A letter to the baby we lost, while we are expecting again…

A letter to the baby we lost…

We are just a few weeks out from meeting your baby sister. And while it can feel at times that we are replacing you – we want you to know that you will never be replaced. Once your sister arrives, we will be in a new world of change and adjustment. Things will be busy and chaotic at times, but that does not mean you will be forgotten.

As we get ready to welcome her, we are being as intentional as we can about remembering you. This time last year, you were in my belly. I was talking to you, singing to you and telling your sisters all about you. On November 8th, we found out we had lost you. And the three months that followed were excruciating. It was hard enough losing you. To add to the emotional pain, there was physical pain, confusion, complications and more.

Although your memory may be filled with heartache and pain, we are committed to sharing your story to those it may help. Because at the end of the day, we realized that you went from perfection to perfection. You never had an ounce of pain and will never know any type of heartache. And while we will always miss you here, we have hope in knowing that you are with our Jesus and we will meet you one day.

When your sisters can understand, they will get to hear all about you. They’ll know your story, and we will celebrate you and look forward to meeting you. We will share with them the joy that we have in our hearts for you.

The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming. Romans 8:18

Just like labor pains always end up being worth it, the pain of losing you will be worth it as well. Every tear, every complication, every sleepless night wishing we still had you – it was all worth it. YOU were worth it. You mattered from the day we saw that positive pregnancy test, and you will always matter to us.

We are 36 weeks pregnant with your sister. We may seem distracted planning for her arrival. While we are so excited to meet her, please know that she’s not a replacement, but another addition to our family. You’ll forever live in our hearts.

I’ll never run away from the pain of missing you – but rather embrace it. While this life on earth can be hard and we’ll never know why we lost you – we don’t have to know. We know you’re with Jesus, and that’s what we chose to focus on. We remind ourselves that the first time you opened your eyes – you saw Jesus. What comfort that brings us!

Read more: Pregnancy After Miscarriage

You have given us all a new outlook on true joy. We have learned to be joyful in the midst of grief and for that we are so grateful. What I want you to know most is that we miss you. We are grateful for the 12 weeks we had you, and cannot wait to see you dancing with Jesus one day. Your sisters will all dance right along with you.

Thank you for being a part of our story.

xoxo,

Pregnancy After Miscarriage

Pregnancy After Miscarriage

Pregnancy after miscarriage – what a blessing, and a beautiful story of hope. But there are so many emotions and feelings that come along with it. I want to talk about those in a very vulnerable way. I was unaware of what I would experience during this time, and if sharing my story can help just one person, then it will be worth it. Whether you are in a season of grief or joy (or both), I hope this post finds you well and encourages you, even in the slightest bit.

We are currently 16 weeks pregnant. Now that my energy is coming back, I’ve had some time to gather my thoughts and process what is actually happening. We experienced a miscarriage seven months ago (you can read about it here).

While the past seven months have been filled with many dark moments, Christ has given me little glimpses of hope. Seven months ago, I had a hard time getting out of bed. I remember waking up many times just wishing it was all a bad dream. I even told my husband I didn’t know if I ever wanted to try for another baby because I never wanted to experience that again. There was so much hurt in my heart, followed by confusion. But I knew God was still good, and I knew He would get us through that season.

Related Article: To the Mom Who is Scared

I realized that the foundation I had as a believer prepared me for that moment when my world came crashing down. Every sermon, book, podcast or conversation about hardships came back to me. I knew this wasn’t the end of our story, but the beginning.

I’m more than happy to share our story. Not because we are pregnant, but because of the One who brought us through one of the most difficult times in our life. Being a Christian doesn’t mean hardships do not exist, but the peace that took over our home and our hearts can only be accredited to Christ. Grief or joy – He gets all the glory.

Eight things I didn’t know about pregnancy after miscarriage

  1. Unexpected emotions – I was expecting to be fearful and somewhat anxious when we found out we were pregnant again. What I didn’t realize is that I would feel guilty at times. As excited as we are to welcome another baby into our family, I’m experiencing moments of guilt for being excited. I am still mourning the loss (and think I always will have moments of sadness because of it), but I’m also excited about this baby boy inside of me. At times it feels like my excitement takes away from the grief that baby deserves. In those moments I have to remind myself of the One who is writing our story. This baby in my belly, and the one He’s holding in Heaven are both a part of our story. Grief and joy can coexist, and I’m very thankful for the strength Christ gives us to do both.
  2. Holy hormones – Guys, it was bad. Like my husband was starting to worry. I had very little patience and could go from happy to “Woah… what just happened” within seconds. Maybe it’s because this is my first boy, but I also think after a miscarriage your hormones can still be so out of whack. Either way – it’s gotten a lot better the past few weeks. But man, hormones be crazy.
  3. Unexplainable peace – The peace that passes all understanding. It can’t be explained, but it can be felt and experienced. From losing our baby at home to reading a positive pregnancy test again – I could feel His presence through it all. I was a hot mess, and still am at times – but I always knew He was there with me. “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8
  4. Thankful for symptoms – Extreme fatigue got me good. As hard as that was, I welcomed it. I knew that symptoms were a good thing. So throughout my crazy hormonal days and movie days stuck in bed (we have two toddlers so don’t romanticize that – #toystorymarathon), there was a touch of joy throughout it all because it gave me hope that things were ok.
  5. Hellloooo fetal doppler – With the baby we lost, I obsessed over that doppler. I checked every day just hoping we would find a heartbeat until we had our ultrasound that would confirm we miscarried. I told myself I wouldn’t do it much this pregnancy, but I do give myself once a week to hear that heartbeat in between appointments. It does help, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it much in the first trimester because it can be so tough to find sometimes.
  6. One day at a time – I’ve had a lot of people ask if I’m nervous/scared/anxious during this pregnancy. And my answer is “sometimes.” Whether we miscarried or not, I would have those feelings. I think any mom will tell you that until that baby is in her arms, there will be moments of worry and fear. Honestly I don’t experience the fear nearly as much as I thought I would. I remind myself again that God writes our story. I’ll do my best to nurture this baby inside of me, but the rest is out of my hands.
  7. Ultrasounds will forever be emotional – Seeing your little nugget with a beating heart will bring a world of emotions. I’m pretty good at holding it together, but once they turned the screen so I could see, I couldn’t hold back the tears. I saw his heart fluttering and his little legs just kicking away – I’ll never forget that moment or the joy that came along with it.
  8. Allow yourself to celebrate – It’s still surreal to talk about this pregnancy. The fear that something could go wrong definitely creeps up every now and then. I’m trying my best to celebrate this life inside of me, and to allow myself and those around me to be excited. And as you can see, there’s two little girls who are celebrating too…

I only have a small glimpse into what many families have gone through or are currently going through. My heart hurts deeply for those affected by loss and infertility. I found myself hesitant to share our news when I know that so many women are struggling. We want to be there for those that are going through or have gone through similar circumstances. Thank you so much for being a part of our story. No matter what season you are in, we want to encourage you in any way we can.

xoxo,

What I Wish I knew as a First Time Mom

What I Wish I Knew as a First Time Mom

First time Mom probs. I had a lot of them. It was so hard to see when I was in the thick of it, but I was having a tough time adjusting to motherhood. I loved being a mom, I loved (almost) every aspect of taking care of my baby. But just like many first time moms – I struggled.

I struggled with control.

I struggled with worrying.

I forgot about my husband.

I isolated myself.

When I was pregnant with my first, I received so much advice on how to do this mom thing well. Good advice, bad advice, advice that made me go… “say what?” All kinds of advice. But it didn’t matter what I heard or read, nothing could prepare me for what motherhood would be like. No one knows what they will be like as a mom, until they are a mom. So regardless of the advice you hear, remember that your journey is just that, it’s yours. Take the advice you like and leave the rest. And if you need to adjust or seek different advice once you are a mom, you do that!

I was so caught up in preparing to be a mom. Like most of us, I dreamed about what motherhood would be like. Since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mom. Needless to say, I put A LOT of pressure on myself. I just wanted to do this mom thing right. But man, when you put those kind of expectations on yourself, you’re bound to fail.

Here are some things I wish I knew as a first time mom:

  1. Things will not go as planned. From the time that baby is out of you, things will probably not be the way you pictured it. When I first became a mom, I found myself feeling so disappointed with the smallest things. I was striving for perfection, and it is not even close to attainable. Grace on grace on grace. There’s beauty in the unpredictable moments. Rather than letting those moments stress me out, I wish I would’ve seen them as opportunities to lean on God even more.
  2. Take a minute, or thirty-seven for yourself. I was so fearful of something going wrong if I left her with someone. She was used to me and how I did things, what if the person watching her didn’t know those things? It’s an opportunity. It’s a chance to benefit everyone. I needed time for myself that I didn’t think I needed. The baby needed time away from me. Grandma got some one on one time in. It was hard, but it got easier each time.
  3. Include your significant other. I read all the books. All the blog posts. All the articles. I was ready to tackle whatever this baby would bring. My husband couldn’t possibly know what to do because he didn’t read the books. Turns out, he did know what to do! He’s Daddy. He knew how to love that child and bond with her. At times me and my internet knowledge got in the way of that.
  4. Grandparents want and need to help. My biggest regret from early parenthood is that I pushed them away rather than welcomed them in. I was so over-protective that they felt like they were walking on egg shells. That was their grand baby and I was just sitting there keeping her to myself! Goodness, I wish I could go back to those early days and share her with the people that love her so much.
  5. You will fail… daily. I wish I could tattoo grace on my forehead. Maybe I’ll run that idea by my husband and see how he feels about it. I failed daily and I still do. I used to beat myself up over it and feel like such a failure if things didn’t go as planned. I’ve learned to give myself grace in those moments. All I can do is all I can do. And as long as I’m doing my best, that’s all that matters.
  6. FIND MOM FRIENDS. I can’t emphasize this enough. As my daughter got older, I made this a priority. But I didn’t realize how important it was until I developed those friendships. We are all in this together. Put yourself out there. Go to MOPS. Go to Chick-fil-A where dreams come true. Invite another mom over for a play date. We need adult conversation and our kids need to interact with other kids. Get out there, mama!
  7. You will sleep again. I remember being in zombie mode for months. I was trying to enjoy the early days, but I was just so dang tired. The whole “sleep when the baby sleeps” didn’t make sense to me because there was always so much to be done. But looking back, I should’ve just slept.
  8. Do what is best for YOUR family. Oh the opinions that come in. It never stops. We are all doing what’s best for our family. Mom shaming is real, don’t let yourself go there. Don’t compare what you’re doing to what other moms are doing. Do what is best for your family and know that they are doing what’s best for their family.
  9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. “No. We are ok. Thank you though.” My classic response as a first time mom. “It takes a village” is a real thing. When someone offers help, take them up on it. You deserve a break and if you don’t want to leave your baby, have someone come over so you can take a nap while they watch them.
  10. Try really hard to cherish the moments you want to remember. I was so worried about every little thing that I forgot to stop and really enjoy those sweet, subtle moments. Was I doing the right thing with the schedule and nursing and diaper changes? Who knows. I just know I was doing my best, and I’ve learned to recognize those sweet moments, and stop to really cherish them.

11. It’s not about the pictures. I’m a photographer, so I am all about the pictures. But I also think there’s a time for it. Sometimes it can really take away from those moments. You don’t have to take a picture of every little thing. My fondest memories aren’t on my iPhone, they’re in my heart because I was really present for it.

12. Nap time is your time. Tired? Sleep. Want to read a good book? Do it. Call up a friend? Go for it. Whatever you do, do not let yourself feel bad about it. Nap time is an opportunity to take care of you. Without self care we can’t be the best version of ourselves. So take the bubble bath!

What a gift it is to be a mom. Enjoy it. Cherish it. Be the best mom you can be and call it a day. Don’t let yourself overthink every little thing from that day. Tomorrow is a new day with new mercies. And if all else fails, get yourself a DONUT.