Monday, November 12, 2007

Just Ours

Niels and I just returned from one of our favorite places, the VV B&B in Grand Rapids, MI. We had planned to visit my old stomping grounds a few weeks ago, but attending a shower for one baby and the dedication of another was a little too much for me in the days following our miscarriage. So we rescheduled our fix for this weekend.

One of the things I miss about GR is the local radio station. On Saturday mornings, I would sleep in, dozing in and out of consciousness as I passively listened to the weekly recap of Focus on the Family. Niels and I both like to have a radio on as we sleep, so I adjusted the dial before we fell asleep on Friday night.

Our small group is studying "Sacred Pathways," based on the book by Gary Thomas. The general idea is that we all connect with God in different ways. For example, for some, being in nature draws them closer to God. For others, being outdoors draws them closer to bug bites and allergies. I've often joked that God speaks to me through sleep. Most of my book was written when I was awakened in the wee hours with an inspirational thought. I'd drag myself down the hall, type up my thoughts as they came, and trudged back to bed. The next morning, I'd read what I wrote as a reader, not the writer, in grateful amazement. I overcame countless blocks that way.

My mind has been whirling with lots of thoughts lately. Mostly due to my health. Applying for disability. Losing our baby. The biopsy on my right breast scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday).

Saturday morning, God spoke to me through the radio recap. The first segment was on adoption, a way by which Niels and I are excited to expand our family when we become eligible. (Agencies rightly want to give newlyweds time to solidify the foundation of their marriage). The second segment was on divorce, obviously a topic close to my heart. And this segment brought me peace because I felt comforted that I had done what God called me to do, and now, as I focus on my health and marriage, God has raised up others to continue the ministry I was doing. The third segment was about a couple who lost their baby at six weeks, same as us.

Niels and I have talked a lot about grieving our little one. On one hand, we don't want to fixate on it, but we also want to be realistic about our loss. We wanted this baby. We're ready to have a baby. We love this baby. One of our good friends is due the week before we were. We're so happy for them, but it is difficult not to make comparisons as we visited with her this weekend. Grief is grief, and it always comes in stages. My friend's due date will be bittersweet. We know that, but we also love our friend enough that we'll find a way to celebrate in the midst of our sorrow, even though we don't know what that will look like yet.

I realized this weekend that my delayed immediate grief may be related to the fact that on the day I was miscarrying, the doctor found a lump in my right breast. I've had ultrasounds and mammograms and a surgical consult and so far, the doctor hasn't been able to rule out cancer. So tomorrow I'll have a biopsy done. It sounds wierd, but my baby and my breast lump are almost one in my mind. The same ultrasound technician looked for our baby and found none, and examined my breast and found a lump. We're optimistic that we'll have an all clear by this weekend, but there's a possibility that I may not. But getting that answer will make an end to the "miscarriage and cancer scare" segment of my life.

Niels and I think that if I hadn't been pregnant, we wouldn't have found the lump. If we wouldn't have found it, we wouldn't have had it checked out. It's a 6cm lump, so it's grown (growing?) pretty quickly. Maybe our baby sacrificed his life for ours. We'll never know for sure.

As I listened to the couple who lost their baby, I felt God tell me it was time to give our baby a name, to make him (or her) real, to have a way to talk about him as the person we hoped he would be, without having to say miscarriage or losing our baby. I woke Niels up and almost immediately we agreed on a name. Jo. Just Ours.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

American Dad is here!

After three months of wedded bliss, the honeymooners are starting to be social again. This weekend American Dad is here. He arrived yesterday after starting very early in the morning in Minnesota. One missed flight and luggage reunion later, we were on our way to the de Jong Resort and Spa.

We started Dad off by showing him our new church, where Niels and Dad hung out in the tech room and Jen continued learning the ropes in her new job at the bookstore. After the service, we came home for some yummy beef stew and Dad's initiation into the cult that is Catan.

After that, Dad enjoyed his Christmas gift to us, a very nice infrared sauna, while Jen and Niels crashed.

This morning, Jen slept in while the boys went back to church to run lights for today's service. When they get home, it's off to the Inventor's Hall of Fame, just up the road in Akron. From there, it's lunch at Damon's where we hope to catch the hapless Minnesota Vikings or the surprising Packers on one of the screens not reserved for the Browns or "Super Bowl 41 1/2, aka the undefeated Colts v. the undefeated Patriots.

Then it's probably nap time for Jen and guy time for American Dad and Niels as Niels picks Dad's brains on how to conquer all things mechanical around the house. Our small group is coming over at 7 and Dad will have a chance to meet some of our "little off" friends.

Monday Niels is back to work. This is neuro week for Jen, with appointments with her new Ohio neurologist, physiatrist (rehab doctor) and a follow up with her neuropsych who will tell her the results of her six hour test in September. With American Dad's background in rehab, we're hoping he can help us with Jen's Social Security application.

American Dad's headed back to the not-yet-frozen tundra of Minnesota on Tuesday night.