Thursday, May 28, 2015

I Have Babies in Heaven and Peace in my Heart

When I walk I usually listen to a podcast on my phone.  I particularly enjoy listening to Kris Vallotton from Bethel.  His messages have depth and humor.  A few weeks ago I was walking and listening to a message on Esther.  He had concluded his message and was finishing up with prayer.

He stopped in the middle of his prayer with a Word from the Lord.  He said that he felt like there was someone either there or listening to it streaming who had lost two babies to miscarriage.  That this person was struggling when around infants and small children.  He wanted to tell that person Jesus was working on healing their heart and walking with them.

God was reminding me that He was right there.

When my heart is breaking and I feel like I can’t get through the day…


When I want to stay in bed all day every day…


When I want to kick and scream and be angry…


When I am losing my patience with others…


When I feel like everyone but me is having healthy, happy babies…

God…God is right there, every step of the way.

He’s there when I find reasons to smile and laugh.

He’s there when I get out of bed and go for a walk.

He’s there when I turn to Him in prayer.

He’s there when I keep my cool.

He’s there when I hold babies and play with the toddlers at church.  He’s there when I visit my nephew and He’s there in the beautiful daughter He gave me seven years ago.

Every day, He’s there, giving me strength, love, encouragement, and, most importantly, peace.

It’s been more than five months since Faith died.  I spent the first week in a sort of shock and somewhat numb.  Then, she was buried and the holidays were over.  It was time to start moving on.

But I didn’t know how.  I was living in a whole different world, in a world where I’d held my dead daughter in my arms without ever hearing her voice, seeing her smile, or letting go of her hand as she took her first steps.  In a world where I’d never watch her graduate from college, walk down the aisle in a white gown, or give birth to her own children.  All those dreams were gone and I was living in a world where I was a grieving mother.  I could’ve lost it.

But God.  I turned to Him.  I asked Him what I needed to do.  He directed my steps as I learned to navigate this new normal.  He held my hand as He showed me the greater purposes in letting my babies die.  He walked me through the loss of a second child less than three months after Faith, little Reese Day.

He never let me go.  He shared my burden.  He held me when I cried.  He replaced an unimaginable grief with peace that surpasses all understanding.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Birth Story I Didn't Want

My due date is in little over a week.  Six months ago, I was so excited for the end of May to arrive so I could meet my little bundle of joy.  In our fallen world, things don't always go as smoothly as we'd want.  This is the story of my second daughter's short four months on Earth.

In the last full week of September 2014, my daughter had a mild bug.  She recovered by the end of the week and went off to Grandma’s house for the weekend.  On Saturday September 27th, I felt really nauseous.  I was worn out from comforting a sick child and I was worried I’d contracted her bug.  Then I realized my breasts were quite tender.  On our way home from a dinner date, I pulled into Walgreen’s and bought a pregnancy test.

In the three years that we’d been trying to get pregnant I’d taken dozens of pregnancy tests.  I finally quit taking them and I hadn’t taken one since June.  But this time was different.  This time, I got a plus instead of a minus.  Three times.  I was pregnant.

I had typical first trimester fatigue and nausea.  I craved meat and potatoes all the time so I was just sure I was carrying a boy.  We spent a Saturday in October sharing the good news with our family and the next day with our church family.  We saw our baby on the ultrasound two different times.  The second time the baby was smiling and waving at us.  I was so happy!

At 2 am on Saturday, December 13th, I felt a small pop followed by a gush of water.  I knew instantly that my water had broken.  I was fifteen weeks pregnant and I knew it was too early for a baby to survive.

Waking my daughter and my husband, we drove the six blocks to the hospital.  Two ultrasounds in two hours and it was determined my water had broken but the baby was still resting comfortably in my womb, with a strong heartbeat.

After two nights at the hospital and a visit to a specialist, I was told babies survive water breaking this early 5% of the time.  The rest either deliver within two weeks or do not have developed enough lungs if they make it past 24 weeks.

I was sent home to wait.  What could I do to improve my baby’s chances, I wanted to know.  Nothing, I was told.  There’s nothing anyone can do at this point except pray.

Despite the prayers of close to a thousand people, on December 22nd, I felt something in my birth canal.  I knew instantly that I had touched a limb.  At the hospital, I sent my husband into the waiting room so our daughter would not have to watch me deliver the dead baby she had been so excited to meet.

I delivered in the emergency room with two small pushes and Faith Leanne was born, never taking a single breath. 

I was given my tiny baby girl, wrapped in a blanket with the smallest infant hat I’d ever seen.  Faith was 3 ounces and 7 inches long.  She was born at 3:50 pm.  She lives with Jesus in Heaven.

I miss her every day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Miracles Are Always Milestones

I’m aware of the milestones I pass each step of this difficult journey.  In January I counted the weeks.  Then it had been a month since my baby died.  I began counting the months and keeping track of how big she would have been.

Each milestone passes by.  Three months…another loss comes to our family during what should be a time of joy (my seven year old’s birthday). 

Four months…I've seen the births of the new Duggar grandbaby, the royal baby, and a friend’s sweet little girl.  As I hold that precious child, I think:  “This should be one of Faith’s best friends.”  They would've been less than two months apart in age.

I watch my daughter play with the toddlers at church.  She loves to play with them, acting like a little mother hen.  My eyes well up as she takes a little girl by the hand and climbs the stairs with her.

My one year old nephew squeals and rejoices to see my seven year old, calling out his baby version of Sarah, one of about four or five words he attempts at this point.  I wonder if he would pick up the word ‘baby’ quickly if Faith were alive.  I rejoice that Sarah has so many kids to love on.

But when she comes to me in the evening and tells me she misses the babies, I know she’s grieving, too.


On Friday it will be five months.  Five months and it’s the month for mothers, May.  May has always been a big celebration month in my family with both my grandmas born in May along with Mother’s Day. 

I plan a time to take flowers to my precious girl for Memorial Day weekend.  Memorial Day…a day to reflect on the lives of soldiers lost, but also has become a day to remember anyone we’ve lost.

I think about how different my life would be right now if I were still pregnant.  With all the muggy weather, I’d probably be a bear to live with complaining about how hot it is.  I’d be putting the final touches on things for my sweet little girl.  I’d be feeling her every move inside of me.  I’d be talking to her as I went about my day. 

Most importantly, I’d be counting down.  Today is sixteen days from my due date of June 5th.

If our March loss, baby Reese, had lived I would be on my knees multiple times a day praying for safety for the precious life inside of me because I’d be about fifteen weeks along, the same age Faith was when my water broke.

Instead, it’s just another day.  A Wednesday.  Cloudy but warm outside.  Agenda for today:  shower, eat, clean up the kitchen, do schoolwork with Sarah, straighten the house, dinner, call my husband, Bible study with a friend, put Sarah to bed, and relax for a bit before falling asleep.  Same as most Wednesdays.  Nothing too impressive on the world’s radar.

For me, it’s a milestone.  Because each day I get up and put clothes on is another day I didn’t let the enemy take over my thoughts and my life.  Each day I do what I need to do instead of curling up in a ball of grief is a day that God’s strength is victorious in my life.  Each day that I choose to turn to God as He lifts me up and strengthens me to walk this difficult road is a miracle.

And miracles are always milestones.