Monday, January 27, 2014

The Child I Never Knew

My baby left me at 7 weeks.

I have had a few people tell me, “Lucky you weren't that far along yet so you weren't that attached.” Comments like that have felt like a slap in the face. Why wouldn't I have already been attached?

I knew the day after that I was pregnant. I could feel a change in my body and it was such a strange sensation I just knew I had to be pregnant. I waited 2 weeks and took a pregnancy test and had a big bold double line confirming what I had already felt.

Telling Brian was unreal. At first he didn't believe me, but who could blame him when I had tricked him in the past? After that it was kind of a blur of emotions; the excitement, the nervousness, anxiety and thought that kept running through our heads “We. Are. Parents!” As the days went on, the feeling that surfaced the most was love. I loved this little person within me. I felt so blessed that I was going to be a mommy.

Joy is the best way to describe it. We started calculating doctor appointments and when we would find out the gender and of course the due date. I was due in August. In fact, I was due on Brian’s birthday August 16, 2014.

I thought of my baby every second. What would she look like, who would she look like? What would we name her? What would she accomplish in her life?

Yes.. I call her a she. I had a very vivid and real dream that this baby would be a little girl. Whether that is true or not we won’t know in this life, but it has helped me in this whole process to call my baby a she.

Keeping a secret when one is bursting with joy is so hard. But we did because we knew I wasn't that far along and we knew the possible risks and so our lips remained shut.

We were heading to Utah to visit family for the holidays and I can’t even tell you how many times I found myself talking to my reflection saying, “Now Anna, This needs to remain a secret.”

The day came to fly to Utah. Our flight was delayed. We missed our connection. I was having cramps. Told there were no more flight for 2 more days. Said a prayer. Still having cramps. We decided to drive. We decided not to drive. Cramps closer together. We got stuck at the airport for almost 24 hours. Said another prayer. Cramps. We found a cancelled flight. About to board the cancelled flight when:

Cramps. I was doubled over with pain from cramps that were coming on so quickly I didn't have time for breath. I feared what was happening. I wanted to just get home to Utah. I just wanted to leave the airport.

On the plane. Not seated by Brian. Cramping. All alone. In the middle of a man and woman I didn't know. All alone. Cramps. Sweating. Withering. Can’t. Hold. Still. All. Alone.

Finally off the plane. In the car. Straight to a Christmas party. In the bathroom. There is the baby. Tears. Tears. Tears. Tears...

Then came all the emotions. Fear. Sadness. Bitterness. Fear. Self-Blame. Worry. Fear. Heartache. Are just some of the few raw emotions that immediately hit. Even though I had a firm testimony and confirmation of the truthfulness of the Gospel, it didn't stop those first few moments of pure heart wrenching sadness. I couldn't understand how someone so tiny and that had been with me for such a short time, could leave such a hole in my heart.

About as soon as all these feelings started, I was overcome with a sense of calmness. I don’t know how to explain it, I still felt sad, I still was crying, but I was calm. Calm because I knew that everything was going to be okay even if at that moment my world and plans were crashing down. I was in fact, NOT alone. Nor had I been on the plane during the most pain I can remember feeling. I repeated it to myself in the mirror as I left the bathroom. I am NOT alone.

Tender mercies are always present if we but look for them. My first was the fact that I was (almost) in Utah where the doctor I have gone to for the past 3 years is. The second was that I was again (almost) in Utah where my family is. What would I have done if I had been back in Chicago? Would I have even shared this with them? How would I have dealt with this differently?

Not a day goes by where I don’t think of the little one I lost. Of all the potential that she had to offer. And then I find myself correcting what I just thought. HAS to offer. Not had. My baby still HAS potential to offer. Maybe the physical qualities she has to offer are limited in this life, but her spiritual qualities live on.

She showed me the miracle of life. Life is so complex and such a miracle. I know that God exists; there is no way that life could be without God. With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). The God-given ability to create life is absolutely beautiful and is the most exalted power God has given his children.

She taught me to trust in the Lord. His plan and His timing are far more wise and better than my own. The Lord was helping me to understand the Savior. At first I thought that it being Christmas only a few days later was so unfair. But then I really started to understand the atonement better and what Heavenly Father may have felt to allow His Only Begotten Son to die to atone for our sins. And I knew I was not alone.

She taught me to have faith. The world and technology and research throw so much at you. You can eat this, not that, do this not that, blah blah blah. While I certainly tried my best to be healthy and active for her, I grew to have faith that I was simply doing my best. Who really knows how to BE pregnant. Everyone is so unique and every situation different, you just do your best to be healthy and trust in the Lord.

I have felt like I have needed to write this, because I am a full believer that God does not just give us the experiences we face in this life for ourselves. We too may grow and learn, but through them someone somewhere can be helped or blessed. We need but write them down and share.

This is my journey. I have had confirmation that I will be able to see and raise my baby girl in the next life. This is not the end. I have a baby waiting for me that is not lost. The worth of souls is great in the sight of God (D&C 18:10).
I may not be an artist, but it was the best way to describe the comfort I have felt over the loss of my baby.
I have also learned 5 very important concepts about miscarriage. I hope that someday somewhere I can give encouragement and strength to those who may be mourning the loss of a little one.
  •  This was not my fault. With the complexity of life itself, there are bound to be problems every now and then. Isn't it a blessing that our bodies are designed to recognize this? Some studies show 25% of women have miscarriages and others show 40%. That is very common. Because of this I know that I am not alone. I hope I can in return, help others who may have experienced something similar.
  •  Don’t be afraid to share. It helps to talk about it. If I had kept in my heartache and sorrow I don’t even know how I could have coped. Friends and family have been the greatest support. Others who have had similar experiences and sharing them with me have also been so encouraging and strengthening.
  •  Take care of myself and my husband. It is amazing how good one feels after a nice warm shower, exercising, eating healthy, and  just doing my hair and make-up. It ultimately just makes me feel more positive and hopeful. It was also important for me to not forget about my husband. I expected him to mourn the same way that I did. He didn't fully understand everything that I felt and went through, but I know he tried to. Knowing that is enough. He still needs to feel loved and wanted even through my grief. Do not shut him out and do not forget that he is in this too.
  • Don’t give up hope. Say it again and again. Do NOT give up hope. DO NOT give up hope.
  • Trust in Lord, his plan for me, and his timing. He ultimately knows exactly what I need to better myself.  Am I okay now? The honest answer is yes. I have peace and comfort that this is where I am supposed to be for whatever reason. Do I still feel sad a times? Again, yes. But I know there is something else in store for me, something that I cannot yet see but in time I will understand more of His plan.
Though I know this baby was only in my womb for a very short time. I will never forget this first little one that Heavenly Father blessed us with and I look forward to meeting her someday. This child I never knew made me a mother. Many of us have little ones waiting for us on the other side as well. If you are mourning the loss of a baby from miscarriage or stillbirth, I pray that you will feel God’s love and peace and comfort that I know He can give, because I have felt it too. 

Monday, January 6, 2014


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Squinty eyes! It is SO bright when the sun reflects off the snow!
    The lake behind my parents' house never ceases to amaze me.. There is ALWAYS something to do or explore and I have to say that it is one of my favorite places to go to when I'm at my parents' house (side note-switching to calling the house I grew up in "my parents' house" has been really difficult for me. I love where I am from and so to not simply call it "my house" has actually been a tough change!).
   In the spring it is so nice to go down by the lake and watch the snow melt and trickle from all different areas into the lake. The water is usually at its highest point and it is absolutely stunning! It is very peaceful because there are no boaters or other people to interrupt the peace and beauty. In the summer there is kayaking, boating, spear fishing and swimming as well as sleeping out on the beach. It is equally as beautifully as spring since everything is so green. In the fall (which is always my favorite) the colors of the trees are reflected in the ripples of the last boaters of the season and the water begins to recede, exposing more beach as the water is released from the dam. It is fun to explore all the meadows and land that the water hides as well as play mud football or have camp fires on the beach. Winter brings her own kind of beauty to the lake. The water freezes to ice and on a clear crisp morning it is just breath taking.
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View outside my bedroom window!
    We love to go sledding on the beach hills and sometimes snow mobile out on the lake, but my absolute favorite is when the ice is thick enough to walk out on. Every year God blesses us with new beauty on the ice. Two years ago we had a really neat experience walking on the ice HERE where it was cold enough for the water to freeze but we didn't have any snow so it left the ice clear so we could see beneath the water. This year it was these tiny crystal snow flowers that turned to powder to the touch. We had never seen these before.

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It was fun to skate through the snow flowers because they would just puff up like powdered sugar!
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I am so grateful that I get to experience such beauty in my own backyard!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Doing the Disney Thing!

     For Christmas this year Brian's parents gave us tickets to DISNEYLAND! We took off on New Year's Eve for the wonderful drive there (which we spent sleeping and watching movies and trying to play board games in the car). New Year's Day we went to Newport beach and rode bikes along the coast as well as sat and enjoyed the beautiful sunset!
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     The next day was California Adventure. I love the new Cars Land! It really feels like you are apart of the movie and the rides are just so much fun! When Disney does something.. they do it well!
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These two may or may not be newly-weds :)
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    January 3 was a day spent in Disneyland. It was the most packed I have ever seen it but that didn't stop us from having fun! :)
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Tanner braved the front so we could all duck behind him :)
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Sleeping Beauty's castle is so pretty in the wintertime with all the snow and lights!
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     Two years ago we went to Disneyland two days before Christmas and it was fun to experience it on New Years! Thanks to Craig, Laurie, Mandy and Tanner for making this such a fun trip! The next day it was off to the airport to fly from 80 degree weather of LA into -20 degree weather of Chicago!