I should be sleeping. Yet, here I sit, wondering what it must be like for you in heaven tonight. Can it really be that you would have been 3 years old today? But, today you are celebrating 3 ½ years in heaven. To think that the first time you opened your eyes, you were beholding the face of Jesus. What an amazing, everlasting moment you are experiencing right now! Though I’m thankful you never had to face the evil of this world, my heart still aches for you, sweet boy.
With another Father’s Day having come and gone, I sit here pondering and thinking about all the fathers who have lost children. More awareness is being made for those mothers who have miscarried, lost children, or are trying to conceive. There’s more of a sensitivity to the loss. Having lost three of our own precious babies, I am very appreciative of this growing sensitivity. This recognition in some way helps the burden not be so hard to bear, though it doesn’t necessarily heal the hurt. Yet, I couldn’t help but think and wonder about the fathers. They too have suffered loss, but we don’t focus on them. We tend to unintentionally gloss over their hurt simply because they don’t express it in the way we would expect.
So, I just wanted to write to you, the father who has lost a child . . . Continue reading →
I want to introduce you to my dear friend, Ruth, and to share her story with you. Ruth had been one of my high school teachers and was my cheerleading coach for a couple seasons. I never imagined that several years later, we would endure similar life challenges that would bring us together as friends.
Back when we lost our son, Andrew, I found myself in a very dark place. At that time, Bible verses weren’t a comfort to me, and (frankly) it frustrated me the more people kept sending me verses. I was trying so hard not to be angry with God, and though people meant well, that gesture just made me more angry. During that time, Ruth messaged me.
We hadn’t talked in years, so I was kind of surprised by hearing from her. What she said in her message helped me in so many ways. She shared her story with me. She too had lost a son through pregnancy loss, and she went on to describe the feelings that I was feeling at that very time. She related to me and reached out in the most tangible way she could. I truly think that her reaching out to me is what helped dispel my anger towards God.
Ruth has since become a great friend and dear mentor to me. She and her family have endured a lot of loss, but God continues to be faithful. I asked her if she would mind sharing her story on my blog. I feel like her story could help so many people. She obliged and took the time to write out the journey God has allowed their family to go through. Here is her (their) story . . . Continue reading →
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.
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!