Remembrance Day 2018

This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, and this Monday, October 15th, it will be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  In 2016 and 2017, Michael and I have spent this day with the pregnancy loss community in a balloon release.

This year, we won’t be participating publicly, but we are going to light our candle on the day.  At 7pm CST, we plan to light a candle for each of our daughters to remember them.  This is the time set aside for all loss families to light a candle and remember together, no matter where they are.  I would encourage you to light a candle and remember with them.  It means so much to have my daughters remembered.  And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.

If you are a loss mom or dad, you are loved and your children are loved.  You are not alone, and we grieve with you.

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Comforting: David’s Story

When I lost my first daughter, the story of David and Bathsheba came to my mind.  It’s one of the few actual pregnancy/infant loss stories that came readily to my mind.  There are a lot of infertility stories, but not so much pregnancy loss stories in the Bible.  Of course, this isn’t always the greatest one to think about since this particular pregnancy loss was due to the sins David committed.

But there was something comforting in this story.  It starts after Nathan had revealed that his son was going to die.  In 2 Samuel 12:15-21 it says,

After Nathan had gone home, the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.

On the seventh day, the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”

David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked.

“Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”

Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request, they served him food, and he ate.”

His attendants were confused, and when they asked him about his change in behavior he says,

“While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept.  I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

Even though he was being separated from his child, he knew that it was not forever.  With this week being the anniversary of my second daughter’s passing, this is a wonderful reminder.  My separation from her is not forever.  I will see her and her sister again one day.  And that is what is comforting me this week.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

The day this post goes up will be the two year anniversary of my second daughter’s stillbirth.  It’s the first anniversary to hit since my son’s arrival.  And my mind has been in serious contemplation mode.

It’s strange because right now, I’m watching my son grow before my very eyes.  Every day has been different.  He’s learning so much, interacting so much.  I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like if my daughters were here.  What these milestones would have been like.  When would they start to babble?  Would they be standing and rolling and sitting as well as Sam is at this age?  How would Sam’s growth have been affected by having his big sisters around?

This week, I re-read the post that I wrote the day I found out that my daughter had passed away.  The post transported me to that hospital triage room, the silent heart monitors and ultrasound machines, to my stubborn cries out to God.  As I got to the end of all of the encouraging comments, my son (who had been sleeping at this point) woke up with a whimper.  And it felt like I was waking up, too, being pulled back into the present moment.

I love my son, and I’m so grateful for every moment I get to spend with him.  I also love my daughters, and I miss them terribly.  But I am thankful to God for how he has shaped my grief and guided my path these last five years.  Even though I look back to remember, more importantly, I am able to look forward in hope.  Praise be to God.  He is so good.

 

Anniversaries

Anniversaries

One year ago today, my second daughter was stillborn.

There isn’t really much I want to say today, but I wanted to share with you three songs that popped up consecutively on YouTube on Monday that I really needed to hear.

Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how you can lay this down
‘Cause you’re not alone

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I’m standing on the mountain, I didn’t get there on my own
When I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!

Memories

memories.jpgToday, Facebook will remind me of when I went to the hospital to confirm that our daughter had passed.  Facebook will remind me of how I numbly pulled out my laptop and typed words on a screen.  Facebook will remind me of how I got back onto the familiar road of grief one year ago.

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I know that you can remove memory reminders on Facebook.  You can remove whole chunks of time if you want to.  But I don’t want to.  I want to remember the sweet nurse that kept hope for us as each medical device came back negative for a heartbeat.  I want to remember how the moment the ultrasound confirmed our worst fears, my OB turned around and created a new game plan.  If her sleeves weren’t already rolled up, I know she would have in that moment.  I want to remember my talk with Jesus, how I re-engaged my stubborn and desperate love in the middle of chaotic grief.

I thought I would be pregnant by now, though.  I hoped I would be, that maybe a new pregnancy would lessen the blow of grief that this week will bring.  But I do have my husband, God, friends, family.  And I’m so thankful that God has created these hedges of protection during one of the dark moments in my history.

God is good.  All the time.  Even in the darkened sad moments.  Especially then.

Easter and Expectation

I’m taking a small break in my Legacy study to share something a little more personal this week.

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One year ago on Good Friday, the Friday right before Easter, I found out I was pregnant. I won’t lie.  I was kinda hoping for another positive test this Good Friday as well, but that didn’t happen.

Last Sunday, I went to my old church and heard a sermon about the Saturday in between the death of Jesus and the resurrection.  All those miracles, and promises, just to have him die on the cross.  They didn’t know Sunday was coming.  I can’t imagine what those men and women who had followed Jesus throughout his ministry felt.

Then again, maybe I do.

No one had the plan of God figured out.  They thought he was a prophet.  They thought he would restore the kingdom of Israel to its former glory.  Death wasn’t supposed to be a part of it.  Peter argued this point with Jesus and Jesus rebuked him.  The plan of God was impossible for them to see.

Last year, when I found out I was pregnant, I also did the math to know when I was due. It was going to be the day before Thanksgiving, the same day of the week that my first daughter was stillborn.  When I found out I was having another girl, I thought that all of the parts of the story were lining up so neatly into this beautiful testimony.  And then just five months after that positive test, my daughter passed away.

It didn’t make sense.  But just like the people in Jesus’s time, I’m not seeing the bigger picture.  And the truth is, I will never see the bigger picture in this life.  The only reason we can read the death of Jesus without faltering in our faith is because just a chapter or two later, he has risen.  And then we have the rest of the New Testament and the history of the world to see that story continue to the far reaches of the earth.  The people hiding behind locked doors, fearing for their lives after their teacher died, would have no way to see all of that.

The control freak in me wants to see that big picture, wants to be able to step back and see everything.  See why my daughters had to die.  See why I am having to wait now.  I know I get a few glimpses.  I see in small and big ways how God has used me during these past four years.  The rest of the story will have to be built on faith.  Faith that God will see this through, that he will reveal to me my next step when it’s time to take it.

That is the hope of Easter.  That one day everything will be revealed in the glory of God.  It is a reminder to continue living in expectation.  To keep living based in faith, learning from the ones hiding in those rooms.  Learning from the women who prepared the burial incense and got up early to honor their Lord, having no idea what they would find there.  I must continue to walk in faith, doing what God calls me to do.  Frankly, Saturday sucks.  But Sunday is coming.

Remembering My Daughters

This past Saturday was the second anniversary of my first daughter’s stillbirth.  And the day before Thanksgiving was when my second daughter, who passed away in August, was due.  I wanted to take a moment, on this blog, to remember both of them.

I don’t have a lot of memories of my daughters.  I don’t know what their cries or laughter sound like.  I don’t even know what color their eyes were.  But I do have a few memories that I would like to share in honor of them.

My second daughter loved to dance.  Anytime I was in the car, listening to the radio on full blast (like I always do when I’m alone), I could feel my daughter kick and jump.  She especially liked the beats of Meghan Trainor for some reason.  My first daughter was also energetic, but she was smaller so I didn’t feel her kicks as strongly.  However, I definitely felt her move around a few times.

Both of my daughters were shy when it came time for the ultrasounds.  They both would put their hands in front of their faces whenever it was time for their close-ups.  It was both frustrating and freaking adorable.

Both of my daughters are very much loved by me and my family.  Their short lives on this earth have inspired me to live my own life to help others who experience loss, too.  And I know that they have brought my family closer, reminding each of us what is most important.

I may not know much about my daughters.  But I know that they are safe and loved where they are.  I take comfort in that and I have hope that one day we will be reunited again.