Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Whirlwind

I’ve lost track of the number times I’ve driven to Georgetown/Pawleys over the last few weeks, but the gas has been so worth it for the memories made and cares lost. I’ve lost a lot of glum on the back roads of 527 through the butt crack of SC… it’s easy to see the world through happier eyes when the sun is shining, fields are blowing in the breeze, your hand is out the window, radio is up, and your on your way to see people who love you, coming or going. All that ughhh inside kind of gets sucked out and left in the dust behind you.

Whitney’s wedding festivities have been so fun. I came down for a much needed break back in early February, and again in March for Spring Break, but the first time we came down as a family this year was in April. Mak had a baby sitter there in town, the daughter of Whit’s mom’s best friend, and a family I’ve grown to know and love from my many pilgrimages down. She was in great hands as we attended a beautiful shower and barbeque on the Black River, and with Mak out cold, after a fun evening with Miss Taylor, we were able to bide a few more hours and go out to the Roost, the best little bar downtown and hangout. I was pregnant at the time and enjoyed decaf coffee and a breeze from the harbor, talking with friends old and new. It was a fantastic weekend, even with the speeding ticket Jake got in Kingstree thanks to a really ridiculous speed trap.

The next weekend was Mother’s Day and Mak made it memorable by getting me face masks and facial cream and asking to do facials with me for Mother’s Day. It was precious and totally her idea. She even insisted on a cucumber. I was an emotional wreck that week as the feelings left over from the miscarriage came bubbling up. I was moody and teary and- just a hot mess. I was so grateful for the next weekend as I left Friday for the bachelorette weekend.

We stayed in a condo at Litchfield, 6 girls, long time friends. Friday we watched cheesy wedding themed movies, shared blankets, and chilled. We talked on the roof top and did a whole lot of nothing. Saturday we work up and dressed for the Lingerie Shower, sipped mimosas, and smiled for pictures. We left, changed out of our dresses, and went to Murrell’s Inlet for lunch on the water, in the midst of bike week, then came back to the condo to rest and get dressed for a painting lesson and heading out on the town. We started off the evening at a place called Pallete to Palate where we sipped wine and champagne and painted a Mahi-mahi step by step. We went to Myabi’s, a shnazzy Japanese steakhouse where the flirty chef felt really bad about splashing me with soy sauce. :/ We ended the night with trip to my favorite hole in the wall- a restaurant and bar tucked into the woods, where live oaks wrapped in white lights draped in Spanish moss, surround a little deck with a little stage. And I let my hair down. There was an abundance of shots (as is the case anytime there’s a girl in a bride to be sash) and so we had a night we will always remember. The ride home the next day was interesting, considering a wreck on that old back road sent me on a wild goose chase through the middle of no where, and my head still pounded a little and my car still smelled a little like the Bride’s tossed supper. I couldn’t help but smile.

In between this and the actual wedding was EOG testing, the epitome of stressful in the teaching world. My kids did great (I guess- how am I really supposed to know since I can’t really know what’s on the test) and I made it through the week. A last minute trip to the nail salon, quick packing, and a few blinks later, we were on the way, the three of us, plus my parents following behind. The wedding week was a blur- bridal luncheon on the river (more mimosas and smiles for the camera by the river), rehearsal lead by a pair of sassy church ladies, a gorgeous rehearsal dinner complete with perlo and low country boil and many great toasts, and then a late night trip to the Roost again where we all flirted, laughed, and joked for hours. The next morning, wedding day was full of hair appointments, dressing times, photo times, and then finally the ceremony itself. It was such a great wedding. At the reception, we sipped a signature drink- the Slingshot- a  yummy berry/coconut concoction that matched our dresses and was named after a Myrtle beach attraction where the bride and groom went on their first date. I got to catch up with so many friends from over the years, and I was glad my parents got to see me and my Georgetown friends together and why I love them so much. I danced with groomsmen (including this ridiculously flirty WestPoint boy from NC, ha, bless his heart), Trey (graduating law school), Kaith (a Teaching Fellow like myself, now breaking hearts as a high school history teacher), Brandon (a doctor, just completing his PhD, and obviously, I spun around in the arms of Jake, who danced with Whit’s mom and anyone else who was willing to twirl. We Harlem shook, Zach (the bride’s brother) booty danced Grandma, and I pulled him around by his suspenders. It was so. much. fun. There was bumping and grinding, swinging and twirling, low dancing, and of course, the Cotton-Eyed Joe. Thank goodness for that WestPoint boy because I just can’t hang with Jake when it come to the Cotton-Eyed Joe, he’s just too good. :) We covered the car in graffiti and filled it with balloons. Whit covered my face in icing, deciding she wasn’t done yet, after she attacked her groom. Makinzy had the freedom to play with the other kids her age and dance too, but she got so disobedient, mean, and grumpy (we still can’t quite put our finger on why she came so undone), that we problem-solved and put her to bed on a pallet in a dark back room and she was out like a light in no time and we danced until the last song. We would have went to the Roost, but we took Mak back to the hotel (still asleep) and we conked out. Sunday was spent tanning, sleeping, and playing ball on the beach before we drove back that night.

Clearly we were tired when we got back and planned our day off on Memorial Day for unpacking and catching up after the crazy week that was.

The end of the school year is always a wild ride- a fast paced haze of events, and you’re so busy it’s hard to know of you’re coming or going. Add to that the craziness of a 4 hour drive each weekend, you can say I’ve been in a daze. But I’m so glad I’ve had this whirlwind. It’s pulled me out of my slump, helped me make great memories full of laughs, and I can keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Summer is just around the corner. :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I know.

I got a Focus on the Family email today with the subject line something to the effect of “Do you know God’s will for your life?” and it kind of struck me.

I’m not really the “why am I here?” kind of person. But I answered the questions immediately yes. Yes, I know:

  • It’s His will that I love, cherish, respect, and partner with Jake.
  • It’s His will I guide Makinzy as her mother.
  • It’s His will that I am currently a teacher, and His will I landed at MICS, a school where my students keep me refreshed and inspired. Where parents and coworkers show support and concern. He’s also the reason I know I won’t be a teacher forever, because I know it’s His will that I do something else, and I will wait patiently for that door to open, listening for His direction. But, until then, I know it’s His will that I bloom where I’m planted and make each day worthwhile, right here, right now.  Accepting His will in this has left me feeling complacent, in the best way.
  • It’s His will that I learn to trust Him, that I lean on Him, and find peace in His promises. He’s allowed heartache to draw me nearer. I can’t say it was His will that we have lost three babies, but I do think it’s His will that I develop an unshakeable sense of trust in Him. If this is what the world’s thrown at me, I know He can use it for His glory.

I know. I do. I sang this morning- I know Who goes before me, I know Who stands behind, the God of angel armies, is always by my side.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

This week has been tough for me. Insomnia is raging, a problem I'm not use to having. Despite a tiresome day, I've been laying in bed staring at the ceiling til 4 AM, reading to keep my mind from going  into those dark places grief tries to beckon you down. Then, once I do finally fall into sleep, I find myself  shaken by Jake or jolted awake by the alarm. It's been wearing me down. 

Yesterday, in the midst of finalizing Mother's Day plans, grumpy from my lack of sleep, frustrated by the idea of the holiday, this idea of celebrating the woman who birthed you, a job I continuously fail at, I mourned finally. I screamed. I cried. I thought of the missed moments, both with my three in heaven and with Mak, missed first words, missed poopy diapers. I seeth every time I read posts complaining of swollen ankles and stretch marks of pregnancy, late night feedings of newborns, or the terrible twos, because, let's be honest, I am so incredibly jealous. Those missing milestones nag at me leaving me feeling inferior as a woman and a mother, not to mention failing at carrying a child. Not good enough for the title, the role, the burden and blessing of the name Mom. I watch pregnant friends whizz through 9 months and suddenly land the mom-crown, quick and painlessly, fully respected, proudly showing the title. But me? I look sideways through narrowed eyes wondering deep down if everyone thinks I'm not really a mother, just a woman nice enough to raise this kid that's not mine. I'm just a "good person" who is doing the right thing. The idea that I somehow don't deserve the chance to experience the whole deal. It is a ridiculous fear, a stupid internal battle to fight, but it plagues me nonetheless. But somehow, today's sermon spoke right through this animosity in me.

Bro. Chip, our pastor is known to be a teacher-preacher. His sermons are not topical but rather chronological, as we dive into scripture. Just because of a holiday, he rarely goes off on tangents or out of the plan to suit the day. We've been in the middle of Isaiah, so today we happened to be on Isaiah 55. He discussed the troubled times in which the prophet lived, the danger and uncertainty, the prevalence of sin and corruption. The similiarites to today are striking. He then discussed mothers' role in shaping children's moral fiber, fighting the culture war so evident today. it is true. We are in the midst of war, a clash of core values where secularism seeks to stomp out the faith in more than just music and movies. Mothers are not just about wiping stinky bottoms and framing ultasound pictures. And it is foolish to think you define a mother by her baby wearing and nursery decorating skills. Planting God's word in the heart of your child is your ultimate job, and in doing so, you will train her up to be confident yet humble, respectful of all people, and equip her to go out into the world ready to make a difference. It's the seed time and then the harvest as it says in Isaiah 55:10 and 11.

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

What hope this brings! I've been so blessed to have a godly mother who taught me right from wrong, self respect and humility, courage, and love. She never once failed to let me know that everything she did was to mold and shape me unto a Christ-like woman, strong and capable of whatever life would bring. My mother in law has done these things for my husband, and now embraced me as well, ever ready to listen with an open heart, quick to share wisdom and love to help guide us and point us in the way. Likewise, my aunts, grandmothers, and other family friends have also worked hard to set the example for me, embodying the description of a woman described on Proverbs 31. Their success as women has not been defined by the things mothers do, but by the example they've set for me in who they are as Christains and showing me the kind of person I was made to be. It's planting these seeds. My role is Makinzy's mother isn't defined by her baby scrapbook, missing of course, nor the hours of nonexistent labor, but the time we've spent praying together, writing the words of God on her heart. Praise Him for this chance to change the world.  

Mother's Day was great. Saturday night, we went out to eat with my mom and we did facials and baked cookies before bed. My sweet mama has a way of soothing my spirit, and spending time together was priceless. My mother in law came over after church. We had pie, and the kids did dishes while she and I talked books over coffee. Then, Mak and I spent the evening cuddling and pinning ideas for future bedrooms (mermaid theme), sleepovers, and crafts. I've been so blessed to fight the war. Motherhood is war, and victory is sweet.

                         








Thursday, May 09, 2013

Next chapter.

I don't know what's wrong with me. I haven't been able to cry or even sleep. I just stare. I don't know if it's because this is the third time, or if maybe I just expected it the whole time, but for whatever reason I don't sleep, or cry... I just get lost in my books.
This time did not turn out like I expected, of course. Nothing does. We had planned surgery for Monday but I guess my plans have a tendency not to come to fruition because Sunday night it started. Makinzy was already asleep so my sister in law came to stay with her. Mama came and we went straight to the ER.
The ER was initially a bit traumatizing. I didn't have to wait and went straight to triage, and then back to a room and immediately met the doctor who was very different than what I wanted, though he was in the end exactly what I needed . He had olive skin and seem to have that demeanor that reminded me of House, smug. Strange sense of humor. He made me lie down. Like, he patted the pillow repeatedly until my head hit it. They could couldn't decide what to do with me at first, and I could tell he was a little frustrated because he didn't have my records. He wanted to do a pelvic exam and ultrasound, which I thought was completely pointless. Fortunately, he was able to call my doctors and get the story and my history. So then he was talking about admitting me. He went ahead and did the pelvic exam (awkward to say the least) but then afterwards seem to really show concern about why I was miscarrying again and again. He reminded me of House, still, how he wanted to figure out the cause, brainstorming aloud. He was factual and practical. Then, he shared stories of his own family, about his and his wife's miscarriage and even stayed with us to talk long after he was off the clock. His words? This sucks. By the time I was wheeled to the big room where I was to spend the night, being monitored until the preset surgery time, I didn't want him to go, because his sympathy was legit without being suffocating , and he did seem to have true desire to figure out the reason why this is happening to me. 
The surgery went well later on Monday and I was able to stay longer in the room and recover. I was not in the day of surgery unit where I am usually booted out of soon as I can stand up on my own. They are notoriously sweet there, but they move you quick. No rush was nice. I guess that helped the healing time. 
Since I've gotten home I have had a real of aversion to sympathy. I don't like the hugs and awkward looks like "I'm So Sorry" and such. What's the most meaningful to me, what has helped most gas been the quiet acts of kindness, a hug, a simple I'm thinking of you, a joke, telling me something unrelated to death or grief, simply normal conversation and company, living life to move forward. I don't want to hear anything about sympathy or sadness or bad things. I just want to go forward, which is one major reason I'm going to go back to work tomorrow, Friday. I think seeing my students and returning to normal life will help me get out of that rut. Earlier today I received a delivery at my door, one of those edible arrangements, from a group of parents, a few women just saying we look forward to seeing you back at school. It wasn't an "I'm sorry for your loss, thinking of or praying for you" ...it was just we want you to come back, welcoming me back to normal, and it meant the world to me. Does any of this make sense?

I guess when your heart has been broken so many times it eventually gets a little rubbery. Maybe it gets a little flexible, instead of breaking it just gets stretched. Or maybe this is just the elephant in the room that I'm avoiding. It could be maybe somewhere when I least expect it, when I least have planned for it, I'm gonna collapse and break in about a million llittle pieces of grief, all because I've chosen not to do it. 
I guess we will have to wait and see.
I'd like to think my heart is too stubborn for that.

As for me and God, well I guess we're okay. We're not really talking that much. It is not that I'm angry with God, I mean I guess I am a little... I know it's completely irrational to blame God for this, if anything I should be running to His arms and not away from Him... but I'm just kind of standing still. It's like that quiet time after you've had a fight with someone you love. You're sorry, they're sorry, and you know they care and you love one another. But it's just too fresh, too recent, too hard to talk about. Because words are not enough. You simply hold hands, stare out the window, and keep on going, knowing it will be okay eventually. There's been no gigantic rift in my relationship with God, so I am just kind of on hold, pressing a pause button. I haven't ran away and never will.  I'm a child of His. Just a kid needing to sulk. 

I wish life was more like a fantasy novel. A book of fiction where you can always turn the page, you can always read a summary, you know there's always a resolution to the conflict. I think those of us who like to plan and see the end before we get there always love to disappear into a book. Literature seems to be the only place where things make sense, where the denouncement always happens after the falling action. 


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

2013… the better view

I just looked back on my last 10 or so blog posts and realize dhow much I use my blog to leach out the sadness of miscarriage, the pains of adoption, the frustration of the teaching profession. The ICK of life. But where’s the good times? The smiles? The joy? So in true self-therapy style, I’m pulling out photos of happier times, dwelling on blessings.

Fun times with great friends.
My daughter’s excellent school musical. She nailed her solo… :)
Beach days, even when it’s chilly. There’s something about Pawleys Island…

My students are remarkable. They made bracelets and cards for kids at Levine Children’s Hospital, delivered them, and skyped with a patient, too. They wrote and preformed Shakespeare puppet shows for the little ones, and I was so proud of them.
Our church family continuously provides us with love and laughter.

Fancy dates (even to work functions) never fail to make me giddy and excited.
Homemade Red Velvet Birthday Cake.  Enough said.


Snow days and family fun.
Gorgeous mornings in the south.
Mother-daughter pajama parties.Saturdays with these two.

2011, 2012, and 2013 have been so hard. But I can’t forget, they’ve been really, really good too.

Crushed.

I knew from the moment I looked at that positive test, we could be here again, and no matter how hard I tried to fight the urge, I still fell in love with Sweet Pea. Worse, I let Mak fall head over heals.

When we were setting outside of the Ultrasound room, my heart pounded so hard, I could hear it. And I’m not being metaphorical. My foot twitched and I gasped for air, nauseated. I scrolled through texts and Facebook posts, letting myself feel the prayers surround me. Jake’s hand stilled mine. An eternity later, my feet were in the air and I closed my eyes. When I opened my eyes, I saw  something like this on the screen:

NOTE: This is NOT my ultrasound pic, but a Google image that most closely resembled what I saw… I didn’t get one.

Anyways, the tech clicked and measured and typed SAC and clicked the dimensions. I kept waiting for her to press the magic zoom button and see my baby’s silhouette. But no matter how much she clicked, zoomed, and wiggled, I never saw it. I looked panicked at Jake and said to the ceiling, looking away from the screen, “It’s not there, is it?”
The tech said no sympathetically and explained she just couldn’t see anything but an empty sac, that the doctor would tell me more.

Here we were. Again. A third time. I stared blankly at Jake as I got dressed and said so flatly, what will be do?

They gave us a private room to wait in for Dr. Peach while he finished with another patient, instead of sitting in the waiting room. The table was unfortunately directly in front of a mirror and I could see my face, the sadness, and it made the tears come. I couldn’t call my mom… I can’t hide my pain from her, so I knew the sound of her voice would make me loose it. So Jake sent our moms texts. I know, a sucky way to hear, but for us, the best.

Soon we were in Dr. Peach’s office, who confirmed what we already knew and outlined the plan we already thought through. Confirmation blood work and ultrasound at the end of the week and D&C at the beginning of next week. I thought of calling Glenn, my boss, but decided to wait. He & his wife have been through this a few times. I immediately started sub plans in my head. I want(ed) this over before End Of Grade Testing and before my best friend’s wedding. I felt anger and frustration at the thought of the lost week with my kids, the week in bed, in a post-anesthesia fog mentally fighting to stop myself from going down the dark road. I don’t want that fight again.

When I lay in bed or on the couch post-miscarriage, I can’t grade papers. I can’t read. I don’t even scroll Facebook or troll mindless websites. I stare. I look at the ceiling, and spend hours telling myself all reasons I can’t and won’t go into the darkness. I remind myself I can’t withdraw, I can’t hide, I can’t stop living. Metaphorically or otherwise. I name names of family and friends who have reached out, and tell myself not to let them down. Mostly, I sleep and dream of nothing. It’s better than letting my mind wander.

I am so broken. I am so tired of this fight. I don’t know if I can beat the darkness this time. I want to be angry and manic and kick and scream and stop living. But I know better, so yet again, I’m going to suit up, put on my boxing gloves and fight the desire to give up and get lost in the despair.

I believe in the power of prayer. I don’t know why our prayers for a healthy baby were unanswered. I don’t get it. I can’t. I know that God’s timing is perfect, but it seems like He’s skipping out on me. I know that’s not it, my faith is stronger than that, but my heart is just sooo crushed. My head can’t wrap itself around it, so I’m just going to have to trust Him. It’s  all I can do.

“I was sure by now
That You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say, Amen and it's still raining.
As the thunder rolls,
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain, "I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls, I raise my hands
And praise the God who gives and takes away
And I'll praise You in this storm and I will lift my hands
For You are who You are no matter where I am
And every tear I've cried You hold in Your hand
You never left my side and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm…”