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!