The Other Miracle

The one that didn’t happen. 

On June 6, 2017,  just over four weeks ago, my daughter Elanor was born. 

Before Elanor was born I prayed and asked others to pray for her to turn from the breech position she’d been in since at least 32 weeks. We were hoping for a VBAC and that isn’t possible with a breech baby. Our primary reason for pursuing a VBAC was to avoid increased risk of complications in future pregnancies from repeat c-sections. We were not sure how many children we wanted total, but we had names picked for up to four more:

Gilbert Carlyle, after our maternal grandfathers.

James Godfrey, I just love the name James and Godfrey is an old family name, and the middle name of my great uncle, who is a wonderful man with a fascinating history. 

Beatrice Rose, two names I adore! Beatrice from my favorite Shakespeare play, and Rose from my family tree. 

Rowena Joy, for my great aunt, who is an inspiring figure in my family,  and Trey’s grandmother.

But Elanor stayed breech, and this turned out to be the miracle that saved her life. When we went in for a version to try and turn her we found I had dangerously low amniotic fluid. We scheduled a c-section for that evening. I was sad to miss a VBAC, but mostly happy to have a plan, a day of rest pre–surgery, and the prospect of a healthy baby girl! It was actually a very restful and pleasant day. Elanor was born without complications, healthy and vigorous, and she knew me immediately! I was so at peace. That would have been a great end to the story, but sadly that is  only the happy prologue. 

They used conscious sedation for the surgery, so I was very aware of the moment we found out about the other miracle, the one that didn’t happen. 

My uterus had developed an aneurysm; instead of a nice thick muscle a third of it was paper-thin membrane. This meant the uterus could not contract and doing so was essential to stopping both the normal blood loss of a completed pregnancy and that from the c-section. It had to come out or I would face massive hemorrhaging quite soon. Our routine c-section suddenly became an emergency hysterectomy. 

This had to happen. Even had they been able to save the uterus future pregnancies would have been dangerous to me and the baby. 

I was not and am not ready for this. 

I am not ready to be done being pregnant. 

I am not ready to be done trying to have a VBAC.

I am not ready to be done with nursing or holding my adorable jelly – bean babies or watching them grow and learn. 

I’m not ready to give up the dream of a brood of kids to do Molly Wesley proud. 

I love Elanor; she is perfect. But I am not ready for her to be my last. 

So far this doesn’t feel like a door closing or a mere redirection. To me this feels like my children were real; I just hadn’t meet them yet. And now I never will because somehow they have been taken from me. I will never know if I’ve lost one, two, or four children, or perhaps more. I don’t know their names, their eye color, their first word, if they looked like me or like Trey. I will never help them learn to walk, or speak, or write an essay, or read Tolkien impossibly early. To me this is a real loss, not just the loss of an opportunity. 

I waited to tell this story until I’d fully processed the events. Elanor is beautiful and nothing about her birth made this happen. It was always going to happen. My poor uterus was doomed and I didn’t want this story to overshadow the miracle that she is. 

But healing my broken heart will take time, possibly a very long time. 

So now if you see me getting weepy, know it’s not you, nor is it just post–partum hormones, though those don’t help, for sure. I’m healing. At least, I will eventually.

 
Lord, give me the strength to not become bitter;

Give me the courage to grieve;

Give me the will to accept your Will; 

Give me hope and peace to one day move out of these shadows; 

Make my love for the children I have burn away the sorrow for those I will never meet. 
In closing, we are asking all well intentioned family and friends to please not mention adoption or surrogacy. We are grieving a real loss and don’t want to trivialize that or the seriousness of those options. We need to heal first. Down the road, like 3 to 5 years down the road, we will assess the possibility of more children. Until then, we ask that these subjects be avoided in the context of our family. 

Thanks for listening. 

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Lent’in Exhausted

I often go into Lent wanting it to be a deep, spiritual experience. Sometimes it is. This year, it wasn’t; and that’s okay. This year was hugely interrupted by an international trip, during which most of my Lenten fasts were set aside, and my habits of spiritual discipline (and exercise) were thrown to the wind. But that’s part life when travelling. Then we came back just in time for Holy Week, sick and jet lagged, and work exploded. I’ve had two 13+ hour days this week! So I’m still exhausted and I’m far away from feeling any spiritual depth around this Easter.

But through all this it’s a deep comfort to know that Christ came to pursue us, not to be pursued. He doesn’t mind if we are tired, frustrated, and just not in the mood.  He loves us, and just wants us to show up and let him do the work for our salvation.

So tonight, i’m just going to show up at Good Friday Mass. I’m not going to worry about my hair or make up, or the fact that i’m kind of grumpy, or that I haven’t said a Rosary (or don’t any serious prayer or quiet time) in three weeks, or that I failed at all of my Lenten fasting. I’m just going to come as I am, burdened and heavy laden, mourn my Savior, and rest in his love.

Because really, that’s all he asks of us.

And, of course, I have to share again my Good Friday Lament.

Commander Data and Add the Words

A House committee of the Idaho State Legislature just struck down House Bill 2, popularly known as “Add the Words.” For three days they have heard testimony from 154 different people in the state house: over 100 in favor of the bill, and less than 50 against it. The bill proposes that the state add the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the state’s Human Rights Act, protecting LGBT Idahoans from discrimination in housing, employment, and other areas.

I am truly saddened that this bill was struck down, and by such a wide margin (13-4 in a straight party line vote).

I am not LGBT. And I am still wrestling with how non-normative sexuality intersects with some of my other values. But I keep coming back to a few things.

In the grand scheme of things the gender and sexuality of others is not a priority. I’m not saying it’s never an issue. But let it be an issue in real life, in people you actually know and situations which truly affect you, and don’t make it an issue for people wholly unconnected with you. There are much, MUCH bigger priorities than policing normative sexual behaviors: like poverty, infant mortality, the Nigerian massacre by Boko Haram. Even in our personal lives I suggest that values such as honesty, integrity, selflessness, self control, generosity, respect, dignity, all these things are infinitely more important. A person who has these qualities but happens to be LGBT is still an excellent person. And it is on these qualities that I choose my friends, not their gender identity or sexuality. And I would hope that it would be on these values that people choose employees and renters.

See, the real issue here was not about homosexuality or gender identity. It never was. The issue was recognizing the humanity of the other, even when we disagree with them. Christ himself excelled at recognizing the other. That recognition was one of the core themes of his ministry. He loved the others. He healed them, blessed them, saved them from persecution, honored them with his attention. Tax collectors, adulterers, prostitutes, foreigners, lepers, the lame, the blind. If we are to follow in the footsteps of the rabbi, these are the priorities we need to have. But before we can love the others, we need to first allow ourselves to see them and see ourselves in them.

We are judged, by others, by history, by posterity, most harshly on how we treat others. Particularly others who are, in a real sense “other,” different than we are, and perhaps to a degree beyond our understanding. I cannot claim to fully understand the LGBT community because I am not a member. Their lives are, in many ways, beyond my imagination. But they are undeniably, unequivocally, and irrevocably a part of the world in which I live. They are human. They are fellow citizens of my country. They are intelligent, caring, brave, selfish, idiotic, lazy, hard working, loving, and spiteful just like me and everyone I know. If we dare to exclude them from any list of “human rights” then we need to rename that list no longer pertain to “humans” but to a lesser subset. And I mean lesser in every possible way. In this case we have declared that we, our little subset, are human and these others are not. And in so doing we damn ourselves.

My question in this situation is not whether Idaho has the right to limit the application of our Human Rights Act, or whether being LGBT is a choice or not, or whether alternative sexuality is right or wrong. My question is what does it say about us, who are WE, when we deny the humanity of others of mankind? When we deny that others, like us, are loved by their Creator and endowed with inalienable rights? Have we not made ourselves less?

This clip from Star Trek: The Next Generation is one of my all time favorites, and another example of how Captain Picard is one of the best role models an eight year old could ask for. While the question at stake in the clip is the very person-hood of a clearly non-human character, is he person or property, the sentiment applies very well to the Add the Words scenario.

Friendship Is Complicated

And this is a great explanation of why My Little Ponies: Friendship Is Magic is amazing.

I will also note a story about my last con, Emerald City Comicon in 2013. I was standing in line for a Shadowrun panel and chatting with the guys ahead of me in line. It didn’t register with me that one of the guys was wearing all purple, or that he had purple and pink streaks in his hair, until I noticed a familiar sticker on his purple tie. “Oh my God! Are you Twilight Sparkle?!” I said. He broke into the biggest smile ever and very proudly replied, “Yes! Yes, I am. See, I even have a tail!” and he spun around to reveal purple and pink hair extensions clipped to the back of his belt. Twilight Sparkle is the most intelligent, mature, clever, and self-aware character in the show. A fabulous choice for anyone to emulate. He was my favorite cosplayer, even including the Spartan troop complete with grav hammer and a world class Captain America. Well done, Prince Twilight. Well done, indeed.

Friendship Is Complicated.

Fight the Silence

Last week I encountered an article that was inspiring, and hard to read. I couldn’t read all of it; about a quarter of the way down it got too hard, because my journey was different, and so much easier. But the author’s point really hit me. We don’t talk about miscarriages, and this culture of silence makes it all the more frightening, isolating, and painful when they happen.

So, I had a miscarriage last week. Praise God it was probably the easiest way one can go through something like this. Our first ultrasound wasn’t until about ten weeks in (this was two weeks ago. Jan 8), so when the scan showed a sac but no baby it was obvious that the pregnancy had kicked off well, but wasn’t going anywhere. I am so glad Trey was with me at this appointment. We also learned that something like a quarter to a third of all pregnancies fail, some so early the mothers may not even know they are pregnant.

Last week I had a D&C, and two days off work. The procedure was quick, easy, and as my lovely OB said, “boring.” Which is absolutely what you want in any surgery. While this hasn’t been easy, it could have been a LOT harder. We are surrounded by many loving and encouraging people, and physical and emotional healing is going very well–though the mood swings are not fun.

I don’t have a point with this post, or a lesson, or a platitude, or anything so trite. But I am always more comfortable with things in the open. So if you want to share, please do. The hard things also need to be talked about.

Christmas Updates 2013

Dear Family and Friends!

Merry Christmas! God has taken us on a wild ride since our last Christmas letter. It has been challenging for sure, but He has blessed us richly and provided continually.

Pirates

In 2011 Bizzy started grad school at the University of Washington, completing her Masters  of Communications in Digital Media in spring of 2013. Grad school was a wonderful experience, with many challenges and adventures! In the spring of 2011, Bizzy’s folks decided to move to Boise, Idaho, but asked us to stay on as caretakers of their house in Kitsap County, Washington.

In the winter of 2011, Trey debuted as a theatrical director for the

Christmas Dessert Theater production of Annie. It was the best-selling show GracePoint Church has ever produced! That year also saw the incorporation of PublishNext, an author-funded, top-notch publishing house featuring Trey as the Senior Editor. Things started off a bit rocky financially, but the company had a lot of promise.

School and publishing took up most of 2012. In the spring Bizzy planned a wedding for some close friends, and both Trey and Bizzy served as honor attendants. Trey took on more responsibilities at PublishNext, which still struggled financially due to lack of capital. Trey published his first nonfiction book in September, under the pen name H.R. Schorr. Also in the fall, Bizzy committed to planning and executing a fun but large and complicated wedding for Michelle Green and Alex Schloss, which then became the number one project of 2013.

graduation headshot

This year has been particularly challenging! In her final quarter of grad school, Bizzy joined the student-run media blog, Flip the Media, and attended Emerald City Comicon and SXSW Interactive 2013 as part of their press team. After graduation she turned all focus to job searching and wedding planning. Bizzy’s folks put their Kitsap house on the market in the summer, and much of May and June were consumed with home staging. We learned a lot about home decorating and maintenance during that process!

In July, Trey chose to leave PublishNext, which continued to have financial difficulties. He turned instead to seeking other employment and pursuing his own writing.

wedding portrait

August saw the fabulous and (nearly) flawless production of the Green–Schloss wedding at the Greens’ home in Kitsap County. It was truly magical!

Immediately after the wedding we were faced with a difficult decision: The house would be sold in a matter of weeks, and so far neither Bizzy nor Trey was having any luck finding a job in the Seattle area, despite dozens of applications, lots of networking, and even some informative workshops. It soon became clear that only one option was truly viable. God was calling us to join Bizzy’s folks in Idaho.

As we packed our things and said goodbye to Kitsap, Bizzy’s childhood home passed to new owners. Though they are wonderful people who will do very well by the house, it was a sad and difficult time. In mid-October, we crossed the mountains for good.

But what an exciting ride the rest of the year has been! In November Trey completed the first draft of a manuscript as part of National Novel-Writing Month and landed a part-time job for next semester as a junior-high drama teacher at a prestigious private Christian school not a mile away from the Greens’ house (where we are living). Bizzy has had nearly half a dozen interviews for marketing and event planning, and every week brings new leads.

We have also found a wonderful church! Despite the best intentions to be slow and intentional about making commitments at Eagle Christian Church, we have found ourselves—Bizzy particularly—jumping in with both feet! Bizzy has been invited to sing four solos at three different events and been asked to join one of the women’s leadership teams.

Even in such a short time, it has been clear that this is where God wants us to be. We are very excited to learn what He has in store for us here!

In the next year we hope to:

  • Find some financial stability, hopefully through a great job for Bizzy,
  • Publish several books and build Trey’s author career,
  • Get involved in some local theater,
  • Do lots of hiking(!), and
  • Make more great friends.

God bless us, every one!

                    Trey & Bizzy Schorr

photo booth fun

Pomp and Circumstance

graduation regalia

graduation regalia

Last week I walked in the graduation ceremony for the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. The sun was hot, the shoes were painful, the cap was itchy, and speeches long (some of them) and it was absolutely wonderful!

Even with all the technological and societal advances that have happened since the graduation ceremony was defined, there is still something so meaningful and honoring about this tradition.  Though I officially graduated in March, it wasn’t until I picked up my masters regalia that it hit me, “I have a graduate degree.”  While I’m still glad I opted for the smaller department ceremony,.as opposed to the school wide ceremony which is ludicrously large, nothing could have been a better close to the grad school experience.

My only regret about the ceremony was the keynote speaker—though I must admit, there is an almost delicious irony about the highly credentialed honored alumnus being a really terrible public speaker! I lost track of the number of times she said “one more thing,” and “the one thing I want to leave you with,” “the real point is.”  The real point was that our degree is very valuable and with it we can solve any problem we dream of solving.  I had just the night before spent a few hours doing some public speaking training with a team at my church, and we spent a lot of time talking about knowing how to end/exit. Or, as our pastor said, how to “land the plane.”  Unfortunately I felt our keynote speaker hadn’t quite mastered that maneuver yet.

So now that I am officially a master (of communication, if you were wondering), what does that really mean? What did I learn?  First off, I learned that I’m an educated adult who does, really, know what she’s talking about.  Therefore I never have to feel like I don’t measure up, or don’t belong in a room full of “experts.”  This might seem like an odd thing to learn in a grad school marketing class, but education is always—at every level—more about discovering who we are and what we can do and why and when we should do it than about anything else.  I also learned about how to plan a marketing campaign, a mobile integration strategy, a business plan, a content strategy, and how to lead people without stepping on toes (I will say that some people have especially big toes). All of which I value very much!

So what am I going to do with all of this… stuff that I’ve learned?  Well now… that IS the question of the hour, isn’t it?  Stay tuned to find out!