A Story of Stillbirth- Rest

When my second dose of medicine was administered, the doctor found that the first dose hadn’t dissolved completely. So, I got the equivalent of one and a half doses at once. An hour after, there was no more card playing, and I was in so much pain that I couldn’t sit still. I had hoped that I would be able to deliver Cora without an epidural, because of the potential side effects it could have had on her, but that didn’t matter anymore. Emotionally, I was already devastated, and your emotional state during a delivery greatly affects pain. And when you’re being induced medically, often your contractions don’t have a break between them. Mine never stopped. I got no breaks. Eventually, after lots of back rubbing and quite uncomfortable wiggling (and crying, let’s be honest), the doctor can in to give me my epidural. She had some trouble with it, and I still have a sore spot on my spine as I write this. It took her four tries to get it in, over an hour of me sitting as still as I could on the bed, trying to not move. It was not a comfortable experience, especially because I had to sit still for such a long time through contractions.

But, once it was in, I felt like I could relax. We had had such little sleep all week, first from worry and then from grief, that after I got the epidural, I slept. Even though I was in labor, I slept (sort of). When Mom and Husbandman were out of the room, my nurse stayed with me. I cried with her, and we discussed God’s goodness, and how I wouldn’t be able to handle this without God’s grace.

I woke up about every two hours, and my medical staff were merciful enough to let me sleep, trying be as quiet as possible when they came to check on me every hour though the night. God quieted my thoughts as I waited, and I’m thankful for the mental rest that He gave me. I couldn’t think past a few minutes from what I was experiencing right then, and if my mind had wandered further than that, I think I would have been consumed by fear and anticipatory grief.

That night, when I woke up, all that filled my head were hymns. Old hymns that had been sung at my childhood and teenage years, hymns that I’d sung with people that have been absent in body and present with the Lord for a long time. Although my voice to sing was choked with grief, my heart sung praises to the Lord when I didn’t know what else to do.

My nurses changed shifts at about 7:00 AM, and by that time, I had a feeling that delivery wouldn’t be long. My nurse that day reminded me of my girl friends from college. I was thankful to be in good hands that felt familiar that day, because things were about to start moving much more quickly than planned.

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here

You can also sign up to receive notifications when I post something new, using the link to the right. If you’d like, you can sign up for extras too, such as exclusive newsletters and personal updates, by using the “Click Here” button to the right. Want even more? Connect with me on social media. 

A Story of Stillbirth- Induction

On the morning of the 6th, I woke up dehydrated and hoping that it was all a bad dream. It wasn’t. The baby, my baby, my Cora, was gone. After a tasteless breakfast, because I knew they wouldn’t let me eat while I was being induced, we left for Dr. W’s office and the hospital. Without going into too much detail, the testing was hard. It was done in the same room where we’d found out that Cora wasn’t with us anymore, and took a couple of tries for the doctor to get enough of a sample to work for the testing that needed to be done. Physically, it hurt, but emotionally, it hurt worse. The point of the procedure was to obtain a sample of amniotic fluid, and it was guided by ultrasound. I hoped beyond hope that the Lord had seen fit to start her heart again, and hoped that when they looked at her little body, her heart would be beating again and she would be moving. That didn’t happen, and we proceeded with the test as planned, with Husbandman holding my hand and our staff talking us through what was happening.

After the test, we were sent to labor and delivery to get checked in for induction. As we waited for our room to be prepared, I intentionally made eye-contact with no one, and kept my big purse in front of my belly. I didn’t want to talk to anyone that was waiting there; fearing that they would ask me why I was there and when my baby was coming. I neither wanted to darken their happy visit nor give them fear for their own child. I also didn’t possess the strength to talk about what was waiting for me. I knew that God was giving me enough strength to sit there, and that when the time came when I would have to speak about my baby’s death, that He would give me that strength too.

After a while, we were taken back to our room, and I was introduced to my nurse, told to change into the butt-showing hospital gown, and stationed in the labor bed. Before the doctors came in, our pastor and a friend came to see us. They stayed and talked for a while, and encouraged us as we prepared for the long wait ahead. They got Husbandman Chick-fil-A for lunch (I wasn’t allowed to eat), and did everything they could to let us know that our church and our friends were praying for us as we walked this hard road.

A resident came in and explained the process of induction to me, checked me, and administered the first dose of medicine. My mom arrived, and we got set up watching HGTV and playing cards. I’m so thankful for Mom and Husbandman being with me at the hospital. Not only did they cry with me and do everything that they could to support me physically and in my sadness, but they laughed with me and reminded me with their laughter that the paralyzing heartbreak that I felt was only for me. My baby was with the Lord.

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here

You can also sign up to receive notifications when I post something new, using the link to the right. If you’d like, you can sign up for extras too, such as exclusive newsletters and personal updates, by using the “Click Here” button to the right. Want even more? Connect with me on social media. 

A Story of Stillbirth-Too Soon

The weekend of August 1st, I realized that Cora hadn’t been moving too much. She wasn’t a very active baby, but her movements had been slowing down. Over the weekend, I watched her movement closely. On Monday during the day, she didn’t move at all. I waited until the night, her most active time of day, to see if she’d move before I let myself really worry. That night, we had another strong thunderstorm. In the past, she’d always woken me up kicking when there was a loud storm. Monday night, she didn’t kick at all during the storm. On Tuesday morning, I called my OB’s office as soon as it opened. The told me to come in at 10:00 AM so they could check on her.

Working that morning was torture. I couldn’t focus on anything, and drove to the doctor’s office as soon as I could. After a long wait, they took Husbandman and I back to the ultrasound room. The ultrasound tech verified that her heart was still beating, and tried to get her to move. Usually, she wouldn’t sit still during an ultrasound for anything. She would move and flip and kick and let her displeasure at being poked be known. She wouldn’t move. The doctor came in, and spent a long time looking at her. He saw a few things that looked questionable, and told Husbandman and I that he wanted us to go the University hospital to get a second opinion. He said the issues could be nothing, but that he wanted a second opinion.

That night, we both struggled to sleep. I couldn’t get comfortable, and was very anxious to find out what was going on. Eventually, we slept. When we woke up, we went to work and tried to focus again. Husbandman picked me up from work at lunch time, and we drove the hour to the high risk OB’s office for the ultrasound. We got checked in, and tried to distract ourselves as we waited in the waiting room.

They called us back, and the ultrasound tech talked to us as she started taking measurements. After she took a few measurements, I noticed the bar at the bottom of the screen that was supposed to show Cora’s heartbeat. It didn’t have the regular pattern that the ultrasound the day before had shown. As she started to say “I’m having some trouble…” there was a knock at the door. Two women walked into the room, and the first introduced herself. She took my hand and said, “My name is Dr. W, and I’m sorry to have to tell you that your baby doesn’t have a heartbeat.” My heart shattered.

The staff in the room asked us if we needed a minute alone. After they’d left, Husbandman leaned over the take and held me while we both cried. He prayed that God would bring us through this, and after trying to get ahold of some of our family members. All that I could think about what that I would have to deliver her soon, and that I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t strong enough. I asked the Lord to give me the strength that I needed as I needed it, because I knew that the next few days would be very difficult. Eventually, after I’d cried as much as I could and more, we opened the door and asked the medical staff to come back in the room.

Dr. W came back in, and asked if it was okay if they did another ultrasound to find out what there was to be discovered. She was wonderful. She walked us through everything that she was doing, pointing out every feature of our precious little girl that she saw. She printed ultrasound picture after ultrasound picture, making sure that we had every picture that we could.

We then started talking about “what would happen next”. Dr. W told us that it would be best for my labor to be induced, and that we could have that induction at the local hospital or at the University hospital. We eventually chose the University hospital because I knew that the hospital had a bigger staff and was better equipped to help Husbandman and I through what was to come. We also chose to have a few extra tests ran at Dr. W’s office before the induction to try and find out what had caused Cora to die. We scheduled everything for the next morning, because we weren’t prepared to stay at the hospital physically (we had no bags with us).

We drove home in the sun. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how the sun was still shining when my little girl was gone. We tried and failed to process what had happened. After making phone call after phone call, we got home, tried to eat, packed, and eventually fell into a fitful sleep.

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here

You can also sign up to receive notifications when I post something new, using the link to the right. If you’d like, you can sign up for extras too, such as exclusive newsletters and personal updates, by using the “Click Here” button to the right. Want even more? Connect with me on social media. 

A (brief) Introduction to a Birth Story

So many of my friends and bloggers that I respect, have shared their birth stories on their blogs. I have spent no small amount of time pouring over their stories, laughing and crying at the highs and lows, wondering what birth story my children and I would share in the future. My first and currently only child was named Cora, and her birth was very different that what I expected, and much sooner. Her birth story begins with us learning of her death, but it is not a story of sadness, although the days leading up to her birth and her birth were the hardest of my life. It’s a story of hope. My little girl Cora was born when I was just over 27 weeks pregnant. She never got the opportunity to live outside of my womb, but I take hope in her short life. God heard my prayers for her, and loved her more than I am capable of loving her.

You may ask why her story is not one of ultimate sadness, and rightly so. Her story is sad for me. My home doesn’t have the sounds of a tiny human filling it, and what was to be her room won’t be used for that purpose. She’s not here, and as the date that she was supposed to be born nears, I am sad that I don’t get to be with her anymore. I am a mother without a baby to mother right now. But, I will see her one day. Although scripture doesn’t directly address what happens when a baby or small child dies, every reference to Christ and children is one of grace and love. In Matthew 19:14, when the disciples tried to keep children from Him, Christ said ““Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”” (ESV). The Psalms 139:13 shows the psalmist saying of God “[f]or You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” I believe that my daughter was more known and loved by God than myself the moment that she began to exist, and that she is with Him now.
Her birth story is one of hope because God is still good. He has sustained my family throughout my pregnancy and loss, and He continues to do so. He is still good to me, and is good to you as well.

I want to share her story with you, not to elicit sympathy or pain, but to share for those whom miscarriage and stillbirth will touch. I want to help lift the stigma from discussing this sort of loss, and to encourage you to use your voice if you wish to.

May you find hope in your life in Him, not in spite of but because of your circumstances. May you see God working even when His movement is painful.

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. You can also sign up to receive notifications when I post something new, using the link to the right. If you’d like, you can sign up for extras too, such as exclusive newsletters and personal updates, by using the “Click Here” button to the right. Want even more? Connect with me on social media.

Hopeful Grief

hopeful grief series header

If I were a tree, and the years of my life were measured by rings, this year’s ring would be dark and jagged, betraying a fire in my life that has left an undeniable scar. I don’t yet have all the words to describe the pain and sorrow that has beaten me like waves on a small pebble, throwing me to the left and right. I may never have accurate words, but what I have, I choose to share. 

Even as a pebble is thrown around by waves, it is smoothed. The rough edges are removed, and the pebble becomes a treasure for a small child combing the beach. When a tree goes through a fire, unhealthy growth is burnt off, and the tree is able to put its strength into growing up instead of maintaining useless growth. The dark ring gets covered by new growth, and eventually becomes a point of beauty and interest in the tree’s history. 

On August 5th, my heart was broken and will never be the same. Husbandman and I found out that our baby, Cora Lorraine, had died in my womb before she got a chance to take a breath on her own. I was seven months pregnant.

This month, I am joining a host of fabulous writers who are writing every day in the month of October. (To see my posts from last year, click here.) As we approach what was supposed to be her due date, I will share her story, process my grief “out loud” with you, and offer encouragement that there is hope, even through the loss of a child. Although it is my prayer that you, my precious reader, never have to know the feeling of stillness in a full womb, you may experience this pain through your own loss or the loss of a loved one. According to the American Pregnancy Association, anywhere between 10% and 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. One in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth. I am no expert in dealing with grief, and I am not far removed from my grief. But, I am committed to sharing this pain with you, in hopes that my baby girl’s life will continue to honor God. My prayer is that your heart would be moved to worship God because of her life, and that you would be encouraged to speak about your own loss or fear of loss if you feel so moved. My prayer is also that those who surround a family going through loss would feel the freedom to support them, and would recognize that grief for a loss of life at any stage is just as true and as real as grief for a person who walked the earth on their own.

Come back to this post every day this month for a link to a new post. You can also sign up to receive notifications when I post something new, using the link to the right. If you’d like, you can sign up for extras too, newsletters and personal updates exclusively for those who sign up, by using the “Click Here” button to the right. You can also connect with me on social media, using the buttons to the right.

Day 1- A (brief) Introduction to a Birth Story

Day 2- A Story of Stillbirth-Too Soon

Day 3- A Story of Stillbirth-Induction

Day 4- A Story of Stillbirth-Rest

Day 5- A Story of Stillbirth-Birth

Day 6-  A Story of Stillbirth- Hello/Goodbye

Day 7- A Story of Stillbirth- One Less than Planned

Day 8- In Praise of Nurses

Day 9- A Story of Stillbirth- Home

Day 10- A Story of Stillbirth- Hope

Day 11- It is Well

Day 12- I Need Thee Every Hour

Day 13- When My Feet Fail

Day 14- Deep Love

Day 15- Pregnancy Loss

Day 16- Torn Asunder

Day 17- Why worship?

Day 18- I am 1 in 4

Day 19- Share Your Joy

Day 20- Watch Your Words

Day 21- Say Her Name

Day 22- Cry

Day 23- Tired 

Day 24- Offer 

Day 25- Pray

Day 26- Don’t be Afraid

Day 27- Move

Day 28- Emotions Lie

Day 29- He is 1 in 4

May you be encouraged in your own grief. May we all see God as good, even when we are in pain. May we praise God all the days of life, because one day in His presence is better than thousands elsewhere.

Why?

The past couple of weeks have found me looking over my shoulder at God and asking “are You still good?” Over and over again, I have questioned Him. I have looked at Him and said “this really happened. My baby is gone and I won’t be giving birth in November. I won’t have a tiny to take care of this winter. My only birth experience was met with silence when my baby was delivered. I wake up every morning and she’s still gone. Are You still good? Are you still the same God that I knew before she died? Why did you take her from me so soon?” I see and talk to my friends whose lives keep going, who have children and whose babies are healthy and alive, and I ask God “are You still good to me? Are you still in control? Are you still a loving God? Are you a maniacal God who pulls strings and plays heartless chess with my life, or are you the God whose Son ate with sinners and welcomed children? Why did You allow this to happen?” And I’ve not hidden these questions. I’ve asked them out loud. I’ve asked them of God, and some that I love know what I’ve been asking. And they’ve been gracious enough to remind me that God is big enough for questions like that.

Husbandman and I have been going to a study meeting at a local church called Griefshare, a group focused on Bible study and support in the wake of loss. And this past week, most of the scripture in the study focused on the Psalms and Job. For those of you who aren’t so familiar with him, Job was a man who had it all and was right in eyes of God. He didn’t have a secret sin or hidden life. He didn’t “deserve” punishment. And Satan came to God and asked for permission to test him. And God said yes. Job lost everything. His home, health, livestock, and his children. And Job spends the majority of the book in the Bible working through what’s happened. Asking “why”.

I’ve always loved the end of Job. God spends so much time telling Job who He is, what He’s done. But in our Griefshare meeting this week, we talked about what God didn’t tell Job. He didn’t tell Job why everything that had happened to him was happening. Job asked “why”, and God didn’t tell Him. God chose to answer Job with a description of who He is. With a display of His power. With knowledge of who He is. But not with why He allowed any of the things that happened to happen.

Why

As we’ve lived our lives after losing Cora, I have spent a lot of brain power thinking about what happened. Trying to figure out what caused her to die. I may not ever find out. But, I thought we’d know what we could by now. It’s been seven weeks since I delivered her, and we still have no idea what happened or if we’ll be able to find out. It seems like I’ve been waiting for test results my entire life. And it seems like I’m in the cruelest holding pattern for a planner that ever was. I don’t know what caused this to happen, much less why, and I can’t plan. I don’t know what the doctors will say. I don’t know whether or not, when and if we’re ever ready, we’ll be able to try to have a baby again. Couple that with the fact that we’ve just suffered such a big loss, and I feel like my brain and heart are going to explode at the same time every day.

And I question God. And He meets me with Himself, not with the answers I want. And I ask Him, again and again, “are You good?” And His response is, “I’m here.” And I have to chose to trust Him. Every day, I have to make that choice. It’s harder than it was before. It’s harder than before my baby girl died. Because I know what pain is. And then I am gently reminded that God’s only son died, too. And that He knew that His son’s death was the only way that I could be redeemed, and that He chose to let it happen. God knows the pain of losing His only child.

So today, I chose to trust that God is still good, because I am redeemed. Because He chose to save me. And tomorrow, I’ll have to make that choice again. And the day after tomorrow, and all the days after that.

So, as I squirm, He is still here. He is still God. And I am not.

May we remember that God is good even when we suffer unimaginable loss, and may we be set free in Him. May we resist the urge to put forth a perfect image, denying the fact that God is molding us with pain just as much as with joy.

And the baby is…

stubborn baby

Yesterday, I had hoped to be able to share with you something gender-based about our baby (called “the Bean”). I have super cute plans for telling the whole world “what the baby is”. (FYI, the Bean is a baby. I’m not pregnant with a puppy.)

Notice that everything is yellow.

The above picture is not very recent. Because most ultrasound pictures make the Bean look like Skeletor. Let’s be real. Ultrasounds pictures are confusing. And because… the entire time we were having our anatomy scan, the Bean had its legs crossed and was sitting on its feet. And would not move its legs when I talked to it. Or poked my belly. Or pouted. (FYI, the baby is totally healthy, and so am I. We are very, very grateful.)

(This is the second time that we’ve tried to figure out the gender. The Bean hasn’t cooperated either time. They’re in no hurry to satisfy my curiosity.)

So, when I got back to work and had a chance to text our families, everyone asked “So, what is it?!”

Stubborn.

Just like me. I am not in control of this tiny person.

The Bean is already a person, with likes and dislikes and a personality.

  • The Bean already likes coffee, as evidenced by the wiggles I feel after I drink my allotted 8 ounces a day.
  • The Bean likes cold water, and when I bounce around in the pool.
  • The Bean likes bluegrass music, and kicks me when I turn it off because he or she just can’t get enough.
  • The Bean loves their Daddy (maybe his name will also be Daddy-Man in addition to Husband-Man), and the silly songs he sings.
  • The Bean hates it when I get upset, and let’s me know that I am making their house uncomfortable and that I need to calm down.

God already has big plans for the Bean; bigger and grander than mine. God knows the hairs on the Bean’s little head, and exactly who He has created them to be. And I’m blessed beyond measure to be growing this human. I’m blessed beyond measure to already be this little Bean’s Momma, and to get to see the Lord work through a tiny life. (Even if I don’t like if that life is a girl-life or a boy-life.)

Psalm 139

1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. 5 You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. 19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! 20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhorthose who rise up against you? 22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Kind

Oh, my friends.

We all need a hug.

Why?

Because, collectively, we are terrible at being kind. And it’s a particular sort of kindness that we lack. We are not kind to ourselves. We work so hard to have grace with the children in our lives. We work so diligently to have grace with our spouses, loved ones, coworkers, friends. We pray for grace and kindness with pets, with inanimate objects.

But when I’m dealing with myself? I have less than zero grace.

Last week, I almost caused a car accident. I cringe as I think about it. We just moved, and the entrance to our new house is tricky to navigate. If you time your turn wrong and can’t see the four way stop not twenty feet ahead of the left hand turn, you can easily pull out in front of someone else. Which is exactly what I did. And instead of speeding up to get out of their way, I stopped and honked my horn. I have no earthly idea why I did this. But I did. And I have beat myself up about the incident time and time again. Because in my head, I should know better. I almost hurt my car. I almost hurt myself and someone else. I almost almost almost almost. And I feel ashamed.

I am even less kind to my body. I’m almost 19 weeks pregnant, and my middle is growing. I have turned into a teenage boy on the hunger scale. And I see myself gaining weight. And it’s so hard to accept that gaining weight is a good thing in this context. Because in my mind, it’s always been a bad thing. I already have stretch marks. I have this fun hip pain at the end of every day that keeps me from unpacking as much as I want to. I cry all the time, even more than I did before. And I expect myself to not need any extra rest. I expect myself to have a super energetic pregnancy. My expectations are unrealistic, and I am holding myself to a standard that I cannot and should not be able to achieve.

The other day, an unsuspecting friend asked me how I was doing. And she got an earful (via text) about how dumb I was being because I’m emotional, I’m not handling things well, and so on. And she was quick to point out how many times I used the word “dumb” in reference to myself. And then this lovely friend told me “This is normal. You’re pregnant. You’re doing a good job.” And I just about cried. (Lie; I actually in-real-life cried.) She had kindness for me when I had none for myself. And I want to pass that nudge along to you.

You’re not perfect. You’re not supposed to be perfect. God created you, and knows all of your flaws. He’s not surprised when you mess up. He’s not surprised when you don’t do well. Now, that’s not license to stop trying. But it is license to be kind to yourself. Sometimes, kindness is asking for help or encouragement. Sometimes, kindness to yourself is accepting a failure, dusting yourself off, and trying again. And sometimes kindness is giving yourself permission to take a break and rest. Sometimes, kindness is working to accept who you are and where you are in life.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV).

Praise God for our failures and weakness. Praise God for His grace and kindness.

Be kind to yourself when…

  • you’re pregnant
  • you’re a momma
  • your heart struggles with wanting to become a momma
  • your heart struggles with not wanting to be a momma
  • your children ate sugary cereal for breakfast because that’s what’s in your house
  • your husband ate Ramen noodles for dinner (again) because you didn’t cook anything
  • you need a nap
  • you lack patience
  • you make a mistake
  • you don’t measure up to someone else’s standard of “beauty”
  • you don’t measure up to your own unrealistic standards of “beauty”
  • you’re only human

be kind to yourself

How do you need to show yourself kindness?

Let’s start here:

Dear self:

Please, be kind to me. Work to show me as much grace as you work to show others. I am fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image, and I deserve kindness.

Love,

Me

“Home”, whatever that means

“Home” is a funny concept.

“Home” to me for years and years had been Momma and Daddy’s ranch on a basement with the big front window, big yard, and layout that I can walk with my eyes closed (except when Momma moves the furniture). “Home” was a permanent, immovable building that still houses my childhood memories.

I’ve been living in my small town for about… eight years now (wow). I came here for college, and spent those four years feeling like I was going “home” every time I passed a certain exit on the interstate on the way to Momma and Daddy’s. Even after I got married, this little town didn’t feel like “home”. It felt like a temporary place, because I was sure that we would move closer to my family before we had kids. (Definition of irony: in which Carla decides that she will move north before she has kids, and is now pregnant and just bought a house 1.5-2 hours away from her Mom and Dad’s house.) The first time it felt like I was coming “home” when we got back into out little town from visiting family was about a year ago, and I was taken by complete surprise.

We just finished buying a house. Which is one of the (many) reasons that I haven’t been here (in the online world) quite as much as I’d like. Packing up the apartment that we’ve been renting for almost four years threw off my introvert’s equilibrium so much, and actually moving into the new house and living among the boxes, granted, in a larger space, has been just as upsetting to my false sense of security in “home”. I gain a sense of security from having my environment in order. And there has been no order in my “home” environment for the past month. It’s not likely to return for some time.

Also, did you know that I’m having a baby? Have you moved when you were pregnant? I’m not very far along, but I’ve been slowed by the symptoms of my pregnancy. I’ve had to stop working every two hours to put my feet up. I haven’t been able to lift boxes. I haven’t been moving as quickly as I’m used to. I’ve gotten insanely hangry and have needed naps like a toddler. So the process of moving and now unpacking has been unsettling in a whole new way.

Our new house is beautiful. It’s big enough for us to grow into, it’s in a lovely neighborhood, and it feels like a little oasis with trees and grass outside of the windows instead of concrete and a few thousand neighbors.

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This is my backyard. *sigh* Isn't it #lovely?

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But it doesn’t have the feeling of “home” when I walk in the door yet. I know that feeling will come with time, but for now, I don’t have a “home” in the sense that I’ve known it for so many years. I have to think about my route to and from work. I have to remind myself of where I am when I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

And instead of looking at God and saying “Thank You for this wonderful adventure!” my default has been “…”. Nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I get mad at God, and I ignore Him. Because I’m mad in a four-year-old way that my inner sense of “home” has been thrown off. I’m mad that I’m tired and that my possessions are all jumbled up and strewn all over a new house. I don’t feel comfortable, so it makes total sense for me to ignore Him and not seek my rest in Him. (Major sarcasm.) Foolish, foolish Carla. And have I rewritten this post a million times to make it look like I’m doing everything right and I’m just a victim of circumstances? Yup. But, I choose to share my mess with you. Because I don’t want to lie to you here. I don’t want to lie to myself or God either.

May you (I) find “home” in Christ. May you (I) find “home” with your family and church family. May you (I) find “home” with your spouse and loved ones. May you (I) find “home” in your chaos, and remember that God is the God of a brilliant mess, made brilliant because it’s been made in His image.

I’m pregnant. And it’s confusing.

Husband-Man and I are expecting our first baby. We’re thrilled, and I’ve felt every since emotion that  knew existed and more since I found out on Valentine’s Day this year.

This is new territory for me. This is terrifying territory, to be honest.

Brave

I’m elated. I’ve wanted this for as long as I knew what a “mom” was. I have longed and wept for this. I have prayed for it and prayed for it.

I’m scared. I don’t know if I can handle the responsibility of raising a child. I don’t know if I can get up in the night with a tiny human and be one-half of their parents. I still feel sixteen inside. How can I adequately love and train a little?

I’m hesitant. I don’t know what I’m doing. Why did God let me get pregnant? Does He really know what He’s doing? I mean, sometimes I forget to brush my own teeth. And to feed my fish.

I’m selfish. My body has already started to change. Several sweet friends have asked if I have a “bump” yet. Up until this past weekend, it’s been a pudge. Pure and simple. I’ve just looked like I’ve eaten too many burgers. (Burgers sound really good right now.) And I’m embarrassed. Today, maybe it looks like there’s a baby in there instead of just too much food. But I’ve always struggled with my weight. It’s difficult to transition to a place where mentally gaining weight isn’t a negative thing.

I’m resentful that I am not the only inhabitant of my body anymore. It’s very difficult to wrap my mind around. I’m an introvert. And I’m not alone. I have a human inside of me that is using my nutrients and my blood and my body as its home. That kind of weirds me out to be honest.

I feel guilty. I know so many people so struggle to conceive or who have lost their little ones. Why me? How can I hold so much excitement and joy inside coupled with such grief for others? I’m ashamed that I have any negative emotions. Deeply ashamed.

I’m tired. Until a few weeks ago, I was bone-weary. I was as tired as I was when my gallbladder stopped working entirely. I didn’t think I could make it through a work week, much less nine months. Thankfully, I’ve had a little bit more energy recently.

I’m shocked. I’m shocked that not all of the emotions that I’ve carried with me are positive. I’m embarrassed that I’ve felt negative and confusing emotions instead of floating around on a happy “pregnancy cloud” that I always imagined that I would live on while pregnant.

I don’t know if I can physically do this again, and I’m only 1/3 of the way done. For the first three months, I thought for sure that I would die before I felt any better. As I alluded to above, I had gallbladder issues about three years ago and I had mine removed, and the first two months of my pregnancy were plagued by gastrointestinal distress, dehydration, lack of sleep because of pain in my guts, and nausea. And I work full time. How do women do this when they have other children to take care of? For over a month, I didn’t work a full work week because I woke up feeling very poorly by the time the middle of the week came around.

Why am I telling you this? Because it’s my mess. It’s my heart. I feel unsure and excited and I don’t want to hide it, because that’s lying.

Are you surprised that I have had so many struggles with my emotions about something that I longed for for so long? Me too. But I’m not going to lie to you. I’m pretty sure that if I feel this, someone else does too. Maybe more than someone else.

I choose to trust God that He knows what He’s doing. I mean, from what we know, He chose a single teenager to raise His son. He knows what He’s doing. And He’s big enough to handle my mess. And He’s big enough to handle yours. Even if it’s unexpected. And even if it’s a complicated package of emotions that you never expected.