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 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.


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.

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 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?"


Lord, please tell him all about us. 

Tell him how much we wanted much we love 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 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.
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 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 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.


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.