I am not sure I am going to know what to do with myself when I go back to work on January 4th! Between the 20 inches of snow dumped on us a week and a half ago, and now Christmas break, having a 2 week vacation has been wonderful. I could really get used to this!! It has allowed us to slow down, spend time with each other and with family, and get some things accomplished here at home.
We've spent a lot of time preparing for Eliana's arrival during our time off. It has been an absolute joy to anticipate meeting her in March and bringing her home. Yet as I have shared before, all of the preparations are incredibly bittersweet. It is a strange thing to be doing for your second child what you were never able to do for your first. In some ways, it has deepened my sense of loss as I am walking through all that was missed as we prepared for Isaac's arrival. Instead of decorating his nursery, we were choosing a cemetery plot. Instead of a closet full of cute clothes, we were looking for that perfect outfit in which he would be laid to rest.
And while these preparations have been bittersweet, they truly have been sweet. God has been gracious in really allowing us to experience that as I made wall letters for Eliana's room... as we hung shelves... as I washed her little clothes and hung them back up in her closet. We even found a way to include a little bit of Isaac in her room (look closely at the pictures below).
So without further adieu, here are a few pictures of the preparations we've been making in Eliana's room. Enjoy!
A view of her (tiny) room from the doorway. The fabric hanging from the blinds are swatches we're considering for the valence we're having made.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I am not sure I am going to know what to do with myself when I go back to work on January 4th! Between the 20 inches of snow dumped on us a week and a half ago, and now Christmas break, having a 2 week vacation has been wonderful. I could really get used to this!! It has allowed us to slow down, spend time with each other and with family, and get some things accomplished here at home.
Posted at 8:07 AM
Thursday, December 24, 2009
My favorite Christmas carol of all time is "O, Holy Night"... specifically when sung by Josh Groban. There's something about the melody that I find incredibly beautiful; and over the last few years, I have become more captivated by the lyrics.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
When was the last time your soul felt its worth? It's true worth?
This Christmas season, if there is one thing I would want you to know it is this: your soul is of great value and immeasurable worth.
So much so, that over 2000 years ago, God began his redemptive plan for humanity... for your soul and for mine. On this night, Love came down... leaving His heavenly throne, and made his way humbly into our world as tiny baby in a manger whose name is Jesus...to walk among us sharing a story of hope and redemption, and to ultimately give up his own life for the sake of ours.
For the souls of those who feel insignificant... Love came down.
For the souls of those who feel too broken to be fixed... Love came down.
For the souls of those bound by addiction... Love came down.
For the souls of those who feel burdened by shame... Love came down.
For the souls of those whose lives feel shattered by heartache and pain... Love came down.
For the souls of those whose life outside the womb was far too short... Love came down.
For the souls of those who have been conceived, but have not yet been born... Love came down.
Because of the person of Jesus Christ, your soul is of immeasurable worth. It is the presence of Jesus that illuminates our soul's true value.
If you want to know what your soul is truly worth, cast your gaze upon Him... know Him... and allow Him to bring His heavenly peace.
There is no soul that is insignificant... and that includes the souls of little children who have yet to be born. A person's soul doesn't just gain significance once they are born; a person's soul has eternal significance and worth from the moment of conception as he or she is being uniquely created in the womb in the very image of God.
It is my sincere hope and prayer this Christmas season that you would know your soul's true worth. That you would know that your soul is of immeasurable value to God... so much so that it was purchased at a great cost. And I pray that this year, the good news of Christmas would bring you hope.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees!
Oh hear the angel voices!
Oh night divine!
Oh night when Christ was born!
Oh night divine!
Oh night, oh night divine!
Posted at 1:01 PM
Monday, December 21, 2009
These past few days, or maybe it's weeks, have been really difficult, and I've found myself burdened by a couple of things. And no, it's not the 20-22 inches of snow that fell this past weekend.
First, I am just missing Isaac so incredibly deeply as Christmas draws increasingly near. I know he would be so captivated by our neighbor's lights that "dance" to the music on a local radio station... by the ornaments hung on the tree... or by the gingerbread men that we've made. He'd be old enough that we'd be able to start talking to him about the real meaning of Christmas, and perhaps he'd at least start to associate "baby" (Jesus) with Christmastime. Anyone who has experienced significant loss will tell you that the holidays agitate their grief. I was talking with a woman last week about how her mother died fourteen years ago... and the holidays are still really hard. I guess it's the times when families gather together that the fact that there's someone missing from ours feels even more pronounced. And I can feel that ache in my heart... that ache for my son who isn't here... just grow.
Secondly, I have been incredibly burdened with all that is going on in Congress (specifically the Senate right now) with health care reform, and the impact that proposed legislation will have on federal funding for abortion. In no way do I desire this post to become a debate; but I do feel a burden about this. If you haven't seen it already, John Piper has created a wonderful video that stemmed from one of his sermons back in January of this year in response our current administration's stance on abortion. I love this video because it boldly proclaims truth... but also extends grace.
Would you please join me in praying for our nation's Senators as they are currently voting on the bill, as well as for all members of Congress and our current administration as they continue to iron this out. Would you also please continue to pray for us as we're just missing Isaac so much these days.
Please pray as our nation's leaders continue to work out this new health care plan, and for conviction in the hearts and minds of these leaders.
Click here to watch.
Posted at 6:58 AM
Friday, December 18, 2009
Posted at 6:00 AM
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Like many of you, the past couple of weeks have been quite busy...Spencer's graduate work, Christmas shopping, working on Eliana's room, doctor's appointments, finishing up paperwork for the Isaac Delisle Foundation. So, to catch you up with life in the Delisle house over the past few weeks, here are some pictures of our more exciting moments...
I wrote a little while back about starting to work on Eliana's room and how Spencer did a fabulous job painting and setting up her furniture. Clearly, we have a long way to go before it is finished, but it's at least at the point where we can start adding shelves, decorations, curtains, and all. I wish you could see this shade of pink in person... it's really beautiful.
Maryland also got it's first snow of the 2009-2010 season! And, a fairly substantial one at that. Around here, "substantial" would mean that you don't see the blades of grass poking through the snow :) Apparently, we're supposed to have a pretty snowy winter, which is GREAT in my book, since I will not be returning to work for the rest of the school year after Eliana is born in March!
In the midst of all that was going on, I realized we didn't have any good pictures taken from this past year. Maybe it was because I wasn't much for photos... I don't know. So, in front of our FRIEND'S Christmas tree (because ours is STILL not decorated!) we snapped this shot for our annual Christmas card.
My scanner is acting up this morning, so I don't have any updated ultrasound pictures for you. We got some great 4-D shots last time! I'll get those up soon... once my Christmas cards have finished being addressed and are in the mail :)
Posted at 8:56 AM
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I had intended to get this post published on Monday, December 7... 14 months since Isaac was born. It's a few days late, but I still wanted to share these thoughts.
To some, the title of this post may even seem like an oxymoron. How could "grief" and "14 months" even fit together at all? What many people don't realize is that grief is a process. Often times, when a person has finished intensely grieving, others may figure that the grieving is finished. Truthfully, though, it doesn't quite work that way. I am not sure that I will ever be through grieving our loss of Isaac... at least not until that day when I get to see him again in heaven.
Yes, grief at 14 months looks a lot different than it did 14 hours or 14 days after Isaac was born and went home to be with Jesus. It's no longer the piercing, sharp, debilitating pain that seemed like it would last forever. While there are rare moments of that sort of pain that still creep in on occasion, grief at 14 months is more like a dull ache that's always there. The silence of not hearing a newborn baby cry is no longer persistently deafening; but, there is a persistent feeling that someone is missing... because he is. And I still miss him very, very deeply.
I spent some time reading on the M.I.S.S. Foundation's website recently, and in one of the articles I read, a bereaved mother shared this: "Parental bereavement is a permanent condition. The hopes, dreams and aspirations you had for the child now gone is lost forever."
Because you see, while all of the "firsts" this past year... the first Christmas without Isaac, what would have been his first birthday... were incredibly difficult, those difficult moments don't end after the first year. There are many moments still to come... no first steps, no first day of Kindergarten, no first dance, no prom, no high school graduation... and the list goes on.
And while those aren't thoughts that we dwell on, they creep in once in a while. And when they do, bereaved parents grieve again. I also came across this article that explains parental grief quite well. While not written from a Christian perspective, it still does offer a lot of insight into the experience of a grieving parent. I would want to add to this article, though, that there is still hope through a journey of grief... hope in the fact that our God is one of restoration, a God who makes beauty from ashes.
So at 14 months, grief looks a lot different. There are many, many good days... not just as we anticipate Eliana's arrival (did I mention that at my ultrasound last week her estimated weight is already 1lb 7 oz!?!), but as we are just enjoying life a lot more again. But the ache is there, the balance of trying manage polarized emotions persists, and our desire to glorify God through this journey abounds.
Posted at 7:36 AM
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Two weekends ago I ordered Eliana's nursery furniture. I had some coupons for Babies R Us that were only good that particular weekend, so after finding a set that I liked, I went ahead and ordered it. That alone was a difficult step... Spencer was away on a men's retreat, and he was trusting me to just go ahead and buy it.
I had always been told that nursery furniture takes weeks and weeks to come in; however ours arrived back at the store in four DAYS. It caught me a bit off guard, and I wasn't quite prepared to pick it up just yet. However, on our way home from visiting Spencer's mom for Thanksgiving, we picked it up, and thanks to my dad's help, got it safely home.
Thought it was here, I didn't feel any sort of rush to get things set up. The room that will be Eliana's nursery needed to be painted, and I just sort of figured we would put the boxes in there and wait a while. Until this point, that room had housed some boxes we didn't know what to do with when we moved in, as well as gifts and other items that belonged to Isaac that are now put safely away in his cedar chest. My sweet husband, however, had other ideas about the paint situation and what to do with the boxed furniture.
With Christmas fast approaching, and his grad school course work picking up, Spencer wanted to get his part of setting up Eliana's room finished now while he had the time to really focus on it. So, he while he prepped the room to be painted, he sent me out to get the paint color that the Pottery Barn Kids catalog recommended to coordinate with the bedding we had picked out.
The main behind the paint counter was really kind, and starting chatting with me about my pregnancy, the paint for the room, etc. I was trying to figure out whether or not we needed a primer, and the man asked what color the walls were now.
"Yellow," I answered.
Yellow. How badly I wanted to tell him blue...
About how the room had been used by our sweet son Isaac, but now we were moving his room over in order to prepare for Eliana's arrival. But that wasn't how it all happened, even though we wished so deeply that it was.
Instead, we painted over yellow... no primer needed. Yellow walls that were there when we moved in, and that remained there because we never had the chance to set the room up for our sweet son.
While there was so much joy in picking out her furniture, painting the walls candy stripe pink, and seeing her room starting to come together, it all still doesn't feel just right. It still feels like there's this missing piece, a piece that even Eliana's arrival won't, and can't, replace. I know that as we continue to prepare, decorate the nursery, and anticipate bringing her home, there will be a part of me that wishes that this wasn't the first time I was doing these things.
I suppose that these exciting preparations still serve as reminders of what was lost, and in such a tangible way. It's not a matter of feeling like it's hard OR feeling excited about preparing for Eliana; the fact remains that it's both. They co-exist... polarized emotions contained in one human being; I don't know that I could have ever imagined a capacity so large.
And in His goodness, God continues to give us just enough grace for each moment... for each trip to Babies R Us, for each doctor's appointment, for each conversation with a stranger who kindly asks if this is my first, for each of the preparations. Just enough grace for each step of the way.
Posted at 11:45 AM
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Just a quick post to let you know that my good friend in "real" life, Susi, started a blog yesterday. You can find it here. Or, to if you'd rather see the link, it is: http://learningtodanceintherainafterthestorm.blogspot.com/
Susi also lives in our same general area. She and I connected this past spring and have been able to connect through the loss of each of our firstborn sons, as well as through our pregnancies (we're 7 weeks apart) afterwards.
Yesterday marked the 1 year anniversary of her son, Lucas's, death after having lived for just one month... and yesterday, she started her blog. So, if you have a moment, please swing by and check it out. She has written so beautifully and reflectively about her journey, her love for Lucas, and all that she has learned on this road of grief. I know you will be blessed be getting to "know" her... I certainly have been, and am thankful for her friendship.
Posted at 11:58 AM
Friday, November 20, 2009
I want to preface this post by saying that I am incredibly thankful that my pregnancy with Eliana is going well. I am thankful that things with her look great, that I have been feeling well, and that God has gifted us with the chance to begin to really feel excited and hopeful.
But, being pregnant again and feeling excited about it doesn't equal being over what happened with Isaac.
There's a particular area of my life, where I spend a lot of time, in which I would just love to wear a t-shirt that says this or have it stamped across my forehead. Spencer and I have been talking lately about how many people around us just won't talk to us about Isaac anymore, if they even ever did.
It's hard that people want to know all about Eliana, but never asked about Isaac.
It's hard that people want to tell me how I should "Just wait until she gets here..." and then share all the woes of having a newborn at home, forgetting that I would trade an infinite amount of sleepless nights if it meant that Isaac could still be with us.
It's hard that people have seemingly forgotten... forgotten that I am already a mom, that I have a son, and that I still miss him so deeply... and am far, far from over it. It's as if that part of me has been erased, when nothing could be further from the truth.
These are obviously not people who are closest to us; those who are know how much we deeply miss Isaac and how hard we're trying to learn how to balance the ache of missing him with the excitement of meeting Eliana in March and to do all of that with gratitude and grace.
I think it is easy for others, though, to look at a glowing pregnant mom who has lost a child and to forget that she is just that: a mom who has lost a child... a mom who is so thankful to be pregnant again with a healthy baby and is reminded daily of God's faithfulness and provision in that... but still a mom whose arms and heart ache for the child she lost and loves so much.
There is moving forward. There is waiting with anticipation to meet your second child. There is excitement and joy surrounding a pregnancy that is going well... and for each of those things I am thankful.
But there is no over it... and that's okay.
Posted at 1:15 PM
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Many of you have commented or emailed to ask about ways that you can help a grieving family who has lost a child. First, thank you for your willingness to want to mourn with those who mourn, as Romans 12:15 admonishes us to do.
I came across a beautiful website that I believe is a tremendous resources in knowing how to help grieving families who have lost a child. It is called Healing Hearts and can be found at http://www.babylosscomfort.com/index.php. If you are someone who has lost a child, are carrying a child who has been given a poor or fatal prenatal diagnosis, or are a friend or loved one of someone who has lost a child, I would highly encourage you to check out this website. It is beautifully and delicately designed, contains some great resources, and will be of great benefit.
Posted at 11:43 AM
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
My friend Holly was kind enough to take this picture and send it to me. What a gift to see our sweet Isaac's name and to know that someone else was thinking of him, too.
Posted at 1:06 PM
Saturday, November 14, 2009
How is Carly??? I've been thinking of her so much.
I got an email from Carly on Thursday, and things are going well! Finn has been moved down a level in terms of his incubator, and they are hoping he can move to an open air incubator soon. Carly spends most of the afternoon and evening with him in the NICU every day, so I haven't gotten a chance to actually talk to her, but I was glad to hear that things are still progressing well.
What's your hope for the foundation (what will it do)?
The purpose of the Isaac Delisle Foundation is to provide support for parents who have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death. Locally, we hope to provide support for families facing a poor/fatal prenatal diagnosis for their child and help get them connected with some of the "right people"... in hospitals, with local Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep photographers, etc. I also hope that as a foundation, obstetricians will have a place to which they can direct patients who have been given a poor/fatal prenatal diagnosis. So often, the suggestion is to terminate a pregnancy, and I want doctors to have something else to say... somewhere else they can direct patients when giving the option of either terminating or continuing the pregnancy. I think it would be so much for them to be able to say, "If you do choose to continue your pregnancy, there's a great resource in the area to help support you in that." This line of thinking is sort of along the lines of the perinatal hospice movement.
More broadly, I hope to be able to connect with other women who have walked this road and be an encouraging source of Christian support for them. Lastly, in addition to having financial means to provide resources to bereaved families, we hope to be able to also financially support other ministries and organizations both locally and more broadly who also seek to provide support for bereaved families... such as the perinatal loss units at local hospitals, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, Sufficient Grace Ministries, and String of Pearls.
When your baby girl is born, will you be able to stay at home with her, or do you have to go back to work full time? If your original plan was to work have you changed your mind after experiencing the loss of a child?
Unfortunately, I will not be able to stay home full-time. We made the decision to move into the community in which we did before I was pregnant with Isaac, and I was totally okay with being a working mom. Obviously, our experience with Isaac has changed my heart on that significantly, but we're not in a position right now for me to not work at all. My hope is to be able to work part-time, but that will greatly depend on the teaching positions available in the county next year. Many of the part time positions are being cut as budget cuts are occurring, but we'll see. I trust that God will work that out as He sees fit.
How scared were you this time around and what did you do to try and calm the the fear??
This is a great questions. Truthfully, I have been dealing with a lot more fear than I would like to have been, particularly up until my 12 week ultrasound. At this point, I just know of so many ways things can go wrong, and we have been the ones who have found the narrow odds. On the flip side, I also know that should something happen again, I would be devastated... but I know that God has faithfully carried us through our experience with Isaac, and He would carry us again. Lately, that truth has brought a lot of peace to my heart. In the day to day, I don't tend to really worry too much. When I have an appointment coming up I find myself a little more anxious, but I try to just give myself grace.. knowing that given the fact that with my first pregnancy and early on with Isaac ultrasounds were pretty traumatic for us, feeling some anxiety around this is normal.
As far as calming the fear, some of it has just been sheer distraction to be honest... staying busy with work, friends, setting up the Foundation. Much of it, though, has been acknowledging the fear, bringing it before God as well as our close friends, and asking people to pray. In my humanness, it is natural to fear, worry, doubt, and consider all of the "what-ifs." It's God's graciousness, though, that allows me to guard my heart and mind against those things as much as possible, to cherish the time we do have with baby girl right now, just as I did with Isaac, and to commit her life to God and trust Him to do what He sees best... and believing that it is for our good and His glory. Certainly not an easy task... but one that I am working on.
How has Spencer handled both your loss of Isaac as well as the wonderful news of baby sister, and has it differed from you a lot?
Spencer and I have handled things differently, and similarly. He is a lot more introverted than I am, and is also a lot more compartmentalized. So, he tends to have certain times that he thinks about Isaac and processes all of that, while for me it's all a bit more intertwined. But, we both share the same fundamental views about seeing ourselves as parents, about wanting Isaac to be acknowledged as our son and our parents' grandson, and about wanting his little sister to know who he is. We both feel that it is important that he is incorporated into the fabric of our family, and that he is "known" to the greatest extent possible.
With regard to the news of baby sister, I'd say we are pretty similar in how we're handling it. Of course there is some fear (as I mentioned earlier), but I can sense the hopefulness in both of us growing. Our conversations lately focus more on preparing for her and what it will be like when she is here.
Really, God has just been good in having us really walk in tandem through all of this. Of course there are some difference in how Spencer and I process, but God has also been gracious in helping us to understand each other well.
Do you find yourself ever wondering about the first baby you lost? I know that was an entirely different experience than Isaac; and I am just curious if that is something you still grieve over.
I do. During my pregnancy with Isaac, I didn't think about it a ton. But a few months after losing Isaac, I really began thinking about that first baby a lot, too. I am not sure I still grieve over it, but I do often wonder what he (our first baby) would be like now as an 18-month old.
What plans do you have for sharing Isaac with "little sister?" In what ways will you make him a part of her life?
We plan on her knowing about Isaac from the get-go. I plan on making one of those Snapfish or Kodak books with photographs of him that tells the story of her big brother in "kid language." That way I can read it to her in order to help her understand. We'll bring her to the cemetery, honor his birthday, and continue with the other sorts of traditions that Spencer and I have started and will just include her. We have pictures of Isaac around the house, and I can definitely envision both Spencer and I holding her, pointing to his picture and saying "Isaac... that's your big brother!" I am not sure I will get through that without tear-filled eyes at first, but it is important to me that she knows she has a big brother, and that he is part of her schema of who we are as a family.
What colors are you planning to do her nursery?
Mostly pink :) Light pink walls. The bedding we picked is very delicate and light... white, light pink, some light blue, peach, sage. So, with our cream colored carpeting, white furniture, and pink walls, I think it will look nice. It's a really small room.
Have you decided on your daughter's name yet?
We have. In fact the idea for her name came from one of YOU blog readers!! It was a name neither of us had heard of before, but loved it when it was brought to our attention.
Baby sister's name will be Eliana Jane. We may end up calling her Ellie for short, but will try to get Eliana to stick.
Eliana means "God has answered" and Jane means "God is gracious." Jane also happens to be a family name on my side (my paternal grandmother) and is my mother-in-law's name. So, we sort of think of her name as meaning "God has answered with graciousness."
I am wondering how your blog readers affect your life...has anyone ever written anything that really touched you, eased your pain, or made you think again about something? Or is it just the overall feeling of support that helps?
It's both. The general feeling of support is wonderful; and I do read over every comment that is written. There have been many times that blog readers have written words that have really touched me... usually surrounding how Isaac's life has had an impact on them. Hearing that never gets old, and it deeply touches my heart.
On a more practical note, I'm wondering if you have support for when Baby Girl is here. I know you are really looking forward to her, but I found becoming a new mom both tremendously rewarding and very tough, in a way that no one had ever told me. I was so grateful for both of my new mom support groups. Do you have any support like this or groups you belong to?
I wasn't planning on joining any new mom groups or anything. Our church has a MOPS group, and most of our close friends have young children, and I know that they will be a huge support to me... they already have been! I am not sure I feel like I need a formal support group in that area, but am glad to know that they exist!
How is your husband? Sometimes I think they get overlooked. How does he feel about having a girl?
He is hanging in there. He is quite busy right now with work and grad school, but he is doing well. I appreciate you asking about him... he does sometimes get overlooked. For him, the grief of missing Isaac still really comes and goes. Some days are really hard, other days he is sort of in "auto pilot" in order to get done all that he needs to do.
I think he feels good about having a girl. He actually thought we were having a girl from the very beginning! I know it is a mind shift for him to go from the idea of raising a son to the idea of raising a daughter, just as it has been for me; but I know that he is glad we're having a girl this time around. More on that in my response to the next question.
I was wondering if you think you would have had a harder time emotionally with this pregnancy if it was a boy. Were you hoping for a boy or a girl or did you not have a preference?
Yes, I do think it would be even harder emotionally. At first, I was hoping for a boy. When you lose a child, there are so many losses wrapped up into it... the loss of the child, the loss of raising a son, the loss of the "proof" of your motherhood. So, when we were told we'd be having a girl, I was caught a little off guard.
Over the past several weeks, though, I have really come to realize that God clearly knows what's best for me, much better than I think what's best for me. The fact that we'll have a baby girl will help make her distinctly different from Isaac, that they will very clearly have their own identities, and that there will be a lot that is different and unique in the way we care for her as a girl. Truthfully, I think that having another boy right now would be extremely difficult for me. Most of all, I am just thankful that she's healthy and things with her are looking great.
How will you balance remembering Isaac yet not overshadowing baby girl?
This is a great question, and truthfully the answer is: I don't know. It is something that weighs heavily on my heart... what it means to be the mom of two children, one of whom isn't here. The planner in my wants to have this figured out; but I think it's something that we're going to just have to take one step at a time as we get there and just do our best with it.
Were you actively trying to conceive or was your pregnancy a surprise?? What words of advice would you give to moms who are trying to conceive after loss?
This is another good question, and the answer would be neither. Basically, we just wanted to lay this in God's hands, and let things happen in His time.
As far as advice goes, there are really only two things I can think of. First, it's really hard and scary. Once you have lost a child, you realize that the unthinkable really can happen to you... and it is hard not to wonder whether it will happen again. Certainly, one tragedy doesn't preclude you from experiencing another, unfortunately. So, I think it is really important to acknowledge that it is really scary, and to just daily lay that at God's feet. It's also hard to balance the hopefulness of a new baby with the ache of so deeply longing for the child you've lost. I have talked a lot about that before, but it has been one of the most prominent things with this pregnancy... just the tension between those two emotions that is constantly changing as you seek to balance it. It's important to realize that it is hard, it is scary, but that God really does desire to faithfully meet you in the midst of all of that... and He will.
Secondly, I feel like it is best to try to approach it from as relaxed of a standpoint as possible. It can be so easy, especially for women, to get so wrapped up in the trying to conceive process... myself included. Particularly after a loss, though, I think it's really important to guard your heart against that and to really just daily lay that process before God and ask Him to work in His time, and for a heart to trust His timing.
I was wondering how long you waited before you started trying for your baby.
My doctor recommended waiting 6 months from strictly a medical perspective. Spencer and I talked a lot about this, and where we landed on it was that we didn't think we'd every really feel READY to try to have another child. Like I mentioned in responses to other questions, there is just so much fear... and you don't really get over losing your child. So in knowing that, we decided around 8 months to just see what happened, trusting that the Lord would work things out in His time, and that He would work things out in our hearts to emotionally prepare us.
Even before Isaac was born, I was wondering if you think baby sister will look like her big brother? Do you see any resemblances in the ultrasound photos?
I don't know... I wonder this as well. It has been a little early to see any resemblances in ultrasound photos, but I am hoping that maybe the next time we go we'll get more than a profile shot of her face and then I might be able to tell better. Her nose will be a dead giveaway... Isaac had my nose (mine and Spencer's are shaped very differently), so I am thinking that feature will be easy to tell. Once she's born, though, I really don't know if they will look alike or not. I guess we'll see!
Just curious, do you have to have a repeat c-section, or are you allowed to try to let baby girl come on her own?
Because I had a classical (vertical) incision when I had Isaac, I have to have a repeat c-section. No option for a VBAC.
Thanks for your questions... I always enjoy reading them and responding to them!
Posted at 3:15 PM
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I am having a lot of fun thinking through responses to your questions... keep those questions coming! In the meantime, definitely head to Amazon and check out Angie Smith's new book...
I am so excited for her and can't wait to get my hands on this and read it. The title just captured my heart... this whole thing is such a dance, such a balance, of grief and joy. And it is sacred, that's for sure. I obviously haven't read this book yet, but would say with confidence that it is going to be incredible. Hop on over to Amazon and pre-order it... for yourself, for someone you know who has lost a child... I know you won't be disappointed.
Posted at 9:21 AM
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
It's been just about four months since I wrote this post opening up the comments for questions from you all... and I found that to be quite fun! Life has been crazy lately... Spencer's grad school, lots of details to attend to at work, finishing up the paperwork to submit to the IRS for the (hopeful) establishment of the Isaac Delisle Foundation, and starting to plan and prep for our baby girl. I wish I had the time to sit, think, and reflect as much as I have in the past, but truthfully this just seems to be a busy season of life right now.
So, being that we're now in a new part of our journey, I would love to open the comments up for more questions! In addition to having fun answering them, maybe I'll even find some inspiration for a whole new post!
Go ahead... ask away, again!
Posted at 8:15 AM
Sunday, November 8, 2009
These past few months, and in particular last few days, my life has felt like it is taken me on endless seesaw ride. Up for a while, down the next moment... trying to find this balance between the anticipation of hopefully welcoming our baby girl in March, with the ache of still longing for Isaac to be here. Sometimes it's a moment-to-moment adjustment, trying to find that equilibrium... other times, things will feel balanced for a few days, only to have it upset again.
Yesterday I was out for my run (well.. not it's more like a trot with some periods of walking in between!). It was a beautiful morning... crisp, cold... and I love the feeling of being bundled up and exercising in 35 degree weather. My iPod was set on random, and on came a song I hadn't listened to since I was in the hospital with Isaac. There's this great CD of instrumental versions of songs we've sung in church for years. Actually, the only instrument is a piano and there's something soothing about it. We listened to this pretty frequently during my hospital stay, mostly in an effort to drown out the noise of other babies on the mother-baby floor. As we were leaving the hospital that day, I was wheeled out, holding a picture of Isaac rather than Isaac himself, listening to the song "I Cry Out/For You Are Good" (it seems to have several different titles). As I said, I haven't been able to listen to that song since that day.
So as I was running, I was really enjoying my time being outside... envisioning this time next year running with a jog stroller in front of me carrying our little baby girl. The seesaw was up... and as this song randomly came on my iPod, the seesaw came crashing down. The tears just started pouring out (which I am sure was quite a site for anyone passing by), and the ache of missing Isaac took over.
I started thinking, though, about the actual lyrics to that song and just how true they are...
I cry out for Your hand of mercy to heal me
I am weak and I need Your love to free me
Oh, Lord my Rock
My strength in weakness
Come rescue me, Oh Lord
You are my hope
And Your promise never fails me
And my desire is to follow You forever
For You are good
For You are good
For You are good to me (x2)
I need to be reminded of those truths... truths that I believe in all the way to the core, but in those moments of grief and sadness, or in fear and doubt, can escape me if I am not careful. And at the end of the day, it's many of these truths that help to keep the seesaw in that careful balance.
Posted at 8:09 AM
Friday, November 6, 2009
What does normal really mean, anyway? A few weekends ago I was with our church's youth group at our fall retreat and the theme was "Redefining Normal...." a theme that has certainly been ever-present in our lives over the last year and a half. Normally when you give birth you get to bring your baby home; we did not. Normally you're considered a mother by the fact you have children you are raising; I am not. Normally you get to rock your child to sleep, help them learn to walk, and clean up a skinned knee. I did not. "Normal" has taken on a whole new meaning for us, and I have come to the place where I am not too sure that there really even is such a thing as "normal." Still thinking through that, though.
But if there is such a thing as normal, then yesterday we got to experience it. A normal 20-week ultrasound where we were told that everything looks normal with our baby girl. And the funny thing is, it felt incredibly abnormal to be sitting in the exam room getting such good news. But, we are so incredibly thankful.
I didn't sleep to well the night before, but yesterday prior to the appointment I really did feel at peace. Driving there, though, I felt the nervousness creep in.
I have this weird habit of sort of seeing things in life in metaphors. So as I was driving to the perinatologist's office, I left work under a blue sky with puffy white clouds, and drove into a dark sky where the rain began to pour. Behind me, the sun was still shining. I started to wonder, "Is this indicative of how things are going today? Leaving the hopeful, sunny place only to drive into another storm?" And then, I found myself looking around for a rainbow... for some reminder of God's faithfulness. I would love to tell you I saw one, but I didn't. Nevertheless, even the thought to look for one reminded me that God is indeed faithful... that so far with our baby girl, things have looked great. And even though things didn't look so great with Isaac, God is still incredibly faithful. It is just so important, particularly when life feels so uncertain and it's like you're waiting for the other shoe to drop, to look back at God's past faithfulness and to know that He is indeed God... that nothing escapes His gaze, and the He truly will work all things for our good and His glory.
So yesterday, we had a normal, fun, regular 20 week ultrasound. We learned that baby girl is still a baby girl, and that she looks great. We are thankful for that, and for the many of you who are praying for her (and for us!).
And without further adieu, here are a few pictures of our little lady...
Posted at 6:25 AM
Thursday, November 5, 2009
This week has been crazy... there's a lot I want to update you on, so this post is going to be a bit of a hodgepodge. Bear with me.
First, Tricia from Humble Like This Child has graciously offered to do a fundraiser for us during the month of November. Tricia's company produces custom-made dolls that are just beautiful. She generously made one for us for Isaac, complete with his sweet footprints printed on the front. If you would like to participate, here's how it works:
1. Visit http://www.humblelikethischild.com/ and have fun shopping!
2. Enter "Isaac" at checkout to receive 10% off your order.
3. $10 from each doll sold will go towards Isaac's Playground!
4. If you blog, post, tweet etc about the fundraiser, send Tricia an email saying you did so and you will be entered into winning a $25 gift certificate! Tricia's email is email@example.com
Secondly, a quick update from Carly... she is doing pretty well as is Finn. Please continue to pray that Finn grows, gains weight, and continues to thrive. Please also pray for Carly's physical recovery from her c-section, as well as for her and her husband's hearts as they are dealing with the stress of being in the same NICU again.
Lastly, today is our 20 week ultrasound. Truthfully, I didn't sleep well tonight and am feeling a little anxious about it. I really hadn't felt anxious until yesterday, which was great. I absolutely love ultrasounds; and at the same time, they are a bit anxiety-producing for me. So please pray that God would guard our hearts today in the hours leading up to this appointment... that we would remember His past faithfulness with other ultrasounds for baby girl so far, that everything would look great with her, and that we would be able to continue forward in hopeful anticipation of what He has in store for us and for our daughter.
Posted at 8:02 AM
Friday, October 30, 2009
Carly delivered her precious baby boy, Finn Robert. I heard briefly from her sister in law this morning, so I don't know much other than she delivered and is resting. Finn weighed in at 3.5 lbs. and Carly had to have a repeat c-section.
Please keep them all in your prayers, especially baby Finn during the first early, critical days.
I will update when I know more!
Posted at 12:01 PM
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I received a text from Carly this evening that she was readmitted to the hospital. Her blood pressure is on the rise again, and her labs from yesterday weren't so great. At this point, they're not sure what's going to happen. The last time I talked to her, she told me that if her preeclampsia became severe again after she hit 32 weeks (which she already is), then they'd deliver. So, I don't know if that's the plan, nor do I know just how bad her bp and labs were. What I do know is that it must be incredibly scary to be walking through the same circumstances as they did with Will, only a few weeks farther along... hoping that this time they'll get to bring their baby boy home.
Please continue to pray... for wisdom for the doctors, for peace for Carly and her husband, and for protection over their precious baby boy. I will update when I know more.
Posted at 8:49 PM
Whether this song reminds you of the movie Madagascar, or, if you're like me, days from your middle school years, one thing is for sure: it should officially be baby girl's theme song.
She is a serious wiggler!!
What has been really neat for me as a second time mom is to see how different she is, even now, from Isaac. If you've been reading a while, you know that Isaac loved Zazz... he just responded to it. There's no sugar in it, so I can't quite figure out what it was about it that he liked so much. But without fail, I would drink a Zazz, and he would wiggle.
Several people have asked if baby sister likes Zazz as much as Isaac. Nope! Not at all. She seems to respond best to sugar! Whether it's hot chocolate, lemonade, or peanut M&M's (but really, who doesn't love those?!), it doesn't matter. She seems to love it... a girl after my own heart!
One of my fears with this pregnancy has surrounded how I would be able to still love Isaac and be an ambassador of his legacy while fully loving this new little girl. As several moms of 2 or 3 kids have shared, each child is different... you love each of them completely, yet differently. Even now, I am beginning to see how that works, and God has been gracious in just guiding me through that.
Quick Carly update... she went in for screening yesterday and all was well. She is back home for now, and is hopeful of making it to 33 weeks on Tuesday! Praise God for his protection over their baby boy.
Posted at 7:36 AM
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Thank you all so much for committing to pray for our baby girl, and for us as we navigate this new part of our journey. Your response to our big announcement was overwhelming... in a good way!
Thankfully, my appointment on Monday was boring... incredibly boring! All the usuals... weight, blood pressure, and listening to baby sister's heartbeat on the doppler (which sounded great in the mid 150's!) Dr. D (one of the docs who delivered Isaac) measured my tummy and everything is right on track.
We discussed the H1N1 vaccine, which truthfully, I have lost some sleep over. With working in a school, germs are everywhere... and several of my students have been out with confirmed cases of H1N1. My doctor's office doesn't yet have the vaccinations, doesn't know when they'll be getting them, and they don't know whether or not they will be mercury free. Please pray for me for wisdom as to whether or not to get this vaccine, and for peace of mind. the whole thing just has me a bit on edge.
I had the chance to see Carly and our friend Susi (another baby loss mom from our support group is also pregnant again) last night for dinner. Carly goes in again today (around now, actually) for more bloodwork, a fetal non-stress test, and some labwork. Please continue to pray for her that things hold steady with their little guy!
Posted at 9:13 AM
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Thank you so much for praying for Carly... she was released from the hospital a few nights ago, and when I heard from her last, things are as good as could be expected.
While she is still exhibiting signs of preeclampsia, they have regressed a little, and they are not yet severe. She is going to the doctor every other day for monitoring, and if any of her labs spike again, the doctors will need to deliver their baby boy.
Please continue to pray for God's protection over both Carly and their son, than He would cause her labs to remain stable so that baby boy can have a few more weeks safe inside his precious mommy, and that He would continue to provide both Carly and her husband with peace.
And if you'd like, swing by Carly's blog to read a more detailed update and to show her some love :)
Posted at 8:29 AM
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I'll cut to the chase... Isaac is going to be a big brother!
Anyhow... Baby SISTER (well, the sonographer was 90-95% sure!) is due March 25, 2010; however, with needing a repeat c-section, she will probably be delivered between 38-39 weeks.
In anticipation of some things you may (or may not) be wondering...
- I am 18 weeks pregnant (I know... I held out for a long time on this one...)
- So far, everything with baby girl looks great !!
- No, we don't yet have a name; but we're getting close. We have a middle name, and have narrowed her first name down to three or four choices. We'll let you know once we've decided, as we would love for you to pray for her by name.
- Yes, I am receiving additional monitoring. I have an open invitation at my OB's office to come for heartbeat checks, though now that I can feel her move, I don't really need them anymore. I am also being monitored by monthly ultrasounds.
-No, we are not doing any testing... no first trimester screen, no CVS, no amnio. Even normal numbers would come back higher than the odds of what happened with Isaac, and so numbers are pretty meaningless for us. Particularly with the ultrasounds looking so good at this point, we want to move forward in faith believing that things are okay, and if the time comes that they aren't, we will deal with it then. God has been good in really affirming this decision for us.
- Physically, I feel great. My body just "does" pregnancy well. I had some morning sickness early on (more like a seasick feeling) but it didn't last long at all. I am really lucky in that regard.
- Emotionally, being pregnant again is difficult. But the specifics of that will serve as another blog post... or several :) There is a lot I have been processing over the last few months.
For now, I'll just say that while I feel like I can breathe a little bit easier with each appointment that goes well, it has been difficult to feel blissfully excited about this pregnancy. It is so hard to balance feeling hopeful, with knowing that there's never a safe point in pregnancy. It's hard to balance joyful anticipation, with the ache of missing Isaac so much.
In some ways, I feel like I am grieving in a fresh way. This past Sunday, Spencer and I went out to breakfast before visiting the cemetery and going to church. As we were sitting there, in walked a family of four: mom, dad, big brother, and little sister. It hit me like a ton of bricks, that this baby girl will not know her big brother, other than what we share of him, on this side of heaven.
So while we are hopeful, and we are incredibly thankful for the tremendously good news so far, the missing is still there. The ache for my son is still there. We are just in a new place in this journey as we wait with hopeful anticipation for our baby girl, and at the same time, miss Isaac so much. God has been gracious in walking so closely with us through this, showing us day by day what it means to live out this delicate (and at times exhausting) balance.
That's about all I can think of for now. I wanted to share the news with you all, my faithful readers, encouragers, and warriors of prayer. Please specifically be in prayer for:
- My upcoming routine OB appointment on the 26th. Please pray that it is just boring and uneventful!
- My big 20 week ultrasound on November 5. Please pray that baby girl's development is still
right on track and that everything continues to look perfect.
If there's anything I missed that you may be wondering, please feel free to ask... but I reserve the right not to answer :)
Thank you for praying... and please continue praying for my friend Carly!
Posted at 6:30 AM
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Thank you for praying for Carly. I heard from her yesterday, and she was going to be admitted to the hospital yesterday evening. Many of her labs did not come back favorably, so she is going in for further monitoring. Her hope is that things sort of level off and that she can be discharged to home bed rest, and that baby boy is still several weeks away from making an appearance. I tried calling her today, but got her voicemail.
Please pray specifically:
1- That her blood pressure doesn't continue to rise, that her fluid levels don't continue to drop, and that her protein levels come back okay;
2- That God would protect their baby boy. Carly said that at her last scan, he was measuring just under 3 lbs;
3- That God would give wisdom to the doctors in how to handle all of this;
4- The Lord would just really surround Carly and her husband Mike with peace.
You can read more from Carly here. Please feel free to swing by her blog to give her some encouragement and let her know you are praying.
Posted at 11:29 AM
Sunday, October 18, 2009
When we had found out that Isaac was given a fatal prenatal diagnosis, a good friend of mine recommended that I take a look at Angie Smith's blog. I jumped in to her family's story shortly after their sweet daughter, Audrey, had been born and passed away. For those of you who may be new to reading, Angie's husband, Todd, sings in Selah, and I have mentioned on here several times what an encouragement Angie has been to me through reading her blog and corresponding with her over email. I felt like I connected with Angie in so many ways, and that she was able to put into words precisely what I have often thought or felt. I was so encouraged by Angie's authenticity, her desire to seek God in the face of unspeakable heartache... and I often thought to myself, "I wish I could just sit down with her over coffee and talk." Being that she's in Tennessee and I am in Maryland, the fact that we even connected over email was pretty awesome.
So, fast forward about a year later to this past spring. A sweet woman who reads my blog emailed me to tell me that Angie would be speaking at their church's women's retreat this fall. This woman's church isn't terribly far from us, nor was the location of the retreat. As the next several months passed, we continued to dialogue about this retreat, and this past weekend I had the pleasure of meeting this incredibly thoughtful and generous blog reader, as well as Angie herself.
I could only attend the retreat for the day yesterday, but after the morning session at which Angie spoke, she and I sat down for quite a while and talked... talked about Audrey, talked about Isaac as Angie poured over my pictures of him on my camera, talked about some of the hardest and most painful moments of losing a child that only two mothers who have walked that road would even think to discuss, talked about the emotions that come with losing a child, and talked about the Lord's faithfulness in how He has met each of us so personally in the midst of each of our journeys. Not that the journeys are over; there is no "over." But there was something that was just so refreshing about sitting down with someone who really wanted to hear about your child who is no longer with you, knowing that she really knows what it's like.
As if that hour and a half wasn't enough, I also got to eat lunch and dinner with Angie, as well as Todd and their sweet daughters Abby, Ellie, and Kate (sorry... no pictures!). It was such an incredible opportunity to get to know Angie in person, and to spend some time getting to know their girls and talking with Todd as well. They are the real deal, that's for sure.
That evening Todd did a concert featuring several songs of Selah's new album "You Deliver Me," including "I Will Carry You" which was written for their daughter Audrey, and that Spencer and I used as the song for Isaac's slideshow at his memorial service. It is an incredible album... one you seriously should go out and buy. I know you'll be blessed by it.
If you had asked be back then... in the late spring of 2008... if I ever thought I would be given the opportunity to actually talk with Angie in person, I would have laughed. I am just so thankful that I did, and that God used a complete stranger (who is thankfully no longer a stranger!) to help orchestrate such a divine encounter. And thankfully, Angie is also no longer a stranger :)
Posted at 8:18 PM
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thank you so much for sharing your stories... I am honored that this is place where so many would feel comfortable sharing about their precious babies that are no longer here. And while I wish there wasn't a need to pray for one another about something like this, I am grateful that we can... that we have a Father who cares about our hurt and our loss, and that He is caring for the children our arms long to hold.
The winner of the necklace from My Forever Child is...
True Random Number Generator Result: 45 (from random.org)
Comment number 45 was Keisha, in memory of her precious babies Kyndall and Kaiden. Keisha, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can put you in touch with Sue at My Forever Child.
I would also like to ask you to pray for my friend Carly. Carly's son, Will, was born on January 17, 2008 at 26 weeks. Carly had an early onset of severe preeclampsia and needed to deliver. Will lived for 9 days in the NICU, and passed away on January 26, 2008. Carly is currently pregnant with Will's little brother, and thanks to the addition of several medications to her prenatal care, she has made it further in her pregnancy with this baby than she did with Will... she is currently 30 weeks pregnant. However, at a recent doctor's appointment, Carly learned that her blood pressure is on the rise, and her amniotic fluid levels are have dropped... signs that preeclampsia is beginning to rear its ugly head again.
I am fortunate to know Carly in real life, having met her at the monthly infant loss support group that we both attend. She has been a tremendous support to me in my own grief journey of losing Isaac, and so I would love it if you would join me in praying for her and her sweet baby boy. Please pray that her blood pressure does not continue rise, that her fluid levels do not continue to drop. Please also pray that her baby boy's development and growth aren't constricted by either of these things, and that she is able to make it to at least 32 weeks which is what her doctors are hoping. But we know that our great God is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or ever imagine, and that Carly could make it much farther than 32 weeks.
Please pray for her... I know she would deeply appreciate it.
Posted at 8:00 AM
Sunday, October 11, 2009
First, thank you so much for all of your kind words on Isaac's birthday. Your words are such a gift. It was a difficult day for sure... harder than I had anticipated in some ways, but it was good to have a day with Spencer to really sit and reflect on Isaac and how he has deeply impacted each of our lives.
Many of you know that October 15th is designated as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. While I am saddened that a day like this has a need to exist, I am glad that it does... as remembering our babies can bring so much healing and hope.
I was doing a little research this weekend about this topic and here are some preliminary findings:
-According to emedicine, the overall miscarriage rate is 15-20%. Some physicians believe this percentage may even be higher, as miscarriage can often occur before a woman even knows she is pregnant.
- Approximately 25,000 babies are stillborn each year in the United States, and according to the March of Dimes, about 19,000 babies die within the first month of life (called neonatal death).
- SIDS claims the lives of over 7000 babies each year nationally.
All of this is simply to say that many, many people are affected by miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. And if you are one of those people I want you to know this: your child matters.
So, I would like to do a few things this October 15th.
First, I would like to pray for you. If you are comfortable, please feel free to share as much of or as little of your story in a comment below. And I would like to invite those of you reading to pray for the people who have courageously shared their stories.
Secondly, Sue Mosquera from My Forever Child has generously offered to allow me to hold a giveaway in honor of October 15th. If you aren't familiar with Sue's work, she creates beautiful remembrance jewelry. She has graciously offered to giveaway a Baby Footprints Heart Necklace. By leaving a comment sharing your story, you are automatically entered in the giveaway. Entries for the giveaway will close at 10pm EST on Thursday, October 15th... but you are certainly welcome to continue to leave comments sharing your stories. The winner will be randomly selected and announced by 12 noon EST on Friday, October 16th. Be sure to check out My Forever Child at http://www.myforeverchild.com/ and www.facebook.com/myforeverchild.
Lastly, as the http://www.october15th.com/ site has announced, you are invited to light a candle on October 15th at 7pm in your time zone to create a wave of light in remembrance of the child/children that you have lost, or in honor of someone else who has lost a child thought miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death.
So, I will start...
My name is Stacy. In the fall of 2007, we lost baby #1 to a miscarriage due to triploidy discovered at 13 weeks. On October 7, 2008, we met our precious son Isaac at 8:33 am. He passed away due to complications from a series of congenital birth defects 16 minutes later. He is deeply, deeply missed.
Posted at 6:38 AM
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
One year ago today, my life was profoundly changed by the most beautiful little boy I have ever laid eyes on. I remember when the nurse brought Isaac over to us after he was born and told us he was alive, the tears came streaming down my face. I couldn't believe he was ours. I wanted so badly to be able to tell him, while he was living, how much I love him and how proud I am of him. I wanted him to feel what it was like for his mommy and daddy to kiss him, to hug him, to snuggle him, and to hold his little hand. I wanted him to fully experience the love his parents... and I know that he did. I am so thankful... I just wish it could have lasted longer.
While talking about our time with Isaac that day has come fairly easily (though not without tears), something I haven't been able to talk much about is later that night when we had to say goodbye... to have the joy of meeting your child juxtaposed with the anguish of having to then say goodbye. This is the part that I am not sure many people think about, particularly if you haven't lost a child yourself. People have mentioned to us how hard it must have been to leave the hospital carrying a picture of Isaac rather than Isaac himself, or how difficult it was to plan and attend your child's funeral. But neither of those moments come close to the pain of handing your son to a nurse you've never met, knowing you'll never see him again on this side of heaven. I am not sure I could ever adequately put into words the way that emotional pain transcends into physical pain at that very moment, the level of emptiness that a parent feels inside, or the sobs that echo through the very core of your being. Nothing about it is right. It is all terribly, terribly wrong, and unfortunately part of the fallen world in which we live. But thankfully, there is a Redeemer who meets us in the midst of life's most painful moments such as these and provides His comfort.
Today Spencer and I will spend time doing several things that we did while I was pregnant with Isaac... a hike at Sugarloaf Mountain and a picnic in a park. Of course we will spend a while at the cemetery, and will send up letters to Isaac carried by blue helium-filled balloons. But I think it goes without saying that these are all just consolations... because I would much rather be putting the finishing touches on a party for this coming weekend... and I would rather see Isaac demolish his first cupcake while attempting to eat it. Gosh I miss him. I know that he is in the most perfect place, but I am still his mom, I am still human, and there's a large part of me that would rather him still be here. Not because I think I can care for him better than God himself... as Spencer reminded me, I can't. But because I love him and I miss him.
Thank you for upholding us in prayer today. Thank you for remembering our sweet little strawberry-blonde haired Isaac with us.
On this day, one year ago, you were born. It was the most glorious day of my life...knowing you has changed me.
Some doctors came in to take one last look at you on the ultrasound machine so that they could figure out the best way to get you out of my tummy safely. It was neat to see you in there one last time.
Pastor Guy and Pastor Rob came back and prayed with us and they prayed for you... knowing that it's never too late for God to perform a miracle and to heal your sweet little body. Then, we went to the operating room where you would be born.
You were born at 8:33am; and while God didn't heal your body like we prayed He would, I know I met a miracle that day-- you. You are the most beautiful baby I have ever seen... your fuzzy hair, your perfect little nose, and cute lips just like daddy's. Daddy and I are so thankful that we got to meet you while you were still alive so that you could feel us hug you and kiss your little face, and so you could clearly hear us tell you how much we love you and how proud we are of you. We do... and we are.
After you were born, nurse Kathy helped us give you a bath an put on the blue little outfit we got for you. Then, you got to meet everyone!! Your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, and some of mommy and daddy's closest friends who also love you very much. We're so glad that they all got to meet you and hold you. You are just precious.
Isaac, do you know that you have changed the world? That your life has impacted many, many people for Jesus? Do you know that there are people who didn't want to go to church who are now going back because of hearing about your life? That over one hundred people played in your golf tournament? That there are people who spend more time with their family, who hug their children a little bit tighter because of you? I am so proud to be your mommy... and I am so thankful that God has chosen to use you in a mighty way.
We miss you so much. We wish that you were here, just learning to walk, babbling out sounds like "dadada" and "mamama", and devouring your first taste of cake. Mommy and daddy know, though, that you are perfectly cared for in heaven... that you are healthy and whole, and that you have everything you need. We are thankful for that; but we still miss you. Deeply.
I love you, Isaac. I am so proud of you. Happy birthday, sweet boy.
Posted at 6:34 AM
Monday, October 5, 2009
Nothing major to report here. Just been hard to not think about "this time last year..." when it seems to be the place my mind naturally wanders. I am really hoping and praying for good weather on Wednesday, as several of the things Spencer and I have planned are outside. While the rain would certainly match my mood, I would rather there be sunshine.
I wanted to take some time to post some passages from scripture, song lyrics, and the like that have just encouraged me... particularly over the past few days.
Romans 8:31-39-- What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long;we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Hebrews 10:19-23-- Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
And, if you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I love the lyrics to songs by Mark Schultz... and the melodies. He has a new album that came out this year, and I heard the song "He Is" for the first time while driving home from visiting family this past weekend.
Father let the world just fade away
Let me feel your presence in this place
Lord I've never been so weary
How I need to know you're near me
Father let the world just fade away
Til I'm on my knees
'Til my heart can sing
HE ALWAYS WILL BE
HE'S ALWAYS WITH ME
EVEN WHEN IT FEELS LIKE
THERE IS NO ONE HOLDING ME
BE STILL MY SOUL
Father let your holy spirit sing
Let it calm the storms inside of me
As I stand amazed
Lift my hands and say
HE ALWAYS WILL BE
HE'S ALWAYS WITH ME
EVEN WHEN IT FEELS LIKE
THERE IS NO ONE HOLDING ME
BE STILL MY SOUL
Through every fear
And every doubt
In every tear I shed
Down every road
I'm not alone
No Matter where I am
HE ALWAYS WILL BE
HE ALWAYS WILL BE
EVEN WHEN IT FEELS LIKE
THERE IS NO ONE HOLDING ME
BE STILL MY SOUL
BE STILL AND KNOW
BE STILL MY SOUL
While I appreciate the well-intended encouragement to "embrace the change" that has occurred in my life over the last year and to "focus on the positives" so I can "stop suffering over the things I can't control," I just need to say that it doesn't work that way in this. On October 7, 2008 I didn't experience a change, I experienced the birth... and death... of my son. And while God has faithfully continued to show us how He is using Isaac's life for His glory, it doesn't erase the pain of not having Isaac here. As I have shared before, through this experience I have found a whole new appreciation for those who desire to glorify God in their brokenness... people who don't act as if they aren't hurting, haven't been completely rattled, or as if their lives haven't felt like they're falling apart. But rather, people who can authentically be who and where they are, and who can testify to God's goodness and faithfulness in the midst of life's fiercest storms. For a much more articulate version of this, see the lyrics to the song "Broken and Beautiful" written by none other than... Mark Schultz.
I am just so thankful for God's promises in His word, that He is faithful and true even when life is hard and when I am missing Isaac so much that it hurts.
UPDATE-- I just found this video today about the song "He Is" that I mentioned above. In this video, Mark Schultz explains the song's meaning and how he came to write it. Watch it... I know you'll be encouraged and blessed.
Posted at 11:34 AM
Sunday, September 27, 2009
The fact that Isaac's birthday is approaching in 10 days has been wearing on me. I am just finding myself sort of heightened emotionally, not sleeping too well, and just overall a little more exhausted than usual.
On a positive note, Spencer and I finally found a cedar chest in which to store Isaac's things. What we haven't hung on walls or displayed has been sitting in the room that would have been his nursery for the past year. I just hadn't been ready to put them away... doing so just felt like I was moving on and I have been having a hard time with that recently. But yesterday, we went up to an Amish market and found a beautiful cedar chest that we both loved. We wanted it made slightly differently than the version they had in the store, so they were kind enough to custom order one for us. It won't be here in time for Isaac's birthday, but that's okay.
I had a dream last night about October 7th... I dreamed that I accidentally went to work because I had forgotten what day it was. When I showed up, my substitute teacher was there and was confused as to why I was there; when I realized it, I felt horrible... not believing I could forget a day as important as this. That must have been about the time I woke up.
And believe me... there's no place I would rather NOT be right now than work. While my hopes of this being better year were high, it just hasn't been the case. At all. I am thankful to have a job, and enjoy the students I am working with... but other aspects of my job are just not going well.
So throughout the next 10 days, we would really appreciate your prayers as I can feel the tidal wave of grief swelling and growing. I have learned to predict fairly well when it's going to strike, and I know October 7th will be no exception. The truth is, almost a year later, I still miss my son. Terribly. While the Lord has graciously carried us a long way through this journey, I don't miss Isaac any less... and I really don't think I ever will. I am learning that the missing just sort of becomes Incorporated into the fabric of who you are when you've lost a child... not that it ever goes away.
We appreciate your prayers for us and your continued words of encouragement. I know that the Lord uses them mightily.
Posted at 6:21 AM
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Spencer and I totally have a thing for this show... The Biggest Loser. While both of us probably got into watching it because of our own interest in health and fitness, I now continue watching because I feel like you get to know so much about the contestants... their personalities, their stories. And quite frankly, they are just downright inspiring.
I missed this season's premier last Tuesday, and randomly found that some channel was re-airing it last night. So of course, Spence and I tuned in. This season's theme is all about second chances. There's a guy on there from last season, who we were actually really pulling for but he got voted off fairly early. Person after person was sharing their stories about why they wanted to come on the show.
And then they got to Abby.
Abby talked about how she had a husband, a 3 or 4 year-old daughter, and a 2 week old son. While this statement may not have alerted anyone else to what she was about to say, when you listen with the ears of a parent who has lost a child you notice subtleties such as the fact that Abby referred to her family in the past tense. I knew what she was going to say next couldn't be good.
And then she said it.
All three were killed in the same fatal car crash.
As my tears came pouring out, I just wanted to jump through the screen and hug this woman.
As she explained what happened, she said something along the lines of how every role she filled was taken away from her... being a wife... being a mother. It made so much sense. And so often, I have felt similarly.
Over the past almost year, it has been so hard to figure out what my role is as a mother when Isaac isn't here to love and to raise. We've been so fortunate to be presented with opportunities to share Isaac with others... through this blog, his memorial service, the golf tournament. Yet in the day-to-day, it is still such a difficult thing to have people ask you if you have any kids because they don't see your child with you... or worse yet, to just assume that you don't and tell you how "lucky" you are because once you do have kids, you can no longer have the freedom to just do this or that. Trust me... I'd give up that freedom in a nanosecond if it meant having Isaac here, as I am sure you well know.
In a little over two weeks, we'll be remembering Isaac's birthday... we'll no longer be counting months since we last hugged him and kissed his little face. It will be years, which is just really strange to be. I'm starting to really feel the heaviness of all of this weigh on me, and we'd appreciate your prayers as we continue to anticipate October 7th and plan a day for Spencer and I to be together and to remember our son.
And tune in on Tuesday nights to watch Abby and the rest of the gang. Despite Jillian and Ed's ridiculous training tactics, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Posted at 7:08 AM