Lydia Grace

Lydia Grace
Our first child, Lydia Grace

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I felt the need to feel close to my daughter this afternoon, so Isaiah and I visited her grave.
Sixteen months have passed.

Another couple was also in the baby section of Roselawn Memorial Park where Lydia is buried. They were also visiting their daughter's grave, stillborn 22 years ago today. Twenty-two years later and the mother stood weeping at her daughter's grave. It was like seeing myself in another 21 years.

My heart forever aches. Sixteen months is long enough to live with this. Can I have my daughter back? That's what I want for Christmas: both my children in my arms. I want to hear my little girl laugh. I want to hold her and kiss her and sing to her.

Yet it is another Christmas season without her here. Every Christmas for as long as I am living will be without her with me. My husband recently wrote and presented a paper concerning mother's who have had stillborn babies. In his research he read a study that found the loss of a child to be the most profound and deepest of grief, compared to the loss of a spouse, sibling or parent. I cannot personally testify that the grief is greater than with those other significant losses, but I can testify that is unimaginably painful.

Mixed feelings this Christmas. So very excited to share it with our son, but ever aware of the hole in my heart and in our family.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Favorite Quote

When a woman is pregnant people often say she is "expecting a child" or is "going to have a baby." Although said from force of habit, perhaps a change of language is in order, because a woman who is pregnant is not "expecting" a child, she already has one. The child exists, is living and growing in her womb. Nor is she about to bring the child "into the world," the child is already in the world. the mother's womb is as much in the world as the mother herself. 

~Author unknown 

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Little Lydia, 

 I have been thinking about you often recently. Your little brother is growing and changing so quickly. I wonder what you would have been like at these various stages. Is your smile like his? I imagine you are full of smiles in heaven.
I wish I could breath in your scent the way I breath in his. I wish I could kiss your cheeks, your neck, your head, again. I wish I could hold you, rock you to sleep, sing to you. I treasure all these times with Isaiah, aching at the fact I never will experience it with you.
With your little brother here, I haven't been able to attend a M.E.N.D meeting where I can talk with other mommies who have precious babies in heaven, too. It feels kind of lonely, not having others who understand the hurt. Isaiah brings so much joy, but part of my heart will always be broken, missing. You brought us such joy, too, little daughter, so much love and joy that your parting is incredibly painful and unrelenting. 

I miss you. Oh, how I miss you, sweet child! I wish I could have saved you. I would have done anything.

Do you see the whole picture from heaven? A greater picture than just the pain we feel and see on earth?
Do you dance with joy in heaven on streets of gold?  Do you know your mommy loves you so much?

I do, Lydia. I miss you and love you. I think about you and sometimes get so angry you aren't here with your daddy, brother and me. I anxiously await meeting you again in heaven.

Until then, my daughter, you are in my heart always,


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One Year

August 1st is rapidly approaching.

Has it really been almost a year?

I miss her so much today. Holding my son, thinking how wonderful he is, my thoughts stray to my daughter. Life is so precious I desperately wish I had been given more time with her on earth.
I do not want her life to be only considered in tears, though. She brought joy to my husband and I. And in her brief life and in her death I have learned amazing truths this past year. A summary of these things follow.

   God is faithful. He is good. In the lowest and darkest of places He is there. His grace is sufficient. After Lydia's heartbeat was not found, I felt I could not go through labor and delivery, a funeral, and life after that moment. Only by the strength and grace of God I have. Christ is with me in my suffering and pain, He loves me, and I have felt closer to Him in this valley than I ever have. In all things, God is good

   Heaven is real and more wonderful than we know. Death is not something I fear. Through this past year, my desire for things in this life has lessened and Christ's return has become more desired. In the past I have felt a greater tie to the things in this world. I wanted to go to heaven, I wanted Christ to return, but I still held on to things I wanted to do or accomplish or experience before that. I am not where I should be in this regard, but I now have such joyful anticipation for Christ's return. I am ready for Him to come; I am ready to meet my Redeemer face to face. I can think of nothing I want to do or accomplish or experience first. This past year God has been teaching me to live more in light of eternity with my sight on the things above. 

   God is the giver of life. He makes babies. He decides how long each person lives. The life He gives, no matter the amount of time here on earth, is a gift. It is a precious blessing. 

   Trials, pain, and suffering can strengthen or dissolve relationships. I have experienced both this year. I am most grateful that it has strengthened my marriage. I have a closer bond and deeper relationship with my husband now. 

   Lastly, I am learning how to respond and interact with others in their pain and suffering. God "comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 
(2 Corinthians 1:4)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blessing of our Baby

   I have had good intentions on writing a joyful post regarding the birth of our son, Isaiah. However, my free moments are typically spent in something other than blogging; namely, sleeping, eating, cleaning/doing laundry. Although the fact I've lost all my pregnancy weight in two weeks time and the chaotic state of our house suggest sleep is the activity of choice when presented with an opportunity. Though sleep probably is not accurate, more like "cat naps" between constant breastfeeding (ready to eat every hour and a half to two hours during the day?) and other duties. 
The brief story: 

   My husband and I arrived at the hospital just before 7 a.m. on Thursday, June 9. The pitocin was started around 8 a.m. My labor progressed quickly throughout the morning and, following an epidural, my water was broken by my OB around lunch time. The pitocin was stopped and my body naturally continued in labor. 
   My mother, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, brother, and great aunt were there for most of the day, waiting for Isaiah's arrival. 
    Isaiah Drew was born at 8:08p.m. that evening.  He weighed 7 pounds 9 ounces (I guessed he would be that exact weight earlier that day!!), measured 20 3/4 inches long and is perfect. It was beautiful to hear him cry, watch him move and stretch wide-eyed. 
   We were able to leave the hospital Saturday morning. It has been wonderful having him at home. He is so precious and sweet, a very good-natured and laid back baby. I am so thankful for him! 

less than 24 hours old

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Induction Anticipation

   As I feared, sleep eludes me tonight. Not that sleep has come easily or lasted through the night in the last few weeks, but I was hoping to get some rest tonight. Joyful anticipation and an uncomfortably pregnant body keep me awake. In six hours (probably less by the time I finish this post) I will be checking into the hospital for my induction.
   The last eight weeks of pregnancy have s-l-o-w-l-y passed. They have definitely been the most difficult. I am glad this part of the journey is coming to a close. Over 100 injections, numerous doctor's appointments and sonograms, many prayers and fears, and three visits to the hospital later: it is time. With a gestational age of 38 weeks, 2 days, Isaiah will be born.
   I am not anxious about the labor, I've done that before and have no qualms about getting an epidural to relieve pain. I am ready to get these contractions going so I can hold this little one in my arms. I anticipate feeling relief along with all the other emotions I will feel. Relief that he is outside of my womb where I can hold him, see him, hear him cry, watch him breathe and move.
   I am one excited mama tonight!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Baby Shower Blessing

     A baby shower for my little Isaiah came to pass a few weeks ago! My sister-in-law did an incredible job putting it all together in a week.
 Fun game we played.

Many, many gifts!

It was a great afternoon with friends and family. The shower was meaningful and special to me. 
Having a baby shower is such a normal thing for mothers to enjoy and I am very thankful I was able to have one for our little boy.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Answering that dreaded question

   "Is this your first?"
I am asked that question almost everywhere I go. 
And my answer is different, even in the same day. 
It is not a simple questions for us mothers who have lost little ones in this way. 

Everyone is always excited about pregnancy and babies and are so enthusiastic in their questions, especially over a first child. But it is the question I dread. 

Today, following this question, I gave two different responses. To the first woman who asked today, I said, "yes", indicating this is my first child. I immediately regretted my response, feeling guilt, apologizing internally to my daughter, considering going back and telling the stranger that this was not my first baby, my first baby is already in heaven.

Later today when asked the same question, I said, "no, it's our second". In that conversation, it was sufficient and no further questions were asked. No need to explain. A response that left me with no guilt. 

However, the line of questioning does not typically stop at that point. The following questions usually involve a question about whether my first is a boy or girl, or the child's age. One woman asked if my first was excited about the new baby and I said yes. (is that considered a lie? with such joy in heaven, isn't she joyful?) Other questions force explanations and my response then also varies. 

I have tried the response, "My first is in heaven", both to the initial question about my pregnancy being with my first as well as to the subsequent questions that all to frequently follow. It makes for some awkward situations where the questioner looks quite uncomfortable and drops the topic or leaves the conversation entirely. Sometimes an apology comes with the look of horror, but not always. I think it just shocks most people. 

I've tried a direct, "my first was stillborn" and it brings the same awkwardness and end to the conversation. I think I have yet to meet someone who responds in any other way. 

Either I have guilt for saying "yes, this one is my first" or it is a conversation ender for me to say, "no, I lost my first." My husband consistently answers "no, this is my second", but he has never been asked the follow-up questions. Then there is my mother who sees and verbally acknowledges Isaiah as her first and only grandchild, but that is another topic entirely.

Ten months later and I am inconsistent in responding and struggle with the question. Maybe I always will. But what feels best to me is stating how things are and letting that person feel what they feel. They may feel uncomfortable, but they don't live with it daily. It might not make new friends, but so be it. Maybe one day my honesty will allow someone else to be open about the same thing. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Baby Showers and Mother's Day

Yesterday was the date of my baby shower that has been postponed. This is the second baby shower planned for me and my baby that has not come to pass. Lydia went to heaven before her baby shower on earth and this time the shower was cancelled/postponed due to the events of last weekend. We had to make a decision on whether or not we should have the shower and based on how I was feeling at the hospital, a shower was not something I felt I was ready to enjoy. 

I will admit I threw a little pity party on Friday. 
I complained to my husband tirelessly about how it was not fair that this was my second missed baby shower, how I will never get to enjoy a baby shower, and how I had many expectations of how my baby shower would be. He got to the point that he said he would plan and throw a baby shower for me himself if that is what needed to happen. I tried to gain some perspective on the issue. A shower of sorts is still in the works for after Isaiah's arrival. Yet it sounded so fun to have it in anticipation of his arrival, so I feel a little cheated of this traditional part of pregnancy that many women take for granted. 

This is the second Mother's Day in a row that I am pregnant. I should have a baby to proudly take with me to visit my mother today. I'm praying next Mother's Day will look differently. 
It's funny how Mother's Day is about our mothers, but when you've lost a baby all you can think about is the baby you lost on Mother's Day: your role as a mother to a little one in heaven.
My husband and others have been very thoughtful in wishing me a Happy Mother's Day. Maybe since I am at home with my husband and pups, this holiday does not seem as sorrowful. We did not go to church or see family, I think that helped to not face all of that (as if I have much choice at the moment).
First Mother's Day with Isaiah 
Today I celebrate being a mother to one baby in heaven and another very close to entering the world.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Contractions, Contractions, go away!

   It was a crazy weekend! Thursday night I had contractions too strong and too regular to be Braxton Hicks. My husband wanted to know if he should take me to the hospital. I was indecisive and fearful that going to the hospital would be admitting something was wrong. It brought up so much anxiety after the experience with Lydia.
  The contractions stopped after midnight Thursday and I fell asleep. Friday I had a few more contractions, though not as regularly as the previous night. Since it was a Friday I thought it best to check in with my OB before the weekend. I called and left a message for her medical staff. My call was returned and I was told to come that afternoon for another non-stress test.
  In less than an hour I had five or six contractions (not good at 32 weeks, 3 days). My OB was out of town for a conference which sparked another panic in me.  (She was also not available initially when I was in the hospital with Lydia, coming later that day when available). Her nurse practitioner examined me, determining I was already dilated 2 cm. She spoke with my OBon the phone and sent me immediately to the hospital.
   I was quickly roomed and an IV was started. Then we had to wait. And wait. And wait for the on-call OB to visit and consult with my Dr. before beginning any treatment. I was lying in bed, still having contractions, panicking because no one could do anything until a doctor called the orders. Fortunately, they were keeping constant monitor of Baby Isaiah's heartbeat (and my contractions), so we knew he was doing alright. After much longer than expected, the on-call OB, who I really liked, came and gave me the protocol for treatment, directed by my Dr.
   An IV of magnesium sulfate was started and I was on that for 48 hours. It felt like fire was being inserted into my veins when the bolus dose started. The intensity abated, but I remained warm and felt yucky the whole time I received the mag. Also with magnesium you absolutely cannot leave the bed and it requires hourly checks, around the clock, by the nurse to monitor  lungs, temperature, reflexes, etc. My contractions stopped, then started again, eventually stopping entirely. I was also given two steroid injections to prepare baby's lungs for delivery in case we had to deliver early.
   I stayed relatively composed and not too anxious until after the crisis. It was one of those things where you can hold it together for so long while you address the problem and then you panic/become anxious/scared/tearful. Early Sunday morning I woke during yet another check from a nurse. She left and I was lying there awake, still on the magnesium. I could hear Isaiah's heartbeat. At my request I asked for the sound to be constantly loud enough for me to hear. It provided comfort. My husband and my families had gone home the previous night. He was sleeping soundly beside me. Then I started worrying. More than I had been up until that point.
   It was Sunday, the first of May. Just nine months previously, on Sunday, the first of August Lydia had been stillborn. I cried and prayed, missed my first baby while being thankful for my second. Then my mind starts to catastrophize and I wonder if we will loose Isaiah too. Here we are, same hospital, same day of the week, same date of the month with problems in was an emotional morning.
   I was taken off the magnesium Sunday evening and did not start having contractions. Monday morning my OB examined me and discharged me from the hospital. We had been there since Friday, so it was very nice to be going home. I am on bed rest now and on meds that are used to treat high blood pressure. It is a smooth muscle relaxant --it relaxes the muscles in the uterus to keep them from contracting. It also lowers my already low blood pressure. Which is one of the reasons why I'm only allowed to shower every other day, sitting down, with assistance, among other activity restrictions.

I know so many have been praying for me and Isaiah. God is the giver of life and is the One to be thanked for my health, Isaiah's health, the contractions stopping, etc. I am thankful God has given us family who care so much, a good physician and nurses, the medical knowledge and discoveries we have to help with pregnancies and pre-term labor.

Here I am on bedrest. 33 weeks 2 days pregnant with our second. Praying he stays in there until at least 36 weeks. I know things can change at any minute, but I am resting easily now.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

.Resurrection Sunday

  Resurrection Sunday happened to fall on my husband and my anniversary this year. We spent the weekend together, enjoying this rare time that my husband was not constantly working on something (graduate school comes with a ridiculous amount of work and commitment). 
  Sunday we visited the site where our daughter is buried. While there I felt the need to do something for Easter for her grave, so we went to the store to find something to place there for our girl. Part of me felt it kind of silly considering she is continually able to celebrate in heaven with Christ, but I had to do something. 
   At church that evening a well-intentioned woman turned to greet me and said excitedly that next Easter we would have a baby with us. I smiled, but thought this Easter we should have our baby with us. Another holiday we had thought would have Lydia here, but she is not with us. 
   Today I went to the Christian bookstore to search for a book I have been wanting to read, but had not yet purchased. I had to ask for assistance in locating the book and when the saleswoman handed it to me reading the book title, Safe in the Arms of God: truth from heaven about the death of a child, brought on the tears. I am curious if the woman thought the book was for me, but she asked no questions. I cried on my drive home, began to read the book, producing further tears. It was a self-pity crying initially, crying because I had personal reason to read a book on this subject. Then I felt the pain and loss, feeling the emptiness of the house and my arms and the continual ache in my heart
   How do I say this? What do I share? Mornings like this cries and wails and banging on the wall is how I grieve. This coming Sunday will be nine months since her stillbirth. Yes, much healing and change has occurred, yet this pain, always this pain and sorrow.
   I am looking forward to reading this book. I flipped and skimmed through some pages and have already read encouraging truth.  Safe in the arms of God. That is where my baby is.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

God Provides

This afternoon I was overcome with thankfulness to God for how He provides!
   First I think of God's provision through my husband. Beginning last summer, before we lost Lydia, my husband was offered a teaching position that was unexpected, and has been continued to be offered to teach undergraduate classes every semester. He was also offered a part time job in the psychology department at the university he attends for his PhD. He works so hard to provide for us and I am incredibly thankful for a husband who does this. 
   After Lydia was stillborn family and friends gifted us with $800. It was completely unexpected and a blessing for my husband and I. My grandparents have paid for medical bills. 
   After all the medical bills from Lydia and my being unemployed I was anxious as to how we would afford another pregnancy and child. God blessed us with another child and has provided all we need. The injections I need this pregnancy were going to cost over a thousand dollars each month, but I was able to get them at no cost through the patient assistance program. This week we received a refund for medical expenses that are now being covered. God has continued to meet my and Isaiah's medical expenses in various ways. 
   I was pondering these things this afternoon and wanted to express how grateful I am for all God has given us and share that with others. I am thankful for how He provides through my hardworking husband, through family, friends, and other ways. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Growing Excitement and Belly

   For a couple weeks now I have been counting down the days (77), not weeks, until Isaiah's due date. I have begun writing the daily countdown on the dry erase board by our calendar. My excitement has been mounting and I feel as though I cannot wait.

29 weeks! (And suffering from seasonal allergies)

   I have also gone a little crazy with the house.  I decided to switch the nursery and office, then after asking my husband to move part of the furniture, I decided to switched them back again. Though I am still pondering that decision. I have requested the rearrangement of the living room and kitchen. I've given away, thrown away, and packed away. I've scrubbed windows, doors, air conditioning vents, baseboards and walls; rearranged cabinets, closets, and cubbies. I have a list two pages long with all the other tasks I wish to complete. Currently the house is in a greater state of disarray than it was when I started this reorganization rampage, but I have to make messes to get everything back in order. Or so I reassure my husband, as boxes line our hallway. All will be in its own place soon enough. Just have to get it right. And I hope I am not premature in some of this cleaning. I do not want to feel the need to do it again before baby.

   I plan on registering this week and plans for a baby shower are in the works. I finally feel I am to a point that I feel comfortable and good about having a shower. My excitement and joy is difficult to contain and I am looking forward to sharing it with others! 


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

and there are days

The nice thing about a blog is being able to write selective stories. I can write about hope and faith and times of comfort and never speak of the dark days and nights. But then I am not being honest with myself or others. 

The dark days and nights when the words of Job resonate with me. 
"Oh that I might have my request, and that God would fulfill my hope, 
that it would please God to crush me, 
that he would let loose his hand and cut me off!" (Job 6: 8-9)

Days when getting out of bed is a challenge. Nights when sleep won't come and I whisper her name, wishing she would be sleeping in the next room or being held in my arms. Times when the mundane tasks of life feel pointless, meaningless, not worth completing. 

Questions of where God is in this pain. Questions of why, no reason bringing the remotest sense of satisfaction. Times of staring at my closed Bible, not knowing how to open it. Feeling unable to seek out any comfort or strength from my faith. 

Feelings of isolation, loneliness, sadness. Feelings of anger, resentment, emptiness. 

Times of tears and groans. Times I feel these emotions cannot be released merely by tears, surely I could explode from all I feel. Days and nights of shadow and darkness. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

God's Mercy and Grace

  For the past seven weeks I have been participating in a Grief Group Bible study at our church. The study is not yet over, but I have learned so many things. The study uses the book "Holding on to Hope" by Nancy Guthrie. The focus is the book of Job as well as other Scripture. I've enjoyed the daily Bible study, the discussions at group, and the book.
   Through this study God has revealed truth in His Word, brought conviction for sin in my heart, and provided comfort with the other believers in the group. I've hesitated writing about these truths and lessons I have learned and am learning, questioning the value of publicly sharing personal details and possible injury to my pride. However, I hope it brings glory to God, not making me look any better. I want God to be glorified in the life and death of my daughter, and He can be glorified in what He has done in my heart following her precious life. So, here we go.

   One question that has pricked the back of my mind occasionally since July 31, 2010 when Lydia's heartbeat could not be found was "is this punishment from God?". It is common to wonder if suffering and loss are some kind of punishment and I felt there was better reason in the case of my husband and I for this to indeed be punitive. We had been engaged five months when I became pregnant with Lydia. Clearly, sex outside of marriage is a sin. Despite our pastor lovingly informing us at Lydia's funeral that her death was in no way punitive, in the back of my mind for the past seven months have had my doubts and questions. Even the biblical example of King David came to mind. His child born to him from adultery (sin) died.
   Thanks to the death of Jesus on the cross, He took all the punishment and blame for all my sin. God's wrath and the punishment I deserve is no longer on me because Jesus took it. "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor. 5:21). "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1). I am under God's mercy and love. "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace, in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Rom 5:1-2).
  Though I had been told Lydia's death was not punishment, I still doubted until God revealed these truths to me why her death was not punitive. Praise God!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


  One change in my life following losing Lydia is a change of perspective. In the deepest suffering and pain your perspective on life changes. It brought an eternal perspective. Things on earth matter very little, my grip on many of them has been loosened, replaced by a deep yearning for heaven. 
   Of course, I want to go to heaven, has been my thought since childhood. I'm just not ready yet. I always held this list of things in my head that I wanted to happen before I got to heaven. Get married, have children, grow old with my husband...basically, I wanted a full, good life then heaven. Death and eternity was not a scary thought, but it was not something I longed to receive any time soon. 
   It all changed when my baby went to heaven. My child, part of myself is already there, so I certainly think about heaven much more than I ever have. The pain and suffering of this world is so great and what the world offers so futile, eternity in the presence of God is where I want to be. I yearn to be in heaven. I can't wait. It seems closer than it ever has, yet I am not there yet. 
   Having this perspective has impacted my view, values, and grip on many areas of life. Many goals, achievements, possessions and accomplishments hold little value now. Inconveniences and other hardships seem more trivial. My husband occasionally states that no other loss can be as painful as losing our baby, so other trials pale in comparison. A change in perspective brings a shift in priorities. Certainly not all my priorities are in line, not all the things I want to control have been given to God, I still get anxious and my actions are not right, but God has brought changes in my heart, a yearning for heaven, and a different perspective on this life in result of deepest loss and pain. 


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Isaiah Update

   I had an OB appointment this afternoon. By due date I am 25 weeks, 1 day pregnant today. I have felt an increase of anxiety as we are nearing that 26 week mark that glares like a flashing warning light. My wonderful OB had to run across the parking lot (literally) to deliver a patient's baby at the hospital and I was offered to be seen by her nurse practitioner rather than waiting for her return. I have only been in the care of my dr. and since it had been 4 weeks since I had seen her, seeing someone else was not an option. I elected to wait and was very glad I did. It was well after 5, but Dr. D wanted to do a sonogram (unscheduled, I think this was the 5th sono this pregnancy). Her sonographer had gone, so she did the sono herself. It was great! Wish she could do them every time! : )
    He is a growing, active little boy with a very healthy heart and brain. His measurements have him at 26 weeks today. My due date remains unchanged, but being right here in the same gestational period I was at the end of July is a nerve racking and exciting. The weeks have passed so quickly and it feels wonderful that everything is going well. I'll be going to the Dr. weekly for the next several weeks. 

   Isaiah is SO ACTIVE! He kicks and moves and stretches all sorts of ways all the time. I compare it to Lydia's activity and wonder if something was wrong with her (no, nothing medically abnormal was found). She did not move as much as he does. I've pondered if this is because he is a boy or has a different temperament/activity level. I was very aware of her movements because she was my first and I'm very aware of his movements because I am constantly on guard (that and he makes his presence known without question). Dwelling on it can lead me down the road of self-blame and what-ifs if I am not careful. I reassure myself with the fact that I did feel her move and kick until the worst day of my life and if she did move less frequently overal how was I to know when I had nothing else to compare it to (also, every dr.'s appt and sono showed no problem)? Ultimately, all of our lives are in God's hands nothing happens without Him allowing it. 

   I cannot entertain the thought of losing another child. I feel hopeful and anticipate things to go well with Isaiah. I just believe they will. But if things do not go how I expect, I am so thankful to have him every day and night he is moving in my womb. What a blessing! Two sweet children. And I can say with certainty that God is with us and sustains us through any event that may occur. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

You Bring Restoration

You take my mourning, turn it into dancing
You take my weeping, turn it into laughing
You take my mourning, turn it into dancing
You take my sadness, turn it into joy

You bring restoration...

We sang this song at church tonight. Some of my thoughts follow.

Mourning into dancing, weeping into laughing, sadness into joy...
At times statements like these seem impossible. Mourning doesn't seem to have a clear ending; though I laugh, I still weep; my sadness is present with the joy, for the present I experience both extremes. 

Yet one day my mourning will be turned completely into dancing, never to return and bring with it the familiar ache. One day my weeping will be turned to laughing and singing, and tears will no longer so easily fall. One day sadness will not darken my life, and joy never ending will fill it. He promises restoration, though complete restoration will not come until Christ returns. Hallelujah! O glorious day! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011


We all do it. Upward comparison and downward comparison. Who is "better" than us, who is "worse". Make ourselves look better or feel worse, justify actions, validate ourselves. People do it with physical comparisons: thinner, fatter, stronger. People, mostly in the church, compare with a sort of moral scale: he does these things, at least I don't. Material wealth, education, careers, social status...this comparison goes on and on in so many areas of life.

Sadly it exists even within the world of grief. The end result may be the same: a mother or father have lost a child, yet a hierarchy of sorts appears to be shared by many. 

The loss of a three month old is deemed greater than the lost of a newborn or child in the womb. Is it the act of giving birth to a living baby what people consider the threshold of parenthood? Is that what makes the difference? Suddenly you are a parent and the death of your child is automatically more painful?Or is it the child had a life here on earth and other people were able to interact with the child? See his face, hear his voice, watch him play, etc. Does that make the loss greater? 

Some may compare to make their loss seem greater or compare to reason that their loss is not as great. One who has lost an infant has commented that losing a baby before you were able to hear her cry, look in her eyes, feed her and comfort her is unimaginable. I've heard gratefulness for any brief amount of time spend with one's child; pity for those who lost children before given that chance. 

My loss has been brushed aside by some, Lydia's life not truly recognized as human because she did not draw a breath outside my womb. Hurtful words have come because I did not carry Lydia to term. As if several more weeks in my womb legitimizes her life as more real and the loss greater. She could have been born at the time she did and lived. Yet if a baby is lost before his or her life was viable outside the womb, it does not diminish that loss. How is it that a loss at 40 weeks can be conceived as more painful, greater, more tragic than a loss at 26 weeks?

I've heard comments stating estrangement from their living, adult child is worse than the death of a child. I cannot speak from experience as to the suffering of that state, but it certainly serves to invalidate my loss, my grief, my pain. One commentator even had the audacity to try and relate my feelings of motherhood (i.e. my struggle to be recognized as a mother and have the mother identity while not having my baby with me) to a broken engagement. Death is something different. 

Comments from well-intending people and maybe those not so well-intending, even comments within groups hoping to provide support can cause pain when words of comparison are spoken.

The conclusion I draw for the reason of this comparison in grief is the desire to feel our loss is recognized. Affirmed. Seen as significant. Validated. Whether the loss is an infant 10 days old or at 28 weeks of gestation, the fact remains that the mother has lost her child. A mother she will always be. The loss is great. The pain is real. Comparison does not help. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Why are you silent on this that matters most?
Fear of inflicting pain, a reason for many
Yet with you it’s something different
That keeps your lips silent.

Pictures and words
Talking unheard
Silence still reigns
Denial of pain

Lack of acknowledgement
Not seen as existing
Remaining veiled and hidden
To not cause you shame

Shame and embarrassment
Greater than pain
It binds you to silence
There you remain

Scrupulous to appear
Standing tall and strong
Hidden tears and sorrow
Grief an unsung song 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Six Month Anniversary/Twenty Week Celebration

   Today is a significant day for my husband and I. Today marks my 20th week of pregnancy and six months since Lydia's birth. The 20th week of pregnancy is important because it is the half-way point of pregnancy and it differentiates the loss of Isaiah** after this point as a stillbirth and not a miscarriage (medically defined). Tomorrow, weather permitting, I have my fifth sonogram. 
  And six months since Lydia's birth. Six months ago we were holding Lydia in our arms after 16+ hours of labor. Six months. It sounds like a long time, but six months isn't so very long. I have read that most people can only tolerate another's loss for about a month before wanting the grieving person to get back to normal. I've heard this thought reflected in senseless comments of others made towards me or my husband. I want to shake them and tell them to judge only after they've buried a child. The remarks never come from someone who has. Grief takes time. Most people seem to forget that we are still grieving her loss while celebrating the pregnancy of another child. 
   Six months. Six months of time in which we have endured Lydia's due date, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. Painful days to say the least. Six months of grieving, learning to live without the daughter for whom we had prayed and loved. Times in which we have found comfort and support and times there have seemed to be none. 
   Reflecting on the past six months I can identify how my grief has changed. From the first weeks of not being able to sleep at night, waking up in the middle of the night, overcome and consumed with it all to a grief allowing more functioning in the world. Seeing babies in stores (particularly in church) causes pain, but it has been some time since I have felt the urge to scream and throw things in the store. A grief that is ever present, overwhelming at times, still bringing anger, questions, and sadness. 
   Six months ago I was holding her in my arms. That is the sole reason I resist this passage of time. It takes me further away from that bittersweet moment. Closing my eyes I am back in that hospital room. My husband, OB, and one very kind nurse were in the room. A final push, an exhale of relief, and Lydia was placed on my stomach. My first emotion was joy. My first thoughts of admiration, love, and amazement at this beautiful baby. I was struck by the perfection of her form. I felt such a possessiveness of her, my daughter; a protectiveness for no one to hurt her little body or dare make a comment. 
   Isn't she beautiful? I remember asking the nurse. She agreed. Lydia looked perfect. Such a perfectly formed, beautifully shaped body. Such a healthy weight and size for her gestation. No marks of damage, accident or illness. Then why wasn't she alive? The questions still haunts me with many times my only conclusions being something I did or didn't do. A failure on my part. 
   Finding joy in our daughter and experiencing the best of a closure possible given the circumstances. Six months ago I was able to hold my baby. Indescribable sorrow, profound loss, feelings that this was more than I could bear engulfed me. Yet those moments with her were ones I wish had been prolonged. Ones which I wish I could experience again. 
   An anticipatory joy for the future and a remembrance of the past today. I continue on this journey of grief while walking the path of another pregnancy. 

**After I posted this blog, my husband read it and stated it sound like losing Isaiah was expected or anticipated. That is not the case. I do not want to lose Isaiah nor is there any indication that may be a possibility. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Tuesday was one of those days when the impact of the loss slams you in the chest, full force. The recall of a song that reminds me of my daughter brought on the tears. Then the weight of pain and grief felt especially heavy. I sobbed. I felt as though the pressure of all this pain in my heart would make it explode into pieces, never to be mended. 

I drove to the memorial park where Lydia is buried. Again, angry that I would have to be visiting there at all. Lying on the ground by her grave, I ached with the emptiness I feel with her absence. So much hurt and pain. So many questions. I could not, perhaps would not, find any solace in prayer or the hope of seeing her again in heaven. Right then the weight of the loss was too great to see beyond it. Some days are like that. Thankfully, other days I am able to find some peace or joy. 

I miss my baby girl so much.  

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Name

Last week I visited Lydia's grave. The first thought that struck me when I looked down at her gravestone was I don't want her name here. 

You may plan, hope, expect your child's name to be on the school honor role, a sport's trophy, a piano recital, a valedictorian plaque, a diploma. And there are places you do not hope to find your child's name. This is definitely one of those places: a gravestone. I know death is inevitable (unless Christ returns before He calls us home), however, you don't expect to be the one seeing (picking out and writing) your child's gravestone. You don't expect to sit beside the stone marking their grave and weep. That should be left to your child's children and grandchildren. 

These were some of my thoughts as I sat in the grass, staring at my daughter's name. The questions became prayers. Why, God? Why is her name here instead of anywhere else? 

Immediately, the words to the song, "Before the Throne of God Above" came to my mind: 

My name is graven on His hand, my name is written on His heart 

I think I had already been crying up to this point, but this definitely brought on the tears. Immediately curious as to the Biblical reference from which the lyrics had come, I searched for these words in the Bible. The first verses I found came from the book of Isaiah. 

"Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted

But Zion said, 'The Lord has forsaken me; 
my Lord has forgotten me.'

'Can a woman forget her nursing child, 
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, 
yet I will not forget you.
Behold I have engraved you on the palms of my hands'"

Isaiah 49:13-16

I found this Scripture comforting. And it's location in the Bible significant. We have chosen the name Isaiah for our son. I have long liked the name; Isaiah is my favorite book in the Old Testament (perhaps the entire Bible). The name Isaiah means, "Yahweh is Salvation". Such a wonderful truth. 

A name is important. It's meaning, how it is used, how it is spoken, where it is found. My Lydia's name may be on a gravestone, but most importantly her name is written in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. Graven on His hand, written on His heart. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Baby Clothes

   During the weekend visit before Christmas to my in-laws, I went through the clothes, blankets, toys, and crib bedding my mother-in-law and sister-in-law had bought for Lydia. I know some mothers return most or all of the items bought for their child after his/her stillbirth; some repaint the nursery immediately; some let other children use the items. I can understand if some moms find their baby's things too painful to keep. For me, I have kept everything

   I enjoy looking at her things, even though it is often accompanied with pain. Each item was specifically picked with her in mind. They are her things and I could not dream of departing with them by returning them to a store or giving them away. I would let another of my children use them, we would have done that anyways. But not a stranger. Not when everything related to her is sacred to me. 
   Yes, I feel sad looking at these cute outfits, knowing I will never dress her in any of them. I think about what she might have been wearing today--how different our lives would be!