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.
 
 

 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 4 & 5

I missed yesterday, so I'm catching up
 

 
Day 4 - Treasured Item
 
I actually have several items I could share for this one, but I will share those on other days.  This is a box I keep on our dresser to hold all of Jacob's pictures and momentos
 
 
 
Day 5 - Memorial
 
Again, we have some other things we've done in memory of him, but this is his little Japanese maple.  We planted it in front of our house so we see it every single day. 
 
 
Ya know, there's a lot more to say about both these pictures, but I just haven't been feeling the whole Capture Your Grief thing these past few days.  I'm going through a rough patch.  I've basically been asked twice in the last week weather I've had my baby yet.  I wasn't expecting it either time and this last time, on Wednesday, just kicked my butt.   It just rips my heart out everytime, and I thought I was done hearing that question.  It seems that just about the time I get my head above water, I get shoved right back under, and I'm still trying to surface two days later.
 
People compare grief to waves in the ocean, and that's definitely a valid comparison.  It does ebb and flow. It also reminds me of fog.  Sometimes it moves in, and its so dense and so heavy you can hardly move or see.  It just envelops you, and you can't get away from it.  That's how these last few days have felt. I need a break.
 
 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 3 - After loss

 
 
 

Me and my Moose dog on a walk this weekend.



 
THIS I love!  It cracks me up!
 
 
I'm not sure there are any profound words to follow that last pic :)
 
So, I'll just leave it here for today

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day 2 - Before Loss

This was taken at 23 weeks, and it's the last pic of me before we lost Jay.  I remember I had just gotten home from town and slipped into my comfy clothes.  My friend, Haley, wanted to see a recent belly pic, so Zack snapped one right quick.  I've looked at all the other Before Loss pictures posted on the Facebook event page.  http://www.facebook.com/events/101506653340779/ 
 
The overwhelming theme has been:
 
I was so happy...so naive....so ignorant.....so innocent......so oblivious to the heartbreak that was just around the corner. 
 
 I feel the same exact way.  Three weeks prior to this at our 20 week anatomy scan, he was perfectly healthy.  We knew nothing of clotting disorders, or that stillbirths even happened in this day and age.
 
Two weeks later our whole world came crashing down

Miss you like crazy sweet boy

Monday, October 1, 2012

Capture your Grief - Day 1

October is Preganancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and I'm joining with CarlyMarie and a thousand other angel mama's on Facebook for this event.  Basically, each day has a grief-related subject and you "capture your grief" in a photo and share it.  I think this is a great idea, and I hope it will be a therapeutic process for me.

The subjects for each day are here -
http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/2012/09/capture-your-grief-this-october-2012-for-pregnancy-infant-loss-awareness-month.html



I knew I wouldn't get a good picture of the sunrise on this dreary morning, so I snapped a picture a bit later.





The afternoon made up for the morning though.....rainbows followed me around :)

On my way to town
Another, an hour or so later

Monday, September 10, 2012

Unknown Places

This was part of my devotional this morning:

As I assured Jacob, when he was journeying away from home into unknown places, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.  Italics from Genesis 28:15

I went for a walk early this afternoon, and like always, I think of Jacob.  So much in nature makes me think of him....the clouds, the angle of the sun, the birds, the butteflies





 I walked a little bit different way than I have lately.  It's the same way I walked almost daily this spring while I was pregnant.  Back then, I would often think, "Well, this time next year J. Dub will be  ____ months old," and I would wonder what that would be like.  It was fun to think about.  As I walked that familiar path today, I found myself again wondering where I'll be this time next year, and I have no idea. 

I walked a bit further and found myself in a place where the path had become overgrown, and I couldn't clearly see the way ahead. I could only see a short distance.  I stopped there and realized how symbolic this path was of my life right now. I am journeying into unknown places. 





I tell ya, faith sure is a tricky thing in the midst of suffering and trials.  We are told to trust in the Lord with all our hearts, and He will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:6).  Well, that's all hunky dory and easier to do when life is good and you can see the path and it looks pretty straight.  But, what about trusting when life isn't good, when you can't see the path, and what you can see is extremely difficult terrain. I am supposed to continue to trust the same God that allowed the unthinkable to happen, when He could've stopped it?  People blame the unthinkable on the fallen, sin-filled world we live in.  I get that, but God is bigger than that. He is the creator of heaven and earth.  He created my son, and He could have saved him.  Wonder why He chose not too?

We're also told that all things work together for good. (Romans 8:28)  It's hard to see how anything about losing my baby could ultimately be good.  My cousin's baby girl was diagnosed a few months shy of her first birthday with leukemia.  She lost her fight almost a year later and left behind a broken hearted Mommy and Daddy.  Again, Why?!  Where is the sense in sweet, innocent babies dying?

 It doesn't take much living to see that life's unfair.  Nobody has it pefect, and none of us go through life unscathed.  I've thought lately that when it was our turn to experience life-changing unfairness why did it have to strike the most sacred part of our life, our child?  Why didn't it strike our finances in some drastic way?  Why didn't some natural disaster or even a fire destroy our home instead?  I certainly don't wish for those things to happen. I pray they don't but that's just replaceable stuff...not our baby. 

So, the God that allowed the unthinkable also carries me through and to the unknown places.  I go to this mysterious God for comfort because it's all I know to do.  With the three month anniversary of Jacob's death barely behind me, and his due date looming ahead of me, that where I am.  Wrestling, wondering, and questioning God.  I know He's okay with it.  He knows every thought before I think it anyway, so why not talk openly with Him about it.

I've been seeing a different acupuncturist, and he's a christian also.  He shared with me that he lost his first wife, so he is familiar with grief.  He said, "You know it's alright to fuss at God.  Just keep talking to him.  As long as you keep talking, you'll come out on the other side.  Just keep the faith. Just keep the faith."

I'm praying.  I'm talking.  I'm trying.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Answers - MTHFR and PAI-1

Well, we finally have some answers about what likely happened to Jacob.  My recent bloodwork revealed I have two blood clotting disorders.  I am heterozygous for MTHFR and PAI-1 4g/4g.  These are caused by genetic mutations, and heterozygous means I have one copy of each muation which means I inherited one copy from either my mom or dad. I know it's kinda confusing.  Both of these are definitely associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as reoccurent misccariage, stillbirth, placental abruption, pre-eclampsia, etc.

While there were no obvious clots in the umblical cord or my placenta, these conditions can cause microclots that aren't necessarily seen by visual inspection.  This likely explains the small areas of blood loss on my placenta   From what I understand, the MTHFR makes me more prone to clots, and the  PAI means I don't break clots down well once they form.   There is no cure for either one, but they are treatable.  In a subsequent pregnancy, I will take baby asprin and most likely lovenox injections, which is a blood thinner similar to heperin.  I read somewhere that the lovenox does not cross the placenta but allows proper bloodflow to the placenta.  The asprin, apparently,  does cross the placenta and keeps blood clots from forming in the baby.  I will also need extra folate and specific B vitamins to treat the MTHFR.  I will be on this and possibly even baby asprin for the rest of my life.  Here is more info about MTHFR.  It probably does a better job explaining it than I can.

******


What is MTHFR?


MTHFR - (Methylene-tetra-hydro-folate-reductase) is an enzyme found in the cells of our body. It is needed to metabolize (break down) homocysteine, an amino acid found in the proteins you eat. Elevated homocysteine levels have been associated with fetal neural tube defects (i.e., spinal Bifida) and miscarriage. An elevated homocysteine level can also indicate a increased risk factor for blood clots, arteriosclerosis (hardening of arteries) and strokes in both men and women. The metabolism of homocysteine depends on several enzymes, one of which is MTHFR, along with B vitamins and folic acid. In other words, B vitamins, folic acid and MTHFR are necessary to keep homocysteine levels within normal limits.

Sometimes your MTHFR has a genetic defect. These defects are fairly common and its estimated by some studies that up to 60% of the population have one MTHFR mutation or another.

There are two common genetic MTHFR mutations. If you have one mutation only, you are heterozygous. It is reported that nearly half the population is MTHFR heterozygous. - it is nothing abnormal. If you have two copies of the same mutation, you are homozygous. Homozygotes can have elevated homocysteine levels in maternal blood and amniotic fluid. If you have one copy each of the two different mutations, you are compound heterozygotes. Compound heterozygotes have the same treatment and risk level as homozygotes. If you have neither mutation, you are negative and don't need to worry about MTHFR.

There is NO CURE for MTHFR mutation. If you have the mutation, that's the way your body is made. You can, however, lessen any risk factors you have by taking B vitamins, Folic acid and baby aspirin in doses prescribed by your doctor. By taking these agents, you can lower your homocysteine levels and therefor your risk for the conditions above.


MTHFR mutations are hereditary. Families with significant early cardiovascular disease or recurrent pregnancy loss might benefit from clinical investigation.
 
 
*******
 
I"ve learned the MTHFR is also linked to many other health issues not related to pregnancy.  So, if you're a nerd like me and want to read more about it this website has alot of info.  http://mthfr.net/.  There are specific guidlines on the proper forms of folate and B Vitamins, people with mtfhr need.  They are not created equal.
 
 
As for the PAI, I've had a hard time finding good information on it in layman's terms.  The information below is the easiest to understand that I've come across, and it's still not a leisurely read
 
********
 
First of all, what is PAI-1? The best way to explain PAI-1 is to describe what it does. The blood clotting system is made up of many different factors, some which cause a clot to form and others which cause the clot to breakdown, and these coexist in a very delicate balance. When the blood clotting pathways are activated, fibrinogen, a soluble plasma glycoprotein, is polymerized to form fibrin which is then cross-linked by the action of factor XIII to form the ‘clot’. Under normal circumstances, as soon as a clot forms, it begins to be broken down by other plasma factors. Specifically, a substance called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) converts an inactive plasma protein, plasminogen, to the active substance, plasmin, which then plays a critical role in the breakdown of fibrin (fibrinolysis), thereby ‘dissolving’ the clot. (Interestingly, and perhaps germane to our discussion at some later point, plasmin also plays important roles in ovulation, cell migration, and epithelial cell differentiation).

PAI-1 fits into this balance as the primary inhibitor of tPA and other ‘plasminogen activators’ in the blood. To put its role in perspective, by inhibiting tPA, PAI-1 prevents the activation of plasminogen, thereby controlling the rate and extent of fibrin degradation (clot break down, or fibrinolysis) that occurs. Overactivity of PAI-1 will therefore lead to a tendency to form (or maintain) clots and an underactivity will result in an increased risk for bleeding. (With regard to other known functions of plasmin mentioned above, overactivity of PAI-1 might then also impair ovulation, cell migration, and epithelial cell differentiation).

Control of PAI-1 production is complex, but it is at least partly determined on a genetic basis. Certain polymorphisms of PAI-1, 4G/4G and 4G/5G, are associated with increased blood concentrations of PAI-1. Elevated PAI-1 levels have been correlated with risk for both arterial and venous thromboembolic conditions (e.g., deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and stroke) and atherosclerotic disease (.eg., coronary and carotid artery disease), especially if other genetic (e.g., factor V Leiden; prothrombin G20210A; MTHFR polymorphisms; protein C, protein S, and antithrombin III deficiencies) or inherited (e.g., antiphospholipid antibodies; lupus anticoagulant; anti-beta-1-glycoprotein) thrombophilias are also present. Individuals with insulin resistance syndromes and diabetes mellitus frequently have elevated PAI-1 levels. Obesity and hyperlipidemia are also associated with elevated PAI-1 and under certain circumstances, weight reduction and/or reduction in cholesterol and triglycerides, can lead to reduction in PAI-1 levels.

 
********
 

This website has much more infomation on PAI and how it relates to pregnancy.  Again, this isn't pleasure reading, but it is fairly understandable  http://www.healthline.com/health-blogs/fruit-womb/plasminogen-activator-inhibitor-1-pai-1-role-adverse-pregnancy-outcome-2-l
 
 
I'm sorry this post is so full of information, but I put it up here so my family and friends will better understand and also for any other women who are effected by these issues.
 
 
Ok, so how do I feel about all this?  The day I received the news was a bit overwhelming.  I was thankful to have an answer, true facts to work with, but also kinda discouraged.  I mean who wants to find out there is something else wrong with you.  Now, that I've had about a week to think it over and to read more about these disorders I am feeling more hopeful.  I've read about and heard about many women with blood clotting issues that have successful pregnancies.  I try to remind myself that I was able to carry Jacob for 6 months with no added supplementation or medication, so I should be able to carry full-term the next time around.  I sooooo wish I knew about all this a year ago because I know my sweet boy would still be alive if I had known....if only....if only....if only.
 
It probably seems like I've done alot of research, but I haven't really.  I am careful about how much I focus on it.  That's another reason it's taken over a week to share this.  I must be wise and prepare my body the best I can for another pregnancy, but somedays being pregnant again is the farthest thing from my mind.  How do you grieve one baby and prepare for another?  It's tough, and it's not how it's supposed to be.
 

 

 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Grams

A year ago on August 15th my Grams passed away. My goodness if I would've only known a year from that day where I would be now.  I read in my devotional recently that God doesn't give us a snap shot of our life because we couldn't handle seeing it all at once.  He only give us enough light to see the next step ahead.  I can relate for sure.  This post isn't really about that though, it's about Grams.  She is simply one of the, if not the, loveliest woman I've ever known.  We were more than grandmother and grandaughter.  We were friends.  She took care of me and when the dementia swallowed her, I took care of her.  As much as I hated for her to go, I'm thankful God took her when He did.  I know without a doubt she was one of the first faces Jacob saw when he entered heaven.  Comfort doesn't come easily these days, but knowing they're together does give me some.  When I think of them, this is what I see:









Grams & Me October 1981



So Grams, since I can't hold and love on my sweet boy, do it for me, okay? I can't wait to see you both again...absolutely can't wait.  What fun we'll have.  I love love love you two!



Friday, August 3, 2012

Blankets

I am excited about something, yeah you read that right.  A few weeks ago I felt like I was being nudged to do something to help other mommas in my place.  I came across a verse in my quite time, and  I suppose that's what started it.

I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  This is my command: Love each other"   John 15:16-17

When I read that, I thought....really Lord?!  Honestly, who on earth could I help in my shape? It's only been a month, and I'm still pretty much a basket case.

Hindsight is 20/20 and looking back at my time in the hospital, there are things I wish I would've known to do differently.  It all happened so quickly, and we were all in shock.  We left the hospital virtually empty handed, other than our pictures and our memories.  I cherish those, but I wish I would've had more.  The nurses wrapped Jacob in a special blanket when they brought him to me.  I would give anything to have that blanket.  My mom even tried.  She went back the next day and asked the nurses if she could get it.  They said no because that's THE blanket that's used when babies die.  I get that, but that don't cut it for a momma who just lost her whole world.  I want that blanket.

Since then, I've learned about different organizations and individuals that donate blankets, hats, gowns, etc. to hospitals just for tragic situations like ours.  Well, clearly our hospital wasn't in the loop because I didn't get anything like that.  Let me sidetrack here a sec.  Even though we didn't get those things, we did get amazing nurses....angles in scrubs.  I can't say enough about the treatment and love we received from the labor and delivery nurses at UT medical center.  They've got the "great people" covered at that hopital.  Now, they just need blankets. I may not be able to offer another grieving mother much advice or comfort.  I'm still trying to navigate this grief thing myself.  I can't do much, but I  can do blankets.

I contacted the hospital and within a day, a wonderful woman called me back.  She said there is a huge need for blankets.  Other parents have donated in their baby's honor, but it hasn't been on a consitent basis.   She confirmed what I now know.  Stillbirth and early infant loss happen more often than people realize.  She ended up sharing with me that she too had experienced a stillbirth.  It truly was a blessing to speak with her.  The bigger blessing in all this is that I not only get to help other women, but I'll be honoring my sweet boy while I do it. 

At first, I thought I would just buy some blankets just to get them where they need to be in a hurry, but that's not good enough.  The babies and mommas receiving these deserve something more special than what Target offers.  They deserve a blanket handmade with love.  My mom owns a monogram shop and has a super seamstress, Brenda, that works with her.  Brenda has offered to make the blankets at no charge.  My mom will also monogram the speical baby's name on the blanket for free  if the parents choose too .  I'm not sure if God intends for this to be a one time thing.  I kinda doubt it, but we'll see where He leads.  He no doubt has opened the door for this, and I gladly step through.  I know it will bless all who are involved.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Give brokenhearted love

This subject matter of this post is basically the same as the last one.  I was reading through Molly Piper's blog more tonight, and I shared one of her post's below.  I'm not trying to drop subtle hints with my last post or with this, but what she writes is right on....like Amen Sista kind of right on.
I highlighted the most "right on" parts in green

 

Brokenhearted Love: Give It, Live It.

I’ve gotten a lot of emails from people about grief in the last two and a half years. Some I’ve been able to answer personally, some I haven’t. There’s really no formula for how I decide which ones to answer and which ones not to. It’s more of an in-the-moment thing, where I have 15 minutes and can pour my soul into a response to a complete stranger.
Many of the emails come from people who know someone who just lost a baby–someone from church, a family member, a close friend. That’s probably because the people who just lost the baby are not even sure what’s happening and are completely and utterly in shock. The people on the outside have their heads on straight enough, relatively speaking, to put an email together and ask for help, or even just commiseration.
The one thing I’ve found myself writing to these people over and over again is this: Give brokenhearted love. Ask God to give you a broken heart. That will go further with your friend than any meal or house-cleaning ever could. Granted, I think meals and house-cleaning are immensely important to offer, and some people will be particularly gifted in giving those things. But if you want to go deeper into the loss with your friend, you’re going to have to be heartbroken.
For one thing, grief is really isolating. Especially when it’s a baby who is stillborn, people can sometimes think things like, “Oh, well the baby never lived outside the womb. It’s not like they knew that baby or anything.” And when you come home without a baby, there’s very little evidence that that child ever existed. So when you’re going through the hell of grief, it can feel like you were the only one who lost that baby, and that everyone else’s life has just moved on.
And in some sense, that’s true. Most people are not marking the days and weeks the same way as you are. But there will be a few who will.
And I suppose that’s who I’m writing for, the people who remember.
In our culture, people don’t like to talk about death. And dead babies??? Forget it. That’s because it’s horrifying. I’ll never forget how terrified I was to look at Felicity for the first time. And she was my child.
But brokenhearted love will choose to take on the horror and bear it with you.
In the first few weeks after we lost Felicity, a stranger who I didn’t know (but who went to our church) was signed up to bring me a meal. I kind of had my brave face on to answer the door, get through the interaction, get the food, exchange a few pleasantries back and forth, and get back to my existence.
But there was something very different about this person. As she handed me the food, she was sobbing. I’m not exaggerating here–tears flowing down her face. I was completely disarmed. I remember eventually she asked me if she could see Felicity’s room, if we had it set up. And before I knew it, I was climbing the stairs with this complete stranger, taking her into one of the most sacred spaces in my home.
It felt kind of crazy, but it felt safe. Because she was heartbroken. Just like me, heartbroken.
And even just last week, I had someone tell me that she stopped at Felicity’s grave. And she told me, through her tears, what she was thinking and feeling about that. It’s been two and a half years. She’s never told me anything like that before. And so we stood in her back yard and cried real tears together.
This is the bravery of brokenhearted love.
People who are grieving need to know that they’re not alone. They need to know that their loss is somehow your loss too. Tell them that you visited the cemetery–not for brownie points, but because you want to remember with them. Tell them that you cried in the bathtub the other day. Tell them that when you hear a certain song it takes the breath out of your lungs.
I’ll warn you: you might cry when you tell them these things. HALLELUJAH! You have NO idea what that will mean to someone who’s grieving. Let it FLOW! What are we holding it together for anyway? So our mascara doesn’t run? So we won’t feel embarrassed or uncomfortable? There’s a reason that lump forms in your throat. It’s because you’re holding something in that wants to come out!
So if you’re wondering what you can give your grieving friend, I know it sounds totally cliche, but…give them your heart. Lay it bare. Entering into their pain and sharing your experience of the loss will be profoundly comforting.
I’ve made it through the last two years and seven months because of brokenhearted love. It’s been a gift to me, from those who were willing to give it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What to say

My dear friend Cori sent me an email this morning.  She wrote several different things on several topics, but at the end she said this.  I've copied and pasted it exactly.

i love that baby, i want you to know that, i love him so much, and i love you too, don't ever forget it.


So, to any of you  that don't know what to say, there's a great place to start.  I know other mom's in my situation would say the same.  Even though our babies, didn't take a breath outside the womb or very few, we want them to be loved and remembered as if they had.  That's my child.   Think about how much you love your child and how proud you are of him or her.  I'm right there with you.  Even though you didn't know him, didn't hold him.  Jacob was here.  Acknowledge that.  Just tell me you'll never ever forget him.  Just tell me you're thinking about him.  Tell me 8 weeks, 8 months, 8 years from now.  I promise you it'll mean as much then as it does now.  I may cry when you say it, but I won't be hurt.  When you say nothing at all, well I'll cry then too....when I'm all alone, and it will hurt then.

I came across the link below a couple weeks after losing Jacob, and I've been meaning to share it ever since.  It's written by a mom who has also experienced a stillbirth, and it's several blog posts about how to help your grieving friend.  I could indentify with so much of what it is written. 

http://mollypiper.com/2008/03/how-to-help-your-grieving-friend/



   

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The "What Happened" game

Today, I've been playing the "what happened" game.  I'm not sure why, but my thoughts went there first thing when I woke up and basically stayed there all day.  Well, actually it started as the "What if" game.  What if we can't get pregnant again?  If I take all emotion, out of it the answer is, Yes.  Conceiving hasn't been an issue for us, thankfully. We've done it twice with very little trouble.  We  suprsingly got pregnant back in 2006.  We had only been married a year and hadn't planned on starting a family yet.  I had an early miscarriage at 5 weeks.  The doctors say, and I agree, that this loss and losing Jacob are medically unrelated since 25% of all pregnancies end in  early miscarriage anyway.  We conceived Jacob the second month we tried, so fertility doesn't seem to be a problem.  I pray that continues to be the case.

So then what happened?  I was blessed with a relatively smooth pregnancy up until the point we lost him.  I had the typical first trimester fatigue, a little bit of nausea but I never got sick.  My first blood test revealed that my progesterone leavel was slightly low, so the docs put me on a supplement.  It's pretty common.  They weren't concerened so I tried not to be either.  On a Saturdy night, around 9 weeks, I had some bleeding.  I thought for sure I was miscarrying, and we went onto the hospital to get an ultrasound.  Well, the little fellar was just fine, my cervix was closed, and I never spotted anymore.  I went in for a follow-up that next Tuesday, and he was still looking good.  The docs didn't know exactly what caused it, but they weren't concerned.  They saw something on the ultrasound that led them to believe it had something to do with implantation.  We went in at almost 12 weeks for our first trimester screen.  For those of you who don't know what all that entails.  Here is a link that explains it better than I can.

http://www.americanpregnancy.org/prenataltesting/firstscreen.html


Jacob looked great, but his nuchal translucency fold was slightly thicker than normal.  Normal is 2mm or smaller.  A measurement of 3.5mm indicates a strong but not absolute possibilty of abnormalities.  If we remember correctly, Jacob's was 2.5mm.  The doctor's didn't express any concern at the appointment.   With his nuchal fold measurement and the blood test, we were considered in the normal range and no further testing was recommended.  We also had a pretty good idea at this point that he was a boy.  We got that confirmed at our 17 week ultrasound.  I'm crying as I write this because that was one of the happiest days of my life.  We were so tickled.  We cheered and high-fived at the news.  We went out for dinner afterwards and bought him his first boy cloths...no more gender neutral stuff.  At almost 21 weeks, we went in for our big 2nd trimester ultrasound.  Since I am a diabetic, they also did a fetal echocardiogram because heart defects are more common in babies of  diabetic moms.   He passed with flying colors.  The docs said he looked great and was measuring about a week ahead.  That was the last time we saw him alive.  You already know the rest of the story.  I went in a month later at 25 weeks expecting a quick routine appointment, and he didn't have a heartbeat.

So what happened?  I know I still haven't answered, but we still don't know anything definite and may never.  Did you know that 1 in 160 pregnancies result in stillbirth?  Yeah, I didn't either.  I thought stillbirth was something that happened in 1902, not 2012, but it does. Did you know that in 1/3 to 1/2 of all cases the cause is never known?  Before I go any further, there is no indication what so ever that my diabetes caused this.  I know many people may automatically assume that.  My docs resoundinly say, no it has nothing to do with my diabetes, and I couldn't have done anything differently.  I know that.   You will read that diabetics are at a higher risk for stillbirth, but it depends on their level of control.  Well controlled diabetics are at no greater risk than the general population for stillbirths, and I am well controlled....very.   I busted my tail to keep my blood sugars where they needed to be.  I'm not bragging, but when my hemoglobin A1C came back at 5.8, my OB wrote "Wow" on my chart.  She showed it to me.  That's an average blood glucose of 114.  That's kickin' it folks!


Ok now,  there are several known causes of stillbirth: 

birth defects from chrmosomal abnormalities, genetic, or environmental factors
placental problems
bacterial or viral infections
blood clotting issues
incompetent cervix
umbilical cord accidents
uterine abnormalities

Jacob and I have been tested for everything but the blood-clotting disorder, and there are no definitive results so far.  My bloodwork showed that I had no active viral or bacterial infections.  Certain viruses/bacteria can attack the baby with the mother having little or no symptoms.  My placenta didn't show any obvious problems.  There were two small spots that showed a lack of blood flow, but we don't know if that happend before or after Jacob died.  We chose not to have an autopsy done on Jacob.  I don't know if this was the right decision or not.  It may or may not have given us more answers.  At the hospital, in the midst of it, an autopsy seemed unfathomable to even consider.  We did allow a small tissue sample to be taken for genetic testing.  The tests that could be performed were.  The size and quality of the sample determines how much testing can be done.  We know he didn't have Down's Syndrome, Trisomy 13, & 18.  I plan to go in next week to be tested for the blood clotting problem.  You have to wait 6 weeks after a pregnancy to get proper results.  Basically, this is an auto-immune disorder and the mother's body produces anitbodies that cause blood clots in the placenta or umbilical cord.  It can be controlled in subsequent pregnancies with blood thinning medications to reduce the risk of clots. 

I spoke with Jo, the my nurse practioner at the perinatologists office. last week  She and her staff helped me with the diabetes end of things while my OB handled all the baby stuff.  Jo is fabulous.  She came to my room first thing Thursday morning after hearing what happend.  She discussed some of the possible causes, and then she held my hand and prayed for me.  Like I said, fabulous. Anyway, I spoke with her, and she feels Jacob's nuchal fold measurement maybe a clue to what happened. She actually said his measurement was abnormal, and technically it was if only slightly.  Considering that and my own research today, I lean that way too.  When I think back on my progesterone levels and the bleeding, I wonder if my body was trying to tell me something was wrong.

If you've hung around this long, then bless your heart.  I know I've shared alot of information, but I think I'm writing more to make my brain shut up.  Those first few weeks after losing Jacob, I didn't care much about knowing what happend because it wouldn't change anything.  It wouldn't bring my baby back.  Now, I would like to know just because I would.  If I take all the emotion out of it, the odds are that this awful thing won't happen again.   But, I can't take all the emotion out.  It's not that easy. It scares me to death, but just beause I feel that way it doesn't mean I have to stay that way.  I pray that God will help me go forward boldly despite my fears.







        

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tell him about us

I just came across this quote,

 "Dear Lord, I would have loved to have held my baby in my lap and tell him all about you, but since I didn't get that chance, would you please hold him on your lap, and tell him all about me?"

Wow!

Lord, please tell him all about us. 

Tell him how much we wanted him...how much we love him....how much we miss him

Tell him as long as we have breath we will never forget him

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

He pulled me out

I've been nothing but real since losing Jacob, and I'm going to keep it that way. I'm struggling with anger. No, actually I'm mad as hell, not every moment of every day, but it's there. I hate feeling this way! It's not me at all, and I could really use some extra prayers right now. I've told God all about it, believe me. He wants that anger. He can take it, and I'm doing my best to give it to Him. This past week there have been several very close situations involving babies and pregnancy that have been tough to deal with. Nobody has been disrespectful and nobody means to hurt us, but it does. It just does. How do I say this next part without being disrespectful myself. Let's just say Zack and I have made certain life choices, followed a certain path. Others have made very different choices, and it doesn't make sense why things work out the way they do. To say the Lord works in mysterious ways is an understatement. 


I wrote that first paragraph when I first woke up and just left it, unsure of what to write next if anything.  I didn't know if this post would even see the light of day.  I just needed those thoughts out of my head and on paper, so to speak. I went out to feed critters, chatted with my momma, and then had my quite time.  This is what my devotional said:

Self-pity is a slimy, bottomless pit.  Once you fall in, you tend to go deeper and deeper into the mire.  As you slide down those slippery walls, you are well on your way to depression, and the darkness is profound.
Your only hope is to look up and see the Light of My Presence shining down on you.  Through the Light looks dim from your perspective, deep in the pit, those rays of hope can reach you at any depth.  While you focus on Me in trust, you rise ever so slowly out of the abyss of despair.  Finally  you can reach up and grasp My hand.  I will pull you out  into the Light again.  I will gently cleanse you, washing off the clinging mire.  I will cover you with My righteousness and walk with you down the path of Life.
Hmmm, wish I would've read that first thing this morning.  As I am typing this devotional out and rereading those words, it dawns on me that God reached down and slowly pulled me out all day long.  Next, I got on my treadmill and really worked out for the first time since losing Jacob.  It felt so good.  I'll be sore tomorrow.  I cranked up K-Love, and God sent just the songs I needed.  Don't you love it when that happens?  I just sang along and praised His name.   Y'all seriously would've laughed your butt off if you could've seen me.  It was a sight. :)  After that, all that was pent up within me was gone.  I had an appointment with my counselor next,  which is always helpful and productive.  Next was a stop at office depot and the post office, where I received a special necklace from my aunt.  Thank you Aunt Kimmy!  I love it! 

So, after all that I'm finally on my way home.  I was almost home when I drove into a small rain storm.  It was almost out of nowhere really.  I sat in my truck a few minutes to let the rain pass and opened up the rest of the mail.  There was a refund check in there from my health insurance company for almost $600. Really?!  Since when did those people start sending you money back.  By this time the rain has let up, I get out to go in, turn around, and see this:







It absolutely took my breath away.  I ran into get Zack and we stood in awe and just watched.  A second rainbow actually showed up for a little bit. As we stood, a huge flock of birds flew in unison across the pasture in front of the rainbow and then over our heads.  We just cried in amazement...me more than him ;)  For those of you closest to us, I don't need to elaborate.  You know how special the birds are.  For those who don't know, I will try to explain.  Every morning in warm weather, I sit outside during my quite time and look over the pastures and lake.  I did this long before losing Jacob and obviously continued once we got home from the hospital.  In those first few days home, I specifically prayed that God would give me some sign of His presence and of Jacob's presence, something special so I would know he was here.  Several morning later, I realized I kept seeing a  flock of birds flying in unison over the pature.  It was mesmerizing really, and I couldn't help but watch them.  I didn't "go there" immediately and think that this was my special sign but I wondered.  One morning, I was sitting there praying and like every morning in recent days I prayed for Jacob's presence.  A few minutes later, I heard them fly over my head and there they were soaring back and forth across the pasture.  I knew God had answered. Now, I know what some of you maybe thinking..."Oh come on, Hannah, they're just birds, and they've probably been there all along and you never noticed."  Think what you wish, but Zack and I both know.  We are both outside on this land every single day of the year.  We don't miss much that happens on this place, and we've never ever seen the birds do this.  As I think of this beautiful scene, I can't help but think of God's timing throughout the day.  Every red light that stopped me, the length of every conversation, every little pause and delay led to the exact moment that I would step out of the truck and see that rainbow.  He reached down.  He pulled me out. He knows the strain.  He knows the hurt.  He knows I needed this today.  Oh, how I needed it!  He hears me.  He hears you.  Seek him.  He is right there.

You thought the post would end there, didn't you.  Nope, not done yet.  We came back in and while I sat looking at the rainbow pics, the phone rang.  Zack's been trying to sell the bucket truck since we lost Jacob. Going through this loss, makes you  reevaluate everything....even trucks.  We've both been praying it would sell, but frankly I haven't prayed much at all about it lately.  I realized that last week and got my butt in gear.  A few days later a guy called to inqure about it.  He came yesterday to look at it.  He called tonight, and he said he's almost positive he's going to buy it!  Yay!  God willing my hubby is getting a bigger better truck soon, a truck that makes his life easier. Heaven knows, he deserves it.  If there ever was a man that's not afraid of hard work, it is mine.  I am so thankful for him. I am so thankful God pulled me out today. A couple of my favorite verses to wind this long post down. Good night and God bless.


Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you if you believed, you would see the glory of God."  John 11:40


The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.  Psalm 47:11














Sunday, July 8, 2012

Filling the empty pages

I had a better day yesterday, or at least the first half was. I ran some errands by myself. It's never easy because I know I'm going to see things that trigger the hurt...reminders of what I don't have. I was feeling good because I almost made it through my first stop without any major issues. I realized I forgot something while checking out, so I went back. I bent down to pick up what I needed, and when I stood up, I saw a lady carrying her itty bitty baby boy walking straight at me. It was like a kick straight to the gut. I just wasn't expecting it at all, and it deflated what little bit of enthusiasm I had.


I got on Facebook later on in the evening, and there were more babies and talk of babies. I don't even know why I bother getting on there. Soon after getting home from the hospital, I had to unsubscribe from all my friends who are pregnant and many who have babies. They're not doing or saying anything wrong, and I wish all of them the very best. It's just to painful, and I need to protect myself. So even though I did that, here were more reminders I wasn't expecting right in my face. Afterwards, I just sat outside and cried and prayed. I told God how unfair it all is, and I asked why. I even screamed it into the night. This place I'm in is so bewildering and so daunting. Many times I've literally cried, "I just don't know what to do," and I'm not talking about physical, tangible things to do, like going to counseling. I'm doing all those things. I'm trying to figure out how to live life again. How do I get there from here?

I've been reading Angie smith's blog. Her daughter Audrey was deemed incompatible with life at 20 weeks, but she and her husband chose to carry her anyway . She only lived a few hours after birth. I can really identify with this post Angie wrote a couple months after losing Audrey:

Empty Pages

I love that a bunch of you commented on how great it was to see me smiling in the pictures I posted. A couple of you said it seemed like I was getting my “spunk” back. I feel like there are glimpses of it every day, but yesterday was really hard.
I found a notebook that I hadn’t seen around for a few months, and when I opened it I saw a page where I had been doodling potential baby names. It must have been around November or so. At first, there were boy names and girl names. A few pages later, it was just girl names. Then it just said Audrey Caroline Smith.
And there she was.
As the days passed, I kept notes about what I needed to be doing as I prepared for her. Fresh tears came as I saw my “lists.” Mixed in with Christmas ideas for my friends and family were memos to myself about where I had found the best price on a stroller and what I was going to do to get Kate’s room ready for two kids instead of one. I guess it was stuff that seemed important at the time. A couple things were crossed off, but most of them weren’t; there just wasn’t time, I guess.
The rest of the notebook is blank.
I kept flipping back and forth between the words and the emptiness, thinking of all the ways that I would have rather filled the pages.
One of the hardest things for me about losing Audrey is that I want to know who she was going to be. I just wanted the chance to love her for a little longer. I stare at her little face in pictures and sometimes I can’t do anything but curl up in a ball and miss her. So last night, that is what I did. I just sat and missed her.
Many of you have sent me links to other people’s blogs because they have lost a child. I want you to know that I go to every single one. I don’t always comment, but I pray. I look at the sweet family pictures and read people’s words of love and faith, and I weep alongside strangers because I know what it feels like to have a half-empty notebook. One of the hardest parts is the entry before the loss (if it was unexpected), because it seems like life is just so normal, no indication of what is just on the horizon. You want to scream at the computer (or in my case, the notebook) like it’s an old movie where the heroine doesn’t see the villain, but you do.
I looked at my words and I wanted so badly to be able to go to that girl, at that moment, and tell her that she didn’t need to rearrange the room. She didn’t need to buy burp-cloths. She had no idea.
I had no idea.
I don’t know why this affected me so much, but I do know that last night, I fell asleep crying because I missed my sweet Audrey so desperately. And I thought of Greg and Nicol and the way they were probably doing the same. I thought about the fact that Luke’s little onesies were still in the laundry room and his diapers on the nightstand.
I can’t imagine what God must have felt when we walked into a small, unfamiliar ultrasound room months ago, and the pages went blank. And tonight, the only thing I can think to say is a 5 word sentence that hurts to write.
I want them back, Lord.
I want my Audrey, safe and sound.
Sweet Luke, come back.
I’m not crazy, I know this can’t happen, not in this life. But I am crying out for my baby, for our babies. For all the pages…Oh Lord, why???
I don’t know how to say this in a way that adequately connotes what I felt last night and all day today, but I will try my best.
It isn’t easy for me to write. It isn’t easy because it makes me think through things I might rather leave undone, and it makes me vulnerable in a way that is humbling. But, in some way that only God can make sense of, He is using you all to teach me about myself, and even about the way I love my daughter. She has inspired me to do something I never would have done before because of my own fear, and the beauty is that I have been so blessed in return. You don’t even know me, and yet you take the time to send me letters, prayers, and encouragement. Because of this blog, I have seen how God’s people love.
What a tremendous, beautiful gift you all have given me.
I kept thinking today about the symbolism of the empty notebook, telling the Lord how that image stings in it’s finality. I kept thinking about my faraway stranger-friends who encourage me to feel what I feel.
I think I realize now what I didn’t last night, because of you.
The pages won’t stay empty forever. They will be written in honor of Audrey, and in honor of Luke. They will be written for every baby that has left this earth before mommy could tuck her in.
I want to thank you, from the bottom of my heart for encouraging me to pick up my pen, to tap my keyboard, and to start to fill in the emptiness. To love her with my words, and to share her when she couldn’t share herself.
It has been a hard few weeks. I know that God is in the midst of it, as He always is, but it hurts to be without them.
Thank you for your prayers, and for offering to be a part of our grief.
May you be blessed as richly in return.
Angie
 
 
 
I have a notebook just like that.  I have a prayer journal too.  I never thought I would be the journaling type, but I started it back in 2010.  The entries were pretty sporadic that year, and by the end of 2011 I had it half-way filled.  It took me a year and half to do that, and in the six months of my pregnancy I almost filled up the other half.  I miss that girl.  Where did she go?!  Was that really me?!  With each week that passed, my uncertainty gave way to eager anticipation and unbridled joy.  I was so sure! I mourn the loss of my sweet baby, but I also mourn the loss of a life I was sure of.  I know the groundwork God has laid in all aspects of our life these past couple years, and when we got pregnant, I was so sure that's what it all was for.  I wondered and still wonder what it was all about.  I asked God why even gave Jacob to us in the first place.  Why did he even allow us to get pregnant?  We could've avoided all this pain.  As I thought this the other day, it dawned on me....I would rather have had him for the time I did than to never have had him at all.  I don't want this pain, but I would never have known such joy and such love without Jacob.  What a blessing he is!  I miss him more than words can express!!!
 
 
 
I started a new journal a few days ago.  As I looked at all those empty pages, I wondered what God would do through those pages. I wrote this:
 
I pray that this journal will be a record of healing, restoration, trust, and joy again....a record of just how big my God is.
In June 2010, I found this quote and wrote it in my journal.  I love it and have shared it with others during their trials.

When you are face to face with a storm, you are standing on the edge of a miracle.  Don't tell God how your storm is, tell the storm how big your God is!
The storm has hit full force.  Our house was torn into a million pieces, stripped to its foundation.  But, we're still standing, and it's because of God and only Him. God...I pray...I beg...build it back stronger and more beautiful.  Fill those empty pages. Show us the way.  Show us that miracle.  Show us and everyone else just how big You are.  BE HUGE!
 
 
 
 

Monday, July 2, 2012

God speaks

.....even to heathens like me.  I'm kidding about the heathen part, sorta, but not the God part.  I want to preface this post by saying I am not special.  Yes, I have been walking much closer to the Lord these past couple years, but I am not a super duper model Christian, by far.  I can't tell you the last time I've been to church. I didn't even go on Christmas or Easter.  I cuss when I'm mad, and other times for no good reason at all.  I've gotten better, but I don't "turn the other cheek" nearly as often as I should.  I'm usually just as big of a jerk as the person who slighted me.  I can be too critical and judgemental of others.  I can be bossy, selfish, and impatient.  I could go on, but you get it.  Since losing Jacob, several people have thanked me for showing what a real woman of Christ looks like.  I look around me wondering who on earth they're talking to.  Despite all my faults and imperfections, He speaks specifically to me....to all of us

On June 26th, my Mom's birthday, we had a follow-up doctor's appointment to learn the results of the the tests the hospital ran on me and Jacob.  We hoped to learn what happened and weather that would prevent us from having more children.  So, as you can imagine, we were apprehensive about it.

The devotional I read is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  I highly recommend it and here is what it said on June 26:

"Stay calmly conscious of Me today, no matter what.  Remember that I go before you as well as with you into the day.  Nothing takes Me by surprise.  I will not allow circumstances to overwhelm you, so long as you look to Me.  I will help you cope with whatever the moment presents.  Collaboration with Me brings blessings the far outweigh all your troubles.  Awareness of My Presence contains Joy that can endure all eventualities."

He speaks

None of the tests gave us any definitive answers, but we got the one answer we wanted, needed, and prayer for most - we can try again.

He answers

As I said in my Jacob post a few weeks back, holding Jacob gave us such clarity.  We knew we wanted another baby.  Losing Jacob didn't mean we lost the desire to have children.  We hadn't given the reality of trying again much thought or talked about it much before the doctor's appointment.  So naturally, afterwards, it was on our mind more.  Zack was very relieved and even joyous over the news we could try again.  I was thankful and hopeful, but I couldn't go as far as relieved.  Another pregnancy felt daunting, still does and will no matter how long we wait.  So on the morning of the 27th, I found myself thinking more about the possibilities and timing of another pregnancy than I really wanted to.  I remember reminding myself to let those thoughts go for the next few months.  Even if we were emotionally ready, it will take my body that long to rebalance itself anyway. So here's what the devotional said on June 27th:

"Rest with Me a while.  You have journeyed up a steep, rugged path in recent days.  The way ahead is shrouded in uncertainty.  Look neither behind you nor before you.  Instead, focus your attention on Me, your constant Companion.  Trust that I will equip you fully for whatever awaits you on your journey.

I designed time to be a protection for you.  You couldn't bear to see all your life at once.  Though I am unlimited by time, it is in the present moment that I meet you.  Refresh yourself in My company, breathing deep draughts of My Presence.  The highest level of trust is to enjoy Me moment by moment.  I am with you, watching over you wherever you go."

He speaks

Each daily reading also has accompanying verses with it.  This is one of the verses:

"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.  I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."  Genesis 28:15

I've seen this verse before, and I like it.  It's definitely appropriate, but I didn't feel anything particularly profound in the moment .  If you've looked at the Bible much, you've probably noticed one-line headings throughout that briefly describe the content of the verses to follow.  So not thinking much about it, I scanned to the heading above the group of verses I was in.  It read:

Jacob's Dream at Bethel

He speaks

There's a reason I bought that devotional last year when I did.  There's a reason my appointment was on the 26th instead of the 24th.  The Maker of the universe ordained it and spoke specifically to me....a heathen, sorta ;-)


Sunday, July 1, 2012

What I don't have

Well, here I am again after a string of better days.  I'm hesitant to call any day "good" right now.  It's just a word, but it doesn't fit.  As thankful as I am for better days, the reprieve from all the raw emotion doesn't really feel right either. It's weird when the feelings aren't as intense.  I've learned there's no rhyme or reason to this process.  Two better days in a row doesn't mean the next one will be too.  For starters, I didn't get enough sleep last night.  There's actually a really cool story involving a lost dog that goes along with that, but I'll get way off track trying to tell it.  So anyway, I didn't feel good today, and I haven't had a really long hard cry in a couple days.  The environment was ripe for a meltdown....or three

We went out to run a few errands this afternoon, and I was fine until we were checking out at Wal-Mart.   For some reason, older babies or toddlers aren't a trigger for me.  I guess I hadn't envisioned Jacob at those ages yet, but I defintely had as a newborn and up to a few months old.  Well, wouldn't you know it I look over at one of the other check out lines and see a lady with a baby girl about that age propped on her hip, facing out, watching the world go by.  In that moment, what I don't have and can't have hit me like a ton of bricks.

Instead:

All I have is pictures

All I have are tiny foot prints in clay

All I have is a necklace with his name on the back

All I have are sweet little John Deere socks he'll never wear

All I have are little camo pants his Daddy picked out he'll never wear

All I have is a box full of mementos on my dresser

All I have is maternity clothes I should be wearing stacked on a shelf

All I have are memories of carrying him for 6 months

All I have are memories of holding him in my arms not nearly long enough

All I have are "Why's" and "What happened?"

If that last bit seemed a bit dramatic, well I hate that for ya. I don't know why I get the urge to blog when it really hurts, but I just do.  I intended to share some neat things God has done for me this week that gave me some peace and hope, and I will.  I want to look back on these posts years from now and clearly see where I was, where God met me, how He carried me, and how He restored me.  I'm still hanging on to this verse:

"Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.  He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him"  Psalm 126: 5-6 NASB

I can't wait to come again with a SHOUT of joy.  Hopefully, people will think I've lost my ever-lovin' mind I'm shouting so.  I know it probably won't be anytime soon, but I KNOW I will even if I don't feel it right this moment.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

2 weeks

Well, its been a little over two weeks, and I'd be lying if I said this past week hasn't been rough. I've had so much to say but just physically haven't felt up to it. I just started another round of antibiotics for a urinary tract infection, and that's knocked what little bit of wind I had in my sails, physically speaking. I actually felt better last week, believe it or not.

Emotionally, I'm all over the place. The tears don't hit me when I first wake up like last week, but I know they're coming. I just don't know when or how bad. Sometimes it's a ripple....sometimes it's a tidal wave. Today was a tidal wave kinda day.

The first stage of grief is shock. It's the body's way of protecting the mind from the full impact of what just happened. I feel that this week the shock of losing Jacob is wearing off, and the enormity of the journey ahead is sinking in. It is overwhelming, like I'm/we're learning to live life all over again. Many times, I have cried....I just don't know what to do....I just don't know what to do. The path to our "new normal" feels so daunting.

On the other hand, and this doesn't make sense even to me.....I have never understood God less but loved Him more. My heart swells just typing it. He wants all of me, and for the first time I am prepared to give it. I want to wrecklessly trust him...too completely surrender. The devil isnt going to make it easy though. I have believed his lies and have lived in fear and anxiety, always trying to be in control. I have learned more about spiritual warfare these past couple years, as I've walked closer with God. I'm only kidding myself if I think the enemy will ease up on me in my season of grief. I mentioned it has been a tidal wave kinda day, but this evening I have been more at peace and I know why......God's powerful word. My mom came over, and I was reading some verses to her that have brought me comfort. Here is one:

Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. Ps 126:5-6 NASB

I've also been reading Angie Smith's book, I Will Carry You. It has really blessed me, validated much of what I feel, and given me hope. She prayed this prayer over the readers of her book, and I read it to my mom. We both felt the power and peace it brought. I ask that any of you reading this would please pray this over me and Zack:

"Lord Jesus, I am asking for Your presence to fill the room of the person holding this book. I ask that You remind him or her that Your power is made perfect in weakness and that the battle raging against us is no match for You. In Your powerful name, I command Satan to leave this home. Leave this marriage alone. Stop whispering lies about the circumstances of death and the belief that we could have done anything differently. Silence the lies the enemy has thrown at us. You have no right here, Satan, and we rebuke you in the name of the Savior. Jesus, bind his hands so he will no longer wreak havoc in the lives of these precious parents. Lord, we give You our hurts, our doubts, our guilt. We bring them to you and lay them on Your altar, eagerly awaiting the day when You will redeem what we have lost. Amen."

So, that's where I'm at tonight. Don't know where I'll be tomorrow, probably all over the place. I'm trying so hard to trust....to lay it all at his feet....all the "whys", all the anger, all the fear, all the doubt, all the sorrow,.....everything. I know it may take a while but I want to heal well.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day and not at all what I expected for Zack's first Father's Day.  I hurt for him.

On our first or second night home from the hospital, we were laying in bed holding each other and talking.  He surprised me by mentioning Father's Day coming up.  I hadn't even realized it was right around the corner.  He said that even though he is a dad, he doesn't get to be a dad.  We both just sobbed.

I told him he was and is a great dad.  He did what fathers are supposed to do.  He loved his child's mother.  He worked hard and provided for us.  He kissed, talked to, and loved Jacob with all his heart. I am so thankful this amazing man is the father of my child.  I love you Zack!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Perspective and Priorities

Take nothing for granted, not even the rising of the sun. 

I read that in my devotional a while back, and it stuck with me.  It's interesting how the small stuff I used to think about, to worry about, really doesn't matter anymore, but how little simple things I used to take for granted mean more now.  Say for instance, a solid night of  uninterrupted sleep.  Last night was the first night I slept good for a full 8 hours in a week.

Jacob came home yesterday.  I was expecting another gut wrenching day, but it wasn't.  It was tough and emotional of course but also beautiful, like the day he was born.  We decided to have his remains cremated.  Having him in a stark, sterile cemetery somewhere just didn't feel right.  That was the right decision. My dad thankfully handled the arrangements for us and picked out the most beautiful wooden urn for him.  It is perfect. We have plans to honor Jacob in our own way here on our farm, so his sweet little presence will always be with us.  Zack and I can't quite put a finger on what it feels like to have him back with us, but it gave us more peace.

We rode out yesterday afternoon to check our P.O. Box just to get out a bit.  It was a gorgeous day, and we rolled the windows down.  The wind blowing through my hair, that's what I mean by the little simple things that mean something.  We stopped at the market next door to grab a few things and also got a Mayfield's ice cream bar to eat on the way home....another simple little thing.

I thought I had a good grasp on my priorities before, but Jacob has given me such a wake-up call.  I would much rather still be asleep and still have Jacob, but I am thankful that I see things more clearly than I ever have in my entire life. For anyone reading this I encourage you to slow down, to look at your life.  What are you striving for?  What's really important?  There are no guarantees.  You really can't control every outcome.  For Pete's sake, put your dang phone down.  You'll survive if you don't see every status update, every email, and every text the millisecond it comes in.  I really don't mean to pass judgement with this, and I don't think I'm holier than thou but everyone in Facebook land will be just fine if you don't update your status every hour.  While you are busy posting every thought you've ever had, please consider what special moments you may be missing.  If it sounds like I'm preaching at you, maybe I am, but I am preaching at me too. I am certainly not perfect.  I'm sure I'll get bogged down at times and consumed with triviality at times, but I'm going to try like hell not too.

I am so thankful for all the support and prayers from everyone.  I've heard people say they can feel the power of prayer.  I always understood that, but now I know firsthand the truth of it. This trial has shown me the strength of different relationships.  It's hard for people to know what to do or say in situations like this.  I get that, but when the rubber meets the road, you learn just how much people truly care.  It's your childhood friend that drops everything and drives six hours wide open across the state just to be by your side.  It's your other best friend who was ready to cancel all her plans on her wedding anniversary just to be there.  It took alot of convincing to stop her, and we really didn't stop her...just slowed her down a little :)  She was right there anyway.  You two girls no exactly who you are.  I didn't know how much I needed you until I saw your sweet faces walk through that door.  I love and appreciate you more than you know!

I am praying that this loss changes me but doesn't define me.  I am praying that I don't live in a state of anger or bitterness, although I'm sure I'll feel those emotions.  I am trying to be thankful and hopeful.