Friday, December 21, 2007

The Oil of Joy for Mourning

To all who are struggling with missing a child this Christmas season, I commend to you our Lord Jesus Christ who is:

"To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

May He wrap you in His arms and help you to see the eternal future where our children await us. May He wash you clean of your sins and prepare you to join them in heaven: repent of your sins and trust His sacrificial death on the cross as payment for your sins. Then you will be right before God and look forward with joy to heaven.

I love you and pray His comfort for you!

Much love,

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Sore Toe

Have you ever felt like your emotions were a sore toe? Do you know how when you stub your toe really badly that your sore toe seems to find every corner and chair leg and lego in the house in the next week?

It has been a tough week, mainly through the innocent, though stupid, comments of others. Several times this week on meeting someone new, they asked about our family. When they heard we have six boys and one girl and that she was three, they "naturally" assumed, "You finally got that girl," like it was a relief that we didn't have to have any more children.

I have to admit that I couldn't stand it and said, "Actually we lost twins in the spring." Thankfully, folks said the right thing at that point, but it's still hard to have empty arms.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Someone's Missing

My very dh and I have noticed that when it is time for the Lord to give us another child, we always start feeling like someone is missing, especially when we look around to make sure all the children are with us.

Tonight dh came home from a business trip and we sat down as a complete family for the first time in three weeks. He and I both several times looked around, thinking everyone was not at the table yet - but, they were! We then looked at each other and I said, "Someone is missing."

This was really hard this summer, as my "child count" in my head was already messed up because of the twins, when our eldest left to spend the summer out of the country. All summer I felt like I wasn't entirely sure how many children I had, much less how many were supposed to be with me. Weird.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

November 14, 2007

Today was the due date of our twins.

How I wish they were here in my arms. As soon as I found out we were expecting twins, I had a picture in my mind of the two of them as newborns dressed in those little nightgowns lying on my bed next to the bedrail, curled together like spoons. My hand was across their chests and I could feel them breathing.

I know that will never happen, but I do know that I will see them again. I am so thankful that our Father sent Jesus Christ His Son to die for our sins. I am so thankful that I will one day be in heaven with my heavenly Father. And I am incredibly grateful that I will be together with my loved ones once again - the father who died when I was 14 and the little babies who preceeded me when I was 43.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Approaching Due Date

I had a meltdown today when I realized I would have been 37 weeks this weekend with the twins - I would have had my cerclage removed and been anticipating their birth. I cried and prayed and prayed and cried. How badly I want to kiss their little necks, to breathe in their sweet smell. How beautiful heaven grows in our eyes as we have more and more treasure there.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Nope, Still Here

Just wanted to let you dear ones know that I haven't fallen off the planet or abandoned my blog, I've just been very, very busy. As I approach the twins' due date, I've got some things I want to post about grieving and about seeking/avoiding pregnancy after miscarriage. If any of you have any thoughts on those topics, I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

At the Beach Sad and Happy

We're at the beach for our annual week with Hal's family. It seems a little sad because I'd been thinking I'd be wearing my maternity suit and bedresting on the beach (seriously, it's amazing what you can do when you are committed to both being with your family and taking care of the babes within). Instead I'm wearing my regular suit and feeling fat instead of fruitful.

I'm also happy, though, because it has now been two weeks since I've had any spotting! Hip hip hooray!

I'll let you all know what happens...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Jesse Lives With Jesus

My dear friend, Valerie Creech has been writing about her miscarriage story on her blog Together at Home. I encourage you to read it. Just for a taste, here's how she titled her story:

The title Jesse Lives with Jesus comes from the mouth of my 3 year old. Marcy, Miriam and I were riding in the van recently. We had just pulled out on to the road from our house when Miriam began to speak of Jesse.

She asked me, "Mommy, does Jesse live with Jesus?"

"Yes, Miriam. Jesse lives with Jesus."

"Is Jesus taking care of Jesse?"

"Yes, baby. Jesus is taking care of Jesse."

Thank you Miriam for the pleasant and comforting reminder... "Jesse lives with Jesus." One day, I will see my precious babies. 2 Samuel

Read the rest of it here: Part 2 Part 3

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Real Encouragement

Tonight in our family devotions, my husband read us the July 19th Morning entry (yes, I know it's the 18th, but we are reading in conjunction with our son who is in Asia this summer and the evening of the 18th is the morning of the 19th for him) of Spurgeon's Morning and Evening. It ministered to me so much that I wanted to share it with you:

“The Lord our God hath shewed us his glory.”
Deuteronomy 5:24
God’s great design in all his works is the manifestation of his own glory. Any aim less than this were unworthy of himself. But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are? Man’s eye is not single, he has ever a side glance towards his own honour, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord. It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted; and this is the reason why he bringeth his people ofttimes into straits and difficulties, that, being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when he comes forth to work their deliverance. He whose life is one even and smooth path, will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence, but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God. They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know but little of the God of tempests; but they who “do business in great waters,” these see his “wonders in the deep.” Among the huge Atlantic-waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man. Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: it is this which has given you your experience of God’s greatness and lovingkindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as he did his servant Moses, that you might behold his glory as it passed by. Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance which continued prosperity might have involved, but that in the great fight of affliction, you have been capacitated for the outshinings of his glory in his wonderful dealings with you.
Charles Spurgeon
Morning and Evening
Morning, July 19th

Monday, July 9, 2007


I called this blog "Hope in Miscarriage" because nearly everything I saw on the net seemed so sad and hopeless, so many stories seemed so angry and bitter. I needed a light! A path to get through this! Hope!

As the Lord walked with me through this valley of death, I began to see what the Psalmist was talking about:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
And I realized what I was seeing in so many places on the net was the despair of grief for those who truly had no hope. I don't know how they live through it. I don't think I'm strong enough to endure these trials without the hope of heaven and the fellowship of Christ.

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus says the Lord!”


Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!
O how sweet to trust in Jesus,J
ust to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!


Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.


I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

Dear friends, don't try to walk this path alone. It is beyond our ability. Our Father in heaven laid His own Son, innocent and holy, in a grave in the prime of life. He knows our pain. We can not be good enough to deserve His favor or forgiveness. We break His Law all the time. Have you taken a look at the Ten Commandments recently? There is not one of us that has not envied someone or dishonored our parents or taken the Lord's name in vain. We are all guilty - condemned, but His love has found a way - the death of His own Son. Surely those of us reading this blog understand to some small degree the sacrifice of love God gave when He directed His wrath to His Son Jesus Christ instead of us. He calls us to repent and believe. There is nothing better you can do in this trial - in all of life - then to put your faith in Him who will never forsake you!
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!
Let me tell you this is true! I have proved Him again and again. He will never leave you or forsake you!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Is there a reason to wait on a D&C?

Around here, the typical scenario is to recommend an immediate D&C if ultrasound shows no heartbeat. (Thank you, Dr. Marzbani for not doing that!). I am very concerned about women rushing to D&C, though, because it leaves no room for errors in ultrasound interpretion, weird uterine structure that hides the baby, a late conception and other reasons an inevitable miscarriage can be misdiagnosed even by a very good doctor.

In searching for more information about that, I found a great site that you ought to visit before you schedule a D&C: The Misdiagnosed Miscarriage Site That way, if you do have a miscarriage, you won't have any regrets. There is a very good forum with lots of helpful information about the different options.

Friday, July 6, 2007

A Speck of Light - Is it the end of the tunnel??

Well, dear patient friends, I have been without my closest companion - a sanitary pad for 2 days now! I can hardly believe it - it's been 11 weeks. I am sort of glad I didn't know it would take this long in the beginning because I think I would have despaired. The last several weeks were not heavy, just very light, but still. I am thoroughly sick of dealing with it. I've stopped for a few days several times during the course of this. Please let this be the last!

I really think I've just done too much, but it's very hard not to when things go on this long - life has to continue! Of course, it may have been that I was expecting twins and had more placental site to heal.

Regardless, I hope you dear ones who are still going through this will be brought to rapid healing!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Danger of Bitterness

I think the loss of a child hurts so much that it is way too easy to let our emotions lash out like a wounded animal. I know it is so easy to be jealous and resentful when others become pregnant or have such problem-free pregnancies. This is so understandable in the weakness of our humanity, but it is a wrong direction we need to beware of - it will only make our situation worse. Instead, we should listen to the Word:

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

It shakes me up to realize that this behavior grieves the Holy Spirit. I know that He is interceding for me "with groanings too deep for words." I am thankful for that, I do not need to be grieving Him.

There's more I want to write about this - I feel like this is a huge trap set for us - but there's no time today.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Memorial for Our Twins

In Memory of
Peter Courage and Andrew Comfort Young
Our Beloved Twins, Safe in the Arms of Jesus

Friday, June 22, 2007

Raising Your Hemoglobin After Blood Loss

Why did I give this post such a long title? Because when I was looking for information, those were the search terms I used and came up empty. All the medical sites assume that if you lose a lot of blood you have a transfusion. I believe a lot of women lose a lot of blood during miscarriages and the sometimes prolonged bleeding afterwards and they need help recovering!

I wrote about this at the beginning of my recovery process, but I wanted to give you all an update. For one thing, I'm still bleeding, two months later. It seems that my bleeding trails off to mucous, stops entirely for a few days then starts back. It's pretty frustrating, but I believe it's just because I'm overdoing it on a regular basis. I have no clue how to stop doing too much, though, homeschooling seven children and helping my husband in the midst of a business start up! It's just a busy, busy life.

The good news is that my hemoglobin seems to be recovering nicely. A week or two after the miscarriage and hemorrhage, it had recovered to 9.1. About 3 and 1/2 weeks later, it was up to 10.6 even after a weekend with several severe bleeds. I think it is because of my three pronged approach: iron (liquid is supposed to be best), and vitamin C and liquid chlorophyll with every dose of iron. I took iron three times a day at first.

I am feeling much better and my friends say my color is coming back!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Flowering Comfort

Yesterday, I went to Lowe's and bought flowers to plant around the flat stone where the twins are buried. I had a happy thought and got a flat cart and arranged the flowers on it while I shopped - this was great and really helped me to figure out what worked and what didn't. I was worried about the money, as you know, we're in a business start-up with no money out yet, but the Lord took care of that, too. When I got up to the front, the cashier told me that the petunias had been marked down to 10 cents! I got two more of a different variety and spent less than $18 for everything!

Here's what I planted: a yellow Flying Saucers coreopsis, a variegated English ivy with yellow borders, and two Blue Carpet speedwells along the back - they are all perennials. On the left and around counterclockwise are two purple calibrachoa (the purple flowers have yellow centers), two purple "Ride the Wave" trailing petunias, then two purple Ramblin' trailing petunias. It looks wonderful, very old-fashioned.

I felt like it was important to leave it looking like I would like to remember it, since we are seldom down here. When we come back to plant the trees, I'll have to change out the flowers to some that can tolerate shade, but these are just perfect for now.

Burying Miscarried Babies

I promised myself that this blog would share all the things I couldn't find information about online, even though sometimes it's really hard. This is one of those times. I really want to be open about what I can so that others will have a path to follow.

The night I passed the babies, we wrapped the placentas and all in some pretty fabric out of my sewing basket, then placed them in ziplock bags in the freezer. We knew there was no way I would be able to travel for some time after my hemorrhage, so this is the only thing we could think of to do. In retrospect, I would place the fabric-wrapped bundles in a small bag, wrap them in more fabric, and put in another bag.

For the burial, we placed them just like that in a lovely soft blanket inside a waterproof safe about 12" by 12" by 5" that I bought at Wal-mart. I did that so that if the land were ever sold and we needed to move the site, the box could easily be moved.

In case it were found many years later by our descendents, or by anyone else, Hal wrote a letter to place inside it, telling the circumstances and who we were and pointing the reader to the Lord.

Our relatives questioned what were the legalities of the situation. Here's the deal: in most states, a miscarriage before 20 weeks does not receieve a birth certificate or a stillborn or death certificate, so is not considered human remains (I know - what do they think they are??). The good thing is, this means you do not have to go through a funeral home or bury your miscarried child in a cemetary, but are free to bury them on your own property.

After 20 weeks (or a week or so either way, depending on the state) then health regulations come into play. I understand though, that some funeral homes may donate their services in such cases.

Regardless of the circumstances, I encourage you to memorialize your little ones in some way. If you had a natural miscarriage at home, then find a special place to bury them. If you had a D&C and the hospital wouldn't release the remains, or you didn't even know to ask, do remember that our Father in heaven knows exactly where every atom belonging to every person is and will bring forth His people with new bodies that are not subject to corruption! If you don't have anything to bury, you can still plant a tree, or a flowering shrub or a little garden to remember them by. Create something beautiful as a reflection of your faith in the resurrection to come when we will meet our loved ones in the air!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Tearful Farewell, but Not Forever!

Everything worked out and today we buried our little one's remains in one of our favorite spots on earth. When Hal and I were first married, we expected him to be sent to an active duty station as soon as he was commissioned. We had no idea a budget crunch would derail our plans, but I'm so glad they did. He was notified that he would not be called up and sent to training until over three months after his commissioning. Where would we go? What would we do? Thankfully, Hal's mother offered to let us come stay at their family's lake house. Now that sounds pretty grand, and it is, in my opinion, but probably not in most folks! It's an ancient single wide trailer with a big room that is all windows added on the front facing the lake. Very basic accomodations, until you look up. The view is incredible - As you look out the window, you see copses of sweet gum trees down on the edge of the water, the dear hammock just feet from the lapping waters on the left, a comfortable swing aged to that lovely old wood color in the center, and a dock with a single simple bench on the right. You can hear wild turkeys, see a hummingbird zip by, watch the egrets and herons daintily fishing, and see the comical little ducks following their parents in search of bugs and fish. The glassy water just calms your soul, as you look up at the beautiful green forests and islands and just wonderful peace and God's creation.

Now don't be mistaken, from the spot where we laid the twins, to the left you see our decrepit old trailer, nearly hauled away as scrap many times in the past few years. To the right you see the old brush pile, with a little trash mixed in for good measure - like a twenty year old rubber raft rotting under the branches. But look straight ahead and see soul-refreshing peace. I think this time in our lives is a lot like that: looking straight ahead, we see our dear understanding Lord and the hope of heaven, but when our minds are distracted from Him, we see all the ugliness of living in this fallen world - the days and years without our dear ones, the pain, the hurt from others, the whole crashing burden. Let us seek Him who says, "Come unto me and I will give you rest." Let us keep our eyes on Him!

Today, with a lot of tears and trust, we laid what our twins left behind in the earth, reminding each other again and again that one day we will all meet again. Hal gathered the children around and read the story of David's hope when his baby son died and then the hope of all believers in the return of the Lord and the resurrection of our bodies. This was so hard for my dear husband - he had a difficult time talking through his tears. We prayed and rested in the assurance of the reunion to come. Thank you, heavenly Father, that this life is not the end, but only the beginning and that the sorrows of this present age are not worthy to be compared to the joy to come.

We placed a stone over the spot that Hal's mother gave us. Many, many years ago, at the old church that both our families historically were involved with in the mountains, the graves were marked with uncut stones - perhaps there was no stone mason in the community. A few years ago, the church decided to replace these with marked stones so those graves could never be lost to memory. Hal's mom brought several of the old unmarked stones back home and she gave us one to mark the spot. I was so grateful!

Later in the day, I went into town and bought some lovely flowers to plant there until we could get back to plant the trees. I didn't want to plant the trees in such a dry summer for fear they wouldn't make it. We'll come back later in the year to do that. I'll try to post a picture when we get home so you can see what we did. I'll also plan to post more practical details for those of you dear ladies who are facing this, too.

Love you all!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Surviving a Squall

Some time when you are grieving, you are bound to have a squall - yes, I mean a time of weeping, but more than that, I mean a storm that passes over and threatens to upset your boat. I had a storm pass over (through) me today and I'm still reeling a bit. At the last minute it worked out that we needed to travel out of state both tomorrow and Sunday, so we thought, why don't we take the time in between and take some time to relax with our children and since we'd be in the right area, to finally bury our little ones' remains.

This is the only land in either of our families likely to stay in the family and it's a precious place to us - where we spent the first three months of our marriage. However, when my husband called the close relative who had agreed to let us bury the little ones there, this person didn't remember talking about it. Now, I don't know how this could be since I asked them in person less than 48 hours after we found out that the second baby had gone to be with the Lord. Well, I could tell something was wrong from what Hal was saying and pretty soon, he passed me a note that said, "They don't remember the conversation." I just lost it. I went upstairs and wept and wept. I felt like there was no safe place on this earth to leave my dear ones' bodies. I just couldn't handle it. I finally just had to leave the house and go on to a meeting I had tonight - to suck it up and not think about it because I felt like I was losing it.

That's a storm. It can be anything really that can bring it on - something that makes you remember what could have been - someone's unkind words - a song - a thought - anything that catches you emotionally raw. It's very overwhelming when the winds are blowing hard and the waves are swamping your ship. When you wonder if you'll come back up. When you just want to die and be done with it. BUT, our anchors hold. Cling to the Lord! Shelter yourself in His wings. Fall into His arms. He knows the loss of a beloved child. He has wept. "He is the master of the waves... billows His will obey." If you are trusting Him, you will not be overcome!

This is the point where I just cried out, "Oh help me, dear Father. Oh help me!" And He did. I remembered that we grieve as those who have hope. Our children will not be left in the ground - they are in His arms! The resurrection morning will find them no matter where they are and I will meet them in the air if we haven't met in heaven before!

I do need you to pray for me, dear sisters and brothers. Hal and our family worked it out and we are going down there to bury our little ones. I don't know how I'm going to hold up emotionally in dealing with the burial and in visiting, especially after this squall. Please hold me up in prayer. I love you all!

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Universal Need

I had the opportunity this weekend to talk to several dear friends who have experienced miscarriage - one has suffered six miscarriages, one lost a child at 16 weeks, all sorts of experiences. There were several common threads among these Christian ladies: All were tremendously comforted by the hope of heaven - they knew they would see their babies again. All were still moved by thinking about it, even if it happened years ago, tears filled their eyes as they talked about it. All were hurt by those who felt they should just get over it.

I think that grieving alone is extraordinarily hard. Why do we have visitation the night before the funeral when a loved one died? Of course, it is ostensibly an opportunity for everyone else to say goodbye, but I really think the family benefits by knowing others are grieving with them and sorrowing and praying for them. I remember when my mother in law was widowed. She said that she wished it was still the fashion to go into mourning clothes, to wear black for a year. She craved some public statement that she was grieving; some immediate identification that she was hurting. I understand now.

Have you ever just told someone you thought would be interested that you had a miscarriage and had them look at you like "Oh no! Why are you telling me this?" It really, really hurts. It is sad that miscarriage comes with no predetermined cultural rituals that declare our pain. Instead, it is up to those of us who've been through it to support and sorrow with our friends when they suffer. I wish I hadn't had to go through this to understand it, but let us comfort others; let our pain be blessed by the Lord to transform us; to make us instruments of His grace!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Historical Twins Miscarriage

I stumbled upon the Google Books excerpt of A.E. MacRobert's book, Mary Queen of Scots and the Casket Letters which mentions the twin miscarriage that Mary (not my favorite historical figure) had while held in the castle of Lochleven. When I read his assessment of the historical evidence that this was a miscarriage of twins, I am reminded of a story told in one of the wonderful books by James Herriot. I believe it was in All Creatures Great and Small.

James Herriot was in veterinary school in Edinburgh and he had just attended his first great lecture - on the anatomy of the horse. He walked out of the lecture hall feeling a veritable expert, an insider, one with knowledge. He saw a carthorse standing on the street and came up to examine this creature as one with special knowledge. The horse grabbed him by the back of his collar and suspended him from his mouth until the driver appeared. The coalman reacted in fury, shouting that he shouldn't mess with things he knew nothing about.

Mr. MacRobert describes the scene on 24 July 1567, as related by Nau: Lindsay and Ruthven enter the queen's chamber, where she is lying prostrate from her troubles and a "great flux caused by the miscarriage of twins." MacRobert describes an envoy's letter dated a week before describing her as 7 weeks pregnant. He speculates on the date of conception as being before or after her marriage to Bothwell on May 15 - all historically debateable matters. What gets me is this paragraph on page 62:

A miscarriage of twins resulting from a pregnancy following her marriage on 15 May could not have been apparent to her attendants. Even if she had conceived as early as her abduction on 24 April it is highly unlikely that a twin miscarriage could have been recognised in the "great flux" reported by Nau. Perhaps an attendant made a mistake over the twins or Mary had been pregnant before her abduction.

By all evidence, she was at least 8 weeks pregnant and could have been as much as 12 weeks pregnant legitimately. Having just lost twins who died at 6 weeks and 10 weeks, to say that twins were "highly unlikely" to be recognized is ridiculous. In my opinion, especially if they were fraternal, it is highly unlikely they would not be recognized. With all due respect for your scholarship in a convoluted period peopled by unsavory characters, Mr. MacRobert, "Dinna meddle wi' things ye ken nuthin' aboot!"

Miscarriage Bracelet

I am wearing the lovely bracelet that Holly gave me today and I thought I'd better give you a link in case you might want one or want to give someone one. Here's the website of the lady who made it: The Little Footprints. She also has a ebay store and you might be able to find one at a great price. Mine has two precious feet to represent the twins, the birthstones for their conception month and due date month, and seven pearls to represent my seven living children. Honestly, I'll try to get a picture up here soon!

Monday, June 4, 2007

A Happy Providence

Several weeks ago I spent some time searching for a memory box to keep my few memories of the twins in. I remembered that Hal's cousin had shown me the memory box someone had given her when her little girl died shortly after birth. When my sister-in-law lost her eldest son to stillbirth, I remembered how precious that box was to Caren (Did I spell your name right?) and went looking for a memory box for Hal's sister. I found a Tuesday Morning and some lovely hat boxes. There was a pretty, small yellow one and a bigger one that had Victorian cherubs, decorations, and a ribbon banner that said, "How bright things are here!" on a lovely blue box. I originally bought the smaller one because I was afraid her things would seem lost in the big one, but when I went out to the car, the saying written on the blue box kept ringing in my heart. I realized that particular box pointed to heaven. I had to go back in and get it! I'm so glad I did because that memory box has been precious to our sister.

When I lost the twins, I wanted a beautiful box, too, but I couldn't find one anywhere. I searched on memory boxes and found a lovely charity, Memory Box Artist Program. They are a group of artists that make handmade memory boxes to send to hospitals for parents suffering the loss of an infant. I paged through the site, and saw so many lovely boxes. I thought about how much I'd love to have a simple blue one with lovely flowers - no angels, no teddies, just memories. I wrote one of the volunteers, asking is she knew of anyone who sold or gave boxes to parents who suffered an earlier loss at home. The sweet lady who I emailed said that though it wasn't strictly in their mission, that they'd be glad to make me a box. I didn't tell her what I wanted because I felt like they were doing me a special favor and I didn't want to be presumptive. A couple of weeks later, I received the most gorgeous pastel blue box with a garland of painted flowers on the top that says, "Precious Memories," and it was even lined with lovely padded cloth. It was made by Mary Bobrowski - a wonderful artist. It was the very box I had dreamed of! Isn't God good? I don't know why He choose to give me this when so many of my dear sisters haven't had anyone do something like this for them. I do know I was at a very low ebb in my life and not just the loss of the babies - I believe our Father was showing me that I was safe in His arms, not abandoned, not forsaken.

If you have the opportunity to help this charity or others like it (I just found Joshua's Boxes in the UK) please do - they are doing a worthy thing! If this is something you would like to have, or to give to someone, a lovely box can be made out of a hatbox as well, and I trust the Lord will lead you to just the right one, too. :-)

Safely Met!

Number One Son has been met by my brother in Asia!

He tells us he had a bit of excitement: His plane was 45 minutes late leaving home and he only had a 45 minute layover. He had to run to make the next segment!

I'm wondering what the Lord had in mind this morning. I felt an urgent need to pray for him after his plane landed - he was probably clearing customs. After some time, the need to pray went away and moments later the phone rang - he was there!

I am beginning to realize just how much we need to flee to the Lord in prayer when we have anxiety. He is able to give us the peace that passes all understanding in the midst of all sorts of turmoil. For those of us grieving, how important it is, that we seek solace in Him!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Update on Us

Number One Son is enroute to Asia! Please pray for him! He has to make it through a massively large and confusing airport in a little more than an hour to make his connection and his flight is running late!

Susannah is healing, but her cut still looks very angry. The stitches are just about to the point of absorbing. Please pray she will not pick at it.

My bleeding seems to be reducing and turning more mucousy. I'm so ready to be done with the physical part of this.

I have a happy providence to share with you tomorrow!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

This Isn't How I Planned...

Monique Stam, who I met through MOMYS (mothers of many young siblings), sent me this poem after the loss of our twins. It really blessed me.

My eyes long to see you
Now you behold Him.
My arms ache for you
Now you know perfect love.
My ears yearn for your voice
Now you sing His praises.
I desire to feed you
Now you will never know hunger.
I anticipated the pitter-patter of your feet
Now you play at His pierced ones.
I dreamed of years of love and laughter
Now you will never know pain.
I longed to watch you grow and develop
Now you are perfect.
This isn't how I planned
But I know He loves you.

By Monique Stam (Used by permission)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Prayer for Us

Well, yesterday was one of those days! Just before breakfast, my beautiful little 2yo girl tripped over her own feet and whacked her face on a wooden cradle. The poor thing cut her face open on it! We had to take her to Duke Children's Hospital to be stitched by a surgeon and just as I'm getting out of the jeep to carry her in, whoosh! I had another big bleed and passed a big clot with possible membranes. What a circus! I thought I'd lose my mind getting cleaned up fast enough to get to her and her Daddy. I had to wash the spot out of my skirt in the sink and totter back to them. I felt faint for about an hour, but thankfully held together.

They stitched the poor dear up (with all the residents and nurses watching through the observation window - she won everyone's heart) and I prayed my bleeding would stop and she wouldn't scar. Arrrggghh. Got to tell you that as she's coming out of the anesthesia, her daddy asked, "Do you want a popsicle, Sweetheart?" She answered, "I need chocolate." That's my girl!

The bleeding did stop - and this morning I had none at all - not even any mucus. This really worried my because I was afraid I had a clot on my cervix and might be bleeding without seeing it. I talked the situation over with two midwives who are friends of mine and decided to go to see my doctor for an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed an empty uterus, the HPT was completely negative this morning, and the bleeding, though starting again, is scant. Please may we be done with this? BTW, my hemoglobin was up to 10.9! A wonder after all the blood I've lost. My blood loss recovery plan must be working!

In the midst of all this, our seventeen-year-old son, will be leaving this Sunday to spend three months in an Asian country, working with my brother. This will be a *very* challenging time for him -- he speaks a little of the difficult language, but he will be living with our sister-in-law's father, who speaks no English at all. He will be making his way around the largest city in the world by himself and working very long hours with my very demanding brother. There are no known believers in the situation, limited if any fellowship with the expatriate church, and not even Christian websites, because they are blocked there.

In other words, he will be simply living faithfully among them. What an opportunity to impact the world!

This Wednesday is our day to fast and pray for John, as well as the many trials we have been undergoing in business, ministry, health and even our house and we would appreciate any of you who feel led pray for him and us as he starts this great venture. Thanks for all your friendship!

In Christ,

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Love of the Brethren

I had a really hard time this weekend. I was bleeding again and it was behaving strangely, I was pretty exhausted, and we had to endure a huge power struggle in a nonprofit board of directors my husband and I serve on - and we lost. I was absolutely ragged. Just at the end of the day, a dear sweet MOMYS (mother of many young siblings) came up to me and gave me a gift: a beautiful memorial bracelet for my twins. It has two sets of precious feet for the twins, seven pearls for my living children and the birthstones of the twins' month of conception and due date. This is so dear to me!!!!! I have so wanted something to remember them by - but we just can't afford it right now. And to have it given to me made it extra special. God was so good to bring me that encouragement just at that time. Thank you, sweet Savior, and thank you, Holly!

I'll try to post a picture of it soon.

Miscarriage of Twins Resources

I knew that miscarriage is more common in twin and higher multiple pregnancies, so I could not understand why there was so little information on the internet about it. That's why I started this blog. I recently found a site that helped me understand a little why I felt like I was grieving a little bit differently than my friends who had lost single babies. Note: I didn't say I was grieving more than they, just that I was having some issues they weren't. I realized I was grieving not just one baby, but two and not just two babies but the whole twin experience - their own relationship to each other and the relationship of twins to our whole family and even the rest of the world. The Center for Loss in Multiple Birth seemed to get it.

The Sorrowing Secret Sisterhood

I had the opportunity to speak to families three times this weekend at the North Carolina homeschool conference and each time, for one reason or another, we mentioned our recent miscarriage of twins. It was amazing how many people spoke to us afterwards of their grief and losses. If this is as common as it seems, why in the world are Christian ladies not talking about it and helping the hurting women around them? Let's not let our own vulnerability keep us from comforting others in the way we've been comforted!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Need Your Prayers

Well, I had another bleeding episode this morning, but was able to get it under control, so I came on to the conference. I would greatly appreciate your prayers that this bleeding would stop and that I would be kept safe while here. I have some things I really want to say in our workshops and I just don't want to miss them!

Love you all,

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Live Blogging the NC Homeschool Conference

I just wanted to let those of you who have been wanting to know me better than I'll be live blogging at the NCHE conference this weekend: NCHE Conference Blog

Immediate Tips for When There's No Heartbeat

If this is your first ultrasound, your dates may be off. Everything may be fine, but you need to do another one later to make sure. If you see a heartbeat then, rejoice! If the news is bad again:

If you have already seen a heartbeat and now there is not one, or if your second ultrasound confirmed an early loss, I am so sorry!!! I wish I could put my arms around you and pray for the Lord to comfort you. Thinking carefully about what to do next can really make a difference in how you recover.

Don't feel like you have to be in a rush to make a decision. Many women are rushed into D&C and have second thoughts afterward. There is no hurry at all unless you are hemorrhaging. Many women have waited weeks with no consequences.

If seeing the baby and burying it is important to you (and many, many women don't realize how important it is to them until it's too late because they were too numb to make decisions and were rushed), then you may want to opt for waiting for a natural miscarriage. At the very least, you should make it very clear to your doctor and the hospital that you want the remains if you have a D&C. Some are helpful with this, many are not. Contrary to what some hospitals say, you need no special permission to take the remains of a baby that died before 20 weeks (in most states, this may vary a week or two) or to bury it. Please don't miss this just because you think it will be gross - it really isn't and helps many women.

If you opt for a natural miscarriage at home, you may benefit from talking to and consulting a midwife. The midwife in my area was far, far more helpful, informative and resourceful than my very good OB. Also, if you've consulted a midwife you'll have someone to call if you have questions or difficulties whose automatic answer is not going to be "go to the hospital."

If you don't want to wait at home, or to have a D&C, there are meds the doctor can give you or herbs the midwife can, to induce your body to go ahead and labor, either at home or at the hospital.

If you are a friend or a relative of someone in this position, particularly if they are waiting for an ultrasound to confirm a loss, it is hard to support her, because I'm certain she doesn't want to talk about miscarriage right now. However, if she goes into the doctor without thinking over her options, she may get railroaded and have a harder time emotionally recovering. Pray you'll have the wisdom to know how to talk to her. Maybe even to just say, "I really recommend you don't make any decisions there at the doctor's office. Many women regret the decisions they make in a hurry like that."

I hope that helps some :-(

Will It Ever Be Over?

I think the short answer is "Yes, you will get to the point that you can function again and you will find joy in life again. Time and God's mercy will heal you." AND "No, you will never be the same. You will never forget - and you don't want to." I know these are both true, because my father tragically died when I was fourteen and I have lived grief, recovered joy, and have never forgotten - and don't want to. His memory is precious to me. I sometimes feel sad, but I don't ever feel overwhelmed. I know our present grief will be comforted as well.

My current issue is when will it be over physically??? I know no one can tell me that, but even after the Big Fat Negative, yesterday when I was getting my son a Chinese visa, I passed a little more tissue and started bleeding some more. Enough already!

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Still Bleeding Blues

Just when I think that maybe, possibly the physical part of this is done, something else happens. I thought we were done with the bleeding last Monday but it started spotting again on Saturday. I think I'm just overdoing it, but for crying out loud, I've just got too much to do to not to keep moving some! I'm speaking three times at the NCHE Conference this weekend, my eldest is leaving for a summer in China in a couple of weeks, the a/c has just died at our house ($1000 for a new compressor, $4000 to replace the 20+ year old, constantly breaking unit, neither of which we have available), and if I don't at least supervise, nothing much gets done by the children. Arrrrgggghhhh.

All that to say, that the most comprehensive explanation of the recovery after a miscarriage I have read is at Facts About Miscarriage It's a little weak on natural miscarriage, there's more info about D&C, but there's more information there than I've seen anywhere else. It's very comforting to read the wide range of experiences that other women have had and to have an idea of what's normal and what needs follow-up.

I'd really appreciate your prayers this week, as I have no idea how I'm going to manage at conference - it makes my heart beat out of my chest to walk up the stairs =:-O

Love you all!

Friday, May 18, 2007

HCG and HPT - When a Big Fat Negative is a Good Thing

We are a family that welcomes whatever children the Lord gives us, so for us, getting a BFP on an HPT was always a great thing. (Wondering what that is? It's a Big Fat Positive on an Home Pregnancy Test) I just yesterday had the weird experience of being very excited to get a BFN (Big Fat Negative). What's up?

HCG or human chorionic gonadotropin is the hormone that it released into your body when you first get pregnant. That's the hormone that HPT tests respond to in your urine. When you have a miscarriage, it can take up to 7 weeks or more for the HCG to be completely out of your system. Until it is, your regular fertility cycle won't work. Lingering HCG can be a sign of a molar pregnancy, retained fragments from the pregnancy, another baby in there, or just your body taking a long time to break the hormone down. It was the retained fragments part that concerned me.

I had a miscarriage of twins a few weeks ago with a hemorrhage. A week later I visited my OB's office for a check up and she found some tissue in my cervix. She and I were both extremely concerned that I could have retained tissue and could have another bleed when it let go. That would have been extremely dangerous since my hemoglobin was very low from the hemorrhage. I didn't want to go back for HCG testing because money is extremely tight right now. I did have a stock of very sensitive HPTs, though, so I decided to check every week until I got a negative. [Update after checking the test later that day.] This week the test had only a very, very faint positive line. Maybe we're almost to the end of the physical part. That'll warrant a Happy Dance!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

What to Say About Miscarriage

If you have a friend who is suffering or has suffered a miscarriage, you have a wonderful opportunity to minister to them! What can you say or do, though in such a painful situation? Here are my suggestions:

The best thing to say is: "How are you doing?" and then really listen. This will mean so much to her! You can ask this as many times as you see her for as long as you remember - she'll remember longer.

Some other great things to say:

"I'd like to bring you a meal. Would Thursday be good or is there another day that would help you more?"

"I'm so sad about the baby. I feel so sad not to get to know my grandchild (or niece or friend's child) yet." It helps so, so much to know others love your child, too.

"Can I give you a hand with the laundry? I'd love to come to your house to do it or just pick it up, either way!"

"I'm going to Wal-Mart, can I pick you up anything?"

"I'm going to the grocery store. Can I bring you some milk or other groceries? Do you have a list of what you need?"

"I've been thinking about you and praying for you."

"I'm praying for your whole family."

"I'm so sorry. I will be praying for you." Don't say I'm sorry again and again, though, because then she feels compelled to say, "It's okay," but it's not.

"Can I give your children a ride to..." Sometimes she just doesn't want to go out in public, maybe emotions are too near the surface. Sometimes she isn't physically able to go out in public.

"I had a miscarriage and I still think about my baby. I still cry sometimes, too." She may especially want to talk to someone likely to understand.

Some great things to do:

Send an email. It will likely be printed out and saved.

Send a card. These will be treasured as a physical connection to her baby.

Send flowers or a plant. Physical reminders of your love and her baby are such a blessing.

Make a meal.

Wash a load of laundry or cut the grass. When you are grieving, it is hard to get the basics of life taken care of - it's hard to care.

Buy or make her a memory box to put her things in. When my sister-in-law lost her firstborn son to stillbirth, the Lord enabled me to find her a beautiful blue victorian-looking box with cherubs and script saying, "How bright things are here..." She placed her little one's blankets and footprints and everything else she could in it and it is one of her most treasured belongings. Wish I could find one for myself now!

If she will be able to have a burial, buy or make her a white metal box to put the remains in.

Give her a hug whenever you see her.

Pray for her and her whole family whenever you remember.

Do something special for her and pray for her when her due date nears - that can be a very difficult time.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What Not to Say About Miscarriage

Miscarriage is called the silent grief because it is just not talked about in the same way other losses to death are. It's sad because families who lose children to miscarriage are grieving the loss of their child the same way someone who loses a child that is older does. In many ways, the grief is hard to bear because often the parents never get to see their child and must wonder for the rest of their lives what that little one looked like and what kind of personality they had and even what gender they were in many cases. There is also so little to remember them by - there are usually no pictures, few memories, not much to hang onto for a lifetime.

Friends and family can be a huge blessing during this time or they can be a great challenge. I know before I had a miscarriage I didn't know what to say to people. Here are some bloopers that sweet, well-meaning people say that make things much harder for the family:

"Aren't you glad you aren't big and pregnant right now? - It's so hot!" Well, no, she's not glad. She'd cheerfully crawl across the Sahara to be carrying her baby again.

"It's for the best. There must have been something wrong with it." Really, she doesn't care. She'd much rather be holding her baby with some birth defect, than be left with empty arms.

"You have other children." Anyone who has other children knows that each child is incredibly special and unique and no one can take their place - and no one can take the place of the lost baby.

"You can always have another baby." She really doesn't know if she can. Only God can open and close the womb and she may not get pregnant again and she knows it.

"You couldn't afford a baby right now anyway." Maybe it doesn't seem so, but she'd sell everything she owned to be pregnant again.

"At least you have another baby! (to a mother expecting twins)" She is grieving not only a child (which is plenty!), but the loss of the relationship between the two and the whole special experience of twins.

"I'm so glad that's over!" You may be happy her physical miscarriage is over - you were probably worried about her, but realize it's not over for her and in many ways, it will never be over - she has lost a child.

"Maybe this is God's way of telling you to stop having children." This is a terrible thing to say. This is not the way the Lord deals with His people. He does not rebuke them for trusting Him. His Word says that children are a gift from Him, a reward - he's not going to punish someone for welcoming His gifts!

"It's the Lord's will." This is absolutely true, but if she's an unbeliever, this may feed her anger at God and make it harder for her to flee to Him when she really needs to. If she is a believer, she knows this already and it can feel like you are rebuking her for grieving, though I know you don't mean to.

"Don't worry, you'll forget all about it." Nope and she doesn't want to.

"You ought to be grateful for the children you have." She is! That's why she is grieving this one so much!

"I know just how you feel." This one doesn't bother me, but many women don't like it because they know everyone grieves differently.

"_______" Lots of folks don't say anything because they are afraid of saying the wrong thing. This makes a mother feel like no one recognizes her loss and she feels very alone.

Wondering if it's okay to say anything? It is so important to say something! Tomorrow we'll talk about what TO SAY :-)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lessons Learned - Things I'd Do Differently

Writing the story of my miscarriage made me think of a whole host of things I'd do differently, or lessons I'd learned. I thought it might help someone else avoid some mistakes:

Don't go out of town or let your dear husband go out of town if you are waiting on a miscarriage!

If you start the active part of a miscarriage and you are alone or just with your children, call another woman to come stay with you until your husband or midwife can get there. You don't need privacy as much as you need safety.

Make sure someone stays in the room with you - if they have to leave the room, they shouldn't leave earshot.

If you have a feeling you need help, get it. If you think you might need the midwife to come, ask her to - don't wait for her to volunteer.

Don't sit or lay on a towel - especially a dark colored one! - if you can help it. It is easy to underestimate how much you are bleeding if you can't see it. Chux pads are a better choice.

Don't despair, thinking this is going to take forever, or mar your life, or take away your joy. If you have Christ, you can know for sure, that he has come:

3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of
heaviness; That they may be called trees of
righteousness, The planting of the LORD,
that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3

Friday, May 11, 2007

My Twin Miscarriage - Too Much Information For Some

If you don't want to read a very frank account of a natural miscarriage of multiples with some complications, please skip this post. I was desperate to hear how it really happened for other mothers when I was waiting to miscarry, so I am writing this for others.

Five days after the day we found that our second twin had died in utero at 10 weeks, I foolishly encouraged my husband to take our children to the science museum in another city to celebrate my 7 year old's birthday while I stayed home to take our eldest for a doctor's appointment. After the doctor's appointment, while I was checking out, I realized that I could feel blood coming out and it felt like my pad was barely holding it. I had been mildly bleeding for six days, so was wearing a pad. I rushed out to my son's jeep, calling my husband on the way and telling him to rush home. He was an hour away, though! By the time I got to the jeep (not far), I could feel blood on my thighs. Thankfully, I had put a towel on my seat in the jeep just in case. I have precipitous labors (very fast - less than an hour) and didn't know how quickly this might go. I told my dear son to drive us home as quickly as he could under the speed limit. He took one look at me and said, "Mom, are you sure you want me to stay under the speed limit??" I told him we didn't have time to get stopped by a policeman and we had to drive right through town! By the time I got home (6 or 7 minutes) I needed the towel desperately as I was bleeding quickly.

I need to tell you here that I have an incompetent cervix. That means that my cervix dilates without labor until about 7cm. Now obviously, you don't have to be fully dilated to pass a first trimester baby. Most stories I've read start with perhaps slightly heavier bleeding, but mainly cramping and a good bit of it. I did have some cramping the day before we found out the first baby had died and I also had cramping the first night I found out the last baby had gone home to heaven. My lower back hurt - the best way to describe it is a hurt that makes you want to arch your back like a cat - and I felt some menstrual type cramping. My husband was out of state and I think I couldn't let go with him gone. It stopped before morning. I had no cramping the day I actually passed the babies. I think my incompetent cervix had just been stretched enough without it.

When I got home, I rushed upstairs with my cell phone and told my son to keep his cell phone in his pocket. On reflection, it would have been wiser to tell him to stay upstairs so that I could just call out to him to call for help, but I really didn't want him traumatized by this - I want a lot of grandchildren! :-) Thankfully, the first night when I couldn't sleep, I brought some supplies up into my bathroom - some paper towels, some small bowls, the HemHalt and PlacentaOut my midwife had recommended, some towels. Knowing more now, there are some things I would have definitely had in there.

There was definitely a lot of blood. Pretty quickly I passed the broken sac and broken placenta of the little one who died first, over a month ago. I then began to bleed more heavily, so I moved into the tub in case I fainted since I was alone. I had been told by some if you soaked more than one pad an hour, to call for help, but another medical professional told me to soak more often is fine, but you didn't want to soak more than five in a row without help. Well, within 30 minutes, I had soaked 5 and it showed no signs of stopping. What confused me is that at this point I felt fine - not weak or faint at all. I called my friend who is a midwife and talked to her and she recommended that I wait fifteen minutes to see if I passed more tissue, then take HemHalt. I think she did not realize how much I had lost because I sounded so calm - I have this problem in labor, too :-) On reflection, at this point I should have told her I was alone and asked her to come. Wish I had. Fifteen minutes passed, but I was concerned I had not passed everything. What I had passed did not look like a ten week old and I knew one had been alive after 8 weeks. I took a dose of PlacentaOut, knowing that things had to draw to a close pretty soon at the rate I was bleeding! Very soon after that, I passed a perfect little placenta and attached sac.

Moments after that, my dear husband walked in and I praised God that he was there! I told him that I needed HemHalt and that is the last thing I remember. He says I took it, put it in my mouth and then slumped forward unconscious. The next thing I remember is fighting my way through swirling dream images sucking me down like a whirlpool, trying to reach my dear husband who was calling me to come to him. How I love him!! As I came back to consciousness, I was so confused, I didn't know where I was or why. I was so thankful that he was explaining to someone on the phone the whole situation, which clued me in. He told me the midwife was on her way. Then we realized the HemHalt had spilled out on my tummy and I immediately took another dose. We rubbed my fundus, took HemHalt and prayed! I am so thankful the Lord brought my husband home at that moment. Who knows what would have happened if he'd been even 15 minutes later?

In a short time (there is no way to accomplish what she did under the speed limit :-) my old friend and midwife walked in. I was so happy to see her and know she'd know how to manage. She treated me with emergency medications and got the bleeding stopped. I lost a lot of blood! She was so tender and gentle with me that I did not feel her prescence an intrusion, but a blessing. She administered what we needed to get the bleeding stopped, plus electrolyte drinks to get the fluid volume back up. We were all three in the bathroom for some time while we got things under control.

Eventually, we got me moved to the bed and cleaned up and my dear friend cleaned up the bathroom for us. She found some pretty material in my sewing basket to wrap the babies in. I decided I needed to really see them. The littlest was harder to discern. This one had gone home a long time ago and was very little, but the placenta and sac were very clearly there. I was grateful to know absolutely for sure that we'd had twins and I had not grieved in vain. The bigger baby was a perfect, beautiful little tee-niney baby floating in a perfect little sac and attached to a perfect placenta. I can't understand why these little ones went home. All I can do is trust the Lord who made them and me and made me their mother. He does nothing whimsically or in vain, but even a word of His does not return void. I trust His purpose. How precious heaven became to me in that hour! One day I will meet my children again and never be separated from them for eternity!

The bleeding had almost stopped by about 10. The whole thing started about 4:50. The worst of it was the first hour and a half. After that, I continued to bleed and pass clots, but not so dangerously heavy. After 10, it had slowed down to just spotting. I had a very hard time sleeping that night. I had to go to the bathroom every hour or even less. I felt hot and weird all over. The hot I think was from all the HemHalt (it took about half a bottle over several hours - plus Wombstringe and other emergency meds to stop the bleeding). The weird thing was my blood felt strange traveling through my veins, like a rush, then pause, in my hands. I think this was probably because my blood volume was so low.

After all was cleaned up, I was very hungry (which is typical for me, I am starved after labor!) and ate a big meal. We then got my dear children upstairs to explain that it had finally completed and to open my poor, dear 7yo's birthday presents. It was such a comfort to me to see their tenderness with me about the babies and also to see their happy, carefree joy in his birthday even in this. Their trust in the heavenly Father's will is an amazement and glory.

I am so grateful for my dear, dear husband. When we saw the babies, I saw him choke up and then he went into the bathroom. I knew he went in there to cry and I loved him so much for it. I was so thankful to be in unity with him in grief and sorrow, just as we had been so long in joy and happiness. Although it tore me up to see him hurting, I was so thankful he loved our children like I do.

I am so grateful to have a friend who is not only a midwife, but a Christian, and one who shares our conviction to welcome whatever children the Lord may place in our family. What a comfort to have someone likeminded to share this time with us. How comfortable I felt with her there. May the Lord raise up an army of godly midwives like those in Egypt. What a blessing it was to stay home where all were in sympathy during this time our feelings were so raw.

We saved what our little ones left when they went home to heaven. We will bury them at a spot precious to us and remember them with two trees there. Even little ones who never drew breath should be treated with reverence as made in the image of God.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My Story

One day in March, the day my cycle was due, I woke up and didn't want any breakfast. Now that is remarkable for me, because I usually can't stand to wait a second for breakfast, but I didn't think much about it until the next morning when I woke up nauseous. Suddenly I remembered the pregnancy tests I had just bought from one of the MOMYS. I did a test right away and got two dark red lines! Wow! That was unusual, usually I didn't even get a faint line until a day or two after my cycle was due, and my cycles had been rather short lately, too. I immediately sent my dear husband, who was away on a business trip, an e-card congratulating him on his new baby. When he called, I could hear the joy in his gentle, choked up voice. What a great husband! I then told showed the children the card I had sent their daddy. They shouted and yelled with joy! They were so excited that the Lord had given another gift to our family! Everyone wondered if it would be a boy or a girl - we had six boys and one little girl - the youngest.

Within a couple of days, I was having very strange symptoms. My blood sugars went wild (I tested as I felt funny after eating a lot of carbs) and they usually didn't become a problem until much later. I started having heart palpitations. I didn't know if all of this was because I had been on a low carb diet, or if something was different with this pregnancy. One week after the positive test, I went in to my OB's office to check out these weird symptoms. There on the screen, we plainly saw two nice little gestational sacs. I was ecstatic! I knew before she even told me - that's why the sudden, strong symptoms - there were two little ones in there. Hal knew right away when I called him, too and we laughed together over our double blessing! That was week 5, day 1.

We were both euphoric at the idea of twins. It seemed daunting to face the difficulties I deal with in pregnancy with twice the weight on my cervix and twice the risk, but it was obviously well worth it. That weekend it looked like one of the children might have the flu so Hal banished me to Mama's house. I had a fantastic weekend searching the internet for all sorts of information about twins and twin pregnancy. Again, daunting, but delightful. I was so excited. When I got home, I kept sneaking a peak at the ultrasound picture I'd brought home showing two little sacs. I'd tucked it in the bill container and everytime I sat at the computer (which is way too often :-) I'd pull it out and stare in amazement. My grandfather was a twin - the youngests of a large family and I'd always wondered if we would have any. It was a thrill!

By the next week, I started feeling better, less heart palpitations, lower blood sugars. It didn't worry me much until week 6, day 1 when I started having some cramping. I drank water and went to bed and the next morning at the OB's the ultrasound showed only one sac - one of our precious twins had gone straight to the arms of the Savior. I was so stunned, confused at the doctors and it didn't really sink in until late that night when weeping overtook me. As soon as I knew about the twins, I had pictured the two of them lying like spoons between me and the bedrail and me reaching over and laying my hands across them, feeling them breathe. I had to accept that our little one to come would never know his twin until heaven.

At my 8th week appointment, we saw the little remaining child's heartbeat and we finalized plans for my cerclage surgery to be at 11.5 weeks. I never had any bleeding or cramping beyond that one afternoon, but I had read that was not unusual when a twin was lost early. I was very conflicted during this time. It was very, very strange to have suffered a miscarriage and still be pregnant. I felt like I couldn't enter into either the grief or the joy without conflict. I was so busy during this time, frantically cleaning house and tying up lose ends preparing for the bedrest to come and never even considering that we could lose the other child.

The night of the 10th week, the first day, I saw some spotting when I went to the bathroom. Oh no! I asked my husband and eldest son to pray and I prayed, but I really wasn't anticipating the worst news - I had a lot of spotting with two or three of our other children and had been given progesterone until it was well stopped. I thought I probably needed a little extra progesterone and that would be it.

The next morning I went to the OB's to see what was happening. He checked with the old ultrasound in the room and we certainly thought we saw a heartbeat. He checked my cervix and it was closed tightly. Just to be sure, we went to the newer machine. After much checking with both ultrasound wands - there was no heartbeat. I was absolutely stunned after seeing it just a few minutes ago. I was in shock. I talked to the doctor about what would happen. We agreed that a D&C was a bad idea for me with the incompetent cervix - I couldn't afford to weaken it further. I also well remember a friend who had a difficult, bloody miscarriage when we were younger, but refused a D&C - seven months later she gave birth to that baby's twin.

This was so hard! My sweet husband was in Nebraska on a customer call for our business - how would I make it through the day without him?? I went home and told our precious children who were so sad - I will never forget the sorrow and tears in their eyes for their young siblings. How I rejoice to have children who value life - who understand what is important. My dear eldest son took all of the children to my mothers' for the day so that I could cry for awhile. I can't cry with them here because they are nearly all guys and they think they have to fix it - tears them to pieces for me to be upset.

I told my dear husband when he called after his calls were all done - we are truly one and I can't keep things from him for a minute. He had to pull over because he couldn't see for the tears. Many people would not understand our sorrow - this was, in a worldly sense, not a great time to be pregnant: we were starting a new business and no money was coming out of it at all, our house is too small for us and we are at our wits' end how to manage with it, we have all sorts of commitments in the next few months. Those who don't understand, though, need to see children as we do - gifts from God, rewards, precious unique additions to our family. When you have had seven children, you know how different, how dear, how incredible each new soul is. When you have had children grow from infancy to adulthood, you know what you have lost in miscarriage. You know the years of interaction, conversation, joy, and happiness you are losing. You know that you are losing decades of joy and friendship, pleasure and pride in your children.

Therefore, we weep. We weep for what we wish we were able to share with those children. But, we don't mourn as those who have no hope. We do not weep for our children, because we know that they behold the face of the Father. We know they are in the realm of the Great King, where there is no sorrow, no pain, no sin. They are the gainers by it, even if we are, for the time being, the losers. We will know them one day.

I will share about the actual physical miscarriage in another post, because I know that there are some for whom it will be too much information! On the other hand, I was desperate to read stories with all the details so I could have an idea what to expect.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Need to Talk? Need to Listen?

When I found out we were facing an inevitable miscarriage, I was desperate for information. I'm a control freak and I feel like I can handle most anything as long as I know what to expect. Well, miscarriage isn't like that, but that's another story. I did find some message boards that were active - my main criteria - because if you are facing a miscarriage anyday now, you can't wait til next month for an answer to your question. Here are some I'd recommend:

Facts About Miscarriage Forums This is one of the most active out there, with many posts every day.

Silent Grief Forums These are detailed, supportive forums that are pretty active. I liked that it had separate forums for all sorts of situations.

There are some others I'm thinking about adding that I got good information from, but some aren't very active (and it can hurt when you don't get a response to your posting and you are in no mood for more hurt) and some are just kind of brutal emotionally. As believers, Hal and I remember that we do not grieve as those who have no hope, and sometimes witnessing the full-blown grief of those who are indeed without hope is very hard to bear. The above boards have both kinds certainly, but the tone is okay in most cases.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Most Helpful Thing

I posted a prayer request on MOMYS when I found out our second twin had died. Right away, Rebekah, one of the MOMYS, emailed and asked if she could send me a book a friend of hers had written about miscarriage. Providentially, the book arrived two days after the miscarriage when I woke up thinking, "I need to write all this down."

Teardrop Diary by Erin McSparron is a journal for your journey in grief and healing. Erin wrote it following her own miscarriage and it is a tender, tasteful, and encouraging help to record your thoughts and feelings. Pages of Erin's poetry and encouragement are alternated with pages for journaling. Journal pages are lined and each is headed with a Bible verse about grief, sorrow, hope, healing, or providence. The verses are incredibly well chosen. Erin's poetry is right on target in hitting the feelings and tenderness of this time. Some are unpolished, or not quite on meter, but I don't think that in anyway lessens their value for helping you to express your feelings.

I felt an urgent need to record everything I could about our brief time with the twins. I especially wanted to record the happy times - the surge of joy I felt when I saw we were expecting twins - how fun it was to tell Hal. I wanted to record the things the Lord did to show me His love and care during our trial - the hymns our church sang the first Sunday after the first twin died - the food and messages everyone sent. I wanted to record what happened physically, so that I could look back at it later and try to understand. I even wanted to record our sorrow and grief, because these memories would be all we had until we met our twins in heaven. This book made all of this easy. Thank you Erin and thank you, Rebekah!

Recovery from Blood Loss

I hemorrhaged during the miscarriage of our twins, though I didn't go to the hospital because a dear midwife friend was able to stop the bleeding. If I'd gone to the hospital, I'd have probably received a transfusion, though I'm glad I didn't because then I'd be worried about exposure to disease. Anyway, I've had a tough time finding out how to best recover from blood loss, because everything assumes if you had significant blood loss, you had a transfusion. So, there's my mandate again: I had a tough time finding out about it, so I'll record it here!

I remember reading in the novels of G.A. Henty of heroes who would be sorely wounded in battles and lose a lot of blood. It would take them months to recover! I thought, "What Victorian baloney!" but now I know better! True, now we have antibiotics to prevent infection, but the reason we don't hear about recoveries like that any more is that nearly everyone who loses a lot of blood these days, gets transfused. Those who don't get transfusions, though tell about weeks and weeks of weakness and recovery time. I read on a Red Cross website that it takes 3-4 weeks for your body to replace the red blood cells in a pint of blood.

What can you do to get up to speed more quickly? My OB's office recommended taking twice the normal dose of iron supplements and vitamin C to increase uptake. My midwife friend recommended liquid iron like Floradix and liquid chlorophyll. The chlorophyll molecule is very similar to the heme molecule which hold iron in our body. The theory is that the body can use chlorophyll as a shortcut - remove the magnesium and add an iron. Everyone recommended eating lots of red meat (especially liver - if you don't like it you haven't had it cooked right!) and dark leafy greens (collards are my thing!).

Well, I've been mostly in the bed for almost two weeks and am still pretty weak. I don't want my experience to frighten you out of a natural miscarriage at home. Hemorrhaging is very rare and seems to be often connected to something unusual - like an already anemic mom who's losing twins - me! I'm still glad I did it at home because I don't have to worry that they made a mistake with the ultrasound, I got to be with people I love and didn't have to hear the smart mouths at the hospital, and I got to say goodbye in my own way to our beloved babies.

Kristi's Story & Her Good Advice, Too

My friend Kristi is not only a midwife and mother of many, but is also a survivor of twin miscarriage and early twin loss. She and I had a long visit just a few days after I lost our twins and our conversation really blessed me. Read Kristi's story and then be sure to click on the pdf's at the bottom for her good advice. To read her story, go to her website, click on Midwifery, then on Early Loss.


I just read a very good short article that well describes the emotions of a Christian during the great trial of pregnancy loss. I'd call this one "crashing waves of sorrow and deep peace."

Monday, April 30, 2007


I think that the most important sources of peace for me in the midst of this incredible heartbreak have been two facts:

My twins are together and they are in heaven! I know this because when David's infant son died, King David, the man after God's own heart said that he would join his child in heaven.

My twins were not cut down before their time, they lived every day that they were appointed to live. There is nothing I could have done to stop the miscarriage. I did nothing wrong. The doctors made no mistakes. These little ones were planned for heaven. They will never suffer, never be hurt, never cry from sorrow or fear. They are safe and cared for more tenderly than even I could ever do. I'm so glad they are okay. That whole Psalm is a comfort to me!

Now, make no mistake! I really, really miss our babies and I have cried and cried. I cry though, because I want them with me. I want to hold them and kiss them and raise them to see them become wonderful grown-ups as I have seen our other children. That can't be, so I mourn, but we don't mourn as those who have no hope.

Someone who wrote me after I asked for prayer about the miscarriage, reminded me of something that really helped me: It is okay to cry! Our Lord Jesus cried over the death of Lazarus, even though he knew that He would shortly raise him from the dead! Death is sorrowful, a tragedy, and it is proper to mourn. Let us never forget though, that death will not have the final victory!

Please, sisters, flee to Christ to wipe away your tears! It is the only hope to see our little ones again!

Miscarriage of Twins

I could not find any information about miscarriage of twins when I found out we had lost our second twin as well. The only story I heard was an email recieved from another MOMYS. She had miscarried twins and had passed tissue, thought that was it, then kept up some bleeding, and passed more tissue about a month later. She said she'd have done a D&C if she'd known it would be so prolonged.

A D&C was not an option for me - I have an incompentent cervix and I was afraid that forced dilation could make my cervix even worse, so I was determined to wait it out. If I'd known then what I know now, though, I'd have called my midwife friend to come to me as soon as I started bleeding heavily.

A few days after my miscarriage, in which I passed both babies about 30-40 minutes apart and bled extremely heavily needing medication to stop it, I had a talk with a different midwife. She said that she'd had a twin miscarriage as well. Her story was like my MOMYS friend - two episodes of tissue passage a few weeks apart. However, she said she'd had three cases of twin miscarriage in her practice. Coincidentally (?) those three mothers were the only cases of hemorraging in miscarriage she'd had in her practice as well.

This is all just observational, but if you are expecting multiples and miscarry, then you may want to call for help to stay with you immediately as soon as the heavier bleeding starts and make sure they have herbs or medicines to stop the bleeding if necessary.

BTW, I had no bleeding after the death of our first twin at 6 weeks. I had cramping the day before the ultrasound showing only one sac instead of the two we'd seen the week before. The cramping was not severe at all and stopped after a few hours. It did not affect my cervix. I understand from my midwife friends that you can have no bleeding/no cramping, bleeding/no cramping, cramping/no bleeding, passage of tissue or no passage of tissue if you miscarry one twin of a twin pregnancy.

When we miscarried finally, one of the babies (who died at 9-10 weeks) was in a complete sac and placenta, the other (who died at 5-6 weeks) had a broken sac and placenta. I am very glad we stayed at home and were able to see what our little ones had left behind when they went to heaven. It was so important to me to see clearly that there had been two of the precious little ones. We are planning to bury them at our family's lake house and I'm going to plant two trees there.

Miscarriage Supplies

One of the frustrating things I had to deal with when I recently miscarried my twins was that I couldn't find out what I should have available to make things easy when I miscarried at home naturally. Here's my suggested list:

A safe place to stay - A bathtub is a good one if you are concerned about saving the remains, also if you faint, you aren't going to fall and hit your head. Clean out your bathtub with disinfectant before you need it. You could also stay in your bed, but you will need to line it with plastic, towels or probably, best... chux pads.

Sanitary pads - Get big regular ones. This is how most health care providers will measure your blood loss.

Chux pads - or any other bed pad - look in the incontinence section of the drugstore (near the Depends :-). They are absorbent on one side and plastic on the other and are flat. These are great to keep down the mess and to sit or lay on. Don't use a towel to sit or lay on, because it can absorb a lot of blood making you not realize how much you are losing. Ask me how I know :-P It's more obvious on the Chux pad.

Wipes - These are good for a quick clean up of your hands or legs.

Paper towels - Two rolls, to help clean up with.

A small bowl - to save the remains of your precious one. I think you'll be glad you did. I did not find this at all disturbing, but rather it gave me comfort to know I wasn't grieving over nothing and to be able to say goodbye.

A cup to drink from and it might be a good idea to have some gatorade or other electrolyte drink to keep you hydrated.

HemHalt - or other remedy to help stop excessive bleeding

A measuring spoon for medication

A camera - I know that doesn't sound appealing right now, but there may come a time when you can't remember and wish you could. (Hat tip to Erin)

A phone to call for help

*Someone who will come stay with you! This is critical. Everything should go smoothly, but if you were to faint, you can't very well get help yourself.

*Someone who you can call to help in an emergency - your doctor or 911 or best of all, a local midwife who can come and give you objective assessment and help.

**If you have had excessive bleeding in the past, or if you are expecting multiples, you probably ought to ask a midwife to come stay with you the whole time, as you may bleed heavier than others.

Hope that helps,

Please come in!

I am so sorry that you need to be here, but I hope that you will find the help, information and encouragement you need. I created this blog because I could not find the information I needed online to manage in the miscarriage of our twins recently. I hope to gather here the information, links, and encouragement that will help you to survive this devastating event in your life.

Much love,