Browsing Category

Infertility and Miscarriage

Family, Infertility and Miscarriage

The First Trimester for Miscarriage Mommas

February 21, 2019

I’m currently writing this just shy of six weeks pregnant with our sixth pregnancy. Writing that this is our sixth pregnancy just caused me to pause and make sure that’s correct. I’ve been pregnant six times now, and I have to babies playing in the next room, three in heaven, and one whose fate is to be determined. I don’t write that to sound morbid, in fact I’m actually, in this current moment, really hopeful for this pregnancy but not without a hefty dose of caution and fear. It’s something I’ve been working on, the fear piece. But while the thoughts and emotions are fresh – in the waiting and wondering and praying that comes with the first trimester for anyone, but especially us mommas who know loss intimately – I wanted to write what it’s like to be a miscarriage momma pregnant (again), hoping (again), praying (again and again) and pleading with God that I don’t have to lose another baby.

For us mommas who know loss, a positive pregnancy test is met with some degree of excitement but a lot of caution. It means that instead of surprising your husband with a fun announcement or telling him in a creative way, you text him in the middle of the day with a matter of fact, “We’re pregnant again.” Or, you pee on a stick and come out of the bathroom saying something like, “I guess we’re pregnant or something.” Shrugging off the temptation to get hopeful because you know what it feels like to experience loss.

Sure, us miscarriage mommas think a bit about what a baby in August would look like, what it would be like to be majorly pregnant in the summer, jot down mental notes on baby names, toss a few names back and forth with their husbands now and again in that first trimester, but it’s all with the disclaimer of “if we have a baby in August” rather than “when we have a baby in August.” It kills me, because I want to be hopeful. I want to be excited. I want to savor ever single minute of what could very well be my last pregnancy if things work out the way we hope they do. But I’m also so weary from hurting and experiencing loss that my heart is wrapped in concrete where pregnancy is concerned.

I’m willing to guess that a fair share of moms in this camp also own a home doppler, like I do, and are probably more skilled than their doctor at locating a heartbeat. I can’t tell you how many appointments I went to where I would watch my doctor try to find a heartbeat, holding back the urge to just offer to find it myself because, well, I knew exactly where baby was hiding. My fellow miscarriage mommas probably also subconsciously check the toilet paper for signs of blood or spotting every time they go to the bathroom. Who, as time progresses, fall into a minor panic every time it’s been a while since they last felt baby move. Mommas who pray for morning sickness and symptoms to ease their mind and get them to their next appointment. Who test progesterone levels every two weeks and take countless shots and drink herbal supplements that taste like a barnyard smells because maybe, just maybe, all of those things together will tip the scales in our favor this time around. Who go into ultrasound rooms expecting the worst while hoping for the best. Who remind themselves that if they get bad news, they will be OK because, you know, they’ve done this before.

If my thoughts and words seem a bit of a jumbled mess, it’s probably a good indication of where my heart is at in this current season. Sitting (rather impatiently) in the in-between time, a time of what-ifs, hope, fear. All jumbled together. It’s hard to sort out those feelings and thoughts, difficult to form concise words with a clear direction. So instead of trying to make sense of it all, I’ll wait, and pray, and count down the next 72 hours until I walk into that ultrasound room. And even then? Even if we heart a heartbeat? I wish I could tell my fellow miscarriage mommas that it would get easier after that, but the truth is that it won’t. It will continue to be scary and hard, but that’s the cross you bear when you’ve lost a baby at any stage in the game.

The other day my doctor told me that this could, if I allowed it to be, a time of refinement and an opportunity to deepen my faith. My husband has echoed those same sentiments during times when I’ve been particularly worried. I can’t say I think either my doctor or husband quite understand what it’s like to be on my side of this experience, but I have to say that I agree God can work in big ways during times when we feel so incredibly week and prone to big fears. Lord, may you be glorified in my worry. May your power be made complete in my complete weakness. May you protect this baby. And even if you don’t, may your will be done.

Madison

 

Family, Infertility and Miscarriage

Losing Them, Loving You

October 30, 2017

screen-shot-2017-10-29-at-6-21-15-amPhoto: Jessica Bonestroo Photography

I’ve been thinking all month about what (if anything) to write this month, seeing that it’s Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Sometimes, in the thick of parenting two little kids, our losses seem to fade into the background, a sad and heartbreaking circumstance that paved the way for both our girls. Sometimes, when cleaning up messes and disciplining toddlers and trying to grocery shop with both and maintain my sanity it’s hard to think about much else besides just getting through the day alive with everyone fed and unscathed.

But because of our losses, I’ve “met” so many of you I know your stories through emails, blog and Instagram comments and real-life coffee dates. Some of you have found my posts about miscarriage years later and are still writing me to share your stories – a fact that humbles me and makes me so very aware of the three babies we ourselves lost in the process of growing our family.

Sometimes I don’t think about our losses, until I do. When Ainsley puts together a puzzle in the blink of an eye or plays make believe with her Paw Patrol figurines. When Collins looks at me with her big, sparkly eyes and giggles the sweetest, softest giggle. When I notice that our girls both have the same set of amazing eyelashes or when Collins looks at her sister like she hung the moon, it hits me.

I wonder what their brother would have been like.

I wonder if their other siblings were boys or girls. I so wish I knew.

Like any (most?) types of loss, it never gets totally easy, life just continues on and time eases some of the raw edges. Losing three babies and now having two little ones makes me so aware of who they could or would have been. Joe is quick to remind me that the timing of our losses makes it such that we couldn’t have had the babies we lost AND our girls, and I wouldn’t trade our girls for the world. But when I look at Ainsley and Collins, a part of me will always wonder what our babies would have looked like. It shapes how you parent your earthly children, the thankfulness you have for the more mundane and challenging parts of parenting, the everyday moments that are somehow a little more special.

Madison

Family, Infertility and Miscarriage

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October 10, 2016

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

October is my birthday month, and it has always been one of my favorite months of the year. It’s also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, a fact I was blissfully unaware of until a few years ago when I was struggling with my own feelings of loss and grief over miscarrying our first child the month prior.

I’ve been so grateful to have connected with so many of you over the years who have resonated with my posts about miscarriage. Although I was hesitant to share our journey on the blog initially, it’s been one of the greatest blessings to me, and I hope it’s been a blessing and comfort to others who know the pain of losing a baby to miscarriage.

To this day, e-mails come into my inbox on the regular. Women who, like me, were caught by surprise and shock when they miscarried for the first time. Who turned to the only place they knew they could find answers and camaraderie, the internet, and happened to find my posts on the subject. When I was deep in the murky waters of miscarriage – of blood tests and D&C’s and more questions than answers – I, too, turned to blogs that talked about the subject. I didn’t have friends or family members who had miscarried and desperately needed to connect with others who understood my pain.

I’ve learned, through loss, heartbreak and pain, that even in the valley, our God is above all things good. He cares about our pain and holds our children in His arms in heaven, even when we struggle to understand His plan. And trust me, there were/are plenty of times that I’ve questioned what the purpose of all this loss and sadness was.

Out of the women who have reached out to me via e-mail and Facebook messages over the years, there is a common thread. What these women want, more than anything, is to be validated that their pain and grief is real. For so long, our culture’s silence on the topic sends the message that the lives lost to miscarriage are not really lives at all, or at least not something that we should talk about publicly. Which is why I’ll say, and continue to say, that life begins at conception. Of that I’m certain. And that we can and should grieve the lives that have been lost in the womb, whether those lives were counted in days, weeks or months.

Thank you, brave friends, for sharing your stories with me and honoring the lives of your little ones – the ones that made you moms and gave you every reason to remember, grieve and celebrate such a precious gift.

Madison

Family, Fashion, Infertility and Miscarriage

29.

October 5, 2016

IMG_1305

Today I turn 29. I can’t believe that when this blog started, I was just 22 years old, a senior in college, without any background in blogging or the internet world. I wanted to post recipes of food that I loved. I was interning at a lifestyle magazine and working in their food section and inspired by this huge, brand-new world that was suddenly opened to me.

Back then I had unlimited amounts of time and few commitments other than a very cute boyfriend who would eventually become my husband. I worked and then came home and dreamed about the next recipe that I would put up on Espresso and Cream, excited about trying something new, scouring cookbooks for hours for inspiration and reading blogs like they were going out of style. (They are now, aren’t they?)

And then life changed. I got a few different big-girl jobs and I churned out recipes like a machine for those jobs. I developed recipes all day, in fact, and while it was fun and wonderful in so many ways, it didn’t really leave me craving kitchen time when I got home. I spent my whole day in a kitchen! So what once was a food blog became a lifestyle blog, and then for a time an infertility and miscarriage blog and then, even later, a blog about family and beauty and whatever seemed interesting at the time.

Some days, with life busier than ever, I think about closing up this blog all together. Because there are days and weeks and months when inspiration runs dry and I am left longing for the days when I wanted and could write about all the things. And there are still other days when I think that what I really need is a fresh start, to move to a new platform with a new name and start from scratch.

But then I think about the history, you guys. The stories that I’ve shared here and the journey that this blog – a diary of sorts – has been along for the ride and I can’t imagine not spending time talking with you all and receiving your e-mails and hearing your stories. I have made so many amazing friends through blogging and I’m richer because of that.

So no, this blog isn’t going anywhere, but on my 29th year, I’m taking a good, long, hard look at what blogging means to me and what I want to talk about on this site. And I want to hear from YOU! What types of content to do you want to see? Is it more recipes or more posts about beauty? Or maybe it’s sharing more fashion finds or talking about motherhood? Since this blog has been all over the place since it started, I’m ripe for suggestions and ideas from you, the ones who read this blog and who I’m so thankful for.

Thanks for being patient with me as I figure out what is next for Espresso and Cream.

Madison

Family, Infertility and Miscarriage

miscarriage, fertility and the value of life

August 30, 2016

MadisonBW

This post has been mulling around in my head for weeks. I feel as if the writing on this blog has been full of fluff and low on substance, lacking the meaty content that comes in waves depending on the season of life I’m in. Truth be told, seasons of shallow writing usually mean one of two things for me: things are going really, really well or things are going very poorly. Though this time, it’s a little bit of both.

Life is sweet right now. Ainsley is growing and changing rapidly and becoming so FUN to be around. She has a spunky little personality that keeps us laughing and smiling on repeat. And work is fulfilling for Joe. And I’m loving my new flexible work schedule that allows me to spend more time at home while still doing things that inspire me.

Life is sad right now. Because we miscarried for a third time last month, our second month trying for a second child. Because I hoped that this time around things would be different, easier and that I wouldn’t have to dig up all those old emotions and fears that I packed up and put on a shelf after Ainsley was born.

I didn’t share sooner because, as anyone who has walked a road of infertility and miscarriage can tell you that when you share about your fertility struggles the worst thing that someone can do is look at you with that look. The look, full of pity, that says, “I’m sorry you don’t have what I have.”

But I love you all. Some of you I know personally, others I know via e-mail and social media. Your prayers lifted us countless times over the years and I’ve been humbled by the kindness of strangers more times that I can count. In the year and a half since Ainsley’s birth I can’t tell you the number of strangers I’ve met who have told me that they’ve prayed for my daughter. It floors me every single time.

So, because you share in our joy, I’m sharing with you our sadness, too. Because I know that this blog is made up of readers who are my tribe of women. Women who have walked the difficult, weary road that only the fertility-challenged can understand. Women who have cared about our fertility struggles even if they haven’t experienced them personally.

To my fellow mommas and mommas-to-be who are trying to grow you family:

You are the bravest group of women I know. Every time you smile in the face of adversity or deliver a baby meal for a friend’s new baby or take a shot or pill or five thousand crazy vitamins and supplements, you’re brave. And when you choose JOY for others instead of bitterness, jealousy or envy, you’re doing kingdom work that is glorifying God.

I don’t know if our journey to our next (God willing) baby will be long or short, but I do know that I’ll need your support, and my desire is to provide support and encouragement for those walking this road with me. Longing for another baby while being deeply thankful for the amazing gift of the child that we do have.

Thank you for making this space such a supportive and safe space for me to share about our family. I’m so thankful for each and every one of you who read the words that I write.

Madison