A Couple of Catholics

A blog about faith, intentional living and the joys and struggles of married life.

Tag: Pregnancy (page 1 of 2)

Our Miscarriage Story – Francine Helen

Have you ever just had a feeling deep in your gut that things were not going to turn out alright?

From the day I found out we were expecting our third I just had this ominous sense wash over me. Something just told me that this was not meant to be.

Call it crazy.

Call it mother’s intuition.

Call it whatever you want, but I always knew buried in the depth of my heart that we would not be meeting our child this coming Easter.

Of course, I hoped for a different ending, I never wanted to actually say the words out loud for fear that they would give life to this nightmare I’d been carrying silently in the recesses of my mind.

I know it sounds silly looking back on it, but I always just knew. Just like I always knew she was a girl.

I remember feeling so anxious as I counted down the days to the milestone eight-week appointment when we would be able to see her heartbeat. With previous pregnancies, my nerves always began to settle down after the eight-week appointment, but still, this was not the case with Francine. Her pregnancy was different from the start. Even after seeing her beautiful little wiggles and steady heartbeat on the ultrasound screen my mind was not at ease.

By the time our twelve-week appointment rolled around I was practically bracing myself for the news that something had gone horribly wrong. I remember the morning of the appointment a thought crossed my mind that I should invite Pat to come along. But in a rush, I failed to heed that little nudge from the Holy Spirit and walked right out the door.

As I entered the doctor’s office and laid back on the cold, sterile examining table my thoughts raced as I anxiously yearned to hear her sweet, healthy heartbeat.

My OB rolled the monitor back and forth against my abdomen searching for a heartbeat he would never find and I found myself repeating the names of Jesus and Mary…my feeble attempt at prayer. The truth was my thoughts were racing so fast I couldn’t even remember the words to a prayer let alone muster up the courage or grace to mumble one.

My doctor soon gave up on the heart monitor and kindly asked me to step into the ultrasound room to see what was going on.

I wanted to scream, “you’re not going to find a heartbeat. She’s gone.” Somehow I held tightly onto what little composure I had and played along. Before I knew it, there she was on a grainy, black and white monitor exposed for all to see.

What should have been a moment to make my maternal heart swell with joy and optimism, instead became the moment it was torn to pieces. My heart plummeted to my stomach. The breath stolen from my lungs.

Time stood still as I began to feel the weight of what was no longer a fear, but a reality…my reality.

I know it sounds so cliché, but I’ve never known suffering quite like this. I’ve met suffering before, of course. I’ve watched friends and family pass away, some unexpectedly, others after a long life well lived. But this cross is different…not necessarily heavier just indescribably different. It’s a foreign sort of pain and loss. One I’m still grappling with for sure.

How do you grieve and put to rest someone the world never knew?

There are no stories or memories to find joy or solace. Yet, I knew this beautiful soul, deeply and intimately. Her whole being was wrapped up into mine.

It’s fitting that we lost Francine on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

I could have discovered this heart-wrenching loss on any day, but Our Mother in Her Blessed Sweetness chose to come alongside and meet me in my sorrow that day. Rather, she chose to lead me further into her own Immaculate, Sorrowful and Anguished Heart that day.

In my better moments, I’ve offered to her this unyielding pain as a feeble way to console her Most Immaculate Heart. In my weaker moments, I’ve reached for Her, clinging to the solidarity that we’ve both lost someone so precious to us, someone, the world never truly knew. And as strange as it sounds I’m thankful for that.

The following days and weeks have been a blur. I feel like a shell of who I once was and while its only been a few weeks I seriously doubt I’ll ever get over this.

The truth is even if I wanted to I could never go back. Six short weeks ago I was with child. I had life growing inside of me. I was starting to show, struggling to zip up my pants and anxiously anticipating feeling her first squirms and movements. I was hopeful and starry-eyed for the future this little one would bring. I anticipated her arrival and looked forward to discovering the little personality that would unfold before us.

And now its all come to a sudden halt. I’m not carrying and nourishing a baby inside of me anymore.

Instead of a round, growing belly — a hopeful, winsome, daydreaming heart, I’m left with an empty tomb, hallow and cold, and a heart now pregnant with grief, worry, and doubt.

Though I’m no longer with child, my heart doesn’t seem to know the difference. I still long to mother her, to care for and love her, but my longings are left with no outlet.

So where do I go from here?

After all, this is the kinda stuff that can cripple people.

The kind of stuff that can unleash a darkness in the heart that never seems to fade, a darkness that if not reckoned with could easily take hold for the long run. If there is one thing I know it’s that there is no middle ground with grief…you either deal or you don’t. You either face the darkness and eventually find the light or the darkness will overcome.

I’m certain Our Lady grappled with the same feelings, the same darkness, the same mess of emotions we desperately try to bundle together under the guise of grief. I’m certain that her pain was infinitely more piercing than mine…even on the worst days. And I’m clinging to the confidence, supplied only by His grace that like any good mother, she will walk with me through this grief to a place where it doesn’t ache quite as much.

After all, didn’t she do just that when the world fell into despair on those three darkest days her Son was in the tomb?

She stayed with the apostles and Mary Magdalene, grieving with them, consoling them. At a time when she could have isolated herself, sitting in the darkness of her own grief…a grief brought on by the world itself, she didn’t. Instead of blaming the world or shutting herself out from it, she did the very opposite.

She brought the lamenting world into her warm, loving embrace.

She consoled the world who put Love to death, resting in hope and confidence that the Lord was not finished. She found healing for her broken heart by giving it to others, by caring for and nurturing like mothers so often do.

And oddly enough it is in her very suffering that I have found hope, hope provided by God’s goodness but brought to life by her example.

So it is my prayer that I can follow the road she has paved for me, walking side by side with those who suffer in whatever capacity, offering hope and encouragement that He does, in fact, have more in store for us, each and every one of us.

This is where I can begin to move past grief and into something greater. This is where healing is found.

Why I Don’t Use Contraception: A Man’s Perspective

The Catholic belief on birth control is a tough pill to swallow (pun intended). Since I’m a man I often get a look of disbelief when people learn that my wife and I don’t use contraception.

“You really believe in no birth control?”, they say. “Are you planning to have 20 kids?”  “I have a friend who’s Catholic and his wife is on the pill.”

Unfortunately, these reactions are the norm (the last one kills me). This is probably in part because according to a study in 2014, 78% of Catholics disagree with the Church’s teaching on contraception.

Despite being in the minority, Nicole and I don’t use contraception. Per the guidance of the Church we have chosen to be open to all that God has to offer, including however many children He wants to bless us with. We want our marriage to match the kind of love God has for us–a love that is free, total, faithful, fruitful (a.k.a., the four components of God’s love for us).

So what do we do, just roll the dice every time we want to get down?

Nope.

Nicole and I use Natural Family Planning, something we have written about here before. So why not contraception? Beyond the Church’s wisdom on this teaching, I thought I should summarize a few reasons why I don’t use contraception and instead choose to use NFP as our method of family planning.

Continue reading

We’re Now a Family of 4 – Watch Our Second a Day Video

We are thrilled to announce that just over a week ago we became a family of four 👨‍👩‍👧‍👧‍‍‍ ! Although we are exhausted, we are delighted to have a new little blessing!

When J was born, Nicole and I were inspired by other second a day videos. Of course, once we captured our nine-month journey of prepping for our first child we had no choice but to continue this tradition with our second.

(BTW, J is now a crazy toddler, amazing how time flies!)

Adjusting to life with baby M has been a whirlwind and the journey is only beginning. We couldn’t be more in love with her. The Lord has truly outdone Himself, overwhelming us with His Goodness.

So far toddler J seems to be warming up to her nicely, rushing to M’s side with a pacifier in hand at the sound of every whimper.

Thank God for all the beautiful women in my life… now I’m a dad to divas and am slowly getting used to having so much estrogen around. Cheers 🍻 to all the great moments to come.

Our Daughter Turns One (The EPIC Party in GIFs)

Oh my gosh, how time flies…everyone said it would, but you just really don’t understand until you are trying to intricately place sprinkles into the shape of a one on your eldest child’s birthday cake. That’s right…we recently celebrated Johanna’s first birthday party and like all first-time mommies I made sure to take extra time to make this event special.

Johanna does love her brandy.

It began with a vision…

Continue reading

10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Having a Baby [Video]

Before becoming a dad I had a lot of ambitions…in fact, I still do. It’s no secret that becoming a parent is a life-changing event, and with it come new challenges and a lot of questions. Even though it feels like my daughter has been a part of my life forever, I’ve only been on the job for seven months. Lets be real, I’m still a newbie.

To offer some guidance to new moms and dads and parents-to-be, Extra Space Storage put together a video called “10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Having a Baby.”

Not only is this video fantastic advertising (I should know), but all of their advice is 100% true…

Continue reading

This Pregnancy Announcement Parody is AMAZING

In a world where it’s frowned upon to have more than two kids, Chad and Andrea Chapman rub their not-so-traditional family choices in everyone’s face, and I ADORE IT! They are expecting baby number four, and they want everyone to know: “It’s our family; we can do what we want to.”

The couple created this hilarious Miley Cyrus parody video, called “We Can’t Stop . . . Having Babies.” And the subtle, (or not so subtle line) “It’s my body I can grow who I want to” is genius! This lyric turns the typical pro-choice argument of “it’s my body” and “my choice” on its head.

Congrats to you, Chad and Andrea. Bring on those babies!

Introducing the Newest Contributor to A Couple of Catholics

On our blog we are always working hard to come up with new ways to share our faith and our life with you. We are so proud and excited to share this news. If you are a regular reader you know that this has been nine months in the making.

Inspired by other second a day videos, Nicole and I decided to capture our nine months of prepping and planning for our first child. Introducing the newest contributor to A Couple of Catholics:

Older posts