Lydia Grace

Lydia Grace
Our first child, Lydia Grace

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yes, I am a mom

A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. But...there is no word for a parent who loses a child, that's how awful the loss is!        

 I found this quote and have been pondering it. There is no one word to explain. How could one word hold all the pain and loss? (Not that other losses are not also great, but the loss of your child is something else entirely). When others ask questions, yes I am a mommy...then what? The inevitable question: how many children? how old?  boy or girl? There is no simple answer to give.
 "Yes, I'm a mom." I gave this reply last week. Fortunately that was the end of the conversation at that point. But I know the question will come again. I was asked recently about my identity of being a mom and how that has changed. How does it change? How can it? I did not cease being a mother. When I held my daughter, I felt it more strongly than before. I am still a mom, though my responsibilities for my daughter are not the same as other moms. Losing a child when he or she is three years... twenty-two years does not take away that role, that identity. 
  Yes, I am a mother. A mother with no baby to hold. No baby to nurse or rock. There is a crib in the bedroom next to mine and it is empty. I am a mother. A mother with empty arms.
A mother with part of myself in heaven. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


   Some moments seem unbearable. I have times I feel just desperate in my pain. Pulled apart. Unable to see how I will continue, as if the grief itself could kill me. Then there is guilt. Guilt at times when I am not consumed by thoughts of her. When I am completing tasks, talking, laughing even. Sometimes I think I am doing well, other times I feel the pain overcome me so I feel I am shattered in a million pieces; it is so intense. It is as though I cannot "look" all at once at this pain, this loss. Only for brief periods of time can I feel it so intensely, "look" so closely. Even in my dreams I have lost my child and am missing my baby.

 We received Lydia's pictures a few days ago. A non-profit organization who takes photographs of an infant after their loss came to the hospital. My husband and I watched the DVD in tears. We have a DVD of photos with music as well as a CD of still pictures. I can't believe she is gone. I am so glad we have the pictures. Not that the memories I have of my beautiful baby will ever leave me, but to be able to have pictures is wonderful.

  I have been praying more these past couple weeks. When I feel overwhelmed, my tears are my prayer. When I see pregnant women, small babies, baby items...I have to start praying. And God is merciful and loving. He is my only hope. The constant, unchanging One. I do not know how people who do not know the Lord continue in times like these. My only hope is in Christ and without Him, how would I survive?

   " 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall their be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.' And He who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' "  Revelation 21:3-5

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lydia's Story

    The pregnancy was completely unexpected, but received with such joy. I found out I was pregnant with my first (currently only) baby on February 26th 2010. My husband was thrilled as well.
    Every day we prayed for our baby. Each day we thanked God for giving us this child (we know so many dealing with infertility and miscarriage) and each day we thanked God for the healthy pregnancy I was experiencing. And we prayed for our baby, asking for her salvation and praying for continued good health and delivery.
    A regular runner, nutrition-conscience, young, well-educated, never smoked or drank, prenatal care from 4 weeks pregnant...there was nothing better I could do. Losing my baby had not even crossed my mind. For 26 weeks, every doctor's visit was short and positive. My blood pressure could not have been better, I was told. Lydia's heartbeat was consistently good. Other than some mild morning sickness during the first trimester and the difficulty of finding comfortable sleeping positions, I had absolutely no complaints. I thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant.
   My husband and I had both been hoping for a daughter. The ultrasound at 20 weeks confirmed we were having a baby girl. Her heart, lungs, spine, brain, fingers, toes, the placenta, umbilical cord---everything looked great. We decided to name her Lydia Grace. Her nursery was ready. I was ready. I decided not to work because I wanted to stay at home and breast feed and care for our baby. Her due date was November 5; I was counting down the weeks to meet my precious child.

Life turned inside-out
   At 26 weeks pregnant I noticed I had not felt Lydia move for awhile. I was concerned as she had been a very active baby in my womb. I knew something was wrong.
   My husband and I went to the hospital. No heartbeat was found for Lydia. An ultrasound was done. Our baby was gone. It was unreal. Shock. Pain. Confusion. Questions.
   I was induced. I did not think I would be able to get through the labor and delivery knowing my baby would not be living when it was done. Somehow I did. Family came. Friends dropped by. Our pastor came and prayed with us.
   My baby Lydia Grace was stillborn on August 1st 2010 at 11:38 in the morning. She weighed 2 pounds, 6.4 ounces and was absolutely beautiful. She was flawless. She had a dimple in her chin, matching her mommy and daddy's; rosebud shaped lips; perfect fingers and toes; perfectly shaped head. Nothing was found wrong with her. No cord accident, no infection, nothing. No reason can be given for a death far too early.
   We took pictures. We held her. We cried. Holding her I wanted to give her my heart so hers could start beating again. I wanted her to open her eyes. I wanted her still body to draw in a breath. It didn't seem possible that my sweet baby girl, the daughter we had rejoiced in and prayed for, was already with God.
  Leaving the hospital with empty arms, broken hearted, crushed, exhausted, overwhelmed, and with an unbelievable pain in my heart...