I debated over and over whether I should write this update or not. It seems to not get easier--even after opening up about our situation. I have a difficult time talking about hard stuff even to those closest to me. However, I had an experience the other day that got me thinking...
I was at my friend Jennica's house and we were talking about a dance organization that performed at our stake center recently. One of their pieces incorporated personal trials the dancers were going through individually. They each carried a rolled up piece of paper tucked inside their belts. At the end of the dance, they opened their signs. Each had written one word on their paper. As an audience, we read words like abuse, addiction, infertility, etc. Things that you would never know just by looking at them. As we talked about this, Jennica said something that struck me. "If everyone went around walking with signs like that, we would be a lot less judgmental of each other."
I've been pondering this. While I know how difficult it is to open up (and I'm not suggesting anyone else should if they feel uncomfortable), I think what my very wise friend said is true. You honestly never know what your neighbor is going through. That lady next to you in line--who knows what her day has been like? Or maybe there was a deeper reason why that person seemed rude. Whenever someone cuts me off on the freeway I always try to think of a random scenario to keep from being upset at them. Maybe their grandma is in the hospital and they are rushing to see her? We all got stuff going on, so why not be nice and understanding of each other always? I'm not perfect at this.
Thinking about these dancers and what my friend said has me motivated. I want to talk about this not necessarily for my own sake, but because I know there are many out there suffering similar situations--who probably aren't holding up signs for everyone to see. It's my hope that opening up about my story will give others the opportunity to talk as well or at least take comfort in knowing they aren't alone. Again, I'm not suggesting anything at all. Just know that someone truly cares and will be your friend if you need one during a hard time.
Since speaking up about my struggle, I have exchanged some wonderful conversations with people from both in and out of my circles. I have met new people online as they've bravely shared their own stories with me. How blessed am I? Seriously. I have been so touched by these strong and inspiring people. I was amazed especially by one new friend I met through my blog--who showed me an outstanding example of service as she and her husband fasted for us and put our name on the prayer roll even though they were going through their own heartache. In spite of all the horrible things that happen in the world, there is SO much good! I know if I hadn't posted, I wouldn't have had these incredible experiences.
I don't know when I'll be ready to publish this, but I wanted to write most of it now while it's still so raw. Today is March 15th and we miscarried our fourth little baby yesterday. Despite having this happen yet again, I was not prepared. Devastation is no stranger to me now, yet it doesn't become easier to handle every time it knocks. It's both physically and emotionally painful. You're expecting a baby--someone to come into your life--but they never make it there. You're up and then down. It's a roller coaster for sure! Our home seems to grow more and more quiet without the presence of this person my husband and I so desperately want to meet. This person we love so much but do not know. It's a blow to the heart that's so difficult to explain.
The story of this little one is not a long one, but I want to tell it. It is the only memory I have with our baby and, though short, it is very precious to me.
Cameron and I were given the "okay" by our specialist to try again. My body was healthy, healed, and all back to normal. They found nothing wrong with every single one of our test results. Chances are, it would be okay. However, we experienced lots of hesitation--as you can imagine. We had not expected to be put in this position again this soon and though excited, we were a little uncertain. BUT we both knew what we wanted and through prayer, it felt right.
I knew there was something wrong from the beginning. I got three negative pregnancy test results, and I was well over a week late. Though I tried to keep my optimism high, reminders of my third pregnancy kept creeping in. Our specialist was certain I had an abnormal pregnancy going on. Lots of miscommunication occurred, but we finally got a positive blood test. The nurse called me with so much excitement in her voice (can you tell she knows my history?). I was pregnant again! Cameron and I exchanged a few worried texts. "Pregnancy makes me nervous and scared." he wrote. We both agreed we were very happy, but terrified all at the same time. Even though we had all these anxious feelings, there's nothing like knowing there is a little life inside. We were determined to do everything in our power to keep it that way.
Later that night I got a call from our specialist. He personally apologized for all the confusion we experienced and asked me about my symptoms. He said it sounded very much like an ectopic pregnancy and the best case scenario would be that ovulation occurred way late (which, he said, was highly unlikely given my history of very regular cycles). Any reassurance or hope I had shattered. I released all of my anger and frustration and sadness all at once. My husband tried to reassure me and told me not to worry myself yet because we didn't know for certain. "I already know, babe. It's bad..." I sobbed.
That night I felt very, very alone. Cam had left to play basketball with his co-workers. He wanted to stay with me badly, but he had already committed and I wanted him to go. I wanted him to get out and focus his mind on something else and have fun.
I listened to some general conference talks and read some scriptures of comfort. Then, I prayed. I could not think of many words to say this time, except that I just wanted to feel like I wasn't alone. Now, I believe that I am never truly by myself. I know my Savior and Heavenly Father are near me always. I trust that. However, it was different this time. I won't go into much detail because this is very sacred and special to me, but I could feel my baby there. My heart filled with so much love--the spirit was incredible! I'm so grateful to have had just that one small, beautiful moment with my little angel. Heavenly Father answers prayers!
The next morning I went to go get my blood drawn to see if my HCG had risen or not and on the way there, I felt it happening. The familiar, painful cramps. When I got back home, the pain increased and the miscarriage started. It wasn't as painful as some of the others, but it didn't matter. There is no measure to this kind of hurt.
I texted my mother-in-law to give an update and she suggested I not be alone, so I spent the day with my sister-in-law, Marli. She made me lunch and gave me a brownie. We did our nails. We expressed our sadness, tears, anger and frustration. She let me vent.
I also had a call with my little sister who made me laugh! I needed that so much. I used to believe that laughter would discount my babies in some way, but I don't feel that way now. Somehow, it makes the burden a little lighter I think.
I'm still constantly amazed at the guardian angels in my life. The family and friends we told have kept us in their thoughts and prayers. It would be so much more difficult without their endless love and support. We are so truly blessed and still see these awesome people as tender mercies from the Lord.
I also had a wonderful conversation with my cousin Jamie--who I highly admire and also recognize as a very wise, strong mother. She said something that again hit me: despite all she's been through, she'd never take it back. From everything she has gained and how much she has grown, she knows she wouldn't have learned it any other way. Forgive me, Jamie, if I've butchered this. You put it so beautifully!
What a great perspective! I recognize I have truly learned so much from this trial, but sometimes I think I'd really like to be doing something else. Wouldn't it just be so nice if everything worked out exactly how we want it? I always want to keep what Jamie said in mind because really, without this trial, I don't think I would have learned to be so sensitive of others' hardships. I wouldn't have gained this greater appreciation for life and for children. I definitely would be nowhere near the person that I am now, which I like to think is better than who I was (even just a year ago). Of course I want my babies with me. Of course I wish it had worked out. But if we respond to this struggle in a way that is pleasing to God, I know we will be blessed. We will come to understand His purposes. We will grow into the people we are supposed to be.
As I mentioned before, this trial has also brought me so much closer to my Savior. I don't know how I'd even be standing without Him. As I've put my trust in Him, my fears of the future have lessoned. As I've let go, He's helped carry me. He's been through it, so when I feel like the world does not understand, I know He does. Jamie also recommended the book, Making it Through the Middle by Emily Freeman. Cam and I read it together, and it was exactly what we needed! It's a great little book about ways you can get through your trial right now while in the middle of it. You hear countless stories of people talking about the end of their struggle--where it all worked out and how they've grown, but there's not many that talk about the hardship while it's actually happening. My favorite part is the back of the book (which Marli pointed out to me when I showed it to her). It says, "We come to know the Savior best in the moments when we need Him most." Simple truth. We also had a sweet experience near the end of the book when it says, "When you can't see God's hand, trust His heart." We both stopped. We have this very quote as a vinyl on our wall. Coincidence? I think not! It brings a much deeper meaning every time we look at it now.
I also posted about my relationship with my sweet Cameron and how we have grown so much together through this. Interesting how tragedies tend to bring people closer. The other morning, I woke up with a heart full of sadness. Again, I felt like a failure. My husband deserves so much to be a father--oh he'd be such an amazing dad, you guys! And this little voice in my head keeps telling me that I am the one keeping him from that.
I cried and told him he could have had someone else. Someone who could easily grant him fatherhood (Yeah, I know that's a highly irrational and stupid thing to say). I went on and on about how I couldn't do anything right. I could not even do what nature intended me to do! How did my sweetheart respond? All he did was pull me closer, kiss me on the forehead, look into my eyes and say: "I wouldn't trade you for anyone."
I know my angels are in a beautiful place watching over us. I am comforted knowing they are in good hands. God is good and this is my trial. Our faith is being tested, but we won't turn away. I trust in Him and His promises that we will be parents one day. His timing and His will are always better than mine. Through Him, we are "making it through the middle".