Monday, December 21, 2009

Jehovah has given


A wise son makes a glad father, But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.
Proverbs 10:1



This is my oldest son, Samuel's big brother. He is a gift from God. His name means "Jehovah has given".

He has really grown up during my pregnancy with Samuel. In the early months I was so tired and slept a lot. He kept the younger ones occupied for me. But after we found out Samuel would die, he went into overdrive. I cried often and I could see he was always trying to gauge how I was doing. I would be in the kitchen wiping my eyes and catch him looking at me, to see if I was really crying or just cutting onions. Many times I wished I could hide this all from them, that they wouldn't see me cry, wouldn't see their Mama falling apart. Sometimes when I would cry, they would just stare at me, like you might look on at an accident as you drive by. It was something new and strange. Other times, they would rush to me and hug me. This son seems to have become more of a man. Now when he sees me cry he comes to me and hugs me and says, "What is it Mama?"

As much as I wanted to sheild them from the horrible reality we were experiencing...I couldn't. And although it's natural to want to hide your tears, to cry in secret, that would have been silly. Do I really want them to think that we could lose a son, their brother, and be perfectly fine and normal?

No.

I want them to know how to go through hard things. Real things. When they get older I want them to be able to say to their families, "We lost two babies and it was very hard on Papa and Mama and us kids, but God held us together, we grew closer, we cried, we leaned on God, we praised God for things we couldn't understand, we asked that He be glorified through them somehow, we read the Bible and prayed as a family. That is what we will do in this hard situation we are in. They got through it by holding onto God and we will too."

Like I said, at times I have been sad ontop of sad for the innocence they have lost, and yet, what changed people they have become, like us.

We are different.

We have all been changed.

It has all come by the Lord's gracious hand. As much as I wish this wasn't happening I don't want to change what He is doing in us, because He knows. He knows so much better than we.

And I trust Him more.

More than the pain.





This son whom we call "T1" which stands for Treasure One (our first treasure) has also grown to love and appreciate his little sister more, if that is even possible. We have loved this little girl from the moment we met her and have greatly enjoyed our days with her. But this son has learned what a miracle a healthy baby is. One day a few months ago, he looked at his sister and told me, "She is growing up so fast. I will know Mama. I'll know to hold my babies."

The day after she was born, he came into my room and said, "Mama, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for having her. I just thought that I should say that." That was the nicest thing I think anyone has ever said to me. It was so sweet, that he would say thank you for carrying her and giving birth to her because he loved and enjoyed her so much after one day. He was seven at the time.




When everyone came in to see Samuel after he was born, they all crowded around Papa who was holding him. It was such a sad, sad moment. It was very quiet, no happy squeals or people oodling over his fingers and toes, only sober faces and hushed voices.

It's not for wimps.

The people that were there for us, had to go through it all with us...twice. And I can tell you, it's a whole lotta no fun. Dad, Mom, Laura, Desiree, Dawna and Renee had to walk into that hospital room knowing what they were going to face.

Heartbroken people...and a sweet little dead baby.

I felt bad for them too.



Papa asked if the kids wanted to hold him, my oldest said yes right away. It was his baby too. It seemed he knew it was something he should do, he was doing what Papa did.

He sat there looking at him for a moment, then he broke down.


You were a brave boy Son...both times.



The day I realized I hadn't felt Samuel moving and was going to the birth center to have Desiree listen for his heartbeat I pulled him aside and told him the truth about what we were doing. He simply nodded at me and said, "Okay."

On the drive we were listening to the dramatized audio version of John Bunyan's book, Christiana. He was sitting in the front seat beside me. There is a saying that is said often in this audio, they say "The bitter must come before the sweet." When it was said, he looked at me and nodded. He didn't want me to miss the truth in it. He was always trying to help me to see God in the midst of this trial.



The night we came home from the hospital, my husband put the boys to bed. I heard sobs from the bedroom. T1 had said to my husband, "I wanted to see his first birthday. I wanted to see him grow up."

It hit me.

He feels like we do.

It was his little brother that he had hopes and dreams for too.


God is grooming him to be a great Papa someday.


I was driving in the car by myself the other day. Thinking and crying about Samuel. I was thinking about what a helper this son has been during our time with Samuel. What a blessing. What a gift...when it hit me like a ton of bricks.

His name!

Jehovah has given him...to us...to show His love for us.

He is his name.

A loving gift that made me cry all over again in gratefulness to God.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Not like you


Not like you

I am a mother, though not like you.
You cradle your sweet baby in your armes,
Mine are empty, but I hold him in my heart.

You brush her soft curly hair,
and tie pretty pink bows just right.
A lock of his hair is tucked neatly in a book.

You pick daisies and tie them in a chain
to wear around her neck.
I cut lilacs and arrange them in a vase to set at his grave.

You look forward to dreams and plans.
I hold onto memories.
I am a mother,
though not like you.

By Sheri Hess

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thinking of you


I'm thinking of you tonight Samuel.

It's hard to believe I had a baby less than two months ago and here I am again, going on with life 'as usual'. No baby carrier with you in my shopping cart. I see little ones and my eyes linger over them, comparing them to you. Would you be older? If you had lived, would my baby be that size or bigger?

It feels so wrong.

I miss you.

I miss life when it was normal. I could carelessly take so much for granted.

It was fun to look forward to you, before we knew that you too, would leave us. So many daydreams I entertained Little One. Of you and me, me holding you, Papa holding you, the kids holding you...you get the idea. There was a lot of love that was to be lavished upon you.

Sigh.

There still is.

Like I said, I'm thinking of you tonight Samuel. And missing you.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wait in silence


My Soul Waits for God Alone

A Psalm of David.

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress;
I shall not be greatly shaken.
How long will all of you attack a man to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse.

Selah

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress;
I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.

Selah


Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.
Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God, and that to you, O Lord,
belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.

- Psalm 62


I listened to Joseph Morecraft teach on Psalm 62 today. It was good.

If you are down, if you are going through tough times, take some time to listen to his sermon called The Soul's Sole Hope. I subscribe to his Podcast called Chalcedon Presbyterian Church. It helped.

It helps to remember who God is.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Knitting for Samuel


I knit.

I learned to knit beyond your basic scarf when I was 7.5 months pregnant with Isabel and had just found out she was going to die after she was born. I had a desperate need to do something for her. To have something that I could give her.

I wanted her to know her Mama loved her and wanted her.

I have been knitting like crazy ever since.



I had been sort of 'stuck' knitting baby items before I got pregnant with Samuel. I just kept knitting and knitting little pink baby socks. I couldn't help myself. It was a little embarassing. But they were so cute and I thought maybe...maybe someday we'd have someone to wear them.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was so excited to be able to spend my pregnancy knitting for a baby we could keep. It was so fun. I knit diaper soakers in generic colors. I knit this baby sleep sack. I was really looking forward to holding him in this.

After we found out that Samuel would likely not live, then I went into overdrive again because this was it. There was only now and that would be all we had. Once again, they told me he could die at anytime in the womb, he would likely be small so there was a need to knit everything in many sizes starting with tiny.

It did give me something to do.

A way to cope.

A purpose.











I chose these buttons for Papa. My husband is a bow hunter and he would have taught Samuel to be a hunter as well.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Allow for numbness


Feeling dazed or numb when your baby dies is often part of your early grief experience. This numbness serves a valuable purpose; it gives your emotions time to catch up with what your mind has been told. You may feel as if the world has suddenly come to a halt. Your plans and dreams for the future have been assaulted.

You may feel you are in a dream-like state. As one mother said, "It's like running headfirst into a solid wall. I was stunned and didn't want to believe the words I was hearing. I wanted someone to wake me up and tell me this wasn't happening."

Feelings of numbness and disbelief help create insulation from the reality of the death until you are more able to tolerate what you don't want to believe.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A poem for Samuel

If I could go back

Back to before the hopes and dreams

Before the heartache and sorrow

Before all the tears

I wouldn't Samuel.


I wouldn't

Because now I know you.

I know your face.

You are one of us now.

You belong to us

And I would never want to undo that.


I wish I could have seen your little face

break out into smile.

To hear you laugh that baby laugh

Watch you nurse

Play peek-a-boo with your brothers and sister

Watch you sleep on Papa's chest

in the dim light of the lava lamp

But we will have to wait for all those things.


We will spend our lives dreaming of you

And the days ahead when we will get to know you

As you truly are.

Not just an adorable little face

But you as God created you.


Until then, grab your sister's hand.

Enjoy Heaven.

When you see that one of us is coming

Wait for us at the gate.





Monday, November 2, 2009

Samuel Angus - October 21, 2009

I woke up on Tuesday, October 20th and lay in bed thinking about the day, talking to the kids and giving them jobs to do. As I lay there alone on the bed, it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn't felt Samuel move for a while. I called my midwife, Desiree.

We decided I should go to the birth center and let her listen with the doppler. The birth center was closed that day and I had the kids wait in the van.

I lay on the bed in the birthing suite that I had dreamed of having a baby in. It was so surreal, that I would find out that he had died in this very room. The very room that I had daydreamed about having Samuel in.

It felt so cruel.

I lay there staring at the ceiling, tears rolling down my cheeks as Desiree listened in vain for a heartbeat. She was crying too.

I met my husband at the local hospital to have an ultrasound to confirm Samuel had died. I was 32 weeks. We went home and packed our bags and went to the hospital to be induced.

Samuel Angus was stillborn at 7:25 am October 21, 2009. He weighed 5 lbs 9 oz and was 18 inches long.

He was beautiful.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Baby T5 update

I haven't had the energy or courage to post but I suppose it is time.

We went in for our first ultrasound on August 11th. My husband and I were nervous, but eager to have our fears dispelled. When the technician showed me the baby's kidneys I just burst into tears of relief. But later as she looked at the heart I squeezed my husband's hand, her eyes were fixed and serious...but somehow I thought I was just imagining things.

Unfortunately, I wasn't.

We found out we were having another son and that he had many problems. We went for more ultrasounds the following day at a perinatologist. I had an amniocentisis done. The end result is that our son has Trisomy 13. An extra 13th chromosome in every cell of his body.

I can't tell you the devastation we feel.

To know we are walking down basically the same road is very painful. We know what is coming, we know so well.

I have wanted to post about this, and also, I haven't. I am just trying to do every day one day at a time and feed the kids, keep some laundry done. We need prayer.

Here is his adorable profile at 23 wks.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Re-opening the wound

I was sitting on the couch when my oldest son came rushing in the door with my daughter in his arms. She was crying. She was wearing shorts and her knee was bleeding.

Wait...rewind.

A few days before she had skinned her knee on the cement and it was the kind that really hurt. Sort of like a burn. You know the kind?

It had healed over with a scab and at least it didn't hurt anymore. So now you're up to speed.

Okay, so my son came rushing in, put her in my lap. She had fallen AGAIN and opened up her scab. Now it was bleeding, a lot. It was the really thick, dark red blood. It scared her and it hurt.

It was a little more than a week since we had the ultrasound that had shattered our dreams again.

She looked up at me with big tears flooding her eyes and said through her sobs, "I don't want to do it again."

I instantly fell apart with her and burst into tears. I cried with her as I hugged her and said, "I know just what you mean honey." It felt so strange and so perfectly parallel that I sensed the Lord was trying to say something. But what?

The next night I was giving her a bath. She didn't want to put her knee in the water, she was afraid it would hurt. I was telling her it needed to be cleaned so it would heal. I heard myself saying,

Does Mama love you?

Does Mama want to hurt you?

Trust me.

It will be okay.



While I was speaking the same little bell went off in my head, that the Lord was trying to tell me something.

I don't understand or feel better. But I do trust Him.


-----


Leave it With Him

"Consider the lilies, how they grow" (Matt. 6:28)

I need oil," said an ancient monk; so he planted an olive sapling. "Lord," he prayed, "it needs rain that its tender roots may drink and swell. Send gentle showers." And the Lord sent gentle showers. "Lord," prayed the monk, "my tree needs sun. Send sun, I pray Thee." And the sun shone, gilding the dripping clouds. "Now frost, my Lord, to brace its tissues," cried the monk. And behold, the little tree stood sparkling with frost, but at evening it died.

Then the monk sought the cell of a brother monk, and told his strange experience. "I, too, planted a little tree," he said, "and see! it thrives well. But I entrust my tree to its God. He who made it knows better what it needs than a man like me. I laid no condition. I fixed not ways or means. 'Lord, send what it needs,' I prayed, 'storm or sunshine, wind, rain, or frost. Thou hast made it and Thou dost know.'"

Yes, leave it with Him,The lilies all do,
And they grow--They grow in the rain,
And they grow in the, dew--Yes, they grow:
They grow in the darkness, all hid in the night--
They grow in the sunshine, revealed by the light--

Still they grow.
Yes, leave it with Him
'Tis more dear to His heart,
You will know,
Than the lilies that bloom,
Or the flowers that start
'Neath the snow

Whatever you need,
if you seek it in prayer,
You can leave it with Him
for you are His care.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Isabel - 2 years



I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
2 Samuel 12:22



Happy Birthday Isabel.

This year on your birthday I can feel happy for you that you have spent 2 of our years in Heaven. I can feel glad for you and less sad for me.

You are missed here.

Your sister would love to have a little sister to take care of. I see it more and more everyday as I watch her mother her dollies. She would have been a big helper to you and me.

She knows you are her sister. She talks about how you are in Heaven. She used to pray that God would send you to us, but now I think she knows we will one day go to you.

You are missed sweet daughter, by us all. There will always be an empty chair at our table meant for you.


All my love,
Mama

Monday, May 25, 2009

Baby Faith

I wanted to share a very special little girl with you. Her name is Faith Hope. She passed away after living 93 days and defying the medical experts. She had anencephaly.

As I was reading through her blog from the beginning, I was shocked at the treatment that the doctors were refusing to give to her baby that was going to be born. Here is a brief clip from this post:

He said that they never recuscitate babies with anencephaly. I asked him, "What do you mean by 'resuscitate'?" He said, "We won't take any measures to prolong the baby's life. The only thing we do is swaddle the baby in a blanket and give the baby to the mother." He said that they would not even suction out her airway if needed. I said "You wouldn't even suction her? Why not?" and he replied very sternly, "Why WOULD we?" I said, "Umm... because I would want you to?"

My GP asked about painkillers to comfort her and he said, "It all comes down to futility. It is FUTILE to give a baby pain medication if the baby cannot benefit from it." And he went on again about how she only had a brain stem and could not feel (sigh...).

Here's one more:
"anencephalic babies are useless for all practical purposes other than spare parts for others."(Ronald Cranford, Chairman of the Ethics and Humanities Committee of the American Academy of Neurology)

I would like this doctor to look at this video of Faith laughing or the one where she wants her "soukie".

I am proud of how Faith's mother Myah stood up for Faith, while the specialist made her feel it was pointless. She valued the life God gave her, and loved her baby every second, right up to the point where she gave her to God.

Our babies don't have to be perfect to be loved. It's not a failure to have an imperfect baby.

Take some time and read about Baby Faith's beautiful life.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Stepping Heavenward

One of my favorite books is Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss.

I love it!

Every bit.

The first time I read it, it seemed that each word was a tasty morsel that I couldn't wait to eat. This book follows the life of a woman from her teenage years into womanhood. I identified with Katherine in so many ways while I read the book, and was horrified to read of her young son's death. That was something I hadn't experienced nor could imagine. I'm reading this book again with new eyes now...



We have come into the country with what God has left us, our two youngest children. Yes, I have tasted the bitter cup of bereavement and drunk it down to its dregs. I gave my darling to God, I gave him, I gave him! But, oh, with what anguish I saw those round, dimpled limbs wither and waste away, the glad smile fade forever from that beautiful face! What a fearful thing it is to be a mother! But I have given my child to God. I would not recall him if I could. I am thankful He has counted me worthy to present Him so costly a gift.

I cannot shed a tear, and I must find relief in writing or I shall lose my senses. My noble, beautiful boy! My firstborn son! And to think that my delicate little Una still lives and that death has claimed that bright, glad creature who was the sunshine of our home!

But let me not forget my mercies. Let me not forget that I have a precious husband and two darling children and my kind, sympathizing Mother still left to me. Let me not forget how many kind friends gathered about us in our sorrow. Above all let me remember God's lovingkindness and tender mercy. He has not left us to the bitterness of a grief that refuses and disdains to be comforted. We believe in Him, we love Him, we worship Him as we never did before.

My dear Ernest has felt this sorrow to his heart's core. But he has not for one moment questioned the goodness of the love of our Father in thus taking from us the child who promised to be our greatest earthly joy. Our consent to God's will has drawn us together very closely; together we bear the yoke in our youth, together we pray and sing praises in the midst of our tears. "I was dumb with silence because Thou didst it" (Psalm 39:9).


You can also download and listen to the entire book free from Librivox here.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I'm her Mama

Amidst the Christmas wrapping, my daughter pulled out her baby doll from the box. She held her up and looked down lovingly at her and quietly said, "She loves me because I'm her Mama."

As I lay in the dark cheek-to-cheek with my sleeping beauty, my eyes misted a bit as my thoughts drifted back to the evening and the look in her eyes as she looked deeply into her baby's eyes and said confidently, "She loves me because I'm her Mama."

Those words echoed loudly in my head.

Then with a smile...I thought the same thing.