A High and Low Holiday
Let’s start with the good things.
Christmas! Christmas was possibly the most chaotic Christmas I’ve experienced in my life.
While we resigned ourselves to the fact that we would not be fully moving into our new home until after Christmas, the days surrounding Christmas were filled with packing, moving, unpacking… and repeat. It’s not the way I would’ve preferred to spend our holiday season and while Ryan and I felt like we had serious FOMO thinking about the handful of favorite holiday activities and traditions we let fall to the wayside this year, Chase, Ryder and Rhett could not have cared less and reminded us for the one millionth time what is truly important. All of us. Together. Wherever that may be.
Christmas morning was absolutely wonderful and there’s something so deeply special about celebrating Christmas with children. The magic is amplified, their excitement is contagious and nostalgia comes at you in waves as you watch them tear through gifts, play in their pajamas for days on end and eat way too much sugar.
My mom and dad came in town on Christmas and arrived in time for Christmas dinner. You guys know how much my parents mean to me and my love and appreciation for them only grows each year. They truly made the move into our new home possible not only with their help with the boys but with the way they arrived ready to roll up their sleeves, assist with packing and even some heavy lifting. I think Ryan and I thanked them 100 times and I know that still isn’t enough.
On the topic of my parents, one of the lows our family experienced this holiday season relates to my dad’s prostate cancer. Let me begin this update by saying he is okay and I fully believe he will continue to be okay for years and years to come.
A few weeks ago, following yet another biopsy, we got news that the cancer cells in my dad’s prostate were growing and “active surveillance” was no longer the recommended course of action. Having talked to a handful of men who have remained in the “active surveillance” stage of prostate cancer for a long time (years!) with slow-growing prostate cancer, this is where we hoped my dad would remain but it looks like he will be undergoing surgery at the end of the month instead. His surgeon is wonderful and my dad and mom feel confident in his abilities. I do, too. I also know prostate cancer is something many, many men experience and overcome later in life and I have immense faith my dad will be okay.
My parents’ visit was also clouded over by news Ryan and I were keeping close to our hearts. I was pregnant again.
I was eight weeks pregnant and already had one good ultrasound at six weeks. With another ultrasound on the calendar during the week between Christmas and New Years we were hoping for good news but something deep within my gut told me things were not okay with our baby.
We have three incredible boys who light up our lives and are our absolute biggest blessings but despite this fact, it is impossible for me to take a pregnancy test and not think about the babies we have lost. I’ve now been pregnant seven times. When I found out I was pregnant again in November, I immediately thought about our miscarriages. Positive pregnancy tests in our house come along with a swirling mix of excitement, fear, hope and a lot of anxiety.
Given our history, my doctor was wonderful about scheduling early exams and early ultrasounds. Our six week ultrasound looked good. I was told to come back at 8 weeks but about a week before my appointment, I felt anxiety mix with instinct in my gut and knew something was not right. I did not experience any cramping or bleeding but all of my miscarriages have been missed miscarriages (no bleeding or outward signs of loss) so this did not do anything to reassure me. My lack of symptoms other than bloating had me arriving at my appointment expecting the worst.
I gave this pregnancy to God from the very beginning. My prayer as I awaited my ultrasound last week was for God to let this pregnancy be done early if it was not meant to be. Of course I also prayed for a healthy baby but I felt such an overwhelming sense that things were not okay. I found myself asking God for it all to be over if that was where things were headed because I’ve been through 2+ weeks of waiting for confirmation of a loss I knew was a loss in between my pregnancies with Rhett and Ryder and it was so heartbreakingly painful. I just wanted to know.
Despite confirmation of what I knew in my heart — we lost our baby — I wasn’t prepared for the sadness that followed. I thought I prepared myself but as the next few days passed, the sadness grew. I almost forgot how hard it is to see pregnant women and babies when you’re in the midst of miscarrying. I almost forgot how it feels like an excruciating sting when you see the first… and then the second… and then the third pregnancy announcement when you’re still bleeding. (Turns out New Years Day is a verrry popular day to announce a pregnancy.) I almost forgot about the pain of the “should bes” and “could bes” and “whys” that come in unexpected waves after a loss.
Part of me was going to keep this to myself. Truthfully, I am one million percent aware of the fact that I have three incredible children at home, something I know many in the throws of infertility and loss would give anything to have, and so please know I share this news with you guys not for sympathy but to be honest and transparent and share what is hurting my heart right now. Ryan and I have been through this before and we are okay.
I think one of the most painful aspects of this loss is the fact that this very, very likely may be the end of our journey to grow our family. My heart cannot take this anymore. We’ve lost more babies than we have at this point which only serves as the most poignant reminder to me how insanely lucky we are to have our boys. I’ve been hugging and kissing and loving on my babies with an even deeper sense of gratitude. My heart is feeling the most intense swirl of emotions right now.
We’ve had several days to make our way through our feelings and I’m very much looking forward to the distraction that comes along with normalcy, routines, school and blogging. I’m ready to talk with you guys again. I’m ready to feel my grief when it comes but lean into the joy I have around me.
I truly hope your 2023 is off to an incredible start. If your new year isn’t beginning in quite the way you hoped or imagined, I am with you. My heart is heavy with you and I’m hoping with each day that passes in 2023, a little more sunshine comes your way.
Thank you for making my blog a part of your life and for giving me a small place on the internet where I feel comfortable sharing way too many words about what is on my heart. You guys have always made me feel so incredibly loved and supported. When I think about our previous losses, I truly think of all of you and the stories you shared with me and the love you poured out to me when I think about how I made it through that heartache. Your comments and kindness make such a difference to me and I appreciate you so, so much.
I’m sending every single one of you best wishes for a wonderful 2023. I hope your new year is filled joy, immense peace, good news and so many blessings. Thank you for being a blessing to me.