Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

Breaking the Silence

I really didn’t want to be that blogger. The one gets pregnant and then stops posting. But the truth is that I had nothing to say. My life was a constant state of waiting and hoping, and I didn’t want to write a bunch of posts that were all the same: I’m fine, baby is fine, I’m still scared. It wasn’t even an issue of trying to be respectful of those still in the trenches–I just really didn’t have the desire to write those posts. I was happy and excited and having a textbook pregnancy, and I just wanted to ignore the fear and uncertainties. I was refusing to acknowledge all of the anxiety that I was harboring. But I wouldn’t be able to do that here. I couldn’t be that dishonest here. So I ignored this space and didn’t deal with those feelings. But now something has happened that I have to share. Something I’ve been waiting for, holding my breath.

I’ll be 26 weeks tomorrow–two weeks past viability. This whole pregnancy I’ve been worried about attachment because somewhere between Tup and our fifth loss, the eternal optimistic in me that could never be silenced was finally cut out. Every milestone that we’ve come to this pregnancy has been met with excitement, joy, and complete disbelief. I continued to be floored when things went well. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I honestly kept waiting for my baby to die. While I was happy and excited, I never truly believed that I would give birth to a healthy baby at the end of this, and I never truly attached to this life inside of me. Everything just felt like more practice in how far I could be pushed until I would completely break. Even when I felt the baby move–I could never make the emotional connection between those feelings and the child we would have in December.

Then something changed this week. Baby has gotten so much stronger and I’m a fairly small person so I can put a hand on my stomach and clearly feel little body parts moving around. And at some point I made the transition and starting thinking that the little life that is moving and squirming inside of me will be moving and squirming in my arms in December. Our baby is alive. I will hold that little body and touch those tiny fingers and kiss that tiny nose and watch those little legs kicking. The same ones that are growing and moving inside of me right now. I love this child. I love this child more than I ever thought possible. And instead of thinking that I cannot wait until he or she is born so that I can stop worrying and finally enjoy my baby, I’ve just been thinking about how I can’t wait until he or she is born simply because I want to meet this tiny person that I love so much.

I kept waiting for this transition. I kept waiting for attachment–the true attachment where I let go of the painful past and believe deep down in my being that the movements that I feel inside of me are my baby that I adore and I will meet in three months. And I just realized that I’m finally there. You would think it would make me even more afraid, but there is too much love and excitement and joy in my heart to fit fear right now. That might change, but, for now, I am going to allow myself to soak in this moment that I have waited three years for. I have endured so much pain and anxiety that I’m just going to let myself have this.

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Never Regret Love

Looking back at my blog, I realize that I didn’t post about my pregnancy. Not really. And I feel like none of you truly got a picture of what those four weeks (BFP to final ultrasound) looked like. So I’m going to try to show you.

As I’ve said multiple times, this pregnancy was different. I abandoned the typical infertile plan of trying not to get my hopes up or get too attached because it will hurt too much if things don’t work out. From the beginning, I truly believed that Tup would make it. I think I even had more hope than I did with my first pregnancy, even if I wasn’t nearly as naive about what could happen. I talked to Tup. I placed my hand protectively over my stomach. I made plans in my head.

One of my strongest memories is watering the garden one day. Hubby carried up five gallon buckets of water, and I took a small container and watered each little sprout. I marveled in the fact that I was surrounded by growth. I thought about how I was nurturing these tiny plants while my body nurtured little Tup. I told Tup all about the different vegetables we are growing and promised that next year, I would make baby food out of fresh veggies. I imagined working in the garden next summer with a baby strapped to my chest. I imagined working in the garden two years from now with an eager yet unhelpful toddler. I basked in the moment. The perfect moment.

As much pain as I am in, I am so thankful that I chose to believe in Tup. I am so thankful that I just jumped headfirst into attaching to my child. I am so thankful because I have no regrets. I told Tup that I loved him every day. Hubby kissed my belly goodnight every night. I did everything I could possibly do to not only keep myself rested and healthy, but to make sure that the very short time that Tup spent in this world, he was loved with a love so strong that it makes my heart hurt.

My heart is breaking, and it hurts so much I almost can’t stand it. But I know that pain is from love. And I can never regret love.

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Support

I’ve seen quite a few posts about how to support someone who is going through IF or loss. I think it’s great that people have written these posts because, let’s face it, we aren’t an easy group to understand and support. Statements that are meant to be helpful and supportive can be really hurtful to many in our community. I’m learning that this is not necessarily unique to to IF/loss, and being a good source of support for anyone isn’t easy.

Over the past few months, I have been struggling with how to support my husband as he deals with Crohn’s disease. My heart just breaks when I see him in pain, and I desperately want to make him better. But I can’t. I can’t heal him. I can’t alleviate his pain. I can’t promise him that he will feel better soon. So what can I do? Over the past week I’ve been in prayer about how to support him, how to be a good wife to him as he faces this terrible disease. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Pray for him I pray for my husband’s health regularly. I don’t just pray that he will be healed–I also pray that the Lord will walk with him through the desert. I pray for strength to endure and peace to deal with a diagnosis that sucks. And I make sure that hubby knows that he is being surrounded by prayer by telling him when I pray for him. 
  • Serve him When hubby has bad days where he can’t really leave the couch, I serve him. I make him something to eat that won’t make him hurt more. I bring him anything he needs. I take care of things he is usually in charge of (like mowing the lawn or putting the dog up at night) so he won’t stress about it. It’s exhausting, but it’s so rewarding and giving him the opportunity to rest makes a big difference to his pain levels.
  • Abide with him Earlier this week, hubby was hurting too much to stay in bed, so he took another pain pill and went to living room and propped himself in a more comfortable position on the couch. Instead of taking my usual approach (silently bemoaning the interruption in my sleep and shutting the bedroom door so he doesn’t keep me up), I got up and went into the living room. I held his hand and talked with him to help distract him until the pain pill kicked in. I let him know that he’s not alone in this.
  • Love him I try to use every opportunity to remind my husband of how much I love him. Sometimes he will say something like, “I’m sorry you are stuck with a broken hubby” and I refuse to accept that. I remind him that I meant it when I said “in sickness and in health.” I make it a point to show him and tell him that I love him and his illness cannot change that, and in some ways, his illness has made me love him even more because it has given me the opportunity to serve and support him in a big way.

So that is how I have learned to support my hubby: pray, serve, abide, and love. And you know what? I think that’s a good way to support someone through just about anything.

What kind of support have you received that has been particularly helpful or encouraging?

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