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Another year has passed. Yesterday I turned 33 and I can hardly believe what all has happened in the last 12 months. I can honestly say that after last year I never thought I would want to celebrate my birthday again. I was sure it would forever be a day filled with sadness. Some of you may have read my post STRIPPED last year and wondered what happened. Today, as I reflect, I’ve decided to share what I experienced then and where I am now.

April 26, 2014 started out as a beautiful day. The sun was shining, it was my birthday and I had a photo shoot scheduled with my dear friend, Bethany. She showed up with a thoughtful gift, flowers and coffee/pastries from my favorite spot. Josiah was planning to cook me dinner later that night, and all was well. After finishing our photos we came back home so I could change. I was only about 7 weeks pregnant at the time and was looking forward to my first ultra sound in a couple weeks. As Bethany and I were talking outfits and playing in my closet, something happened. Something wasn’t right and I rushed to the bathroom. That’s when the bleeding started. Bethany ran to get Josiah, made sure Stella was in the other room and she just prayed as I crumbled. We called the doctor, then jumped in the car to go to the nearest ER. I’ll never forget how awful the woman was at the check in counter. I was crying and upset and she could care less. It was another day at the office for her and for me, life had stopped. Nothing else in the world mattered other than finding out what was happening with this tiny, precious life inside of me. It felt like forever that we sat there in the cold, quiet waiting room. Once I was in a room and the examining was taking place, I just prayed that I would hear that everything was okay. That this just happens sometimes and there was nothing to worry about. But that’s not what I heard. Instead, I was told that there was a fetus, but no heartbeat. I was told to prepare for the worst. Nothing could prepare me for that moment, but hearing there was still a fetus made me cling on to hope. It wasn’t over. There was a chance. I used every bit of strength in my being to believe that this would be a miracle and our baby would be okay. As the night went on the bleeding increased. The intense cramping and pain started. The back and forth from the bed to the bathroom became more frequent. I remember just clinging to the wall to brace myself so I could handle the shooting pain and feeling more alone than I’ve ever felt in my life. I ended up just laying down on the cold, bathroom floor because I couldn’t handle going back and forth to the bedroom anymore. There was nothing I could do. I was helpless. This little miracle growing inside of me, this precious life, this blessing from heaven, was being taken away from me with no explanation, one hour at a time. It was a long night and a long week that followed.

I’ll never understand why miscarriages happen. I’ll never understand why people think it’s okay to say “it’s so common” (even though it is) when you’ve just gone through one. All you want is for people to say you are in their thoughts and prayers and to be surrounded with love. The truth is, we all know the facts. We know miscarriages are common and we know most women experience it (sometimes twice or more). This does not mean that it should be made small when any woman goes through it. Words can not describe the emotional and physical pain I felt and I wish that no one ever had to experience it.

Here’s what saddens me the most. I feel like no one talks about it. I went through this horrible experience feeling so alone, then when I started sharing what happened all of the sudden numerous women I know were telling me they had been through the same thing and I had no idea. It was in that moment I decided that I would be open about it because I didn’t want anyone to feel like it was something they had to hide or just “move on” from because it was common.

All that said, as my birthday came this year I was filled with mixed emotions. As of yesterday, my birthday, I am 31 weeks pregnant with our baby girl. We spent the day planning for her and finishing the painting in the nursery. We also put together the crib which made things feel very real. I didn’t quite know how to feel. I will forever have a piece of my heart that grieves on my birthday (and other days) over the loss of my first pregnancy. Although that day, that tiny unborn little angel, that experience, will never be forgotten, I will celebrate life this year.

I am overwhelmed with so many emotions, but mainly gratitude. God has blessed us with another precious life. This baby girl growing in my belly has made me look at life in a new way. Nothing matters more than the tiny human I’m going to be bringing in to this world. I already know that nothing will prepare me for the love I will feel for her and I can not wait to meet her.

I share my heart with you in hopes that you will find strength in whatever you are facing. There are different seasons in our lives that we can not be prepared for, but there is always blessing that follows if we stay strong and have faith. We can not escape pain or tragedy, but we can overcome it by celebrating what is good. Celebrate life.

One way we celebrate life is by having baby showers. Celebrating new life is even better than celebrating life in general. 🙂 I am so thankful for my dear friend, Kate Harris, who very early on told me she would love to host a shower for me. It was a beautiful day filled with friends, family, love, delightful brunch food (cooked by Kate), bubbly for the girls, whiskey for the guys, and the best macarons ever (order them here). Kate also wanted to make sure that we would have the day documented so we could share the special memories with Emma. She hired her fabulous photographer friend, Jessica Gann of Blue Vinyl Creative, to capture the memories for us. It was the perfect gift and I couldn’t be happier. See some of the photos below! Also be sure to check out Kate’s blog (The Curious Chase) here.

Much love to everyone (near and far) who supported and loved on me and Josiah during the tough time last year, and to those who celebrated our special day with us this year. We love you all and can’t wait to introduce our baby girl to you soon!

XO,

Erica

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