all the mamas

Jan 21, 2012 by

A few months ago I shared a little bit of my miscarriage history during a lesson at church. I was hoping to communicate how healing the Spirit of God is and how even in the midst of my grief, I was able to be comforted.

Afterwards, a woman whom I dearly love came and gave me a hug and asked me if it would help me to know that she has never been able to have any children.

I looked at her so confused and shocked at the question. If I took the question at face-value, then the answer would have to be an emphatic NO! How could knowing that she has never been granted the desire of her heart make me feel better? It just brings more sorrow to my heart that she has never experienced motherhood. It hurts my heart that bringing babies here has to be so hard. In so many ways, it is so, so hard. Hard to conceive them, hard to carry them, hard to birth them, hard to raise them. It is hard and knowing that she hasn’t ever been able to give birth to or adopt one of her own babies just breaks my heart.

If I don’t take the question at face-value and try to read beneath the stated words, I think she might have been saying (in a kind and trying to be helpful way) that I shouldn’t be sad for my lost babies, that I shouldn’t grieve for them, and I shouldn’t talk about miscarriage because there are people who have never even been able to get pregnant at all. I shouldn’t feel badly because, for heaven’s sake, I have four living, breathing, beautiful children who I get to hold in my arms every single day.

I don’t know that that is how she meant it. I know she was trying to help me feel better. But it doesn’t make me feel better to know others suffer also and I don’t believe there is anything wrong with sharing my story, sharing my pain with others so that they might know they have someone to talk to, someone that acknowledges that miscarriage is real and can be painful and heartbreaking. I don’t want any miscarrying mama to feel alone and it breaks my heart that so many do. I want to somehow give babies to all the mamas who want them and have all the miscarriages for the miscarrying mamas so they don’t have to hurt as I have hurt. I want to relieve the pain and suffering of the world.

But I can’t.

We each have to walk our own path and learn our own lessons.

And so this night, I pay tribute to the mamas of the world. The mamas who have yearned and prayed and cried and hollered and pleaded and accepted and learned and doubted and loved and lost. All the mamas who have ever lived.

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pregnancy and infant loss

Oct 15, 2011 by

October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I never knew that until this week.

It is also our anniversary.

Kind of ironic, don’t you think?

Richard and I have lost ten of our babies through miscarriage.

The experience of creating children and then losing them before we hold them has been a large part of the past ten years of our lives. When we miscarried our twins back in October of 2001, we had no idea that we would live that experience over and over in the coming years. We had no idea we would be going through the bleeding, cramping, crying, and raging at the heavens repeatedly. We had no idea we would be able to listen to and support others who are experiencing the same thing. We had no idea how prevalent miscarriage is and how silent our world is about it.

Miscarriage is a taboo subject. People talk about it in whispers. People poo-poo the pain of it and hope it isn’t brought up in pleasant conversation again.

Well, folks, miscarriage is real. It happens every day to families in all walks of life and it hurts, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Miscarriage led me down a path of grief, pain, and despair. I railed at God and begged Him to never ever let me get pregnant again if I wasn’t going to be able to mother. I withheld my heart from the joy of life in an effort to protect myself. I turned to anger as a shield. I gave up hope of ever having another child. And then after five miscarriages in the almost two years between October 2001 and July 2003, I turned my uterus over to Him and decided to embrace life and my ability to create life with Richard. I decided to let go of the anger, the judgment, the pain, and to just be.

And then I miscarried again in December and could not understand why. I thought to myself “I have been down the spiritual path. I have let God heal my heart. I have experienced the grieving process and come out the other side with more faith, more submission, more hope, so now what am I to learn?”

I think I needed to learn it for real. To see if I would hold to those lessons I had learned when it happened again. Through the grace of God I did. His grace sustained me and made me whole.

Now we have added two more children to our clan and four more miscarriages.

I am grateful for this path. I have learned much and have been privileged to help others on this same path. I would never have wished to lose our babies, but I can see the blessings I have received through these experiences.

I know that God loves me and works for my greatest good. I know He has a plan for my babies and hope to someday understand exactly what that plan is.

To everyone who has lost babies, please know I am praying for you today. I pray for your healing of both body and spirit and that you will be able to celebrate life once again.

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it’s all coming together

Jun 8, 2011 by

I am a researcher…I crave information…so when this lump showed up I, of course, started studying everything about breasts, lumps, tests, treatment, and outcomes.

I have felt for awhile that my estrogen levels were sky high…I haven’t felt right since my miscarriage last fall. I have known for years…since my post-partum days after Keziah…that my progesterone levels were low. Back then my luteal phase was 1-2 days!

I have known my liver struggles to metabolize toxins when I am pregnant and have wanted to do a liver cleanse for years, but since I have always either been pregnant or nursing for the past fifteen years, I have put it off.

With each of my ten miscarriages, I have slowly come to see that something is terribly amiss with my body. But, I have failed to see the big picture. I have failed to understand that all of this is connected.

What I am starting to understand now is that my estrogen levels have most likely been high for years…that in turn has worn my liver right out (proof: vomiting throughout all my pregnancies, inability of my body to metabolize medicines, exhaustion, strong aversion to smells, liver coming up on every health evaluation I’ve had in the past fifteen years, blood-sugar regulation issues, and passing out) and this has made it even more difficult for my liver to metabolize the excess estrogen.

With my hormones so out-of-kilter, I have had a very hard time staying pregnant and now that I am immersed in this research I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the four children I have been able to get here…and am in awe of the miracle of it all. The downside is that each pregnancy has further burdened my liver and my estrogen imbalance has grown.

Now my breasts are full of estrogen and estrogen has a special job of stimulating cell growth…multiplication of cells. Unfortunately, estrogen can’t tell the difference between healthy cells and abnormal cells, so it directs all the cells to multiply. Read this article to get a better understanding than I can give you.

Prepare yourself for this final analysis…it’s huge and it’s real and it scares the bejeebies out of me.

A Johns Hopkins study found that premenopausal women with estrogen dominance have a 540% increase in breast cancer than women without estrogen dominance.

Pretty big number, eh?

That is me. I now know I have had estrogen dominance and a weak liver for years. I see how all these seemingly unrelated symptoms are all very related and I am ready to heal my liver, balance the hormones, and get the excess estrogen out of my breasts.

It’s time.

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t-i-m-i-n-g

Jan 25, 2011 by

I have found that just as love for other people is actually spelled T-I-M-E, love from God is often spelled T-I-M-I-N-G.

~ Emily Black

Is this not true? I can remember so many times when God gave me a blessing at the exact time I needed it. He sent Richard into my life when I was living in a home surrounded by love and the gospel and I was open to being taught that men were not the most horrid creatures to ever walk the earth. He sent me Blythe when I was mostly healed of my anger and craziness. He gave me Tami and Camille to get through my childhood. So many times, notes of love have arrived right in the midst of crises. So many times, hugs have been given when I felt I couldn’t go on. So many times, a message of hope has been given when all my hope was gone. So many times, the miracle we have prayed for has come…at just the right time.

I think back to when Keziah was little. We wanted to have another baby and we knew we had a little red-headed boy coming. I started miscarrying my babies. We didn’t know why it was happening at all and especially didn’t understand why it kept happening. We had six miscarriages in a row. We went through a long spiritual journey of anger, grief, faith, hope, more grief, more anger, and finally peace about the whole thing. Finally we became pregnant with Fisher and it turns out it was at just the right time.

When we became pregnant with Annesley, it certainly did not feel like the right time. We were in the midst of our business closing and were under a lot of stress. She turned out to be the perfect thing to keep our thoughts focused on family and hope and God and goodness when we easily could have become bitter and enraged at the situation we were in (okay, I did turn somewhat bitter and enraged, but no where near to the degree I would have had I not had a baby to focus on).

I think of God’s timing a lot. I want His timing to be my timing, but I am learning to trust Him and His greater vision for my life. I am grateful for His love for me. I am even more grateful for His knowledge of me and what I really need and when I really need it. His wisdom and goodness bless me each day.

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it was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Dec 30, 2010 by

(I am reading The Tale of Two Cities…hence my title. What can I say, I am greatly influenced by the books I read and this year has certainly felt like the best and worst.)

Twenty-ten is drawing to a close. I am a tad bit surprised that we made it through. As I think back, I realize we have only made it through because of the grace of God, his army of angels, both heavenly and earthly, and a lot of hard work.

Worst of times?

* Richard working 80-90 hours a week to pay the mortgage, buy groceries, heat the house, pay for gas, etc.

* Tracy miscarrying for the tenth time. We really don’t know if we can continue trying to have children. We feel strongly there are more babies for us out there. We can feel the presence of a wild little boy. We feel so sure that we are not out of the baby stage yet. And yet, they don’t make it here into our arms. The heartbreak of miscarriage can be overwhelming at times. I am able to talk about it. I am able to deal with it. But, late at night, laying in my husband’s arms I cry. I sob. I break. I lose trust in God. I forget the blessings. I give up hope. I feel like a failure. I give up on my body. I scream. Ten babies…am I up to trying again?

* The master bedroom being in utter chaos for pretty much the entire year and me not taking the time or having the emotional strength to face it.

* Five vehicular collisions…three with other vehicles, one with a great horned owl, and one with a large rock.

* The financial pressures we are under are almost too much to bear. I am so tired of it all. I am tired of debt and stress and the whole juggling act. I so wish we could start over. I so wish I understood then what I understand now. I so wish my bad choices weren’t the cause of this misery. I know that lots of the problems aren’t from my bad choices, but enough is that the guilt has at times felt as if it would devour me.

Best of times?

* Richard surviving his work schedule.

* Being blessed with food to eat and money to pay our bills at just the right moments. We have been immensely blessed by angels here on earth and by miracles that were worked out above by unseen hands. We have had food to eat every day, a warm home to sleep in, vehicles to drive, and money to use. It makes no sense to me how it has worked and it doesn’t add up on paper, but it has. God is real and He knows exactly what we need. He also has a whole force of people here on earth that have decided our welfare is their priority and they have literally loved us, fed us, and given us hope when we were completely out of hope. I put on a happy face for the world, but I toss and turn all night long wondering how to make it work, wondering how to solve our financial strains, wondering and praying and pleading with God. For those of you who have helped, thank you. Thank you from way down deep in our little toes, we couldn’t have made it without you.

* Being surrounded by friends who give hugs, clean out chaos, share epiphanies, give rides, bless me with their sewing, share smiles, offer encouragement, are patient with my foibles, love my children, teach me truths, laugh with me, join me in my save-the-world projects, plow out my driveway, vacuum my vehicle, listen, listen, and listen some more, take my phone calls at midnight, sneak in and clean my kitchen, and most of all, surround me with love. I can’t tell you how much you mean to me. Thank you for being my friends. I love walking this mothering journey with you.

* Attending Fiddler on the Roof!!! Our favorite play at our favorite place…once in a lifetime experience!

* Attending MAT camp this summer and seeing my children learn and grow as musicians was a huge highlight of our year.

* Green Canyon swim camp…super fun!

* Camping at Green River Lakes…favorite part of my year and one I simply cannot live without.

* Teaching 80 students gymnastics each week…what a blast it is to help children discover their amazing bodies!

* Teaching Math Alive! each week. It has been a ton of work, but so fun to see mathematical concepts come alive in these children’s minds and hearts.

* Reading books at Story Station each week. I love, love, love reading out loud to children!

* Putting on the 1st Annual Homeschool Read-A-Thon and earning thousands of dollars of books for a transitional housing unit’s library.

* Putting on Make-It-For-Maggie! What a great event. Thank you to my amazing friends for creating a miracle for Miss Maggie. You should see her now, she is preparing to start crawling!

* Completing the great-bedroom-rearrangement-project. It was long and arduous, but totally worth it!

* Helping my little sister give birth to Easton. What an honor to be part of her first birth. She was seven-years-old when she attended Blythe’s birth and now she is all grown up and having babies of her own. He is now three months old and about the cutest thing ever!

* Getting to take our whole family to Lagoon! Keziah had been praying and working for a trip to Lagoon for over a year and kept insisting we were going no matter what. I kept telling her it was absolutely impossible. Her little stubborn self refused to listen and kept insisting it would happen. Well, it did! A man gave us six free passes and all the children chipped in for gas and a picnic lunch and we had a great time. It was the first time we have gone as a family and it was so much fun! Everyone loved the rides and I loved watching everyone have fun. Being together is my biggest focus right now and this day of togetherness brought joy to heart. Thank you to Heavenly Father for working out this miracle for us!

* Blythe being in a Shakespeare production and growing as a person in so many ways. I am so grateful for her mentors and the experiences she has been able to have with our homeschooling community.

* Being hit by flying or skidding objects five times this year is a lot of collisions and a whole lot of chances for serious injuries to have occurred. The miracle is, they didn’t. We are all okay and there is no doubt in my mind that we were protected by God’s hand. Richard could have been taken from us, the owl could have come through our windshield, the rock could have lodged in my head…any of those things could have happened, but they didn’t and I know why. I know that we have been preserved for a reason. I am humbled to my core when I think about all of these accidents and realize what might have been.

* My extended family has spent a whole lot of time together this year…pretty miraculous. There has been a lot of distance…both physical and emotional…between us and I never dared to hope for the miracle that has happened. We have spent time camping together, almost a week together at Thanksgiving, and lots of time at Christmas. I think my Grandma is pulling some strings up above and bringing us all back together.

* We were able to attend The Christmas Carol at Hale Centre Theatre for the first time in years. What an amazing Christmas gift! I attended this play almost every year from about 1990 to 2006. Then when we lost our business, there just wasn’t enough money to justify it. We have missed it ever since and the girls have longed to go again. This year my mom took us and we had such a marvelous day experiencing the magic of Scrooge’s transformation. Being gifted a trip to see the play that epitomizes learning to give and bring others joy was all the more special.

* On top of all these big things, there have been a gazillion little things that aren’t little at all, they just never make the front page because they are that sensational. Nevertheless, they are just as or perhaps more important than the big things. I remember times I was prompted to say something to one of my children and it has changed their heart, times they have prayed and known their prayer was answered, times when we have felt the Holy Spirit as a family, times I have been guided into a certain store to find just what we needed at a fabulous price, times when siblings have served one another, times when a phone call has come at just the right moment, times when I was prompted to read a book and it has been exactly what one of my children needed to hear, times when I was given a message in a talk or lesson that was just the principle I needed to understand, times when I have poured out my heart to the Lord and known He was listening, times when I have been able to put aside my natural ways and be a loving wife, times when I have known just how to teach something to my children and they have got it, times when I have been patient and kind, times when I have felt hopeful, times when forgiveness has been experienced. There have been times things have just worked…when they shouldn’t have. Times when it is clear God has fixed something or provided something and the only possible answer is “God did it” – it is like He is signing His hand and teaching us that He is completely aware of us, our needs AND our wants.

* The atonement is real. Absolutely, 100%, miraculously (how many times can I use that word in this post?) real. Now I just need to learn to accept this gift in my life and to really, truly give my heart and my guilt and my pain to my Savior.

* This year, more than any other, I have realized the sacred stewardship I have as a mother. I have seen where I am falling short…oh, so short…but I am learning to listen to God above to teach me how He wants me to nurture these children He has blessed me with. At times I wish I could go back in time and start all over again, but I can’t and so my children are just going to have to learn patience with me as I learn how to mother them. Maybe I will figure it out by the time I am a grandma.

* I am grateful, so grateful, that my relationship with my husband is still intact. We still love each other, we still do nice things for one another, we still love to snuggle up, and he still gives me that look that tells me he adores me. With as much as he is gone from our home, I have been deeply worried that we would grow apart. It has happened a little and at times I have completely forgotten to put him first, but we are learning to spend time together, to talk during the day when he can, and to keep giving our hearts to each other. It is hard. Marriage is hard in the best of circumstances and in our situation of seeing one another very little, it has been incredibly difficult. I am proud of us and am vowing to do even better at loving this man who means everything to me. He needs me and I need him and we must keep close for there to be peace in our hearts and in our home.

Reading over this, I must say, it is clear that God is blessing us, preserving us, and teaching us. It has been a miraculous, growth-filled year, full of blessings and full of love.

God bless us, God bless us everyone.

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thankful thursdays – 11/25 – thanksgiving day

Nov 25, 2010 by

* My Heavenly Father and His plan for not only me, but for each of His children.
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* Jesus Christ – his love for me, his atoning sacrifice that allows me to repent, his knowing of who I am and what I need, his great mercy for my many shortcomings, his example to me of goodness, and his yearning for me to take His hand and trust Him completely.
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* My Richard. He is so patient with my foibles, my demands, and my ineptness. He teaches me over and over again what it really means to love someone and how you treat someone when you see them as a person and not as a tool or an object. He is the best thing in my life and I don’t treat him nearly as well as I should.
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* My four beautiful children that have changed my heart, forgiven my mistakes, and taught me what kind of woman I want to be.
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* Today I am grateful for my ten miscarriages (don’t get me wrong, I am not always grateful for them). Losing babies repeatedly has made me appreciate life, all forms of life, in a tender, awe-struck way. It has helped me have the knowledge and understanding to reach out to numerous families that are miscarrying and need a listening ear along with a loving heart. I am thinking of all my babies tonight for some reason and missing them. Missing being pregnant. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to carry these precious spirits inside of me and to feel of their goodness. It has changed who I am and today I am grateful for that.
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* My family came for Thanksgiving and we have had a wonderful time eating, playing games, talking, sleeping, eating, laughing, and more eating. They went to the store and bought oodles of food and then mom spent all night and morning preparing a wonderful feast. We all helped, but mom was the hero of the day and orchestrated the whole process so everything was done at the same time and tasted delicious.
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* I have the best friends in the world! I cannot list out the amazing things they do for me and with me, but I want each of them to know they have been more of a support than they can ever know. They have loved me, rescued me, taught me, challenged me, humored me, fed me, massaged me, cleaned with me, laughed with me, and edified me. Their love has helped me stay sane and their hugs have given me a place to cry. I am so grateful to be surrounded by amazing women who form a circle of sisterhood around me.
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* A warm home. Can you imagine being out in this frigid weather? I am so grateful to be inside, warm and cozy.
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* My trials. Yes, it is true, going through hard stuff does bless us and help us on our life journey. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned and the person I have become because of my past. I am grateful to God for helping me replace bitterness with understanding, hatred with love, and despair with hope. This life is exactly what we need to become who we were created to be. I know this is true, but I sometimes forget!
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* My bathtub. It is so luscious to sink down into warm water and shut the world out for a few minutes. I had a lovely bath this morning and Mikelle and Easton are in there now. Big, comfortable bathtubs are such a treat for exhausted mamas!
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I love Thanksgiving. I dearly miss our huge family gatherings with my Grandma and wish that tradition and her life could have continued for all my days. But it couldn’t and I am so grateful my family has come to my home to celebrate with us.

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number ten and the saga of the hair gone bonkers

Sep 2, 2010 by

I haven’t wanted to talk about this. I haven’t been willing to face it. I haven’t wanted to admit it. But now, I feel I must be open and honest about events of recent days.

I was pregnant. I wasn’t excited about it. Although I want a baby desperately and much of my life revolves around figuring out the mystery of how to help my body stay pregnant, at this moment in time I was not excited. I kept thinking, “How will I be able to support Blythe in Shakespeare if I am giving birth right during her play? How will I do gym? How will I get my children to their classes that they are so excited about? How will I teach classes at iFamily? How will I tell all 75 of my gym students I cannot teach? How will I break my contract with the gym? Will they let me or will I have to pay them rent even if I am not using it? How will I homeschool my children? How will I ever survive the months of throwing up, the constant feeling of needing to throw up, the heartburn, the pelvic pain, the possibility of my midwife not attending me, the cost of having a baby, the reality of Richard working 12 hour days, six days a week. How will I meet the needs of my other children? How, how, how?”

I was overwhelmed at first. I knew I had ovulated twice and I was doubly worried about having twins. I mean, I think twins are fun and all that, but I was full of fear that my body simply would not be able to carry twins successfully. That I literally would be unable to walk because of my pelvic issues. That I would not be able to do it. The big IT, meaning everything that every mother makes bigger than it really is when we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the hugeness of our responsibilities as mothers.

Then I started to get excited. I started thinking that because of a quite miraculous conception, a full week after my fertility signals had disappeared, that God must have intended this baby to stay. I started to be full of hope that this time, this pregnancy would not end as so many other pregnancies have ended for us, but that we would actually get to hold this baby or babies in our arms. I began making adjustments in my life to accommodate for this life inside of me. I began to embrace the idea of pregnancy.

And then, the bleeding started.

Once again, I was miscarrying one of my children.

Parts of me were relieved. Relieved that I didn’t have to make all those adjustments. Relieved that my children’s lives could go on normally. Relieved that Blythe’s Shakespeare play wouldn’t be effected.

Part of me was devastated. Devastated that I would not be seeing this child, would not be holding him in my arms. Would not be nursing him. Would not be watching him grow.

But most of me? Most of me felt guilt. Horrible, gut-wrenching, knife-stabbing, take my breath away guilt. Guilt that I had rejected a child of God. Guilt that I had put temporal worries in front of being a mother. A MOTHER. What I know I was born to be. Guilt that this child felt unwanted and so he left.

So I stuffed all of these feelings deep down inside and went on with life like nothing had happened. I told very few of my friends. I didn’t want anyone to know what I had done. I didn’t even tell my mom, who I tell everything too. I kept bleeding and I went on with life as if nothing had happened.

It was too overwhelming to face.

And then I decided to get my hair lowlighted to add in a little bit of light brown and make my hair look more natural instead of the super blond it has been all summer.

The light brown turned black, navy blue, grey, and red.

We tried to lighten the darkest parts and they turned orange. Bright orange.

We tried to darken the orange parts and they turned dark brown and so not a lovely color of dark brown. At this stage, I also had a two inch white streak in the front of my hair with crayola marker red mixed in. Bimbo-city is what my hair was screaming to the world.

I was completely befuddled. What on earth was going on with my hair? Why was it not turning the right colors or even the right tones? What did I need to do to fix it?

I called my good friend Melissa, who is a cosmetologist and does foot zoning, and explained the whole hair situation to her. She immediately asked what was going on in my life. I told her “nothing, nothing out of the ordinary. Just the usual amount of busyness, getting ready for gym, iFamily, etc.” She probed deeper and asked “what is going on hormonally.” Again, I said “nothing.” Then, I finally admitted that I had just miscarried. She jumped on that idea and said “Tracy, those hormones are making your hair do this. I am sensing you are not dealing well with the miscarriage, that you don’t want to admit it, that you don’t want to face it and now your body is calling to you to notice what is going on, to acknowledge the pregnancy and the loss of the pregnancy.”

Immediately, I knew she was right. I thought of the day before when Amy had kindly said “We need to get you another bead for your miscarriage necklace and I reacted so strongly and said “NO, no, I don’t want another bead. I don’t want anyone to know. I don’t want to have a tenth bead hanging on my neck.” I thought of how I hadn’t told even my mother. I thought of how I was just moving on with life as if nothing had happened.

So, now we knew why my hair was behaving so erraticlly, but we still didn’t know what to do about it. Every person we consulted with said we needed to stop processing it. Stop adding chemicals to it or it would all fall out. I thought “We can’t stop now! Not at this bimbo stage. No hair must be better than bimbo hair. I cannot go out in public and portray myself as a Latter-Day Saint woman and mother of four with hair like this. I simply cannot. Shaving it all off would be a better option.”

So we decided to consult with lots more people, getting different opinions from each one. We finally decided to fill the white parts with a copper color and then to dye the whole thing brown.

It worked…kind of…it went much darker red than we thought and it went much darker brown than it should have. But it is all the same color…mostly…and I don’t look like a bimbo. So it worked, right?

Brown Hair

This has been a big lesson for me to learn. My body and my emotions cannot be separated. I cannot ignore what is going on with me at the deepest levels and expect my body to be okay with that. I cannot hide from it, for it will come out in some way.

It is pretty interesting that I was not willing to face the miscarriage and now I have to look in the mirror and face it everyday.

Our bodies are amazing creations. They speak to us even when we are not listening. They present lessons to us even when we don’t want to learn.

I will now admit it.

I have lost ten babies. Ten. TEN. It is overwhelming to me to think of it.

But now, I also feel surrounded by love. The love of all those children. The love of a Heavenly Father that has allowed me to be a co-creator with Him for fourteen babies and that somehow, somehow, I have four that have come to earth and are spending their days learning with me.

I no longer believe I drove this baby away. I believe he loved me enough to come again when it will work better for our family. For his family.

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missing children

Feb 21, 2010 by

Today at church someone said “Aren’t you missing one of your children?” I tried to hide the shock I felt and stuff down the tears that were emerging and responded “Nope, they are all here.” He said, “Really? Just four – I thought you had more.” “Nope, just four.” said with as big of a smile as I could muster.

Then he said “Are you done?”

Whoooaaaahh. I tried to act relaxed and like it wasn’t cutting me to the core. I said “I don’t know, we are waiting to see what God says about that.” It’s the best I could do – I certainly wasn’t going to explain anything to this man standing in the foyer with me, but I wanted to be truthful without being emotional, flippant, or bitter. I tried to answer the questions simply without any fanfare. I think I succeeded, but I don’t know for sure.

Because yeah, there are some missing. And these questions were just too close to home.

I think of the twins we miscarried back in 2001. Little girls with curly blond hair and blue eyes. After we lost the first twin, I believed I was okay emotionally because I thought, “At least I am still pregnant with this one. Something must have been wrong with that baby, but at least I will get to keep this one.” Then we miscarried the second twin on Keziah’s first birthday at the exact same time as her birth. It was the same length as her labor and was just as intense. These were our first two miscarriages and I was in shock. Total shock. I remember crying my eyes out with my friend Delinda and wondering how I would ever make it through this. I remember her wise counsel to take time to grieve and to let my grieving be as intense or as mild, as long or as short as it needed to be. I remember being grateful when it was all over because now I could move on and have another baby…because of course it would never happen again. How little I knew.

I think of the baby the next July, then November, then another the next July, then again in December. I think of the two babies we lost after Fisher. Those were quite the surprise because all the luteal phase issues were fixed. Didn’t matter – babies were still not making it into our arms.

I think of the baby this last October and the sobering reality that hit me that this is who I am. A mother who miscarries babies over and over and over. A mother that can’t stay pregnant even when there is nothing obviously wrong with her. A mother to nine babies that didn’t join her family on earth.

I know this man wasn’t trying to hurt me, he was just commenting that we seemed to be missing someone and the truth is we are.

Will there ever be more to fill our little family or are we done?

I don’t know, I really don’t know.

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two weeks out

Oct 19, 2009 by

It has been two weeks since the first sign of spotting. It is both disturbing and comforting to see that life goes on. It just keeps going on as normal for the rest of the world and even for me in many ways. Children need fed, dishes need washed, classes need taught, books need read, friends need nurtured, and the endless list of commitments doesn’t let up. It is almost as if this little life that was inside of me has been gone for ages. As I was contemplating this thought this weekend, I was depressed about it. I thought “It has only been 12 days and I don’t want life to just go on, I want to memorialize this baby, this journey. I want to shout it from the rooftops that my babies have lived and died.”

Another part of me does want life to go on. It is familiar. It is what I do. It is busy and distracting and fulfilling and a myriad of other things. I know life cannot stop because I had a miscarriage. I know many people don’t view it the same as the death of an already born human being. I know, I know, I know. I have done this over and over and I totally get that people have no idea what to say, people are too busy to even think of it after a few days, and life just goes on. It does. I get that and yet…I needed to do something to mark this passage of my life. I didn’t know what to do. I was at a loss. I wanted a way to remember.

In walks a miracle.

My friend, Jessica, gave me the most perfect gift ever. She had an etsy seller make me a miscarriage necklace that is simply precious.

I love it.

I mean, I really, really love it.

I am not a jewelry person, but lately I have been drawn to jewelry that speaks to my soul. My mother gave me a Crowning Necklace for my birthday last year and I treasure it. I wear it often and make sure I have it on when I want to be more me. It helps me feel more alive, more hopeful, and more grounded. I am stronger and surer when I wear it.

The necklace Jessica gave me is perfect. It has nine shimmery crystals on it for each of our nine babies that have come into my womb and never made it into our arms. I don’t want to take it off. It is the exact thing I would have chosen if I had had the presence of mind to be able to figure out what I needed; it is a symbol of their souls, it is exquisitely beautiful, and it allows me to share my story or not depending on my mood and current emotional state.

I know, absolutely know, she was guided by God to have this gift made for me, because He knew exactly what I needed to move forward with peace in my heart.

Miscarriage Necklace

Thank you Jessica – thanks for listening.

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