Homesickness, the Irish version

21 September 2010

I've hit the homesickness wall on this side of the ocean. Missing Ireland and our friends and church and our house big time. BIG. TIME. Not that it's not amazing on this side. We love being near our family, enjoying reconnecting with old friends and joining some old and new fellowships, but still... it's home, but it's not home. So with that in mind, another top 10 list.

Top 10 thing I miss about Ireland:

  1. The sea. Duh.
  2. Seeing the mountains every day.
  3. Road trips up to Belfast.
  4. Having tea or coffee with friends or coworkers or youth or whoever happened to stop by.
  5. Book club, the awesome ladies, and reading for fun.
  6. Writing in Malahide. Oh how I miss writing in the rain and sleet in Malahide.
  7. Church. Raw, acoustic, personal worship and teaching.
  8. Dreaming with friends and coworkers about a future full of possibilities. Will we ever have a house in Galway with 6 bedrooms that are full of people and youth, looking for a safe place and community to belong to? Maybe not, but over there it seemed possible.
  9. My house. Yes, that's right. That same house i used to complain about where not everything was my own...  I can be so silly!
  10. Knowing we were where we were meant to be.



15 September 2010


5 years ago I was pregnant. It should've been great news - we had been trying for nearly a year for our second baby. But it was never meant to be. I had no idea I was pregnant until it was too late and the baby was gone. As an ectopic pregnancy, there was no chance for survival, and in the subsequent two weeks (discovery, blood tests, diagnosis, then finally surgery), I grieved. A lot. After it was all said and done, I spent a good amount of time in mourning, exhausted by the process and devastated by what never was. Then, news of Ella. Joy quickly replaced pain and we moved on.

But now it's 5 years, and I'm feeling it this year. I say to myself that it was never meant to be. That there would be no Ella, no Asher, and probably no me. I try to convince myself that it was an inconsequential loss and nothing compared to what others have suffered. But for some reason, 5 years later, I feel it in my heart and in my belly... and I know God is in control and that He actually saved me and gave us a second and third chance at more children and healed me of the unknown condition that caused it all in the first place. But I do wonder... why did there have to be a baby? Why did it have to be a baby that was sacrificed to save me and our future family?

Still, I thank God for it. I cry, but I thank God. I get angry, but I look at Ella and Asher, and I thank God.

And I look forward to meeting Eliott, who gets to spend his whole life and eternity seeing and knowing Jesus.


So, anyway, a story I wrote when I was pregnant with Ella.


I lost a baby once.  Not in the lost-in-the-mall type of way.  But as in: one day there was a baby growing inside me, and the next day… not.

My story pales in comparison to others I have heard.  I made no plans, picked out no names, painted no nursery.  I did not know I was pregnant.  I did not know until it was over and the baby was gone, and all that was left inside me was a grapefruit sized mass on my right fallopian tube, the result of an ectopic pregnancy. 

I was in pain and sick for weeks, but I did not know why until minutes before I was wheeled into surgery.  If the mass was not removed, I would most likely never have another child, and I could quite possibly bleed to death.  Even then, the thought that panicked me most was the removal of the mass.  Was the baby alive?  Was it not?  Was I “removing” a viable child?  No… this pregnancy was doomed from the start. 

An ectopic pregnancy is the implantation of a fertilized egg on a woman’s fallopian tube, not in the proper housing: a uterus.  The bleeding for weeks beforehand was the actual miscarriage; the surgery that followed was to repair the damage.

As fate would have it, within a week of my miscarriage and surgery, this exact scenario played itself out on Grey’s Anatomy. I watched this episode thinking how selfish I was for grieving something so small and insignificant (I thought the acting was a bit on the melodramatic side).

After the deed was done, the baby gone, the mass removed (along with fallopian tube and ovary), I had this overwhelming sense of guilt.  I told myself that I hadn’t really lost that much, when I had seen other women in my life suffer much more tragic losses.  I have seen a friend endure three consecutive miscarriages.  Seen as from a distance: through heartbreaking emails and silent phone calls.  I have witnessed a woman grieve the loss of twins, and heard her cries as she not only grieved for herself, but for her older children who had no blueprint for grief and who could not yet understand why their siblings could not be born.

My pain seemed so inconsequential.  I didn’t even know!  I never felt that excitement and unadulterated hope!  This baby would never have been born!  Nothing really to grieve, right?  My problem here was so small in light of all the women I knew who had lost so much more and braved the future, minus one.

And this is when God spoke to me, maybe for the first time.  Weeks after my surgery, as I laid in bed still feeling this suffocating weight of both grief and shame, I heard God say to me, “No pain is too little for me to not bear it for you.”  Ok, He didn’t actually say it, but in my heart I heard it.  He was giving me the permission to grieve because He had given me this script to live out.  I believe that God gave me this small thing - an unknown baby - so I could rest in Him, cry out to Him, and rely on Him for the strength to endure.  I do not know if I could have survived had God given me more, but He gave just enough for me to bear, wanting me to submit this burden to Him.

So I grieved for myself, and for my husband.  I grieved for my son who did not know to hope for a sibling, but who was affected by our sorrow.  I grieved for the loss of my baby.  But I rejoiced in the sweet peace that comes when you rest in Christ.  I can rest in Him because He who suffered the most for me, did it so that He could comfort us in our sacred and small moments of pain.