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.
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/
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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