Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Let Us Know If You Need Anything"

I've heard that phrase a lot in the last 2 months, and honestly I don't understand what it means.

I think when you're grieving there are a lot of things you can't do (or don't feel like doing) - disciplining your kids, making dinner, eating dinner, playing with your kids, getting out of bed, cleaning the bathroom floor, watering the flowers, taking your kids to the pool, etc.

And you definitely aren't able to ask for help. I can ask my wonderful husband for help, but as for calling, emailing, stepping out my door and asking for help from someone outside of my household, I just can't do it. I'm a very independent person by nature and I'd rather do it myself than ask for help in just about any situation. So when I'm grieving and someone says, "Let us know if you need anything," just figure you won't hear from me. I'm the kind of person - an introvert to my core - that will need people to push themselves into my life. And I may be annoyed by that at first, but really it's probably what I need.

A few days after we lost the baby a friend called our house around 8am. I was still in bed and my husband was feeding the boys breakfast. We were avoiding the phone (no caller ID, so I avoided every call) and she left us a message: "I'm coming over with bagels and coffee. And don't even try to say 'no' because I'm coming." My husband stuck his head into the bedroom and told me that she was coming over. And I was annoyed. How dare she not even ask if I feel up to visitors? How dare she assume that she is the person that I want to see? How dare she ruin my grief-sleep to stop over to chat about my feelings? How dare she?

And yet, it was ok. She gave me a great big, tight, normally-awkward-but-not-today long hug. And I wept. I needed that even though I didn't know it. We didn't talk about the baby, we didn't talk about my feelings, we didn't talk about my physical health after my dead baby was removed from my body. We just were. We talked about her kids, my boys, how I love iced chai tea lattes from Panera, and a plethora of other non-important things going on in our lives. I needed that gut-wrenching hug and I needed the mundane chit-chat and I didn't even know it.

So, a tip of my own for your grief-stricken friend is to do and not wait to be asked because you probably won't. Asking is a very humbling thing that someone who is grieving doesn't have the ability to do. I did only to my mom and my mother-in-law. And even when they were around I tried to hold it together. I didn't want them to know that I was dying inside or that I just wanted to stay in bed all day. And it's sad for me to admit that. And I still don't want people to really know that I'm still grieving and I'm still sad and I'm still mad and I still don't have the ability to ask for help.

(If you want to read more of my thoughts on Molly's series, click here.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Stages of Grief

What stage of grief am I in today?

That's a good question because it can change from day to day or even minute to minute. Molly Piper writes about helping your friend grieve on her blog. She writes about the timetable for grief and that the truth is...there is no timetable.
Your friend might seem to have it together just fine in public. She’s not always walking around with mascara streaks and constantly beating her breast, so that must mean she’s fine, right? She may have just had moments or hours of intense grief in her personal time, and somehow, by the grace of God, managed to make herself presentable enough to go to church and not be a blubbering mess. Respect that—it’s a major accomplishment for her.
I really feel like I have to keep it together. I feel like in order to be the "good Christian" or the "good pastor's wife" I need to be "praising God through my storm" and not show any emotion - grief, anger, resentment, disappointment - and it's hard keeping it together in public.

Grief is a roller-coaster ride and it has no formula. I appreciate the stages of grief and I know that one day I can be accepting this loss and the next day I'm back to anger. I encourage you to read this entire article, There Is No Timetable for Grief, to gain some perspective on how the stages of grief play-out in Molly's life (and mine, too).

(If you want to read more of my thoughts on Molly's series, click here.)

Monday, June 28, 2010

"Scrambled Eggs"

Here's more of my thoughts from Molly Piper's series How to Help Your Grieving Friend and her next post in the series, She's a Scatterbrain.

I can say that I honestly haven't felt too much of this. I've mostly been saying "no" to things that I know will require my organizational skills, which is usually my strong-suit. But then again, I have some recent instances where I've dropped the ball:
  • My son's ENT appointment last Thursday. I even got an automated call from the office two days prior to remind me. And when they called me at 3:45p yesterday afternoon (30 minutes after his scheduled appointment) I could say honestly forgot.
  • And there's a class I'm taking at church. I have had good intentions of getting the homework done in a timely manner, but I just can't seem to follow through. And after two reminders I still didn't make it to the class on Saturday.
  • And I've volunteered to help with a large church event in October - the week after our baby was due. And it's really hard to work on that stuff. I have calls to make and I just don't feel like doing it. Normally I get home from a meeting and type up and organize my notes, but I really have no desire to do so. And the early weeks of October are going to be painfully emotional so I pray that I can do a good job and make it through without a breakdown.
Molly describes it like this:
I’ve had a very difficult time keeping my appointments, remembering a conversation with someone that required action on my part, returning phone calls, etc. Sometimes I lack motivation, but often I have good intentions; I just can’t follow through.
And this is the advice she offers to us:
So how does this affect you, the friend? First, if you make plans with her, hold them loosely. Second, if you can remind her in a way that is not overbearing, do so a couple days out, or maybe the day before. I personally wouldn’t recommend phone calls. Just find out from her if she’s an email or phone person. And if she says she will remember, and then forgets, don’t take it personally.
Personally, I'm an email person. I've been avoiding the phone because bawling on the phone is a LOT more obvious that bawling on email. ;) Again, I encourage you to read the entire article - She's a Scatterbrain.

(To read more of my thoughts on Molly's series click here.)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

DNA Tests

After we lost our unborn baby, we decided to have a DNA test done to check the baby's chromosomes and see if there were any defects or anomalies. As a nurse, I want to check the facts and assess the situation and checking labs and having tests done are a great way to get some answers... or at least get a start to what the problem might be.

But the tests came back negative. Which means there was nothing genetically wrong with the baby. Usually in early miscarriages (before 12 weeks) there is a genetic mutation such as Down's Syndrome. Or the baby is severely disfigured and may not live outside the womb. But I had made it past 12 weeks and my baby wasn't disfigured and there were no genetic anomalies.

So now, I ask "why?" Was it something that I did wrong? Was I exposed to something that caused the baby to die? Am I creating antibodies that are fighting the baby as a foreign object? Do I have another clotting disorder (as I've been tested negative for Factor V)? What caused this to happen?

It's hard for me to move on when there are still tests to be done and doctor's appointments to go to. It's hard for me to move on when we don't have a green-light to try again. So now, I go in on Monday for more blood work. To test if I have another type of clotting disorder that may have even caused my pre-eclampsia with my firstborn. I should know in another week after the lab draw if I'm positive or negative for any of the tests.

And it's hard for me to say that if these tests are all negative (which really, is a good thing) I may never know what caused this precious baby to die.

Friday, June 25, 2010


I've recently become a fan of Molly Piper's blog. She has some great stuff on there including her series How to Help Your Grieving Friend that she created after delivering a stillborn baby girl, Felicity. She says things that I feel but can't verbalize and so I'm letting her speak for me. I realize that delivering a stillborn baby is a trauma that I don't understand, but I lost a child that I will never know in this physical world. And we both have that in common. Anyway, here are my thoughts on her first post in the series Just Know That She's Exhausted (make sure you stop over and read the entire article - it's really good).

And I am. Totally.Exhausted. Exhaustion has been my constant companion. Like Molly, I have sleep issues. I have a hard time falling asleep, getting back to sleep after waking in the night, and I'm craving naps every day. Here's something she said that stuck out to me:
In the loneliness and quiet of the night when you are the only person awake in your house, thoughts come fast and furious.

And of course, if your friend is grieving over a later miscarriage or infant loss, they have the physical recovery to deal with and hormones that are attempting to re-regulate.
It's hard to have those thoughts in the middle of the night when your children and husband are sleeping so peacefully and your heart is in agony. And the days following nights like that are exhausting.

In her next posts she includes some tangible things you can do to help your friend. And I'm not asking people to do these for me, but they are things that I've craved during my loss. And it's hard for me to admit that. I hope you stop over at Molly's blog and check out the way she's helping women care for each other.

(To read more of my thoughts on Molly's series click here.)

Helping Your Friend Grieve

I'm having a really emotional day. I've been clearing out my inbox and found an email from my friend's older sister. She is a pastor's wife and it has been really fun getting to know her as a "real person" and not just my friend's older sister. ;)

She recommended Molly Piper's blog when she found out we lost our baby. I've kind of been avoiding heading over there because Molly talks a lot about dealing with grief after they had a stillborn baby girl whom they named Felicity. I knew it was going to stir up emotions that I've been trying to keep under wraps. But God is good and knew I needed an outlet for my emotions today.

Molly did a great series on How to Help Your Grieving Friend. And they are helpful. I really encourage anyone who has a friend dealing with a loss to check out these posts. I plan on revisiting her posts and posting my own thoughts on her topics because they all really hit home for me.

Here are my comments on Molly's How To Help Your Friend Grieve series:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Glory Baby

During our early days of grieving the death of our unborn baby a friend quoted some lines from the song Glory Baby. It is a touching song and I'd like to share the words with you.

Watermark - Glory Baby
print these lyrics

Glory baby you slipped away as fast as we could say
You were growing, what happened dear?
You disappeared on us
Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe until we're home with you...
Until we're home with you...

Miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there's a
Day when we will hold you
We will hold you
You'll kiss our tears away
When we're home to stay
Can't wait for the day when we will see you
We will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
'till mom and dad can hold you...
You'll just have heaven before we do
You'll just have heaven before we do

Sweet little babies, it's hard to
Understand it 'cause we're hurting
We are hurting
But there is healing
And we know we're stronger people through the growing
And in knowing-
That all things work together for our good
And God works His purposes just like He said He would...
Just like He said He would...

I can't imagine heaven's lullabies
And what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home
And it's all you'll ever know...all you'll ever know...

I pray that my baby is basking in the glory of God. I pray Jesus' arms are holding my child until we get to heaven. I also pray that if you've experienced a loss like this that these words will give you comfort as they did for us.