Monday, December 31, 2007

Long December

"It's been a long December, but there's reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last." The Counting Crows

Well, as the year draws to a close today, I am full of hope for the new year. Our cousins Heather and Cody were very generous with their little one this week in Illinois and let us hold him quite a bit. It gave me so much hope to hold him in my arms. It reminded me that some things really are worth waiting for. My New Year resolution is to be open to God's timing, to be patient for His blessings. I know that He will not let my strength fail--even if I arrive at April Baby's due date with a womb that's empty still. The Scripture keeps running through my mind--"weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." I will look for joy this year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Who You'd Be

Sweet April Baby, this week we would have found out your gender. We would have been so excited to know who you'd be. If you were a girl, you would have been named Lily Kate. It means "flower of purity." If you were a boy, you would have been Benjamin, "son of my right hand." Since we didn't get to find out, we call you April Baby for the month of our expectation and a name that means "open." We are so overwhelmed at how God opened our hearts in love for you in the short time you were with us. I am still excited to find out your true, God-given name someday. When I was expecting you, I first thought you were a boy. But when I saw your precious body, I felt that you were a girl. Someday I will know. I know that I do not have to assure you of our love for you because you are in a place where you know fully. I try to picture you in our Savior's arms. I imagine that you have strawberry blond curls and twinkling blue eyes, dimples on your chubby arms. I imagine that you are having so much fun with Mumsie and Faye Faye. I love you so. I read a prayer the other day that I wrote several months ago, thanking God for the day you would know Jesus as your Savior and Lord. How could I have known that day would come so much sooner than I ever imagined? In the midst of my brokenness, I see you there in His presence and find hope. Someday we shall see face to face. Until then, I will never stop imagining who you'd be if you were here with me. I will tell your siblings about their sister or brother in heaven. Pray for us, little one. We love you so!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I got good news from my doctor yesterday--my body is recovering and if everything stays normal for six months he'll let me try to conceive again in May. Of course I'm thrilled to know that there's nothing wrong with me, but I'm so impatient at times!!! I'll be getting off of birth control again at the time when I was expecting my little one to be here. But I must remember what a good friend recently told me: If you want instant gratification, go get a cheeseburger. A baby is worth the wait. So I'm waiting again in this holding pattern. I know I will be a better mom and a better person because of it. My Bible teacher always says that God doesn't allow His children to be sifted unless there's something that needs to be sifted out. Some character work can only be accomplished through pain, I guess. But, holding pattern or not, at least I'm still flyin'! And in the meantime, if I want it my way I can always go to Burger King!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Christmas Tree

My Christmas tree looks beautiful tonight--very festive in sparkling reds and golds. But for me it was a kind of bereavement--decorating this tree today. In my mind I keep picturing it the way I wanted it, not the way it is. I had so looked forward to doing a pink and blue tree this year and taking a picture in front of it with Jon, baby obvious in my womb. It would have been so silly and cute. And we would have shown our little one someday the picture of his or her very first Christmas. As I journal by Christmas tree light, this perfect tree fills me with a sense of emptiness for everything that is not perfect. And these ornaments of hope fill me with dread as I wonder--will I ever get to take that picture? The fragility of some of my nicest ornaments reminds me of the delicacy of life and how quickly joy can shatter. Life is so fragile and yet my own life goes resolutely on and my own heart beats indelicately in my chest despite its brokenness. I wonder how I am surviving this. And yet moment by moment, I start to find reasons for joy and gratitude. I have learned that God's grace is sufficient for me. Even if I never get to do a pink and blue tree or hang funky child-made ornaments on one, I know God will never let me fall. He has never failed me yet. And I will hope in Him who can bring me through my worst fears broken, but alive.

What Is Required Of You

"You go on and do what is required of you, but something inside of you quietly dies."
Eleanor Roosevelt
You continue to work in the church nursery, attend baby showers, and congratulate new moms. You sit in the waiting room at your doctor's office trying to focus on your book with pregnant women on all sides--just weeks ago you were one of them. You suddenly see pregnant women everywhere you go and you smile kindly at them and quickly look away. You put up your Christmas decorations even though you don't feel like it. You go to work, to the gym, shopping, church, home. You put away the baby things you had already collected. You try to pretend you're not hurt when someone who hasn't heard yet offers congratulations or asks you about morning sickness. You dread seeing family and friends for the first time since your loss, but you put on a happy face and see them anyway. You politely listen to soliciters from Children's Miracle Network, Make A Wish Foundation, and Concerned Women for America on your phone. You somehow find the grace to make it through another day, but as C.S. Lewis said, "her absence is like the sky--spread over everything." It is the wound that hurts when it's touched and everything touches it. But you will survive this like you have survived other trauma, and somehow God will bring beauty from ashes. He will not forget you. And you should know that there is nothing wrong with you and you are not going crazy. Your husband may not feel it as keenly or as often. The people you know may think that you should be over it by now. But a mother cannot forget her child. If you could dismiss it as easily as the world seems to expect you to--that would be unnatural and crazy. Your grief is not crazy. But you must not release your hope.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Large and Small Deaths

"We stand on the edge of our clifflike emotions looking into the deep cavern of our grief, and we're sure that the jump will kill us. For those of us who entrust our feeble selves to our faithful Creator, in ways I can neither explain nor describe, it doesn't. Life is filled with large and small 'deaths.' In Jesus, when one of these deaths comes, we have a unique opportunity to take it to the cross. We can remain nearby and suffer its grief. Then we also experience the resurrection." Beth Moore
I remember talking to a girl in a prayer meeting once who had suffered a miscarriage and two thoughts were paramount in my mind: One, I don't know what to say to her. And two, I could never survive something like this. It's strange the things you find you can survive--whether you want to or not. It seems so unnatural to have such a precious part of you ripped away so quickly and quietly and then to just go on with life. And I think it is unnatural to be forced to say goodbye to someone you never really got to say hello to. And people say the strangest things to you--things they wouldn't think of saying to someone who lost a beloved pet! They don't know what to say, just like I didn't know what to say. So I wanted to start this little blog in case anyone needs to know that someone else feels what they feel and also in case anyone is wondering what to say or not say to a friend who has lost a little one so soon. Of course you want to offer help, encouragement, and comfort. But you don't know what it feels like unless you've been there. The most important thing is not to ever minimize the loss by suggesting that it was anything less than the loss of a child. I was so full of wonder over my pregnancy and what God was doing in my body. There is an indescribable feeling of connection with that child that I could never describe. And for some reason people don't think you can feel anything if you're not far enough along in pregnancy to show very much. But you feel so much! There is a fullness of the womb that just seems to satisfy a longing you didn't know you had. And after a miscarriage, there is an emptiness of the same that just makes you feel.....lost.C.S. Lewis once said, "No one ever told me grief felt so like fear." And to me, fear is one of the biggest parts of it. That's where all those questions come from: What do I do now? What did I do wrong? Why is this happening? What if it happens again? How will I ever survive it? Will I ever have babies to raise? They go on and on. The most important thing anyone has done for me is to cover me in prayer. You will never have the right words to give someone. I already know all of the Scriptures you will think of to comfort me--the Holy Spirit has already reminded me of them. I already know that my April Baby is in a "better place." But when you pray for me, you put the ground back under my feet a little bit. Pray for me to abide with Christ. Pray for me to hide myself in Him. Pray for me to rest from worry. Pray for my dreams to come true. I hope this helps someone out there. My own friends have been unbelievable supports to me. Other things my friends have done that are helpful: One sent me gerbera daisies a month after my miscarriage with a card that said, "I hope you get your dreams." Another chatted casually and happily with me at a shower, keeping me upbeat, then emailed me later to say that she had been thinking and praying for me but didn't want to ask how I was coping in such a mixed setting. Another literally wept with me immediately following my sonogram and didn't say anything except "I'm so sorry." People who send cards that say things that validate my child's life are appreciated. I am thankful that God has held me tight and surrounded me with so much love. I am still devastated, but looking for the resurrection--for beauty from these ashes. God bless.