Miscarriage

Most women have, or know someone who has, experienced a miscarriage. Which one are you?  I am both.  How did you, or they, handle it?

My first miscarriage happened when I was 20 years old, had a 9 month old son, and we were out of state attending a family wedding. It was a difficult situation. Even though the second pregnancy was a surprise we were happy and then we were crushed.  I was about eight to nine weeks along and suddenly everything changed.  I began bleeding and even with no activity and rest I was cramping.  I went to an unfamiliar doctor at an unfamiliar hospital.  The worst part was that I was treated in the maternity wing and could hear other newborn babies being wheeled down the hall.  I hope hospitals have changed that policy.

It didn’t matter that I had only been pregnant a short time.  I still loved my unborn child and his passing was a loss.  Yes, I grieved.   Even years later, when I would think of him I would be sad and then think about how old he would be and what kind of personality he would have.  It is a grief I have kept to myself or talked about with just my husband, or maybe my sister, because others don’t want to discuss your unborn child.IMG_2060

Family and close friends express sympathy and that helps.  Time and life bring healing.  Focusing on others and family also brings healing.

When our daughter, child #4, was almost two years old I miscarried again before I even realized I was pregnant.    Eight months later we conceived again.  We were excited and convinced our daughter would finally have a sister and not just brothers.  With much relief I passed the eight – ten week mark.   At twelve weeks it reoccurred.  Even though I had four living children, this loss was the greatest.

Of course, my husband was with me through all of this and he grieved in his way. Again family and friends expressed sympathy.  But there were two people who did things which I still fondly remember.

My sister returned to the store some maternity clothes which I had just purchased.  That task was emotionally impossible for me to do.  Her doing this was a tremendous help to me. Thank you, Linda.

IMG_2062A week or two later a friend at church gave me a hug and said he was sorry.  He was the only male (besides closest family) who verbally acknowledged our loss and grief.  Thank you, Brian B. for your courage and tenderness.

The loss of a child is the loss of a dream and a future.  We are left only to imagine the possibilities.  I am thankful for the comfort of knowing that someday in heaven I will meet and know our other three children.

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Expecting a bonus baby

I thought my family was complete.  My children were all in school and various activities.  They were maturing and becoming quite independent.  Life was simpler than it used to be.  One day I notice I was feeling rather nauseous.  I hadn’t felt that way for many years, but it was familiar.  Could it possibly be?

Yes, I was pregnant.  What?  Shocking.  Unbelievable.  Not the plan.  I have to start over, again?!  My children were 9, 11, 13, and 16 years old and we were expecting again.   I was going back to diapers and middle of the night feedings.   This was going to be a HUGE adjustment for all of us. How would we add another child to our family and our home?

I soon discovered we were not a young couple having a baby.  We were a family having a baby.  It was different this time.fam

Many things had changed since I was expecting #4, our only daughter.  Furthermore I had forgotten lots of the little details of being pregnant.  When I went to my first OB appointment I was informed that I was an “old” mom.   When our daughter was born I was 27 years old, now I was  . . . . . 36!  I was asked if I wanted to explore genetic testing of the baby.  No, I did not.

At my next appointment, the nurse handed me a little plastic container and asked for a urine sample. “I did that last month,” I said.   She replied, “Yes, and you will do it at every appointment.”   I really had forgotten soooooo much.   By my third month appointment, the baby’s siblings started taking turns attending the appointments so they could hear the baby’s heartbeat and hear about the progress.

fam5Hubby and I took a one day Lamaze refresher course. Most of the other couples there were very young.   We went on the tour of the hospital and its new Labor/Delivery/Recovery room.   The hospital where we had delivered three of our four children had made significant changes.   I kept thinking to myself, “I can’t believe I am doing this again.”

I did not own any maternity clothes.   A few friends shared some with me and I shopped for more at rummage sales and garage sales.   What about all the baby equipment?  Where would the baby sleep?

We did some dry walling and painting in the basement and set up a room for #2 and #3 sons.  Daughter moved into the former boys’ room, which was painted purple for her.  Her former room was repainted for the baby.  Daughter and I made new curtains for 2 bedrooms.  #1 son carried the old crib from the attic to the new nursery.   The crib and a highchair were the only baby equipment we still had.  We shopped at more rummage and garage sales.

When I was expecting the other children ultrasounds were rarely used.  If they were used, they were not entirely dependable.  They were about 50% accurate at determining the baby’s gender.    Now every expectant mom had at least one ultrasound.  I had two this time.  The technician was 90% certain we were having a boy.ss

During the eighth month I developed pre-toxemia and was restricted to total bedrest.  Within a week I seizured and lost consciousness.   Our son was delivered hours later via caesarean section.  He weighed less than 6 pounds but was healthy.  I awoke three days later to a beautiful red headed baby, who has been an incredible joy and blessing to our family.

A bonus is defined as an unexpected extra, a dividend, a plus, an advantage.   I have met many families who had a bonus child.  They are all thankful for their bonuses despite many adjustments.  So are we.

Light reveals

Glass and I have had a collision and the glass won.  When I was 18  I experientially discovered glass does not bend.  If you wrestle with the metal frame with enough determination and strength attempting to make it fit where it was not designed to fit, the frame will eventually loose and bend, however the glass will not bend.  It breaks.  Its many pieces fell on my face and body.   I was probably grimacing because my lips were spared but the largest cut was on the underside of my lower lip and down the length of my chin.  A few other smaller cuts were just bandaged but the one on my face required many stitches.  For at least a year I looked as though I had ketchup residue on my chin.  Decades later the scar is barely visible.

windowOne might think this episode would dampen my enthusiasm for washing windows, but it has not.  Initially I washed all my household windows frequently.  This eventually slowed down to spring and fall and now has settled on just once a year in the fall.  I wash all the curtains, clean the sills, wipe the screens and wash the windows inside and out.  In the home where we have been living for five years almost all the windows hinge inward for easier cleaning and have deep sills.   Window washing usually takes me a few days, primarily because I do not work at it non-stop.   Even as I write I am in the middle of this task which I started two days ago

Cloudy days are best for window washing.  Wherever the sun directly hits the window the cleaner may dry before being spread and wiped off leaving smudges. I love admiring my clean widows.  But often when the sunny days return the view is less than wonderful.  The bright light reveals the streaks and smudges that I missed. B window

Light and children can be similar.  We may consider ourselves to be mature and wise until we have children of our own.   Nurturing and caring for our children often reveals our selfishness, laziness or impatience. We discover there are many things about which we know nothing.

If you are fighting with your children’s temperament and personalities (their frames) be careful not to break them or yourself.  Slow down and reconsider a better approach.   It is true each child does not come with a written manual but they do carry your DNA and God can see into their hearts and minds better than you can. Ask God to give you wisdom to know how to guide and direct.

Sometimes we clash with our children because they are so similar to us and sometimes because they are so different from us.   Children are also rather mirror like reflecting us in them.   Are you pleased with who you see?  Perhaps it is you that needs to change and not them.

It is much easier to point at the flaws and imperfections we see in our children than to admit to our own shortcomings.  The light of our children’s naivety and innocence glassmay be revealing areas in our own lives that need correction or discipline. Parenting is tough but rewarding.  Don’t worry.  You will keep learning as you go along, and by the time they have families, you will be brilliant.

In the meantime, don’t be reluctant to read a few books or ask for advice.  You may be amazed how smart your own parents have become.

Generations

How well do you know your grandparents?  Do you remember the stories they told you when you were a child? Are you hanging onto the legacy they left for you?

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My mom’s dad and mom

I have wonderful memories of my four grandparents.  My grandparents were all born in the first decade of the 1900’s.  They were raising their families (8 and 5 children) in a small coal mining community when the Great Depression of the 1930’s hit. They were poor and hard working. Compared to today’s standards they did the unimaginable as they had tiny houses, without indoor plumbing, and many children.

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My dad’s step-dad and mom

My father’s father died at age 42 from a brain tumor leaving my grandmother a widow with 7 children.  They did receive some government assistance and my grandmother did sewing and laundry (remember, no indoor plumbing) to earn a living.  Later she remarried.   When my dad met my mom he thought she was wealthy because she had a dad and he had a job as a coal miner.

My grandparents had many grandchildren, yet somehow they managed to love us all and make us each feel special.  My dad’s mom made us each a handmade item every year for Christmas.   My mom’s mom sent us each a birthday card with a one dollar bill in it.  We weren’t spoiled monetarily, but we were spoiled with attention.   Hiking, fishing, cooking, snapping  green beans together, telling ghost stories, catching lightning bugs, eating, washing dishes, sitting on the porch swing, going to church, swimming in lakes, taking crazy drives in the country and exploring  are the things I remember doing with my grandparents.

My dad’s step dad and mom passed away when I was a teenager in the 1970’s.  My own children were 8, 5, 3, and 1 years old when my mom’s mom passed away.  For another seven years my grandfather lived alone and then lived a few years in a nursing home.  We would visit him at least once a year.  My kids never enjoyed this visit, because they were bored.  The highlight of a visit to see their great grandpa was drinking his little cartons of various flavors of Ensure delivered by Meals on Wheels.  However, I treasured those visits because I was able to discover as an adult, who my grandfather was and not just who I imagined him to be when I was a child.

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My grandpa, with my sister and I and some of our children

My children would complain to me about having to go visit him and always asked why they had to go?  I would explain that we went to see him so that when I was old they would come see me.  I said it rather tongue-in-cheek, but I genuinely meant it.

I desired to be an example to my children of honoring my elders.  I also wanted them to learn to be comfortable around people of all ages, know how to be respectful, and help them treasure the elderly.

We have so much we can learn from each other.  Just being together can be such an encouragement for all parties.  The elderly have a lifetime and a world of knowledge they can share.  They lived through events we can only read about.  Just ask them and they will probably be thrilled to tell you.

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My maternal grandparents, my mom, and me holding my #1 son.

It thrills my heart when my children and my grandchildren wish to spend time with me and with my parents.  I love that my grandchildren want to hear stories not only about their parents but also about their grandparents, great grandparents and great, great grandparents.