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Loss and small moments of peace and hope

I wanted to share something personal today. 

This weekend was my due date for our baby girl. Sadly several months ago I had a miscarriage and lost this sweet baby. This was my 3rd miscarriage in 3 years. For some reason, that doctors and many tests don't know, I can no longer carry a baby past my 2nd trimester. At my 12 week appointment everything looks great, and then at some point in my 2nd trimester the baby stops growing and in a very quiet room the ultrasound technician will become very quiet as she searches for a heartbeat and I know just by her face that we lost our baby. Three times this has happened and each time it is heartbreaking and devastating. Time stands still in that very small room as all our hopes, dreams and plans are instantly lost. It's a loss that I still can't put into words. A cloud of sadness that has never left me and sits on my shoulder at all times.

Over the past 7 years I have drawn probably a dozen or more baby announcements. It's one of my favorite things to draw, and when I was pregnant I wanted to draw our family (with the new baby) for our baby announcement. 

I was half way done drawing our family portrait when we found out we lost our baby at 14 weeks (the first miscarriage, 3 years ago). This picture is special to me, as it reminds me of our hopes and plans, but also that while I never got to hold this baby, it was part of our family.

Our first two miscarriages I had to go to the hospital to have a D&C surgery. I don't know how to explain the feeling, walking into the same hospital where I delivered my other babies, and knowing I will walk out empty handed in a few hours. 

My third miscarriage I had a new doctor and he said I could have the miscarriage at home even though I was in the start of my 2nd trimester. I don't know if I would recommend this as it ended up being dangerous and I almost passed out at home several times from loss of blood. I think I was further along in the pregnancy than we thought. But it was a tender and surreal moment as my husband and I were able to hold our very tiny baby, look at her fingers, eyes, ears and mouth. We had done genetic testing a few weeks earlier because of my history of miscarriages and found out it was a little girl and she had no genetic problems. To hold this tiny body, knowing she was perfect and it was MY body that had failed her was beyond heartbreaking. We were able to bury her in a special place. While this experience was so much harder physically, it took weeks and weeks to gain my strength back, and emotionally it rocked me; it also gave me healing I desperately needed. 

As the due date of our baby approaches I am hit with many emotions, I have felt them before and know it is a wave that I need to ride and with time it becomes better. Many things have helped me cope, being outside with my family, eating chocolate (chocolate is an important part of the stages of grief), reading good books, laughing at my favorite comedian Jim Gaffigan, eating more chocolate, and especially drawing. 

Over the past few years I have drawn family portraits for those that have lost children. Either a miscarriage or still born. They were never able to have a family picture taken, and so I hope this portrait brings them comfort. 

This was a family who had a beautiful still born little boy, and their friend reached out to me asking me to draw their beautiful family.
This sweet family lost 7 children to miscarriage before they were able to adopt the most beautiful baby girl. Again a friend of theirs reached out to me asking me to draw something for them. We came up with this idea to draw their 7 children as shadows, not seen, but not forgotten.
A friend asked that I draw her dear friends that lost a baby with a halo, in remembrance of their sweet angel.
Even though I do not know these people, I have thought of these sweet families often. I hope they are healing and feeling small moments of peace. I wish I could give them a hug in person.
Life is hard. There is no getting around it. Relationships, work, bills, health, etc. Everyone has heartache and trials. Everyone is walking around with a heavy heart most of the time.
I have also learned that life is beautiful. It really is. One night I was overwhelmed with sadness. It especially hits me at night. I had finished cleaning up the kitchen and was taking the kitchen mats outside to shake off my patio and I happened to glance up and saw the most beautiful night sky with a million stars. I was overwhelmed. There is so much beauty out there, and I only needed to look up to see it. 
If you are hurting look up. Look out. Look to others. First look to others to ask for help and talk. Many good people reached out to help me (many brought me my favorite Peanut Butter M&Ms) and talking and expressing my feelings has been healing. Then forget yourself and help someone. 
Let yourself mourn, eat a lot of chocolate, and then love the heck out of everyone around you. Find ways to help, so many people are struggling and need love and help. 
There are many more details I could share, if you are struggling feel free to reach out to me and I would love to talk to you.
To my friends and family, still invite me to your baby showers, ask me to watch your kids or hold your darling babies. Everyone is different, but I have never held anger or resentment to anyone else being able to get pregnant or have babies. Perhaps it is because I have been able to have children and want that for all my dear friends. Holding babies, and making children laugh and giggle has helped fill that hole in my heart.
As this weekend approaches, I feel sadness, loss, but I also feel moments of great peace and hope. It is not lost on me that this weekend is also Easter. A very special time that I remember my Savior, and it has new meaning to me now. These experience have become very tender to me and made life more precious.
These are my three sweet children. This picture is from a few years ago, and I'm pretty sure my oldest punched her brother right after this picture was taken, but awww . .  this was a good 2 seconds. 


While I mourn the loss of our three children we never got to have, I am beyond grateful for these beautiful children I was able to have and hold on to tightly. This tall guy next to me, that makes me feel like the prettiest girl in the room, is quite fabulous. Our family is a little crazy, fight when we play Uno, and eat way too many grilled cheese sandwiches and cookies. But these are special people who make me better. With each pair of pants they out grow, or toddler bed they grow out of my heart aches a little, knowing there will be no children to pass them on to, but it makes each stage that more precious, to hold on to and treasure. Well, maybe not the potty training stage. Everyone wants to forget that stage.
Happy Easter my dear friends!