Saturday, November 23, 2013

Restoring the Splendor

Way back in January, I went to my Bible because I was worn out physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  I had suffered an early miscarriage two months earlier.  I was still deeply grieving Jacob, and the Holidays had been really rocky for me.  Restoration was the word that came to mind. That's what I felt like I needed.  I flipped to the back of my Bible to see all the times the word restore was used throughout the Bible.  It only showed a portion of each verse, but one in particular caught my eye, Nahum 2:2.  The portion I could see read, "The Lord will restore the splendor....."

When I flipped to the actual verse to read the rest, it said....."of Jacob"

The Lord will restore the splendor of  Jacob

It took my breath away, and in my heart I knew exactly what it meant. I knew the only thing that could restore the splendor of Jacob was another child.  I felt like it was a promise.  I wrote the verse on a notecard, kept it in on my dresser, and read it every single day. 

I know I haven't ever talked specifically about our plans to try for another baby.  I've never been opposed to blogging about it, but I only blog when I'm really in the mood.  It just turns out when I've been in the mood I've had other things on my mind to write about.

After the miscarriage in October, we decided to wait a few months, get through the Holidays and consider trying again in February.  Well, when that time rolled around I knew I still wasn't ready  physically or emotionally.  Through the Spring, I began to feel like I was getting there, but then Zack had a minor health issue that postponed things.  We decided to just wait until after Jacob's birthday in June.  We felt like we would both be in a better position and have more peace about the whole process after that.

Well, if you read my last post, you know June was flippin' crazy!  When the window of...ahem...opportunity approached at the end of June, things were so stressful we both wondered if we should wait just one more month.  I spent several days praying about it and realized I wasn't getting a "No" from God.  Up until then, I always had either because of our physical circumstances or because of an uneasiness in my spirit.  I realized it was fear and fear alone that was now keeping me from taking that step.  It took these few sentences out of my devotional to realize that.  It's written in regards to Peter getting out of the boat and walking on the water to Jesus ---

Once he had stepped out of the boat, the waves were none of his business.  His only concern should have been the path of light shining across the darkness from Christ himself.  When the Lord calls you to come across the water, step out with confidence and joy.  And never glance away from Him for even a moment. You will not prevail by measuring the waves or grow strong by gauging the wind.  Attempting to survey the danger may actually cause you to fall before it.  Pausing at the difficulties will result in the waves breaking over your head.

"Lift up your eyes to the hills and go forward" Ps 12:1

There is no other way

And so we prayed for another precious child and we stepped.



 And the Lord said..........


 
 
Yes!
 
 
 
 
TWICE!!!! 
 
 
He rocked our world with two beautiful little blessings! I am now 23.5 weeks along with two more sweet boys.  I'm thrilled to introduce my laid back little guy, Baby A
 

 
And my rowdy little Baby B 
 
 
 

 
Both boys are weighing in at 1lb 4oz, and all three of us are doing very well so far.  Please pray with us and PRAISE with us!  The One who promised is faithful!  :)
 
 
 
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted....to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.....to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will restore the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated......And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joys will be yours. (Isaiah 61)
 
 
 
 
 



Friday, June 28, 2013

All kinds of crazy

My word! This month has been all kinds of crazy.  Not only did we go through Jacob's birthday which I will get too, but we had all sorts of stuff hit the fan these past few weeks. The list includes: our employee turning in his two weeks notice, two of our main business trucks breaking down at the same time, and I learned Tucker, my beloved dog of ten years, had cancer.  That was all in one week.

Then the next week a big oak tree near the house got struck by lightning and in the process it fried our cable modem and the invisible dog fence. Tucker continued to go down hill, and I stressed, fussed, and grappled over what to do.  I scheduled an appointment to have her put down, only to turn right around and cancel it because she really wasn't ready yet.  Then, I found an adorable 5 week old kitty in our old barn which added a whole new dynamic to our already chaotic household.  That was last week. 

This week has been generally busy.  I've continued to watch Tucker like a hawk, hovering and fussing and grappling over when it was time to let her go.  It's really no fun knowing a decision like that is right around the corner.  This dog has been with me through thick and thin for ten years.  I've known her longer than my husband. Through it all, she's always been this steady sweet presence.  Yesterday turned out to be the day we let her go, and while I'll miss her, I know the time was right.  I'm not sure exactly if dogs go to heaven.  The Bible indicates that animals are in heaven, the lion will lay down with the lamb, etc.  So I'd like to think there's a sweet dog and a sweet little boy hanging out together tonight. 

I find it so interesting that the one week this month I thought would be the most stressful, Jacob's birthday, was actually the calmest.  My hardest days were the weekend before which was when I wrote that last post.  I woke up the next Monday and just felt more at peace. I really expected to be an emotional mess the whole week, but amazingly the days rolled along quite smoothly.  The night before his birthday Zack and I did a lantern release.  We have a really cool rock on the property that juts out over the lake, and we released it from there.  We each wrote him a note on the lantern before we lit it and let it go.  We cried. We prayed.  It was deeply emotional for us, but we were both very thankful we had that time together.  I think getting all that out the night before may have helped us deal with his actual birthday better.  The texts and emails started coming in that morning and while I appreciated every single one, each one made me cry.  Each  a little stab to the heart, and a reminder of why June 7th even matters and why it's not just any other day.  The rest of the afternoon was pretty low key.  My mom came over and started preparing for our supper that night, and I took a walk.  As I was walking, I reflected on the year and how often I had walked those steps,  soooo many times in tears.  It was odd to me that on that walk, of all walks, I didn't cry. 

We spent the rest of the evening with our parents, and everyone had a really nice time.  I woke up Saturday morning feeling relieved and thankful to have such a huge milestone behind me.  Last June, it was hard to see my way through one day let alone a whole year.  I know I wrote in my last post that this past year has been swallowed by grief, and while that's true, I can see and appreciate how very far I've come.  To those who of you who prayed us through Jacob's birthday and have prayed us through this whole year....thank you, thank you, thank you!  I appreciate it more than you know!

 Here are just a few pics from the past few weeks:

Partial rainbow the week of Jacob's birthday


 
Cards and flowers from my angel momma friends, Rachel & Tina
 
Lightning strike - upper right

Clessie kitty

Tucker girl

Last pic of me and Tuck together 
 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June

Well, here it is.  Jacob's birthday is just five days away. I could tell you it was close without ever looking at a calendar. I can just tell by the ache in my chest.  It doesn't seem possible really.  This year has been such a blur.  A whole year completely swallowed up by grief, well except this last month.  May has been the best month I've had, well, in a year.  I'm so thankful to finally be feeling more like my old self, and I hate that his birthday is barreling down on me.  I know I have to stop and deal with all the emotion and all the memoires, and I don't want to yet.  I'm also afraid on some level I guess, afraid that I'll lose the footing it's taken so long to gain.  I know God doesn't want me to think that way.  Doesn't He say like a gazillion times in the Bible...Do Not Fear...Do Not Be Afraid.  I know He didn't bring me this far to let me go now.  He carried me through June 6th & 7th last year, and He'll carry me again.  Just this year, I don't have the insulation of shock. 

 It's strange really the things that trigger the memories.  I came home from running some errands the other day, and just the feel of the house reminded me of the afternoon we got back home from the hospital.  I don't know what it was exactly that made it feel like that.  Maybe it was the trees outside or the angle of the sun or the coolness of the house but whatever it was reminded me of the silence and emptiness I felt the day we came home.  I think my memories of this week last year are more detailed than other memories of my pregnancy. It's probably because I replayed those days over and over again in the aftermath of Jacob's death, just trying to remember anything that might explain why we lost him.

I'm planning a very low key week.  I don't have anywhere I have to be at any specific time.  I'm hoping to stay busy enough but still have the quite time I need to process through all this.  We're closing our business for the last half of the week, so we don't have to deal with any of that.  Zack and I are planning some quite time by ourselves to honor Jacob in our own way, and we're also getting together with our parents on his birthday.  It's definitely not how I pictured his first birthday, but I think we'll laugh and have a nice time.  As much as I can, I want to honor his sweet little life and my deep love for him rather than wallowing in his death.  I think the fact that we've survived this past year is something to celebrate in a way.  Everyone says the first year is always the hardest, and I'm almost through the first year, thank heavens.  I know a magic switch won't flip on June 8th and everything be all hunky dory, but I pray I feel some relief getting this milestone behind me.

If you're reading this, would you please pray for me and Zack and our families.  Please pray the days ahead are as gentle as they can be.  Also, please pray for simple things like healthy appetites and plenty of sleep.  I've been dealing with some sleep issues the past few days. Please pray that God will be huge for us this week and that we'll feel the comfort, peace, and strength that only He can provide.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Surely

I wanted to quickly share some neat God things that have happened the past couple days.  Yesterday was the eleven month mark, and it has been the most gentle so far. I was amazingly okay.  I've been much more level the past couple weeks, and I'm beyond thankful for that.  This spring has been harder than I expected.  My grandfather passed away in March, and April was just rough.  I was very up and down all month.  The season change really stirred up memories of last year...of happier times and expectations.

So like I said, yesterday was eleven months.  One of the devotionals I read is Jesus Today by Sarah Young.  Here's an excerpt from it:

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you meditate on My loving Presence - to bring your mind back to Me whenever it wanders.  Encourage yourself with the words of the patriarch Jacob:  "Surely the Lord is in this place."  Rejoice that I am your God forevermore - today, tomorrow, and throughout all eternity.  I am also your Guide.  It is easy to be spooked by the future when you forget that I am leading you each step along your life-path.  My guiding Presence has been available to you.  Relax in the wondrous assurance that I am your Guide even to the end.


Today, Zack and I took the 4-wheeler out for a cruise around the property, and it started raining.  We parked under a tree, and I told Zack, " I bet we see a rainbow." With the sun and clouds the way they were, I just knew there had to be.


And it just kept going and going


 
 
This year has been so baffling and so hard but the Lord has encouraged me with little things like this all along the way.   If He loves me enough to show up in little ways, I have to believe He will surely show up in huge ways.  If He cares enough to bless me in little ways, He will surely bless me in big ways. 

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it"  Genesis 28:16





Saturday, February 23, 2013

Two births

I've had an emotional week.  I've felt a  myriad of things.....sorrow, relief, anger, thankful, clarity, unfairness, reflective, fortunate.  I came home one evening this week to the news that a family member was about to have her baby.  It was a very emotional night and touched some very tender places that are still healing. I didn't know her due date, on purpose, but I knew this was coming.  We learned about her pregnancy a few short weeks after losing Jacob, and it certainly hasn't made the grieving process any easier.  In ways, I've received respect and consideration, but there has also been complete oblivion to my feelings and misguided actions that have hurt me deeply.  This situation has several layers, most of which have nothing directly to do with mother or baby, that I wish I could write more about.  It's one of those times I kinda wish no one in my real life even knew I had a blog, know what I mean?  In all honesty, I would like to spew all my emotions and thoughts all over the place, but it's not worth it at all.  Overall, I have gotten to a better place about this baby's arrival, and I am thankful he is here safe and sound.  I was able to look at his picture, acknowledge the innocent little guy that he is and smile at his wrinkly head.  I'm thankful I'm not completely sticking my head in the sand, but I also know my limits.  I'm not ready to be around him or any other babies yet.  I know where I am.  I accept it and make no apoligies for it.

This week I also learned of another couple that has lost their precious baby girl. Please keep them in your prayers. My friend Rachel called me with the news on Tuesday night.  Rachel also lost her first born, Lila, about five years ago.  She has become a dear friend, and I'm so thankful to have her guidance and support.  The couple going through this is her friend's step brother.  Since their loss is more similar to my loss, Rachel called to ask for any information or advice she could pass along.  I was glad to be in a position to help, but it also stirred up some distinct memories of our time in the hospital.  Memories that I don't delve into and explore on a daily basis.  I cried about that.  I cried  because I just hate that they're going through this painful process.  I cried because I know the hospital and delivery is only the beginning of a very long journey.  I cried because I'm thankful and relieved I'm not where they're at, all the way at square one.  It just dawned on me though, that part of me wishes I was there becaue I was so close to Jacob.  Oh, what a jumbled mess of emotions this can be

Anyway (sigh)

If I'm following the time line correctly, labor was induced  Wednesday night and she didn't deliver until sometime this morning.  Today is Saturday. I repeat people....today is Saturday. Bless her heart.  Due to the baby's condition, the nurses advised that they not see her.  I had so hoped they would get to see her.  Most of mine and Rachel's suggestions and advice centered around seeing and spending time with her.  I encouraged them to bring special clothes to dress her in, to hold her and spend all the time they could with her, and to take all the pictures they could.

I never thought I would look back on Jacob's brith and feel fortunate in any way, but I do.  I was in labor for twenty hours instead of days.  I not only got to see him, but I got to hold him.  No words can express how thankful I am for that time with him and for those pictures.  I'm so thankful I know he has my lips and nose, and his daddy's cheek bones. I'm so thankful the nurses took pictures of him and that we did too, even if all we had were our phones. It was one of those simple pictures taken by the nurses that allowed us to get this amazing portrait done.

 
 
This is such a treasure to us. The artist who did it is Portraits by Dana.  I so appreciate her service.  She captured Jacob beautifully and was wonderful and easy to work with. 
 
Soooo, in conclusion, this week was unavoidable and I'm relieved to have it behind me.  It's been tiring and distracting.  I feel like it's knocked me off center a bit.  I'm okay, but I'm eager to direct my focus back to things that affect me in a more positive way. 
 
 
 
 
 


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Getting it out

I knew this post would come.  I just didn't know when.  I had a miscarriage at the end of October.  There...there it is...it feels better just to get it out there.  I feel like I've tapdanced around it these past few months, and I'm tired of it.  I don't think I can authenatically express myself going forward without sharing this.  At first my main reason for keeping quiet about it was pity.  I didn't want people to pity me, to feel sorry for me.  Prayers, yes.  Pity, no.  By people, I don't mean my close family or friends and I don't mean other angel mommas.  I mean like Facebook friends or acquaintances who I don't even talk to anyway.  Why do I care if they know or how they think of me?  I don't.  If I did, I would actually talk to those people.  My other reason is that honestly at my core, I'm a pretty private person.  I'm really not a fan of people who plaster there drama all over creation.  Some stuff is and should be only your business. I really wasn't sure if I wanted this loss to be anybody else's business.

 My desire to share this really shifted today.  I've received some lovely feedback about the blankets, and the main theme has been how much they will comfort and help the women and families that receive them.  Why should this blog be any different?  Blogs have been a huge help to me in my grieving.  So many times, I have read my own thoughts and feelings written by others.  I am writing this blog for me and for other angel mommas....not for facebook friends....not even for my family.  I'm also doing this because I know God wants me too.  One of the reasons God put any of us on this earth is for His glory, so that He may be seen through us and through His work in our lives.  If somebody sees God through my ramblings and through my life, then that is some good to come out of all this.  Would I rather have my son instead of discussing how God's glory might be revealed in his loss?  Resoundingly....Yes.  A million times....Yes. 

Anyway, in mid October we discovered we were pregnant again, much to our surprise. We weren't trying but we weren't preventing either. We learned very early that the pregnancy wasn't viable.; At 5 weeks, my progesterone dipped and my hcg levels stopped doubling.  I had to get an ultrasound to rule out an ectopic pregnancy which thankfully it wasn't.  I chose to have a d&c instead of miscarrying naturally.  I knew that emotionally I couldnt' wait around for that to happen.  We chose not have the tissue tested, but the doctor's did it anyway.  It turns out I had what's called a partial molar pregnancy.  You can google it if youbwant to know more but basically two sperm had fertlized the egg and the baby had too many chromosomes.  It was a complete fluke and not realated to me or my clotting disorders. God answered a prayer I didn't even pray.  I chose not to have any testing done, but He knew I needed to know it wasn't something wrong with me.  While, I'm thankful for that, how odd is it that He didn't answer the prayer that I did pray....Lord, please let this baby be okay.  I need this baby to be okay.

Looking back and even during the brief time I was pregnant, I could see that I wasn't emotionally ready for another pregnancy.  I wasn't ready for the stress of a pregnancy after loss on top of the normal stress of a diabetic pregnancy.  I can wrap my head around that.  I can get that. I still wonder why God even allowed it.  I know I would've realized I wasn't ready without having to go through this.  So needless to say I've been through the wringer.  . The holidays came right on the heels of the miscarriage, and all of the stress and the grief really took a toll on me, emotionally and physically. I'm just now getting back on my feet. There's much more I could say about all this and our thoughts about the future, but my laptop battery is about to conk out. Pardon, the typos but I know if I try to come back tomorrow and fix them or try to elaborate on my thoughts this post will never see the light of day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Blankets Delivered

Back in July, I felt led to donate blankets to Jacob's hospital.  I wrote about that in this post.  I'm so glad to share that those blankets were delivered last week.  We made and donated about 20 blankets and copies of Angie Smith's book, I Will Carry You.  We also donated almost 75 smaller lovie blankets.  A friend of a friend heard what we were doing and  gave us these and a bunch of fabric. She used to have a baby bedding and accessory business and when she closed it, she still had tons of product left over.  The lovies will be used to swaddle the smaller babies lost at early gestational ages and also for babies in the NICU.
 
This is the monogram on each blanket, courtesy of my momma:

It is from this E.E. Cummings poem:

 
Here are all the blankets, and no two are exactly alike.  Some may have the same fabric, but there is something different on each one weather it be the coordinating fabrics, thread color, etc. This is going to be a bit pic heavy, so get ready  :)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Girl's finished product



Some for the boys before the bows.  I managed not to get a pic of any with the bows.


All the little lovies




 

 
I so appreciate help on the monogramming and sewing from my mom and Brenda. Thank you Tassi for caring enough to put me in touch with Lori.  Thank you friends and family for donating money for the books. These blankets have been such an honor to do, and I knew these blankets would be a blessing even if I dropped them off  and never heard another word.  This is the email I received today from my contact at the hospital:
 
Hannah -
I wanted to drop you a note to thank you for the wonderful blankets and packets for parents experiencing the loss of a child while in our Labor & Delivery department. To help with storage I had kept the boxes shut when I delivered them, but received a phone call very soon after from one of the nurses absolutely amazed by the gifts you had made. I stopped by this week to see the blankets and it was everything I could do to hold back the tears. They are so beautifully made and are absolutely perfect. Your compassion has greatly touched everyone throughout that department and will provide such love and healing for parents experiencing one of the most difficult moments of their lives. Thank you so much for doing this for them and for creating such an amazing tribute of love to honor Jacob.
My sincerest gratitude to you for coordinating this effort and my wishes to you for daily healing and comfort.
Sincerely,
Rachel
 
 
 
All for you my sweet J-Dub boy
 
I carry your heart with me
(I carry it in my heart)
 
 
 


Monday, January 7, 2013

Worn

That's how I'm feeling after the past couple months....the past year.  I'm so thankful the holidays are over. People say they're hard after any loss and they're right. It hasn't just been the big days, like what should have been Jacob's first Christmas, that have left me feeling spent.  It's also the usual monthly anniversaries and a string of other personally significant days too. We started trying for and quickly conceived Jacob this time last year. Actually, exactly a year ago I was about 3 weeks pregnant and had no clue. I don't even know how to describe how it feels to think back on that time and how hopeful and excited we were.

I miss us. I miss him.

I heard this song a couple days ago, and it struck me. It articulates so many of my thoughts and emotions. I'm sure it will be validating for other angel mommas out there and anyone else walking through a season of suffering.



 
 
 Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that's frail and torn

I want to know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that's dead inside can be reborn
Yes all that's dead inside will be reborn
Though I'm worn
Yeah I'm worn

 



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 





Thursday, November 8, 2012

5 months

It's been five months today since I saw that sweet boy's face for the first time.  I miss him and ache for him just as much as ever.  This past month has been an absolute roller coaster....emotionally, mentally, and physically.  I saw this picture among all the Hurricane Sandy coverage and could instantly relate.




My life the past five months, and the last month particularly feels like riding a roller coaster swept into the ocean in the middle of a freakin' hurricane.  I'm over it.  Stop this damn thing and let me off.

I'm not going to go into the details of this last month, maybe someday, but not now.  I've felt and continue to feel so many emotions, but I also have clarity.  It's clear to me that I need more time to heal, to just love and miss my baby boy without thinking of what comes next.  The primary reason I've been exercising, doing acupuncture, etc is to get myself ready for another pregnancy.  Whatever my motivation, those things certainly help me, but I realized I wasn't doing them to just help ME heal which is what I needed.  There was always another goal in mind....trying again, getting pregnant again, having another baby.

Well, I'm not ready for any of that on any level right now.  I was putting pressure on myself without even realizing.  I do want another baby, but I want the baby I can't have  more.  So, I will honor him and myself by taking some time to just be still.

That's much easier said than done, but that's what I did today.  I was still on this gray, dreary day. I didn't worry about all the other things I should be doing.  I wrote Jacob a letter. I cried.  I read.  I rested....finally rested on every level.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

On Wings Like Eagles

There's a bald eagle that lives on this lake.  We've only seen it a handful of times, and I never tire of seeing it.  It awes me everytime. I was finally able to get some shots today.

This tree is about 75-100 yards in front of our house





I wish I could've gotten closer, but as you can see he would have none of it


 
Everytime I see the eagle I always think of Isaiah 40:31:

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (NIV)
 
I love the original King James version too:
 
But they that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.