Lessons at the Royal Gorge.

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(The Royal Gorge – photo by Ted)

We’re facing some huge mountains and even deep valleys in our lives. (pun intended with this post, but I’m also quite serious) ‘The mountains’ being decisions we’re having to make and ‘the valleys’ representing the areas we have yet to face that we are afraid to, or “haven’t had time” to. We are weighed down by life’s punches and blows, the sudden ones and the old blows that still ache with each breath. Today, we just knew we had to get out – literally.  Where better to run to in Colorado than to the mountains? It’s always our favourite escape. We begin our trek usually not knowing where we are going – letting go of (almost) all control (which is why Ted drives in such circumstances), we drive until we decide where to go and what to do. More often than not, our kiddos fall asleep within the first 20-30 minutes, we roll our windows down to take in the fresh air and just listen to music.

After some time, one of the two of us speak the vulnerable, powerful words that carry so much…”I’m so sorry…”and reach for the other’s hand. Hot tears stream down our cheeks.

Here we are again, and again, and again.

So much pain and suffering shoved to the side, overlooked, or perhaps avoided, raising it’s ugly head in words spoken to one another. And life, oh life hasn’t been gracious to stop to say “Hey, it’s okay to grieve. Let’s talk. Let’s cry. Let’s scream. Let’s write. Let’s take time to heal.”

It’s been brutal. And boy, are we done.  But not done with LIFE and with LIVING. We are done with SUFFERING. Suffering, not just due to the losses we have had, but mainly the suffering due to the choices we’ve made along the way. Ones of avoidance, choices made to choose the busyness of life so not to feel and face the valleys, the deep and dark places that terrify us.

The first few months of this year have been incredibly painful, filled with sickness after sickness, hospitalization of Everly, and amidst all of that the loss of another baby (I would entering my 2nd trimester this week). From the outside looking in, we appear to be okay. And it makes sense why people around us have thought we’ve even moved on. Appearance… oh my. What a joke, am I right? How many times do we (you?) lie through your teeth “I’m doing good!”? We just keep pushing through and going and going and going. But is that strength? We know, we are anything but strong right now. We had given up just two weeks ago. We wanted to call it quits on everything. And those moments, our “rock bottom”, have led us to this moment here…

Now, we are making choices for our family that aren’t easy (the mountains) which don’t look anything like we’d imagined, or planned for. Or where we’d imagined. It actually might seem like a rather simple life, from the outside looking in. Or like we’ve given up on our dreams, our calling even. But we know this is not, and that this is the first time we are deliberate in choosing to face this “valley” that we haven’t fully faced, and that is no small or simple or weak thing. It is strong to decide this path, though it’s more painful and requires more faith (for us).

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(The Royal Gorge – photo by Ted)

I stood today and looked down into the depths of this gorge. And my stomach sank due to fear (especially with my kids near!) yet once I recognized how truly safe we were, the fear naturally dissolved and I began to see the beauty everywhere. There was beauty even in the depths where the river raged below. I almost gasped, it was so stunning. I suddenly realized it was no coincidence that we were there. I felt like this was a picture of where we are at: A picture of us, facing this gorge, this valley and feeling fear as we look down. Fear of falling and being unable to get back up, or worse. Fear of the unknown in facing the raging river. But from above I can see there is also beauty below. Though it will be difficult to crawl back into that valley and face these things, the beauty that will meet us amidst all of this pain and fear, is undeniably healing.

Now, if you had told me I would get this kind of an amazing picture, just even a week ago, I would have scoffed, honestly. I have put up some major barriers in my relationship with God in my search for answers. Searching for peace and understanding in every season of life and feeling as though I come up empty handed each time, or worse – suffering more loss. And that is painful and confusing. I want to be in a place where I can trust Him wholeheartedly, again. And with this picture, I feel like once I can do what He’s wanting us to do – to truly face this valley – our fear will begin dissolve, our trust will begin to build up again.

He’ll walk us through this valley. He will be with us.

And perhaps, for now, that is my answer. That He will be with us each step of the way.

(taken with my iphone)

 And for these little eyes that are watching, and looking into the gorge but not truly knowing what their momma and daddy are giong to be facing (and honestly, I don’t want them to fully know!)… I want to do this for all of us. I want to show them that though you will face these gorges, and have to walk through these valleys, you need to and you WILL come out alive.

We are more than conquerers with Him.

 We can do this.

However difficult and painful. However long it takes.IMG_4959

Time to face this valley.

//

I’ve written posts with talk of this kind of having hope to face this. Talk of facing giants and valleys and mountains and fears, etc, etc, etc… but this time we actually have steps in place to help us. Such as long term grief and marital counseling for this year. Which is a first, the longest stretch we did was almost 2 months, and it was our healthiest 2 months since the loss of Eisley. Grief and lingering sorrow have truly seeped into every area of our lives: health – we are both the most unhealthy we’ve ever been physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s seeped into our drive, our passions, into who we are and how we live.

I told Ted today, for the first time since Eisley passed away, I have felt it is time to move forward. I need to figure out how to say goodbye, which is something I haven’t been able to let go and to do yet. Almost 5 years later… I don’t know what this will look like, but I am ready to move forward and begin my trek through this valley.

Thankful that Jesus is walking before us.

Thank you for reading this novel. :)

-J

The part where I gave up.

Until 2014, I have prided myself in being “adaptive”.  5.5 years ago I had our first baby after what (at the time, before having lost a baby) I felt was the worst birth/labor ever., 14 months later we lost our Eisley-girl, 14 months after that the birth of our surprise/gift Shailo, 28 months later we had our sweet Everly!

Aside from having 4 BEAUTIFUL babies… we have moved 8 times, one of which was overseas (during my pregnancy with Everly) where I attended a counseling school. We have each had jobs simultaneously, or we have struggled along as Ted had worked his bum off. Add college for Ted for 3 of those years. Add unpredictable grief. Add all of life’s in betweens…

I felt I had (we had) taken the ebbs and flows of life pretty darn well …*pat pat pat*…

Until 2014… we entered 2014 having just moved back from Amsterdam to no home, nothing but a few boxes of memorabilia in storage. Our plans of moving to Alaska suddenly changed and we found ourselves living with family… again. (They are amazing thankfully, we were so blessed!) We had Everly just shy of 2 months into the new year, and that was INCREDIBLE. We added baby number 3 (4th baby, really. … will I ever be able to just be okay saying the number of kiddos that are with me? Probably not….) and Ted had to go back to work just a few days later. We also went through the process of finding and buying a home. Many  5 hour drives (round trip) to visit homes, and then finally at the end of May we moved and have since planted some roots.

We have a home…

And then it happened… the adaptive, roll-with-the-punches Jami snapped this fall. I have lost it.  I guess I had huge expectations that we would now have time to process the dark times of our life in a healthy way… FINALLY. And that we would have more time as a family period. But honestly, our life is so insanely busy right now, that we barely have had time to process everyday life let alone the really gnarly parts.

Also the whole “keeping the me in mommy…” I haven’t done but maybe 5 things for myself this fall, like blogging, it’s been way too long! Normally by the beginning of a new year I share a post with beautiful moments throughout our year and also a new word for our year. I’m really not in a place to do that right now. My positivity is really quenched. Maybe someday soon, or maybe this is as good as it is going to get this time around. And I’m okay with that…

This is just a season in our lives, one that I know I will look back on and be so grateful for A) making it out alive and B) I hope to make it out a stronger person … and as a stronger family. But I guess I’m kind of over the surviving and I really want to deal with the fact that we. have. lost our. child. Our Eisley-girl.. I want to STOP and just BE sometimes.

It’s ugly, it’s messy, it’s painful. I’m unbearably miserable to be around (Ted basically pushed me out the door to have time alone and to write).  I go to bed feeling guilty and I wake feeling overwhelmed…wondering how I can keep putting my family through this debilitating depression, anxiety and anger. I wish someone could shake me and scream “get ahold of yourself woman!” and I’d just simply snap out of it. But i know it’s not the simple.

I feel guilt and an ache inside when I look at my beautiful little girl as a smile brightens her face… this twinge of guilt knowing that if I continue down this path, I will look back someday, and even now, and realize what a precious time in her life that I just allowed myself to survive, instead of truly live, breathe and enjoy  these precious and fleeting moments, like I used to.

For the first time since I’ve been a mother, and particularly since we’ve lost Eisley, I have completely lost myself… even physically look in the mirror and I cannot believe my eyes. Not just the weight, but my actual eyes, seem different. You know that saying “Your eyes are the window to your soul” … it sounds dramatic but it’s almost like even my body has had enough of me trying to hold everything together over these years. It’s like screw being adaptive! Let’s face this! Every season of life we’ve entered, even when it felt impossible I always been this “I’ve got this” person and I just did it. I don’t even know how, i just thought “Well, I can’t give up” and I (we) made it.

I’ve shared briefly and vaguely on the blog about my struggle with depression. But never this transparent. Perhaps because of the stigma attached to mental illness. And even as I write that “mental illness”, I cringe. It’s like I feel I’m saying “I’m weak” but in reality I know just how strong I’ve had to be. Even when it doesn’t feel that way. I have seen MANY family and friends walk through depression and they are some of the strongest people I know.

I hide it because frankly I feel ashamed.. I feel like there is this Jami everyone thinks they know, but that’s a version of me I want people to see. But even that facade is beginning to crumble. I find myself less and less able to hide… especially in a community where you are around people all. of. the. time. I want to hide away in our home, but I actually can’t, like it’s not even a possibility due to our schedules. Which maybe is a blessing in disguise (no). But I want to just hide away from the world. I don’t want people to see me failing and falling apart. (Yet, here I am sharing! HA!)

This is a part of my journey and my process. It isn’t for attention or for people to feel sorry for me. This is just me. I want to write it out loud (and believe me this isn’t everything). I also want others who struggle with depression and anxiety and anger to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE. No one wants to share this part of themselves. We always want to share the parts we feel we have all together, or appear to have figured out. I have a deep respect for those who are humble and honest with where they are at. It is beautiful to come together in these difficult and dark valleys as well as the mountain top experiences as well.

I think we often fall trap to the lie that if we share these things people will run from us or worse, stay and say something christian cliche when all I want to do is scream Do you not know the same Jesus I do?! He walked through the messy, the gnarly. I know I feel weary of the runners and cliche words hence sharing very little until now. (Unfortunately I have been a runner or a cliche talking fool myself at times!)

I didn’t make a huge list of goals this year, like last year and the years before. I actually have made very few (and that was only with the encouragement of my girl Britt!)

This fall I started believing that I just can’t do this anymore and to be honest, ALL of the members of my family have felt that. Jami – the me, the wife, the friend, the momma, the homemaker, etc…. she’s given up.

But I can’t stay here… I want to start believing that I can again even when it feels like I can’t.

Yet, I also want to be real and honest with where I am at and work through the things I need to as they come and even the moments that have past and are the darkest.

And I want to be gentle with myself along the way (I’m the hardest on myself…)

I also want to do more of the things that are me and that I love and miss.

This is a declaration…

And I’m saying it with faith because I truly don’t know how to get back up from here… but I WILL.

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For my wounded/confused/amazing husband, for my beautiful (probably traumatized) kiddos… for me.

Here’s to a year of BREAKTHROUGH …  here’s to 2015.

simply put: i struggle too.

Recently I hung out with a rockin’ momma to two boys. Our crazy boys ran wild and we talked. I felt at ease around her and like I didn’t have to worry if she saw just how crazy my life with my boys can get. What I loved is how very real she is: authentic and genuine. She shared her heart and struggles and thoughts. I appreciated it oh so much. We were talking and I realized I hadn’t seen her for months. Life gets super busy and while I know that was a part of it, I also realized something else this morning. I’ve tried to connect with other momma’s in the area, to be turned down, often. (This isn’t a pity party post, I promise :))

I have come to realize, that a lot of the struggle is me. Unless people really take the time to get to know me, they feel I am not relatable. Why? I’ve recently figured this out.

And oh.my.word. it breaks my heart.

I share a lot on social media, photos-wise. I share beautiful moments from our lives – down to the daily life that I find cute, or a meal, or I share creative things, places we’ve visited, things I’ve made, silly moments, etc. Over time and a handful of conversations later I’ve come to realize, people are intimidated. I guess from the outside looking in, mostly via my sharing photos, my life might seem like I have a lot of things “together” or “going for me”. I definitely know the reality of my life is far from these things, but maybe a struggling momma would see this differently when she sees a photo I post?

Today, I am here to say, I am not. I am sooooo far from having it all together. And I am so sorry if that is how you feel I’ve portrayed my life. It breaks my heart that in sharing, people might believe this to be true. After hearing little remarks/comments such as me being referred to as a “pinterest mom” or “super mom” or “that mom who makes all others look bad”, etc I know the importance of wanting to clearly share and portray my heart to you. I feel sick knowing that I’ve caused others to feel intiminated or downcast or like I am not able to relate.

My entire hope is to:

a) document our lives

b) encourage and uplift and inspire others in things I post: whether about life or in creativity

c) focus on the more positive because of where we’ve walked in life. I {have} to focus more on those moments or I sink deep into my depression.

I am weary of others either feeling I am unable to relate to struggle or that what I post is a facade. I’m here to say, I STRUGGLE and this is not a facade.

I know what the “world” says in successful and it’s truly a facade. It’s so difficult because we feel we need to put on these facades, to show the world that we’ve got it all together. When the reality could be, we are struggling, we are lonely, we need community. We need a safe place to share honestly and feel no judgement whatsoever. That is exactly why I recently started a momma’s group.

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(found this via pinterest and loved it!)

If we allow it, there is an intimidation that we sometimes feel when it comes to others and how we mother or even how we live our lives. Desiring their giftings or perhaps, when it comes to the lives we see online or what we think we see face to face.

 I struggle because I want to share the more positive because that truly is an honest outlook on our life. Some of this is wired in me and some of this has really become a part of me since we’ve lost Eisley. I feel more aware and thankful for things I once took for granted.

But sometimes I struggle. I mean really struggle.

Sometimes Ted gets home from work at night and I have yet to shower, I’m in boogy and food covered yoga pants, dinner is only just getting started (if that), laundry might be done but folded – no way. Sometimes I am in tears or just bone weary.

I struggle because I know that I can’t have the house clean all of the time – that is unless I go mad-crazy and decide to clean all day long. I struggle because I don’t like to cook – I’m a stay at home momma who actually, dare I say, HATES to cook. I have no creativity or passion when it comes to this area. Zilch. I struggle because I have never been good at a strict nap schedule – or really, any kind of schedule – for my boys. You wouldn’t believe how often I feel guilty that it isn’t my strong area. My boys more often than not, stay up way too late and get up way too early.

I struggle because some days I yell at my kiddos or cry way more than I “should” in front of them.

I struggle lately because my sweet Chaseyboy has become mouthy, rude and keen to tantrum throwing when he doesn’t get his way.

I struggle when my boys seem to they fight more than love on each other.

I struggle taking passive aggressive things people post online (that have nothing to do with me) personally.

I struggle when others think I have my life together when I feel so often it’s messy and I’m often lonely and living as a broken and depressed and (still) grieving momma.

I have been struggling lately as I hear the comments that continue to flood in. I’m a sensitive soul and a people pleaser and I try to be as authentic as possible.

I actually feel so dumb saying it, but I’m truly trying to share the more difficult moments as well. I share here on my blog a lot about my struggles with depression, or about the loss of Eisley or even about Ted and I and about Chase and our struggles with him. I haven’t shared those sort of things on facebook and other social media sites as much because to be honest, after we lost Eisley I realized it made people uncomfortable or people didn’t want to hear it. People didn’t want to know what was going on. And also, passive agressive comments fly around on facebook so often about people who use facebook as a diary – and at times, reading and hearing videos of things people shared regarding this – it broke my heart. Here I felt lonely and shared online because of this (is this right? probably not, however when you aren’t a part of a community of people who want to hear what’s going on, it’s hard not to want to reach out – which is lame, but for me at a time, that meant through my blog and through my facebook. Asking for prayer and hope and encouragement. To know we weren’t alone.)

Something that has helped me a lot recently is a book called Abba’s Child by Brendan Manning. I feel like I am accepting my broken nature and learning who I truly am in Him.

I was sharing with a friend my struggles with these comments and how I’ve begun to realize how people perscieve me. It breaks my heart. If you know me or have followed me here, you know I love to document our lives. A part of who I am is that when I feel inspired, I pick up my camera. I don’t often feel inspired when I’m battling through a tantrum with my almost 4-year-old or when my boys are pummeling each other out of anger or when my husband and I are arguing. Or when my house is a wreck. Or when I’m up for 4 hours straight with my 1 1/2 year-old due to weaning. Or when I’m popping in my anti-depression medication right before bed each night.

Photos and posts about this, it is actually harder for me. Not because I don’t want to share those moments in fear of judgement – no, in fact I’ve come to realize people judge less when I share such photos. And when I share positive, I feel even more judged at times. It is mostly harder for me because I truly want to focus on the positive. I want to capture the beautiful moments – and now, I am working on capturing the more difficult ones as well. I have realized that people feel I am more relatable when I share these moments as well.

There are comments and things I have to brush off as someone’s judgement of me, but as I’ve heard from people I respect and admire myself, I realize, even those who aren’t judging me tend to believe this true of me. It breaks my heart and I hope today I was able to share a bit more to help put things into perspective and explain my heart.

I struggle too. Every day.

It’s just that for me, I {HAVE} to create and I {HAVE} to focus more on the positive. This is for me personally.

If I wasn’t such a people pleaser and an empathy-person, this post wouldn’t be happening ;) However, any time that even ONE person has a struggle with me, I’m torn. So this post may be more for me than for you, but I hope I’ve clearly portrayed what I have hoped all along.

Authenticity, possitivity and inspiration.

Love, Jami

on the mend. whatever that looks like, that is.

i struggle with what i believe most momma’s struggle with and that is, doing things for ourselves. myself. me. i remember before i had Chase i wanted to be sure that i really focused on yes, being a momma, but also still being who i am too. what makes me, me. doing the things i love all while being his mother.

over the years – and through everything we’ve walked through in his “short” (almost) 3 years – i’ve really began to push that aside. it has {really} hit me recently though. it’s taking it’s toll on me. it’s another reason i decided to keep blogging. i’m a verbal processor, just in case you haven’t figured that out yet ;) and i need the time to process. like really process everything. and i do mean EVERY thing. i’m just wired that way. i often wish i wasn’t.

we recently moved  back to a city where we lived just 2 years ago. {So much} has happened and changed within our family and within us since we’ve moved. i kind of expected a lot out of this move and instead i found that my high expectations were crumbling as i watched the reality kind of set in. and oh so quickly. we are so different than we were when we lived down here. our lives were too. we’re in a completely and totally different place in almost every way than before. i didn’t expect to feel what i feel now.

when we left (YWAM) we still felt young, carefree and adventurous. we left feeling hopeful for a new season and where we felt God was leading us. it was a hard and difficult step to take leaving the (structured) ministry of YWAM and jumping into the (not so structured) ministry of being out here and pursuing our dreams, away from what we had known since graduating High School. we stepped out, rather naive to what we’d be facing. the reality hit us full force. ( i feel like it {still is}). we found out soon after leaving YWAM that we were pregnant with Eisley…

it’s hard to say that “everything went downhill from there” because even though that is true, we wouldn’t trade one minute of {any} of it. we had our beautiful baby girl and for that we could never be more thankful and never regret a moment. yet the reality is, everything did go “downhill” from there. after we lost her, i’ll never forget, around a month after losing her – we were living with my grandparents, broke as could be. we sifted through our things in storage and sold the items that we were using that could bring us in a little money to help with groceries and to pay for diapers. all while grieving and feeling confused (and at the time, still an incredible amount of shock). i remember sitting outside in the sunshine of autumn (thanks, Colorado for being so sunny year-round) and pulling Chase into my arms and just crying my heart out. it felt like it couldn’t possibly get any worse, but to be honest, it hasn’t felt much better (besides the awesome addition to our family! he blesses our hearts so very much!)

i really thought, 2 years from the time we left YWAM, that we’d be in a different place (in so many ways) than where we are now. like i said, we don’t regret anything, but it’s freaking hard out here. and then add to the mix… just everything… we sometimes joke (but are kind of looking at each other like, are you serious, yeah..confused haha) that we need to go back on staff so we can live off with support again. it’s not a bad thing, (please, please, please don’t assume that’s what i’m saying here) we just remember what life was like before and sometimes miss it.

i turned 25 in march. (i have completely avoided my 25 by 25 list, because it’s really too painful, more reminders) i hit my first official identity crisis. no, i am not exaggeratting. i thought many a times wondering, “who am i anymore?!” should i be admitting this to the “world”, maybe not, but i guess my way of thinking is that if you stop in to read my blog, you might care just a tiny bit about us/me.

i was sharing with a dear friend of mine – who has walked beside me literally every step of the way since 2005- about all of this (much more drama and tears while sharing face-to-face ;)). she encouraged me and had a thought and perspective that hadn’t had. during our time away, even though just 2 years, it seems like so much longer and now as we come back, it makes sense why there is this struggle within us. we have changed so much (which i know) while some of the surroundings and even people, have stayed the same. but also, more than that, during our time away, it was a constant fight for our daughter’s life, and our life and survival. now we are here and God has seriously provided us with a beautiful (temporary) home (sunshine galore here, thank you, Jesus!) Ted has a new job that is more uplifting (for the most part and obviously not his dream job) and now we are busy with things in life that are productive for us and our dreams, rather than just busy with survival mode.

and now that we are here, in this place where burdens that once were, seem a little lighter. it hits us. the reality of what we’ve gone through. the shock far gone, and the survival mode no longer on full speed. it hits us. and it’s hard and dark and icky and sucky and frankly, the overwhelming thoughts are hell. hell. hell. how do you even process certain things? … how?!

i know that, really, there is just so much to process and so little time to sit down and actually do that. it’s a matter of being intentional and setting aside time to do so. also, just learning to do this as we keep up with the busyness of life. we’ve realized lately the importance of taking care of ourselves, saying no to this or that so we can actually maybe even process some things. and sometimes maybe it’s just the opposite that we need, saying yes to this or that to get ourselves out of this funk. we’re trying to take this all step-by-step, little by little. in hopes to find a way and time for our hearts to begin mending.

here i am – yet again – admitting i’m (we’re) struggling, broken and confused but this time seeking peace for our family. peace for our broken hearts. peace all the way around. peace amidst this chaotic life.

thanks for listening. :)

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

{Psalms 121}

Pregnancy #3 {Part 2}: Paralyzing Fear.

If interested, you can read  part 1 here.

The very moment we found out we were pregnant with another little one the fear set in. Every day I was a wreck. My fear was paralyzing me, almost quite literally (with the major exception of a super active boy) and the anxiety within me would ruin any hope that my heart wanted to have. Ted would come home from work or school to find me… and our home… a mess.

For a while I told myself and those around me that my reason for not doing much was because I was so sick and exhausted from pregnancy. Yes, that was partly true but I also knew that a lot of why I wasn’t moving, why I wasn’t doing things I love and brought me hope, why I wasn’t even doing things that I should be doing… was out of fear.

At 8 weeks I had to make the trip to Dr. Hill’s office to have the first checkup on the baby. I walked in his office feeling so nauseous, fearful and shaken up. They put me in the room to wait for him and I began to cry and shake. I couldn’t do this. The last time I had an ultrasound, I was a few days away from 7 months pregnant with Eisley (one week away from potentially delivering her) and they showed me the most devastating thing a mother could see. My baby girl’s heart had stopped beating. The memouries came flooding back and I almost couldn’t handle even being there. When Dr. Hill came in he did the ultrasound and I saw a tiny little baby the size of a bean, wriggling around and when he shared the heartbeat aloud. I cried the entire time.

Even after seeing his swift heartbeat, I allowed myself to sink so quickly into fearing for this baby. And even though I had heard and knew this would be “normal” for a momma who lost a child, it was worse than I’d ever imagined.

There was a part of me, of course, that wanted to hope and trust and believe with everything in me that this baby will be in my arms, healthy and breathing. Of course, I wanted to hope for that. However, with everything we’ve walked through, I feel it would be incredibly ignorant to not remember the reality. I can’t even forget that reality that we’re faced with everyday. I began to believe very fatalistically. I’d constantly dwell on the reality that any given moment I could begin bleeding, I could lose this baby, despite how “good” the heartbeat sounded just the week before, despite how everything was going thus far…

When people who knew we were pregnant would hang out with us or talk with me about this little one, I would say things like, “IF we get to November…” or things like “IF we can carry this baby full term…” I remember one night we had a whole group of friends over and afterwards Ted sat me down and had a serious talk with me. He was so sad and weary of hearing me speak so fatalistically. He wanted to see me hope again and believe that this could happen. He felt so strongly that this pregnancy would be just like it was with Chase.

Not long after our talk I had a major breakdown. I was almost 12 weeks pregnant and the fear was unbearable for my mind. I couldn’t move from the couch besides helping Chase or getting him out of trouble. I laid on my left side and drank a ton of water (both of which I did with Eisley because they were what could help her). I never even got Chase out of the house for most of my first bit of pregnancy.  Most days, I couldn’t even get myself to the shower. I was depressed, fearful, full of anxiety and worry. I didn’t believe in myself. I’d, once again, convinced myself that I was to blame for Eisley’s death and that maybe if I did everything “perfectly” with this pregnancy things would be different.

One huge struggle I have had with believing I had failed Eisley, that my body had failed her, was with this little one, not knowing what it was that I really could do differently. They never gave me a solid reason for why my placenta clotted and why it pulled away from the uterine wall. There wasn’t something they could pin point and say “Do this differently next time.” Nothing. So imagine my fear of doing anything.

The road to 13 weeks was incredibly daunting. At 13 weeks with my sweet Eisley-girl, I had begun bleeding. At 12 weeks with this little one, I had to see the specialist I saw weekly with Eisley. Talk about traumatic experiences… I’m still working through my times in her office when I was pregnant with Eisley.

The thought of returning to her office was more than I thought I could handle. Having rarely ever heard or seen our fetal medicine specialist speak positively or with hope, I only feared the worst…

Part 3 coming soon with how it was to walk back into the specialists, facing week 13 and how I felt in learning this little one’s gender.

5 months; the part where the shock wears off.

(5 months ago today, we held our precious baby girl, whispered our earthly goodbyes)

My fear of man keeps surfacing lately and I’ve really allowed myself to be so afraid of what everyone would think of where I am at in the “grieving process” (ugh) so I slowly find myself retreating from the truth of where I’m at when I share. I always hope to be real, raw and authentic but to also use wisdom in what I share and what I don’t (totally failed on that front more than once!)

All that to say, I really still want to share where I’m at. Okay, whoa, how’s that for a disclaimer ;)

Last Thursday, Ted got me out of the house, we went for coffee and then he took me to Hobby Lobby (which for me is relaxing haha). When time came to leave, I stood in line to pay for my few items and before me stood a momma with her baby girl. Her daughter looked to be around 5 maybe 6 months old. She had a cute little pink and brown monkey hat on and was chewing on a toy. I couldn’t stop staring… imaging… dreaming. I couldn’t help but think of my Eisley-girl. I teared up and tried to think of anything else to distract me from crying.

Then this Tuesday, I attended my first ever, mom’s group called “Moms 4 Moms” at my mom’s church. She has been asking me to go with her since this fall, but until now I haven’t had the desire or the strength. So I went, I did it! I actually had a really good time. It was so great for Chase to hang out with kiddos his own age and for me to be around other moms. I tried to prepare myself for the fact that there would probably be baby girls there (and there were many). I did pretty well when we arrived, but then when they asked about new visitors and asked my name and if I had any kids, I was taken back and didn’t really know what to say. I awkwardly answered, “I have a son, Chase, he’s 18-months-old”…. because I knew as soon as I spoke of her name, I would probably cry.

Holding it together sometimes just doesn’t seem possible unless I, I don’t want to say lie but I guess that’s what it is. Unless I withhold the whole story, the truth. But then I felt horrible because I also want people to know I have a daughter, my Eisley-girl. I do, I have a daughter, she’s just not here with me. When I face moments like that or when I seeing precious girls around the age Eisley should be, my heart breaks deeply, again. Over and over.

I find myself in this really dark and awful rut here and there. In the darkest parts of the “valley” where it feels like everything around me is crashing down and all hope is gone. Where the lies that I’ve failed her and that I’ll lose everyone I love, I begin to believe. Where the flashbacks and traumatic memouries haunt me. It is hard to get motivated, to have will power to do even the most basic things, on these days.

When I’m in this rut, it affects every area. I take care of Chase and his needs, but that’s it.  I can’t even find the strength to create something beautiful. Our house is also proof of this “rut”; piles of laundry, toys and books everywhere, dishes piled up, trashed bedroom, every thing is a huge mess.

My body is proof; my weight, my chewed fingernails, my hair from splitting my ends/yanking my ends off, the bags under my eyes, etc. I feel much older than my 23 years. Weary, worn down.

The enemy hounds me in every way possible, he has me questioning myself on “those” days where I’m so low, “Shouldn’t I be past this part in the “grieving process” yet?” and then the days where I am doing really well, still grieving but able to face life, I find myself battling guilt, “You didn’t even think of her once this morning. What is wrong with you?” “You haven’t cried in over two days.”

Sneaky, sneaky enemy. Wherever I’m at in my journey, he’s one step behind, trying to pull me down. Many would say that might not be so, but I tell you, in the darkest of the valley it’s true. He is one step behind you, constantly reaching for your ankle, to pull and drag you down. It really comes down to whether or not you allow that to happen. There have been countless times where I’ve believed the lies as truths and fallen, BUT let me just say, every. single. time….

I find {hope}. I think I know deep inside, even on “those” days, that there is hope. That I am not beyond repair. That there is promise and life and truth and healing meeting me where I am at, waiting for me to grab hold and begin to move forward.

To us this feels like the darker parts of the valley, the part where the shock wears off and the reality sets in full force.. I was telling a friend just the other day, that I really hate this place where I’m at because, honestly, I prefer the shock. For many, us losing Eisley was but a brief moment. For us, it is our life. In our life we will never had her here with us on earth. Never. She is gone. I really, really hate that this is our reality.

It all falls back to acceptance, again. I’ve talked about this before. Now that the shock has worn off, I really have to face this and … accept this.

As the shock wears off  and as I allow myself to really face the truth, I’ve found, that even though this (for me) is the most difficult part of our journey, I find myself healing. I cry even as I write this because I am slowly healing even though it doesn’t always feel like it. Even though sometimes I fight it because I don’t feel ready to heal completely and I’m far from being healed completly. I read this quote and this has helped me a lot because it’s something I’ve really struggled with since we’ve lost Eisley;

“Knowing the Lord and His comfort does not take away the ache; instead, it supports you in the middle of the ache. Until I get home to heaven, there’s going to be an ache that won’t quit. The grieving process for me is not so much a matter of getting rid of the pain, but not being controlled by the pain.” Dr. Larry Crabb

When I first read this, I just cried. Yes. God really spoke to me through this very word and showed me that I can begin to heal and still feel this deep, unending ache. And the even though the enemy is one step behind me, my Heavenly Father is walking beside me, not taking away the ache, but supporting me in the middle of it. WHEW. He is. And most of the time, I realize that He has me, “Resting between His shoulders”, carrying me, carrying us, through the darkest parts of this valley.

Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the ones the Lord loves rests between His shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12

He carries our precious Eisley. And He carries us.

There is hope, forevermore and through every deep, dark valley and unending ache.