Surviving The Holidays After Miscarriage

Last year, somewhere in between Thanksgiving and the first few days of December, my husband and I unexpectedly conceived our first child. I revealed the pregnancy to him by giving him two Christmas ornaments to hang on our tree with the big news written on them – he was super excited! That entire holiday season was spent bonding over the pregnancy and the new baby that was forming in my belly. It really added to the magic of Christmas and the anticipation of the New Year! We were so excited, so proud, and so in love.

fullsizerender-3
“Coming August 2016” “You+Me=3”

Unfortunately, my baby barely made it to February; I miscarried when I was 2 1/2 months along.

Now, I’m remembering all the times last year when I thought “this time next year we’ll have a 4 month old” or “next year will be our baby’s first Christmas”. Those thoughts come back to haunt me now; I feel so let down.

For many people, the holiday season is a wonderful time filled with love, laughter, and family. But for couples who have gone through miscarriage or infant loss, the holidays can be tough just like they can be after any other loss. It’s hard to be filled with holiday cheer when someone you love is missing, and it seems like the joyousness of the season only magnifies your pain.  If you’re struggling to enjoy this holiday season after your loss or while battling infertility, I wanted to share some tips that may help you along the way.

  1. Do a lot of what makes your heart happy – Never forget that it’s okay to feel sadness! You’ve experienced a tremendous loss and you may have to be intentional about finding happiness and joy this holiday season. That’s okay! Indulge in the things that put a smile on your face and really try to soak in each day as it comes! Maybe it’s binge watching Christmas movies, baking cookies, or decorating for the holiday. Or perhaps it’s volunteering at a warming center, hosting your immediate family for dinner, taking a good nap or going on a vacation with your spouse. Whatever you enjoy, do that. Wherever your happy place is, go there. Take care of yourself!
  2. Remember that it’s okay to say ‘no’ – With it being the holidays you are going to get invited to a lot of gatherings, parties and family get-togethers. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and friends, but the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be overwhelming at times! Throw in there the heartbreak and anxiety that comes with infertility, infant loss, or miscarriage and it can be downright emotionally draining. You’ve got your pregnant friends, your sister-in-law who just had her baby, your nosy aunt who is wondering why you haven’t had kids yet…there are reminders everywhere. If you are feeling too sad, vulnerable or upset to attend an event, don’t go! It’s okay to guard your heart and take a day! You have to know your limits and realize that it is okay to say no.  I’m not suggesting you isolate yourself from everyone, I think we all need people to make it through hard times. For me, that person is primarily my husband but I also lean on my mommy and sister. Ultimately all I’m saying is this: don’t feel like you have to accept every invitation that comes your way just because it’s the holiday. On the flip side though, you may want to consider how going out and being surrounded by family and friends could be good for you, too.
  3. Find a way to remember your baby during the holiday – Do something extra special to help you feel closer to the baby you lost. I’ve known people to hang special Christmas ornaments or stockings for their babies. Personally, since Thanksgiving I’ve worn a special piece of jewelry to family gatherings, holiday parties, and pretty much every where else I go. I’ve also watched our pregnancy reveal videos a few times and it warms my heart. We surprised our family with the news while playing Mad Gab at Christmas dinner last year. Other than ultrasound pictures and hearing the heartbeat, this is one of the only other positive memories I have of my little one. It is such a healing element for me to watch those videos and remember August this wa way.
  4. Sponsor a child for Christmas – Marcus and I have so much love to give. August sparked a fire in our hearts and I seriously cannot wait to love on and spoil my future babies! These feelings are totally magnified during this holiday shopping season when you feel like you “should be” buying gifts for your new baby, and it’s easy to get down about that. While you may not be able to celebrate Christmas with your child the way you envisioned you would, you can still put a smile on a little one’s face! Sponsoring or adopting a child in need for the holidays while grieving the loss of your own may not be easy. But for me, just thinking of buying gifts for a baby or child who needs them ministers to my heart in ways I can’t even describe. It is the epitome of what Jesus meant when he said “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. This idea came to me as my hubby and I were out doing some Christmas shopping last week, and I really wish we had thought of it sooner! If I can find someone to sponsor this year I’d still like to do it, but it will definitely be something we start doing next year. You may even want to consider sponsoring a child that’s the same gender and age that your child would have been had they survived. Admittedly, this has the potential to be a painful experience. It may evoke negative feelings to shop for a child and buy things you would have bought for your own, so I would definitely pray about it and talk with your partner before committing to something like this. Same goes for my next tip.
  5. Buy gifts for your future baby – So back in the day, an unmarried woman would keep a chest full of things she intended to use in her future married life – it was called a hope chest. Today it looks more like the storage trunk at the foot of your bed. Why aren’t we applying this concept when trying to conceive a baby? A lot of people believe it is bad luck or a “jinx” to buy baby items before you are pregnant, but I believe there is nothing wrong with having faith in God’s ability to open your womb or bring a baby into your life through adoption. How many times have you walked past the baby section in Target in shame, feeling like you’ve been denied entry to some sort of VIP section of the club? Let me let you off the hook: you can go there, and you can buy things. Clearly this is for me too, as I haven’t exactly worked up the courage to actually do this yet…but I think about it all the time. At first I found the idea of buying things for a baby I haven’t even conceived yet a little strange, but the more I think about it the more comfortable I become. Why not? Everything is on sale at this time of year anyway and you’re likely to find some good deals! It’s a great way to stay active and build excitement while you wait for your bundle of joy.

I truly hope this helps someone out there cope with their loss this Christmas. I understand that everyone handles miscarriage differently, so some of these tips may or may not help you on your personal journey. Overall, I pray that you find the strength and peace to enjoy the magic and joyousness of the holiday season, despite your situation. Please share ways you’ve been able to make it through this time of year after your loss! I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas to you!

-Nikkie

fullsizerender-4
Photo credit: Beth Hutter B&B Photography

Things I’m Thankful For After Miscarriage

In life, most of the time it’s easier to dwell on what we don’t have rather than what we do have. This can be especially true if you are going through miscarriage or infertility because your focus is on the baby that seems to be missing. It’s hard to find the good in that, if we’re just being honest. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ve challenged myself to do some reflecting on the things I am thankful for while on this journey. What I found was that I really do have so much to be thankful for.

I am thankful for the time I get to spend just being married. When we found out we were expecting we had only been married for 6 months. We were just getting settled in to the whole husband and wife gig when bam! – we were suddenly daddy and mommy, too. And while my subsequent miscarriage was not something I wanted, I am still very grateful for the time I have in this season to just be Marcus’ wife.

How precious is that?! I get to focus all of my efforts on being the wife my husband deserves. I get to give him my undivided attention, and more importantly, I get to have his. 🙂 We get to sleep in and cuddle together uninterrupted. We get to spend our extra money frivolously. We get to pick up and go on dates or vacations whenever we feel like it. We get the time to really focus on each other’s needs and wants with no other responsibilities other than ourselves. Having a baby changes all of that.

While it is absolutely my hearts desire to start our family right now, I am learning to be grateful for this special time in our lives when it is just he and I, because – if you really think about it – once we have our baby we will never get this time back. I intend to enjoy and savor every second.

I am thankful that my baby will never experience this crazy world. This sentiment is somewhat of a cliché in the miscarriage community, but that doesn’t make it any less true. This world can be downright cruel and my sweet August will never have to experience it. My baby was never hungry, was never cold, was always wanted, and was always loved. I am thankful for this.

I am thankful for today; because clearly tomorrow is not promised. You can literally be here one day and gone the next, so I choose to appreciate each day as its own. Each day I wake up is a new opportunity to walk in my God-given purpose. To love. To laugh. To just live. I am naturally a planner and somewhat of a control freak so “living in the moment” is something I have to be intentional about. You can make all the plans in the world for tomorrow, but tomorrow may never happen. My miscarriage taught me how fragile and fleeting life really is; and the importance of relishing each moment I have as they come because the next moment is not guaranteed. Thank you Lord for today!

I am thankful for a stronger marriage. My husband and I are far from perfect; but I can honestly say that we are stronger together after going through our loss. That’s a blessing because not everyone can say that. Miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility so often break couples apart and dissolve marriages. We were young, newly married, had just lost a baby, had medical bills stacked to the roof, our sex life was vulnerable – it was honestly the perfect storm for disaster. But we’re getting through it, by God’s grace.

I’ve never seen Marcus as mature, loving and strong as he has been in response to our loss. We’ve passed some serious tests together; and I’m so proud of his strength and how far we’ve come. He is truly my partner, and I am his. Miscarriage is a part of our love story now and our history as parents, it makes us who we are today. My sweet little angel August makes us who we are today.

I am thankful for my next child. Having a baby may be natural, but that doesn’t make it easy. A friend told me to “just pray and stay positive” and it will happen. My, how I wish it were that simple! It takes prayer, patience, strength, time, money, medicine, blood, sweat, tears and dang near selling your soul for some couples to fall pregnant.Trying to conceive after miscarriage has been exhausting for us and there are many days when I just want to quit.

But thinking about my rainbow baby literally makes my heart burst with excitement. There’s something about putting in work for what you want that makes you appreciate it so much more once you finally have it. I don’t take starting a family for granted anymore and I am already overflowing with gratitude for the life of my next child; however that child comes to be apart of our lives.

I am thankful that God is using me to help others through their losses. I think this is one of the big ones. I am so grateful that my pain has been useful to somebody else! Someone messaged me and told me that they wouldn’t have made it through their miscarriage without me. Someone else said that reading my story helped them to confront their own feelings about losses they’ve experienced in their past. I’ve also made friends with a mother who originally contacted me for prayer after her miscarriage, and now she intends to name her next baby August as inspired by my little one! This single tiny human who never even made it into the world has inspired people. Wow! All glory to God, who is able to work all things together for good!

img_0922

 

It’s easy to be thankful for the good stuff, but what about the things that are not-so-good? The things that have you up and crying at night, can you still find a reason to give thanks in spite of? I challenge you to find a reason to be thankful, no matter your circumstance! Miscarriage & infertility can leave you bitter and cold – if you let it. Today, however, I choose gratitude.

Scriptures For Pregnancy Loss & Infertility

Okay, so can I be honest? Promise you won’t judge me?

When I first learned of my miscarriage, I was mad at God.

It seemed that I was mad at everyone actually, but I felt particularly and especially angry with God. I felt like He had personally let me down. I blamed Him for things He did not do. I didn’t talk to Him or pray for months. I denied being mad at Him when I secretly was; my heart was sooo hard.

The crazy part is, He still loved me. He never left me. He still thought enough of me to break through the wall I built with the powerful truth of His word.

It’s amazing, that grace.

I just wanted to share some of the scriptures that I was led to; those that I find encouraging on this journey of loss and infertility. I hope that they encourage you, too!

 

Truth: God hears and answers prayers.

Genesis 25:21 

Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children. The Lord answered Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant with twins.

Psalm 66:16-19 

Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me. For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke. If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer.

1 Samuel Chapter 1

tells the story of Hannah, who was infertile for years and without children. She poured her heart out to God at the alter, cried, and prayed for a son. The Lord was faithful to her and opened up her womb and she was able to conceive.

Psalm 37:4 

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Romans 8:26-28

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searched our hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

Truth: God has not forgotten about you.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Psalm 9:10

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

 

 

Truth: God did not cause your miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, or whatever else it was that resulted in the death of your baby. Sin did that. We live in a sinful world where we encounter evil and darkness at every turn. 

John 16:33 

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here in this world you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Ephesians 6: 12

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places

Revelation 21:4 

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

Jeremiah 29:11 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Lamentations 3:32-33

For if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant loving-kindness and tender mercy. For He does not afflict willingly and from His heart or grieve the children of men. * This tells me that even if God did cause this, it was because He had to and not because He wanted to

 

Truth: Your baby mattered. Your baby counted. God, the creator of life, values life even before the moment of conception.

Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Jeremiah 1:5  

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

 

Truth: God actually gave you that baby as a gift

Psalm 127:3 

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.

James 1:17 

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Matthew 7:11 

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

 

 

Truth: God can handle our hurt, pain, and questions. 

Psalm 13:1-2 

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

Psalm 34:18 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Job

The book of Job tells his story of immense loss. This man literally lost everything – his kids, his wealth, his health – he lost it all. And he had some serious questions for God about his suffering. Check it out.

 

Truth: God is able, and He can do anything.

That means anything. He can overcome your endometriosis, unexplained infertility, PCOS, low sperm count, bum ovary, hormonal imbalance, “ticking clock”, ruptured cyst, blocked tubes, or anything else that you come against.

Jeremiah 32:17 

O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!

Hebrews 11:11  

By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.

Psalm 113:9 

He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the Lord!

 

Truth: God is not all that concerned with the temporary pains in our lives if it is ultimately accomplishing  His larger purposes. 

This also means that God isn’t always trying to “teach you something” when you’re going through (I hate when people say this).  Sometimes we experience tragedies like miscarriage solely so that the glory of God might be revealed through it.

John 9:1-3 

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered.“This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.”

2 Corinthians 4:17 

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

2 Corinthians 12:9

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

 

I hope this blesses you and encourages you. It may help to write some of these down! I have a journal that I keep and I write down the scriptures that speak to me, over and over again. I also write what I feel God is saying to me through that particular passage. On the hard days, when I can’t seem to think straight and my heart is aching, His word is there in my heart, too, and I draw on it for strength.

Please share your favorite scriptures below that have helped you during your pregnancy or infant loss, or some other type of grief. How did you make it through? If you aren’t religious, I still invite you to share quotes or something you’ve read that has resonated with you.

What helped you can help someone else too.

 

With love,

Nikkie

 

Rainstorms & Rainbows

“My Little Angel Baby” is changing to “Rainstorms & Rainbows”. The content will be the same, but I felt inspired to change the name of my blog for a couple reasons.

First, I really do believe that one day God will give me and my husband a healthy child. “My Little Angel Baby” only focuses on the one unborn child I lost; and while I will never forget my sweet August, losing that baby is not the end of my story. Battling infertility is only for this season. There’s a rainbow coming; and when that happens, I want to continue using this blog to document those pregnancies, births, and our journey together as parents.

My hope is in Jesus and He promises to work all things together for my good. That means He can turn my lemons to lemonade, my mourning into dancing, and my rainstorm into a rainbow. And I’m waiting with expectation for that promise.

 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

 

Lastly, I don’t believe that my baby, who was once a tiny human growing inside of me, is now an angel. I do believe that the souls of babies and other loved ones who die in the Lord go to be with him in heaven, but not as angels. I think a lot of people use that imagery as a form of comfort when they lose someone, which is okay, but it is not to be taken literal. So, I changed my blog name. Splitting hairs, I know. I’m a deep thinker 🙂

Oh yea, I also added something new to the site! Inspired by Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month, I wanted to create a wall of remembrance where you can submit a form to have your baby added. Check it out!

 

cropped-img_0111.jpg

Love always,

Nikkie

A missed miscarraige

Still honoring our babies this month for Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month! Here is a blog from a mother who experienced a missed miscarriage, check it out!

ramblesandstruggles

A missed miscarriage
A missed miscarriage… as I write those words they ring out.

It’s so hard to write but I feel it’s important I put the words out there.
We learned that three days after I’d had the scan at Care my baby died. Just over 8 weeks.
So 4 weeks after the first scan  and until the 12 week scan I was carrying something which was no longer living and we were blissfully unaware.

That’s pretty tough to write.

The smile on my husbands face, his happiness, the excitement we both felt. The idea that my husband would be a father and I a mum, the joking over baby names. The one name we found we liked. The planning over the baby’s room – how could I not think about this after the first scan. The talk with the midwife, the doctor, the future that was ahead which…

View original post 1,386 more words

10 Positive Ways to Show a Friend You Care After Her Miscarriage 

Great blog post on things you can do to help a friend after a miscarriage! Check it out! #miscarriageawareness #pregnancyandinfantlossawarenessmonth

RoJo and Evie: a Preemie NICU Journey

After suffering from a miscarriage I was made painfully aware of how ignorant the average Joe is to pregnancy loss. From brutally worded responses telling us to “just try again,” to being told that I “wasn’t that pregnant,” to having our loss completely ignored, an overwhelming amount of our friends and peers had less than positive responses to our miscarriage. It quickly came to our attention that people simply did not know what to say to or do for us in our time of need. While this shocked me, I believe it is the result of decade after decade of our society percieving pregnancy loss as a thing of shame. Something best kept hidden away and never spoken of again by the woman or her partner.

When preparing this particular post I did a bit of admittedly limited research. I reached out the women in my…

View original post 545 more words

Sorry Not Sorry.

In continued acknowledgement of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month, I am sharing this mother’s story on grieving after loss. I can identify so much with every word she has written here, check it out!

Erin Haligowski

The past week has been hard.I have cried. A lot. This is the reality of child loss, and of grief, and of trying to find a new normal during a season of life where nothing–nothing–feels normal anymore. Because life isn’t how it should be.

There is no fixing this. Losing Alexander will not ever be okay. A lot of people’s lives have started to go back to “normal,” but ours hasn’t. And it won’t.But, a really wise doctor told us to keep taking forward steps.

Here’s the truth: forward steps are hard. They’re not impossible, but they’re damn hard and take a lot of work. And they often involve tears. Thisbroken heart of mine is the heaviest thing I’ve ever had to carry.

But I’m committed to the journey. I’m committed to taking forward steps, and to learning to carry this grief and this loss. I’m committed…

View original post 1,010 more words