Moving Forward


It feels like eons since I last sat down to a blank page on this blog. And for those of you that enjoy my posts and have been urging me to get back to my writing, I apologize. However, I see the fact that it has been over four months since I’ve opened this page as a blessing. You see, writing is my therapy. And when I am not writing it usually means that things in my life are really great and busy and there is no time to stop and write because I don’t want to miss a second of all that greatness. It’s when I am feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or worried, that I sit down to write and it makes everything better. It gives me the perspective I need, helps me find my way.  Today I really need some perspective. And furthermore, am not sure how I’ll find my way. Let’s see where this goes.

The past four months have been incredibly amazing. We witnessed the election of a new Pope. We had tons of visitors to Rome in the Spring and made lots of memories with really great friends. My husband was promoted to a job with the University which has taken us from Rome back to Chicago. Our Annie was kissed by the Pope. (I promise to share the story of this incredible day soon.) We traveled to Atlanta, Kiawah Island, and Charleston for an amazing family vacation. Annie got to be a flower girl, again. We packed up our life and sent it on a boat.  (I’m pretty sure our things are floating pretty close to the Atlantic shore line by now, at least I hope so.) We spoiled ourselves and splurged on a last trip before our move. We spent an entire week in Sardinia, just the three of us. It was the most glorious and relaxing vacation of my life. We said some really hard goodbyes. We welcomed a niece and a nephew.

Saying goodbye to Rome was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Leaving the home where you first nursed your firstborn, where you experienced your first bouts of morning sickness, where friends smothered you with support and love when family was thousands of miles away, can only be described as bittersweet.  And even though we have so many blessings coming with this move, it still feels more bitter than sweet. Annie’s first home.  How do you say goodbye to that? Another post for another day.

For most of the past year I had been obsessing over the fact that I wasn’t getting pregnant. I had lost the last pregnancy a year and a half ago. We didn’t understand why it wasn’t happening for us. Our Ob/gyn started us on clomid, a hormone therapy to help with ovulation, in February. It made me sick and wasn’t working so after three months, I stopped taking it. I had a long talk with our campus minister. And decided to “let go and let God.” He told me to just give it up to God. And so I did. I stopped stressing, stopped even thinking about it. I took in every moment of our last months in Rome. And feel completely blessed that I can say we lived those last months so well and completely. We made more memories in those last three months than in the last three years. I was feeling good, calm, and relaxed. It had been a while.

The morning we left Rome for our big move home was filled with lots of emotions. After a sleepless night in our tiny apartment, we packed a few last things, said a few last minute goodbyes, and found out we were pregnant. Literally an hour before the car came to take us to the airport. I couldn’t have been more elated. And I couldn’t have felt more confident that things were going to be great. A new start with an expected new addition. It couldn’t have been more perfect, or made more sense. We found out we were pregnant with Annie practically the day before we moved to Rome. And now we found out we were expecting again hours before our move back to Chicago. Another April baby, I already have all the maternity clothes for these seasons. What amazing luck!

We arrived in Chicago and moved in with my parents. Mike and I were on cloud nine. Mike started work the very next day and things began moving entirely too quickly. A car purchase, 33 house showings in three days. I was feeling overwhelmed. We weren’t finding what we wanted or could afford in the areas we wanted. I was stressed and you would think having to pee every five minutes would have only agitated me more and added to the stress. I got to check the plumbing in 30 of 33 of those homes. But we had waited so long for a pregnancy since our last loss that my frequent visits to the bathroom only brought me giddiness and joy. After three days of serious house hunting, we found a home we are pretty excited about. We decided to take a break from the hunt and slow down a bit.

On Friday morning I had some light bleeding and made an appointment to immediately see a doctor. (Oh, yeah, we’re starting over in this department too. And I’m not super happy with the care I am currently receiving, so if anyone has some great recommendations of Ob/gyns in the western suburban area, please send them my way.)   My HCG (pregnancy hormone) levels were normal and the nurse practitioner didn’t seem too concerned. The next day I was put on progesterone and by Monday I thought maybe we were in the clear because my bleeding was pretty much non-existent. Monday’s blood test confirmed my biggest nightmare. Another miscarriage. Tomorrow I will be going in for another D&C, hopefully to avoid a repeat of any complications that didn’t seem to end after the last miscarriage.

I am at a loss. I don’t understand and know I never will. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more defeated or abandoned. But I know better. Annie has taught me too much. Right now I feel like I’ll never stop hurting from this. And I’ll never understand why my greatest desire, giving Annie a sibling (or six), can’t seem to come easily. I know she deserves it. She’d be the best big sister ever. All I want to do is ask, “why?!”, and actually get an answer. But I know that is not possible. And I know getting angry with God (something I am so tempted to do right now) will do no good. If I get lost in my faith through this, my loss will only be that much greater.

If you haven’t been able to tell from my stories I share here, my husband and I aren’t really planners. We didn’t plan on a move back to Chicago, it just came. And so we are going with it.  When we travel, we usually book a hotel the night before our departure, we arrive and see where the trip takes us. Most of the time it works great, sometimes it’s disastrous. But it always works out in the end. The disappointments and let downs always make the great successes that much more wonderful.

Some people have their lives planned to the very minute. They buy a house, planning on being there five years. They plan a pregnancy for the perfect due date or age difference between siblings. And for those who can do this and it actually works, I think “good for you, do you have a secret?”

I can sit here and cry and be jealous of those who get that next step, that next baby, that house upgrade, or  job promotion, as planned. But I won’t do that, because it won’t make me better. Our path is different. We don’t plan because we find that when we do there are more bumps, more disappointments. And while planning the future we seem to miss more of the present. I never expected to see two little pink lines on July 30th, hours before we boarded a plane at Fuimicino, and it made the excitement of it all that more delightful. I know it’s been ripped from me too quickly. But we still have hope that life will take us back to that excitement with a happier ending and a sister or brother (fingers crossed, sister) for Annie.  We can’t wait to see where this trip takes us next.

Tomorrow will be tough. I am sure I haven’t shed my last tear over this, there is still lots of confusion and pain. But we are grateful for what we have. Grateful for our happy family of three.  We are ready to move forward. Ready for our next adventure. And accepting all prayers.


6 responses »

  1. Dearest Colleen, Mike and Annie, We are praying for all of you and send lots of love, hugs and kisses your way. I know the path is difficult, but pray you persevere and enjoy the prospect of a new house and new beginnings. Love, Mom Beazley

    • Colleen – you are an inspiration. The Gjeldums are lucky to know you, Mike and Annie and have you part of our lives. Can’t wait to see you guys. Love, Dan, Katie, Jack, Charlie, Leila and Gabby.

  2. Colleen – you are such an inspiration to so many – many that you will never know. My heart hurts for your pain. You have my prayers.

    Have you ever heard about or read a devotional named “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young? Here is the passage for Monday August 12th —— “Come to Me when you are weak and weary. Rest snugly in My everlasting arms. I do not despise your weakness, My child. Actually, it draws Me closer to you, because weakness stirs up My compassion – My yearning to help. Accept yourself in your weariness, knowing that I understand how difficult your journey has been. Do not compare yourself with others, who seem to skip along their life-paths with ease. Their journeys have been different from yours, and I have gifted them with abundant energy. I have gifted you with fragility, providing opportunities for your spirit to blossom in My Presence. Accept this gift as a sacred treasure: delicate, yet glowing with brilliant Light. Rather than struggling to disguise or deny your weakness, allow Me to bless you richly through it.” Isaiah 42:3, Isaiah 54:10, Romans 8:26

    My sister-in-law gave me this devotional about a year ago – and it is AWESOME!! Almost every day I read something in it that seems to be speaking directly to me. I hope you can get one soon!

    My prayers are with you tomorrow and always.

  3. My heart breaks for you. Why the never ending question that I know you will find peace with one way or another. I love your strength- your persistence to gravitate to love and gratefulness- gifts greater than anything- your family is stunning and I know you will expand it – one way or another- your heart is too big not to- take care if yourself and rest easy knowing somehow it will all work out.

  4. Dear, sweet Colleen.. hadn’t read this til today.. we all love you, Mike and Annie so very much.. and sometimes there are no reasons why things happen. Thank you for sharing your living in the present and not the future so you don’t miss today. I will keep that as a reminder to use. I know alot of people are so happy you are back in the states. Everyone missed all of you. Hopefully, we can get to see you sometime soon. Trust in the Lord.. he has a plan.. and yes, sometimes it is not our plan… but He knows better. Love you bunches and kiss that precious baby for me !!! Aunt Mickey

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