Pregnancy, Loss and Love – part 2

I’m so pleased to share with you a post by my amazing friend Kristen.  She is one of the kindest and most gentle souls I’ve ever met who always has a kind word .  Often in our society, we don’t talk openly about trouble conceiving, miscarriages and infant loss.  Kristen has weathered such an experience, and she has some wonderful advice and perspective to offer.  Here is part two of Kristen’s experience.

You can read part 1 HERE

Pregnancy, Loss and Love

Coming home from the hospital without a baby, was one of the saddest moments.  As beautiful and wonderful and joyful as bringing home a brand new baby is, coming home empty-handed and heavy-hearted is as sad and lonesome as you’d imagine.  However, some beautiful, even miraculous things happened as well.

From the moment we received the news–the devastating diagnosis about our baby–several things were very clear to me.  One, was that I realized I had a responsibility to the four children I already had.  I had the opportunity to teach them a valuable lesson about how we respond when bad things happen.  I knew I wanted to teach them that it was okay to ache and grieve and be sad, but that life could go on and we could even be happy.  They were a lifesaver when life began to fall into a routine again.  Sometimes it was hard to put a smile on my face for me, but I knew I could put a smile on my face for them.  They helped me remember why it was important to choose happiness and reminded me that I could do it.

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The other thing I learned, was how to be gentle on myself.  I gave myself permission to take things slow.  I said “no” to things that felt like too much and didn’t feel guilty about it.  I eased back into taking care of the house and adding my responsibilities in little by little. Sometimes that meant things weren’t in perfect order.  Sometimes they weren’t even close.  But I decided to choose the important things and let some of the other things go.  It was so freeing to let go of the guilt I sometimes felt for not doing it all or for not doing more.  It felt so good to choose less and feel good about it.

I learned to appreciate the small things.  I learned to love fingerprints on my front door because it meant I had a 2 year old who was alive and able to make a mess.  I felt gratitude, not resentment, for the mundane messes of life, like ten loads of laundry or a sink piled with dishes.  These things meant we had life and we were living.  I found more joy in the ordinary parts of my life than ever before.

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I knew I had a wonderful husband before all this.  He was a good man when I married him.  But as we grieved together, as he supported me and lifted me up, I knew he was a blessing that cannot be measured.  He listened when I needed it, he let me cry when I was sad, he let me know he thought I was strong and amazing and wonderful.  I cannot think of the deeply personal way he showed his love for me during this time without tears coming to my eyes.  The way our marriage was strengthened and deepened is something I will always treasure and give thanks for.

I also realized what an amazing group of friends I have.  They were such a wonderful support as they reached out to me.  The lifted me up, cheered me up, distracted me and loved me.  They listened if I needed to talk or just let me feel normal again for a few hours while we were together.  These were women who could relate.  Their friendship was sunshine to my soul.

Pregnancy-Loss-Love-5{Image Credit Tree Photography}

The other thing I knew was that I did not want to be bitter.  I knew I could spend time feeling angry that this happened.  I could question, “Why me?”  I could let bitterness and anger seep into my heart and crowd out the sadness that swelled there now.  I could have.  But I didn’t.  I didn’t want to turn the beauty that is a baby, even a lost one, into something ugly.  Sometimes this was easy and other times it was a lot of work.  But I didn’t want to cheapen the wonderful blessings I’d received by spending my time feeling bitter.  I was sad–yes.  My heart ached.  This was not the plan I’d seen for myself.  But I fought hard against feelings of anger and bitterness, so that I could feel peace.


No, this wasn’t the plan I had seen for myself.  But as it turned out, it was the right plan all along.  I don’t have all the answers.  I still don’t know why this happened.  I still wish it could have been different, but I would not trade the lessons I learned as I came to see the hand of God in life for anything in the world.

EC-KristinBarnett-Bio

{Image Credit Tree Photography}

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This week in Webland

So excited for another chance to share some of the things we like on the web!

Everyday-Creative.com - We love this week

1. Sun Damage and Sunscreen

We all know the sun can damage our skin.   What we don’t often/ever see is our skin under UV light which shows the damage.  This video shows skin damaged by the sun, skin with little to no damage and what the UV light camera sees when you wear sunscreen.   It is the best PSA I’ve seen on why we should wear sunscreen!  I also love the peoples faces both in grimaces and joyous smiles.  People are just fun to watch!

2. Cinnamon Twist recipe

This recipe looks ultra yummy!   For me, I’d like very little if any frosting.  I know, weirdo right!?  ;-)  If you try it, please come back and let us know how it tasted.

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3. Decorate and control your Board Games

OK, so this is above my personal skill level in making, but I would love love to do something like this for our house.  We have a second staircase which has tons of wall space and is rarely used.  One side of the wall is where I’ve started a collection of family prints mounted on plastic.   The prints are all pretty casual of different daily life, holidays and trips.  The kids are already in love as they sit and talk about those different moments.    Back to this share!!  Our 6 year old twins are getting to a super fun age  where they love to play board games.  It has been fun playing games together after dinner instead of watching TV.  I bet Aleesha could do this and would help a girl out!  :-)

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Pregnancy, Loss and Love – part 1

I’m so pleased to share with you a post by my amazing friend Kristen.  She is one of the kindest and most gentle souls I’ve ever met who always has a kind word .  Often in our society, we don’t talk openly about trouble conceiving, miscarriages and infant loss.  Kristen has weathered such an experience, and she has some wonderful advice and perspective to offer.  Here is part one of Kristen’s experience.

Pregnancy, Loss and Love

It began with two pink lines on a pregnancy test.  That beautiful promise of new life and new beginnings.  My husband and I were overjoyed.  This pregnancy was a surprise, but a welcome and much wanted one for both of us.  We felt such joy as we anticipated this new baby that would be joining our family.  We already had three girls and a boy who brought us such happiness, we were thrilled to think of another sweet baby joining our family.

With four healthy children and four textbook pregnancies behind me, there was no reason to assume that this time would be any different.  Yet I was plagued with worry.  I chalked it up to typical worries about the unknown, the stress of a big family to care for during a pregnancy and a hundred other things.  But I couldn’t quite shake that feeling of worry and concern.  Despite my attempts to brush the worry aside, despite countless prayers for peace, the worry was never far from my mind.

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My husband and I were looking forward to our second trimester anatomy and growth ultrasound when I got a call from my ob/gyn.  He said some numbers from my genetic testing had come back a little off and he wanted me to have the ultrasound done at a different location where they could get a better look at the baby.  He reassured me that there was a good chance it wasn’t anything, but as always, they wanted to be sure.  Although  I had been worried throughout the pregnancy, I was pretty optimistic about how this appointment would turn out and couldn’t wait to find out if this baby would be our second boy, or if we would be adding another girl to our family.

Almost from the beginning of the appointment, I sensed something was off.  The technician was not chatty, almost withdrawn.   I could see her repeatedly taking images of the head, the heart and the umbilical cord.  She didn’t explain what she was looking at as she took image after image of the baby. She delivered the news that we were expecting a boy matter-of-factly, with no excitement or enthusiasm.  When she was finished, she said that there were major problems with the baby and the doctor would be in to talk to us shortly.  The news was not good.  Our baby had serious developmental problems that would prove fatal, most likely prior to birth but most certainly afterward.  Despite several conversations and consultations with specialists over the next few days, we were given no hope that this baby would survive.  Most of us have heard stories of miracle babies, who overcame impossible odds.  Babies who received a devastating diagnosis, only to be born completely healthy.  Although somewhere in my heart of hearts, I desperately wanted this to be the case for us, both Cory and I felt almost from the very beginning that this would not be our miracle.  Whatever happened, we both felt that our baby’s time was short.

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{Image Credit Tree Photography}

To say our hearts were broken is an understatement.  As a mother, I wasn’t at all surprised at how deep my feelings ran.  Even in only 20 short weeks, I loved this baby with my whole heart.  He was the tiny kicks I’d felt for weeks.  He was wiggly and active at night and when I woke up.  This baby was an individual.  He was our son.  He was the brother to our other children.  He was a part of our future.  He was a dream and a hope.  Only now he wouldn’t be.  There would be no midnight feedings where I could watch the moonlight stream across his rosy cheeks.  There would be no kisses on his soft baby skin.  There would be no darling baby coos or delightful giggles.  No pitter-patter of little steps as he toddled down the hall.  No romps with his siblings.  Just an empty space in my heart where he should have been.

Within two weeks, our baby was gone.

Although my physical recovery was fairly quick, my heart and spirit grieved for much longer. Each week that ticked by was not one week closer to a bouncing baby boy, but a reminder of all I had lost.  Each baby I saw made me miss and long for my baby.  It was painful to see the women who had been pregnant at the same time I was, deliver healthy, perfect babies.  Not that I wished them otherwise, but they did make me feel profoundly lonely.  Lonely for the baby I lost.  For my baby.  My arms ached to hold–not just any baby–but my baby.  I cringed every time I heard any version of the word “die” or “death” even when said in a casual or joking way.  I was scared to look too deeply into others’ eyes, afraid they might see the heartache I carried while I tried to carry on.

And while my heart was broken, I was not defeated. I was not alone and my life was not over.  Despite all that I had lost, what I found was even greater.

EC-KristinBarnett-Bio

{Image Credit Tree Photography}

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Erin I. - September 8, 2014 - 1:17 pm

Kristen, this touched my heart and reminded me yet again what a blessing it is to know you and call you friend. Thank you for sharing something so profoundly personal.

This Week in Webland

This week is all about parenting.   Parenting is a journey filled with every high and low possible.  Professionals and other parents are fonts of inspiration in helping us be the best parents we can be.  There is no one right answer for any parent or child, and we can all glean little tie bits from different places.   Hope you get some tips that help you!!

Everyday-Creative.com - We love this week

1. One tip to stop yelling at your kids

Super cute tip on how to curb a gut reaction to yell.  In the last year I’ve cut down the yelling a lot.  Still could do better, but this tip might be just the ticket to kicking it completely!

Mother reassuring little daughter. She is distracted and crying

2. Modern Day Parenting Crisis

A British nanny gives five reasons modern parenting is harder and not as awesome.

I have to tell you that the village certainly feels dead in public.  A few weeks ago I took the kids to a summer fun movie.  After getting the three 6 year olds settled into their seats and even having a lighthearted moment with the mom a couple seats down, the 3 year old and I headed to the snack bar for our much loved popcorn.  It took 20 minutes.  When we headed back in, my sweet son was scream crying in fear from his seat on the top row.  The lady who we had joked with was Gone!  It wasn’t her place to do anything, but to move seats instead of talking to an obviously scared 6 year old?  The village failed us.  It certainly renewed my desire to help whenever someone in my ‘village’ needs help!

Of course this does not take away from my poor judgement on the readiness of my 6 year old to sit with his twin and cousin.  I take full responsibility for a bad decision that failed my son.

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3. Kids playing around the World

This is another one of my visual shares with a collection of children playing around the world.

I feel like this is a reminder to us to let kids play.  Let them play with simple things.  Play with our kids.  Life is better with some playtime!!

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4. Parent mag – 8 Tips to be a Better Parent

Their images from this article were super tiny so here is an image of my boys with their cousin having some fun!

I adore the tip about embracing change.  Kids change so much as they grow and develop, if we don’t change to accommodate things can go sour.  Looking back over the last six years of being a parent it is pretty easy to see when we made good adjustments with their changes and when we took wrong turns.  When the twins were babies and one needed a nighttime feeding we woke the other one to eat.  One day I just decided to sooth the waking baby back to sleep.  It worked great!  Then it dawned on me….  How many days, weeks or months ago would this have worked?  lol  We’ll never know.

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4. Raising Well Rounded Kids

This is another Parent’s magazine article on raising well rounded kids.  My personal belief is that a well rounded person can accomplish many great things in life.

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Thanks for visiting our site today.  I hope you are inspired and have a wonderful week!

Shannon White Everyday Creative Bio About

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Redefining Knights in Shining Armor

We have this ideal as teenage girls, that “Knight in Shining Armor who sweeps us off our feet and takes us away to Happily Ever After.”  We dream of him, and plan for him, and place our hopes around someday finding him.

He will be handsome, charming, intelligent, strong, and romantic.  All at once.

Then we meet the man we marry, we fall in love and we SEE him as this knight in Shining Armor.  We put him up on a pedestal and expect him to be the paragon we dreamed of in our youth.

And then, suddenly- he isn’t.  You probably realize it gradually as he makes little mistakes, or even big ones.  Maybe he steals the TV remote and changes the channel without asking, or puts the toilet paper roll on backwards.  Maybe he forgets to tell you that you are beautiful or even yells when he’s having a bad day.  But he isn’t perfect.  You watch movies and read books with handsome heroes who arrive at the perfect moment to kiss the heroine in the rain, and you wonder.  Why isn’t my life like that?  You still love your husband, you just wish you had MORE.  More of what you think it means to be in love, but you are wrong.  In all of your wishing, and hoping, you are missing all the little things that really matter.

We need to redefine what it means to be a Knight in Shining Armor.

Today I was sick.  I have a nasty cold with a fever, chills, stuffy nose, headache, the works.  And it was a horrible day, full of screaming, fighting children and a progressively messy house.  My husband was at work all day, he’s a police officer and works a 12 hour shift, so this is a LONG day- full of stress and frustration.  When he came home over an hour late, the best I was able to have waiting for him was a plate of deviled eggs and 4 hungry crabby children waiting to be fed and put in bed.

The Heroes in stories may rescue damsels in distress from hungry dragons, but the Hero in my life simply sent me back to bed.  He then not only fed the four hungry children, but got them ready for bed, and curled up on the couch reading them stories until they were tired.  He got the older ones busy cleaning up the kitchen and doing dishes and after tucking in the 2 little ones, he came in to check on me.

Moments like this are easy to miss, if you are busy waiting for a fairytale romance.  I sometimes catch myself wishing my husband was more romantic, and that he would tell me I’m beautiful everyday, or bring me flowers and chocolate.  But I have learned over the years that those things aren’t real, they fade and are meaningless in the face of the trials that life brings.

True Romance – in REAL LIFE, more often comes in the form of,

Letting me sleep in, when he’s worked several days in a row and needs sleep badly.

Taking the kids to the park so I can have some much needed me time

Doing the dishes when they are piled up and getting crusty

Bringing a symphony bar with toffee in it home from the store after a long day of work- and sharing it piece by piece for several days.

Growing a beautiful garden for our family and making sure to plant lots of Zucchini for me, since its my favorite!

Turning off ESPN and changing the channel to HGTV without being asked

Grabbing a basket of laundry and folding it without being asked.

Putting the kids to bed so I can have a girls night

When our babies were small he would get up with them every morning and play with them so I could sleep in after a long night

Overlooking a messy house, and dirty room- because he loves me

Taking me out for a date, even when we don’t have the money- just because he knows I need out of the house!

Not yelling about the fact that I lost the keys…again.

 

So, can you do it? Can you watch for the little things your husband does to show you he loves you?  Try to take a little time each day to notice and be grateful for the things he does for you.  And thank him for them!

Post in the comments and share what your husband does to bless your life.

EC-Aleesha-Bio

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