You can’t lift your arms above your head. If you do, you will miscarry your baby.

When I was pregnant for the FIRST time in my life at 29 years of age, I was living in a foreign country.  FAR AWAY from my family to help walk me down this MIRACULOUS first path of pregnancy.

And the internet was not that widely used.  And I really had no clue what was going on.

On top of that, I had already been jumping off extremely high platforms into lakes and off of mountains—apparently pregnant (but, as most 1st time pregnant women, sometimes we are utterly clueless as to what is taking place in our bodies).

Apparently, my baby still survived all of the crazy extreme I was living through.

YET—yet with my family so far away, all I had left were those that surrounded me in a different culture—telling me things like, “You CAN’T lift your arms above your head because you WILL lose your baby!”

And I thought—Is this true?  Is this not?  HOW do I know?

The thing is—I also snorkeled pregnant with that very baby belly and was stung by a jelly fish AND swam with manta rays AND … and my baby came out healthy and 2 weeks late.

YET…YET I had been told simply lifting my arms above my head would cause the loss of my baby.

THEN…Then I had a second JOY!  A pregnancy stick that said “YOU ARE PREGNANT!”

Woot.  And then without even doing ANYTHING crazy INCLUDING lifting my hands above my head, I began to bleed and cramp and spot and had to weekly go to the doctor and watch and make sure this little baby would live.

Believe me.  I was barely walking.  I was barely moving.  No snorkeling, mountain jumping.  No stinging jelly fish or electric shocks from unexposed wires…

And I still lost our baby.

How is that possible IF I did not lift my arms above my head?

RIGHT?!

That, my friends, is because miscarriage is SILENT and UNKNOWN (for the most part) and SO many of us don’t understand it.  Doctors are trying.  And there is still a LONG way to go.

And because no one really knows, we share our fears.  PERHAPS one woman in Poland lifted her arms above her head and lost her baby.  And then the story was shared.  And then the fear of what is the protection of the precious life inside of you got passed to the next mom who wanted to make sure that she would NOT do that so that she could keep her baby as safe as possible…

And then the next woman was told.

And the next.

And the next.

Until it was well known that you simply DON’T lift your arms above your head or else you will lose your baby.

This is what happens all around the world.  Every culture.  Every country.  Every person has advice to share that seems like wisdom but, really, is wives’ tale.

Here is an article that came out today that shows what a long path we still have to travel to understand such sadness and loss:  What people don’t understand about miscarriages.  

So, my friends, for you that are currently going through this darkness of miscarriage, please know that you did the best you could.  You tried hard.  You loved hard.  You fought with all of your being.  And sometimes we still don’t win.  But it was not—is not your fault!

My daughter was in the car with me the other day (the one that was not only stung in belly by a jelly fish but also jumped in belly off the mountain with me AND was electrocuted in belly with me while I helped build a wooden deck to a home…This same daughter is 9 years old now—yes, that means I am now 39 years old ;))…She was asking me ALL sorts of questions I didn’t want to answer yet at this crazy age.  But since she was addressing them, I was responding.

One question was “Why when we prayed SO hard for our baby, did God let our baby die?”

You can’t dismiss children when they have questions, and so I began.

“Adelyne, a lot of sadness takes place in this world because we are not robots.  And sometimes good things happen.  And sometimes bad things happen.  BUT do you want to know what GOOD things happened because God gave us our baby in our belly to begin with—even though we lost our baby too soon?”

“What, Mommy?”

“That baby we lost—that baby gave mommy a new light of hope.  A hope that maybe one day we would ACTUALLY have another baby.  A baby I had no clue I would ever have.  I thought you were our only one!  And because God gave us Sam (we named our baby even though we lost baby in 1st trimester), we now have Max and Jo!  We have two more gifts because of Sam.  TWO!”

My friends—there is no answer for the loss.  Because it was not a loss we ever asked for nor wanted.  But when the storms occur, how do you see the impending light?

Our lights through the storm are Max and Jo.  The two that popped out 2 and 3 years after our loss of Sam.

Pregnancy is difficult enough—and then with everyone sharing the should and should nots of it—couple that with the endless reading materials—and then pair that with a mommy and daddy trying their best to incubate a baby until that miraculous due date—

When BAM!  All of that is stripped away at the stop of a beating heart.

You really do suffer guilt.  Shame.  Loss.  A sense of NO understanding.  And so much more.

And that is why wives’ tales live.

Because even in today’s extremely advanced medical world, IT (miscarriage) is still being discovered.

In the meantime, we now live the rest of our lives with the wonder—What if?

What if I hadn’t lifted my hands above my head like I was told?

And even though we KNOW in our hearts we did all we could—

It will never be enough.

Because the loss of this silent but thankfully gaining ground tragedy continues to be so unknown.

And even when that day comes when we ACTUALLY scientifically know more, it still will not have made a difference for those we lost too soon.

Will it in the future?

No one knows.

“Cast all your anxiety upon him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 

When you’ve tied your tubes and want another child…

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You know, there is a time in your life that you come to. It is a delicate balance of wants and reality.

I am at that stage. Our youngest is now 10 months old. She is as cute as a button. She is just plain lovely. Literally plain lovely. She has the sweetest demeanor. We are definitely going out with a bang!

Yet, our hearts still cry out…another baby! Another baby! Another baby.

I think that there comes a time in your childbearing life when you still want more and yet your reality comes in and says to you, “Be grateful.”

That is where we find ourselves.

So utterly grateful. Beyond measure, really.

Grateful for the three amazing children that God has given us.

And happy. Oh man. I am so stinking happy that I am no longer pregnant.

My last 3 pregnancies were absolutely difficult. This last baby. This sweet and gentle spirit. At 30 weeks pregnant, my water basically was at the point of breaking and I was pretty much fully effaced. It was a rough remainder of a pregnancy. Yet we made it! Woot-woot.

But in the process of making it, we made a BIG decision. At 38 years of age, we were going to be grateful to God for the children that he delivered into our arms and quietly bow out of this game called pregnancy.

And hence, we tied our tubes.

Time’s up for the Nungesser Polish clan and their expansion plan 😉

Oh. Every single day since having our sweet and LARGE (10pounds, 10ounces at birth) Josephine, I feel better, can move more easily, and sleep more.

And as life becomes easier…My memory becomes less.

I forget how difficult my last 3 pregnancies were and how hard it was to bring Maxwell and Josephine into this world. And I begin to question our decision.

Tying our tubes? Was it right for us?

My sister-in-law told me once, “No matter if you have 1 child or 10, when it comes to the point that it is your last child, I think that there will always be something sad in your heart.”

And it is so true. There is a finality to tying tubes. To menopause. To realizing you are done…

So, now I am at the time in my life where I may feel wanting but I also feel grateful.

And overall contentment.

It doesn’t mean that the beautiful spirit of more children may never creep back into my heart or thoughts or desires, but as I sit typing this my youngest two (2 and 10 months—they are 19 months apart), sit on the floor near my feet playing choo-choo trains, and bear puzzles, and xylophone books. And Max just leaned over and patted Josephine’s back as she started to cough and said, “Okay, Gogo?” Because we call her Go-Go…Like a GoGo Squeezer.

And my heart beat fully.

Even with my tubes tied.

Rainbow Baby?

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I will never shy away from sharing of my loss.  And I am not sorry if I cause discomfort.

Miscarriage is a very silent loss.  It is a very wrenching loss.  It is a very soul-crying loss.

Miscarriage takes you from elation to depression sometimes within weeks.

Today I read many articles of women, very prolific writers, phew!  Writers that bore their souls of their miscarriage losses.  From first trimester to 16 weeks.

From listeria infections to sudden delivery.

Women that never shared the loss with their children.  And then some that, for some unknown reason, started the conversation in the car on the way to school.

I am sure many of us (especially if you are around my age) can recall the episode from Friends when Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe are in the bathroom during the reception of Monica and Chandler’s wedding.

And the two girls, Phoebe and Monica, had given Rachel another pregnancy test to take to see if she really was or wasn’t pregnant.

Phoebe read the results, “She (Rachel) was not pregnant.”

Rachel cried.  And said she was happy.  And that it was for the best…

Of course, Phoebe was not telling the truth.  She wanted to see how Rachel really felt.  And, obviously, Rachel felt a great loss once she thought she was not pregnant.

Now, let’s leave fiction and enter reality.

The character of Rachel shared the heart of many.  THAT pregnancy test.  That pee stick.  That unsanitary little thing carries a great weight.

And as soon as we see the sign “Positive” our lives change.

Our beings change.  Our hands fly to our bellies.  We smile secretly to ourselves, appearing looney to the rest of the world watching random woman lady walking around with dreamy smile on her face.

We envision blue.  And then pink.  And then blue.  And then pink.

We have already calculated how far along and potential birth dates before even the first doctor’s appointment.

Names.  I am sure that is the first Google search you did as soon as you got back on your computer, after the due date, before the Chinese gender calendar.

Names.  Beautiful names.  Crazy names.  Trendy names.  Old names.  New names.  World names.  Names and their meanings.  Social Security popularity on names.

And twins?!  I mean, after all, can’t you recall someone, somewhere in your family that had twins?  Therefore, what would the doctor share with you?  It’s TWINS!

Whether you lost your baby 24 hours after your positive pregnancy test or 12 weeks later…In those potentially 24 hours you knew you had your baby growing inside of you, you conquered the internet.   You looked at What to Expect-type websites.  You saw where the baby was and how you would grow, and you secretly tucked your favorite name away, knowing that even if you had to fight for it, that special name would become a part of your baby in some way, sort or form…Soon.  If 9 months is considered soon.

Miscarriage.  It rips the very soul out of you.

And even the most gut-wrenching cries cannot bring back what you want the most.  The realization of your baby.  In your arms.  In the 9th month.  Like it should be.

Miscarriage.  It is a devastating end to what was once a beautiful beginning.

For you.

My husband?  For him it still continues, too.

Two years after our miscarriage, my husband and I were in our car on our way to church.  Church is one hour away.  My husband is the pastor of the church.

We were on our way.  On the highway.  We were driving.

It hit my husband.  The loss.  The great, great, tremendous loss.

And as we were driving in the car at 80mph, he started to cry.  The car started veering.

Sobs.  Gut-wrenching sobs were escaping the soul of his being.  Tears that he had always stifled to be strong for his wife that suffered so much physically with the loss and hemorrhaging and emergency D and C to remove the placenta.

He was so strong for so long.  And then two years later, our son Maxwell nearly died.  And then Maxwell lived.

And then all of it hit Richard.  On the way to church.  In the car.  Traveling 80mph.

And we nearly wrecked the car.  He had to pull over on the abandoned highway.  And I had to sit there.  Stunned.

I sat there as Richard shouted at God.  “Why?”

Why?

I sat there as Richard shared his guilt.  He was in America when our baby’s heart stopped beating.

“Why, God?!”

I sat there as Richard cried.  And cried.  And cried.

I didn’t know what to do.  And that is probably exactly how he felt as I lived through my time of tears. He probably didn’t know what to do.

Miscarriage.  The silent shame?

Never!

Miscarriage.  The silent pain.

The pain of loss.  Such tremendous loss.  For the mom.  For the dad.  For the brothers and sisters.

For those that love you.  For you yourself.

No one knows what to do.

No one.

And that is probably why miscarriage remains such a silent topic.

Because what can you say about a baby that you loved and barely knew?  Except to the very core of your being you did know.  Just as well as you know the other children you have.

I read once that a rainbow baby is a baby that follows the storm of loss.  Just like a beautiful rainbow shines after the rain.

And I loved what I read.

So, today, I am here to say.  Miscarriage.

It is a loss that guts your soul.  And you feel it forever.

But miscarriage also taught me about life.  The beautiful value of how precious and yet fleeting life is.

I had never valued life so much until our baby lost it.

And then we, through the storm, saw our rainbow.

Eventually a double rainbow.

And their names are Maxwell Loren (2 years and a few months old now) and Josephine Diane (9 months old).

Our baby we never got to meet.  Sam.  Simply Sam.

And despite the beauty of our rainbows, there is not a day that goes by that we don’t reflect upon the gorgeous life of our Sam.

For Sam was our storm.  And Sam was our watering.  And Sam was our awakening.

Our awakening to compassion.

To beauty.

And to life.

Sam.  Oh how I miss the baby I barely had.  Then I look at my rainbow babies and I smile.  I smile at them while remembering Sam.  It’s as if there will never be one without the others.

Just like there will never be a rainbow without a storm.

And 3+ years later, I can smile.  Sadly smile.

The ultrasound of my perfect baby alive in my mind.  The heartbeat-strong.  The feeling of life-there.

And yet time has passed and life has changed.  And we have double rainbow blessings…

But today, Dear Sam, I raise my life and voice for you.  And for all women like myself.  And for all men like my husband.  And for all siblings like my Adelyne.

And I say loudly, without shame, you are loved deeply…even if it is only our hearts that get to hold you.

You were our storm.

But everyone knows—water is necessary for life.

And that is what you were.  A life.  A beautiful life.

Thank you, Sam.  Simply Sam.

Now, I am off to kiss my babies.  My rainbows after our storm.  And I am going to inhale deeply their scents.

And maybe even cry a little.

Because the world does spin, but my heart remains the same.

Mother.  To Sam.

No matter, I will go to bed with a smile.  Because my storm was beautiful.  And mine.  And forever I am changed.

So despite death.  I was taught life.

And I am happy about that.

Because life is beautiful.  Just like our storm.

Happy…Happy…Happy, Jack!

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Total Duck Dynasty Fan…but today’s not about them, ya’ll!  Even though I do waddle like a duck, and we are family!  (Well, maybe you and I aren’t, but Jenny and I are—pictured above).

So, the beautiful tiny lady next to me is my super awesome and lovely sister-in-law.  But we always tell her that she’s the sister, my brother is the in-law!  Just kidding.  That just goes to show how much we love that lady!

And something fun…She is also a geriatric pregnant lady!  Woot-woot.  Wait.  How come she looks so much better than I?  Hmmmm.  Better check into her secrets 😉

Anyhow, we had a bit of fun today.  We both had doctor appointments.  Her 14th week.  My 33rd week.  We go to the same office, and after we saw each other at my parents house.  We were visiting my dad who just had massive back surgery.  By the way, he’s looking GREAT.  Thanks for asking (even though you didn’t).

And since we were both there at the same time, and I actually have makeup on, a bra on, and am actually in clothes (no, I don’t run around naked, but I do spend my entire bed rest days in comfy pjs), we thought we better seize the day and take a preggo picture together.  After all, with my cervix, no one knows how long my little Josephine is gonna hang in my utero.

But, let’s get back to the Happy, happy, happy!  Today I had a great visit.  Nope.  Cervix still ready for labor.  Good news, however, since I’m 33 weeks, I received the glorious news that I will only remain on “strict” bed rest for 1 more week.  That means I can do more than make a trip to the toilet, shower, or fridge.   Woo hoo.

But I did receive a gold star today.  I was told that for the last 2 weeks I have been a GREAT patient.  Yeah, baby!  Of course, you A2MC readers have also been getting the contraction pain and psyching myself out stories.  Oops.  Sorry.  Thanks for reading my episodes of preterm insanity.

Anyhoo…to end my happy day, I gotta share what the doc said to me today.

First, you should know that the office I attend has 7 doctors.  Any of the 7 can deliver you.  Therefore, as you near the end of your pregnancy, it’s a good idea to make sure that you meet them all.  Today was the first time I had the new doc.  A woman.  And she walks in all happy and smiling.  Like I said, I’ve been a good patient.  She tells me my baby, in my belly, is also happy, happy, happy with all of the kicks she counted in the time we were hooked up.  Gold Star to Josephine, too.

And then, she looks again at my chart and says, rather enthusiastically, “Oh WOW!   You’re 37?!  Congratulations!”

A compliment?  A proclamation of astonishment? I have no clue.

What is the appropriate response to such an enthusiastic proclamation?  A  High Five or some hand slapping?

Who knows.

In any case, it’s been a LONG two weeks since I got the news that my baby was ready to come ANY DAY!

And it’s been a long TWO weeks since my baby boy Maxwell was put down, grocery store was left for my husband to venture, and my feet went up…

But we’ve made it to week 33, and we are THRILLED!

Soon and very soon, we are going to have a baby.  Now, that doesn’t mean in 1 week, but in any case, she is baking, happy, and I am only 4 weeks now until I technically reach “full term”.

Totally stoked!

Even if she comes before, I know that my little pineapple will most likely come slightly chubby, rather healthy, and her parents will be definitely HAPPY!

Here’s to a great HUMP DAY to you, friends.

Hope the rest of your week will bring as GREAT of news as ours today did.

Big belly hugs to all of you out there in the cyber world.

xo for now…

B, my Belly Josephine, and the rest of my crazy clan:  Richard (the handsome baby daddy), Adelyne (the really big sister), and Maxwell (the 18-month-old smiling sunshine!)

Sitting pretty…with my feet propped.

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So, it totally happened last night.  Our son.  He is an AWESOME sleeper but then…THEN it happened.  He awoke in the middle of the night.  Crying.  Sobbing.  Desperation.  Lots of coughing.  Tears.  Snot.  Truly, it was a tragic sight.

He really could have a future in theater with as much drama as he was throwing our way.  I can hear the Oscars now…And for lead male actor, “Maxwell Nungesser!”  Of course his acceptance speech would be dedicated to his mommy that encouraged his dramatic flair and laughed at his trembling lip and took pictures of his practiced cries!  Literally.  Practiced cries.  Did I mention that when we moved into this little farm house there was a mirror on the back of his door that faces his crib?  Oh, I didn’t.  Well, it is there, and I have found him practicing his cries in the mirror.  Red handed.  Can’t pull one over on the momma!  Boo-ya!  (Is that even how you spell Boo-ya?!)

But last night, at 3:30am, I heard the cries and got to do something close to heavenly…I got to poke Richard and say, “Honey…the baby is crying!”

Sweet!  There are perks in bed rest, eh?  After all, I technically can’t lift him out of his crib.  It’s not because I don’t have the muscle guns to do it…It’s because I have this thing called preterm labor is on our doorstep.

And, let me tell you, it is not a fun thing.  But at 3:30am, I think I may have been saying a short and sweet prayer about preterm labor rules to God.  Something along the lines of “Thank you, Lord, that Rich has to get out of bed!”

Can I insert a smiley face here?  Nah.  Too cruel?

Anyhow…My husband pulled himself out of bed and spent the rest of the entire NIGHT and MORNING entertaining our perfectly HAPPY child.  Who happened to be in a GREAT mood and wanted to PLAY, PLAY, PLAY!

I shut the door and went back to sleep, of course.  In fact, I didn’t even get my daughter out of bed for school this morning.  After all, Daddy was up.  Let him do it!

Oh man.  If only I could go shopping, I would buy my husband something NICE today.  He does deserve it.

Know what else?  On top of being awake since 3:30am chasing a baby around, he worked from home all day long (on his computer) while still managing to get one daughter out the door to school, keep one son entertained, keep one pregnant woman fed…and I took a LONG nap!

I do deserve it for being the first to hear Maxwell’s cries last night, right?!  Um.  Not really.  Good try, Brooke.  Good try.

And now I sit here on my computer (not working at all), enjoying social media and type-typing away while my husband got my daughter ready for soccer, Maxwell and his twelve million EpiPens packed, and off they went.  To soccer practice.  So, not only did I get to sleep last night, nap today, but I also get a glorious hour and a half to myself today.  In the house.  Alone.

I should really enjoy this hour because once my little Josephine pops right out, I am sure that I won’t see an hour like this for hmmmm….At least 365 days?!

Is it too early to start singing Christmas carols because I feel something at the tip of my tongue?

“Joy to the world!  Momma is alone!”

(“Unless…a big belly…counts!”  Keep singing to the above tune)…

I think that since most of the night feedings in our near future are going to be Richard poking me in the ribs saying, “There’s nothing I can do for Josephine,” I will continue to lounge and enjoy today.

Ah today.  It was a rather glorious, lazy day!

Just don’t tell my husband.

Life. It’s one big contraction.

So, I was in the Polish hospital a little over a year ago.  I was 29 weeks pregnant with my son, lying in the hospital with the contraction monitor on my belly for hours at a time, eventually receiving a raging, itchy rash from that contraption.

And sure enough that annoying machine was jumping up and down like crazy.  I was having contractions, so I was given something to stop those suckers.

Yes.  Contractions.  I know them well.

Let’s continue with this contracting belly baby named Maxwell and how he loved to cause pain.

It’s still a little over a year ago and I actually made it from 29 weeks to 34 weeks.  Thirty-four painful weeks and my mom and I are watching my belly.

“Oh, look at Maxwell.  He’s so funny.”  And my belly would move and turn and slide and then stop.

Hmmm.  That’s weird.  Oh, wait.  There he goes again.

Well, this became a pattern.  Now, please keep in mind that I do have a 6-year-old daughter, but 6 years is a LONG time to forget about contractions.  Apparently so is 5 weeks, because I didn’t even remember from my 29th week of pregnancy.

Needless to say, I wind up in the hospital just halfway through my 34th week and the doctors decide that it’s time for my bum moon to shine, in a room full of 6 other preggo women, and that’s where they give me a shot—on my bum moon.

Let me also say, the shot hurt.  Did I mention that I was in a hospital room, on a bed, in a gown and there were 6 other very afraid pregnant ladies there with me?!  Yep.

Full moon…Full shot…Full pain…Full hollering.

The nurse looked and me and said, “Oh, now.  That wasn’t bad.”

And I replied, “Nie, straszny!  Straszny!”  Basically, “No!  It was horrible!  Horrible!”

She just chuckled, as I once again hid my big ol’ bum moon, while she left.

The contractions, however, were not impeded by the shot from Hades, and so I delivered my baby just a half a day later.

Well.  If I thought the contractions were bad at 7 minutes apart, I was in for a really big surprise later during the day.

At first, after my water broke, I told my husband who was watching the monitor, “Hey!  Let me know if a big one is coming.”

Utterly foolish.

Because he then became the sportscaster of Team Contractions and would holler out each time he saw it rise, “A big one is coming!”

“I KNOW a big one is coming!”  I would holler back!  “Don’t you think I can FEEL it?!”

The air was tense…he thought his job was fun.  And I was at the point where I thought I was going to DIE.  Literally.  Die.  And here is my husband in no pain watching a monitor yelling, “A big one is coming!”

Needless to say, he was quickly FIRED from that job.  I put him to work getting me ice, getting me a cool head cloth, hand feeding me the ice, getting me the puke bucket, finding me pain drugs, and so forth.

In hindsight—he was an angel.

And eventually the contractions led to the game winning push!  Twelve to be exact.  Twelve devilishly painful pushes that popped us out a baby!

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A baby…

And quickly all contractions were forgotten.

And then the world seemed right.  And peaceful.  And perfect.

Those contractions, they gave us a gift.  And that gift is our son.

Life is sometimes like those contractions.  Big and painful.   Often we wonder if we are going to make it through moments in our day or moments in our lives. 

And contraction after contraction is upon us.  Seemingly endless.  And there are people all around shouting—“It’s a big one!”

Exhaustion sets in.  There is no doubt in your mind that this is the most painful experience of your life.  And you are ready to quit.

To throw in the towel.  Kaput with it.  No more.

And then the worst of it comes upon you.  And you unbelievably know that you will.not.survive.

But you do.

And, in the wake of all that was painful, you are given something precious.

It’s called life.

A chance to begin again.

Like a newborn.  Except with experience.

A new day rises before you and you know that you can conquer it because you just survived the most painful experience of your life.

Contractions.  Big ones.  Labor.  Labor that was accompanied by pain.  Lots of it.

But you made it through.  And now.  Now it’s your turn.

Cradle your new beginnings and go to sleep, looking forward to a new tomorrow.  You deserve it.

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss: Month of October.

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We have a baby in heaven…And that is how life sometimes goes.  But let me tell you that no matter how many babies seem to be popping out of my uterus at this stage of my life, there is not a single day that goes by where Rich, Adelyne, and I don’t mention our baby…Our Baby Sam.

To be truthful, the very day that I was in labor with Maxwell, and Rich and I actually had the delivery room to ourselves, we each took a moment and cried.

Not because we weren’t thankful for Maxwell—our precious boy fighter that was about to enter our world.  But because it is the day when we allowed ourselves, after the last year, to feel the unspeakable pain of our loss…Of our loss of Sam.

You see, they would be a year and a half apart.  And as much as we wanted Maxwell, we wanted Sam.

And there was that moment for both of us in the labor and delivery room that we sat crying.  Together.  In pain.  Even though great joy was around the corner.

Resurfacing were all of the questions:  could we have done something differently?  What if we had been in the States?  What if Rich hadn’t traveled to America?  What if we hadn’t lived in the that horrible house with the rusty pipes and moldy walls?  What if I had remained still-er and moved less?  What if…what if…what if…

You, at this moment, are probably ready to engulf us in your arms and say, “Oh children…This was just God’s timing.”

But I would like to stop you and say…”Please don’t.”

Anyone that has ever lost a pregnancy or a baby does not need you to tell them about God’s timing.  Maybe we will come to those conclusions on our own.

All we ever need is a hug and a “I’m sorry.”

For you see…the minute that test turns doubly pink, your heart expands and your lives change.  And ready or not—life will never be the same.

And that even means IF the baby doesn’t make it.

Your heart has already changed.  Your very existence too.  So even if the baby does not make it does not mean that your life will ever…ever…ever…go back to the way that it was.  And that is just the way that life works.

For the longest time after we lost our baby I kept a journal.  Everyone heals differently, and I like to write.  No, I don’t normally journal.  But this was not a journal for me.  This was a journal for my baby.  I would start with, “Today was your actual ‘birth’ day.  Your sister got all dressed up and wanted to make cupcakes to celebrate you today.  And so we all got gussied up, made cupcakes, sang happy birthday to you and read a book about babies.  You are not here, and yet you are always near…”

Each entry was raw.  And each filled with a memory or a lesson that we had learned from our loss.  And many were filled with scriptures that were carrying our souls.

And time.

And not being silent about one of the most silent subjects in the world.

Loss.

Today I think about all of these babies popping out of me.  And I stand in utter, humble awe.  I know to be able to get pregnant and keep the baby is a gift.

And my gifts have all come wrapped and delivered differently—but none of them will ever out value the other.  Even if I don’t have the privilege of raising all of them here on earth.

October.  It’s a month of golden sunshine and crimson leaves.  It signifies the changing of the seasons.  And it’s beautiful.  Just like the memory of my baby.

***

Related Article:  http://assemblethemins.blogspot.com/2012/10/it-was-necessary.html

Being an older mom…(pregnant)

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You know…When you are pregnant at “MY” age, as the doctor continues to delicately (haha!) tell me…many emotions run through your mind.

First:  Tears.

Finally!  Someone understands how HARD this is on my body.  (Um…he’s a male doctor.  Does he REALLY?!)

Second:  Who is he calling OLD?!  Geriatric (a medical term used to describe women MY age pregnant)?!  Mature (has he not seen me fight with my child—sometimes I am the 7-year-old)?!

Third:  He states, “Your body will not handle this pregnancy the same way it did when you were 25.”

“Um, Doctor, thanks for the reminder.  But did you know that at 25 I did NOT have any babies…or at 26, 27, 28, 29…30.  There you go, Doctor.  Now let’s talk!”

“My next one…yes.  36.  Still wanna talk?!”

“Yes, I know that I will turn 38 right after this baby.  Got it.  O-L-D!”

“Stress tests twice a week because of my age?  Um…you do realize I popped one out a year ago?  That’s only a year younger.”

Can I get a groan from anyone out there in cyberworld.  Groan?  Anyone?!  Okay.  I’ll provide my own, “Groan!”

Fourth:  Yes.  I know Hollywood is having babies in their 40s.  I also know that they live in mansions, have personal chefs, trainers, and, even if they won’t admit it, likely night nannies…and DAY nannies.  Should I move to Hollywood?  Hmmm.   Probably not.  I’d have to TAKE the job as the night or day nanny!  And, I am pretty sure I work just as hard as they do—whether it’s the days that I am staying home or the days when I am out working.  And, yes.  I consider making macaroni and cheese hard work.  And showering!  Yep.  Big success.  And changing my little man’s diaper.  Yep.  I dub myself “Hardest Working Mom of the Year!”  If I didn’t give myself that award, I would cry.  Literally.  You don’t know HOW sensitive I am pregnant at this moment 🙂

Funny side story—my sister-in-law is also pregnant at this “Mature” stage in her life, too.   And she said right now she is in a “Mean, yell at you, mood!”

I said, “Don’t you yell at me.  I’ll cry!”

Funny how pregnancies are so different, eh?!

Fifth:  Even though there are days my son (1-yr-old) is LUCKY to be thrown saltine crackers for lunch while I lay on the couch trying to survive, I still FEEL 18.  Weird?  Well, okay.  Physically I feel 90.  But, mentally, I FEEL 18.

Therefore, I am NOT a mature mom.  I am a sassy, spicy, 18-year-old, currently trapped in a 90-year-old body.

Makes sense.  Right?!

Right!

Sixth:  You know you are pregnant at my age when EVERY second of EVERY minute of EVERY day you shout awesome praises to God for the gift of the child kicking and turning and punching inside of your belly.  You know—especially if you are my age—as the doctor put it not so mildly yesterday at my appointment, “Pregnancies are not easy to come by at your age.”

No one needs to tell me.  We had the social worker ready to fly from Germany to Poland to do our home study when we found out we were 1-month pregnant with Maxwell—after 11 years of marriage.

I know because my husband and I were at the fertility clinic wondering IF babies could still be physically in our future since we had our daughter 5 years earlier and we lost our 2nd baby 5 years later.

I know because my body almost aborted my baby, Maxwell Loren, at 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 weeks.  Again at 17 weeks.  Again at 23 weeks.  Again at 29 weeks.  Until we were finally able to hang through 34 weeks—and then there was no stopping any labor.  And I especially know—because he, Maxwell, has had to fight hard every day since he was born.

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Maxwell Loren 5 minutes after he was born

Yes, doctor.  I know pregnancies don’t always come easily to ladies at MY age.  If you think I don’t KNOW, you are, as the expression goes, “…barking up the wrong tree!”

I know.

And, now, since I am joyfully and exhausted-ly (see, I just made up a word in my pregnancy—GENIUS!) pregnant…

Let’s get this party started!  Celebrate!  Take lots of pictures.  Ones I can share here—and ones that will never be posted here!

And, while we’re partying, I’ll sit on the couch.  Can you bring me something to drink?  Yes, food too.  Ummm…and a slice of that cake!  Good.  No.  Bigger!

Yes, I know Gestational Diabetes are more common in women the older you are when you are pregnant.

But since my results aren’t in yet—bring me TWO slices of cake!  Extra frosting.

Ummm…Has anyone seen my son?  What’s that, you haven’t.  Hmmm…Has anyone heard him lately?  What’s that?  You have.  Phew.  That means he is okay.

Yes, thank you.  I am comfortable.  Can I put my feet in your lap?

Ah.  Sigh.  Now—let’s eat!

Confessional Sunday: I am not Gisele Bundchen. Say what?!

I have to confess.  I really did intend to look like this the entire week my husband was home…

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(c.photo: http://ninomunoz.com)

Well, okay….Much more ghostlier skin, bigger forehead, shorter hair, more freckles…But, you know, all glammed up and, well, pretty!   

After all, when my hubs was gone for 3+ weeks, I wanted him to come home and go, “Wow!  I missed Y-O-U!  Stunning Y-O-U!”  And follow it with a “Roar!”  You know all manly pursuit-like.

He did say, “Wow!” 

I’m figuring his “Wow” was probably about the unwashed children and the unkempt house…

Now, mind you, my mom did come while he was gone and do an extreme home “clean”over.  She is an angel. 

And, to be fair, in my rationale of “keeping a messy house messy”, I figured his suitcases would fill up our tiny farmhouse and then the laundry would take up the rest of the room, so maybe he wouldn’t “notice” the layer of grime, the piles of clothes, the floor in desperate need of a good hoover, or the dishes stacked in the sink…???

Back to his “Wow!”  He followed it by saying, “…The house looks great!”

What a liar.  I guess I can really learn to appreciate such spoken untruths. 

Confessional Sunday again—sometimes I think lying IS the right thing to do.  Especially when it means flattering me 😉

And, yes, while he was home for 6 days and 8 hours, we did manage to “Catch a Date”  (see here:  http://wp.me/p3Bh9m-ih).

But, since we’re on confession time, I gotta admit.  The only reason I had my hair or makeup done that day is because I was the guest speaker at a MOPS meeting (Had a blast, btw…spoke on this:  http://wp.me/p3Bh9m-hX).  The date, however, was spontaneous and totally something neither of us had time for since he was leaving within another 3 days and 8 hours again (for a month this time).  Yet we did enjoy our spontaneity and the bonus was that I was looking all delish for my hottie!

For the most part, however, my husband had to endure me like this for the majority of the week…

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All hoarder and very un-Gisele looking, eh?!

Yes, this is the UPS picture from Facebook—but it is a rather typical depiction of my every day life.  Lol?

Man!  Even at the airport, this is how I sent him off.

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Now, mind you, the redness and puffy eyes come from having to say goodbye to my baby girl…That’ll get any mommy puffy and red!

If I may, however, continue to confess, I must say that I have a good man at my side.

And, if you are probably being honest, you’re thinking, “What in the world does that man see in that…woman?!”

Sometimes even I don’t know…I guess I make great babies for him 😉

Or maybe it’s my spunk.

Definitely has something to do with my spirit.

In any case—I hope one day—about a year from now when Josephine has joined us outside of the belly and we’ve gotten past her non-sleeping days…I hope that is when I’ll return to Richie’s Babe!

In the meantime, perhaps I should just put pretty pics of me all around the house to remind him that “This too shall pass.”

This phase of the very unglamorous, very un-Gisele phase of me…will pass.

It will pass, right?

Confessional Sunday:  I hope so.  But.  I don’t know.

In the meantime, I love you, Richie!  Thanks for currently looking good for the both of us!

Xo,  Your B

P.S.  Yes, that’s me in the sweats and tank top.  No.  I have not showered yet today.  Yes.  I know that Max took a nap.  But I sat on my bottom when he did that.  Oh, and ate.

P.P.S.  Thanks for not judging me.

Belly Josephine…And my Ada and Max!

Well…It’s not a blog posting, but we sure had fun preparing a gift for daddy’s return from South Africa and Zambia!  Won’t he be surprised?

And my joyful boy thought the Lego table was far more fun than taking pictures—therefore, he got to play while my girls and I posed all pretty.

(Adelyne is the gal…Josephine is the belly)

It’s hard finding a dress to wear when you’re all big and preggo like me—so I went with the cute blue one I found and then we accented it with pink.  Twas the best we could do.  And SCORE—the dress only cost me $10!  Can’t beat that, eh?!

Anyhoo…Hope you enjoy.

And, in case you’re wondering…She’s coming January 2014.  Woot-woot!

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