Thursday, September 22, 2011

Losing A Part of Myself

This is the first time I have attempted to write about this subject at all. Until now, I haven't been ready. Many of you don't even know about this part of my life, but it's something I will carry with me forever. Before you read any farther, I want you to know that I am not writing this to gain the pity of others. I am telling my story because it has become part of who I am, and even though it has been difficult, it has helped shape me into the person I am today. I believe it has helped me have a deeper understanding of God's love for His people, because through it all, I have grown closer to him. Perhaps telling my story will give someone else hope and courage.

It all started in early February of 2008. I found out I was pregnant. Brent and I were overjoyed to say the least. We told our parents and friends right away, and I began making all kinds of plans in my head. Would it be a boy or girl? What would he or she look like? What would be his or her name? How was I going to decorate the nursery? All of these plans came to a halt at my 8 week checkup. The ultrasound revealed no fetal heartbeat. We were devastated. The hardest part was going back two days later to confirm that there was indeed no heartbeat. A few days later, I underwent surgery for the first time in my life. I had what doctors define as a missed miscarriage. My mama cried when they rolled me to the operating room. We all had very heavy hearts.

Physically, I healed quickly, but I took off work for 3 days to give myself some time to begin healing emotionally. My students never knew anything was wrong, thank goodness. Some days they are the only reason I could make it through the long hours without going crazy. It was near impossible not to question whether or not I could have prevented what happened, even though I knew deep down there was nothing I could have done. Then, my sister found out she was pregnant with her first child just two weeks later. I was very happy for her, but my own heart ached for the child I had lost. I just came home and cried. It's all I could do. This time in our lives was difficult for my parents, too, as you can imagine. While they rejoiced for my sister, they grieved for me. In time, things got back to normal for the most part, and Brent and I moved on. I was excited to learn that I was going to be an aunt to a precious baby boy, and I began buying things for him, spoiling him before he was even born.

In September of that same year, Brent and I learned that I was pregnant again, and again we told our parents and friends right away. Although it didn't completely take away the pain from before, it helped ease my burden, and my heart was light and happy again. Everyone was genuinely happy and excited for us, and that's why it was so hard when again, we received devastating news at my 8 week checkup. There was a very faint heartbeat, but things didn't look good. Being in that room again and hearing those same words was almost more than I could bear. Three days later, I had to enter that room again and watch as the ultrasound technician probed for a fetus that was no longer living. Again, I faced surgery. History had repeated itself in more than one dreadful way.

At first, I felt very discouraged and questioned God why I had to go through this. But, I finally found peace when I turned all things over to Him. During this time of my life, when things seemed dark, dreary, and lonely, is when I chose to draw closer to Him. I began to pray and study my Bible more. I began to really feel His presence in me like I never had before. I began to thank Him for the path he put me on rather than complain about it. I felt that I was going through these trials for a reason, and that I would understand that reason one day, even if not in this lifetime. God gave me a peace like I've never felt, and he gave me a promise. I knew that I was going to have a child in His time, not my own.

In May of 2009, I somehow knew I was pregnant before I even took a test. God had kept His promise. This time, we decided to wait as long as possible before telling our parents and friends our news, but that was short-lived. It's hard to hide the fact that you are nauseous and vomiting, so we ended up telling everyone just before my 8 week checkup. At the actual checkup, we heard a loud and strong heartbeat, and for the first time, I cried tears of joy in that same room where I had cried tears of sadness twice before. While I was pregnant with Chandler, I had absolutely no complications. He grew and developed perfectly, and he came into our lives, a beautiful bouncing baby boy, on February 5, 2010. He is our pride and joy, and I love him with all my heart. He is a true miracle from God. I knew the day I delivered him that I wanted to give him a brother or sister one day.

In June of 2011, when Chandler was 16 months old, Brent and I rejoiced to find out that I was pregnant again. My due date was calculated to be February 6, 2012, just one day after Chandler's 2nd birthday. I was beyond excited. My children were going to be close in age, just like I wanted them to be. We didn't say a word to our parents and friends. I wasn't even sick this time, but it didn't concern me because plenty of my friends were sick during the first pregnancy and not during the second. Brent's family was to be in town at the time of our 8 week checkup, and we planned to surprise everyone with the news then. The ultrasound was planned for the week of our anniversary, so we decided to play off the doctor's appointment as a lunch date to ourselves so that no one would figure out what we were doing. We dropped Chandler off at Nana's house, and we were on our way. Except, somehow, on the way there, I suddenly knew something wasn't right, and my feelings were, unfortunately, correct.

Again, Brent and I faced one of the most difficult situations we have ever had to face. Again, we heard those horrible, dreaded words that our child was not going to make it. Our hearts ached. We prayed. We cried. We held Chandler close to us and thanked God for him, our special little miracle. Again, my sister found out she was pregnant, right in the midst of our heartache. We rejoiced for her new child as we mourned the loss of three of ours.

Within a matter of 3 years, I had been pregnant four times, and only one of those pregnancies was viable. The doctors can't tell me why it keeps happening. Everything appears normal in tests, and Brent and I are both healthy. Since I had a healthy pregnancy with Chandler, especially in the middle of all the miscarriages, the doctors are very optimistic that I will be able to carry another healthy child to term. All I can say is that we have turned it over to God. He has a perfect plan for our lives, and I know that He will carry it out, but He will carry it out in His time, not ours.

Perfect Love

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."- I Corinthians 13: 4-7

This is the scripture that our pastor focused on during Wednesday night prayer meeting, and I must say that it really hit home with me. You see, the day before, I came home from a long, hard day where everything seemed to go wrong, and I took it out on my husband. I said some very rude and mean things to him, even though he had done nothing wrong. He just looked at me, and he spoke not a word, but I could tell that I hurt him. Here I was, the woman he made a covenant with to love unconditionally, and I was beating him down for something that he had no part of, and especially no control over. Afterward, I felt so ashamed, and I had to go to him and ask him to forgive me. I had to take responsibility for the hurtful things I said. I was not being a loving wife when I acted this way. Thankfully, he forgave me and moved on.

This is exactly how we often treat our Savior, Jesus Christ. We treat him as if he is the one to blame for all our troubles instead of taking responsibility for our own actions. We often become angry with him when things don't go our way, or when we don't agree with his timing. However, instead, we should be running to him with open arms. After all, he is the one who created us, and he loves us more than anything in this world.

Thankful Thursday

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." - Psalm 118:1

* I am thankful for my husband. When I have a bad day, he's the one who has to hear about it when I get home.

* I am thankful for the 23 little people who are in my first grade class this year. Yes, there are a lot of them, but I really do enjoy being a part of their lives.

* I am thankful for parents- parents of my students,and my own parents. Parents are a child's first teacher.

* I am thankful that God saw fit to make me a parent. It is a wonderful blessing that cannot be described in words.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday

This past weekend marked the 10th anniversary of the horrific acts of 9/11, and it made me do a lot of thinking. There are so many things to be thankful for in relation to these events. Here are a few of them...

* The trip to NYC with my sister in August of 2001, just weeks before the Twin Towers were hit and fell. It's what she wanted to do for her Senior trip. Many of our photos have the towers in the skyline. We never would have dreamed they would be gone soon after our visit.

* The heroes who risked and gave their lives so that others could go home and be with their families.

* The survivors who gave God the glory.

* God's protection of our nation. He is holding us in His hands, and I know it breaks His heart that so many still won't turn to Him.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thankful Thursday-Classroom Edition

I am blessed to have a good little group of students this year, and I look forward to learning new things together with them. Here are some awesome things I am so thankful to have in my classroom.

These little things are awesome! The kids absolutely love using them to read, and I am hoping they will help improve fluency, too!

Clorox Wipes:
Twenty-two first graders- need I say more?

Expo Markers:
These are one of the most amazing classroom tools ever! My students use them several times daily for math, spelling, phonics, and writing practice, and it allows me to do some quick assessing of their knowledge. Sometimes we use the individual white boards, and sometimes we even use them directly on the tables!