Tuesday, August 16, 2016

mourning & dancing

I recently did a 2 week bible study with one of my friends called "Mourning & Dancing" and the underlying message resonated with me deeply --

We can both grieve the wrongs of this world and celebrate the sweetness of this life.


My husband and I said goodbye to our baby girl at 18 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Today, I am 18 weeks and 3 days pregnant with a baby girl.

I look down at my belly that's so full of memories and I just want to crumble to the floor and cry. I miss Grace so much, especially today. I remember every detail of this last day with her. Every thought I was trying to process, every last little flutter in my belly and every word of my heartbreaking goodbye. Today it feels like I'm losing her all over again.

But then, I look down at my belly that's so full of hope and I just want to squeeze it tight and never let go. I can't wait to meet my daughter. I can't wait to be a mother again and for our family of 3 to finally become a family of 4. I've been feeling her little flutters from deep inside which remind me she's still in there. She's still fighting and hanging on to hope for the both of us, and that makes me burst with excitement.

Mourning & dancing. 

A rainbow pregnancy is a whirlwind of emotions. There are beautiful moments of the highest highs followed by the lowest lows. It's been the toughest road I've ever had to navigate, and the only advice I can give to anyone entering into a sub-pregnancy is to do whatever you have to do to survive each day.

For me, I've kept this pregnancy to myself, so I apologize that most of our friends and family are finding out about it through this blog post. And the reason for that is because I've felt a lot of pressure to try to live up to the emotional expectations that everyone seems to have of me. I should be more excited. The good test results should put me at ease. The milestones I've passed should make me more hopeful. Pregnancy should be a happy time. Even the random lady at the grocery store who spotted my belly seemed disappointed when I didn't gush about my pregnancy as much as she did. 

I keep feeling like I'm letting everyone down, like I'm taking the joy and celebration out of it for everyone else. I may not be extra bubbly and talking about potential baby names yet, but I am still excited. I just have to carry that excitement with a whole lot of grief. It is possible for happiness and sadness to coexist... I live it everyday. 

I've gotten some unsolicited advice that if I could just try to mentally separate my pregnancies then maybe I could enjoy this one more. But for me, that's just not possible. I cannot separate my pregnancies because one simply couldn't exist without the other. Their lives are just too intertwined. Without the loss of Grace, this baby wouldn't have a chance to live. And because of that, every milestone and small victory comes with the sadness of knowing Grace wasn't as lucky. It's bittersweet, but I'm starting to learn that there is beauty in it, too. This little girl will always have her big sister in heaven as her guardian angel.

I have approached this pregnancy a very different person. I guess that's because I am a different person, and I think that is a good thing. For the first time maybe in my life, I've put myself and my needs first and I don't feel guilty about it. I've been leaning heavily on my fellow loss friends for support, I've tried my best to avoid emotional triggers, and I have only been focusing on one small milestone at a time. Every morning I wake up and tell myself "today I am pregnant with a healthy little girl," because until I learn otherwise, that statement is true.

Yes, I'm scared. I have been for 18 weeks and 3 days. I have been for over a year and a half now. But the fact is, there is nothing stopping me physically or genetically from having another healthy baby except fear, and I refuse to let fear defeat me.

I've had to learn the hard way how powerful fear really is. It can be debilitating and it can completely consume your entire life. But if I've learned anything from the past year and a half it's this: The more you resist fear the more suffocating and overwhelming it becomes. But the moment you accept that it's not going anywhere and you chose to walk alongside it, that's the moment it becomes a support rather than a clutch.

Fear has driven me to keep going. It's opened my eyes and made me appreciate all of the wonderful things I do have in my life. It has become consistent, a comfort, a friend. Fear isn't so bad once you stop being so afraid of it.

So today I am pregnant with a healthy baby girl, and besides praying and waiting, there's not much I can do to change the outcome. I will just keep mourning & dancing.

Monday, August 1, 2016

boy's vintage transportation bedroom

After months of dragging my feet, Joe's big boy bedroom is finally complete. The truth is, Joe's been ready to get out of his crib for quite awhile now. Me, on the other hand, not so much. 

Moving Joe into his big boy room was extremely emotional for me. For one, my baby boy is growing up and I want more than anything for time to just slow down. But what hit me even harder was the fact that Joe's move meant we'd now have to have an empty nursery -- another difficult reminder of the baby we lost.

Emotional feelings aside, the decorating kept my mind off things quite a bit. (My favorite distraction!) I wanted to make sure Joe's room felt like him. He loves all things that move -- planes, trains and automobiles. He's also the type of kid that comes inside with sweat down his face and dirt all over his clothes. He needed a room that was just as cool as him. Not too little kid-ish, but not a stuffy Pottery Barn catalog, either.

My inspiration came when my Grandma gave me an old picture of my Grandpa wearing his WWII Purple heart medal. It was such a cool picture of him and had so much meaning. My Grandpa passed away while I was pregnant with Joe, so he never got a chance to meet him. He was a big reason Joe was named Joseph as it was/is my Great Grandpa, Grandpa and Dad's name.

So with the picture of my Grandpa, my initial idea was to create a picture collage of all 4 generations of Joes. Sort of like a tribute to Joe's namesake. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that all of the men in our family have had a major influence on Joe. So I decided to create a collage of all Joe's heroes with vintage pictures of his Grandpas and Great Grandpas.

Once that was up, the rest of the room was easy to fill. We found a lot of things at old antique shops, the Nashville Flea Market and even in our parents' attic. So many details have so much meaning -- the little rocking chair is a family heirloom, the quilt was made by my Great Grandma and the baseball mitt was used by my husband and his Dad. I know nothing matches exactly but I think it all comes together pretty well.

I'm excited to finally share pictures with you all! Enjoy ~

Joe requested that we include pictures of Patrick and Norman in his bedroom 
(his Uncle & Aunts' pets). I couldn't say no to that! 

Airplane sheets available at Amazon.

The inspiration for the room - my Grandpa, Joseph Murnick.

You can find all the details on this bookshelf makeover here.

 The baseball glove that belonged to Joe's Dad and Grandpa. 
Both of their names are barely visible on the leather.