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Walking in Darkness: Part 2

** The contents of this post may offend your sensibilities, gross you out, and/or not be something you wish to fill your pretty little head with– you have been warned. **

Walking in Darkness

If you follow my blog at all you are probably wondering… part two? What was part one? Well I am getting ready to revamp the blog a little bit and that also means renaming some of the previous posts and giving them a featured image that makes more sense. Here is part one, if you missed it last time. Now, on with this post:

I have NOT been coping well with my mom’s passing– when I should be turning toward God I find I am more inclined to turn away. I used this analogy recently to explain my feelings about God right now to a friend of mine:

You know those movie or TV scenes where Person A is angry, sad, scared, etc– feeling lots of hard emotions– and Person B, who may or may not have anything to do with the feelings Person A is experiencing, either approaches or just happens to be in the way of Person A and Person A lashes out fiercely against them? Incoherently screaming at them, beating them hard in the chest, unleashing all of the pent-up rage that has boiled up inside for too long? And Person B, stands there and takes it, eventually trying to restrain Person A–not to protect themselves, but to protect Person A– because Person B knows the rage and emotion comes from a primal place of fear, sadness and longing and really they aren’t trying to restrain Person A so much as they are trying to embrace them and let them know they are not alone?

I am Person A. God is Person B.

But I am still raging.

BLAH BLAH BLAH, I know God didn’t CAUSE my pain and BLAH BLAH BLAH it is not right or okay to be angry at Him and BLAH BLAH BLAH again and again with all the things people say to you when you tell them you are angry at God.

Just because I know it, doesn’t mean I feel it AND it doesn’t help to hear it again– you are not telling me something I don’t know.

Eventually I’ll let God embrace me but not right now– I can’t.

This isn’t meant to just be a rant about God but it felt like the place to start before I moved on to why I am really writing.

On March 5, 2018 my husband and I were informed the heart of our 8 week little life was no longer beating.

Yes, I was pregnant.

Yes, I just experienced a miscarriage.

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The only photo of my precious child before their heart stopped beating. 2/23/2018

But because my body had not “purged the tissue on its own” I had to do it with medication. I had to FORCE the husk of my unborn child out of me. Wanna guess how you do that?

Let me just tell you. You shove four little pills into your vagina as close to your cervix as you can get and lay flat for four hours and wait for the meds to do their thing. My doctor also prescribed me a percocet so I didn’t have to feel the gut wrenching physical pain of forcing the miscarriage to happen. So then I wake up, deed having been done, and deal with the weirdest period ever for the next week, week and a half.

That’s how, IDEALLY, it is supposed to happen. Except I woke up, four hours later and nothing happened. SO, I got to take the remaining two pills orally and wait to see what would happen– and this time, I didn’t take a percocet. I get very nauseous when I take medication like percocet and vicodin so unless I am going to go to sleep immediately after taking it, I would rather be in pain than be sick.

So I felt every massive, gut-renching cramp as my uterus seized up and spit out the amniotic sac with the tiny little fetus inside. It was by far the most horrific thing I have ever experinced.

Apparently, 1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage… I realize that is only 25% but that seems high to me… especially since I know of only like FIVE people in my life who have openly told me (or the world) they have experienced a miscarriage/still birth. This means there are a LOT more women out there not sharing their stories… and as a result making us ALL feel alone during these tragic moments.

Just as a side note, we should most definitely not be doing that to each other– or ourselves. I’m not saying walk around introducing yourself like, “Hi, my name is Valerie and I’ve had a miscarriage. What’s your name?” That is obviously silly, but the notion behind it is not. What do we have to lose by being open about this sort of thing with our sisters? What do we have to gain? Personally, I think there is a lot more to be gained. #sisterhood

Back to the regular scheduled programming: Here is my pain. My mom is gone– that hurts like hell. We accidentally get pregnant, there is mixed emotions of elation and fear not to mention thinking about how my mom will never see this child, but I warm up to the idea. This baby will be a light for me, for my family, for all impacted by my mom’s death. Then in an instant it is gone, the little glimmer of hope, the bright spot in my darkness vanishes, and I am left wondering why give it to me, to us, at all if it was just going to be taken away? The cherry on top, though? The one person more than anything that I want to comfort me is gone…

Gone.

I have not been coping with my mom’s death well and this latest devastation is making it harder; I am still fiercely beating my fists against God’s metaphorical chest as one thing after another comes crashing down on my head.

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.

— C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Even one of the greatest giants of faith struggled with fear and grief at the passing of his wife in the 60’s. I, too, still have much to wrestle with and I am sorry if you have become collateral damage in my path of grief– please allow me some grace while I walk, or sit stubbornly, on this dimly lit or darkened path.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

— Revelation 21:4

I cannot wait for this day.

But this isn’t a post about how to find yourself during a time of great turbulence or how to make your way across the desert unscathed– it is not that kind of post because I have not found myself and I am only 50 yards into the desert and I have already hit a cactus, been stung by a scorpion, and scorched by the sun… I have not yet made it to the other side to tell the tale or hope and redemption.

But I believe these stories are just as important and are so rarely told be cause everyone likes a good “happily ever after”. It is important to know we all struggle, and trudge, and trip, and get snared, and plummet, and bruise, and scar, and collapse. It is important to know there are times when others, like ourselves, do not see the light at the end of the tunnel, but hold out hope that it is there and plod along, however slowly or circuitously the journey may progress.

I am already making great strides, though! I started writing this post in anger and stubbornness because I was unwilling to be anything BUT angry and I wanted to VENT… then as I wrote, something amazing happened. I began to feel a little weight lifted from me and I felt freer than I had in a good long while. Just like the fortune I randomly decided to keep in my phone case shortly before my mom passed away says, “…sorrow shared is halved” I believe sharing my feelings here has helped me to wrestle more completely with them. If you get one thing out of this post I hope that it is to find whatever method of halving your sorrow works best for you and pursue it whole-heartedly– and you are not alone. Unfortunately for all of you, that means you get to hear from me more.

Don’t be afraid to share your mess.

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Loved and Not Alone (pt. 2)

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

Thank you, one thousand times over, to everyone who reached out to me after I wrote my last blog post (and the prequel to this little diddy– so go back and read it before you start on this one). Your words of hope and solidarity were so overwhelming for me that I wish now I had posted it sooner rather than held back in fear and heartache.

I promised you my story wasn’t over last time; there was a lot that got me to the point I could post about my fertility issues and I intend to keep my promise and share with you my more recent story.

After August I still struggled off and on with the general feelings of discontentment wrapped around my dysfunctional body but it began to die down significantly as I opened up to more and more people about my struggle which meant more and more people were praying for Patrick and me on this issue. But I think the number one thing that helped me begin to overcome my negative self talk was leading the student ministry at Central Christian Church‘s Glendale campus.

The Glendale campus is a LOT different demographically and culturally to the other four Central campuses located in the East Valley of the Phoenix Metro area. Glendale is in the West Valley– which, even if you aren’t from Phoenix, you know that there is always a sort of “rivalry” of lifestyle and demographic between east and west anything. The greater demographic of the area the campus is located in is middle to lower-middle class, blue collar workers, and Hispanic– again, a generalization of the area and not indicative of the entire population. I grew up East Valley, served/worked in East Valley youth programs, and I began to awe at a few of the girls that have attended our junior high program in Glendale.

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Courtesy of Central Christian Church Creative Arts Department

Working at the Glendale campus was my first ever exposure to working with students who were living in a group home situation. They have always been girls, and each girl I encountered taught me something new about resilience and faith and beauty that I don’t believe I could have learned on my own. Some of their stories were so so tragic, some were filled with hope and longing, and some stories I never heard but I know were creating deep pain in their hearts and souls– but I would still see them every Sunday, smiles on their faces (usually) and new stories to share with me.

I never knew my heart could open so wide.

It was my interactions with them that really got me over the hump. I knew that if I couldn’t have a child of my own that I wanted to love ones like that– ones that, of no fault of their own, had been cast aside or experiencing pain and loss. I thought that, if I couldn’t have a child of my own, I could adopt/foster a young person who just needed someone to believe in them and love them.

Patrick and I are friends with a couple who have been doing this for years– their niche is babies with special needs– and it has been such a blessing to watch the two of them with every child that comes into their home. They adopted one of the little angels not too long ago and are just the cutest little family you ever did see. But it isn’t always that rosy; two of the kids, brothers, they had in their home for quite some time and were in the process of adopting when suddenly they were taken from them with little warning and placed with family that had crawled out of the woodwork. Patrick and I had watched how it devastated our couple friend and we wondered if that was ever something we could deal with (this was all prior to my even knowing about my fertility issues).

My relationship with the young ladies from the group home changed that for me but Patrick was still fearful of that pain.

While we were talking about what it might look like to start fostering, we were also talking about going to a fertility doctor recommended by my new GYN. We had decided that once we got back from my brother’s birthday trip that I would schedule an appointment and see what our options were.

I hadn’t cycled in awhile (which isn’t weird, remember) and my brother was turning 21 on this trip so, just to be safe, I took a pregnancy test– you know, in case by some MIRACLE, God had decided to open up my previously dusty and difficult womb– fully expecting a “Not Pregnant” to appear on the screen.

Not even the obligatory 2 minutes later…

“Pregnant”

SAY WHAT?!

So long story short, I discovered God had finally deemed me ready to have a child of my own on a trip, to Las Vegas, to celebrate my brother’s 21st birthday. Ain’t that somethin’?

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Courtesy of Central Christian Church Creative Arts Department

As of today, Mother’s Day, I am 13 weeks along. This time last year, Patrick was celebrating mother’s day for me even though I didn’t think I could ever be one and now here I sit today, 6 months away from being one.

I know this isn’t the case for everyone struggling with infertility, but for me–

It felt like God was waiting for me to realize that even if I couldn’t be the mother of my own flesh and blood I could be the mother of someone else’s flesh and blood. I still fully intend to follow up on that with God and foster/adopt a preteen/teen some day. I wasn’t given that call for no reason, I know that. I want them to feel loved and not alone as I have come to feel over the past 7 months.

Thank you EVERYONE who has walked with us through this very difficult journey– you all know who you are– and we are so blessed to call you our friends and family. Welcome to my mess.