Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things
'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe
When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise
You must think I'm strong
To give me what I'm going through
Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own
I know I'm not strong enough to be
everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
For the both of us
Maybe that's the point
To reach the point of giving up
Cause when I'm finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that's when I start looking up
And reaching out
I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Cause I'm broken
Down to nothing
But I'm still holding on to the one thing
You are God
and you are strong
When I am weak
I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be
I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be
I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Monday, May 30, 2011
One year ago, Memorial Day Weekend 2010, is such a strong memory. I remember being 17 weeks pregnant (and looking about 25 weeks pregnant) and being a week away from finding out the babies' genders. I was so eager to find out so we could name them, buy stuff, and put together their nursery. It was also one of those times that we said, "This time next year, we will have two 7 month old baby twins to bring to the beach." Lee and I, as well as our family, looked so forward to so many things with the babies, just like we did when we were pregnant with Luke. So when we went to the beach this weekend, I couldn't help but be a little sad. I know that sounds strange since we are so blessed to have our two precious boys, but I do get sad when I realize she isn't here. All of those plans and hopes are not going to happen the way we planned and hoped. I just have to remember that God's plan is greater than ours and my hope is in Him and my future. I am often reminded of the verse, Jeremiah 29:11 –
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Monday, May 9, 2011
The Journey to Become a "Real Mother"
For me, the journey to motherhood began when I was a small child. I can remember so fondly playing with babies. I didn't just play with them…to me they were as real as they could be. I named each one of them, dressed them, cared for them, and took them with me everywhere I went. I had a particular baby named Lauren who looked so real that sometimes people thought she was. I would carry her everywhere and would cry if I had to leave her in the car. I knew that no good mother would leave her baby in the car when she went to eat or shop. I longed for the day when I would be a "real mother."
As the years went by, babies turned into Barbies. Whenever I played with Barbies, it was always the same storyline…Boy and girl meet, they fall in love, they get married, they "buy" a big house, and they have babies. I remember stuffing toilet paper into the Barbies' clothes so they would look pregnant. Yes, I was quite realistic. I longed for the day when I would be a "real mother."
Some more years went by and I began baby-sitting. Oh how I loved baby-sitting. I loved playing with the kids so much. I loved reading books to them and telling them stories. I loved making them snacks and food. I loved rocking them and singing to them and putting them to bed and watching as they fell asleep. I loved it all. I jumped at every opportunity to baby-sit, even through my young adult years. I longed for the day when I would be a "real mother."
Then when I was 18 I met the man of my dreams, my now husband, Lee. We dated and from very early on discussed having children. We both said we wanted 3-4 kids and we looked forward to raising them and watching them grow up. We got married at 21 and figured we would wait a few years to be more settled. I longed for the day when I would be a "real mother."
God had greater plans for us. About 10 months later, I got 7 (yes 7) positive pregnancy tests. I was so thrilled. Lee and I made plans, picked out baby names, and got everything ready. I remember seeing that little heartbeat for the first time and finding out his gender. I remember so carefully assembling baby items, laundering and folding baby clothes and putting them away, and so perfectly laying out each thing that he would need. I longed for the day when I would be a "real mother."
Then on January 15th, 2006, after 26 hours of labor and a c-section, I finally heard the greatest sound in the world, my 8lbs 15oz 20 ½ inch son, Luke Ryan Webber, cried for the very first time. It was one of the greatest days of my life. I remember the first time I ever got to hold him (even as tired and drugged up as I was). I looked into that sweet face and was just overcome with thanksgiving. Finally, I was a "real mother."
Raising Luke is/has been the greatest experience of my life. Nursing him, feeding him, changing him, taking care of him, loving on him, disciplining him, and watching him grow. Seeing all of his milestones – his first tooth, his first words, his first steps. It's just amazing to watch a child grow from a little blip on an ultrasound into a full-sized baby and then into a young person. I always thought, "I can't wait to be a 'real mother' again".
As the years went on, Lee and I started talking about having another child. We waited a while since Luke came earlier than we planned. When we were ready, boy, were we ready. We were blessed to try one month and get pregnant. I was so excited. I longed to be a "real mother" again and it was happening.
Then on Thanksgiving Day 2009, I miscarried. Wow! I was shook to the absolute core. What had happened? What had I done wrong? Was it not the right time? Why did I get pregnant so easily only to lose the baby? I was hurt, angry, disappointed, and felt so out of control. I longed to be a "real mother' again so bad.
I went through about a month of being so disappointed and even angry. Then one day in a church sermon (can't even really remember the message to be honest), God got a hold of me and brought me to tears and to my knees. I went to the altar and laid it all before Him. I told Him everything I was feeling, how hurt and disappointed I was, and how selfish I had been to think it was all about me and my timing for children. I told Him, "Lord if Luke is the only child I ever have, then that is enough. If you want to give me 0 children or 12 children through my own body or through adoption, Lord I just want to be in Your will. It's in Your hands. I commit my fertility, my children, and my life to You." God knew how much I longed to be a "real mother" again, but also knew that I was okay with whatever He saw fit for me.
Well a couple of months later, I got pregnant again. We were thrilled. Again, we started planning things and Luke kept telling us, "Mommy we are going to have twins." We really didn't believe him, but I indulged him saying, "Two babies would be double awesome, wouldn't they?" Well at my 8 week checkup we found out that Luke was right. We were having twins. Wow, I was going to be a "real mother" twice again.
As the pregnancy went on, we planned and prepared for the double blessing. We found out their genders and gave them names. We had baby showers and again, perfectly prepared everything for them. On October 1st, 2010 at 35 weeks gestation, I heard the worst news I've heard in my personal life, "Baby B doesn't have a heartbeat." To say it felt like a knife into my heart isn't enough. It was just awful. I would not be a "real mother" to Alexis Faith.
We delivered on October 1st, 2010. At 5:45pm I heard the greatest sound in the world, Nathan Reid Webber, crying for the first time. Exactly two minutes later, I didn't hear anything. That's when Alexis Faith was born. That was the worst "sound" in the world.
Laying to rest my precious daughter a week later was by far one of the hardest days of my life. Aside from the day she was born, I don't think I've ever cried so much. But I realized, I was a "real mother" to Alexis. A "real mother" loves her children and wants the very best for them. I love Alexis with an unfailing, unconditional love. I only ever wanted what was best for her. Well she is in the best place anyone can ever hope to be. She is in Heaven with Jesus Christ. I committed her to the Lord before she was ever conceived and again before she was ever born. I know with every fiber of my being that I am her mother, she is my daughter, and we will be reunited again. I am a "real mother."
I have enjoyed watching Nathan grow and develop over these past 7 months. Being his mother is one of the greatest blessings in my life. God sent him here for a very special purpose. He made him a twin for a very special purpose. He is a gift from God and every day with him is cherished so much. I am so thankful for him. I can honestly say without Nathan, my life would be so different.
The journey to become a "real mother" (so far) has been one of surprises, disappointments, joy, sorrow, happiness, sadness, triumphs, and tragedies, but I can honestly say that I am so glad that I have been able to have the journey. Each part of it has brought me closer to the Lord because most of my journey has been too much for me to carry on my own. He has revealed Himself to me so much through everything. He is always there and will be for the rest of my journey.
As I write this, I have it in my heart so much to have more children. I so long to be a "real mother" again.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
I found out today that my friends are going to lose their triplets. On Monday (roughly 18 weeks), Baby A's amniotic sac ruptured and he lost his fluid. This is obviously pretty life threatening to the baby but they were hoping that Babies B and C and mom would be okay. Well today it took a turn for the worse and she got a uterine infection. So she is currently delivering the babies. Since they are only 18 weeks, they will not survive.
Even going through a miscarriage and even a stillbirth, I seriously can't find words to describe how I feel for them. It's just heartbreaking. I am just praying that they find comfort, peace, and strength.
I thought of Alexis a lot since I heard. I think of her a lot as it is, but this time it was different. I've pictured her in heaven with Jesus preparing to welcome them home. I look forward to the day when she welcomes me.
This is a verse I have clung to:
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
When bad things happen, the last thing someone wants to hear from someone who has never experienced what they are going through is, "I know how you feel." I can honestly say there is no way you can know how someone feels unless you yourself have walked through that experience. I know this and can say this because before I miscarried, I had no clue how it felt to miscarry. I had no clue the sadness, disappointment, grief, frustration, anger, and hurt that went with it. I had no clue that I would think, "Will I ever have children?" "Is there something wrong with me?" "Did I do something wrong?" "Am I not meant to be a mother?" I had no clue that trying again would be scary and overwhelming. I had no clue that when I got pregnant again I would be nervous every second until I saw those beating hearts at 8 weeks and the risk went down (and then until 12 weeks since there were two and the risks were higher). I had no clue.
Before I delivered Alexis Faith stillborn, I had no clue how it felt to have a stillborn child. I had no clue that I wasn't safe after the 12 week mark (the 18 week mark, the 24 week mark, the 32 week mark). I had no clue that I would feel her one day and she would be gone the next. I had no clue that I would see a fuzzy spot on the screen where her heartbeat was supposed to be. I had no clue the intense pain and heartbreak that I would feel with just a few little words, "Baby B doesn't have a heartbeat." I had no clue how hard I could cry in just a few minutes. I had no clue how painful it was to call family and say, "Alexis passed away." I had no clue the numbness I would feel as I walked out of the doctor's office, drove the 20 minute drive home, and then back to the hospital, and waited to deliver. I had no clue how horrible not hearing my baby girl cry in the delivery room would be. I had no clue how holding a baby with no life would feel so surreal yet so real. I had no clue how painful it would be to go home with only one baby. I had no clue how awful it would be to walk in the nursery and see her things everywhere. I had no clue what I would be like to bury a teeny tiny baby (I had no clue that they made caskets that small). I had no clue how hard it would be to try to hold it together every time I hugged someone and heard "We are so sorry for your loss." I had no clue that it would rip my heart out packing up all of her cute pink and purple baby clothes and bedding and gear. I had no clue how awful it would be to have to talk to my 4 year old son about his sister's death. I had no clue that for months my heart, my arms, my body, and my soul would ache for Alexis so bad that just breathing would feel impossible. I had no clue.
Now I can say, "I know how you feel," when a friend has a miscarriage or stillbirth. Although our situations can be different, losing a baby (or babies) puts us in a unique club that no one wants to be a part of. Every time I hear, "I had a miscarriage," "I lost my baby," or "Our baby might not make it," my heart breaks all over again. I hate hearing those words from anyone. I wouldn't wish baby loss on my worst enemy (not that I really have any enemies that I know of). Even though no one wants to lose a baby, I am thankful that there is compassion and understanding and support from people who've been through it. It's my prayer that I am able to help those who miscarry or birth a still baby. I pray all the time that God uses my suffering for His glory. I often think of that song, "Lord I Offer You My Life," by Hillsong. I want to give Him all that I've been through to use it to His glory.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
These are the lyrics to one of my favorite songs from the past 6 months. I think it describes everything I've been going through and how I feel. I would rather have rain with Jesus than sunny skies without Him.
Bring the Rain
I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain
I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray
Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Friday, April 1, 2011
My wonderful friend, Tricia, sent this to me today. I wanted to remember it and share it. I know a lot of my readers have their suffering as well. Hope it touches you. God is so awesome! He will bring us through anything and everything that this world dishes out. We just have to depend on Him all the time. I am reminded of the song, "I Need Thee (Every Hour)". It's so true. I am thankful that He brings us "thus far".
31 Mar 2011
"Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and
said, 'Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house,
that you have brought me thus far?'"
2 Samuel 7:18 (ESV)
Have you ever been in a place of "thus far?" A place where you are experiencing God's blessing and favor on your life. Not blessings and favor by the world's standards of materialism and wealth, but by the Lord's standard of provision, protection, providence, and peace that come from walking in His presence daily.
I want to be in that place of faith, like David, following the Lord's leading and trusting His ways, not my own. I want to meet regularly with the Lord, sitting and taking summary of all He has done for me. With thankfulness and humility, I want to say, "Who am I that you have brought me thus far?"
Oh the places David had seen in his lifetime! From grassy meadows to the splendor of palace life. From dirty fields tending sheep to hiding in a drafty cave, and then to the throne itself, King David arrived at a place of "thus far" in his life. He had experienced every emotion that exists, from confidence to fear, love to hate, and sadness to joy. After all that King David had been through I can certainly understand why he needed to go sit before the LORD and ask, "Who am I?"
He was overwhelmed with the goodness of God and the faithfulness he had experienced. He had been through some of the toughest situations a person could go through, yet he remained faithful and God gave David his reward. Yet, I have to think the reward of kingship and royalty paled in comparison to knowing the goodness and faithfulness of God.
Have you been there? Life has taken twists, turns, and changes at every bend, yet somehow for a season you have arrived at a place of seeing spiritual blessings from the Lord. Yet you realize your place of thus far pales in comparison to knowing and experiencing the goodness and faithfulness of God.
No matter what current circumstances you find yourself in, with our Living God there is always a place of "thus far" waiting around the next bend. This is a place of celebration, praise, complete humility and gratitude before the Lord. I have discovered the hardships we go through are all worthwhile when we get to our place of "thus far." From a grateful heart, we can pour our blessings back out to the Lord as we cry, "Who I am Lord, that you have brought me thus far?"
Dear Lord, forgive me when I don't sit and take summary of Your tremendous favor in my life. Your blessings are far superior to anything this world can give me. Help me to remember my place of "thus far" when Your plan for my life leads me to another season that may be risky and cause me to walk by faith and not by sight. I offer this praise of thanksgiving to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen
Today Luke and I were doing his school work and we opened a book and on the cover page there were 6 butterflies. To some that might seem like a coincidence, but I know my God is awesome and knows everything about me and exactly what I need each minute of each day. I know He placed those 6 butterflies there and directed me to open that book today. The funny thing is that we were supposed to read that book yesterday but were a day behind on home school since we went out to do errands yesterday. God is just so amazing to me everyday!!! Thank you God for butterflies!!!
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Background: I am not an outdoorsy person. I am an indoor girl. I am working on becoming more of an outdoors girl since I have two boys and being outside is "home" for boys. That being said, I am really not great at landscaping and growing things. Well after Alexis passed away, our church friends brought a tree and planted it up the hill in our yard, my mom and mother-in-law put together a beautiful garden (Alexis' Garden), and they filled different pots with flowers (a blue pot for Luke, a red pot for Lee, a purple pot for me, and a cute pot my sister gave me on our front porch). Well needless to say, everything sort of went "dead" because I did not water it for the winter.
I am doing a Bible study at church with some amazing ladies. It's called The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. In the book it talks about inspiration and being inspired by God's creation. Since it is Spring, things are starting to bud and come back to life. Well I looked in my flower pot on the front porch the other day and everything in it was dead but there was one beautiful perfect purple flower that had bloomed. Purple is my favorite color by the way. I thought of it as a great symbol of life. Life can seem pretty dead and yucky and mucky at times. Face it, we go through some crap living in this fallen world. But there are always purple flowers in the midst of all the weeds. God provided that flower to me on that day for a specific reason. I believe He gave that flower to me to say, "Hey Ashley, I know your life has a lot of yucky at times, but I want you to know that I am always here."
I am thankful for purple flowers, yellow butterflies, and a whole other host of things that God uses to reveal Himself to me through His creation. He is so good.
A Scripture to think about:
The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – Psalm 19:1
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I will admit that I have always been a worrier. I have been afraid of many things in my life, from the normal to the insane things that would most likely never even happen. I have been known to have anxiety and panic attacks. I even went through a season of complete worry, fear, and anxiety. I had daily (actually multiple times a day) panic and anxiety attacks. It was completely debilitating. I remember sitting in church listening to the pastor and just starting to have this cloud of worry and anxiety come over me. I would feel like I couldn't breathe. It was crazy. The only thing that stopped it was verbally (almost yelling) prayers to God and quoting Scriptures (2 Tim 1:7 was a big one).
Well when I was pregnant with Nathan and Alexis, I had some worries, but not as many as I thought I would have. I prayed a lot to have peace and God gave it to me. As we passed milestones (8 weeks, 12 weeks, 24 weeks, and each week past 24) and I was doing so great, the worry went completely away. I had no dream that when I went in for my 35 week ultrasound that we would find out what we found out. I figured worst case scenario we would deliver early due to growth issues or fluid issues, but I was not expecting, "Baby B doesn't have a heartbeat."
Like I've said in previous posts, God gave me a complete peace about Nathan from the second I knew something wasn't right with Alexis. I can't even completely explain it, I just remember bowing my head right there on that table and saying, "God, whatever it is, please help us get through this." He told me, "Alexis is gone, Nathan is going to be fine." It was surreal. When the doctor came in, my worst fears and what I believed I heard from God was realized. As we got prepared to deliver Nathan I may have still been in shock but I truly believe God's peace was enveloping me as I had not a single worry about Nathan. I knew he was going to be fine.
In the almost 6 months since we welcomed Nathan into this world and said goodbye to Alexis, I have thought countless times about having more children. Lee and I have always hoped that God-willing, we would have 3-4 children. I still want those children if it is in God's plan for our lives. I have 3 now and would love to have 1 or 2 more (or more if God sees fit). Some people wonder, "Will you be afraid? Will you worry every day?" Well I am not completely sure how I will be when and if I am pregnant again, but I can honestly say that right now I have got this almost surreal freedom from worry, fear, and anxiety.
I don't worry much anymore. I rely heavily upon prayer and Scripture and God's peace which surpasses understanding. The minute something comes up to possibly worry about, I take it directly to God, and say, "Lord I give this to You. Please give me freedom from worry, fear, and anxiety. If I start to worry or be fearful or anxious, please bring to mind a Scripture to give me peace about that exact issue." And you know what, He does. God is so faithful even when we are not. God is just amazing! I've always known that, but now I believe it with all my heart. He will bring us through anything and everything we go through in this life if we just rely upon Him at all times.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Well it's been one year, 365 days, since we found out there were two. Here is what I wrote that day:
March 25th, 2010
So today I went to my first official doctor's appointment. I had blood drawn a couple of times to check the HCG levels right after I found out. Today was my 8 week appointment where you get the full physical (won't go into that), they check your blood again, and give you an ultrasound (at least that is how they do it at my doctor's office).
Well after I had had all the less-fun stuff done, we did the ultrasound. After what happened last time I prayed that I would see a healthy baby. We did!!! She measured the baby and (s)he measured right at the due date. We saw the heartbeat and listened to it (one of the most amazing things in the world). The heartbeat was strong. Tears had already filled my eyes and my heart was full.
Then the technician said, "Here's something you probably didn't expect." I said, "Twins?!?!" She said, "YES!" I said, "Are you serious?!" She said, "YES!" Then we checked to make sure it wasn't just an empty sac. It's crazy how quickly Lee and I both thought, "Please let it be another healthy baby." Sure enough we saw another blob. She measured it and it measured around the same as the first. Then we saw another strong heartbeat. This time laughter filled the room.
Everything looked great. We got the whole run-down on twins (more check-ups, more ultrasounds, what else to expect). The due date is the same (November 5th) but they said we hope to go 37 weeks (October 15th). We are thrilled to add two blessings to our family this Autumn.
If you could keep me and the babies in your prayers that would be great.
I can still remember the entire appointment like it was yesterday, from the anxiety going in hoping to just see a healthy baby (since I had some spotting and a previous miscarriage), to the sense of just thankfulness and gratitude when we saw Nathan, to the surprise and laughter when we saw Alexis. Obviously we didn't know the genders yet, but that day I knew that Nathan was a boy and Alexis was a girl. As time went on I started thinking differently. I should have gone with my first instinct. J I remember asking lots of questions, "So how long will I carry them?" "What special things do I need to do?" I could not imagine how big my belly was going to get (I got huge with Luke).
I remember going to our van. I was in the driver's seat, Lee was in the passenger's seat, and Luke was sitting in his seat in the back. We made the best phone calls we've ever made. We called down the list of people. I would get on the phone and say, "Well the baby looked good. But they saw something that we didn't expect. We are having two babies!!!!!!" Everyone said the same thing, "You are joking." I had to get Lee on the phone every time and have Luke say it from the backseat. Everyone was just so surprised and excited.
I met my sister and friends at the park that day and I remember just being so in awe of this double miracle God had done. I even met a mom with twins that same day. I thought that was definitely a God thing.
That night the reality started hitting more. Lee and I went through a million thoughts and questions, laughing and being a little nervous to be honest. But we knew that God gave us these babies for a reason and that He would provide for our needs. And sure enough He did. My prayer the entire pregnancy was that He would get us through whatever was to come. Of course I prayed for my health, the babies' health, full term gestation, and all of that, but what I really prayed for was that God would be there no matter what. And you know what? He was and is.
From the very minute I knew something wasn't right with Alexis, I prayed to God and He put a peace in my heart that is still unexplainable. I think a lot about Philippians 4:6-7. God's peace surpasses all earthly understanding. I honestly never truly knew what that meant until the worst day of my life (so far) happened. But God was there. He was right there in that ultrasound room as I didn't see a heartbeat, He was right there in the exam room when we heard, "Baby B doesn't have a heartbeat", He was right there with us as we made the worst phone calls we've ever made to our family telling them about Alexis' passing, He was right there as we put ourselves together to go out into a waiting room full of pregnant women (we didn't want to upset anyone else), He was right there as we drove home and took care of a few things and packed our stuff, He was right there as we drove to the hospital, He was right there in that hospital room as I waited to meet Nathan and say goodbye to Alexis, He was right there in the delivery room as I heard the glorious sound of one baby crying and the heart wrenching silence of another not crying 2 minutes later, He was right there as I met my son and was filled with joy, He was right there when I met my daughter for that split second, He was right there as we dealt with the overwhelming awesomeness of a new life in our presence and the even more overwhelming sadness of a loss greater than any I've ever experienced, He was right there as we made funeral plans for our precious daughter, He was right there as we went home with only one baby and faced a van with an empty pink car seat, He was right there as we drove home without our baby girl, He was right there as we got home to an empty crib and pink and purple baby stuff we were not going to get to use, He was right there as we buried our baby girl on a beautiful Autumn day, He was right there as we packed all of her things away in boxes and bins, He was right there every time I lost it, every time I got angry and yelled "WHY?!?!?!?!", He was right there and is right here every second of every day. He is here.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Ever since we lost Alexis, I have always had the song, "It Is Well (With My Soul)," in my mind and my heart. I sing it every day and when I rock Nathan at night I sing it and "I Will Carry You" and whatever else hits me that night. My church has sung it a few times since then. For the first few months, I could barely start singing it without bursting into tears. I remember singing it at church and holding Nathan (he was a few weeks old) and tears just streaming down my face. I wasn't crying because "It was well," I was crying because to me it wasn't. I so desperately wanted it to be, but it just wasn't. I wanted to be one of those super Christians who could just give it all to God and say, "Whatever my lot, it is well, Lord!" I couldn't and it broke my heart. I felt like such a hypocrite singing a song in church that I honestly didn't feel like was the truth. I began praying everyday, "Lord help me one day to be able to sing this song and mean it." I've also prayed for "the peace that surpasses understanding." I am thrilled to be able to share that I can finally sing that song and mean it. I know that the peace that I am feeling has to come from God alone. I am amazed at how great the peace is. To be honest, I look at it as a miracle because I know only God could do this. I couldn't do it on my own. Trust me, I've tried at times to no avail. It really only made it worse because when I was having a weak moment, the peace would go away. Once I really trusted God to bring me the peace, He hasn't ceased to let me down. I am so thankful!
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed his own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
Since we lost Alexis at 35 weeks, we had everything completely ready including her 1/2 of the nursery to be shared with Nathan. I would say that taking all of her stuff out of their room the day after the funeral was the 3rd hardest day of my life. It was so painful to pack up that precious baby bedding, stuffed animals, clothes, burp cloths, and all the other things we had for her. I think the hardest part was pulling down the letters of her name on the wall. Lee meticulously put each letter up so that they were just perfect. I hand painted each letter and the butterflies that surrounded them. It was awful taking them down. One butterfly even broke in two when we were taking it off the wall. I was losing it the entire time. There are holes all over her wall from her letters. We've been so busy that they are still there. I look at them often and think of them as symbolism of my heart. My heart had so many holes in it after I lost her. The broken butterfly is a symbol of my broken heart. Someday soon Lee will fill the holes with spackle. The broken butterfly went into my Alexis Box. Over the past 172 days, I can honestly say that I have felt God spackling the holes in my heart and putting the pieces back together. My prayer and hope is that He spackles yours and puts it back together as well.
Friday, February 25, 2011
October 1st, 2010 -
We go in for our ultrasound and see Nathan. "He looks great. We think he's close to 7 pounds. He's got a strong heartbeat. Looks like he is growing and doing great." Then we see Alexis. "She also looks great. We think she is about 6 and a 1/2 pounds. Look at that strong heartbeat. She is growing really well." We talk to the doctor and she says, "Things are looking great for both babies. I really believe you will be able to carry the babies until your scheduled c-section in a few weeks."
October 22nd, 2010 -
We arrive for our scheduled c-section. I get prepped for delivery. I am laying on the table and hear a strong cry. "It's a boy!!!" Lee tells me that Nathan looks perfect. A couple of minutes later I hear another strong cry. "It's a girl!!!" Lee tells me that Alexis looks perfect. I start to cry tears of immense joy. Then a few minutes later Lee brings over the precious babies. I look at each of them and they look the same. I kiss them both, tears rolling down my cheeks. I am so happy and overwhelmed with gratitude to God. I get in my room and the babies are brought in. They are just beautiful. All of our family and friends come in and hold them. It is the greatest day of our lives.
We bring the babies home. It's crazy and overwhelming, but we are so thrilled to have two precious babies. They grow and change more and more each day. They sleep together, play together, and it's so fun watching them together.
I know it's silly to play this game, but it feels so good to just pretend sometimes.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
It's been one of the best years of my life. I got to be pregnant with two precious babies. I got to grow two lives in my body. I got to hear, "It's twins!" "It's a boy!" "It's a girl" I got to have 3 awesome baby showers and get spoiled with gifts and fun (and lots of yummy cake). I got to decorate the most beautiful nursery. I got to anticipate so many wonderful things. I got to have my precious son, Nathan Reid. He has been the biggest blessing in my life. He has given me joy and happiness on days when I would've just liked to stay in bed away from the world. When he smiles I see hope.
It's been the worst year of my life. A lot of the above was crushed when I heard, "Baby B doesn't have a heartbeat." Baby B was my sweet Alexis Faith. It was the worst day of my life when I lost her. It has been really hard these past few months.
It's been a crazy year - lots of happiness, sadness, joy, grief, pain, heartache, and overwhelming closeness to the Lord. The one thing I know for sure in all of this is that God is the same today as we was yesterday and will be tomorrow. He has me in His hands and won't drop me. He will carry me through each day of my life. He understands my pain.
This time, since I was a little more digital and was having twins, I decided to take progressional pictures each week and blog and Facebook them. In addition, I would blog my thoughts on a pretty regular basis. Each week I would fill in a survey of what the pregnancy was like.
At times I wondered if I was being self-indulgent and I probably was, but I am so thankful that I did it all. I only had 35 weeks with my Alexis Faith and I am glad that I chronicled it all. Now I can see pictures of my belly and know she was alive and well and I was so happy growing her and Nathan each week. I can read all the details of my pregnancy including my thoughts about the babies.
I have a horrible memory unless things are written down so I am glad that I can go back and read things and it jogs my memory. I am just so glad I blogged.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Then a few years down the road, I got pregnant again. Again, I had this innocence about me. Again, I told everyone including my 500 Facebook friends. And then the unthinkable happened...I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks. I never thought in a million years that I would lose a baby. I knew it happened but I just didn't think it would happen to me. I lived in a little bubble of innocence. The doctor called it a "chemical pregnancy" and told me I would probably get pregnant really easily again and it probably wouldn't happen again.
Well a couple of months later, I was pregnant again. I was so happy but this time I had my concerns, "What if I have an early miscarriage again? What if it doesn't take? I don't think I could go through that again." Well at almost 8 weeks, I started spotting. I just knew it was happening again. I was so sad. When we went for the 8 week ultrasound I just wanted to see a healthy baby. I got my prayer times two. We saw two healthy babies. I remember seeing that second heartbeat and just being so happy and overwhelmed with gratitude to God.
I remember being a little nervous about losing one or both because I knew that the chances were higher. When we got to 12 weeks and saw them both so perfect on the ultrasound I was relieved. I had gotten to "THE SAFETY POINT." You know, all the bad stuff happens in the 1st trimester, or so I innocently believed. I thought that we were good to go. I enjoyed the 2nd trimester feeling the kicks, feeling better, eating, and growing our babies. We had extra ultrasounds so I got to see that they were perfect everytime. It was awesome. I just knew everything was going to be okay.
Fast forward to our 35 week ultrasound. On October 1st, 2010, I heard the worst news I've ever heard in my life, "Baby B doesn't have a heartbeat and has passed away." Baby B was my sweet Alexis Faith. I've never hurt or cried so hard in my life. I've never seen my husband so broken. It was the worst day of my life coupled with one of the best days of my life as it was the day our son, Nathan Reid, was born. It was the most surreal day of my life. I had to experience such joy and such pain within seconds of each other.
The past few months have been filled with happiness, sadness, joy, grief, pain, heartbreak, and lots of personal and spiritual reflection. One of the harder things to deal with is my lost innocence. Everytime I hear of a baby about to be born, I wonder, "Will they be still born?" I never thought of that before in my life. I just assumed, "You get pregnant, you stay pregnant (especially when you get to a certain point), and you have a baby at the end." Now I always wonder, "Will they actually have a baby at the end?"
I hate that I wonder that. I hate that the first thing my mind goes to is stillbirth or miscarriage. I hate that my innocence is gone.
I know that if I get pregnant again that I will give the pregnancy and baby to God just like I always do, but I know that I will have those thoughts creep in. "Will there be a baby at the end?" I will enjoy my pregnancy and hope and plan and prepare, but I know that those thoughts will creep in. I am praying now that God will give me complete peace and comfort for any future pregnancies and babies I may have.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Normal is feeling like you can't sit another minute without getting up and screaming, because you just don't like to sit through anything.
Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand what if's & why didn't I's go through your head constantly.
Normal is reliving that day continuously through your eyes and mind, holding your head to make it go away.
Normal is staring at every baby who looks like he is my baby's age. And then thinking of the age they would be now and not being able to imagine it. Then wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.
Normal is every happy event in my life always being backed up with sadness lurking close behind, because of the hole in my heart.
Normal is telling the story of your child's death as if it were an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in someone's eyes at how awful it sounds. And yet realizing it has become a part of my "normal".
Normal is having some people afraid to mention my baby.
Normal is making sure that others remember them.
Normal is that everyone else goes on with their lives, but we continue to grieve our loss forever.
Normal is weeks, months, and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse sometimes, not better.
Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss, unless they too have lost a child. NOTHING. Even if your child is in the remotest part of the earth away from you - it doesn't compare. Losing a parent is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.
Normal is realizing I do cry everyday.
Normal is a new friendship with another grieving mother, talking and crying together over our children and our new lives.
Normal is not listening to people make excuses for God. "God may have done this because..." I love God, I know that my baby is in heaven, but hearing people trying to think up excuses as to why healthy babies were taken from this earth is not appreciated and makes absolutely no sense to this grieving mother.
Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned the house, did laundry or if there is any food.
Normal is wondering this time whether you are going to say you have a child, because you will never see this person again and it is not worth explaining that my baby is in heaven. And yet when you say you have no children to avoid that problem, you feel horrible as if you have betrayed your baby.
Normal is knowing I will never get over this loss, in a day or a million years.
And last of all, Normal is hiding all the things that have become "normal" for you to feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are "normal".
Sunday, February 20, 2011
She comes in many forms.
She is breathing, but she is dying.
She may look young, but inside she has become ancient.
She smiles, but her heart sobs.
She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she IS,
but she IS NOT, all at once.
She is here, but part of her is elsewhere for eternity.”
I found this on another grieving mother's blog and it spoke to me in so many ways.
I know this woman.
I am this woman.
Friday, February 18, 2011
I can honestly say that is one of the best descriptions I've heard for grief. I know it is so true because I go through the ocean everyday. Some days it's calm and even enjoyable. I can enjoy my life, feel the sun, enjoy God's glory, laugh, and even think of Alexis and smile. Then there are the days when I see a baby girl or twins or hear Alexis' name and I just sort of bounce with it now (those used to be hard waves). Then there are the days when I just want to get in bed and cry until the pain stops. Everything makes me sad. I get angry and yell (usually in my head), "WHY ISN'T SHE HERE?!?!?!?!?!?!" It feels like wave after wave beating down on me. I just want to get out from the undertoe and back on shore but I can't do it. I can't swim hard enough. Then there are the times when things are going okay like before and all of a sudden a huge wave crashes down on me and I just lose it. I don't know where it comes from. It just hits me so hard. That is usually followed by lots of rough waves.
The great thing about this analogy is that God created the world and He created the ocean. He created it huge and magnificant. He knows that the waves are going to come and that they are going to come hard at times. He knows everything that we go through. He knows how we feel. He understands. If you look in the Bible there are a few key stories that go along with this analogy that bring me comfort.
Moses and The Red Sea - When Moses was freeing the Israelites from Egyptian rule, he got to the Red Sea and God parted it so they could get through and be free. The Egyptians were taken out. Sometimes I just need God to part the waters so I can just go through them without being overtaken.
Jesus Calms the Sea - When the disciples were scared of the storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus calmed it. I know that I am scared of this storm in my life. I wonder, "Will I get through it? Will I make it?" But I know that Jesus will calm the seas.
Jesus Walked on Water - Jesus walked on water (the Sea of Galilee) to get to the disciples. No matter how rough the water gets and even if I feel all alone, I know that Jesus will walk on that water to get to me.
There is a great song that gives me so much comfort when I hear it or sing it. Here are the lyrics. There is also a link to hear Selah sing that and I Need Thee Every Hour (another great song for life).
When I think I'm going under, part the waters, Lord
When I feel the waves around me, calm the sea
When I cry for help, oh, hear me, Lord and hold out Your hand
Touch my life
Still the raging storm in me
Saturday, February 5, 2011
I don't know what the future holds for us, if we will have more kids or even daughters, but it breaks my heart thinking of the things we will never get to do with Alexis Faith.
What brings me happiness in the midst of my sadness and even pity parties is knowing that she is dancing with her Heavenly Father. I can only imagine what my beautiful daughter looks like twirling holding onto Jesus' hand.
Well today, Lee, Luke, Nathan, and I went to get haircuts (Nathan didn't get one obviously). The lady saw that we had two boys and of course doted on Nathan. When we got to the chair she said,
"YOU ARE SOOOOO LUCKY YOU ONLY HAVE BOYS. THEY ARE SOOOOO MUCH EASIER."
Obviously it took my breath away and I had to hold back my emotions. I just wanted to say, "I AM BLESSED TO HAVE MY BOYS, BUT I WISH I HAD MY BABY GIRL WITH ME, BUT SHE IS GONE." Of course, I said nothing. I thought of it the whole time she was doing my hair and have thought about it since.
I give grace to her, but it really makes me think, "I hope I've never said anything that has hurt someone who has gone or is going through something really difficult." I am sure that I have and I pray that God forgives me and those people have forgiven me as well. I think we just really need to think before we say stuff.
I have countless friends who have struggled with infertility, miscarriage, and even stillbirth and infant loss. To hear the things they've been told breaks my heart. I just pray that God puts a guard over my mouth in every area, but especially in accidentally hurting someone who is already hurting.
Friday, February 4, 2011
When I was pregnant with Alexis I would envision our life together and one of my big visions would be of her wedding. She would say, "Momma and Daddy, I'm getting married." We would plan a beautiful wedding and we would go to a bridal boutique and pick out the perfect dress. Then on the night before, I would tell her how proud I was of the Godly beautiful woman she had become and that she was going to make a great wife and mom. I was going to tell her what a honor and blessing it had been to raise her. Then on the big day everyone would leave the room and I would help her zip up her dress, put her veil on, fluff her dress, and give her a big hug and tell her "I love you."
I know that we don't know what life will bring or how things will go, but it is so fun to dream. I know that I may have other children and maybe even daughters and get to enjoy their lives with them, but I will always remember the dreams and plans I had for Alexis.
At first it took my breath away, but then I just smiled. Not that I know what Alexis would have been like, but I envisioned a dark brown eyed, dark brown haired, smiley little girl (just like myself). I thought she would be fun and spunky (just like Luke and myself). That's what that little girl was like. Luke played with her for a long time.
When I think about Alexis I feel a myriad of different feelings (sometimes more than one at the same time). I feel sadness that she isn't here with us, I feel happiness that she is with Jesus in Heaven, I feel anger that I'll never get to enjoy having my daughter here on earth, I feel disappointment that I will never get to have those mother-daughter times with her here, etc.
I know that life goes on, but I also know that anytime I hear Alexis' name or see girls that remind me of what I thought she would be like or any of the other reminders of her (butterflies, sweet baby girl stuff, and twins), I will feel different feelings. That is normal and a part of life without the ones we love. I don't ever want to forget her and know that I won't. That's the amazing thing about being a mother. You carry your children and love them before you ever hold them. Thank You God for that!
Thursday, January 13, 2011
"How many children do you have?"
That is a hard one. Obviously I have two living children, Luke who is almost 5 and Nathan who is 3 1/2 months old. But I also have my precious daughter, Alexis, who I carried for 35 weeks and lost the day she was born. I had a tangible baby that grew, kicked, and had a heartbeat everyday until the last. I spent 24 hours a day with her for 35 weeks and connected with her in a way that only mothers understand. I got to hold her even though she had passed away already. We had a funeral service for her that people attended just like if someone had been born and lived on this earth. People that knew me then knew about her and my loss. Do I tell people, "I have 3 children, 2 boys on this earth and a precious daughter in heaven?" I also lost 2 babies at the 6 week mark in my pregnancy. I only knew them for 2 weeks, but I also loved them immensely. I know that they are in heaven because they have souls and that one day I will meet them. Do I tell people, "I have 5 children, 2 boys on this earth, a precious daughter in heaven, and 2 babies that I didn't carry long enough to know who they were?" It's difficult.
"Did you have a boy or a girl?"
I get this question when I tell people I have a baby (when he isn't with me). Then I get, "Did you have a boy or a girl?" I had both a boy and a girl. It's so hard because I don't want to dump my loss on a perfect stranger, so I just say, "I have a boy." Of course I think, "That doesn't sound right." It's also difficult.
I guess these are the questions I won't know the answers to forever. I just try to make strangers comfortable so I don't talk about Alexis at all. It actually hurts. Talking about her gives her life and meaning. Keeping it all in hurts.