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

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Reflecting on her birth day, 2 years later

***Warning, some graphic descriptions and emotions***

"There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say it is well...
Jesus has overcome and the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won, He is risen from the dead...
I will rise on eagle's wings, no more sorrow no more pain"
Chris Tomlin

This song is so close to my heart. My heart sings it loud...

This post has taken awhile to write, but for a few days now Zoe's song has been playing through my head over and over. Her second birthday in Heaven has just passed. We celebrated her birthday on August 2 by going down to the river where we held her memorial service and putting many different colours of rose petals in the water. Daddy bought his baby girl the best he could find. We thought there were only two colours in the bag, but as we dug deeper, we came out with more colours. The water has never looked so beautiful to me as it did that night.

We stood by the water's edge and sang Happy Birthday to our girl. The kid's voices ringing out loud and clear over the ripples as they sang their hearts out with love for their little sister. I didn't care who heard us. We were loving her the only way we knew how in this moment. Kyler blew his kiss at the end of the song.

I miss my babies in Heaven with every fibre of my being. I know I will be with them one day, but until then, there are empty spaces in my heart that they have left behind. Those spaces ache so deeply, there are not words to describe it. Tears filled my eyes so many times that day as I replayed in my mind all of the moments of that day two years ago. The rose petals floated away and as they did, some of them formed a perfect heart on the water. A quick reminder of His love that holds us through this. It was gone before I could get a picture of it though.

It was such a peaceful night. You would never know that just hours before, the sky had let loose a downpour unlike any we had seen since the night that a tornado touched down just outside Moose Jaw. On any day that has held significance to Zoe, it has rained...the day of the ultrasound where we found out her little heart was no longer beating, the day she entered this world, the day we went to the funeral home to make the arrangements for her little body to be cremated (It still turns my stomach to say that, a pen has never been so heavy to lift as it was the day I had to write her name on that paper and sign my name giving permission. It literally took all my strength), and the day of her memorial service.

As the day went on, I saw scene after scene in my mind. You can read the events of her birth that I wrote out a short while after she was born here:

Zoe's Birth Part 1 and Zoe's Birth Part 2

Right now, I write the scenes in my memories...
Waking up in the morning, heading to the bathroom. There was blood and my womb heart sank and hot tears poured down my face. I knew she would be born that day. I wanted to hold her in my arms, but not yet, not in this way. I wanted to see her sweet face, but not this soon. The phone call was made to our doula. She would meet us at the hospital. My mom comes in, tears running down her cheeks as she walks through the front door. We stop to pray together before leaving. It is still not too late God. Never too late for a miracle. The breathe of life breathed into a tiny body restoring what is missing. She gives me a tight squeeze and tells me how much she loves me and this little one. Driving up to the hospital, my stomach was in knots. What would our baby look like? How would the birth feel? I knew that now, not only was there physical pain coming, but there was a raw, searing pain that was present. I could not get away from it. I didn't want them to take my baby from my body. She deserved to be born just the way she was supposed to have been in only a few more months. I was so angry with death. I was so angry for the life of my baby being stolen. I didn't want to think about them taking her away after she was born. Each footstep into the hospital was agonizing. I did it only because I felt I had no choice. I didn't get to have a say in this one. I wanted to turn and run. Talking to the lady at the admitting desk, I hear myself saying that I am there to deliver my baby who passed away a few weeks ago. What? Are those words really coming from my mouth...this can't be real.
We make our way up to Women's Health, the unit where babies are born every day. I cringe inside hoping desperately that there are none in the nursery we have to walk by. We are greeted by coldness.  I keep my eyes averted from the window that proudly showcases live babies. I know that without a miracle, my baby will never be joining them there. The nurse seems so cold and so uncaring about what we are there for. I don't know why. The bleeding is getting heavier, there has been no miracle. We are sent to another room to wait. T.V. making useless noise, I have no idea what is on or what it is talking about. The room feels small, too small. It is getting harder to even breathe. I want to leave. My Doula sits beside me, I ask her questions like does she know what the baby will look like when it comes out. She is not sure, but says another doula friend of hers said that the baby's are well preserved in their momma's tummy. As many times before in the last two weeks, I feel again that I am a walking tomb. I feel it now more than any other day, but yet I desperately don't want my time with her to end. At least if she is in my womb she is warm and safe. I am praying, God I can't do this on my own.
The time has come, the Dr is here. We see the him. More questions, do I even know the answer to these? I have to bare myself for him to check me, I am laid open to my very soul as I lay there on the bed. Vulnerable, heart broken, desperate, angry, lost, empty and scared and trusting that my God has me safe in His arms. I don't understand, not at all, but I trust.
When we are done with the Dr. we are told to come back when the bleeding gets worse or once the baby is born. He has been kind. He leaves and there is only more coldness from the one that I thought was supposed to be trained to support me as a patient. A patient about to deliver her dead baby any time. We are told we can go home. The time of birth is unknown. The rest of the day blurs with tears, many more tears than I ever thought I could cry, falling from my red and swollen eyes.
My heart is in agony. How does one "get through" this. What are the "proper ways to grieve"? How do I accept birthing a baby I will never bring home?  I don't have a clue! There are no guidelines or instructions for grief. It is what it is, it comes when it wants, it drowns you at times.
The late afternoon approaches, the contractions that have been sporadic all day start to become more regular, they intensify. As I prepare our meal, I stop many times to lean on the counter, rocking through contractions, knowing she is closer to leaving me until I meet her in our Heavenly home. My tears fall soaking sleeves as I pointlessly try to wipe them away. How will I bear this? God, How can I do this? I can't...I just can't. And yet I know I will, because I have to. Because He gives me strength, hope and love. We have finished eating, I could hardly eat a thing. I don't want to eat. I don't want to do anything but change events to keep my little girl growing healthy inside me.
The contractions are stronger and regular, though not as strong as with my other kids...I wonder how close I am to meeting my baby. I have to go to the bathroom. At least I think I do. My kids are laying on my bed watching a show. Oblivious to what was going on as I walk past them and into the bathroom. We had told them in the morning before we left for the hospital that probably today would be our baby's birthday. I didn't want them to worry.
With the urge to push, I can feel my baby's head ready to be delivered. I am scared. Really scared. With bleeding troubles after birth in my previous pregnancies, I didn't know what to expect. We called our doula again. Together we decided that probably by the time she got in to town, the baby would be born so there was no point in her coming. In my heart, I wanted her to come, but didn't want to inconvenience her. It was the wrong choice. I should have had her come in. She wishes she would have just come in. I did too.
We call the hospital. The unkind nurse answers the phone on women's health. She says some of the ugliest words my heart heard that day..."When you come to the hospital, bring the products of conception with you." WHAT??? These "products of conception" as you call them, is MY BABY!!! A BABY! Not just some leftover science experiment. My head is screaming. Tears pouring out. We reached out for help and support and found none from this woman. I am scared. the scenarios play out in my mind. Of course fear brings the worst images to mind.
If we deliver at home and I bleed too much, I could die. If I bleed too much, the ambulance has to come get me. How scary will it be for my kids to see mommy being loaded onto a stretcher to go in an ambulance if it comes to that...I don't want to die with my kids watching T.V. just outside the bathroom door. God please help me to not fear. Help me through this. Hemorrhaging is not something I have any interest in doing again much less having my kids see me in all that blood so we opt for the hospital just in case.

We get to the hospital, we are sent to women's health...would she still be working. I prayed not. As the elevator doors open, my hands holding the pink paper are trembling. I want to throw up. I want to close my eyes and scream. I want to scream until this all goes away and I wake up from this nightmare. I am trying not to move much, breathing carefully so as not to push the baby out while I sit in the wheelchair. The same nurse with coldness is working. She sends us away. "Go to Emerg. You don't belong here." There must be some mistake. Maybe all the rooms are full. A glance down the hall tells me no, they are not. We don't understand why we are being sent away so coldly but we turn around and head back to the elevator. I don't belong is where they deliver  babies who will live, who will open their eyes. Babies who will go home with their parents dressed in a cute little outfit and snuggled into a carseat covered with a warm, soft, fuzzy blanket.
We get to Emerg. The doors open and we have to explain yet again why we are there. Inside my head it all sounds like a recording. Words without meaning. We are taken to a room. I climb onto the bed and our baby girl makes her entrance into the world "En Caul" which means her amniotic sac didn't break during birth. This is supposed to be good luck and mean that the baby will live a long happy life. Not this time. Good thing I don't believe in luck. They are having trouble controlling the bleeding again. The placenta will not deliver. Her umbilical cord breaks under the pressure they are putting on it, slight as it was. Fearful looks being shared by the nurses now. The atmosphere in the room changes. Staff are rushing, they keep pulling out chux pads and replacing them underneath me. I feel the warmth as the blood and clots still come. I am scared. Thoughts rushing through my head. What if I die here tonight? I would get to be with my babies in Heaven, but I would leave behind my babies on earth. I can't leave them, not yet. My Zoe is safe, she is loved, she is happy, she is dancing before her Heavenly Father.
If I don't make it, what is Greg going to tell the kids? How will they bear this on top of losing their sister? Will they remember how much I love them? Will they remember my hugs and kisses, my laugh, my mothering? Or will they only remember the sadness of the last few weeks...I don't feel like I said a proper goodbye to them before we came to the hospital because I didn't want them to worry.
So many thoughts. I pray for peace. I pray for comfort. I pray to push all of the worry and scared thoughts away. I pray that I will make it so I can hug them again and tell them just how special they are to me. So much blood again. The smell fills my nostrils and makes me nauseous. Hospital smell...the blood...the smells of that night are forever in my memory. I know He will never leave me nor forsake me. I know I am safe in His arms no matter what the outcome.
I am to be sent for a D&C to stop the bleeding. A stretcher at the door. A transfer to women's health. Then a message again, I am not to go there. She says again that I don't need to be there.
Another jab at an already bleeding and broken heart. Why is she so against me being there? Maybe it is not that, but it sure felt like that in the moments of dealing with so much more.
The placenta delivers and the bleeding slows...D&C averted. Thankfulness, peace, comfort, longing to hold my baby and see her face. It is time. What will she look like? Will she look like her brothers or sisters? Will she just be an individual all unto herself.
I feel a bit of the excitement of a new mom about to gaze on the beauty of and marvel at her newborn child like I have three times before. This mixed with the sorrow of knowing she will not move. She will not cry, she will not open her eyes.
The nurse opens the amniotic sac. "Oh, she is beautiful" the nurse says. "She is so tiny and perfect. Look at her ten little fingers and ten little toes!" I am watching Greg's face to see his reaction to her. I watch his heart melt as he sees this tiny creature, so perfect. I have seen that look 3 other times and my heart knew it well. The look of pride, love, awe and joy all mixed into one on the face of a man becoming a new father. I am glad that he loves her so much too.
The nurse hands her to us. We gaze upon the beauty of our child. She IS perfect. She is beautiful. She is ours. Part me, part her daddy. Hands, fingers, feet and toes so tiny and yet perfectly formed. The hot tears are mixed with smiles, as we are awestruck with the intricacy that God creates in human life. She is warm still. I snuggle her up to my shoulder, close my eyes and just breathe. I don't want this moment to end. I smell her scent, a mama knows this by heart within moments. My heart is torn between wanting to gaze at her memorizing every single detail of her face and being so that I don't forget her and wanting to hold her close to me and not lose a moment. To see a baby not move and be so flaccid is unnerving. It is foreign and seems so wrong, but this moment with her on my shoulder is so very right. She is close to my heart where her memory will forever stay.
I take her away from my shoulder and hand her to her Daddy. He holds her with such tenderness and gentleness, it brings fresh tears to my eyes. He doesn't keep her long, knowing how little time we have with her, I think he wanted me to have as much time as possible. I hold her tiny fingers on mine, and her tiny feet. Never have I seen something so small, yet so perfectly formed. We tell her we love her over and over. I tell her how much her brothers and sisters would have loved to have met her and held her. We sang to her. I want to sing the song that I had sang to her all those weeks in my womb

Psalm 23 (sung by Temple and her husband in this video)

I can't get the words out though. Every time I would try, I fresh tears would come again. I am not supposed to be singing this to her while she lays dead in my arms. This song was supposed to be a blessing of sorts to sing over her while I was in labor and when she was born. The words are still true, the promise remains the same, I just didn't think that the valley of the shadow of death would be so real and relevant.
Our nurse comes in to say she is done her shift and will be leaving. She says again that she is so sorry for our loss. A new nurse is taking over now. The new nurse comes in to introduce herself and see how we are doing. We nod, words won't come. My sweet girl, my little angel...oh how I wish this could be different. The time hands keep moving on the clock, but my world is standing still and spinning around making me dizzy all at the same time. Another half hour passes and the nurse comes in to see if we are ready yet. Ready for what? Oh yes, ready to give you my baby's lifeless body so you can take it to the lab. stomach is turning again. We have discussed autopsy and genetic testing with the Dr. and agreed to it. It seems so wrong to allow it, but she is not in this body anymore and we felt if it could give us some answers for next time, then it was what needed to be done. That didn't make it easy.
We say no, we are not ready. Not yet. A bit more time. Not that it changes anything, but I needed one more moment to try to etch the details into my memory forever. I don't want to forget. How do these tears keep falling? So many, I thought my body would have run out long ago. Another half hour, the nurse is at the door again. Are we ready yet? It is starting to seem like they are trying to hurry us along. Maybe the room is needed. Are we ready? What does ready mean, what does it feel like? I don't have a clue.
We each took turns and held her close to our hearts one last time, whispering I love you's and saying our goodbyes. The nurse is here waiting to take her away. So incredibly hard to hold her little body out to be taken away. It is done.
It is late and now I am sent upstairs to Women's Health for the night. I am utterly and completely exhausted, yet I can't sleep. I lay in bed watching the clock hands move. I hear babies cry and mommies try to comfort. I hear nurses moving about, I hear deafening silence in my room. No baby cries, only my own sobs. A big room, by myself, but it feels like the walls close in. It is again hard to breathe. They ask if I want something to help me sleep. No, I don't, but I take it anyway, just to escape from this night if even just for a little while. I look down at my gown, traces of amniotic fluid still on the shoulder. All I have left of her. No blanket she was in, nothing else to hold, so I hug the pillow tight. Oh God, please hold me. Please make this hurting stop. He tells me He loves me and will carry me through. Then I realize, for Him to make the hurting stop, I have to not love her still. I have to erase all of being her mommy from my memory. I don't want that, so I accept that this hurt and this emptiness in my heart is forever a part of me. Because I love so deeply, I welcome it to be part of my life from now on. In the emptiness and hurt, He is there and His tears fall with mine. His tears are tears of sorrow for me, but tears of joy as He watches her dance in His presence. He watches her twirl and sing and worship. What a beautiful sight. So with that vision in my head, I sleep.
In the morning I wake early, after only a couple of hours of sleep. I get chills up my spine as I hear the cold nurse's voice at my door. She tells the Dr she has no idea about where I delivered.
I just want this to be over so I can go home and be with my family. I am released to go home. She tosses my hospital card onto the bed carelessly. I get dressed and wait for my husband and kids to come get me. I desperately want to pack the gown into my bag and take it home. It may be silly, but it took everything in me to turn and walk out of that room leaving it behind on the bed. All traces of her existence will soon be washed out. I leave empty handed and broken hearted to go home and begin a new "normal" of learning to live with loss all over again. Each time has been individual to itself.
Now it is time to face the phone calls, the people and life. We are not ready, but by His grace we can and we do.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Zoe's Song

This song was written by my husband when our little girl Zoe was born. Daddy wanted to write a song for his girl. He sang it at her memorial.

She should have joined us in mid December
Maybe played Jesus in the christmas play
She left us too soon, but we'll love her forever
'Cause she left her little footprints on our hearts

She left her little footprints, her tiny little footprints
She left her little footprints on our hearts
She left her little footprints, her tiny little footprints
She left her little footprints on our hearts

We wanted to hold you an tell you about Jesus
Now He can hold you and tell you about us.
Your mama's heart is breaking, so badly wanting you to hold
"Cause you left your little footprints on our hearts


Oh we'll see you soon I know
As soon as we get to Heaven
But you left your little footprints, your tiny little footprints
You left your little footprints on our hearts
Left your little footprints on our hearts.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Hurt & The Healer on Judah's day

This group reads my heart again and again with their music...
I'll be honest, my heart hurts today. A lot. I am smiling yes, but that smile is hiding and trying to push away my tears. Many times today I had to stop, breathe and try to refocus on something else and dry my tears, hoping that no one would notice. As badly as I wanted people to know, I knew I could not talk about without tears and tears make people uncomfortable. Today was my due date with our last baby Judah.

Right about now we should be kissing a downy, soft head. Holding a warm wriggling bundle that fits ever so perfectly in our arms, hearts and family. Smelling that sweet newborn smell as we marvel at the wonderful miracle of tiny, new life. I should be feeling my breasts filling with milk for my baby and smiling as he or she slurps and nuzzles. Instead here we sit. Celebrating the moments we did have, and trying not to concentrate on the ones we don't. It is hard to be ONLY joyful, when this empty feeling, this feeling of so much that is missing from our lives, is there.

Today I held a three day old baby that is in foster care. He fit so perfectly in my arms, his soft little cheek resting against my chest. His eyes opened and he just looked at me. I smiled at him and told him what a beautiful boy he was. I told him how sweet he was and I hoped that he felt some of the love from my heart that wells up inside. I was so sad for his mama, who maybe never even got to hold him.

I let my day fill up with lots of activity so that I wouldn't have to "go there" even though my heart was there all along. Then I came home and my sweet husband had bought a rose for our baby. He put it on our baby's grave with a little note and a spray of baby's breath.
I sat out there tonight, praying and asking God for comfort and peace...And He brings it again.

I am tired now, my eyes don't want to be open anymore. They burn from the tears that have fallen.

Friday, May 18, 2012

This is not my home...

When we have a heart's desire, and it is so close to becoming a reality that we can almost tangibly feel it, it cuts deeply when it fades away and the answer is "No."
We all have a choice in that moment. we can choose to live in bitterness and anger, full of doubts and resentment; or we can feel all those things and still find something to be thankful for. My choice? To be thankful for the moments I did have with my babies. I am their mommy forever now, and though their time was short here on earth, I am honoured to have been given that time with them. Did I feel this way right away? Did I want to make this choice? No, it took me some time to be able to do it, even though I knew it was what I needed to do. The hurt was too deep and raw...
Am I glad I chose that? Yes. Without a doubt, yes. I don't think I would be where I am today without looking for something to be thankful for. I have found joy again in little things. I find that when I specifically look for things to be thankful for, I can see sunshine again. I feel more at ease, and the weight I carry in my heart is not quite so unbearable. 

I read this blog today.
Hormonal Imbalances - When God says No...

It brought back many emotions and memories of how I felt after the miscarriages we have had. After reading it, I felt God confirming in my heart that when I chose to be thankful even when it hurts, I am making the right choice. No matter what the difficult circumstances are that you are facing, no matter what your heart's desire is that has not become reality yet, there is One you can turn to when you feel hopeless. He will give you strength when you have none, hope when you are hopeless, glue when you feel like life is coming undone.

Here is a beautiful song...I love the line, "What if your blessings come through raindrops, what if your healing comes through tears."

The pain reminds me that this is not my home...

Blessings - Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights 
Are Your mercies in disguise

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mother's day with a new view

Can anyone really expect to recover from such tragedy, considering the value of what was lost and the consequences of that loss? Recovery is a misleading and empty expectation. We recover from broken limbs, not amputations. Catastrophic loss by definition precludes recovery. It will transform us or destroy us, but it will never leave us the same. There is no going back to the past, which is gone forever, only going ahead to the future, which has yet to be discovered. Whatever that future is, it will, and must, include the pain of the past with it. Sorrow never entirely leaves the soul of those who have suffered a severe loss. If anything, it may keep going deeper..."

~ Jerry Sittser

I Look To You - Selah
Tears fall as I hear this song tonight. When all my strength is gone...

What is my future? I have pondered this thought a lot lately. So many new adventures that excite my heart are ahead of me. For those who don't know, I took my Postpartum Doula training in fall of 2011. I just finished a Babywearing Educator course last weekend and at both of these events, I met so many amazing women! In summer I will be taking my Labour Doula training and then in fall of this year I plan to take my Baby Loss Doula training.
All three of these doula trainings will work together very nicely. I have found quite a deep passion for and am really looking forward to being a Labor doula; however my heart's cry is supporting women through baby loss. I don't know what that is going to look like in my neck of the woods, but time will tell.
In the quote above, Jerry Sittser says, "Catastrophic loss by definition precludes recovery. It will transform us or destroy us, but it will never leave us the same." So, what will I do with my "beautiful mess?" (as I have heard this life after baby loss called)

My heart is forever changed, inside and out by my children. I will never look at pregnancy and birth the same way as I did before my losses. I will never look at a newborn baby the same. I have learned not to take those moments for granted because when you have to try to fit a lifetime of love into a moment, an hour, a day, a month, a year or even 3 years, it is an impossible task. There is so much that feels as if it is left unfinished, and can never be fulfilled here on earth.
Oh what I would give for one more hug, one more kiss on her little head, one more moment of time...
I laid in bed with my four year old while tucking him in tonight and watched him fall asleep. He had been kind of wild all evening because he was so tired. It took only moments for him to go to sleep and I laid there feeling his sweet breath against my cheek, watching the fluttering of his eyelids as he drifted off.
There is almost nothing on earth like watching a sleeping child. A child who, only minutes before had been driving you crazy with his silliness, now lays before you almost angelic. His cheeks flushed and his hair tousled from a day of playing, his chest rising and falling rhythmically. I put my hand on his chest and felt the flutter of his little heart, a heart that once beat in my womb, and I am convinced still beats with mine sometimes. How peaceful he looked. I leaned in and whispered into his ear, sweet murmurings of a mother's love. I thanked him for being here. For making it. How did he do it? Why couldn't the others? Hot tears splash the pillow. How very thankful I am that my life has been made so rich by my three children with me on earth.
Now Mother's day is almost upon us again. My heart breaks for so many mommy's I know that will not be holding their baby's on that special day. I know that pain and that longing...I also know a peace and a hope that never fail.
The end of this month, May 31st, marks my due date with Judah. My heart yearns for those moments of my body straining to bring forth new life, and then when that is over, nourishing a tiny, perfect being.  I literally dream of what those moments feel like. These tears are brought back afresh sometimes as ones close to me are due around that same day, and I am happy for them. To see the joy and wonder on their faces as they gaze at their newborn who smells so sweet, there is nothing else like it. 
Sometimes I get angry that loss taints so many areas of life. Sometimes I wish I could say I was spiritual enough, or strong enough or even oblivious enough to not feel the pain, but it is there. I feel it and learn from it daily. This pain has value in my life, only through choice. I have chosen not to let it destroy me. I have so much to learn about this life still, but in the meantime, I will use what I know and what I have experienced to help others. I will sit and get muddy in their puddle with them and show them that there is hope. Even when we don't feel it yet, there is hope.  Our babies stories have been heard and read by many and I will keep sharing about them. It is the only way that I have of being their mommy right now. I will honour them by keeping their memory alive.
So my angels, while I celebrate Mother's Day here on earth with your brothers and sister, know that my heart eagerly awaits the day when we will all be together again. I love you more than words can express Asa, April, Kane, Zoe, Ellie and Judah.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Strong? No, not on our own...

I lost my child a while ago. No, no please Don’t look away
And change the subject or say It’s ok.
You see at first I couldn’t feel, It took so long, but now it’s real.
I hurt so much inside you see. I need to talk, Come sit with me.

You see, I was numb for so very long, And people said, “My, she is so strong.”
They did not know I couldn’t feel, My broken heart made all unreal.
But then one day, as I awoke I clutched my chest, began to choke,
Such a scream, such a wail, Broke from me..My child! My child!

The horror of reality. But everyone has moved on,
You see,everyone except for me.
Now, when I need friends most of all, Between us there now stands a wall.
My pain is more than they can bear, When I mention my child,
I see their blank stare.

“But I thought you were over it,” Their eyes seem to say--
No, no, I can’t listen to this, not today. So I smile and pretend, and say,
“Oh, I’m ok”.But inside I am crying, as I turn away.
And so my old friend, I shall paint on a smile, As I have from the start,
You never knowing all the while, All I’ve just said to you in my heart

I did not write this poem. I am not sure who did so if you know, please feel free to comment with the author's name.
Twice in the last while I have experienced this awkward silence from a friend, which made me think of this poem.
A lady we know came up to us and asked about how our children were. I said they were fine. She asked how old they were now. I rattled off their ages, Jinaea 9, Jaron 6 and Kyler 4. She said, "And how about the baby?  Where is your baby?" 
I cringed inside as I said, "No, our baby was stillborn last summer." Awkward silence, she looked away, both of us trying to figure out what to say next... I guess the last time she talked to us for any length of time, we were about 18 weeks pregnant with Zoe and happily awaiting our next ultrasound to find out if she was a boy or girl.
Then a friend we had not seen in a few months stopped by our house to visit. About half an hour into our visit, this friend looked at me smiling and asked, "So, how are you feeling? How is the baby doing?" I told him quietly that I had lost the baby in November. First there was shock, then embarrassment on his face as his smile left and he looked down. He quietly said he was sorry and the rest of the evening, for the most part, he avoided eye contact with me. I did not cry this time. Any other moment lately, tears seem just under the surface and can spring up at any time, but that night, I didn't.

When my father-in-law passed away, I remember hearing people criticize my mother-in-law for not crying at his funeral.
I remember others saying how incredibly strong she was and we were to hold it all together during the funeral and the days and weeks following. The truth is, she was not strong, and neither were we.
We had cried for days beforehand and we were utterly exhausted. We had no more tears left. 

That is how parents are after the loss of a child too. Sometimes we just have nothing left. We have no strength on our own. The only strength or appearance of strength we show comes from our Heavenly Father. In our weakness, He is strength for us. Yes, there are even moments of peace in the midst of the pain and disbelief in reality. 

I can now laugh and smile without feeling guilty most of the time. I cry less now than I did in the days surrounding the losses, but the pain is not gone. I have not "moved on" or "gotten better." It is impossible because this IS my life, my reality. It may be messy at times, but mine has become a beautiful mess. A mess of hurting hearts joined together to encourage and support and cry with each other and God is helping us to bring beauty out of pain. I have met people in the last year and a half who have become very close to my heart after just one conversation or meeting because of the common ground we share. They are precious to me.

If you are a grieving parent and your heart feels completely shattered, I would like to encourage you that joy will come again. You will feel alive again. I pray you will come to a place where you can feel peace about where your loss has brought you in life and that you will take steps to move yourself forward again.  There is no moving on and leaving this mess behind. We can, however choose to look for the things we can be thankful for through the tears and keep walking. One step at a time. Somedays one step is all we can do, and that's ok! There are people out there like myself who have been there. I may not know you personally, but that doesn't matter. There is a kindredness in our hearts because of the losses we share. My heart is here to listen if you need it and my virtual hugs are always abundant. 
There have been many times I have felt I had nothing to offer because I didn't even feel strong enough to stand myself. I was the one reaching out. Now I reach out my hand to you who are hurting, because in my weakness, He is strong. 

A beautiful quote I read tonight:
‎"Only we who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb can both weep and laugh at the same time, and with hearts that are breaking in pieces scattered all over the floor say with sincerity and honesty that it is well with my soul."
~ Gary J. Oliver