Wednesday, November 2, 2011

An exercise in bravery

I remember the first year Matt and I were married. It was an interesting year.

Matt worked 30 hours a week and went to school full time. He built stairs.

I worked 20 hours a week and went to school full time. I sold wedding gowns.

We had been married since July 9th and pregnant just weeks after.

To say life was "full" was just laughable. It was insane. I napped on my lunch break between chapel and class. An hour and a half break, minus my walking time to and from class, and I still had to eat something. Our one-bedroom-apartment was an exercise in "stacking" - cram packed with stuff! Oh my!

Matt kept reading Joshua chapter 1 and reading over and over "Be strong & courageous".

Then in 2008 he read it again "Be strong & courageous". And we named Joshua because of it. I named this blog because of his reading in Joshua, and because of our little guy.

And since then it's been a catch phrase in our house.

If any phrase were to describe the walk we've been on in the last 6 1/2 years - it would be that.

"Be strong & courageous".

You know what's interesting about those words? They were spoken to Joshua (the Bible Joshua) 7 times. Joshua needed reminding.

I need reminding.

It was hard and scary to be pregnant with Naomi, after losing Joshua.

It was even harder to be pregnant last year after having one miscarriage and losing Joshua.

This time around it has been especially hard to be pregnant. Not only have we lost Joshua and had two miscarriages, but I've had a rough time this time.

At 10 weeks the midwife couldn't find the baby's heartbeat. So we waited.
At 12 weeks she still couldn't find a heartbeat. I rushed to get an ultrasound that day and baby was fine. But I was sure everything was over - that I had lost the baby.
At 14 weeks I went in for a check up and had a pap smear. I had spotting that day (a Friday).
Then 5 days later (Tuesday) I started spotting again. I freaked out, told Matt to take Oceana to school, scooped up Naomi, threw on my shoes and drove to the ER.
The baby was fine.
At 15 weeks my spotting started again. I rushed off to the midwife again. Baby was fine.
At 16 weeks I started spotting again. I waiting this time - knowing this was just "my body". But it doesn't make me feel any better about it.
Now at 17 1/2 weeks I've had a break for the spotting and I'm hoping that has passed.

But it's SCARY. There's no way around it. It's one thing to worry about a miscarriage. It's entirely different to have had multiple losses and be pregnant again.

It's also hard to know what I do. I mentioned my paranoia to my midwife, "I have a lot of friends with children who have genetic disorders and diseases. It's scary to wait, knowing about things like Trisomy 13, 18, and Epidermolysis Bullosa." To which she looked at me strangely and said, "But you know that's really rare, right?"

All I could think was, "It's not rare when 3 of your friends have EB kids."

But you know what? One day at a time. One moment at a time. It's gonna be okay. We're gonna carry on. Strong. Courageous. Or trying to be, at least.


  1. You know...the internet is a double-edged sword in that way.

    I mean, on one hand, I LOVE all the friendships I've made, all the amazing people I never would've known otherwise, all the beautiful children I've been privileged to pray for & get to know through their parents' blogs.....

    But on the other hand, it creates an awareness in me of things I barely (or didn't at all) know existed, gives me new things to worry about or consider when my child has a symptom that I might've never before considered being anything serious.

    You when you go to the medical sites online & put in your symptoms to "diagnose" your illness. Your headache might be "just a headache" or it could be menangitis, a brain tumor, the beginnings of a stroke, warning signs of a blood pressure problem, early cardiac arrest or a million other things.

    I can certainly understand your fears in regard to your own losses, but I see myself in the other part of what you said...knowing several EB mommies (I know at least 1 of those mommies myself). God bless the internet. :)

  2. It really does take courage. I remember crying from relief days after my son was born because we'd "made it" and that was only after one miscarriage, manageable pregnancy complications and a relatively short time trying to conceive. I can only imagine how it gets exponentially harder the more you have dealt with personally or have seen people you care about deal with.

    best wishes from us xx

  3. I've read your blog for a long time but rarely comment. I haven't had your losses, but I had placenta previa with my last pregnancy. Lots of bleeding, spotting, cramping and contractions for months. The pregnancy went until 37 weeks, when I delivered my healthy baby boy.

    The terror, the fear that "This is it. I'm going to deliver my baby really early.", those were terrifying things. I was literally waiting to hemorrhage.

    Like you, I walked one day at a time. Hanging onto faith by a thread and leaning on those around me. I will tell you this: the joy and relief that I felt when my healthy boy was born full-term was indescribable. I had such joy all through his infanthood because I was just thrilled that it all worked out. The things that I learned about faith and God, I wouldn't trade those for the world.

    Does it always work out? I wish. I'll be praying for you, Susie. I'll pray that your baby would thrive and grow and that you would continue to thrive and grow. And walk one day at a time.

    Be blessed.

  4. I am praying for you and Matt often. After losing our baby I can only imagine the fear you are feeling. Maybe you can invest in a home doppler so you can hear the heartbeat anytime you want?

  5. {{{{{hugs}}}}} God will carry you through, give your fear and anxiety to him. He loves you and your precious baby. I went through something 'similar' during my pregnancy with the twins. It's hard. :(

    praying for you!


  6. It's funny, growing up we listened to GT and the Halo Express and one of the songs was based off of Joshua 1:9. Whenever my Dad would drop us off at school or anything else, his reminder to us was "be strong and courageous" or "do not be terrified." Not that we were usually terrified, but it was his reminder to us. Glad to hear that it's been a lifeline for you guys as well. It's such a timely verse in so many circumstances.

  7. I am praying for you! I lost our first little one very VERY early on and even though it was so early I still grieved. I am pregnant again and can understand the terror that comes when your spot and bleed even if it has been proven "everything is ok". I am praying so hard for you and your little one!

  8. That's what courage means, I think--to keep handing everything over to our Lord even when it's terrifying. Praying for your littlest one.

  9. Funny how losing a child or losing a pregnancy seems to burst that bubble of "it can't happen to me" or "all pregnancies are easy and healthy". You realize that they aren't, and that things do happen; more often than you thought things do go wrong.

    Long story short, I lost my first pregnancy, carried my second to term (but worried for three months), then lost two more, and then spotted and had low HcG levels for the first weeks of my next pregnancy. Nothing could keep me from naked fear every time I went to the bathroom. But the Lord did bless me with a child from that pregnancy.

    I don't think that people who haven't gone through losses like we have ever do really understand.

    Praying for peace for you as you go through these days.

    Karen (