Category Archives: miscarriage

Learning to swim, learning to love

Last month, B swam a few proper strokes with his face down and holding his breath in the water. No big deal, right?  Yet something this trivial was a breakthrough after years of stops and starts.

B loved water since young, and I was so inspired by this book, I tried to follow it but failed miserably. Our swim time together was constantly interrupted with my string of early miscarriages, full time work, frequent travel, and lack of “substitutes” – aka the grandparents who also faced several health setbacks.  That led to a 1.5 year hiatus where B lost water confidence and regressed to saying “I can’t swim,” “don’t want to wet my face” and “too scared.” At parties, B’s friends would dive in pools and take big water slides, and he’d feel left out… So this year, we decided to try again. I intentionally planned more water play, bath tub or pool time together, and hubby signed them both up for Saturday morning class, which proved great 1-on-1 time to bond too.  There were happy tears when he passed his latest Duckie level last month, and is transitioning to learn freestyle and breaststroke – swimming on his own!

B’s journey to learn to swim made me think about my journey to learn to love in our marriage. As we celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary today, I’m reminded how tough marriage is when you bring two imperfect people together in an imperfect world. We start highly motivated with great intentions and textbook ambitions but life’s ups and downs get in the way. We tend to compare with others, only to feel shortchanged or discouraged. We lose faith and confidence, think and eventually say negative things. We’re tempted to quit after all the pit stops and detours as the effort seems too time consuming, emotionally draining, isolating – and too often, not worth it.

But the breakthrough comes when we presevere. Be it a challenging milestone or moments in marriage, don’t give up for it’s never too late to turn things around.

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Don’t stop believing

Recently, I was asked by a mom of multiple kids whom I’d just met: “Just one boy? Don’t you want more kids?!”

Sigh. If only she knew.

After missing my otherwise regular period by a week, feeling early pregnancy symptoms, testing and retesting, I suspect I’ve had a chemical pregnancy. I’ve not felt our ongoing failure to conceive again so acutely since last year’s miscarriage. Honestly, it’s hard NOT to be emotional when you’re surrounded by friends who are pregnant or just delivered. I would say I’m a fairly resilient and independent gal, but perhaps, there’s more to it all than to keep monitoring my cycles closely, timing it right (and frequently), taking folic acid, staying radiation and stress-free, and living healthy.

Enter: Supernatural childbirth. Whaaat? If you’re thinking this is about seeing visions of heaven, hell, angels, demons, and everything in between, errm, not quite. Instead of trying NOT to think about conceiving (which is quite frankly, impossible), Supernatural Childbirth is a book that encourages us to actively stand on the bible as God’s Word and believe that “Children are a heritage from God, and the fruit of the womb is His reward.” (Psalm 127:3).

Supernatural Childbirth
Supernatural Childbirth

Although my faith is at a low after this “barren” streak, as a Christian, I still believe there’s truth and power in the bible. So today, despite my ongoing frustration and setbacks, I’m thankful for B, the child that I DO have, the friend who gave me this book, the author and women who shared their testimonies in it, and a God who keeps His promises that:

1) God’s perfect love casts out fear! Past failures bring future fears but the opposite of fear is faith : “I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4), “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37)

2) You can do anything when rooted in God’s Word. Pray in agreement with the Word before even trying to conceive: “For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

3) Barrenness is the exception, not the rule. All the barren women of faith in the bible conceived: “He makes the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children.” (Psalm 113:9)

4) Conceive, carry and deliver without fear of pain and loss: “God will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field! (Malachi 3:11)

5) Focus on being a healthy mother and having a healthy baby, not about where, how or what others have done: “The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life — life in all its fullness.” (John 10:10)

“For this child I prayed and the Lord hears my cry!  You have formed and fashioned our baby in my womb, and at the right time You will separate my baby and carry it gently from the womb. We will train our children up in the way they should go, tender to God, the Word and the things of God, and honouring their parents, and they will not depart from these when they are old. Amen!”

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Wishes and dreams that are yet to come true

It’s almost the end of September. While I look forward to celebrate with dear friends who will give birth over the next few months, I can’t help thinking that baby #2’s due date would have been around now. What a frustrating, deferred year this has been! I’d put off the job search when I initially found out I was pregnant at the turn of the year. After the miscarriage, we postponed the start of B’s toddler group drop-off, and me returning to full time work till next year, so that we could maximise our time with B as well as our efforts to conceive again, given hubby’s frequent business travel. Sadly, so far, no luck with #2 (or rather, #2b) and I worry that my career is stagnating the longer I stop working. It’s days like these that I need to pause and reflect that God has given me such a blessed family, with rich life experiences, and all that we hope for will come to pass in His time, in His way.

All that I am, all that I have 
I lay them down before you, oh Lord 
All my regrets, all my acclaims 
The joy and the pain, I’m making them yours
 

Lord, I offer my life to you 
Everything I’ve been through 
Use it for your glory 
Lord I offer my days to you 
Lifting my praise to you 
As a pleasing sacrifice 
Lord I offer you my life

Things in the past, things yet unseen 
Wishes and dreams that are yet to come true 
All of my heart, all of my praise 
My heart and my hands are lifted to you

What can we give 
That you have not given? 
And what do we have 
That is not already yours? 
All we possess 
Are these lives we’re living 
That’s what we give to you, Lord

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The only constant in life is change

We made plans to drop B off at half-day childcare sometime this year, thus freeing my mornings for personal and work time while pregnant. Since the start of the year though, too much has changed and the original Plan C didn’t make sense as I’m now working flexi time but no longer pregnant 😦

Also, the childcare center we had registered B in – when I was still working full time – was going through a lot of change too. After visiting again to refresh my memory of the place and meet the new staff, I had more doubts and was feeling so uneasy 😦 I knew it wasn’t just a normal mom-thing about to leave your kid for the first time, so I read Elizabeth Pantley’s No-Cry Solution for Separation Anxiety, spoke to others in similar situations, even checked out and trialed a few other options.

I soon realised two things after the miscarriage: I desire to treasure B’s remaining toddler-hood (18 months now) and I want to be more intentional with our days together. So I’m tweaking Plan C to do “more with less” i.e. to better integrate what he learns externally in (Chinese, music and gym) with our own homeschool plan, weekly playdates and outings.  All this should keep us engaged through year end!

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The elusive fourth

A week ago, my life turned upside down.  I thought I’d be ushering in the 2013 Year of the Snake with a happy “I’m pregnant!” announcement to family and friends, but ended up spending the first few days of Chinese New Year with intensifying cramps, spotting, clotting, bed rest and alas, a confirmed miscarriage. Our baby would have been 8 weeks now.  Physically, the pain and bleeding have passed but emotionally, it’s been a rollercoaster ride to recovery.  It’s hard to explain why such an early pregnancy loss can leave emotional scars.  Some days I do feel better but other days, it still hurts  – esp. when I meet others who “accidentally” conceived another baby when they didn’t plan or necessarily want to.  That said, I’m thankful for the support of those who’ve gone through miscarriages/ still births and gone on to have healthy deliveries.

I’ll revisit my obgyn this week to verify that a D&C procedure is not needed as the tissue from the blighted ovum had passed naturally.  Despite seeing the gestational sac at the initial ultrasound scan around week 5, the embryo had not grown as it should, most likely due to chromosonal defects, so this was considered a clinical miscarriage from an anembryonic pregnancy.

Last night at our rather bittersweet Valentines dinner, we reflected how this has made us appreciate B so much more and acknowledged the need for closure. We’ll definitely try again when the time is right, approx. 3 months from now.  In a small way, there’s some relief that I don’t have to mind two kids under two… and there’s less pressure for B to grow up into the big brother he will be one day.

I woke up in the wee hours this morning feeling a little down but was reminded of this song.  The joy of the Lord will be my strength!

 
I’m trading my sorrow
I’m trading my shame
I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord
I’m trading my sickness
I’m trading my pain
I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord
 
And we say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen
 
I’m pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I’m blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy’s gonna be my strength
Though sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes in the morning

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