I who gave you heartburn that a dragon would envy,
I who couldn’t seem to tell time and got your days and nights mixed up,
It is i who acknowledged your craving for ice cream by knocking the cold bowl off your belly,
I who went shopping and helped you pick out the perfect teddy bear for me,
I who liked to be cradled in your belly and rocked off to dreamy slumber by the fire,
It is I who never had a doubt about your love,
It is I who was able to put a lifetime of joy into an instant.
Oh sweet baby, we could never forget you. You don’t know how much joy you brought to us through the brief amount of time we had you. I’ll never forget that you made me crave mint milkshakes every stinkin day or that I started showing with you as early as nine weeks. You grew so low in my belly that I was convinced you were growing in my gutt! Daddy was sick with the flu on the night we found out I was pregnant with you. But, despite how sick he was, he still had the biggest smile on his face. He grabbed my belly and gave you the first of many kisses you ever received.
I’ll never forget the first time we got to see you. You were like a little boxer in my belly. Your arms and legs were going at crazy speeds as if you were trying to fight some invisible being. Daddy and I chuckled at how much you kept moving, because we knew that we would have our hands full with you and Ian. But, we were still so incredibly excited!
January 19 marked the first and the last day we got to hold you in our hands. It’s hard to believe it’s been over eight months now. The pain of losing you still feels so fresh on our hearts. Mommy loves you so much, baby. You were so perfect and so handsome. You know you would be three months old now? I wish I could be holding you tightly in my arms instead of writing this letter. Sweetheart, mommy is pregnant again, but I want you to know that you could never be replaced. We still love you just as much as we love your brothers.
Though we so badly wish you could be here with us, God has you in His arms now, and you couldn’t be in a better place. I’m sure you already know that. Please take care of your other brothers or sisters who are also with you right now. Tell them that mommy and daddy can’t wait to meet them, and that we love them so much! We miss you, little man, and we thank God every day for the brief moment that we were able to be called your parents. Until we meet again, we will hang onto every memory and every little bit we have of you. We love you, sweet baby.
I don’t mean any disrespect by my title. It’s just that it adequately explains how I’m feeling, and how fitting seeing that I am a military spouse. I’m typically a silver-lining type of girl; almost always have been. I sometimes drive my husband crazy because I ALWAYS have to find the positive in everything and everyone. There are people who always “have it worse,” which is why I do my best to stay upbeat. Also, God has blessed me so incredibly much. But, sometimes my positive drive runs dry. I guess this is one of those times. Have you ever cried so much that you have no more tears to cry? You just feel absolutely and utterly dry. You still feel the pain, but nothing comes out. I looked at the month of March as an exciting new month, but it brought more challenges than I ever anticipated. I won’t go into some of them, because they are personal. I guess I just didn’t anticipate what God was going to allow our little family to go through. We got hit with illness after illness, which I can handle. But, what I really didn’t expect was that in one fell swoop, something that started out as positive became negative before the swing came to an end. What I’m referring to is my recent miscarriage. No, I’m not talking about our baby Andrew’s death; I’m talking about another little angel. This month we found out that I was pregnant again. You can imagine how excited we were! We kind of considered this little baby as a miracle. He/she was the quiet in our storm. Our hearts had been aching so badly for another baby, and we felt like God had answered our prayerful desires. But, the excitement was short-lived. Less than a week later, I miscarried. I tried to reason that maybe I really hadn’t been pregnant and that my hormone levels had just been out of whack. But, the staff in the ER was efficient and showed me that I indeed had been pregnant and that it wasn’t just my hormone levels. I didn’t cry. I tried to pretend I was okay. My husband and I went on the rest of our day as if it were a normal one. By the next night, I couldn’t pretend anymore. We couldn’t pretend anymore. We both fell into each other’s arms and cried. I just remember saying, “I don’t understand,” over and over again. Why would God do this again? Why would He allow us to know we were pregnant and then take it away just like that? People try telling me, “Well, at least you weren’t as far along.” That doesn’t mean I didn’t love this baby just as much. Our little angel is in heaven right now, and he or she doesn’t have a name. You don’t know how much that pains me! I want this little one to have a name. What does bring me comfort is that God is watching over both our angels now. I imagine Andrew and our miracle baby have sat in Jesus’s lap as He told them how much their mommy and daddy love them. I know that this happens to so many people and that I should be grateful that I can get pregnant. I am extremely grateful for that and for our little son that we do have. But, that doesn’t mean I’m not scared. I find myself wondering if we’ll be able to have more children. My husband and I so badly want another baby. I know that God knows what is best for us and everything happens in His time. Sometimes I’m just terrified as to what His will might be. I used to be afraid to tell God what I think or how I’m really feeling. But, the more I’m learning in His word and through other reading, I’m finding that He wants to hear us no matter what we are feeling. He wants us to talk to Him, because He does care. In the book, “Heaven Is For Real,” Colton’s father talks about how he ranted and raved at God over the trials his family was experiencing, and through his son, finds out that God personally answered his ranting prayers. I guess I used to always assume that it wasn’t good to rant at God; that it was almost a sin. But, God wants to hear those rants. He recognizes that we hurt, and He doesn’t expect us to hide it and pretend. One night, days after my miscarriage, my husband and I had a disagreement. I went outside to cool off and found myself ranting . . . at God. I went on and on about how frustrated I was and that I didn’t understand what God was doing in our lives. I told him that I was feeling dry and tired, inside and out. Minutes later, random raindrops began to fall. It was as if God was telling me He heard me. He was bringing rain to my oh so dry desert. I then started crying, and tears eventually turned to peace. For the first time this month, an immense peace washed over me. I felt as though God was embracing me. I’m not going to understand why things happen. I will go through dry periods. I will have desert storms. But, God is faithful. He will always bring the rain.
This past weekend was really difficult for both of us. Stress kept flying around us like the whipping wind that seemed to take over outside. We found ourselves getting angry and frustrated with each other for little to no reason. The hopeful and encouraged spirits that we felt God had built up in us over the past couple of weeks seemed to come crashing down. We didn’t fully understand why we were feeling this way, until we were sitting against the kitchen wall, collapsed in each other’s arms, weeping. It wasn’t one of those quiet, peaceful moments. I never truly understood what weeping and wailing was until we lost Andrew. You can’t stop the moans and gutteral noises that push their way out your mouth when you’re grieving so hard. Yes, it was one of those moments.
A realization lighted on both of us in that moment. Monday was approaching quickly. Monday was a day we had both originally been very much looking forward to. It was supposed to be the day we’d find out the gender of our baby. Instead, that appointment was replaced with a miscarriage follow-up. Excitement was replaced with disappointment and heartache. Monday then became the day we’d find out why our baby died and to make sure my body was doing okay. In that heavy moment, Evan admitted to me his hurt in seeing and hearing about other pregnant women. Through tears, he said, “I just so badly want it to be you. I wish you were still pregnant. I wish he was still here. I just don’t understand.” We continued cry and hold each other until our heads just hurt too much to cry anymore.
I was desperately dreading Monday, because not only was it the appointment, but I was going to have to make that appointment alone. Evan had to work. I couldn’t do it alone. I already had to pick up our son’s remains on my own and sobbed the entire way home. I didn’t want to do this alone too, but I had no choice. God’s grace is incredibly great, and He truly does take care of His children; for when Monday morning came, I got a text from Evan saying he was given permission to be at the appointment and take the rest of the day off. I was so relieved and felt empowered. With Evan by my side at that appointment, I just felt that everything would be okay.
Almost as soon as we entered the OB clinic, we were whisked to a room. I didn’t even notice that we had walked right past the ultrasound room. Evan pointed that fact out to me this morning, when we talked over the phone while he was at work. Just simply walking past that room impacted him in a greater way than I ever expected. It reminded him of when we were in there finding out Ian’s gender. We should have been stepping through that room on Monday. We should have been hearing, “It’s a boy!” Instead, we were taken to a tiny, cold examination room. Having Ian with us was a good distraction and helped keep our minds focused.
Before the nurse took my vitals, she wheeled in a portable ultrasound machine. I watched Evan’s eyes get big. Trying to be positive, I assumed that it was just to make sure everything with my uterus was okay. The nurse was then called out of the room, came back in and mumbled an “i’m sorry” as she quickly wheeled the machine back out. I was still confused until Evan’s face dropped, and he said, “She didn’t know.” My stomach sank when I realized what he was saying.
The doctor soon came in, and I wasn’t prepared for the information she gave us. I was expecting to get some definition to Andrew’s death, but I didn’t anticipate the inconclusive answers we were given instead. Andrew’s autopsy results showed that there was nothing obviously wrong with him developmentally. They did find bleeding behind the placenta, which very well could have caused his death, if it had been there before he died. Blood clots in the placenta can cause an orchestra of problems. But, they also said that bleeding usually happens after a baby has died, especially if it’s been dead for a couple days or more, which he was. The other thing they found was something discovered in my blood work. One of my blood test results came back positive for CMV, a virus commonly found in anybody. Most people get it as a child. It’s a virus that acts kind of like chicken pox in that, if you get it once, you don’t get it again. They can’t do anything for this virus. There’s no way of knowing you have it without blood work. There are no symptoms, and there is no cure or antibiotic for it. It’s generally harmless unless, of course, if you contract it while pregnant. In which case, it’s very harmful to the baby. We’re still waiting on the results that state whether or not I already had the virus in my system or if I contracted it while pregnant with Andrew. The doctor said that if I already had the virus, then we really don’t know why he died. (Btw, for those who come in contact with me, I am NOT contagious.)
I went through that appointment feeling positive, but the weight of it didn’t hit me until that evening. Everything the doctor told us finally sunk in and questions began whirling around in my head. If it was the virus, why did I have to get it while pregnant with Andrew? Why couldn’t I have gotten it before or after? Why did we get such an inconclusive answer? I just want to know. I was hoping to know why he died. I was hoping that appointment would give us some definitive closure; some reason as to why we won’t be able to watch our son grow up. The only positive about the appointment is that we were given the go-ahead to try again, if we want, because my body has healed so well.
We don’t have definitive answers about Andrew’s death, but what we do know is that he is heaven. God is taking very good care of him until we get to see him again. Although we have found purpose and meaning through Andrew’s death, we still hurt. We still feel the pain. We still cry. The purpose doesn’t take away the pain; it just pushes us through with hope for tomorrow and meaning in God’s plan.
We’ll never forget you, sweetheart. We love you with our entire beings!
We feel so blessed that God allowed us to be your parents,
even if for such a short time. God is holding you in His arms for us.
But, you know, His arms are greater and have so much more love than
we ever could give. We miss you, sweetie, and we can’t wait to see you again!
I shared in my last post about my husband and I finding out that we lost our second baby, when I went in for an OB checkup around 17 weeks. The events since that moment were incredibly painful, not just physically, but emotionally as well. Our lives will never be the same, and there will always be a deep, hurting love in our hearts for the son we’ll never get to hug and kiss and watch grow up. But, we can rest in knowing that our little Andrew is in the Lord’s hands now, and he will never have to experience the pains and evils of this world. I couldn’t ask for anything better for our child.
Though I know Andrew is in heaven and that he’s so much better off than we are on this earth, my heart still aches for him and wonders why God took him. For days, I kept asking God why. Why did He take Andrew when He did? If he was going to die, why didn’t He take him sooner? Why right then? When I was finally willing to sit back and listen to God, I feel like He gave me a little insight into His purpose for Andrew’s short life.
We had picked out the boy name, Andrew Joseph, long before we even knew I was carrying a son. My husband and I both loved the names and the meanings behind the names. Andrew means “strong, courageous” and is often associated with the phrase, “fisher of men.” Joseph means “God/Jehovah will increase.” After I went through the emotional and painful process of giving birth to our son, there was no question as to what we’d name him. We didn’t want to pick out a different name just because he wasn’t alive anymore. We wanted to give him the exact name we had picked out just for him. The correlation of Andrew’s name and the purpose behind God taking him didn’t come to me till several days of asking God why.
The doctor who confirmed Andrew’s death said that he probably died around 16 weeks. After giving birth to his little body, Evan and I were able to hold him. I was amazed at how completely formed his body was. He had fingers and toes. He had a bellybutton. He had a nose, mouth, eyes, ears. He had everything. We could even tell that he had my nose and the rest of his daddy’s features. It was apparent that he would have grown to look exactly like his older brother.
Did you know that in some states of the US, abortion is considered legal up to 24 weeks, and in others up to 20 weeks? In most states, it’s considered legal up to 14 weeks. Our Andrew was only two weeks ahead of that, and he was completely formed! I’ve always been very pro-life, and after seeing our son’s tiny 4 1/2 inch body, I’ve become even more passionate about it. I think I now know God’s purpose for Andrew’s short life on earth, and it didn’t end when he died; it’s just begun! Andrew can still be a fisher of men and God will increase greatly through his testimony.
We took pictures of Andrew’s little hands and feet, and those pictures speak beyond words. I hope and pray that the testimony of Andrew’s life will help save many babies (if even only one) and will bring mothers, fathers, and families to Christ. My husband and I recognize that God can greatly use us in this painful experience. I pray that we can adequately fulfill our little Andrew’s calling. We have found purpose through the pain.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
“You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am
fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'” (Isaiah 52:7)
I’ve been gone this entire past week, for a very good reason. My husband and I faced (and are still facing) perhaps the most difficult trial we have had to endure together. We lost our precious little baby. This past Wednesday, I went in for a regular OB appointment. I was almost 17 weeks, and this appointment was just to check up on the baby’s progress. That appointment was when we found out that our baby was no longer living. I will tell the whole story in time, but for now I can’t seem to find the words.
Needless to say, this past week has been one of the biggest emotional roller coasters of our lives. Evan and I have been through many trials, both individually and together. But, losing this baby Continue reading →