Well it’s been exactly two months since my last post.  A lot of the usual life stuff has happened and there have been so many times I wanted to write a blog post sharing about the latest … or some random, profound thought I had … or maybe post a new recipe?  I felt like I needed to log on and write for some reason.  But I didn’t.


The truth is, amidst everything that’s been going on in our daily lives, the best thing that has happened for me has been the slow days; laughing with friends; painting at my desk; winter turning into spring.  I think after losing five babies a part of my heart will always, always be missing — but I am as whole as I can possibly be in this moment and for that I am so grateful.


When I found out I was pregnant last November, I immediately told Niall it was a girl.  I had a deep, DEEP sense of peace that everything was going to be okay this time.  I mean, I just knew it.  I let myself get really excited.  I imagined my big belly in the dead heat of a Georgia summer and smiled.  And I did something I never did before with any of our other losses — I named our baby.  Hope.  That was her name, she was mine, and somehow I was over the moon in love already.


We were being monitored closely and I had more ultrasounds than your average pregnant woman.  When our third one revealed that there was no heartbeat, my Hope died.  Not just my Hope … my baby … but my HOPE.  It cut me to the core and for several weeks I felt like something in my heart was beyond bringing back to life.  I was so, so gutted.  Why?  What are you trying to teach me, God?  And why do I have to keep re-learning this painful lesson?  How many times are you going to knock me down with this?!?


The genetic testing after my D&C revealed that our baby was indeed a girl.  Oh, how that made me miss her all the more.  My emotions took another nosedive and I felt Hopeless … literally and figuratively.  I wanted her back so bad it hurt.  Over the next few weeks, I began to contemplate this name I had chosen.  Where is my Hope?  She is in heaven.  In HEAVEN … where my HOPE should ultimately be.  Not in a future baby, or my children, not in anything on this earth.  Okay, God.  Okay.


Oh, how hard it is sometimes!  To ‘let go and let God’.  Easier said than done, right?  I started asking myself tough questions about my faith that I had never considered when everything was going my way.  Is God good?  Does He have a plan for me, even at times when I am hurting and broken?  Is my faith based on my feelings or His word?  I began reading a book called ‘It’s Not Supposed to be This Way’ — probably not the title I would have chosen if I had a baby in my arms, or one still growing in my belly.  Every sermon at church seemed to speak to me in a way that I had never experienced before.  God was teaching me things through my struggle and I was growing in ways that just wouldn’t have been possible without tears and disappointment.


I’ve got a looooong way to go — I still have moments (lots and lots of moments!) where I pity myself and let feelings of jealousy and bitterness brew.  But today, this is my story, this is the path I am on.  I would have never, ever chosen the pain of miscarriage for myself but pregnancy loss has taught me just as much as bringing a baby into this world has.  I told my husband recently that since our first miscarriage, I feel like a different person in many ways.  And though it has not been easy, I say that in a positive light.


I’ve wondered to myself if, should I have the privilege of having another daughter one day, I could ever use the name Hope again.  But honestly, I don’t think I could.  It was meant for her and only her.  My Hope, my baby girl who inspires me daily to place my hope in heaven.


I love you forever.

when my heart is overwhelmed.

my sweet husband found a way to make me laugh before I went into the surgery room yesterday


This week, I lost my fifth baby.  My heart shattered into a thousand pieces when my doctor started talking about when a D&C would be scheduled.  Would Thursday work?  My mind was spinning.


It all happened so fast.  I felt like I was having an out of body experience — did he really just say that?  D&C?!?!  No, no, no.  Please God, no.  Not again, not this one.  I was so sure this one would be mine to hold.  I was so full of hope, there was so much love in my heart already.  Please, come back baby.  Please come back.


Deep down, I knew something was off during our ultrasound.  The room was dark and his eyes were glued to the screen with a look of concern.  It was too long.  He didn’t immediately say, “everything looks good!” like last time.  Why wasn’t he saying anything?  Why is he just staring??  When he told me I could meet him in the other room to discuss things, I could already feel the tears welling up.  Something was wrong.


I screamed when I walked out of the hospital entrance.  I must have looked crazy but honestly, I couldn’t help it.  Niall and I held hands and cried on the drive home.  We were hoping it would be a quick, painless appointment.  Maybe we could even grab a quick breakfast date on the way home at our favorite spot?  It was going to be a good day.


But now, we were both in tears, confused and broken.


I have learned in all of this that it is necessary (and inevitable) that I break down and cry whenever I need to.  I have learned that my husband is the most amazing life partner and I can’t imagine walking through this season without him.  I have learned that my children are precious and their lives are miraculous and fragile and I am so privileged to be their mom.  I have learned it’s okay to be angry with God, to ask Him questions, to feel forgotten and unseen.  I have also learned that I have to show up.  That the grocery shopping still needs to be done, that diaper changes still have to happen, that life goes on.  That it is still possible for me to laugh in the midst of such deep sorrow.  That I am still able to find joy in a hot cup of coffee or my daughter twirling in her princess dress.  That I have the most amazing friends who bring me dinners and allow me to grieve.  Oh, how grateful I am.  How rich my life is.


If anyone reading this has experienced this pain, this longing — my heart is with you.  I am crying with you and for you.  I am praying for you.  And if you have not experienced this, but maybe you have a friend who has, reach out.  Even if you don’t know what to say.  You have no idea how much a simple text or a handwritten letter can help heal the human heart.  We need each other in this life, on these hard days, when the loneliness of our heartache seems more than we can bear.


Time — sometimes we want it to stand still.  Sometimes we want to go back — to a simpler time, when this knowledge of pain and sorrow didn’t exist.  But every time, it is the days passing that allows my feet to feel firm again, to know I can stand without crumbling.  To be truly happy for a friend or stranger who is expecting a new baby rather than bitter or jealous.  To be able to fall asleep at night without a tear-stained face.  It takes time.  But I believe it will come.  Nevertheless, my mama heart will be missing my babies who I loved and carried for only a short while, for the rest of my life.  I promise my loves, not a day goes by that I don’t think about you.  Until we meet again, your mama will love you forever.


From the end of the earth I will cry to You,

when my heart is overwhelmed;

Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.