Not just a word anymore

Miscarriage. Almost 2 months ago, that was just a word to me. Miscarriage. I mean, I know several friends and family members who have had them, but I legit had no idea what all they entailed or what a miscarriage really was. I guess I just never gave it much thought or maybe it was that I had never heard anyone talk about their experience. I knew they were sad… But I had no idea the real depths of sadness this word carried with it until the moment we delivered our son at 11 weeks.

I have wanted to share our experience in writing, but every time I’ve sat down to write, I simply can’t. But tonight I laid down, and I was ready. November 11, 2020, Norah (our oldest, our 8 year old) came and laid with me in bed and told me she had the most incredible dream. She said that it was so real. She told me that in the dream Chris and I told her and her sisters we were pregnant. She went on and on about how real the dream felt. I kissed her forehead and told her that her dream sounded magical and I was so happy she had such a beautiful dream.

I wanted so badly for her dream to be true. While we weren’t actively trying to get pregnant, I have had such a strong desire for another child. Some days it felt so strong that it felt like someone was actually missing. We would be doing a craft or eating a meal and I would look around and just know someone was missing. The girls had been begging and praying and talking about a baby any chance they got. They wrote Santa and asked for a baby and told him even if it meant they didn’t get any other presents, they wanted me to be pregnant. 🥰

Two days later, it was Friday November 13th. I didn’t have any pregnancy symptoms yet, but a few other events had taken place that made me feel like there was more to Norah’s dream. I took a pregnancy test and those two pink lines showed up right away!!! So I took another☺️ Same thing! I was pregnant! Ahhhh!!! I honestly kind of freaked out and started shaking and was just so excited but also just like whaaaaa?! I texted two of my closest friends, and they both had the same reaction. “AMANDA!” I was so excited/nervous/excited! We were pregnant!!!

I remember walking downstairs and saying to Chris, “Hey, can I talk to you upstairs for a bit?” I knew he knew.🥰Chris’ reaction was different then any reaction her had ever had before. He took a deep breath and said, “Whoa, I feel weird.” He explained that he had never hoped for a son before but he really hoped, and almost just knew this was a boy. Then he explained that he had this really weird feeling that he didn’t want to tell me. That this would be different. That he didn’t want to scare me but he felt really weird. I kind of shook that off and we both decided to move on from that feeling and choose excitement. 

First bump pic I took of baby #5☺️

We told a few other family members in the following days but wanted to keep it a secret, especially from any of our friends from church or friends with children our girls’ ages, because we didn’t want it to accidentally get back to them and ruin the surprise we had planned. We decided telling the girls on Christmas and using their reaction to tell our friends and family would make for the most magical Christmas surprise ! Waiting to tell people was so hard for me because we’ve always gone public with our pregnancies the moment we find out, and I love telling my friends everything as soon as possible, but we so badly wanted to surprise the girls on Christmas! It was so worth the wait!!! I love pregnancy! And labor and breastfeeding and just all of it. The calling our midwife, the sorting through baby clothes, the dreaming of who that baby would be, the rearranging of car seats and bedrooms, and growing into new clothing, and just all of it! I was so excited to tell everyone!!!! 

We did the Sneak Peak blood test and on December 22 we found out our baby was in fact a BOY!!!! As in not a girl, but a boy😳 There was still part of me that was certain it would be another girl, and was so shocked to find out he was a HE. A few days earlier I had heard the name Shepherd and whispered it to Chris, just in case. With all of the girls we only ever had one name we agreed on and that was their name. We hadn’t been able to agree on a girls name at all this time around. I whispered, “What about Shepherd?” Chris looked at me with these wide eyes and was like, “Yasss! That’s so rad. I really like that.” I kind of felt like in that moment, as weird as it kind of felt, that we were pregnant with a boy and his name was Shepherd. We were right☺️

Christmas morning finally arrived. I have never been more excited for anything in my life!! Like I could hardly sleep thinking about the moment we finally got to tell the girls we were pregnant!!! They had been asking, well begging and praying and wishing and talking about their desire for another baby daily for months and months. We planned how we would tell them and it was pure magic! We saved this special present for last. We pretended like all the gift s had been opened and then Chris said, “Oh wait! Wasn’t there one more gift upstairs?!” I brought down a HUGE box that I had filled with special baby blankets, some baby clothing, and the ultrasound photo of our little man. The girls began to open it, thinking the blankets were for them and their babies. Then Norah opened the box with the ultrasound photo. She looked and me and gasped and brought her hands over her mouth. There were tears instantly. She said, “You’re pregnant?! You’re pregnant?! Are you?!” I began sobbing and telling her YES!!… That we were pregnant… And with a little brother!!! We held one another and we all just cried and hugged and laughed pretty much the rest of the day!

The surprise was met with the most beautiful excitement and was just one of the most incredible days of my life! I will never forget how magical that morning was!!! We recorded their reaction and shared that as our very special announcement! Our secret was out! We were going to welcome our first son July 2021!! 

The next few days felt like the most magical days of our whole lives! We told the girls we liked the name Shepherd, like right away and they all agreed they loved it and that it felt like them name of their baby brother!! I mean Ada might have suggested the name Bucket and Frankie the name Cimmanim, but Shepherd had the best ring to it ☺️ The girls were constantly rubbing my belly and saying, “Hello little brother” “Hello little Shepherd” “I’m your sister and, “I love you so much!” The next few days were full of excitement and celebration and also thrifting for baby things☺️ It was all just so amazing! Such a beautiful surprise and just such a special gift!!! 

December 27. We went to church and I was so happy everyone knew our fun secret! It was lots of hugs and congratulations and I just felt so happy!! We spent the day with friends and sanding down his crib! It was a free marketplace find I had found a few years back and gifted to a friend. We joked and I told her I would be asking to borrow it back if we ever had another baby. It was one of the first things I asked her once she knew☺️ I sanded and sanded, imagining what he would look like. I planned for him to have a special little nook in our room and maybe he would eventually sleep in his crib. We co-slept with our girls until… like now 😂 but I still wanted him to have a little crib and a special spot of his own.

Monday came around and felt this huge urge to pick out his middle name… Nothing felt like it fit. I started thinking of my favorite authors and books and then it hit me!!! LITTLE WOMEN! That’s our story! The girls share the same age gaps as the little March women from the story and it’s just so special to us. Their best friend in the book is the neighbor boy they all love so much. Theodore or Teddy or Laurie they call him. Theodore Laurence. Mr. Laurence’s grandson. Laurence. Shepherd Laurence. It just felt so right! Such a fancy little dude name🥰 The little man whom the 4 little women would love so very much! The girls loved it and Chris didn’t hate it which meant it was a go☺️👍 

That evening I began sharing his name with a dear friend who is also pregnant. They were picking out names for their baby as well. This part is always so magical to me! I love knowing our babies gender and naming them as soon as possible.🥰 It just makes me feel so connected and I just love it! She agreed Shepherd Laurence was just perfect!! I was laying down because I was feeling weird.  A few days before this, I had some spotting, but it was considered totally normal and any worry I had about it was covered in prayer and the worry was totally gone. It was just after dinner and I was having some strange cramping. I actually skipped eating because I felt so weird. But I didn’t think much of it. I was so close to our second trimester and just feeling weird and when you feel weird you should rest. So I was resting…

All of a sudden I felt a sensation I knew well. Something that I shouldn’t be feeling. I thought, there’s no way this is what I’m feeling! There’s no way that’s happening! Why would I be having this feeling?! My cervix was dilating. My labors are a bit bizarre in that I fully dilate to a 10 before I ever feel my contractions I know this very specific feeling and I know it to be the beginning of labor. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom. (Before you read any further, I want to disclose that I talk about our miscarriage in detail and it might be difficult for some to read, so please read with caution.) 

I looked down. Blood?! So much blood. This isn’t good! This isn’t spotting! This is different. This is bad. This is so, SO bad. This is that thing! This is that thing that can’t be happening!!! How can this be happening?!!! Blood. Not flowing, but gushing. I ran up the stairs and yelled for Chris. He joined me in our upstairs bathroom and neither of us had any idea what the next few hours would entail. 

I sat on the toilet and I went into labor. Real labor. Painful labor. Contractions, fluids, surges, and more blood than either of us has ever seen. I remember sobbing and screaming “NO!” Just over and over, “Nooooo, no, no, no NO!!!!” WHY?! Why was this happening?! I had never once feared losing our babies in pregnancy. Miscarriage was never even a thought in any of our pregnancies. I never struggled with fear or anxiety about anything being wrong with the girls while pregnant with them. I was always just excited and ready to get huge with all of them. This was the first pregnancy where I had spotted or even had a thought like something could be wrong. And now something was so, so wrong!!!

What was happening?!  Why was this happening?! Chris asked what he could do. I told him to go make sure the girls were ok and settled and protected from what was happening upstairs and then to just to sit with me. Contraction after contraction, I realized I was going to give birth. I won’t ever forget the sounds of blood gushing from me. I remember Chris listening, sitting right by me, and asking in the saddest voice if that sound was blood. With each contraction making that awful sound, I watched him just sigh. His head hanging down, not knowing what to do… We were both feeling something so new and so painful and what do you even do watching someone you love so much hurt in such a way.

I just cried and said it won’t stop😭 I knew I was going to deliver our son and there was nothing I could do to stop it. That one of these contractions was going to end with me delivering our son. I knew as soon as the contraction started it was it. I reached my hands underneath me, pushed as I contracted, and there he was. This tiny little motionless baby, our son. Our 11 week old son, Shepherd. Shaking and sobbing, I laid him on our counter. I said, “There he is. There’s our baby. That’s our son.” 

I think this is where I went into actual shock. I started uncontrollably shaking, and felt like I was freezing. The blood continued…The contractions continued. Oh right, I still have to deliver my placenta. I know this part too. A few more contractions and I delivered our placenta. I caught it as well. We rinsed everything off to get a better look and make sure Shepherd and our placenta were both accounted for. We were in shock but somehow also functioning. Up until this point, I was just focused on that moment. But I remember starting to think, “Oh God!!! We have to walk downstairs and tell the girls their brother is dead!” How do we tell our daughters that I just delivered their baby brother upstairs and they’re never going to meet him?! 😭 How?! How can this be possible?! We just picked out his middle name hours ago?! How is this happening?!

Chris helped me clean up. There was a lot to clean and I didn’t want the girls to have to see any of it. I put on a pad and a nightgown and proceeded to walk down the stairs feeling the most heavy feeling I still don’t have words for. We asked the girls to gather around. Their eyes were all so big. Norah started crying right away. They knew something was wrong. I put my hand on Norah’s leg. I told them that sometimes sad things happen and we don’t know why. That everyone dies at different ages and we don’t always know why. And that sometimes babies die in their mother’s tummies before it’s time for them to be born…. And that I was so, so sorry but I just delivered Shepherd, as he had died in my tummy. The way the girls looked at me… Those looks I don’t think I will ever forget😭 The way they all collapsed exclaiming no and asking why. It will haunt me forever. Their hearts were so broken. My heart was so broken. 

Just then, blood poured from me, covering my nightgown and our chair. I sobbed and apologized and ran upstairs needing to change fast. I wanted to hide my physical pain and what was happening from the girls but there was really no way to hide it.
I went and laid in my bed while Chris comforted and consoled the girls. I didn’t even remember this part until my mother asked Frankie a few days later what she got for Christmas. She said, “Some paint! And a puzzle! And a baby brother!… But then he died and mom got blood all over the chair… but Dad cleaned it up.” 😭  I hate that these are memories our girls have. That our 3 year old remembered this. This is just one of the many weird parts we have to learn to process to such an experience.

Watching them grieve has been one of the most difficult parts in all of this. They were so happy! They had such dreams too. Watching them experience grief and loss for the first time has been tremendous. I hate that they hurt so much😭 We are doing our best to help them and teach them and guide them, but watching them hurt is terribly painful. I feel so convicted to suffer well. To model for them how they can grieve and choose to react to the unexpected difficulties of life. I pray that in my choosing joy even when it’s hard, it greatly impacts the way they experience future hardships.

After the girls went to bed the night we lost Shepherd, I didn’t know what else to do except get on Instagram and start sharing. I was in shock. Legit shock. What are you supposed to do after you give birth to your dead son in your bathroom?😭 No one had ever told me that when you miscarry you actually go into labor or the trauma of holding your dead child in your hands. So many people asked what we did with his body and we don’t remember. I remember wrapping him up in toilet paper and perhaps we set him on the trash we were gathering all of the other birth matter in, or perhaps we set him back in the toilet with the rest of our after birth. We don’t know. We were in shock. And that is ok. We were never meant to experience such a thing. 

I learned after sharing our story that so many women are traumatized by this part of miscarriage. What do we do with our babies bodies? Friends shared that they also don’t remember or that they panicked and flushed their babies or that they put them in the freezer and have left them there not knowing what to do. Some friends buried their babies bodies or wrapped them up and burned them. What to do with your dead baby isn’t something any of us have probably researched…until after the fact. One of my friends talked about this with me and worded it exactly how I was feeling. There are two big losses to reconcile with at this point. We are grieving our child and all that goes with that and then the shame and pain that comes with feeling like how we reacted or responded was wrong. That in our shock and trauma, we didn’t give our babies what we wished we would have 😭 We wish we would have given them a better goodbye, a more proper burial. It’s all so traumatic and devastating. But we did our best. 

In the middle of our delivery, I called my sister in law who’s an ultrasound tech who deals with miscarriage a lot. I told her I thought we were losing him when it first began. She told me to prepare ourselves for a lot of blood loss. I also called our beloved midwife and she told us to prepare for a difficult postpartum. I don’t think anyone telling us this could have prepared us for the reality of blood loss we witnessed or the painful post partum experience awaiting us. It was nothing anyone had ever told me they had experienced before. How had I known so many people who had gone through this but not known how terrifying and traumatizing and incredibly messy and painful it all is.

More on how I’m physically healing-

I don’t think I had ever heard a single detail about miscarriage outside of, “we had a miscarriage”. I decided we have to talk about this. As women, sisters, friends, mothers, daughters. We have to talk about this and help one another! I felt this weird feeling and still do. Like how in 2020, can we be this unprepared, uneducated, and unequipped to experience such a thing… As a mother to 4 daughters, I pray they never experience this, but hope if they do, they will have me right there helping them through every moment. I hope everything I am doing with them now better prepares them for all the difficult things they may experience in life😭

Norah came and climbed into bed with me. I wept and wept and held her, wiping her tears. I felt such a deep guilt like I had just introduced them to some kind of pain I should have protected them from. So many new emotions and feelings to process. What she told me kind of shocked me. Norah told me she knew this was going to happen and she didn’t know how to tell me. She said as soon as I told her we were having a brother on Christmas morning, she felt really weird and knew we wouldn’t actually meet him. She told me several times after we shared our pregnancy with them that she was so scared this was going to be like Little House on the Prairie. In the show they finally welcome a little boy and he dies. I assured her several times that this wasn’t going to be like that. I promised her Shepherd was ok. I am still apologizing for making that promise. Norah said in her dreams she had been having, we never actually met the baby, except in one where we had a girl.
We talked about what a gift she has but how it must have been very scary and painful to feel the things she was feeling and feel alone in them. We have been reminding her that she doesn’t have to keep these feelings to herself ever, even if they’re weird or painful. We’re all learning to process so much.

I made the decision at that moment to share it all. The physical trauma. The emotional devastation. The ways we can maybe even prepare for miscarriage. There are so many layers of things we were grieving and are grieving and are going to grieve and I’ve never really heard them discussed past a surface level. I knew that whatever I was experiencing, I simply couldn’t be alone in it. I couldn’t be the only person to feel these things. And also I just couldn’t feel alone in it.  And I didn’t want anyone else I knew to go through this feeling alone. We weren’t meant to do any of this alone.

The next morning I woke up. I had that, “Maybe it was all a dream, hope-filled feeling”, which went away real fast with intense body cramps and more contractions. By the time I woke up, many of our friends had already gathered downstairs. All day Monday, friends were in and out of our home. With treats and gifts for Chris and I and the girls. With hand written letters for us and the girls. With meals and and prayers and healing oils and thoughtful treasures. Before lunch, we had no more room on our table for any more gifts. But they kept coming.😭And they never stopped. It’s been almost 2 months… and they haven’t stopped😭 

Our local community has wrapped us up and refused to allow us to feel alone. Friends I have never met in person from Instagram have sent teas and books and journals and homemade stuffed animals and quilts and crafts and homemade goodness and jewelry and self care products for all of us. People have shared poems and art and songs and personal stories, messages of such love and hope. And they still haven’t stopped😭  We haven’t felt alone and that has been one of the greatest treasures of my life. Something that I get to always have and has forever changed our hearts and the way we will respond to and love others. 

After I began sharing that we lost Shepherd, messages started coming in by the thousands. Messages from Poland, Brazil, Iraq, London, Saudi Arabia, England, New Zealand, Wales, Mexico, Australia, France, Chile, the Netherlands, Russia, Canada, India, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, Argentina, all over the US… Thise we’re just a few that signed their messages with “Love from….” I would take hours at a time to read and reply, just to see that it had barely made a dent in my inbox. Women from all over the world sharing with me their losses. Some saying they had never told anyone or shared details with me they hadn’t shared before😭 I knew I was supposed to keep sharing.

We went to Colorado to be with family and heal and I basically laid on a couch and read and answered messages for 4 days. My family knew I needed it. It was like therapy for me. To tell my story. To be heard. To hear other stories. To let people know they’re not alone. The girls played and played with their cousins, we ate delicious food, my mother loved on the girls and I was given the time and the space and the gift to process really heavy stuff in the way I felt I needed to process. And I will never stop feeling grateful for that. We celebrated Charlie turning 7 and there was that beautiful celebration and grief dancing together again.

In this time, I began having nightmares. I could hardly sleep. I would cry out and toss and turn and I’ve never struggled with nightmares like this. I understand how trauma works. My training as a therapist taught me all about it. But knowing something and knowing something  can often be quite different. I am still having vivid nightmares and difficulty sleeping, but am simply allowing my body to feel the things and heal and do what it needs to do. The physical pain I experienced afterwards was so intense and I am so grateful this part has healed. I wasn’t expecting to be in so much pain. I made the decision to wait a few weeks before I took anything for the pain. I didn’t want to numb what I was feeling or experiencing. Which sounds weird. But it’s what I needed. 

4 weeks after delivering Shepherd, I still had positive pregnancy tests. I just kept taking them. I didn’t want to see that line turn from 2 to 1. I never saw a negative test. I finally just stopped taking them. My body cramped and cramped and ached all over. It was the most painful post partum I have experienced yet. I never heard anyone talk about their bodies after miscarriage. How heavy but also how empty it would feel. How our bodies still think we’re pregnant. That my boobs and belly would continue growing and I would keep gaining weight. I didn’t know how weird it would all be. To have this little baby bump and no baby. To watch that bump that I was so excited to watch grow, get bigger and then to have to watch it fade away. It’s just such a weird pain. 

December 28, 2020 changed our lives forever. It has hurt in all the ways. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. It hurts. This was not the labor we had dreamed of. It was nothing we could have imagined. I love writing about our birth stories. But this one has not been anything like I imagined. I have grown to believe that the word miscarriage is terribly misleading.  It doesn’t seem strong enough a word to describe what actually happens. What is taken away from you. What you have to endure. What is out of your control.  What you have to grieve. We had to give birth to our dead son and then experience all the painful parts of post partum without that baby we so longed for.  Instead of holding our beautiful baby, we are left with intense loss and grief and are often met with this overwhelming sense of ‘get over it and move on it’s actually really common’. It just doesn’t feel right or ok in any way. The word miscarriage just feels like it misses it all.

Here’s the thing for me though. Even in this pain, even in our unexpected suffering, I have made the decision to choose joy. I have refused to allow bitterness or resent to creep into my heart. Several of my dear friends are pregnant, and I made the decision to refuse to let this loss rob me of the joy of celebrating my friends, their babies, and their joys. I have said no to comparison. I have said no to jealousy.  I have said no to self pity. I have said no to fear. I have seen what these things can do to people and I have already experienced such a devastating loss that I am not allowing these things to take even more away from me.

I am sad. I am so, so sad. And that is ok. Grief is normal and brings with it all kinds of stuff to work through. It triggers old trauma, creates new trauma, and those things aren’t really avoidable. I am sad. I am grieving many things. And I am allowing myself to feel and process all of it. I am learning new ways to heal. But I am not ok with things that create no good fruit robbing me of more than grief already is. This might not be the case for everyone, but I have chosen joy and even in this pain, I feel loved and peace and comfort.

I am experiencing many new emotions, but I get to choose how I will react to them. We have 4 incredible daughters. Like, they’re just the coolest really. We can grieve and still experience all the goodness that is in front of us. They’re learning so much from us and I want them them to learn things that will help them in so many ways. We cry a lot. We visit and we pray and we bathe and we cuddle and we play and we read and we learn and we bake and we jump and we sing and we dance and we cry. We laugh and we grieve and it’s all intertwined. It’s not a this or that thing for us but more like a lot of this and a lot of that.  

I remember the morning after losing Shepherd well. Norah lost a tooth. There was so much joy intertwined with such sadness. She was so happy! The girls were all so proud! She had lost her 9th tooth they kept exclaiming and telling everyone who came over! There was such an excitement even amongst such tragedy and I realized that was such a beautiful picture of life. Sorrow and joy and devastation and excitement, all happening at the same time… and all experiences to be shared with one another.

This was the first little onesie I thrifted for our little dude. So teeny and so sweet!

The 28th of February will mark 2 months since losing Shepherd. Every day there are painful and devastating reminders that I am no longer carrying our son. The girls longed for a sibling so much. To see their excitement about their little brother move from pure joy to their first intense loss, has been terribly painful. So many of the things we are experiencing have been  so unexpected and hurt in a way I haven’t experienced before. Chris is hurting in so many new ways and he will share his perspective on all of this soon.

Through all of this, the girls have been incredible. Home education has blessed us in so many ways, but it has allowed us to grieve in such a special way. To slow down and be fully present with one another. To make comforting meals, and spend hours on the trampoline, or hours snuggled up reading and playing card games. To talk about grief and loss and our dear Shepherd. We have been able to retreat and heal in a way that has been such a gift.  

I hate that they have had to learn about grief and loss in this way. But I am so grateful that we can show them that it is ok to hurt and teach them healthy ways to process and heal. I am so grateful that they have experienced the love they have from our community. They have been loved so well and have been given such an incredible example of how they can serve and love others who are hurting. A treasure they can take with them for the rest of their lives. I sometimes can’t help but think of the people who will benefit from their love years down the road because of the ways they have experienced love first hand. I say the word treasure a lot. But this really is. 

Soon after we lost Shepherd, a friend reached out to me and asked if I would want to document this experience. I didn’t even think twice about it. I needed to. I wanted to have photos of his space I was creating for him. His crib and his blankets and the special things I had purchased for him. I wanted pictures of the space where I delivered him. That space won’t feel the same again. Isn’t it wild how experiences can transform a space so much…

I wanted photos of me in the dress Norah picked out before she knew I was pregnant but suggested I size up, just incase I were to grow. ❤️ I got the dress knowing I was pregnant and was so excited to tell her! On Christmas morning when I asked if we could take a family photo, Norah squealed, “Ooooh! Go put on your fancy new dress!” And I was so excited to!! These are not the images I imagined taking in this dress. But I am glad I have a space to share my heart and what we are experiencing.

I wanted to give people visuals to relate to. Those moments that get tucked away and many are left experiencing alone. The weird things we think and feel and don’t know how to communicate them. The moments we will always remember but don’t know to share with people. An empty crib… The precious baby things you have to put away. The place I giggle with and wash our daughter’s hair is also the place I stood and watched the blood from the loss of my son leave me. The place where my husband and I brush our teeth and pinch each other’s butts and flirt with one another, is also the place we sat and felt parts of ourselves forever leave us. I didn’t want to to forget these things. Right afterwards, I remember crying and thinking, I guess if it had to happen, I am happy it happened at home and with Chris and that friends were at our home within minutes😭 I didn’t have to be alone, and we were able to have our 4th home birth. I got to deliver our son at home and with my husband, and part of me felt so grateful. And then I felt so weird for feeling that way because we delivered our dead son and man…even thinking and saying those words is hard, ya know.

I wanted photos of the first things I thrifted for him, the things I that reminded me of how I imagined him. As the world moved on and time passed, I wanted to remember all of it and have a way for others to help remember and process and heal as well. I had imagined his little arm rolls and slobbery giggle and how smitten the girls would be with him. I would hold his blankets and just cry feeling so happy we were going to have another baby. A son. Can I tell you something? One night right after finding our he was a boy, I couldn’t sleep. I was so afraid. I felt all these new fears I hadn’t felt with the girls like, what if he liked Eminem😂😭 We had to introduce him to the best music just to try our best. 😭 I can laugh but that was like a legit thing I lost sleep over. I’m still losing sleep, but it’s so real different now😭

I want these images to be a way to connect us all and help us remember that it’s ok to grieve. That it’s ok to feel weird things and to not be ok sometimes. I want to play a role in taking away the shame and stigmas that surround miscarriage and so many forms of loss.

I want these images to serve as a reminder for so much. I want them to serve as a reminder that we have a son. His name is Shepherd and he is with Jesus. And I believe one day I will hold him. I will see him and his sisters playing and laughing and I will get to see his smile and hear his voice and know the color of his hair. And I truly hope that in our sharing this part of our story, others find peace and support and healing. My prayer is that no woman would have to feel alone in such loss. That women who have held onto negative things that are hurting them will be able to let them go and heal.

I am no stranger to grief. I know it well, but the unexpected loss of our son has felt so different than any other loss I have felt. There are about 74826229 things I am leaving out. So much more I want to say. I could write a book. Maybe I will. But I want this to end with asking you to love those around you. To share your stories. To know that you are not alone and that you and your experiences truly matter. If you are hurting I want you to be empowered to pursue healing. If you see people hurting, I pray you feel equipped to love them. I pray that this makes someone feel less alone and more seen. I pray that Shepherd’s beautiful little life gets to impact so many people in positive ways. I want to remind you that there are still cozy beds to be made and rainbows to be seen and so much goodness to be experienced.

I don’t know why it’s so difficult to stop writing. It feels like another end. Another end of something I just wasn’t ready to be over. We truly thank you friends for taking the time to read this. For giving us this space to process and seek healing. For taking the time to pray for us, to think of us, to sit with us, to talk with us, to message us, to reach out and love us extra these last 2 months. We have truly felt so supported and loved and are just so very thankful for all of it. 

I don’t really know how to end such a post. Maybe I should say something inspirational? That feels right. If you are hurting, please allow yourself to feel and to grieve, to process and to heal.. But I ask that in your grief, you don’t lose sight of all of the goodness around you. Honor those who have gone too soon by loving others better and pursuing justice harder and maybe being more present and working on changing the things you want to change and maybe learning that thing you’ve been wanting to learn. We’re still here which feels like we have stuff to do. Let’s do the stuff friends, even when it hurts and it’s hard…. and let’s not do it alone. 🤎

Thank you Meggan for taking these photos and giving us such a gift. These have allowed me to share my heart in so many ways.

Thank you to everyone person who has come along side us in all of this. For any and every part you played in helping us heal and feel less alone, thank you!😭🤎