Our Thanksgiving

We decided a long while ago this year we were going to do holidays just the three of us. We’re focusing on our little family, what we’ve survived, and how it’s brought us closer together in ways we never anticipated. As we carve the turkey and say our prayers, we’re thankful for Harlynn. We’re thankful we had the chance to know her, love her, and that we continue to have the opportunity to share her story and help others. We’re thankful for the people who have loved and supported us through this, thankful for the new friends we’ve made, and are thankful for the lessons we’ve learned.
We’ve also learned the hard way that life throws challenges, sufferings, and unexpected events at us. All of us. When nothing goes the way we expect it to, we feel beaten up. Run down. Totally, and completely, helpless.
That’s been our year. It started with a “beautiful” pregnancy. We then lost our baby. And now, as we close out 2013, we’re faced with the winds of change once again.
One of the first questions Brent asked me in the hospital room after we lost Harlynn was, “Do we dare do this again?” I dismissed his question. I couldn’t answer him. I was incapable of letting my mind go there. 
Our first daughter entered the world in her own dramatic rite. I nearly died, sick with severe HELLP syndrome, and she was born via emergency cesarean at 32 weeks. She weighed 2 lbs, 12 oz, and was in the NICU for 30 days. We praise God daily that she’s here with us, yet we still have not forgotten the experience, or the trauma it introduced us to.
Our second daughter was expected to be completely healthy. Her heart stopped beating in my womb. Two pregnancies. Two unpredicted, unexpected outcomes.
Do we dare do this again?
It was a couple of weeks later, that Brent’s question was really eating at me. I didn’t want to put him through this again. He nearly lost his wife once. This time he lost his daughter. I couldn’t bear the responsibility – whether warranted or not – of putting him through something like this once again. I certainly couldn’t bear putting Haley through losing a sibling again. 
I sat him down in the living room, and we had a hard, but open discussion about growing our family. I was okay with not. Fear resided in every ounce of my being when it came to the mere thought of being pregnant again. There are no guarantees. The words my husband spoke, however, resonated such peace with me. He said, “We had pretty realistic expectations this time. But next time, we know all of the possibilities. Chances are, though, it will end better rather than worse.”
That conversation changed everything. The chance of us attempting this again were on the table. I struggled, though. I knew if I voiced my confusion or thoughts, people would try to “help” me by saying things like, “You shouldn’t even be thinking about that now.” But I couldn’t help it. I thought about it all the time. Do we dare?
The reality is, no child will replace Harlynn. She will always be our second child, we will always remember her, and we will always consider her a part of our family. Always. The question, then, was – do we go on to have a third?
And I suppose so. September 17th, 2013, I got the second line on an at-home test. Positive. Pregnant.  I was excited. Then I was terrified. Then I was a whole gamut of emotions I didn’t even know I could feel simultaneously.
I know fear is not of God. Yet I am fearful. 
Yes, I am pregnant. God has given me peace about the pregnancy itself. I know this baby is healthy and vibrant now. I know it will continue to be so throughout the pregnancy. It’s the end of the pregnancy – the delivery and beyond – that has me terrified. Will this baby survive? If this baby survives birth, will it survive beyond? Will I have to bury another child? 
We’ve been careful about who we tell and when it’s appropriate to share our news. Mostly, I didn’t want to be penalized. “She’s already pregnant again? That didn’t take long…” or, “How could they even think to do this again?” or even the polar opposite, “Oh good. Maybe now she can move past her grief over losing Harlynn.” The fact is, I can’t care what your reaction is. I have my own stuff to sort through in this.
So, what now? The truth is, being pregnant after any loss – a miscarriage, a stillbirth, losing a child – is terrifying.  You are gripped with fear. The what-if’s race through your mind as a whirlwind. I have no innocence. I know too much. There are too many things I am aware of that “could” happen.
Talk about the miracle of life: it’s a miracle any one of us is here.
My doctors have been wonderful. They’ve let me cry, they’ve hugged me tight, they’ve assured me they can and will do whatever it takes to bring me and baby to the end in total health. But they know, and I know, there are no guarantees. 
I’m due the end of May. We covet your prayers in this. However, the fact of the matter remains: No matter what happens, no matter the outcome, our lives and our souls rest in God’s hands. He will carry us through a happy ending, or a sad one, and we will rely on Him for our strength.

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3 Replies to “Our Thanksgiving”

  1. Congratulations! You're absolutely right, life is unpredictable and, a miracle. Every day is a miracle for every one of us. We are all just one heartbeat away from seeing Jesus. <3 Have a peaceful, blessed Thanksgiving!

  2. You are such an amazing daughter! Don't argue with your mother! I felt at peace back when you told your dad and I. I still miss Harlynn being a part of our lives, I always will. But I love her so, you, Brent, Haley and the new baby. For me, I will get beyond the terrible weight of grief, I just will never get over the loss. Praise God that we do have him as our everything who is in control of everything.

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