Heart Talk: Pregnancy after Miscarriage

posted on: Sunday, May 27, 2012

27 week bump with my little handsome 
(Sometimes I hold back from writing certain things because I just don't know what is appropriate to share with such a large group of people and what isn't. But recently my mom encouraged me to write to my Gran, and my family in Texas because this blog is pretty much the only way they can tell what's going on in my daily life. So, here it goes, several bursts from my heart. It's going to be a jumbled mess...)

The past month or so has been so wonderful and so emotional on so many levels. Several sweet readers have written to me asking if I am alright or telling me that they miss my posts. First, thank you for asking. :) You are so kind and sweet. Nothing significantly crazy has happened. We are super good, the baby's healthy and Kael is thriving in his new stages of toddler-hood. I've been trying to be present in every moment with him, enjoying every second. I've been going through layer after layer of processing my own heart and trying to enjoy the moments, simple and extravagant alike. My hands have been busy making dolls. I love making things that make people happy. And, making some extra money on the side is pretty amazing, even if it's just a little. ;)

This pregnancy is the most precious time I've ever had in my life, and it's also the most delicate, confusing and quite honestly...painful time as well. Nothing can be helped, the fact is, immediately after I lost one baby another one started to thrive. One week,  I'm on top of the world, ready to write and create my heart out.  The next, I'll get lost in my thoughts as I stare out the window, washing dishes or typing a blog...then I'll just bend over and cry for 5 minutes because I still don't understand what exactly my heart is feeling. I'm fine on the outside, but I'm the strangest abstract painting of emotions on the inside.  So much so that I don't even get it.  I still miss the baby we lost in November. It's the silent fact that screams at me everyday.  It still feels like it was just a couple weeks ago and not 7 months. And yet, I have never felt more love for my new baby boy, don't think that any of that negative emotion is reflected on him. I feel that this pregnancy is more sacred and cherished to me, even more than Kael's was. Not because this baby is more special,  I just realize how fragile life really is on a new level now. 

I've battled with lots of fear the past months, I'm not gonna lie. That's hard for me because my whole life, I've never really struggled with that consuming emotion, not like this. Is fear even an emotion? I don't even know. Whatever it is, I constantly have to push through it. The other night I was getting ready for bed and I smelled something awful, similar to, but not exactly like the discharge I had the night before I started bleeding with our miscarried baby. My chest got tight, and I went to bed inwardly paralyzed with fear. Then I started cramping. (Which is pretty much a normal thing during pregnancy...especially round ligament like cramps/pain.) On top of that,  the baby decided to take a nap for a good 30 minutes and not move.... that combination had my heart racing. I couldn't sleep until I felt him wiggling again.  The next morning, I woke up to him trying to have a dance off.  I knew everything was fine. But, it's just that added tension that is wearing my heart out. The continual wondering, and constant bug eyed look when something feels off. 

A lot of the time, my mind, even when it's still, has these feelings and thoughts constantly running through them, even when no one else can tell. Sometimes, it feels like I need to overcompensate in my own being for the unsteadiness and unsolved concoction of emotions that I feel. Overall, I have always been a positive person. So, it's been really strange for me, in the long run, to daily deal with, well...a broken heart. I mean,  even as I write that one phrase, "broken heart," tears start filling my eyes so that I can't see what I'm typing. It's frustrating to me. I don't want this beautiful pregnancy, with my beautiful baby boy, to be all about what we lost, who we lost. That doesn't seem fair. It doesn't seem right. But then it doesn't seem fair to forget Windland and act like he or she never happened, does it?  I've tried to push the whole experience of us miscarrying to the furthest place in the back of my heart.  When I do that, it ends up building and smoldering, until it eats through all my happy times and it's worse. Then, I'll try and accept what my heart is going through. Then I feel like I'm obsessed with something so tragic and sad, not fully being able to rejoice in the moments.  I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the oxymoron of being devastatedly crushed and being ecstatically elated at the same time.

I have a tendency to over analyze myself, to the point where it's just pretty much ridiculous. I've always longed to be the friend and person that is easy to be around, encouraging and no drama policy. Lately, I feel that when people see me, they see the naked, confused brain of mine, trying to figure herself out. Of course they probably don't, but another weight of pressure is placed on my heart by its own self. You know when you get a bouquet of roses or some sort of flower. Right when they are on their last leg you barley touch them and a blob of petals just fall to the table. That's what I feel like. I still have color, a little more droopy maybe than normal, but have any close contact with me of any real substance and a part of me will fall a part. Is that a good analogy? Well, it works in my brain and that what I feel like so often.

I'm not walking around like a big soppy mess. I promise.  My heart truly has been thriving and growing in joy and love in so many places lately. I really have been having some of the most precious, happy days lately... This new little dreamer of mine has truly been the sweetest gift. I can say that now. At first it all seemed like a cruel joke. What do you do with anger and grief when a new little life enters the middle of it, needing and deserving your joy and love? What do I do when every stage of him growing sweetly inside of me would be a kiss and a knife to my heart at the same time? Loving my heart to hope and goodness and then a reminder of what I would never feel with the little soul we lost. What do you do with that? "Oh, he moved SO strong just now!" Instantly my heart might linger to the place of, "I never got to feel my other baby move like that and I never will..." Yes, I know, why go there? Why torture myself? I don't know. I'm not doing it on purpose. Talk about being confused and feeling guilty. Can't you just enjoy the baby you have now? I am, I promise... How can I feel so empty and broken but so "my cup runneth over" at the same time?  Heck, I have no idea. It's a mystery to me.

Even with our sonogram of finding out if he was a boy or girl, it was tainted with fear. Finding out the sex of the baby wasn't in the forefront of my mind. I had prepared myself so hard for something to be terribly wrong, that when HE was healthy and strong, I was in shock for a good 2 days. Allowing my mind to just relax and enjoy was disturbingly difficult. Everything is just...different now. Everything. I just wanted to sit quietly somewhere and not talk. All I wanted was to think about what had just happened.  "My baby is ok. His heart is beating and it's healthy. He's alive. He's going to be alright. I'll actually get to hold him and kiss his face. It's alright Jess, this is real, it's not a mean joke."  But instead of just going with what I needed, I overcompensated to my own brain and forced a bouncy, happy, go lucky attitude. That means I'm happy about it, right? Oh, Jess...when will you learn just to be what you need to be in the moment instead of what you think you need to be. Don't get me wrong, it was a precious day that is one of my favorites. That looming factor is just there and sometimes I frustrate my own self. 

I had a long talk with Sam the other night. (I have the sweetest husband, seriously.) Well, more like he listened to me for 2 hours, verbally process all of this. He ended up telling me that he didn't think my heart had allowed itself to fully process, grieve  and realize all that had happened with losing something, no, someone so precious. I've somehow convinced myself that I'm just fine and dandy. The confusing and sad thoughts that invade my mind at many hours of the day don't count. I just mark the good and happy ones. Does that make sense? It's like I'm trying to control the feelings of my heart. It's like trying to hold back the late afternoon tide with an open 8oz sized plastic baggie. But, somehow in my mind, I'm convinced that works so, I do it again and again. Why am I verbally dumping so many raw thoughts right now? I don't know. Maybe because I can see how my heart has, in some small ways and in some big ways, already healed and mended back together in certain places the past 7 months and I want to have something to compare it to the next 7? I also know that sometimes my heart finds release when I journal and document what is going on. The first post I did helped me in countless ways. Maybe I am just a little desperate again...reaching a point to where I can finally admit to myself that I'm still walking through certain valleys of heartbreak. Grieving doesn't mean you're not rejoicing. It doesn't mean you don't see the good. In a way, I think it shows how much you cherish the good maybe? I've had several amazing hearts write to me asking me how I've coped, healed and walked through this chapter of life in miscarriage etc. I don't know. I feel like I'm still trying to figure that out myself. I will say that educating myself on healthy ways the human heart grieves and the importance of each stage was vital to me. Also, not pushing away the reality of WHO you lost was and is crucial. I wrote a letter to our lost baby at a certain point that released a huge part of my heart. (I still every once in a while will write Windland a note when I feel my heart needs to. I even pray sometimes that Jesus or angels or whoever does that in heaven will hold my baby extra close and kiss him or her goodnight for me. That may seem weird, and maybe it is, but for me it helps.)

I'm not writing this mile long blog to really do anything but let some of my thoughts escape from the cage of my brain and soul. Maybe some of the splatters from their impact on this screen will make sense to me later on and even seem beautiful in a way. I know it's a jumbled mess, and Lord I know it's wheezing in the "making sense" department. But, I felt that an update on the progression of my emotions with everything was needed. Maybe half of one of these long winded sentences might in a weird way encourage a girl having gone through something similar. Empathy. Just knowing someone else if feeling something close to what you are feeling can sometimes be more healing that a thousand encouragements. Sometimes empathy is the best gift. 

I will tell you that in the past few weeks, the reality of my new baby boy has hit me like a mac truck. I am so head over heels in love with him. For the first time in my entire pregnancy, I had a beautiful dream about him. I had a great birth, and experienced the first weeks of his sweet little life. It was precious. I actually saw his sweet face, crystal clear. We bonded. So much so that when I woke up, I was a little disappointed because it was so real that I reached over to our co-sleeper hold him and then I saw my belly. Haha. He is such a gift to my soul, more than I even understand. I cannot tell you how every fiber of my body yearns for that first moment when I get to hold him. I ache to feel his little self in my arms.

I'm so thankful this baby boy of mine is overly active in m'belly. I used to sigh and pray that Kael would be still for a little while so I could sleep more easily. Not with this baby! Every repetitive movement is therapy to my soul and a kiss to my heart telling me that he's ok. Every hiccup and flip has the effects of reminding me that he's coming, for real and so truly. He's my little gift, treasure and oh how I'm going to treasure every freaking second I have with him.

How do I sign off on this? haha. Um...well, I don't know. I kinda feel strange at the flow of this entry. Maybe I won't post it. Maybe I will.

Jess, feel what you need to. You're loving the best, most beautiful you can, your babies know that. Don't over think yourself please. If you need to take a 10 minute break and cry, do it. If you are enjoying the h*ll out of your day and your week of pregnancy, that's ok and fantastic! Love is love, through pain and through joy. You'll express it in tears, both happy and broken. You'll feel it in heartache and in new life. Let love just be love and go with it.

"...even darkness is light to you..." psalm 139

Dinner Helper

posted on: Friday, May 25, 2012

I don't know what has happened to me. Perhaps it was the mice scandal that kicked my booty into a cleaning, cooking and all things purged and organized mode. They say it takes 2 or 3 weeks to form a new habit, right? Well, Lord let me tell you, it's a miracle to my little mommy soul. I wake up every morning to a sparkling kitchen that I cleaned the night before and a living room that is tidy and clean! Whatever it is, it's fabulous! I'm nesting hardcore and just able to keep my little home more spick and span, with way less mental effort. With that re-found housewife awareness, the love of meal planning and "from scratch" cooking has resurfaced. Who knows how long it will last, hopefully it will carry through the birth of baby boy #2. While I'm at my pinnacle of womanly confidence (I have to giggle at myself right now) I am milking it for all it's worth.

I'm finding that being a mom of a toddler and pregnant, requires more intentional effort for me to do things outside of the ordinary and mundane. Most of you are probably like, "duh." But, for me it's finally resonated in my soul. Another 6 months will zoom past me and carry me away with it, unless I purpose otherwise.

Anyways...the purpose of this blog post wasn't for me to share my heart thoughts on coming out of the little shadow of the everyday tired syndrome that shades many of us tired mommies. It was to share a snippet of a precious memory that happened this week. I decide to make another one of The Pioneer Woman's yummy recipes, "Cajun Chicken Pasta" for my brood of boys. I had a little helper and I quickly grabbed my camera to freeze time for my future self. Kael LOOOOOOOVES helping me cook and bake. It's precious and the biggest joy explosion to my heart.

Take that right there, "Kael loves to help me cook." Would it be faster and probably less stressful to just keep him out from under foot and prepare meals and treats more quickly? Heck yes. But, taking the time and allowing him to stir that bowl of egg stuff for the quiche, or dump that cup of diced peppers into the pasta, that is holding onto my moments and enjoying him. It's the sugar of my soul. It makes life all that more fabulous and enjoyable for both of us. Are there days and meals where he wants to help and I just don't have the energy or bandwidth to do the whole shebang? Of course. But intentionally stopping my 'busy' flow and enjoying my son is the most precious treasure I have and I'm learning to really have a lifestyle of cherishing his moments.

As far as dinner, oh my gosh, SO DANG GOOD! I added fresh corn corn on the cob (a bit in the pasta and on the side)  seasoned and slightly blacked to the pasta! It was YUUUUUUMMY! You should try it! You can click HERE for the recipe. :)

Hope you have a lovely weekend filled with amazing simple moments!


Beach and Babies

posted on: Friday, May 18, 2012

Beach, beach, more beach and lots of babies.

My first beach trip this summer was with my sweetest friends Anna, Kate and Lauren. Anna was photographing a wedding down in Hilton Head and invited us to adventure with her, enjoy her beach front hotel room and be beach babes while she worked. It was dreamy, last minute and crazy, but totally worth it. Sam watched Kael for me so I had a baby free weekend, soaking in the sunshine and the waves. We literally spent ALL day Saturday outside in the sun. Heaven. My heart experienced some of the most precious talks and inspiring conversations that weekend. Seriously, those girls are beyond amazing. Sometimes, I take a step outside of myself and look at the beauty of hearts surrounding me and I get overwhelmed. They are too wonderful. We spent Sunday in Charleston, laughing, exploring and eating yummy food. 

Anna bought this preggy a super amazing pina colada. We sipped them and soaked up the rays as we talked about anything and everything to do with being a creative crazy.

Can I just say the forecast was supposed to be stormy. We got sunshine, gosh dang it! Boy did we soak it up! Anna, you are the coolest.

Lauren and Kate, two of the most treasured hearts ever.

I found some pretty cute maternity shorts at Target, the night before we left...stoked about how cute they looked on. This was pretty much my travel and away outfit of choice, the whole trip. (I'm not usually a stripe girl, but after all...I was riding down with Anna...the stripe queen, so I couldn't not. ;) )

We stood in line FOREVER to get a tasty bite of the famous "Jestine's"!

Zip on ahead to the following weekend... 

Jessie and I ran a booth together at a Music festival, we rocked it. I sold a couple of dolls, some jewelry and ate way too many festival food items. 
We were pretty much festival goddesses of vintage and handmade wares and things. I love my Jmath.

Now Wednesday rolls along... 

My girlfriends and I had an AMAAAAZING beach trip last year. If you remember, we did this last year and the time had come to have part 2. (you can click here,  here  here and here to recap last year's adventure.) It had been in the works for a couple months and now, along with our 10 babies, we were going to brave a 4 bedroom beach house and see if we could turn up sane on the other side. haha. Can I say, thank you Jesus for portable car DVD players? Jessie and I piled our 3 kids in her mom wagon and it was smooth sailing for 3 hours, thanks to that amazingly divine contraption.

We had a great beach house, with a pool and lots of space! The mornings were precious with bed headed toddlers everywhere, ready for snuggles and mischief. The afternoons were slightly insane, but fabulous. I pretty much prepared my mind for a mom trip  and not a "lay in the sun and relax" time. Kael was kind of intimidated by the water and had a pensive expression on his handsome face most of the time. But, as long as he had a purpose or common mission, aka digging a "community toddler sand hole" or filling a bucket up, he was good. My heart was bursting watching all of the kids play together and squeal. I've known most of our babies since they were in the womb, so it was extra sweet getting to spend 4 solid days with them and their mommas. I love them all so, SO much. They are treasures. 
Beach kisses.

First day of the beach trip. He didn't move for almost an hour. haha. He sat there, ankles crossed, filling his bucket with sand.
He actually took a mini cat nap like this! It was divine. All you mommas of toddlers know how precious and rare this moment was.
Group project: bucket filling. 

Our last day at the beach...
What happens when babies nap? spontaneous dance parties erupt of course...   ;) (left to right, misty, lindsay, jessie, lissie and me.) 
left to right: Sparrow, Isabel, Yaden, Micah, Kael, Tillie, Arrow, Wilder, Henly (His momma Tiffany) Noah Fox. <3 I love all of the so strong. 

Morning story time

Kael having morning snuggles with Aunt Lorni
Evening group dinners...my fav. 
Ocean water is pretty much all awesome for my hair AND... I braided some shells into a few locks. They are still holding up strong.  
24 weeks

Once night settled in and all the kids had been fed and sent off to dream land...it was party time. Not really, most of us were so exhausted from the day that we ended up eating treats and snuggling up on the couches, talking the hours away. One evening, a few of us went for a late night beach walk. It was divine. We ended up running through the tide, screaming, doing spontaneous, solo dance routines and cartwheels on the beach and through the waves. The moonlight was our spotlight and we were all little girls without a care in the world. The ocean is a new beauty to my heart. It's just been in the last few years that I've gotten to know it. Every time we meet, a part of my soul breathes a little more clearly and calmly. That night was one I'll remember forever. We ended our walk talking about the faithfulness and goodness of the Lord in a big group hug. Being carefree and spontaneous with heart friends is so magical to me. 

Moonlight beach dancers. (Caitlyn, me, Lissie, Jessie and Anna who is taking the pic.) 
Being new to beach culture and ocean ways, I didn't know little boys could get chaffed by the sand. :( Poor little buddy, by day 3 he was pretty much done with the hot sun and ocean grains. When I changed his diaper, I noticed he was so red and raw from the sand, I had had no idea. So, the last day he and I spent up at the beach house cuddling. Once he went down for a nap I spent those 3 1/2 hours at the pool that was attached to our little bungalow napping, swimming and yes bronzing my skin. 

I don't know about any of you girls, but dang, when I have a tan I feel a HECK of a load more sexy and 5 lbs lighter. I have naturally olive skin anyways, but when I get some good quality time with my friend the sun, mmmmm fantastic things happen. haha. I'm sure everyone says this, but one day, I really do want to live on the beach or close enough to go everyday. I love everything about it. 

I left our "mom vacation" a day earlier than I had planned. My heart missed my guy so hard and I could tell Kael was ready to be home. Every morning he would wake up saying "Da da?!" His pack n play was half in the corner of my room and he always thought my roommate and friend Lissie was Samuel under the covers. Until she would roll over and smile at him. Then, he would get a confused look on his face. haha. Being separated from daddy, while in a TOTAL "Daddy everything" season was kind of hard for us both. 

I got home late Saturday night and found Samuel bleaching the kitchen. Mice. Yep, our kitchen had been invaded. It was war. Safe to say our kitchen is now the most sanitary kitchen in Charlotte. That episode with the rodents gave me the kick in the butt I needed to get my nesting on. Ha! There were 3 mice. They are very gone now. GROSS! Ugh. The next evening Sam busted his elbow open, trying to set a trap under our stove...a trip to the emergency room at midnight, 7 stitches and 3 hours of what turned out to be a comical "date" for us, proved that war on mice is a serious business. ;) (Thank you "Uncle Jason" for coming over and crashing on our couch at the last minute so we didn't have to wake our little stink bug up!)

So many iPhones pictures, and nutshell stories. But, there are some fun snippets for the past month!  :)