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}

3 weeks.

I’m not really sure where to begin today. My heart is so full of emotion and aches as we begin to reach weeks that last year, were of the most painful weeks and days in our lives. I guess I’ll begin with a bit of what happened on this very date last year.

August 23rd, 2010, I went in for another check-up on our Eisley-girl and instead of releasing me to go home, they put me in the hospital to be monitored and to be on strict bed rest. I was already on strict bed rest, but being home with a 1-year-old (at the time) “strict bedrest” wasn’t as strict as it could have been. Being hospitalized, I was only up to use the restroom and shower. I’ll never forget that first night in the hospital. They put me in a labor and delivery room for the night, until they could ready a room for me, as an antepartum patient. They hooked me up to a monitor and immediately began checking on our Eisley-girl. As Ted and Chase arrived, I could see the fear written all over his face. We both felt so helpless.

Ted had just begin his fall semester load of classes that very day. I had called him as he was leaving the college to tell him I wouldn’t be coming home anytime soon. It felt as though everything was slowly digressing and going downhill. We held so tightly to hope amidst this chaotic journey we were on for our daughter’s life. Ted and Chase weren’t able to stay with me and had to head back home, 1 hour and 15 minutes away. I wept when they left and then found that I couldn’t breath. That was the moment I had my first (of many more to come) panic attack. My nurse Lindsey (whom I love and can’t wait to see again) put me on oxygen and calmed me down and comforted me.

I don’t think I slept but maybe an hour that night. I looked around the labor and delivery room and couldn’t help but think that I shouldn’t be there in such a situation like we were. I saw the little area in the corner where they put your newborn infant to clean and measure, etc. I just felt so sick and terrified. The memouries still haunt me from that night. The only window I had in my room was a sky light that was way up high. I felt hopeless and oh so weak. I just cried out to God. Not even aloud, just within my heart. The most desperate cry from the momma heart in me.

The very next day I was moved into a room with a window and a view. I was so grateful for the sunlight. I felt something change within my heart and decided then that I would make the most of my time with my Eisley-girl. I am so thankful that I did that. I wrote her notes and read them aloud to her everyday.

 I sung and sung and sung to her. I prayed for her. I watched Gilmore Girls “with her”. I always held the palm of my hand on my belly and savored her every movement within.

(“143” was Ted and I’s silly way of saying “I love you” when we were dating. When I saw her heart rate at 143 repeatedly one night, I couldn’t help but think she was saying she loved us and snapped this photo for Ted and I)

I cherished my time with her and I often wonder if that change in my heart was actually something that was preparing my heart for September 14th. I missed my Chasey-boy and my Ted but I am so thankful for those last few weeks I had to focus on just her.

Today, August 23rd has arrived. I’ve sent my hubby off to his second fall semester of college and we’re 29 weeks pregnant with our Boy S who is growing and thriving within me. I feel hope, but I also have this constant ache, an Eisley shaped hole in our family remains. I long so much for her to be here, even still and I feel like I’ll be one of those momma’s who always ache. I read that happens with some and I really feel, that’s me. Maybe it’s because it was our girl, our precious Eisley-girl, who I’d dreamt of since I was a teenage girl. She’s captured a place in my heart that will never ever be the same again.

Her first birthday is coming up so quickly. I feel like I’ve barely been able to catch my breath since she passed away and now the date of her death (September 14th) and the date of her birth (September 17th) are arriving ever so swiftly.

I am so thankful for a Father in heaven who reaches our hearts with comfort and peace amidst the aching. And the most incredible thing is that even as He is comforting our hearts, I know our Eisley-girl rests between His strong shoulders.

Around 3 weeks from now, we’ll be both grieving and celebrating our Eisley’s life.

Oh my heart…

26 weeks 4 days…

I’ve been processing and thinking a lot, very privately, as you may have noticed…or maybe not :) I haven’t written much on how we’re doing or where I’m at. I realized just the other day that I’ve been posting such “light” posts like I used to, I guess just to blog and to kind of say “I’m still here.” But today I really want to share a vulnerable place within me and what today means to me.

Today I am 26 weeks and 4 days pregnant with Boy S. This was exactly where I was at when we lost our Eisley-girl. 26 weeks 4 days. This is the most bittersweet day of my pregnancy with S thus far. I am extremely thankful as I look down to see my quickly growing belly and knowing that there is a strong, well nourished baby boy within me yet at the same time, I am in awe that we’re already here; The very same place where in my pregnancy with our daughter, I wept. Where our dreams and hopes for her shattered the moment her heart stopped beating.

My heart aches and heals simultaneously every single day. In some ways it’s been aching more and more as each month passes by but I can say I am now I finding my heart is slowly healing. Last month, when we reached 10 months since Eisley passed away, I couldn’t even comprehend that. 10 months?! It seems so long since we last held her yet some days it feels like just yesterday since they told me she’d passed away. Soon, 11 months and then a year… can you believe that? We can’t.

A few weeks ago I spent the evening at my grandparent’s house having dinner, catching up and later, we all watched America’s Got Talent (it’s one of their favourite shows :)) As the show came on, this sudden wave of memouries flooded my mind and it took everything in me not to break down right there in front of everyone. Memouries of the last time I had seen this show, almost a year ago now…

I flashed back to the evening September 14th, hours after Eisley had passed away in my womb. We sat in our small hospital room; Ted, myself and Chase and Eisley’s godparents. We had turned on America’s Got Talent. My mind had grown completely numb. I know Ted would say the same, hence him turning on a television show at such a time. I remember sitting there blankly watching the “acts”. I’d keep placing my hand on my belly, as pregnant mothers often unconsciously do. I looked down to find my hand resting on my belly and then it suddenly hit me, like really hit me, she was no longer alive inside of me…

Next month is September which is incredibly hard to believe. I can’t even wrap my mind around the fact that it’s been almost one year since we said our goodbyes. I’m just astounded. How can that possibly be? I’ve said it before on this blog, but time is flying a lot faster than my heart is healing. Even though I now recognize this as our reality, it doesn’t mean that my heart and mind have connected and come to terms with this. Will I ever? Is it humanly possible to “wrap my mind” around everything? I’m starting to think that it’s not because everything we have/are walking through is moving against how “it should be”. I’ve learned that no matter how detailed a conversation I have with our doctors about what happened and what went wrong doesn’t actually help much at all. I’ve realized that there truly isn’t one “answer” that could be said to me that would ever completely heal the aching heart of a mother. She is no longer with us and I will always ache knowing that to be truth.

How do you grieve the loss of one precious baby all while hoping and dreaming for another in little one in your womb?  I reach milestones with S that I never did with Eisley and can only describe them as bittersweet. I reach dates and (pregnancy) weeks that with Eisley were emotionally painful and here I carry within me a strong and growing baby boy. Processing both has brought me on an incredible “emotional rollercoaster”. It’s also brought me to places of healing. I’ve found that in my pregnancy with S I’ve become even more aware of how much of a miracle it was that Eisley fought for so long.  Our Eisley-girl was our miracle baby, even though she wasn’t able to be with for as long as we’d hoped.

I’ve realized that I don’t need or even want the “answers” if there are/were any. God has really helped my mind and my heart in this season. He’s close to my heart, I feel it.  I fight fear everyday in this pregnancy and some days I give in to fear more than I do in just resting in Him, but all along I know He’s never left my side. I know this because I wouldn’t be able to do this without him. It’s all too overwhelming and terrifying by myself. It is {truth} that in our weakness, He is strong. He truly is my refuge and my strength.

I read this verse just the other day and it resonated within me and I hope as I share, it too can resonate with someone who reads my blog who is walking in their own struggles, griefs, sorrows, or whatever “it”might be for you….

      Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines;  though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold,  and there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 

The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.
Habakkuk 3:17-19

Here we are, at 26 weeks and 4 days with aching yet hopeful hearts. Thankful that He really will help us to walk on the steepest, highest, most treacherous hills. My heart is heavy and more fearful than most days, but it’s also expectant and hopeful of incredible things to come.

________________________________________________________________________

We miss you more than words can say, Eisley-girl. I am comforted in knowing that you, my precious baby girl, are resting between His shoulders. And even more comforted to know that someday I will see you, hold you and kiss your little nose. I love you and miss you deeply, momma.

my dream; the perfect picture.

(balloon pendant I bought from Mayo Mahem on Etsy)

Saturday night I dreamt I stood on a tiny little box and held tight to thousands of pink balloons. They lifted me and took me high into the sky (like you know when you’re on an airplane and you pass the first set of clouds and it kind of looks like a plain of clouds? I got that high) but then a point came where I could no longer hold onto them. The wind tossed them so strongly that little by little I let go. And I fell and as I fell I watched the balloons fly higher and higher until out of sight. I was so upset that I couldn’t hold on, that I’d let go…

I fell into the ocean and came up for my first breath only to have this wave immediately hit me and pull me under. Every time I would try to catch my breath, another wave came and then another and then another. (This was the majority of my dream until I woke)

I can’t even begin to tell you how perfectly this dream mirrors how I feel. I mean, at first I didn’t think so. At first, I felt upset and panicked when I remember how I felt in my dream, when I couldn’t hold on to the balloons. I told Ted I was afraid it “meant” I need to let her go. He immediately told me, no he didn’t think that’s what it represented. He felt it perfectly represented losing Eisley and how we felt when we lost her. That resontated in me. I wept.

If I could take how I feel and put them into a picture, this dream is a perfect picture.

When we lost Eisley, I felt an array of emotions. I can’t really pinpoint one. But I can say I had an overwhelming desire to hold on when I knew I couldn’t. Watching the “balloons” slip from my fingers until I could no longer hold them. The to watch them fly higher and higher, away from me, out of my reach, my heart screaming “no, no, no!” when my mind knew so clearly I couldn’t do anything to get “them” back.

And then, before I knew it, the waves came roaring in with all of their might and strength and swept me under before I can catch my breath fully. Before I even knew what was happening. And then the waves keep coming. Here and there the “waves” calm and I’m able to fully catch my breath and brace myself for the next round.

I was talking with my friend Petra about my dream. When I shared my dream with her, she immediately shared something so profound with me. I was hesitant to even share my dream on my blog but the collaboration of my dream, my feelings and the things I and others feel it means. I just had to share because I just had this feeling this would really, really speak to someone else like it did me.

(image from pinterest)

“right now you are in grief
because of the trauma and the sadness
grief = the crashing waves
suffocating
stifling
that make it feel like you will never breath again
but they will begin to ebb …you will still experience sorrow and sadness
the waves will grow gentler with time
gradually the grieving season will end
not the sadness
not the sorrow
not the missing Eisley
but the grief
the heart gripping, gut wrenching grief
it will
i promise
i know right now it feels like you can’t breath
and i don’t know how long the grieving process will take
and i also think its really important you let you know that you can have the saddness without the grief
that there will be a time where it feels as if you have grieved
don’t feel like you need to do it again
and dont start trying just because the feelings arent as deep anymore
because the seasons are all important
grief is not the goal
and its not the end
it is a process and it is so VERY necessary to embrace it
and to let jesus and those around you help be your life raft
take your time grieving
if you don’t grieve her now
and take all the time you need
then you will again later
and again
and again and agin
again
and it will eat.you.up.
when you know the season of grieving is coming to an end…let go of that part
not of eisley
that’s not what you’re letting go of
by allowing yourself to move from grieving to the next season may feel like at times you’re letting go of her
and i’m encouraging you now not to feel that way
when the time comes.
right now you have…the ache from missing her, the crushed dreams, the grief from loosing a child, the trauma from her birth,etc…, all together
the ache won’t go away
ever
you will ALWAYS miss her.
BUT you won’t always feel it as acutely as you do now
you won’t always feel all these things all together; the grief and the trauma…there will be a time when they are replaced with joy and laughter
i know that might sound trite
its not like you will ever forget that those things happened
but you will have the grace to carry on
and be able to feel his joy being your stregnth
but that ache and missing her will still be present
Whew. I copied her words during our conversation and pasted them in a note on our computer because I want to put them in my journal, they just really resonate and help me to understand my grieving in a better way.
I’ve been battling and trying to understand how I would ever stop grieving when I ache this much right now. I don’t know if I could even clearly express with words this battle within me. Whenever I hear “time heals all wounds” or anything related to with time it will get better, etc… my heart is confused. How is this possible? I don’t want time to heal this wound. I will always ache and I want to ache. I can’t explain what goes on inside of me when I think of the future and what people tell me of grief and “the grieving process”.
Slowly the pieces are slowly “falling into place” inside of my head and my heart with grieving, sorrow, loss, aching and the future. I’ve let it really bring me down but realized that I need to be in this moment now without letting it completely control me but also making sure I am really allowing myself to grieve how I need to grieve. In a healthy way. This dream and what I (and others) feel it represents helps me to understand this even more.
I need to be in this moment.
And this might sound crazy, but right now, I’d rather be in the crashing waves, banged up and bruised; feeling.
I’d rather this than be numb or to be done grieving. I’m not ready to be done.
All the while, I am carrying her in my heart.
Not letting her go, because I don’t have to.
I can face grief full force knowing this.