My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:15,16

Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
John 11:40
See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands… Isaiah 49:16a

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Praise You In This Storm......Part 2

This is all part of something that is so much greater that just me and our family.  We are an intricate part of a larger, very detailed, well thought out plan of an infinitely loving God, Who will never leave me nor forsake me.
These last couple of days the feeling of helplessness and being out of control in this situation is gone. I do not mean that I am the one in control, but that there is One who is much better at handling the panning of my life than I. I rest in hope and confidence in Him.  I was reading Psalms last night. There are so many times David, like me, called out to God to save him and every time God was there.

I heard this song tonight called Hope Now. The lyrics really spoke to my heart.
It says, "If everything comes down to Love, then just what am I afraid of?
             When I call out your name, something inside awakes in my soul.
             How quickly I forget I'm Yours. I'm not my own, I've been carried by You all my life.
             When the world has broken me down, Your love sets me free...
              Everything rides on hope now, everything rides on faith somehow."

How very true that it all comes down to His love and hope and faith now.  That is what life is about.
That is what Zoe's life was and is about. There is no "What purpose did her short life serve", there will be no why's answered here, and even if there were, it does not change anything. She awaits me in a place where I don't have to worry about her.  She and my other babies are very well cared for by their Heavenly Father. I will be with them one day and until then I have peace ( and yes tears). I will love, I will hold onto hope and have faith.....even still my Jesus is the same.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Praise You In This Storm......

I don't know if I will get this posted by midnight or not, it is 11:39 right now so we'll see. I may end up making two posts just so I can get something on today.  I wanted to put on a post on Zoe's due date to share how much peace we have the last couple of days. I turned on my ipod shuffle to listen to my music as I type and the song Praise You In This Storm started playing.  That is the picture of the last few days, the eye in the middle of the storm, where all is calm and we are resting in His arms.
I was not sure what to expect from my emotions and heart today.
I have felt an overwhelming peace surrounding me (at times sitting here thinking shouldn't I be crying?)
but I am in His arms and He never lets me go.  He holds me close to His heart and I have felt the "sounds" of it beating with love for me and also for Zoe.  I am so very thankful for her presence in our lives.
Last night I sat in a beautiful room in a big arm chair.  The fireplace was flickering and the worship music playing....there is just something extra special about worshiping when I hurt.  He was there with me just the same as He was the night Zoe was born and we held her in our arms.
It was okay not to cry lots last night and today.
It still hurts and we still miss her so very much, but there is so much love.
I am not questioning why at all right now.
I am thankful for every moment we had with her before and after she was born.
I am thankful that we got to hold her tiny hands and feet in our hands and see her beautiful little face.
I am thankful that God chose us to be her parents.  He chose us....what an honor.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

All my days were ordained before one of them came to be.....

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:15,16

We have been waiting for months now for the results to come in....and they did today.  I thought I had prepared myself enough for them but I am not sure about that now.
When Zoe was born we were given the option of having an autopsy and genetic testing done to see if a reason could be found for her death.  It was a hard decision to make but we decided to go ahead with it because of having so many other miscarriages and not knowing why for any of them.
Her autopsy came back with no evidence of what happened or why, just that she appeared to be a normal healthy looking baby.
Then I went for blood work of MANY kinds to see if anything could be traced in that.  Nothing so far.  We are still waiting for a few more test results to come in from the last set of needles.
Today we got a call from the Dr.'s office saying the results of her genetic testing were in.....our specialist had said that because nothing was showing in the blood work and nothing had shown up on the autopsy, that most likely it was a genetic abnormality that caused her death. He said in situations like this where we can find no other answer, that is usually the cause.  
So I thought through what the possibilities might be when the results came back and tried to figure out if it really mattered anymore anyway.  It did matter to me, simply because I want to fill in as many blanks as I can about this, or as the case is turning out to be, rule out as many things as we can. I prepared myself to hear that she had spina bifida, or maybe one of the trisomy problems or whatever else they might tell me.
I told myself that at least if we knew she had a reason for dying it would make it understandable. That maybe it was true, she was better off (for her sake) not living a difficult life and having to face all the things that those genetic problems involve.
What I did not prepare myself for was if it showed nothing.
The results came back and I quote "Testing shows a completely normal, healthy baby girl."
First my heart thought "thank you God for a healthy baby."
Then I realized we still have no answers.
The tears fell again.  
After our other miscarriages I wanted to try again right away.  It couldn't happen fast enough for me.  This time that is not so.  That spot seems to belong to Zoe still right now.
A small part of me wants to try again, but the life that was there is still so fresh and that spot still feels sacred to me.
There are so many what if I had's or maybe I should have's or if I had only known's....they are brought to the surface again now that there is no scientific reason on her part, for her death.  Then the questions start to fly around in my head.  Does the problem then lie with me? What could I have done differently?  Was there anything I could have done to change the outcome?
I cannot go very far with questioning myself because I do not want to open the door to let fear in.  I will not go into the next pregnancy being afraid and second guessing myself. I can't allow that.
So far I have been able to manage the subsequent pregnancies after miscarriage without being scared that it would end in miscarriage again.I want that to be the case this time as well.
I trust that Psalm  139:15,16 is true. That the number of days she would be with us was decided from the beginning of time, before she was ever in my womb and I have to be okay with that.
Those 5 months she was here are incredibly special, valued and yes......ordained. Thank you God for a healthy baby girl......

Sunday, December 5, 2010

1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you......
God, today I cast all my cares on you.   Not just the little, "I can't find my left shoe" cares but the really deep heart-heavy, unbearable-on-my-own kind of cares.
I am reminded that I need Your strength in every part of me.
My mind is consumed daily with thoughts of her, God.  My most recent hopes and dreams sit across the room from me in a tiny, angel urn.  What would you have been if you had lived Zoe?
What would you have looked like laying in my arms? What color would your hair have been? What would your giggle have sounded like as your daddy chased you through the house?  Would you have been quiet and a little shy like me or more outgoing and boisterous like your daddy?
I see a picture in my mind of a dark, curly haired baby with bright blue eyes that sparkle and whose smile can capture a roomful of hearts in a moment.
If I close my eyes, I can almost feel her in my arms.  What does she feel like in yours God?
Does she capture your heart with a glance?
Do You tell her about us?
Does she love to dance like her sister?  I know she must love to worship You like we do.
God please forgive me in my humanity when I search for answers instead of just trusting in Your infinite wisdom.  Help me to wholly trust in You always.
How is it possible to fall so in love with a little person we never met alive?
But fall I did......we did.....the moment that second line showed up on the pregnancy test.
We talked to her, sang to her, loved her.
God, did she hurt or was the warmth of my womb and our love the only thing she felt? I pray that she did not feel pain when her life ended.
  The questions play over and over again in my mind.
I remember back to the day we found out she was with You and the two weeks following that until she was born.
God I know you heard our prayers asking You for life in her little body.  Days later we stepped out in faith asking our Dr. to check for a heartbeat again.  He said he didn't want to make this any worse for us than it already was.  I told him we wanted him to anyway.  I waited eagerly for a miracle with hope and faith in You, knowing that no matter what the outcome, You would see us through. The Dr. could only find my heartbeat and I said, "That's okay.  It's still not too late."
God, thank you for strength in that moment.
We knew what we, in our human hearts, wanted.  To have her back here on earth with us.
It felt somewhat selfish at times to want her back here with us when she is healed, whole and complete with You God, but it hurts so much to not have her here.
My "mommy heart" is having a hard time letting go.  God help me to leave this in Your hands, give me the courage to do it.
Another scene flashes to my mind.  I'm standing in our camper out at the farm two days after the ultrasound.  We wanted to get away, out of the city. I am getting beds ready and my mom comes out to see if I am alright and if I need help with anything.
She sees my tears and pulls me into her arms.  I collapse into her, sobs shaking my body and in her arms I feel like a little girl again, desperately wishing she could make things better.  I say "I just want this to not be real, I want to be able to fix it, I want to make it better."
She cries along with me and says "I know, I wish I could take all the hurt away."
In that moment I realize she feels as powerless holding me, as I feel holding Zoe.
God you have done miracles in our lives before, is one more too much to ask?  I know it is not.  I know You can do it, there is not a doubt in my being.
Many friends are rising up around us, praying with us for a miracle. Some who would not have prayed that way otherwise.
God, I know Zoe is first of all Yours.  She is held by You as I am. I will trust Your plan and not expect my own. I will follow Your leading and not panic or let doubt and fear overshadow the opportunity before me to stand firm in my faith and conviction.
The reality is I am still carrying her and I will not give up on her before she is delivered in Your timing.
God You are still the same, You have not changed. You are our healer however that may look in this situation.
God I thank you for friends who came around us.  I ask you to bless them greatly for the meals, tears, love, hugs and prayers that were the greatest gift they could have given us.
God I thank you for Your open arms that wait for me each time I feel broken, empty and alone.
Just when people think I should be "getting better," "getting over losing her" it feels like it is getting worse again. It feels just as devastating as the moment we found out.  It feels like so much time has passed since and yet no time at all.
So, though I did not get the miracle that I was praying for in exactly the way that I was asking, even still, it happened somewhere else. She is healed, she is happy, she is loved where she is. If I were ever in the same situation again (God forbid), I would pray the same way, who wouldn't.  If there is a chance to see a miracle happen before your eyes, if it was your child the Dr. was talking about, I'm sure many of you would hope the way I did as well.
God, You bring me hope for a new day, a rainbow after the storm, and a promise that it won't always be this hard. Healing for me will come. Zoe you are forever and always my little angel and I am so glad I will get to spend eternity with you.

Babies, babies everywhere....

It would seem that God has filled my world right now with pregnant women and newborn babies.  At times, literally everywhere I look, everywhere I go, there are bellies growing and the innocence of a new life.
A constant reminder of what I don't have and what is not coming to my life in the next couple of weeks.
It also is a reminder of the hope, promise and joy I have in Jesus. 
We always have a choice in life, how we will respond to situations that arise in our lives. When something doesn't go according to our plan we can choose to be angry and bitter, or we can choose to walk through with hope for the future, knowing God will give us the grace, strength and mercy we need to get through.
We were out shopping the other day and the sound of a newborn baby's cry drifted across the store to me.  It felt almost like a punch in the stomach.  It hurt.
I am very happy for my friends and family that are about to experience the wonder and awesomeness of childbirth, I am sad that I will not be joining them on the journey of new motherhood in the next few weeks.
Today (Saturday) was a "stuffing" day, a day to ignore what I could feel welling up inside again.
We have church again tomorrow. It has been a month and a bit full of baby dedications every Sunday.
Tonight the tears fall like rain.  We talked at our grief support group last week about how cleansing tears are both for our body and for our soul.  Did you know that tears from dry eyes, tears from laughter have a different chemical composition than tears that are cried?  Tears help us get rid of the things that build up in our bodies when we are stressed or upset.  I am glad for tears.  A good cry does make the load a little less heavy.
We had a conversation the other night with a friend about his son who had passed away.  I felt a heart connection with him when he made a comment similar to what I posted at the end of my last blog entry.  He said he felt somewhat better about the ache in his heart when he realized he didn't ever want it to go away. He realized it was okay to have that ache because his son was such a huge part of his life and it meant that his son remained in his heart forever. Sometimes I feel like I am losing it a bit when I find things put away in the cupboard when it should have been put in the fridge or when I go to a drawer and pull it open only to realize that the thing I am after is and always has been across the room in another drawer.  Sometimes I am in the van and I am going somewhere I have been a hundred times before, but I miss my turn or head the wrong way.  I have been forgetting appointments and needing my calendar more and more.  I feel lost even in writing this at times.
It is now Sunday.....
I am humbled by God's unconditional love for me and I know that even when I feel lost, He can use that for His glory.
There is nothing quite like a baby's smile.This morning in church, I was blessed to hold a baby boy for most of the service.  His eyes literally light up when he smiles. My heart melted and I fought back the tears a few times when he would lay his head on my shoulder and snuggle in.  When he laid his little forehead against my cheek he filled a tiny piece of the "empty arms ache" in my heart.  Thank you God for bringing me what my heart needed today.
When I find myself in those situations where babies seem to surround me everywhere I go, I want to hide away at home.  Now, instead of always listening to the urge to just hide myself away, I will continue to love, smile and hope.  Even still.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Be still my soul, be still

Music has always spoken so deeply to my heart and soul.  It can communicate so many thing to me and for me.  These are a couple of the songs that speak right now.....

How my heart feels today........
Evanescence - My Immoral

But this my heart knows.....
Kari Jobe - Be Sitll

Thank you God for reminding me to be still before heart so needs this.
It is easy to get so busy that we forget to be still before Him.  It is easy allow ourselves to get so busy so that we don't have to face the hard things in life.  Our sermon at church this morning talked about allowing God to make something beautiful out of the mess our lives can become.  The things we go through, the troubles we face, we can let them overtake us and drag us down, or we can use them to help and encourage others.

I have to admit there have been more tears again lately.  I have this deep yearning and ache in my heart to hold my little bundle of experience the birthing of new life that was supposed to be happening soon.  It has been so strong yesterday and today.  In fact if Zoe's pregnancy had gone as Kyler's did, she would have been born this past Wednesday.  I even had a flood of tears tonight when Jinaea dressed our cat in a baby sleeper and brought him to me to hold......he is small enough it feels a lot like holding Kyler when he was a new baby.  She looked at me and hugged me, she said, "Are you ok? (Then a few minutes later) I know mommy......I wanted her to be here too.  I was really looking forward to having a baby sister......I miss her too."
I know that there will come a day that I will hold her in my arms for eternity, but what I have until then is His promise that He will never leave me.  I have chosen hope. I have strength that can only come from Him in these moments. He gives me peace that passes all understanding even when the sorrow wells up again.  I choose to have faith in my God, and trust in His plans for me here, while she waits patiently with Him.
Whatever you are going through in your life I want you to know, there is someone who loves you without any stipulations.  Someone who will be there for you when everyone else fails you. Someone who never fails to come through (even if it is not the way we thought He would or should have). Someone who is talking to us all the time if we would only take the time to listen with our hearts and spirits.
Healing takes time, healing is a process.  It is not something that happens overnight.  I do not always "feel" Him with me, but I know He is there.  There is so much to be learned in the process.  I will never "get over this". There are moments I wish it didn't hurt so much, but it hurts this way because I loved her....that, I would not give up to not hurt.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What labels do you wear?

I saw a skit one time about a bunch of different people, each one of them wearing a sign saying what the world saw them as. Things like rejected, hated, worthless and broken.  Then as each one of them met Jesus and felt His love begin to transform their lives, they turned their sign over to reveal how Jesus sees them, accepted, loved, valued and whole.
Tonight as we were all singing during a service with Twin Lakes Ranch Ministries, I started to wonder what "labels" hung from me right now and are they ones that I want to be used to define me.  I closed my eyes for a moment and this image of myself standing in a dark room came to me.  Words like mourning grief, sadness, heaviness, alone, hurt, broken, unworthy, weak, incapable, failure and many others were being hurled at me.  The weight of these words felt like cement on my arms that wanted to reach out to Him.  When I opened my eyes again I heard in my heart these words........dancing, joy, worthy, valued, fought for, strong, longed for, LOVED.

What labels have you allowed yourself to be defined by?  What lies have you allowed yourself to believe about you?  Take a good hard, honest look at what you have believed and then ask God to show you what He says about you.  Do not let circumstances define what you think about God's love for you or your love for God.  My God is the same yesterday, today and forevermore. He promised me in His word that He would turn my mourning into dancing, that He would turn my sorrow into joy.

Psalm 30:5,11,12
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, To the end that my tongue and my heart and everything glorious within me may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

I choose to be thankful, and I will always praise Him, through whatever storms may come.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Held in His arms

While the tears fall, I am held again tonight.  I have His promise that I will be held when everything falls apart. When my world comes crashing down around me and my life no longer looks like I had planned, I am held.  I love that.  To know that I can curl up in His arms and lay my head on His chest and hear His heart beat.  What a comfort that is to me.  There is no place safer than that.  He can handle my anger, my sorrow, my hurt, my tears, my joy (yes there are still moments of joy). He can take the sting of death.  And sting it does!  When people around us shy away from talking about Zoe, the death of a child, He can take it.  He does not shy away.  He hears my heart. There is so much more to life and death than just what we see with our eyes.  I have questioned what was God's will in losing Zoe.....or any of our other babies for that matter.  I know there are parents all over the world whose heart have that resounding cry....WHY God, what was your will in this?  Some hearts cry, where were you God?  Where were you when I needed you the most?  Why did this happen?  Why me, why us, why our family?
Well, I am sorry to say you will find no answers here for those questions other than I would encourage you to let yourself be held by Him, it is the only place I have found peace.
What was His plan for Zoe's life?  It says in the Bible that knows the number of our days before we are a spirit here on earth.......I have asked Him, "Was that really all You had for her?"
I know in my plans for her, there was so much more to her life.  I was so looking forward to having a little baby girl again.  I wanted to rock her, kiss her soft cheeks, nurse her, hear her baby giggle, see her being spoiled and loved by her brothers and sisters, dry her tears when she cried, play tea party with her, kiss her boo-boos, put piggy tails in her hair, see her graduate and walk down the aisle in a beautiful gown, and so many other things.
She may not have been much or meant much to you who are reading this, but she changed my life and heart forever.  She caused us and many others with us to dig in deeper to our faith. She made me want to be a better mommy and show more love and kindness to those around me.  Her short life made an impact here on earth for eternity, so I ask you, did she accomplish what God had for her to do here on earth? I believe that because of her, many lives will be changed.  I believe that because of her, strength will be found in places we didn't know it even existed.  Hope will be found and shared, love will pour out and friendships and heart connections will be formed.  Even though she was seen by very few people, she brought something special here that no one else could have done in quite the way she did.
Another part of my heart is waiting for me in a place I can't reach just yet, but until I can, we are both held in His arms.  When I am there, I am comforted knowing she is as well.
As what would have been Zoe's due date is quickly approaching, I find myself needing to be held by Him more often again.  He is faithful.....He is there everytime.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


What gives you strength?  What is the image you see in your head when you think of the word strength?
Some of the things I think of are:
- When I was little and my dad used to swing us around and let us hang on his arms.  He would lift us way up as high as he could and I remember thinking, "Wow my dad has the biggest muscles ever!"
- My mom, as she handled the hardships and joys that came her way with such grace, no matter what.
- My grandpa with his arms around my aunt almost having to carry her away from the graveside of her son when he was killed in a motorcycle accident at the age of 19 because she was so lost in her grief.
- My husband, his eyes filled with tears as he hugged me tight, moments before bravely going through the operating room doors, not knowing if he would ever hold or see our family or me again on this earth.
- My little boy as he dropped to his knee and put his arm around me while I cried at the graveside of my grandparents, telling them about Zoe. In that moment, he changed into this strong little man, who was protecting his mommy.  He pulled my head into his chest and prayed for me.........he is 5.
- I also think of my God and how He has sustained me and carried me.  How He has provided, protected and fought for me with a tenacity like no other.
- The name of Jesus, the name like no other name.  It can bring comfort and assurance, deliverance, hope and peace.
I have had a song running through my head a lot recently that brought on the thoughts in this entry.
It is called Everlasting God by Chris Tomlin
I pray strength will rise in you as well as you listen to the song and reflect for yourselves.
Those are my thoughts......for now

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I Hold, I Am Held

This is the title of a sermon my dad wrote about 3 years ago.  I stumbled upon it by accident one day while I was searching names on the internet.  I wondered what I would come up with if I typed in his name and little did I know that his story about me when I was a baby would so greatly impact my heart today.  Thank you dad, thank you so much for sharing your heart.
Here is the link for it if you want to read it.
I Hold, I am Held by Merv Tippe

I know I am held in arms stronger than any storm I face.  They are more comforting, more loving, and surround me with a peace I cannot describe. I am awestruck by His love for me.  That He would love me so much despite my shortcomings.  This has not been easy, but I know He has held me through it all. 
I would like to share with you a few of the precious moments we had with Zoe and some of the things I am thankful for in this....
They were beautiful moments that we didn't want to ever end.  I remember praying as I climbed onto the bed to deliver her and telling God, "It is still not too late for a miracle.  Even still I believe You can."

I am thankful for the nurse in Emerg was so kind and compassionate, her eyes filled with tears as she announced, "It's a girl," and handed us our precious baby.
I am thankful for our Dr. who took the time to just be silent in the room with us, not needing words or trying to explain things in a complicated way, but simply sharing in our sorrow.  
I am thankful that I got the opportunity to deliver Zoe instead of needing surgery.
I am thankful for the moment Zoe was born. Though it was filled with sadness knowing she was not alive, I still felt the anticipation of being a "new mommy" again while I waited to be introduced to this little angel.
One of the best moments in the room that day was the moment Greg laid eyes on her......I couldn't yet see her so I watched his face knowing he would see her first.  His eyes filled with tears, and he had such awe and tenderness on his face.  I remember that look from the births of our other children and I was thankful that his love this time was no different.
I am so very thankful that we got to hold her, those moments will live on in my memory forever.
I am thankful for the time we got to be a family.
She was still warm, we took turns holding her and spent as much time as we could checking out her perfectly formed hands and feet, fingers and toes. Right down to her tiny nails. We marveled at God's wonderfully intricate creation.
I was even thankful when my milk came in a few days later, because it was one more thing that said she was real.
Most of all I have been thankful for His peace and His arms.  No one understands like He does.  I am thankful that God uses others here on earth to bring comfort.  I pray that you will experience His love and faithfulness in your own lives as well.
All through this dance, He has been there for every step. 
Like my dad said,

  "I hold, until I am too weak to do so and then I am held by Him."

In those moments, and in many moments since, we are held by Him.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A grieving man

From the time they are little boys they hear things like, "Stop crying, be a man."  "Don't be a sissy." "Toughen up." "Real men don't wear their emotions on their sleeve."
Why does the world demand that they renounce the pain in their heart and God-given emotions to "be a man." Why must we separate manhood and emotion?
I love my husband's tender heart.  To me, it makes him more of a man.  I know that there are many times throughout this that he has felt he could not grieve because he has to be the strong one.  He has to be the one who is the anchor that keeps some sort of sanity here, but he is hurting too.

I love that he holds me without even needing to know the reason behind the tears.  I love that my children's hearts can move him to tears in a matter of seconds.
He is brave, brave enough to handle visitors and phone calls that came at a time when I could hardly speak.
He is strong, strong enough to make the calls needed to find out what had happened with our baby's body and make the arrangements with the funeral home.
He is a provider for our family, going back to work, even though inside he feels like hiding with me in a dark corner.
He is gentle, cradling our baby's tiny body in his hands during the moments we got to spend with her.
His heart was broken too.  His tears fell alongside mine as we said our hello's and our good-bye's to her.
He lays beside me in bed at night tears running down his face, praying for God's peace to calm the sobs wracking my body, because he knows that that is the only thing that can make a difference.
He misses his baby too. Her name is memorialized on his chest with a footprint tattoo. He put it close to his heart because that is where she will remain all the days of his life.
He is a protector, ready to defend against anything and anyone that would make this more difficult than it already is.
He is my companion, walking with me every step, on this path I thought we would never have to walk again.
He is my love, forever and always.

What love really means...

A friend of mine posted this JJ Heller video the other day.  I sat and watched it and cried.  What an amazingly written song.  It is so true of how God loves us just because He created us.  He knows us inside and out.  I am glad He loves me for me and not for what I feel like or am sometimes.  I can tell you that what I have felt or have been has not always been pretty.  I have learned that He can handle whatever my response is to situations.  He can take your anger, He can take your pain, your heartache, your disappointments, your questions.  Even when you can't.  Especially then.  If we let Him in to start healing us, His love will take care of all those things.  Only he can change anger, resentment or hatred towards someone into genuine love.  Only He can take a broken heart and really make it whole again.  
What about when God doesn't answer a prayer the way you were hoping He would?  I think we all have been there before, maybe many times.
What do we do then?  What about when our dreams or hearts lay in pieces at our feet, so many tiny pieces that it seems it can never be "fixed" again?  Honest answer?  His love is the only thing I have found that heals completely.  
What about when you put your faith out there on the limb, out for everyone to see, what if it doesn't work?  We have done that many times and I can tell you that we have not always gotten the answer we were praying for.  BUT, we have seen miracles.  
God hasn't always come through for us the way we thought He should have. So what then.
Did He not hear us?  Did He not care?  What questions run through your mind when your miracle does not show up the way you wanted it to or when you wanted it to?
My miracle did not come the way I wanted it to.  We prayed that Zoe would live.  
I did not have to try to hide my gamut of feelings from Him and believe me He has heard about them all!!  He just quieted the waves,  and held me.  Be still my soul, be still........
We had many others joining their faith with ours.  I am so thankful for friends that will stand out there on that limb with us!  
So where do we go from here in our walk of faith?
We keep right on walking.  One step at a time.  His love is always enough if we go to Him.
Nothing can change or heal hearts or lives like the love of my heavenly daddy.  
That miracle I have seen time and time again.
If you will reach out for Him, He will love you for you, just exactly how you are.  Change, if needed, will flow from that because when we have been loved by Him, it pours out of us.
Go to Him with your hurts, your brokenness, your dreams, your hopes.  He is there, let Him love you for you, it is amazing.  There is nothing else like it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Audrey Caroline

JJ Heller - What Love Really Means (Official Music Video)

Zoe's Birth Part 2

The OB/GYN was very kind and sympathetic, apologizing for our loss more than once. He quietly talked to us a bit about what we were facing, asked me some questions and told me he would examine me to see if I was dilated. With many tears and my heart aching, I climbed onto the bed. After examining me, he determined that I was not yet dilated, but something was definitely happening as far as the bleeding was concerned. He said because there was no way for them to predict how long it would take for the baby to come, that I could wait at home until we were closer. My husband and I agreed that we would go home and wait. He again said he was sorry for our loss and that if we had any questions we could call. We went out into the hall after I got dressed. The same nurse who had escorted us in then asked me to follow her back into the room. She said she needed to take my blood pressure. She got out the blood pressure cuff and at that point she did say she was sorry about our loss and if we had any questions to call.

While she was doing my blood pressure, with what sounded like annoyance in her voice, she said "Now when you come back in to deliver, you need to go to Emerg. DO NOT (strong emphasis was put on these words) come back to Women's Health because you will get sent back down again and we wouldn't want you to have to be shifted between departments now would we." She put things away and then again, before I walked out the door, she repeated " Make sure you go to Emerg, you do not need to come up here when you return." Again, it was not so much the words that she used, but the tone with which she said them.

I felt very much like she did not want me on her ward, even though the situation I was dealing with seemed to belong there. That is where women go to deliver a baby after all. I left there feeling very small, unwelcome and like I was an inconvenience to her.
We headed home to await the event we were so wanting to not happen this way, praying for a miracle even still. My contractions strengthened and came more often as the afternoon went on. I swayed through them, remembering back to my previous labors, tears pouring down my face knowing what was coming. Shortly after supper, I went to the washroom and felt pressure. Zoe had moved into the birth canal and if I pushed, she was going to be born. I “held her in” with my hand and called my husband. We phoned Women's Health to see if we should come in or deliver her at home. They said to come in, and to bring the "products of conception" with us. My husband repeated that the baby was not born yet. I wanted to scream. I wanted to say our baby is not just the products of conception. She is my BABY. She is a person and she is a member of our family. At least give her that much dignity. My heart begged, please do not call her that again! My husband helped me into the van and we headed to the hospital.

We found a wheelchair as soon as we got in the front door and my husband wheeled me to admitting. We registered again at admitting after telling the lady at the desk what was happening. She handed me my papers and said to head up to Women's Health. I told her that I had been in that morning and was told that I was not to go up to Women's Health, but that I had to go to Emergency when I came back in. She made a phone call, I believe it was to Emerg and was told that yes I needed to go up to Women's Health. I said "Ok if you are sure."

My husband pushed me to the elevator and we went up to Women's Health. The elevator doors opened. Scared and agonizing over what we were about to go through, we made our way around the corner to the nurse's station. The nurse from that morning was standing there by the desk with the other nurses. When her eyes made contact with mine, there was no welcome in her eyes. I slowly held out my paper to her hoping that she would take them and that this would not have to be any more horrible than it already felt. Her response to me was, "I told you not to come up here when you came back. They have to see you in Emerg. You belong down in Emerg not here. I am sorry but you are going to have to go back down." Her sorry was very empty and cold. I said "We registered at admitting and the lady told us to come here." She said "No, I told you to go to Emerg." So there I am, trying not to push as the contractions still continued and praying that my baby won’t be born into my pants, sitting in a wheelchair. The world started swirling around me. I looked down the hall thinking, maybe the rooms are all full up here and they just don't have room for us right now. I was hoping to find a valid reason of some sort for her sending us away, because surely there has to be something other than this. The delivery rooms were all dark, doors open and did not appear to be in use at all. I could see that the hopes of a birth with dignity and honor for my baby, and memories, as good as they could be, were going down the drain. My husband turned the wheelchair around. We headed back to the elevator, tears poured down our faces, hearts breaking and hurting even more because we had just been treated like our baby was not worthy of being delivered in a labor and delivery room. I felt broken, humiliated, let down, embarrassed, hurt, angry and very disappointed. I wanted to tell her that she could at the very least have been more sensitive and kind in the way she spoke to us given the situation.
There was no "I realize this is difficult and I am really sorry about this, but we just can't deliver your baby up here," or even "let me make a phone call just to confirm why they think you need to be up here." She just sent us away.

We went down to Emerg. Let me just stop and say right now, thank God for the nurse that we had talked to in Emerg earlier in the day. She was still on shift that evening when we arrived. She was wonderful. She was so kind and sympathetic. I told her that Women's Health had sent us back down and she looked puzzled, but took my paper anyway. I told her that the baby was ready to come out at any moment if I pushed at all. She took me right away into a room and got me a gown. I told her I just wanted to be able to hold the baby and say goodbye once the delivery was done. She promised that she would make that happen and then, with tears filling her eyes, said how sorry she was for my loss. She assured me that she was going to be there to help me through this. Then she helped me onto the bed to deliver our baby. The baby came out almost immediately when I pushed, but then the bleeding started to get worse. The placenta was not delivering easily and the bleeding was getting heavier. She assured me that my baby was still there on the bed and I could hold the baby but they needed to get the bleeding under control before they could let me do that.

She talked to me the whole time and was very reassuring. The Dr and nurses started rushing around a little more quickly and my fear level was starting to climb a bit because I had hemorrhaged a few times before. I almost died the last time and did not want that to happen again. They did not have the pitocin in Emerg and so had to call up to Women's Health to have it sent down. Time was ticking, a nurse said "Did they say they were sending it down? They are not here yet." Someone responded "Yes they said they were sending them right away." If I had been up on Women's Health in the first place, that wouldn't have been a problem. The medication would have been easily accessible. The pitocin did come finally and they gave me the needle and put something into my IV which they had started while they were waiting. The Dr. working Emerg that night said that I would probably need a D&C as the placenta was still not delivering despite their efforts. I was told they were calling up to Women's Health and I would be transferred up there to go for the D&C. A stretcher was brought to my door, they moved the chair and table to make space for it to be brought into the room. Suddenly a nurse appears at the door saying Women’s Health had just phoned and said they don't want her transferred there, that she does not have to go from there for the D&C. They say she should be sent straight from here. My Emerg nurse said "The OB/GYN was going to see her upstairs" The nurse at the door said "Well let me call again." Again I was not sure why they seemed so set on not having me up on Women's Health and was left feeling like an inconvenience to them.

In the next few minutes the placenta did deliver on it's own, for which I was grateful. My angel nurse then did her best with what she had available to her in Emerg. She wrapped Zoe in a clean blue disposable hospital bed pad. I can't help but think that if the delivery had occurred in a delivery room, that a baby blanket would have been available to wrap her in. After a little while she brought a towel and laid Zoe in that instead. She said we could have whatever time we needed with Zoe and left the room to give us privacy. We marvelled at how tiny everything was and how perfect.  Right down to her little fingers, toes and nails. The rest of the time we had with her feels too private to share in this letter so I will leave it out. The OB/GYN came down to see me in Emerg and talked us through the next steps, the autopsy, the genetic testing options. He was very compassionate. With his words and actions he cared about us and our situation. It was very much appreciated.

I don’t know for sure, but I think that if Zoe had been delivered upstairs, they could have done her footprints and hand prints for us. Maybe she could have had a little hat on, maybe not. All the things that I know other mommy's got to take home with them from the hospital as mementos of the short time they did get to have with their baby, I was left without. I ended up having to stay overnight because of blood pressure issues and in the morning, my family Dr. came to see me. I heard him talking to the same nurse that was on the day before when we came in outside the door and hoped she was not coming in to my room with him. When my Dr. asked her if I delivered in Emerg, she said something like “I am not sure.“ I thought how could she say that when she was the one who sent me there to deliver. She did come in with him and stood at the end of the bed. My Dr. said he was sorry for our loss, asked how I was, and talked with me for a few moments. Then he told me I could go home, to make sure to get some rest and come see him in a few weeks to go over how things went. I got my things together and in came the nurse again. She did not have any softness in her tone even now. She said "Well, you were never officially admitted so all I have for you is your white hospital card. You can go" I took the card and tried to muster up the strength to leave behind the only thing that was left that had been in contact with my little Zoe. My hospital gown. I held it for as long as I could, tears pouring down my face, knowing I could not take it with me. It took all I had in me to leave it there on the bed and walk out of the room. I had to force myself to walk out.

We left  the hospital with nothing . No baby, no pictures of her, no footprints, no little hat, no blanket, no gown, no hand prints, not even any papers saying that she existed. It was the most empty I have ever felt in my life. I left my heart there that day, it felt like it had been torn out. It is bad enough to go through the pain and heartache of giving birth to a baby that you know is not going come home with you, that you are not going to experience life with him or her. Then to have none of the other things to remember them by only adds to the harshness. I understand that they are just things, but when it is all you have left of that precious life, those things become very important. The nurse in Emerg offered us compassion, kindness and understanding, the nurse on Women’s Health offered me only coldness in what was the single most difficult moment of our lives. Our baby should have been treated, dead or alive, with honor and dignity. The nurse on Women’s Health offered Zoe none of that.

That is most of the story......I would also like to share the moments of her birth with you that we treasure in a later post....

Addition to blog entry:
I did not realize that I had not included the resolution of this situation from the medical field's standpoint so I will post it now.
After my letter was delivered, I received phone calls that morning from the head of L&D, the Quality of Care Coordinator for the health region, and my Dr.'s office.
They all expressed their sincere apologies for the experience and I was assured the situation would be looked into further and the nurse dealt with.  The head of L&D and the QCC both assured me that this was not the norm whatsoever, in fact it was the complete opposite.  I was told that the situation was going to be addressed at upcoming meetings with the hospital board and the staff of L&D, and that policy changes would be made so that this would not happen to anyone else in future.  I was given a little arm bracelet that is normally given and also I was given a beautiful Willow Tree statue of a Dad, Mom and baby. The head of L&D said she knew that by no means did this make up for how things unfolded, but that she wanted to give something to show how sorry she was on behalf of her department.

Zoe's Birth

Honestly, Zoe's birth was less than ideal in many ways, but it was what it was. This post is part of a letter (with names removed of course) that I wrote to tell my doctor and the other appropriate staff at the hospital, about the night Zoe was born.  I was encouraged to write it by a grief support person who knew that this was not the norm at our hospital, in order to bring change where it was needed. I no longer feel angry about it and I have chosen to forgive and ask God to bring healing and peace.......Here is her birth story....Part 1

Our story begins when my husband and I found out the middle of April that we were expecting our seventh baby. This would be our fourth baby here on earth with us as three of our babies are already in heaven. To say we were excited is an understatement. This was to be our last child. The completion of our family unit. Everything was going fine as the pregnancy progressed. The baby was perfectly normal and healthy according to all ultrasounds and check-ups. We were hoping for another little girl, but of course would have been very happy with a little boy too.
I had my twelve week ultrasound and the baby was moving lots, jumping around, and the heartbeat was perfect. The baby even appeared to wave at us once during the ultrasound. We got some beautiful pictures that day that I am very thankful for as that is almost all we have left of her.

My 20 week ultrasound was scheduled for July 20th. Our whole family was very anxious to find out if this new member of our family was going to be a boy or a girl and to have a glimpse of this blessing of life on the ultrasound screen again. When I went for the ultrasound that Tuesday, I never would have guessed the grief and devastation that would follow. My 8 year old daughter came with me to the ultrasound because she wanted to be there when I found out if it was a sister or a brother for her. The Dr did some measuring and we were trying so hard to be patient. Then the worst words I have heard in my life came out of his mouth. He said "I have some bad news. There is no heartbeat, I am really sorry." I thought I MUST not have heard him right. There must be a mistake. He must be kidding, but how could he joke about something like this. I looked at his eyes, they were very serious, I said "Pardon me?" He repeated the information. It felt as though all the air had been taken out of the room and I was falling into a dark hole. I could not stop the tears. He asked if there had been any indication of a miscarriage. I said no, this had been a completely normal healthy pregnancy so far. I asked if he was sure and he explained his diagnosis. Time from that moment on has become very surreal to me.

In the days following the ultrasound, we prayed for a miracle for our baby. Desperately hoping, as I am sure any parent in our situation does, that something would change or that this was all a big mistake. An appointment was made for me with my family Dr and through consultations with the two specialists, it was decided that it was safe for me to continue carrying my baby for up to two more weeks, as long as no other complications arose. I did not want another D&C unless it was absolutely necessary, as I regretted that decision with my other miscarriages. I wanted to deliver my baby in the way that she was supposed to come into this world, not have her removed from my body. I did not want to be induced either because I knew that my body could handle the delivery and wanted our baby to be born in it's own time.

I talked with my Doula, with others who had been through this and read people's stories to try to prepare myself for the insurmountable, unthinkable task that was in front of us. We had not been here before.  We have delivered live babies, I knew what to expect there, but never one who has already passed away.  I did not know what we were going to see or how this was going to feel.  I read many stories about how couples, even though they are going through one of the hardest, most horrible times of their lives, are able to have some items that help them remember their baby. They are given pictures, footprints, hand prints, gown, blanket, hat and memorabilia from the birth of their baby. These things give them some measure of comfort and something tangible to say that their baby existed.

If that indeed was how our birth experience would have gone, then at least I would have something that had been in contact with her to hold onto now and remember our little Zoe by. That is her name....Zoe. To us, she was not just "the products of conception," "the fetus" or "the IUFD" as the medical profession calls her. She was our much desired, anxiously awaited, precious, beloved baby girl. She was Jinaea, Jaron and Kyler's sister that they were so excited to have coming as part of our family.
She already had an identity to us and was very much a big part of our lives in the 22 weeks she was on earth.

I started experiencing cramping and some bleeding on the morning of Aug 2nd, at 22 weeks. We went into the hospital right away as my family Dr. had instructed us to. We were expecting to be delivering our little baby soon but desperately wishing the outcome was going to be different. We were sent to Emerg. The nurse in Emerg took my papers and listened while we explained our situation. She was very kind and caring. We were told to wait out in the waiting room and they would be with us as soon as they could. Moments later she returned to tell us we were to go up to the labor and delivery ward because the specialist that was on wanted to see us there.

When we arrived on upstairs and gave my papers to the nurse, it seemed that she was not very happy about having us there. She was a bit abrupt and said she didn't know where to "put" me. She said "It is going to be awhile before the Dr. can see you as he is finishing up a procedure." We said that was fine, we didn‘t mind waiting. She then said "Follow me, you can wait in here I guess." She took us into the non-stress test room, but then said that if we wanted we could wait in the sitting room around the corner because it would be awhile. It was not so much her words but her lack of a smile and lack of kindness in her voice that made me feel sort of unwelcome. I thought that surely if she knew what we were there for, that she would treat us with a bit more kindness. We waited for about an hour for the OB/GYN and when he arrived we went back into the non-stress test room......

Kai Nyn.....Even Still

Many will probably ask why I chose this name for my blog.  I used it because it perfectly fits my life.  Bad things happen to good people all the time. What is your reaction when something bad happens to you?  Now by saying something bad, I am not talking about you spilling your non-fat light soy latte on your new white blouse on the way to work.....I am talking something devastating.  Something that changes your life....forever.  Something that rocks you to your core, something that you cannot ignore and brush under the carpet as if it never happened.
Where does that leave you?  Maybe it has left you with questions, hopelessness, with doubt in your mind of God's love for you because "If He really loved me, how could He let this happen?"
We have been in that place many times but each time something inside us says, "Even still, I will trust Him.  Even still, it is not too late.  Even still, I know you are there God. Even still, I will praise Him.  Despite what I am facing I will say even still...You are God."  I refuse to give up until there is no other choice.  My faith does not end when a problem arises.

Whether you need healing in your life, or are looking death in the face........even still.  God is there, He is not surprised by this "turn of events."  He knew we would go through two very painful miscarriages, one at 8 weeks and one at four months, in the beginning of our marriage.  He knew what a fighter I would have to be to live through the aftermath of hemorrhaging from the growth that all of a sudden appeared out of nowhere following the second miscarriage. He knew how strong my faith and hope in Him would have to be to finally get pregnant a third time.  He knew that when I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter, my husband would be diagnosed with cancer.  That we would be told he may not live through this, because this looks really bad.  He saw through time to my tears falling while I sat in the waiting room while my husband underwent a 4 hour surgery to remove the tumor that had invaded his body.  He knew what a hard, scary journey we would face through the healing process of that surgery only to face another 9 hour surgery ten months later when the tumor returned.  He understood what it was going to take for my husband to get through radiation treatments.
He also knew that when my little girl was 18 months old, we would go through another painful miscarriage.
He knew that when our son was 18 months old, the one of rods placed in my husband's spine would break and the whole nightmare of surgery would start over again.
Fast forward to 8 months ago.......He was there in the room when all three test sticks showed two little lines and we were so overjoyed and nervous at the same time.  A fourth baby here on earth.  Our last baby.  Our family unit was complete.  He also saw the nightmare waiting for us down the road four and a half months later.  We were oblivious to it's existence.  So much excitement and planning filled our days.  Singing to the baby, picking names, re-arranging rooms to welcome this new life.  Hopes and dreams for this new one sentence, all came crashing down around us in a pile of rubble so dark and dusty that it felt like it swallowed me whole.  Two sentences, thirteen words.....I have some bad news.  I am sorry, your baby has no heartbeat.  It has been 93 days, 3 hours, 18 minutes and 20 seconds since those words brought a tsunami of grief into my life.  He has carried me and walked with me many steps.  I cannot count the number of tears that have fallen, but He has.  He knows every tear I have cried.  He loves me through it all.
The darkness did not last forever in any of the other situations we faced and morning is coming in this as well.  There are moments of sunshine breaking through and all the while I feel His love holding me and my heart says "Even still."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It is so hard to even know where to start.  I have had a few friends encourage me that I needed to share my story with others so I guess I will throw caution to the wind and jump on in.
Our family is still reeling from the loss of yet another baby, Zoe.  I was 22 weeks pregnant when she was born.......and she has changed my life forever.  I want to be a better person because of her, I want to make a difference in the lives of others even more now than I did before.  In future, I want to help others who will walk the road we are on.
I love how Angie Smith described life in mourning:
"The sacred dance between grief and joy"
I will post a link to her blog so you can read her story about their beautiful Audrey.  Angie has spoken so much truth and healing to my broken heart.  I am so thankful that she chose to share the things that God has shown her through their loss.

There are many days I still feel guilty for smiling or laughing. Guilty for "moving on" even one step without her......and the dance continues......