Feb 26

Kick

As I woke up the morning of Mother’s Day last year, I read a little in the bed, and I began to pray. I do not remember all that I read or prayed that morning except that I remember tears running down my face and praying, “Lord, I just wish today, on Mother’s Day, that I would feel Mary Anna kick…. Amen.”

We were at the beach for that week in May, and I am a lazy bones, and Dan is a morning person. I sleepily made my way down to the beach with my first “mom” tervis in my hand, from my mom, full of hot coffee. D had me a chair ready, and the breeze was cool, and he told me happy Mother’s Day, and I proudly showed him my new cup. We chatted a bit, and as I got settled next to him and the waves, I began to cry.
Now D can handle my tears, especially by this point. We were scared, yet so full of hope anticipating our baby girl. After all, two miscarriages later to be finally sitting on this special day honoring moms with Mary Anna in my belly, we were so thankful. I did indeed still have a “daddy” coffee cup sitting at home in our closet from the year before, when both Mother’s and Father’s Day rolled around, and we were reminded that we lost yet another baby.

Dan asked me what was wrong, and I said, “She just kicked!” He quickly put his hand on my belly, and he could feel it too! I began to cry harder as I confessed my silly, selfish prayer that I had just prayed minutes before requesting to feel our baby girl kick. Of course, he told me that it was not silly to pray for that, and that we could be assured that the Lord listens to all of our prayers. So for the rest of that trip, I could feel her kick here and there, but only when we were next to the sea. It’s like she shared the same love for the vast waters that her mommy and daddy have.

But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 
James 1:6

The truth is that for months, it had been very hard for me that I could not feel Mary Anna kick or move at all. All the apps were telling me long ago that it was time to feel your baby move, the doctors and nurses would ask, all my friends who were pregnant around that time were feeling their babies move, and I felt nothing. I would catch myself lying to people or doctors, because I wanted her to be kicking so bad, and it broke my heart each time to say, “no” again and again and again, so sometimes I would just say “yes”.

That is why all I wanted on my first Mother’s Day was to feel my sweet angel moving.

I wanted her to be strong enough to be able to kick, and I wanted her to defy all odds. I was tired of her fitting the laundry list of sick babies, and I wanted her to fulfill the laundry list of what healthy babies did. Now that I know what I know, I realize how strong my baby was to live and fight as long as she did.

She did indeed defy all odds.

This is why we chose to give Mary Anna’s body back to the Lord and to the sea after she went to heaven.

Now as I embark on a normal pregnancy, as soon as my app tells me that something is about to happen, it usually already has, and every time we get measurements done, he is ahead of schedule not behind. While Dan and I both rejoice in this gift, you might not understand this, and I do not expect you to, but it is almost harder to grieve our baby girl, because we realize the differences in her life in and out of the womb.

When I feel him kick and move, I cry, because I am happy, yet I am so sad that Mary Anna never did these things. As I see him on an ultrasound, what a blessing! He is AHEAD on weight. What? Yet, I leave and I cry again, because I realize how my little girl was special, and she was made unique, and her days were numbered small. At times I feel a little naive that I kept believing so fiercely, when all the odds were against us, but the truth is that I really never regret giving my all to my angel.

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
Psalms 62:5

I remember my mom and dad saying not long before delivery, “We know that she will be healed, and we believe it with all our heart.” Mary Anna was healed by Jesus, and this new joy of a baby will be healed one day too. We all will. It seems he might stay with us longer and create more memories here on earth with us, which we are so thankful for, but we eagerly anticipate the day, when our whole family will be united in heaven. It is our hearts longing, but while we are here, we will continue to swim through the deep waters and cling tight to the memories with our girl and love this baby fully.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised!
Job 1:21
Feb 22

Dialogue

Seriously?

Why us?

I do not want to be okay this morning.

Why did we have to be the ones who lost their baby girl?

Am I crazy that I can not bear to unpack her hospital bag right now?

How do we process that we held our baby girl why she was dying?

Why did someone have to say to me, “You actually look like you are having a healthy pregnancy this time?”

How do we prepare for a new baby?

Some days I do not feel like I can bond with him, and then I feel him kick, and it makes me feel like a terrible mom.

I miss Mary Anna everyday.

While some of my friends are preparing for the coming of a new baby, how do we prepare?

Oh… should we wash the sheets of our dead daughter and be okay with that?

I can not bear to pack up her things, and maybe sometimes I still think she is going to come home.

And she’s not.

I am not ready for it not to be Mary Anna’s nursery.

Why can I never have a tea party with my baby girl?

I do not get it.

When I ordered a friends baby gift on Amazon, why did Mary Anna’s unfulfilled registry have to be there, but yet, why can I not bear to hit the “delete” button on it either?

Sometimes I can still feel her head on my chest. – mommy.

And sometimes I can still feel her little hand wrapped around my finger. – daddy.

This was a snippet of Dan and I’s morning conversation with each other.

This is where we are. This is me being very transparent, and it’s hard.

And then I come before the King, and I hear this little tune in my head from my childhood, where the men sing:

I am the Lord.
and the women respond with:
Do not fear.
For I am the Lord, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you,  Do not fear;
I will help you.
Isaiah 41:13

So, we keep walking with Mary Anna in our hearts, and with our baby boy on the way.
Feb 19

Oh baby

Oh sweet baby,

You are growing so big and strong, and I am at home on this Sunday morning, because you are making me dizzy and nauseous. I came to sit in your big sisters room to read and pray, since I am missing church, and I can not help but weep. I believe in you, but I am so scared. I want you to be in my arms, and I want this precious nursery to be yours too, but what is the Lord’s will for you life? My heart aches because I miss your sister so much, and my heart aches, because I can not loose you too. You are my reason for moving forward, because I know how much you need me. I will always love your big sister, Mary Anna, and I can not wait to share every detail of her short life with you. I want to know you and hold you and see who you become. I want to know your name and love you with everything that I have. Your daddy and I prayed for you everyday, and we will continue to pray for you every day of your life. You are so loved by your heavenly Father, and He will hold you in His hand your whole life. Rest always in Him, and know that nothing can ever change how much we love you. You are our baby.

Love,
your mommy

written at 7 weeks pregnant on December 15, 2013
Feb 14

Love day

“Happy love day to the tiniest bundle of joy that taught us what love really is about. We celebrate you today!”
This was my instagram post as I sat in my car after a quick Publix run today. I wrote it, because I walked into the grocery store to grab a few things, and I felt like I could not breath with all of the stupid balloons, roses (i hate roses), cookies, and pink things everywhere. The 14th is not a day that I want to dread each month, but unfortunately it’s never an easy day. Today my princess would be 7 months old, and I should be making valentine’s with her little hands and feet, but instead I am dreaming of all the ways that I can pop the heart-shaped balloons in the grocery store to make me feel a little better. Really?
Today is hard. I told Dan that I was not in the mood to celebrate anything today, and I just needed to be sad. The truth is that she did teach me what love is about. She taught me how to love harder and deeper, and that each breath is a treasure, and we cannot be guaranteed the next one.
I have never hated nor loved Valentine’s Day, but I have a feeling forever February 14th will just feel a little different for me. As I tried to get my thoughts in check, because I am typically not the person who feels the need to pop balloons and throw roses across the room, I remembered a little song that used to give us hope. It went like this:
oh, how he loves us
As soon as we found out that I was pregnant with Mary Anna, it was Dan made this song his alarm. At the time we were going to doctors appointments to make sure that I was progressing okay, and we would leave at 5 a.m., so that he could get to school and me to work without anyone knowing where we were. We were scared, because of my miscarriages, yet we knew this baby would live. We just knew it. And she did.
So each morning, when I would wake up thinking that each day that this sweet baby was still in my belly was a gift, I would hear that song. We would listen to it after the hard doctors appointments, and we would be hopeful. Because no matter what, we knew that our King loved us. He does. So now, sometimes the song is too hard, and sometimes when I feel the need to be a lunatic because I am so sad, I turn it on and cry thinking that I am held by the King.
He first taught us to love, because He is love. Now my Mary Anna, teaches me how to love too. So, somehow, someway, today I will celebrate, because my God is love and my baby girl is a true picture of love.
Feb 12

Processing

I wish that at the seven month period of grief that I could look someone in the eyes, and say at this point it gets a little easier, but that would just be a lie. The thing that is the hardest to process at this moment are the dreams that we placed in our heads for our baby girl. As any mom or dad would understand, when you find out the gender of your child, you begin to plan and hope and dream. Really as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. For me with Mary Anna, I would dream of tea parties, our first pedicure, picking out a prom dress, or finding her walking around in my high heels. Dan instantly began to stress about having to give her away at the altar one day, and he dreamed of dancing with his baby girl.

Each dream was real, and it was our hope in her life, but none of those dreams will come true on this earth. As someone told me who lost her firstborn over thirty years ago that she still sees boys that would have been his age, and it makes her heart ache. I know no matter how many children that the Lord blesses us with, that we will always grieve the dreams that we had for our baby girl.

The hardest part about being pregnant right now is trying to allow myself the freedom to dream again, and yet the freedom to still grieve the dreams that we had for our precious angel in heaven. We are currently processing what all of this means, and it just plain hard.

A lot of people ask if I am happy to be pregnant, and I truly with every piece of me am full of joy for this little baby that’s starting to kick in my belly, but our joy comes with sorrow at the moment.

As Dan said to me recently, “It’s like the song that I love… I danced with Cinderella, and all too soon the clock struck midnight, and she was gone.” Sometimes its all just so overwhelming. Keep Walking.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 2:10

Feb 10

Encounters

As we journey through life, there is something that Dan and I have learned to do, and that is to keep account of the large and small ways that we clearly see God working in our lives. Just like Dan’s story that he shared about the paint store interaction, there are times that you just know that something happened, and it was clearly not by chance, but it was definitely ordained and written long before for a reason. We decided long ago to write these moments down, and they have been instrumental in our marriage and life together. When we are confident in a decision, and all of a sudden doubt begins to creep in, then we can look back to our list and know that we are doing the right thing. Or when something seems to happen that was not the way that we planned, then we can look back and see all the ways that God was working, even when it seemed like he was sleeping or not quite with it at the moment.

I left UAB on Tuesday, and I was wondering through a store that I love in the area, and I noticed a girl across the store with a stroller looking towards us. She recognized someone that I was with, and she began to talk to her. They motioned me over, and this girl began to tell me her story. She was raised in the same town as me, and she and her husband lived in Birmingham, and a little over a year ago they lost their first born, a baby boy. He lived only minutes, and she was holding a baby girl that day. They were blessed with another healthy baby, and she looked me in the eyes and told me that it was okay to be scared, and that she didn’t believe that her next baby would be healthy until the moment that she held her in her arms. We both agreed that it’s a long scary journey from losing one precious gift to welcoming another, but after her hope and story, I was relived to keep walking.

The thing is that I could just say, well that was ironic and neat and all that good stuff and move on, but I have learned that each encounter is not just ironic, but it is a gift. It’s like long before Mary Anna was born, the Lord knew that I would need to run into this girl that I did not really even know to give me hope in what is to come. She not only gave me hope, but she gave me the grace to be a little scared too. It’s hard to understand why and how I or anyone else would continue to fear with no reason to fear, but watching your baby die in your arms is not something that leaves you overnight. I thank the Lord for this encounter, and that he put her in my pathway to give me hope in this sweet baby and the freedom to still miss my baby girl at the same time.

Whatever my God ordains is right.
Samuel Rodigast, 1676
Feb 06

Hope and Courage

Recently I wrote about hope, and I have not been able to get that little word out of my head. As we have been processing quite a lot lately, we have had to learn how to hope in a deeper way. The thing that has struck me though is that it takes great courage to be able to begin to hope again. I have never thought of myself as this courageous person that has the desire to climb Mt. Everest or run a marathon or do things that people who have courage do. Goodness, I do not even like to go camping! 


As I have read and thought and prayed over these two little words, hope and courage, I have learned so much. According to the dictionary, Courage is: the ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. Then this past week, I found a definition of the word hope in my devotional that said that hope is: the expectation of a favorable future under God’s direction.

Here is the truth, Dan and I found out a few days before Thanksgiving that we were expecting another baby. It has taken us a lot of hope in the future and courage to walk through these past few months as we were scared to get excited due to our history of miscarriages, and then we dreaded doctors appointments, because with our precious baby girl it seemed that each time we would walk into an office, we would leave in tears with bad news.

Courage- the WILLINGNESS to confront fear, uncertainty, pain….
Hope- the EXPECTATION of a favorable future under God’s direction….

I have read these definitions over and over. We are willing to confront these fears and the pain, because it means the joy of another child, and we have hope in the future. 

It’s all so tricky, because Dan and I are thrilled that Mary Anna will be a big sister, but we are still processing her short life and the life of this next baby has added a lot of emotions to grieving our girl, but we know that the Lord’s timing is perfect. After Mary Anna went to heaven, we prayed that He would provide another baby, when He knew that we were ready. We know that this baby is a gift, and we have hope in its’ future, and we have courage to wake up each day rejoicing over this new life and rejoicing over our baby girls life.


Be on guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14





My mom sent me this picture while Mary Anna was in the hospital, and I would look at it during those short days, and think that if I just let her rest now, then maybe in fact she will move mountains.

I am such a proud mommy.

My baby girl is doing that, and even though it’s not the way we planned, we couldn’t be more excited to see how the Lord will use this baby too. We serve a big God.

There is something that this big God does require of us and that is to have courage and to put your hope in Him.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12


Keep Walking
Feb 03

Ancient Words

Let Me alone be your God, and never seek another. In other words, whatever you lack of good things, expect it of me, and look to Me for it; and whenever you suffer misfortune and distress, creep and cling to Me. I, yes, I, will give you enough and help you out of every need; only let not your heart cleave to or rest in any other.
-Martin Luther
We sang two songs before our pastor walked to the front that really moved me. Then we opened the ancient words of God, and I was truly blown away at the mercy of the Lord. There was a line in one of the songs that said, “Our cold and ruthless enemy his pleasure is our harm, rise up, O Lord and he will flee, before our Sovereign God.” Wow.
As I have talked to a few friends off and on this week, I have noticed a lot of people have asked why my blogs have seemed so sad lately. There are so many things about walking in our shoes right now that are just hard to explain, but I do know that God is good and the church is such an avenue for healing.
I felt early on like everyone was trying to make me not go to church to spare me from the pain, and Dan and I took a few weeks off, and we quickly went back. We craved worship, fellowship, and being in the Lord’s house. I tell you one thing, it has been very painful to walk through the same doors Sunday after Sunday that we held our baby girl’s funeral at, yet it has been the greatest gift to us.
The Lord does rise up, and our enemy will flee.
We have been studying the Ten Commandments, and of course, I have always looked at that list a little prideful. I tend not to murder, steal, cheat, or worship other gods very often. Well, actually, let’s go with never, yet this study has opened my heart to how I actually do all of those things on a daily basis. 
Today we focused on having “no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).  It was an eye opener to the passage in Revelation 3, “You are neither cold nor hot…. So, because you are lukewarm… I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” I realized how many times that I have and currently do have idols in place of the Lord, and those idols lead to being desensitized to the things of God. 
The opening line of the sermon said that we never violate commandments 2-10 without violating the first one. What a beacon of truth and a charge to rid of idols. As we rid of idols, the enemy loses his hold on us. This is why we keep walking into those doors each Sunday and trusting in our King.
Hallelujah!
song recommendations from today: Our Great God, Ancient Words, and O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus