Candid Chatter

Just Say It

Merry-Go-Round of Life April 2, 2009

One day I got a tattoo.

heidis-tattoo

I lost a baby via miscarriage and wanted a way to memorialize her (him?).
I believe she was a girl and I don’t know why.
Her name would have been Julia.
Julia Lyn Reed
(or Nathan if a boy)

I had nothing left of that tiny baby. After the D&C procedure, I struggled with depression and bouts of rage. I also lost my maternal grandmother just 2 weeks prior to losing my unborn baby. It was a tough season. I was deeply wounded.

I blogged about it often. Just click “All Things Tattoo” in the blue bar at the top to read through some of my struggles with miscarriage, loss, and grief.

Yesterday I was talking to a loved one on the phone. I suggested s/he read the Bible and highlighted a couple of books I thought would be fitting; one in the OT, one in the NT. After hanging up I felt a bit like a hypocrite. I haven’t read my Bible since a few days after Jack was born (FYI : It’s Jack, not Jax! — he is named after my late grandfather who was Jack too). So I meandered into my office and started to pick up my Chronological Bible that I read last year. I hesitated and looked at 2 other Bibles stacked on top of it. One is small, but thick and one is bigger and thinner. They are both NIV. I started to reach for the smaller, thicker one since it was on the top of the stack, but then changed my mind and grabbed the bigger, thinner one. Don’t know why really. I just felt compelled to read that one instead. It was even underneath the other one.

I noticed it had a paper bookmark in it and laid it on my kitchen table under Jack’s bouncer seat. I got interrupted several times before picking it up again. I opened to the page that was bookmarked. Psalms. I remember before we moved to this house I was working on reading the Psalms. I was trying to do my own little personal Bible study. Once we started the move, all was forgotten.

The Psalms I opened to were written by David. They all start out with him agonizing over something and crying out to God. They all end with him praising God regardless of his trial. They are hard Psalms for me to read because it is obvious that David was in agony. However, I am always hit by the fact that he ends these cries to God with praises for God despite his painful and stressful circumstances. He praised God no matter what.

Praise. There is a sacrifice of praise. Praising God through pain is the hardest thing I think I have ever done. I had a million “why” questions. A billion. Why did He let that baby die? Why, God, why? But my faith strengthened and my prayer life grew by leaps and bounds and my blog took off and I kept praising God despite the deep pain I was in. The pit. The lowest. Sadness. Agony. Despair. Yet, praises for the One who created me. Praises mixed with questions, but never did I doubt Him. Never did I turn my back on Him. Ever.

I noticed the paper bookmark was smooth and shiny. I took a closer look and realized it was folded. Jack made a little noise and his bouncer seat jiggled. I smiled as I opened the paper.

And there it was… a folded up, slick piece of paper with three ultrasound images of my Angel Baby.

Beneath my son’s bouncer seat sat my Bible. Inside that Bible was a page marked to Psalms written by David at one of the worst times in his life. That page was marked with three ultrasound pictures of my unborn baby who died and is undoubtedly in Heaven with the God of grace and mercy.

I do have the only pictures of that baby after all. I have them.
And I also have a tattoo. A story. A triumph. A new son.

A new son.
Jaxon would not be here if I hadn’t lost the other baby.
He was conceived 4 months after my loss.

New life. Renewed hope. The love of the Father raining down on His daughter.

And still there’s the promise.
Eternal life.

Someday I’ll see my unborn baby in Heaven. And then we will never be separated again.
Ever.

Sometimes there really is a happy ending.
Thank you Lord for the storms. Thank you Lord for the sun.
Thank you Lord for the Son… and for the son.

I love you! Amen.

 

I Am Second December 21, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 6:16 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Definitely worth your time browsing the stories.

Definitely.

Click on bold. Then search for Brian Welch for any of you familiar with Korn.
There are many others, but I think I am most intrigued with his story.
Anyone.
Everyone.
No fear.
Share.
Be not afraid.

I Am Second

b-welsh-korn

 

The Interview Online August 31, 2008

Remember I told you a reporter from The Tampa Tribune did an interview regarding my Memorial Tattoo? Well here it is – CLICK HERE for the article – my section of the story is last under the heading “A Thought-Out Decision”. He did an excellent job and quoted me perfectly. I am very pleased with the resulting story.

You can see a picture of my tattoo HERE or you can click HERE to see all of the tattoos related to his article. Mine is the first one in the 2nd row of pictures.

I still pray about that baby. I thank God for him/her and ask Him to let the baby know how much I love him/her still.

I can’t get over how many lives have been touched by that precious, innocent, tiny, short life. It warms my heart that his/her life was not in vain.

 

Interview Today August 22, 2008

So if you look here you’ll see that someone from The Tampa Tribune is interested in my tattoo story. It’s the 2nd comment down. Hi Keith — if you’re reading this. Later this afternoon I’ll speak to him about my decision behind my design.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked to share my story regarding my tattoo for the baby we lost by miscarriage in December. But this is the first one I’ve agreed to do. Why? Because the context in which the story will be written is not meant to exploit or demean what I’ve done. It appears that it will be used to bring awareness to the trend of memorializing our lost loved ones through tattoo art.

The reporter has said, “…the story is about the emergence of this trend. I’ve spoken to some tattoo artists in the area who say memorial tattoos are now about 25 percent of their business. They say people memorialize relatives, friends, even pets. I’m also contacting some local grief counselors to get their take on it as well as people who have had the work done on them. I have calls in to pop culture professors at the University of Florida and South Florida, too. It’s a straightforward piece. I think what you did is unique and pretty much unknown out there, so I’d like to interview you about why you did it and whether it helped you in your grieving process…”

I am not looking forward to the interview. It will bring back unpleasant memories of a loss that shook me to the very core and ripped my heart into pieces. However, I am interested in what will be asked and how my responses will be portrayed.

If the article he writes is posted online at any point I will link it here.

Now I want to say something that I’m serious about. If you are interested in my story for the mere purpose of fattening your pocketbook because you’re writing a book about other people’s lives and their tattoos, count me out. I will not allow my story to bring you supposed fame or supposed fortune. I didn’t do this to make money. I especially didn’t do this to make money for anyone else. Additionally, I will not allow my story to be exploited in any way, shape, or form.

I agreed to do the interview to bring awareness. Period. Lots of women suffer miscarriages. If what I did helps another woman in any way, awesome!

Just thought I’d make that clear and remind you all that I’m serious about plagiarism.  My pages are protected. These words are mine and I will not take it lying down if my thoughts, words, emotions, etc. are used as your own. Quote me, link me — but do not steal from me.

Thanks.

 

A Foolish Moment April 1, 2008

So the last post was a complete lie. All in the innocent fun of AF Day humor. But this post is completely true. All in the name of humbleness.

I am taking off my pride. And – it – ain’t – easy – folks.

I am a fool. I have done something foolish. Nevermind the reason behind it. Even if I could justify it in anyone’s mind, it was wrong.

I became wrath.

Two days ago it was suggested in an offhand ‘meant nothing’ sort of way that I cover my Memorial Tattoo for my sister’s upcoming wedding – either with make-up or a shawl. It was not suggested by her (the bride). It was by another one of my sisters. I guess my sister (the bride) asked her (the one who is not the bride) to see if she could find something to cover her (the bride’s) own tattoo that is at the base of her neck so it won’t show during the wedding. Her fiancee isn’t such a tattoo enthusiast and thinks they are tacky — a common feeling among many people in our society.

To say I flipped out is very much an understatement.

I have been hearing Pastor Mike talk from time to time about matters of the heart. He has said a few times about how we know what is in our hearts during the moments when we are pressed the most. What comes out in those times is something we need to really pay attention to. It’s important. I know this and I believe him. However, I thought my heart was just fine all things considered. Yes, I am a sinner. But I thought I had changed enough inside that the mountains of dirt that were there when I first believed were down to small little ant hills by now. Sure I have bad thoughts at times, but I thought I was doing pretty darn good at keeping a lid on it and dealing with it through prayer — giving it to God so-to-speak. Not that I thought I am perfect — not at all. But I didn’t think I was this bad.

Two days ago all that changed.

Wrath. Wrath is defined as strong, stern, or fierce anger; deeply resentful indignation; ire. That is what became of me when I read the e-mail that merely suggested I consider covering my exposed tattoo. I cried, I yelled, I cursed, I slammed things, I freaked out. Wrath. Complete wrath.

I prayed. I prayed for God to fix this. I prayed that He would do something. I didn’t think He would take her side. Never did I think He would come after me. I sincerely thought I was perfectly justified in what I did. My reaction seemed completely understandable considering the reason behind the tattoo. And this sister of mine knows how important that tattoo is to me. She reads my blog. She got the phone call the day I was crying off and on a few weeks before we moved.

Let me explain it like this — the tattoo is the ONLY thing I have left of that baby. That’s it. I did not take it lightly when I decided that’s what I wanted to do. It is not a tattoo that I got after a drunken night of partying. It’s not a permanent reminder of my crazy early adulthood. It is a representation of a baby that I loved and had hopes and dreams for. That baby already had a name, depending on its gender. And now I don’t even know its gender. The tattoo is a representation of a tiny human blessing and answer to heartfelt prayers. And, it represents heartache and loss and suffering. It represents love and sacrifice.

So for someone to ask me to cover it up for any reason whatsoever is like being stabbed in the heart over and over and over again.

But I doubt she had any idea. I believe she had no intention of causing the pain that she did.

And I thought I had healed more than that.

And I thought I was nicer than that.

And I thought I was more righteous than that.

And I thought

I thought

And now I think I behaved like a fool. I believe my mouth portrayed the condition of my heart. I have behaved like a hypocrite. I have disappointed God. I have done so many wrong things.

And I am ashamed.

 

Tattoo March 26, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 7:28 am
Tags: , , , ,

Since yesterday at 7:00 there have been 42 hits just on my Angel Baby Forever Tattoo post. Sheesh!

On one hand I’m all like “WhooHooo!!”. On the other hand it literally breaks my heart to pieces. Every day I get an amazing amount of internet traffic because of my experiences with miscarriage and getting a memorial tattoo.

So here is an update:

I am still recovering. The past few days I’ve been talking with my husband and two of my friends about taking an anti-depressant. I am seriously considering it. My next step is to talk with my doctor. She told me to give it two months since my last appointment so I have a month to go. I also think I need to wait until this semester is over to see if that is a cause of my anxiety or not. I think it was during the move, but I am back to enjoying it (except for the stupid book I’m having to read — hate it — but I am pretty sure I am back to loving school again). And I am a borderline “A” student. So, as I said before, if I pull a “B” I’ll be very pleased.

I still miss my baby. I still think about it. However, the moments of crying spells seem to be over. I have accepted what happened. I still fear getting pregnant again. It’s a double-edged sword though, because I also want another baby very much. I can wait though. I can. It used to be, when we were talking about getting pregnant, I would be so anxious to jump the gun and start baby dancing every other day. Not this time. I thought, initially, I’d wait until right after my sister’s wedding (it’s in June) and then we’d try immediately. Now I think I want to wait until Jeremy is closer to 3 years old (Bree will be 4 1/2). Of course, as we all know, God may have other plans so we leave it up to Him if He wants to bless us in the meantime. If not, we will probably wait another year to start trying.

We have chats about it. I pray about it. I ask God to kiss that baby for me and to tell it that its mommy loves it so very much. I look even more forward to Christ’s return so we can all be together. But I am healing and have healed and I am sure, even though I will never forget, I will recover fully.

My kids like to rub lotion on my tattoo after I shower. It’s adorable. I still hope they never get tattooed (for some reason), but I want them to be very accepting of anyone who is different than them.

Thank you for reading my posts, esp those of you who share my story. And I am so incredibly sorry for your losses. Heaven is going to be one amazing family reunion, huh?

I can’t wait!

 

Memorial Tattoo for Miscarriage February 28, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 9:36 pm
Tags: , ,

I find it thoroughly interesting that for 6 solid weeks my tattoo has been all the rage on my site (look to the right on my sidebar under top posts — see it? — yep, since I started this journey it has been a top post). Literally, every single day someone looks at it at least twice in the picture I posted. The post, and others related to that final one, gets an average of 10 hits per day. Some days it gets almost 20 hits. There are a myriad of searches done on different search engines for “miscarriage tattoo”, “memorial tattoo”, “baby angel tattoo”, “angel tattoo”, and others. I can see these things when I check my blog stats. And every day I am amazed that it continues.

Many women have suffered a miscarriage. Many have suffered more than one. It’s almost a silent suffering for us because we are left with the monthly reminders that we are no longer pregnant — and so we still suffer. For how long? I guess that all depends on the individual. Maybe until the next baby arrives healthy and vibrant? Maybe it never stops. Maybe losing a child no matter if it was by choice, by chance, or by accident — maybe we never get over that.

Anyway, the tattoo has completely healed, I am happy to say. It looks awesome! I am a modest dresser so it doesn’t show outside of my clothes other than when I’m around the house in my nightgown or if I am wearing a tank top. When I know I’m going to be in the sun any length of time I keep it covered because getting a tan (or, worse, a burn) over a tattoo can do damage to it. I still ask Rich to put lotion on it after I shower, but other than that it’s life as usual. It doesn’t itch anymore either which is fantastic b/c I was really starting to get tired of not being able to scratch between my shoulder blades. Tomorrow marks 4 weeks since I got it. And I still love it!

Let this be a reminder to each of you who reads this. Women who suffer miscarriages don’t get over it in a week or two. It is a deeply felt loss. It takes time to work through the pain and disappointment. It’s a hard thing to believe when you’re faced with it in the doctor’s office or while bleeding it out on the toilet. It is physically painful for women who choose (or had no choice) to allow it to happen naturally. Having a D&C is no picnic either. Waiting to go into surgery frayed my emotions. I had so many doubts and worries wondering if I was doing the right thing. Going home knowing what happened during the procedure and knowing that my baby was no longer in my body was heartwrenching. Trying to lose that weight I had gained has been an uphill battle (and I still haven’t lost it all). Packing away the maternity clothes I had just started to wear brought me to my knees. The fact that I still can’t fit into my normal size is a daily reminder of what happened. The fact that I have had a period every month since is another painful reminder of my loss.

I don’t dwell on it. I seriously don’t. But it has caused a change in me. I can feel the tug of depression. I still carry the weight upon my shoulders. I still have days when I just want to curl up in bed and sleep and sleep and sleep. I am not the same.

But, if one person can be touched by what I’ve been through…

…well, let me just say I am glad to help. If you need help or just want to vent I will be here for you.

I love my baby. I prayed so hard for that baby. I hope someday to be able to share the entire story. But, for now, it’s too soon. Things of my past that I am over are not hard for me to conjure up for these posts. But this one thing is too fresh. It’s still very painful for me. I am still dealing with it.

So hang tight. I will share someday.

Have a wonderful night. And thanks, again, for visiting Candid Chatter. We arrived at 2000+ hits today. I am so completely touched by your visits! I truly am.