Mothers Day: Pregnancy, Love and Loss

A few years ago I was in Georgia on a hot and humid spring day. I was single at the time and sitting in the back row at Cascade Hills Church on Mother’s Day. As the service opened the pastor began with the speech I had expected. He acknowledged the amazing women and mothers within the room. They all stood and received a flower. What I wasn’t prepared for was what he said next.

He continued “For all of the women in this room sitting down right now that have been hoping and praying for a baby or have lost a baby, God sees you too and is with you in this moment.” That’s when I saw multiple women start to cry. I’m not going to lie it even made me tear up hearing his words, despite that I was not one of those women.

Two years later.

My husband Dan and I were in North Carolina on leave when we unexpectedly found out we were pregnant. We were on leave because he was preparing to leave for deployment. We were ecstatic, surprised and I was slightly terrified too haha.

As the weeks went by, I became extremely sick with nausea and vomiting. One morning I couldn’t stop vomiting. I was on the bathroom floor on my knees crying as Dan held my hair and rubbed my back. He sat on the floor with me and held me as I swore I never wanted to do this again. He smiled and assured me we could talk about it later.

When I wasn’t sick, I was constantly sleeping. I would sit down on the couch to pet the dog and I would fall asleep for 2 hours. The combination of being sick and constantly sleeping was my reassurance our baby would be healthy, because I felt miserable.

On the day of our first ultrasound, I woke up and ran errands because I was starting to feel better. I was emotional to say the least. Dan was leaving in a week for deployment and this was the only appointment he could attend. He was almost late because he left work to make it to the appointment. I joked that because he was running late we would definitely have a girl. He made me laugh in the waiting room. He always makes me laugh. We were incredibly happy and excited to see our sweet baby for the first time.

The moment she put the ultrasound probe on my stomach I knew something was wrong. The baby was far too small to be at 10-14 weeks gestation. As we took a closer look, the baby had no heartbeat. My heart sank and silent tears began to fall down my face. Dan couldn’t tell right away but I saw the happy smile and color leave his face when he realized what was happening. Our favorite OB doc came in and confirmed our fears. He hugged us close and prepared the paperwork for a D+C.

As they prepped me for surgery, the tears continued to fall. When I woke up in PACU the first thing I said was “I feel like I’m waking up from a bad dream.” Dan was incredibly loving and supportive. He held me close and let me cry. He assured me that today, it wasn’t ok but eventually it would be. He reminded me that God’s timing is always perfect.

Loosing that baby was like loosing someone we never knew but already loved. 

The first week I felt like I was drowning in grief. I cried all of the time. I cried myself to sleep. I prayed and prayed, and prayed for peace and healing in my ever so shattered heart. No one really talks about this kind of pain. I needed to, so I did. Dan is not the best at keeping secrets. So a lot of our close friends and coworkers knew about the pregnancy. I’m not sad we told people, I’m just sad it didn’t end up the way we thought it would.

Dan deployed and I went back to work. The sadness and anger took a long time to fade. One day before work I was sitting in my car reading a blog post from a close friend. It was about her experience with loosing a baby. It made me ugly cry, rivers of tears poured down my face. I cried so many tears I needed a Kleenex but all I had was the dirty shirt I ran in that morning. I didn’t care, I used it anyway. After reading her post, it gave me hope that maybe someday we would have a sweet little miracle baby.

To the women that were sitting down in church that day and to the women that have experienced this kind of love and loss, You are not alone. Your pain is real. Your tears are real too. Let them both come, holding them in will only prolong the pain. We may never have the answers to why these things happen. However, even as I cried myself to sleep multiple nights in a row and even as I said goodbye to my husband I knew in my heart, God has a plan for us. In our vows, we promised that our faith would always be the steady ground we would stand on. So I decided I had to live up to that promise I made. I would stand on that steady ground and I would smile through the pain, tears and heartbreak.

To our friends, coworkers and family, thank you for your outpouring of love, support, prayers, kind words, warm hugs and beautiful flowers. 

Thank you Vera, for your silent sweet hug as you prepped me for surgery. Thank you Mindy, for sharing your heartbreak with me, so I didn’t feel so alone. Thank you Gina, for the beautiful flowers. Thank you Grace, for sending me Trauma Life oil, I diffused it when I couldn’t stop the tears from falling. Thank you Marcie, for bringing me pink cupcakes with lemon frosting, you always know the way to my heart. Thank you Dan, for your kindness, friendship and love. Forever will never be long enough with you.

There are never really words to say in moments like this in life. However, the words of that pastor echoed through my mind that day and for weeks to come. “God sees you too in these moments and is with you.”

Love,
Jenny

 

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The picture above was the first morning I woke up and wanted to drink a cup of coffee. Most of my friends know how much I absolutely love coffee, espresso and cappuccino but while I was pregnant I had an aversion to coffee. As I sat outside with the dogs that day watching the sun come up, I knew there would be healing and so much grace to come.

 

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Birthdays and Princess Castles: Neuschwanstein

I’ve wanted to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle since I first moved to Germany. It reminded me of all the princess castles we watched in movies growing up. It looked so perfect in photographs and I wanted so badly for it to be that beautiful in person. Unfortunately, King Ludwig II died before it was completely finished. The castle was opened to the community and millions of people visit this incredible piece of history every year. Aunt Karin and our cousin Jenny helped us plan a trip to Neuschwanstein the weekend of my birthday to celebrate our marriage.

We were up late the night before at the local Octoberfest celebration. We woke up later than planned and started our road trip. To be honest, Dan started driving and I napped gracefully in the passenger seat. He was so sweet to snap this picture of me…

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We finally made it to Aunt Karin’s house. She made a delicious homemade breakfast and fresh coffee —> we definitely needed that! As we got back into the car to continue our road trip, Aunt Karin talked us into taking the scenic route. We agreed immediately. The fall weather was warm and sunny. The gorgeous German countryside was well worth the extra hour to get there.

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When we arrived we scoped out the castles and did some shopping. We stopped for pizza, beers and of course cappuccino! I loved the atmosphere of this chill little restaurant named “Relax” in Fussen, Germany.

We were exhausted from a long day of travel so when we finally made it to our hotel on the border of Austria and Germany we slept so hard. The next morning we woke up to a delicious European breakfast including freshly baked bread, rolls, meats, cheeses and fruit. We had such a great experience at this hotel!

We went back to the Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castle. Dan and Aunt Karin were waiting in line to get tickets. I was picking up cappuccinos and hot, freshly baked pretzels. What an amazing breakfast! We didn’t end up getting tickets to tour the castle. I remembered reading blogs saying we should buy tickets ahead of time but I forgot to! oops! We didn’t want to delay heading back home (It’s football season! The Eagles were playing at 7pm Germany time and Dan wouldn’t miss a game).

We took a carriage ride up to the castle and toured the exterior and the courtyard. The views from where the castle sits nestled into the mountains were breathtaking. It was everything I could have ever hoped it would be.

Thanks for spending my birthday with me Aunt Karin!

Love,

Jenny

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It was already dark when we arrived to the hotel but we woke up to these views!!

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Watching the sun rise

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Hot pretzels and cappuccino for breakfast #2 🙂

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The view from the castle

 

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Thanks to these gorgeous animals, we didn’t have to walk.dsc_0421

 

Until next time my friends… I’ll be sipping cappuccino and dreaming of where life will take us next.

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Denmark, A Journey of Love: Marriage

Living in Europe has it’s perks and choosing the perfect spot to say our vows was difficult to say the least. We fell in love in Ibiza, Spain and decided that our little piece of paradise was perfect. It was only missing one thing, we had to be Roman Catholic to officially get married there.

After examining our options (including flying back to the states) we decided to sign our official marriage paperwork in Denmark. We had friends of ours that recently got married in Copenhagen, Denmark through the company Danish Island Weddings. They had such a positive experience, they referred us to them.

From the moment we contacted this company, they made it so outrageously easy. After one email containing a marriage application and a scanned copy of all our important documents….. we had a date to get married. I was shocked when I received the approval email so quickly. I was in Poland at the time for work and it brought tears to my eyes.

We opted to get married on ÆrøIsland in the Old Merchants Courtyard. From the pictures of the island it reminded me so much of my hometown. The people were friendly and very helpful. They spoke perfect English (the small joys in life) and went out of their way to ensure we had a wonderful experience on their island.

The day before we got married we woke up early and had breakfast with all of the couples that stayed at our accommodation the night before. It was around a large rustic dining table and we ate a typical European breakfast. Fresh rolls baked that morning by the owner with a variety of cheeses and meats. There were vegetables grown from the garden including cucumbers and green, red and yellow peppers. The jam selection was made by hand by the owners mother (absolutely the best). One of my favorite new combinations for breakfast is plain greek style yogurt, corn flakes and a drizzle of the local honey. It was sweet, crunchy and tangy #allofmyfavoritethings. In my experience you have to try new things to see if you like it or not. (Ask my friend Marcus… a few weeks ago I made him try everything in my lunch). Exploring your tastebuds is one of my favorite parts of traveling. If you don’t try it… you’ll never really know!

After our meeting with Ulrich we were reassured everything would be perfect the next day. She re-booked our return ferry for the next day ensuring we made our flight in Copenhagen (Just barely… see Dan’s post here–>Punctuality: Panic at the Terminal ). We barely made the connection, not because of the ferry/car rental but because I was buying postcards to send to our families back home. Next time I’ll hurry {maybe}.

The morning of our wedding Dan was both happy and anxious. If you’ve ever travelled with Dan you’ll realize he’s a “Nervous Nelly Traveler.” Or atleast thats what I call them. Every family has one. They’re the ones that show up 6 hours prior to their flight. Then they wait around because it’s far too early to consider going through security because even the flight crews haven’t decided what gate to put the flight at yet (they’re still in line for coffee so they can tolerate obnoxiously rude travelers–>don’t be that one!).

To his surprise I got up EARLY which is a huge struggle for me. (High five to all my fellow 5+ times alarm snoozers). However, the promise of french press coffee and the potential of leaving this gorgeous island married was a huge motivation. Since we were carrying all of our luggage throughout both Denmark and Norway we opted to just pack backpacks for the week. I packed a simple sundress for me and a polo for him. If Dan loves anything he loves the simple life. Opposites attract right?!?

After arriving to the building in Old Merchants Court, I gave Dan the option to run. He looked at me and laughed. He pulled me in close said “Come on you knucklehead, you’re gonna marry me.” So we went up the stairs to this vintage style decor room with beautiful paintings of the island and got married. Dan’s brother Eric joined us via Skype.

It was perfect. So simple. The judge said… “Before performing the ceremony the Council wishes to remind you of the meaning and importance of the promise you are going to give each other. Matrimony implies in general a pledge to live together in mutual affection, helpfulness and tolerance.” {I’m pretty sure she emphasized the word tolerance but maybe I was just imagining that}.

We both repeated the same vows we had said to each other on an ancient tower over looking the Mediterranean Sea (PICTURES TO COME SOON!!). We kissed and it was official. We were MARRIED. We kissed again and signed the papers (that were in four different languages). Then we toasted with champagne and celebrated with a few pieces of delicious chocolate.

After getting engaged in Germany, married in Denmark and having our ceremony in Spain….

We know without a doubt, no matter where in the world this love story takes us… at least we have each other to laugh with, love and tolerate 🙂

Love,

Jenny

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I wanted to see how cold the water was… Not nearly as cold as I imagined it would be.

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I love these rocks.

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Beers in the Courtyard
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The view from the cliffs

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A beautiful Lighthouse near Soby

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The golf course surrounding the lighthouse in Soby
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Squinting hard against the wind
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Storm rolling in

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Danish Island Weddings:

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Eric on Skype
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“A pledge to live together in mutual affection, helpfulness and tolerance.”

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Ulrich was the absolute best!

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Champagne and Chocolate
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Waiting for the ferry with our little white rental car
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Sunrise on the Baltic Sea

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All these hearts led to you

ps. Our Ibiza wedding ceremony coming to the blog soon!