walk on the nice new carpet.
Blood was pooling and I was furious and dizzy.
She got it and called a nurse... and then we started all over again with the explanations...

The Doctor came... who could hardly understand me.
He was awful....  spoke English badly for a doctor.
He didn't understand and by my third attempt or so I was getting scared I would die trying to explain that this was not a normal miscarriage
this was something else.
Finally I said he needed to see how much I was bleeding
He started to protest, as though he was embarrassed.
I threw the sheet back anyway and showed him.
Every time my heart beat I could feel more blood pulsing out of me.

My mother in law came then, even though it was the middle of the night and she had just hosted a grad party for three or four hundred people.
She talked me through the pains.
She prayed with me.
She calmed Tom down.

She later said to me that she never understood why God had allowed her to experience the pain and fear of miscarriages before we met. But she had thought even then that maybe someday she would need to draw on that loss to help one of her daughters through the same thing.
Maybe there was some strange healing in this then?
God used these hardships to create a bond.

In two hours my blood pressure was dangerously low and I was taken upstairs for a D & C.
I didn't care if I never woke up I just wanted the pain and fear and sadness to stop.
I had to give Tom my wedding rings before going in,
that alone was enough to remind me why I needed to wake up.

When it was over it was still dark.
I sent Tom home to sleep and then I let it go.
All the fear and sadness.
I Begged God to forgive me for not really wanting this baby. I felt like I was being punished.

Even as I thought it.... it didn't ring true.

God is love.

I wasn't being punished and what I had said didn't cause this to happen.

But God did allow it when he could have stopped it.


Why does God allow suffering when he could spare us?

On this side of heaven we won't ever get that question answered completely.
I know that I am a better person for having gone through this loss.
And I think that is part of the reason.

I am more compassionate.
I understand something about loss now I didn't understand before.

I know what I have because I saw what I lost.
Even at only eight weeks this baby had fingers, toes, tiny little eyes.
No bigger than a kidney bean, but a baby just the same.
This "miscarriage" was our baby.

I don't take my children for granted as much as I might have,
my easy pregnancies with them are more of a blessing now and less an expectation.

My bond with Tom is stronger because we leaned on each other,
and my relationship with God is deeper now because, in desperation I finally turned to Him.

I was reading yesterday that when we suffer deeply a void is opened in us... we ache.
But we also realize our deep need for God,
He wants to come in and fill in the gaps that loss and tragedy have torn open within us.
He allows us to hurt so we will turn to Him for help.
God's "help" in my case didn't involve letting me have this child.
But in the end its forgiveness, and a place for me and all my children in heaven with Him...
if only we will choose Him... and ask for salvation.

The strange twist for me in this story is this...
 Daniel Elijah.
 And on the day before Thanksgiving God gave us the joy of hearing that strong heartbeat once more.
I have never been more thankful.

But I was struck by the fact that I couldn't have had them both.

The baby we lost would have been born just a couple weeks after we heard Daniel's heartbeat.

I loved them both, and it gave me comfort to know that God was in control of all things.
Because if God would have given me a choice... I couldn't have made it.
I didn't want to lose that baby...
but I also wanted Daniel.
And it was the fact that I couldn't have had them both that made me decide I didn't want control of my life,
It's a daily choice to give my life to God.
By praying, obeying, trying to bless others the way I've been blessed.
  I am not who I should be or who I want to be...
but its in the suffering that God will change us little by little helping us to be more like Jesus.

For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. ~Psalm 66:10

The Tree House

My.... uh.... the kids tree house is almost finished!
Tom is working late tonight... and since I miss him I will mentally relive the weekend.
Tom's little brother came to help this weekend... well younger anyway :) 
I think he's almost bigger than Tom now.

This is the view from my kitchen window..... now you know why I like to cook! 
I can see the whole yard from the kitchen so no matter where he is working I have an excuse to watch!
Not that I need one... 
he's mine.
The kids were all very content to be outside all weekend. Even the littlest.
Still unable to look at the camera....
Tommy watching the boys work... in about ten years this will be how he spends his summers 
with his Dad and Uncles... 
and probably his Grandpa too... he's in better shape than all of them!
I love that he will get to learn how to do it all for himself, like his Dad and both of his Grandfathers.
There is so much value in knowing how to work with your hands.
It's only by God's grace that we make it on one income, 
and it doesn't hurt that when something is broken I know that Tom can fix it or it can't be fixed.

The tree house is actually much farther along than this, I have more pictures tomorrow!

 I will leave you with deep thoughts...

~ When you live for a strong purpose, then hard work isn’t an option. It’s a necessity. ~
Steve Pavlina
~Early to bed and early to rise probably indicates unskilled labor.~
John Ciardi