my journey through miscarriage

No one ever expects to walk the road of loss. In our minds and hearts, we hope for better things, happier things, but sometimes life sets us on a detour.

My detour came in 2011 when my husband and I lost our first child, and then it happened again in 2012, when we lost a second baby. Heartbreak doesn’t begin to fully encompass the pain. It doesn’t describe the complete let down, ripped open, barrenness of dream, time, and life. I have wept and still weep many tears. It’s hard to describe the great depths of emptiness and grief. It’s a messy thing, this grieving. It rolls in and out. It is never once and done. Sometimes, it will catch you off-guard when something triggers a memory. Suddenly, I’m standing in an aisle at Meijer wanting to weep.

One thing I have learned about grief—it’s oftentimes lonely. I rested in a space of unyielding pain, feeling lost. The world continued to go on around me but I was cemented in place.

Every year, I encounter more and more friends that have grieved the loss of a child. It’s like a secret club that you only discover once you yourself have suffered loss. It’s a sad thing that most women don’t talk about, and yet, it’s so very common. So many women have suffered the death of a child. Many of us are in the club.

That’s why I decided to share my full story in a book form. Standing Lost is a collection of my journal entries, my pleas to God, and my grasping for ways to somehow go on. This small book is a way of saying- “You’re not alone. I’ve been there too.”


The book is currently available as an eBook on amazon
CLICK HERE: https://amzn.to/2HjjTPm

The paperback copy will be available on May 24th

 

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Are You Blind?

“Seeing” isn’t easy in our fast-paced, self-focused society. Life goes by in a blur as we rush ahead from one task to the next.

I’m guilty of this. I’m a super-motivated-achiever type of personality, which can lend to blindness.

It has taken bumps in the road in order to force me to slow down. These bumps (deep hurts, miscarriages, illnesses, tragedies) have brought me a new awareness on life. An awareness that I needed because ultimately we’re all born with innate selfishness. Of course, the way we respond to the bumps of life will also determine our route—toward bitterness or betterment. I traveled bitterness highway for a season, luckily, God helped me find a detour back to betterment road.

What I have discovered along the way is that the hardships have produced an empathy and compassion inside of my heart that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. The pain I have experienced helped me recognize the pain in others and sympathize with them. My hardships gave me new sight.

The day my nephew, Levi, was diagnosed with a duplication syndrome, my sight was again, refocused. I became aware of the struggles and obstacles facing, not only a child with special needs, but also the family. I grew observant to those I came in contact with. My heart expanded, longing to celebrate the beauty of all our differences and how we are all uniquely fashioned by a God who does not make mistakes. My nephew might have MECP2 duplication syndrome, he might be non-verbal, and his development comes slow, but he is perfect. No one can take his place. The world needs Levi in it. The same way the world needs each one of us.

No one can replace you. You are uniquely crafted and designed by the hands of a loving God. Even if you do not believe in a Creator—to bad, He believes in You. He made you.

He made our beautifully diverse world with its beautifully diverse colors. Oh, how lovely it is.

Let’s open our eyes and SEE the wonder around us.

Band-Aid the Broken

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In life, we all experience being wounded and broken.

I’ve gone through seasons of deep sorrow. I lost my first baby girl, Shiloh, in December of 2011, and my heart felt like it was ripped open. And ten months later, I lost another baby, Selah. I felt my heart’s wound widen and the pain grow deeper.

In those times, I could hardly muster creativity or the desire to write. But my counselor advised me, “Catie keep writing. Journal through your thoughts and emotions. Writing is your outlet, and it will bring you healing.” (For those of you who are also writers, I want to say that out of the heart, our writing springs and when our hearts are wounded and broken, sometimes it leaks more than it flows. But that is okay.)

In my pain I journaled:

Surviving a Broken Heart
The news comes so unexpectedly
At first all is well, then ends in tragedy
To lose a life so small it seems
Unfair with all the sorrow it brings
How can a heart survive the blow
That grief drives in so deep, so low
It filters through the body and more
The spirit, the soul, they all feel sore
Lord mend the wound that bleeds inside
Send peace and grace into my mind
I can’t walk this journey alone
I need your help to make me strong

 

Not only did I journal, but I would pray, which wasn’t easy when the last thing I felt like doing was praying. But God showed me something very special as I brought him my pain. He showed me a picture of my heart with a jagged wound down the middle, but sealing the tear shut was a big pink “Hello Kitty” Band-Aid.

A memory flashed through my mind of me as a child repeatedly falling off my bike and scraping my knees. I would come into the house crying. My knees would be torn up and bleeding. Dad or Mom would rub my back and tell me it’s going to be okay. They would wash away the blood, put on triple-antibiotic ointment, apply a Band-Aid, and place a kiss on the boo-boo and say, “All Better.”

This is what Father God did for me.

I came to Him with my torn heart. He looked at the wound and said, “It’s going to be okay.” He wiped away my tears and rubbed my back. Then He washed the wound clean with His love. He applied an antibiotic salve of peace and covered the wound with a Band-Aid. Placing a kiss on the boo-boo, He said, “It will heal.”

This is the truth I have found. The Lord desires to Band-Aid our broken hearts. We can take our pain to him.

If you are struggling in a season of brokenness, I want you to know that God desires to bring you healing. Sometimes it is hard to understand how a loving God can allow the hardships of sickness, impairments, grief, loss, and death. And though it is a paradox to me, I know that it’s still better to press into God, than pull away from him. It’s in his arms that I find hope.

Nine Years Married

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June 18, 2005

Today marks the 9th anniversary, since my husband and I said “I do.”

And since then, we’ve continued to say I do. I do take you as my best friend to explore and adventure life together, no matter what we face, let’s do it together! In nine years, we have already shared many adventures. Today, I’ll highlight a few.

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Our first quest took us to Kauai in 2005 where we kayaked rivers, tubed down irrigation ditches, went off-roading in mud buggies, discovered some native hotspots for eating, and conquered Hanakapiai Falls. The hike to the falls was crazy. The sun was going down, we didn’t catch the group with a tour guide, but we managed to follow the overgrown trails to the waterfall and back out before it was completely dark.

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We bought our first house on Mix Street in Bay City, Michigan in 2005 where we both worked on staff at a church. The house was built in 1952 and needed work. We loved it. Even though the basement flooded in 2007 from the sewer drain. We were ankle deep in brown water, toilet paper, and poo.

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We journeyed through California in 2008 doing ministry work, but also having a lot of fun!

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Newport Beach, CA

We toured through England with my dear friend, Joanna and her husband, who are residents of Ipswich. Joanna and I first met during a school exchange program to England in 2002 where her family hosted me. They will forever be my English family!

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London’s Tower Bridge, 2008
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Posing with the Police in London

 

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Sir and Madam of Warwick Castle

 

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Stonehenge

In 2009, we started a very new journey, adding to our family! I became pregnant with my daughter in June 2009. And three months into the pregnancy, we traveled to Costa Rica for a missionary trip and to see Jonathan’s family.

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Jonathan and I with his Auntie
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Posing with Jonathan’s cousin and his wife
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Church Valentine’s Banquet, two days before I delivered!

My baby girl was born on February 14, 2010. Our adventures continued with our trio. We went to Seattle, Washington!

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Since then, we added three more beautiful children to our Cordero clan. Two are being cared for in Heaven and our son, Gabriel is here, making sure Bella knows what its like to have a brother pull her hair.

Now our family is pursuing a life-dream adventure. The country life. We built a home on land and are moving toward a self-sustaining lifestyle with hobby farming.

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The best part of this story is simple: I did it with my true love, Jonathan Cordero. I can’t wait to see what the future holds; I know it will be great as long as I’m with him.

 

 

I Had Given Up on Prayer

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My scull can be thick. But thank God, He’s a master carver. And He has pared past my unbelief, doubt, and fear.

And He has shown me this…prayer isn’t futile. It isn’t merely dead words as I thought. Perhaps you think I must have been quite calloused and distant to ever think prayer ineffective, and to which I say, you’re right. I was. I was angry. I was jaded. I was hardened by the misfortunes dealt by the cards of life.

I entered church ministry as a newly twenty-year-old with rose-colored glasses and left fives years later with blackened shades. I felt abandoned by God doing the very thing I thought he’d called me to.

In the wake of this, baby number one was born a success, but my body was not. It took seven months of physical therapy to correct my pelvic floor and keep my hips in place. But finally I was strong enough to continue my dream of more children.The lenses of my glasses became darker when the ultrasound for baby number two didn’t show a heartbeat. I couldn’t understand how a child I’d dedicated and prayed for the moment the pregnancy test read positive was now gone. I felt abandoned again.

The abandonment accumulated as my sister lost her first child and then I miscarried again, losing baby three. I couldn’t believe I had lost another child. Especially since I had specifically asked God this time to please, let this child make it. To please let this child be healthy. My prayer wasn’t answered (so I thought). My glasses weren’t just black anymore; they were impenetrable. I was blind to hope. I felt worse then abandoned; I didn’t care if He was there for me anymore. I didn’t want to talk to God. Of course, as a good ‘Christian’ mother to my daughter, I continued the evening prayer, for her benefit. How trite.

When the test read positive for baby four, I was scared. As a high-risk pregnant woman, I wasn’t sure what would happen. I wasn’t sure if my body was even capable of holding life. And mostly, I wasn’t sure if I dared ask God for his help. But there came a day, eight weeks into the pregnancy, where I began to bleed. At two AM, I woke my husband, crying. The contractions had started. My body was trying to miscarry, again. My husband turned on all the lights. I lay down, scared. Miserable. He knelt beside me and put his hands on my abdomen and prayed. A fervent prayer. He claimed life and rebuked miscarriage. He prayed on and on. Until the contractions stopped. The bleeding stopped. And today, I have a son. His name is Gabriel, which means, “Strong man of God.”

In those early, terrible morning hours, I learned something.

Prayer does work.

It works! It isn’t futile. God does hear. And even more so, He showed me that he heard each prayer and answered all of them. They simply weren’t answered like I had expected. I asked for healthy, full-term babies. And they are. Shiloh and Selah are healthy and were born full-term in heaven. Their natural bodies couldn’t sustain life in our world, but they are thriving in heaven. They’ve gone ahead of me, but we’ll have eternity to spend together someday.

My glasses have been washed clean, as forgiveness has entered my heart. I blamed God. I was angry with Him. I thought he had abandoned me. But I now know the truth.

He never left and when I was at my worst, he was still present. Rooting for me and waiting for the blindness to clear.

Thank you, God. I now see.

Release the Cat…my new motto

Sometimes, claws are a good thing.

Recently, I dressed like Catwoman for a costume party. And I quite enjoyed being a cat for the night. It was empowering. I felt like Anne Hathaway all in black ready for the attack. Yes, I was all fired up.

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But the next day arrived, my costume was put away, and I went back to my daily apparel: t-shirt and yoga pants. Wasn’t quite as empowering. But a thought occurred to me…just because I don’t have on the costume doesn’t mean the cat is gone. She just needs to rise up to the occasion.

Life can get tough, or boring, or frustrating, or many things. It can disappoint and bring self-doubt. The mind can race with anxiety or critical, self-deprecating words.

And it in those moments, the claws need to come out and fight against the doldrums. Fight against the depression. Fight against lies Satan is whispering in your ear. It’s then that you need to: RELEASE THE CAT.

Get a little mad. Release the cat!

HA! I love this new motto. It’s completely silly and kind of stupid, but let me tell you, it does work. It helps put you in a mental place to fight.

Today, I had some internal battles and just thinking to myself: “Catie, it’s time to release the cat,” made me feel better.

Try it out. RELEASE THE CAT.

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Picture References:

http://www.hollywood.com/news/movies/34622682/the-dark-knight-rises-why-anne-hathaway-s-catwoman-is-the-best-one-yet

http://www.bubblews.com/news/1219997

http://stuffpoint.com/home-pets/image/75449/angry-cat-ready-for-fight-wallpaper

http://www.2funnycats.com/super-cats/silly-cats

http://www.hahastop.com/pictures/An_Attack_Cat

Band-Aid The Broken

I decided to re-post this blog because several friends of mine are experiencing the same pain that prompted me to write this over a year ago.

Band-Aid the Broken

As many of you know, I lost my daughter Shiloh in December 2011. I felt like my heart was split wide open, aching and bleeding. Four months later, my sister lost her first baby. I felt my heart’s wound widen and the pain grow deeper. Then in August of 2012, I lost another baby, my darling Selah. I didn’t know how a heart so torn with grief could continue to beat. And sometimes, I wondered how I was still living when I felt dead inside.

Through that pain I journaled:

Surviving a Broken Heart
The news comes so unexpectedly
At first all is well, then ends in tragedy
To lose a life so small it seems
Unfair with all the sorrow it brings
How can a heart survive the blow
That grief drives in so deep, so low
It filters through the body and more
The spirit, the soul, they all feel sore
Lord mend the wound that bleeds inside
Send peace and grace into my mind
I can’t walk this journey alone
I need your help to make me strong

One night as I lie sleepless in bed,  God showed me an incredible picture.

I saw my heart with a jagged wound down the middle, but pulling the wound closed was a big pink “Hello Kitty” Band-Aid. I could tell the wound wasn’t bleeding anymore and that it was sealing shut with the help of the Band-Aid.

A memory flashed through my mind of me as a child repeatedly falling off my bike and scraping my knees. I’d come into the house crying. My knees would hurt so bad. They’d be torn up and bleeding. Dad or Mom would rub my back and tell me it’s going to be okay. They’d wash away the blood, put on triple-antibiotic ointment, apply a Band-Aid, and place a kiss on the boo-boo and say, “All Better.”

This is what Father God is doing for me.

I came to Him with my torn heart. He looked at the wound and said, “It’s going to be okay.” He wiped away my tears and rubbed my back. Then He washed the wound clean with His love. He applied a potent triple antibiotic salve of peace and covered the wound with a Band-Aid. Placing a kiss on the boo-boo, He says, “It will heal.”

Thank you, Lord.

Thank you that you Band-Aid the broken hearts.

I put my trust in you.

My heart is safe in Your hands.

Thanks Daddy, I’m feeling much better.

Gabriel

On June 16, 2013 a miracle was born, my baby boy, Gabriel Jonathan Cordero. My heart swells with joy as I look at my son.

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I cannot explain my gratitude as I hold him. Leading up to his birth, my husband and I had our share of sorrow as we longed for more children to love and cherish on earth. And now, we’re blessed to have another happy, healthy child.

Thank you Lord for Gabriel. Thank you.

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At 9:14 am, Gabriel entered the world with a sweet cry. My eyes welled with tears as I beheld his beautiful face and little frame. He came just in time to celebrate Father’s Day. What a special gift he was to his daddy!

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His big sister, Isabella, came to the hospital that evening with bursting excitement. She looked at me and said, “Mom, you popped him out!”

I laughed. “Yes, I did.”

We’ve had many more laughs and smiles since.

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Getting sunlight to help his jaundice.

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Luke 18:16-17: “But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

Selah

I’ve gone back and forth about posting this story.

Alas, I decided that it’s something I need to do.

Back in April, I wrote a blog entitled, Shiloh. This was the story of my second-born child, a baby girl, who even though was not physically born on earth, lives and breathes in heaven. This was the hardest, most emotional blog I ever wrote. Until now.

On Wednesday, August 15…Heaven welcomed another one of my babies.

I had no forewarning that this pregnancy wouldn’t go to completion. Everything felt good. Felt normal. I was healthy and had a healthy appetite. I had no pain. No cramping. I even had a tiny baby bump. My heart was elated and fully embracing the new life within me.

We had driven to Florida to visit Jonathan’s family on August 6th. We were having a lovely time, and I felt great. However on Sunday, August 12th, our last day of vacation, I used the bathroom and noticed something that made my heart stop. Within the bowl was red. I called for Jonathan.

He came in and saw it. He tried to encourage me, but I knew what was happening. Tears poured. We made our way to Emergency in Port St. Lucie. After several hours and several tests, I was diagnosed “Threatened Miscarriage” because the ultrasound still showed the baby and sac in the uterus.

But the bleeding didn’t stop.

As planned, we packed up the Impala Monday morning and started the journey to Michigan. I popped Advil and reclined my seat. The terrible pain and cramping continued the 816-mile drive to Tennessee. Each stop, every rest area plagued me. Each time I would use the toilet, I checked the basin for my baby. Isabella would stand beside me in the stall and notice me looking into the bowl. Curious as she is, she had to see too. Her eyes widened. She’d announce loud enough for the entire restroom, “Mommy, I see blood.” Cringe. My jaw cringed. My heart cringed. I’d whisper. “Yes, honey. It is blood. Mommy doesn’t feel good.”

It was the same story at every forsaken pit stop.

That night, as exhausted as I was, I tossed in my aunt’s guest bed. Even with a sleeping pill, I slept poor. My nerves and emotions were pulled beyond tight.

The very next morning, we piled back into the car. We still had 530 miles to our house. The pain grew worse as my muscles contracted inside my stomach and abdomen. My body fought to push the baby out, and I was powerless to stop it. Nothing hurts more than yearning to hold onto a baby that my body is determined to release.

Tuesday night, we pulled into our driveway at 8:30 pm. We unloaded the car with heavy hearts and tired minds.

Wednesday afternoon, Jonathan and I went to Zeeland hospital for the ultrasound. I stared at the screen. My uterus showed empty on the black and white monitor. I asked the nurse. “It’s empty isn’t it?” Sadly, she nodded. “It is.”

All hope of the baby making it was over. My child was gone. My body was once again empty. Heartbreak doesn’t begin to fully encompass the pain. It doesn’t fully describe the complete let down, ripped open, barrenness of dream, time, and life.

Shiloh, my second child, has been joined in heaven’s nursery by sibling, Selah.

Oh how I’ve struggled with this loss. This loss has hit me very hard. My heart still bleeds for the loss of my time with Selah here on earth. How I wish she were still in my womb, growing steadily and healthily. But ah, that was not meant to be. For reasons, I will never understand.

My precious, beloved Selah is so very special to me. This is why I have written this blog. I am proud of her, and I wanted to share her with everyone. Just as a mother posts the pictures of her newborn baby, so I needed to post the knowledge of my recent Heaven-born, Selah.

Her name is derived from the Hebrew word calah which means “to hang,” “to weigh” and “to value” and the word salah, which means “to pause.” As I think of Selah in Heaven, I indeed pause. I hang on the brief moments she was in my womb, and I will value her always. She will always by my third baby.

For now, I find strength in knowing that Shiloh and Selah are in the best of care. Together they grow strong. Beautiful in their bassinets. Covered in pure white lace. Flawless.

My arms long to hold them and cuddle them, but I know that in time I will. I have hope. Earth is for a short while, but Eternity is for always. There is much life yet to live. It will be lived as a complete family in Heaven. We will all be united.

I love all my children. I love them so.

While I carry my two-and-half-year-old Isabella in my arms, I carry Shiloh and Selah in my heart.

OUR FAMILY PHOTO

Though the Fig Tree Withers

The prophet Habakkuk’s words resonate with me as he sang this hymn of faith:

http//thinkhebrew.files.wordpress.com

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NKJV)

“17 Though the fig tree may not blossom,

Nor fruit be on the vines;

Though the labor of the olive may fail,

And the fields yield no food;

Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,

And there be no herd in the stalls—

18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will joy in the God of my salvation.

19 The Lord God is my strength;

He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

And He will make me walk on my high hills.”

Today, I cling to Habakkuk’s words.

No matter what troubles and trials I befall, I will rejoice in the Lord, the God of my salvation. He will give me strength and make my feet like those of a deer. I will overcome and will walk on the high hills.

No matter what trials and troubles you might be facing today, know that God will strengthen you. You will bound out of the valley and ascend upon the high hills.

To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen.